Train Travel with Trainline Europe + Insider Tips (2024)

You’re in the right place, as I have spent months travelling Europe full time on the train, and I’m going to take you through everything you need to know about Trainline Europe and train travel in Europe in general.

Once you have read this article, you’re going to feel confident about booking train tickets, using Trainline Europe and taking trains in Europe.

If you’ve been looking for info on Trainline Europe, you may have become overwhelmed with all of the information out there.

Are trains in Europe safe? Are they really the best way to “country hop”? What is the difference between RailEurope and Trainline?

Don’t worry: We’re going to clear all that up in this article.

You’re also going to get tips on how to book the cheapest European train tickets, information on European rail passes plus all the FAQs are going to be answered to stick around to the end of the article.

Ready to learn everything you need to know about Trainline Europe? Let’s get right to it.

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the moulin rouge lit up at night time

What is Trainline Europe?

The Trainline Europe is a booking system for many train operators in Europe.

The Trainline allows you to purchases tickets for several operators across several European countries in one place.

The website easy to navigate and understand (and it’s in English) and you can use your own credit and pay in your own currency.

Tickets are available as e-tickets or you can collect from your departure train station.

The Trainline also always you to book across companies for example you are able to book a train the whole way from Paris to Florence with the Trainline.

If you were to book direct with the companies you would need different tickets rather purchasing as one journey on The trainline.

Began as Captain Train

In 2012, three French entrepreneurs began a site called Capitaine train to see French railway tickets.

The entrepreneurs felt as thought they could do a better job at selling train tickets but the French railways saw them as competition and took them to court.

The court case determined the the French railways had to allow Capitaine Train to connect their ticket system.

This new ticket company was very popular among French travellers.

It wasn’t too long before German, Italian and Spanish railway tickets were available on Capitaine train.

Due to the popularity with tourists from abroad, the company decided to rename the country Captain Train.

In 2016, the UKs largest independent railway ticket company acquired Captain train and renamed it

The Trainline then had two websites, and, one for selling British railway tickets and one for selling European railway tickets.

However, in 2019 The Trainline began to combine the two services and on the 22nd of September 2022 officially resigned and all tickets across the United Kingdom and Europe are now sold on

Old half timbered houses lining a street in Hannover

Who is the Trainline Europe connected to?

  • SNCF French Railways
  • Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)
  • SBB Swiss Railway
  • Trenitalia Italian Railways
  • Italo
  • DB German Railways
  • ÖBB Austrian Railways
  • Westbahn
  • Renfe Spanish Railways
  • Trainline also connects to bus companies such as Flixbus

Does the Trainline work in Europe?

Yes, the Trainline does work in Europe. In fact, it is one of the most popular ways for travelers to book their train tickets in Europe.

The Trainline has been around since 2012 when three French entrepreneurs founded the company called Capitaine Train with the aim of making it easier for French people to buy train tickets.

Over the years, they expanded and now they sell tickets to travelers all over Europe.

The Trainline also connects with most of the major train operators in Europe, including SNCF French Railways, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), SBB Swiss Railway, Trenitalia Italian Railways, DB German Railways, ÖBB Austrian Railways, Renfe Spanish Railways and more.

They also connect with bus companies such as Flixbus.

European train tickets

Depending on the country you are departing from and arriving to you can purchase tickets in two categories, advance purchase or on the day purchase.

Tickets for train in the United Kingdom are also divided into time of day.

A view of tower bridge in London

Advance European train tickets

In the UK, Germany and Austria

Are you planning a train journey in the UK, Germany or Austria?

If so, then you should know that there are several options when it comes to buying your tickets.

You can either buy an advance ticket or purchase a flexible full-price ticket on the day of travel.

Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Advance train tickets offer passengers the chance to save money by committing to travelling on specific trains with limited refunds and changes allowed.

In the UK they are known as Advance train tickets while in Germany they are called Sparpreis and in Austria they are referred to as Sparschiene.

These types of tickets also come with cheaper fares based on expected passenger levels for certain times of day (known as Off-Peak times).

On the other hand, if you want more flexibility when it comes to booking your ticket then you can opt for a full-price flexible fare which allows you make changes to your booking and request refunds where applicable – though this will usually be more expensive than an advance fare .

However please note that full-price flexible fares do not usually include a reserved seat – you can just hop on the train and sit wherever you like or pay an extra fee to reserve your seat.

In France, Italy and Spain

Are you planning a trip to France, Italy or Spain? If so, then you’ll want to make sure that you get the best deal possible on your train tickets.

Fortunately, there are ways to save money when booking train travel in these countries – by buying your tickets in advance!

By booking ahead of time, you can take advantage of dynamic ticket prices and secure yourself a reserved seat before they all fill up.

Plus, depending on which fare option you choose, some tickets may even be eligible for refunds and changes to your travel plans.

So if you’re looking for an affordable way to explore Europe’s beautiful destinations without breaking the bank – look no further than pre-booking your Intercity or high-speed train tickets today!

On the day train tickets for European trains

For most European trains, it doesn’t matter if it is local, regional or suburban, you can buy tickets on the day of travel.

The train ticket prices are fixed so no matter how far in advance you book you will not get the ticket any cheaper.

The only advantage to booking in advance is peace of mind that you are booked onto the train that you want to take.

In most cases seat reservations is not required and in some cases it is not available. You just purchase your ticket and sit where you ever like.

e-tickets and Mobile Tickets

e-tickets and Mobile Tickets are quickly becoming more popular among travelers due to their convenience and ease of use.

Nowadays, many train companies across Europe offer the option of using either a Mobile Ticket or an e-ticket for your journey, giving you the opportunity to go paperless with digital tickets.

