Interrail train reservations
What trains require an Interrail reservation. How to avoid expensive reservations and save money. Here you get free help and a list of all trains.
When do I need a reservation?
Certain trains in Europe have compulsory reservation. That means that it is required to have an extra reservation in addition to your ticket to be allowed on board these trains. You can find information about whether a train requires a reservation or not in the railcc train list, in an online schedule planner plan.rail.cc, in the Interrail App or in the schedules directly at train stations.
The reservation information provided in the online schedule planners or in the Interrail App is usually correct, however there are some particular cases where the reservation information is not displayed 100% correctly. That's why we recommend to always also check the reservation information in our train list. In case something is unclear, just ask in our forum.
Besides trains where reservation is compulsory you can also make reservations on many long distance trains by choice. However you will be fine travelling on these trains without a reservation normally, especially when travelling alone or in a small group (three people or less). If you are travelling in a larger group seat reservations make sense especially on longer distances if you want guarantee to be able to sit together.
Where can I buy reservations?
The simplest way to get a reservation is at a train station, either at the ticket desk or in some countries also at ticket machines. At ticket desks you will get reservations for all trains within one country and usually also for international connections. In some countries there are dedicated ticket desks for domestic and international connections so take care to queue correctly. Also, bring your ticket with you at all times since it can happen that you only get a reservation when showing your ticket. In some countries a small fee is to be paid when buying reservations at stations.
Reservations at ticket machines are currently available in Italy, Sweden and Germany, usually for domestic connections only. Some countries also offer a reservation service via phone. Reservations can then be collected at a ticket desk or ticket machine directly at a station.
Some train companies also offer online reservations for pass holders. Reservations are currently available online in Italy, Sweden, Germany, France, Czech Republic and Slovakia. In addition, many trains can be reserved through the online shop of our partner ACPRail. However, due to handling and shipping fees reservations bought through this channel are usually more expensive than when bought at a station and reservations have to be shipped by post. That's why we recommend this option only in some cases.
You can also buy reservations via the reservation service of our partner interrail.eu – they can offer reservations for most countries.
It is usually not possible to buy reservations on board – if you don't have a reservation but want to get on a certain train we recommend to ask the staff first.
When should I buy my reservation?
In principle: The more important a certain connection is for your planned route, the earlier you should get your reservation. Especially on routes where only a handful or just even one train runs each day it makes sense to make a reservation at least one week in advance. Also if you are travelling with a larger group we recommend to make your reservations early, especially when you are planning to travel on night trains which have limited places available.
In general reservations are available between one and three months before departure up until the day of departure. The exact dates can vary from country to country.
How much are reservations?
Reservation fares usually vary from EUR 1 to EUR 10 in 2nd class (seat reservations in the UK and in Poland are free), but certain international high speed trains can cost up to EUR 20 and more. In 1st class prices can be about double the price on some trains, however extra complimentary services are often included.
Many reservations, especially for high speed trains, also include a supplement. In that case you pay reservation and supplement combined. If you make a reservation for a normal express train you only pay for the seat reservation. The price of this reservation varies from country to country. For instance, if you want to reserve a seat on a Vienna – Munich Railjet, you would have to pay EUR 4.50 in Germany, EUR 3.50 in Austria or EUR 1.20 in Czech Republic.
On night trains the reservation fares depend on the comfort class, a seat usually is between EUR 3 and 20, a bed in a couchette between EUR 6 and 40 and a bed in a sleeper between EUR 15 and 150.
How can I avoid reservations?
On most routes it is pretty easy to avoid trains which require compulsory reservation and use other, usually slower trains instead. However, as these trains are usually regional trains with many stops travel time can be much longer and you might also have to change trains more often. We would recommend to travel longer distances on faster trains and get a reservation if necessary to save time.
Travelling with slower, reservation-free, regional trains often also has the advantage that they run on scenic routes through beautiful landscapes, whereas the high speed lines often run through many tunnels and less spectacular areas.
Some trains have compulsory reservation only on parts of their route. For instance, reservation is only compulsory within one country, but not for international travel, or the other way round. Exceptions like this are mentioned in detail in the train list.
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
Do you have further questions and need assistance? Do not hesitate to ask in our friendly forum where you always get detailed help.