If you book your ticket using The Trainline app, you’ll receive a Mobile Ticket with a QR code.

This makes it much easier to keep track of your tickets and never worry about losing paper tickets again.

If you buy your ticket from The Trainline website website, you’ll receive an email with an attached PDF of your eticket. You can easily open this up either from the email or in the app.

By using e-tickets and Mobile Tickets you’ll save time too, since there’s no need to wait for a paper ticket in the post.

This much easier for travellers who don’t have an address to send train tickets to.

How to book European train tickets online

Booking European train tickets online is easier than ever before. You can either book on The Trainline Website or through the Trainline App;

  1. Enter your departure and arrival cities/towns
  2. Select whether you would like a one way ticket, a return ticket or an open return (you don’t need a return date)
  3. Enter your chosen travel dates
  4. Select how many people are travelling (eg 4 adults or 2 adults and 1 child)
  5. Select your rail card/pass (if applicable)
  6. Hit the “Get cheapest tickets” button.

For each train you will be shown the following information:

  • Price: by default the cheapest fare will be highlighted but you can choose to upgrade to first class or to purchase a fully flexible ticket for an additional cost
  • Time: You are shown all the available departure and arrival times as well as the duration of the journey
  • Station: Some cities have more than one station so it is important to pay attention to the station you are booking
  • Train number: For your chosen trip, the train number is printed on your ticket. For instance, if you see ‘TGV INOUI 6607’ then you will be making a high-speed journey aboard the renowned TGV Train
  • Connections: You are required to change trains you will be shown how many connections you are required to make

If you are booking on a desktop, you can click on the train you would like more information on and on the righthand side of the screen more information will appear, such as connection times.

If you are booking on the app, you can click view details under the train that you like more information on.

How to buy cheap train tickets in Europe

Train travel is one of the most economical ways to travel from city to city or country to country but there are a few things you can do to try and purchases the cheapest tickets possible:

  • Book in advance: To get the best prices for train tickets in Europe, it’s important to book early. Advance tickets generally become available three to six months prior to your intended travel date and are released in tiers–the lowest-priced tier is offered first, followed by increasingly higher priced tiers as those sell out. By planning ahead of time you can make sure that you’re able to secure the most affordable fare!
  • Slower usually means cheaper: Trains that are slower or have more connections are usually cheaper than direct high speed trains. You may arrive later or need to leave earlier but it can save you a pretty penny
  • Choose off peak: Rush hour (between 6am and 10am, and 3pm and 7pm) during the week are usually the most expensive times to travel. If you have some flexibility, choose an off peak train
  • Keep an eye out for discounts: There are a range of deals and discounts available, you could save money on your journey regardless if you are travelling alone or with children, as a group or belong to certain age categories! Rail companies throughout Europe offer exclusive ticket prices for such travellers so make sure to keep an eye out for them before embarking on your next excursion!

European Rail passes

One of the best things about travelling by train in Europe is the range of Rail passes available for locals and travellers.

European Rail passes offer flexibility and and a way to save money on European train travel.

The rail passes available depend on where you are travelling and your nationality.

Map with Eurail Pass, camera and passport

Eurail Pass

If you’re a non-European citizen or resident, an Eurail Pass is the perfect way to journey around Europe. You can select from two options: The Global Pass for unrestricted travel across borders and the One Country Pass that grants endless rides in just one country.

We spent four months travelling around 26 countries on the Eurail pass. The three month global pass cost us $2,500AUD but without the pass we would have spent $5,476AUD.

Interrail Pass

Interrail operates in the same way as the Eurail pass but it is available to European citizens and permanent residents

BritRail Pass

If you’re an international traveler and have not lived in the UK for at least six months, a BritRail Pass is right up your alley!

It offers unlimited train travel throughout Britain with two different options: Consecutive Pass or Flexi pass.

The former provides unrestricted use of trains over numerous days straight while the latter allows traveling around Britain on specified dates within one month’s time frame.

Swiss Rail Passes

Exploring Switzerland has never been easier than with a Swiss Rail Pass. Take in the beauty of this amazing country by taking advantage of unlimited travel on trains, buses, boats and cable cars as well as public transport to over 90 cities!

Types of trains in Europe

International Trains

Experience the convenience of journeying around Europe via international or cross-border trains, which are much swifter alternatives to flying.

Whether you’re travelling from the UK to France, from France to Germany and Spain, or from Germany to Italy, Austria and Switzerland – you’ll be there in no time!

High-Speed Trains

Are you seeking an efficient and speedy way to traverse Europe?

Look no further than the high-speed train service!

Reach your destination in a fraction of the time it would have taken by car: up to 248 mph (400 km/h)!

To make travelling even easier, here’s an overview of some top European trains with fast speeds:

The santa claus express night train booked with the trainline europe

Night Trains

For travelers who would rather spend their days exploring than traveling, night trains in Europe are an ideal solution.

By taking the sleeper train to your destination, you will arrive well-rested and ready for the day ahead – not to mention save on accommodation costs!

Connecting major cities throughout Europe, European night trains provide a convenient opportunity for those looking for practical solutions.

Regional Trains

Exploring Europe by regional train is an ideal way to get around.

Even though these trains may not be as luxurious or fast-moving as the high-speed ones, they are still incredibly pleasant for a journey.

Aside from the UK, most of the countries in Europe have one or two primary railway companies managing their local and commuter railways.

So if you’re looking for a hassle free ride that’s more cozy than quick – opt for traveling on regional trains!

Scenic Trains

When you travel through Europe by train, your window opens up a world of stunning landscapes just waiting to be explored.

From dramatic coastlines and towering mountains to majestic viaducts, the views are nothing short of breathtaking!

So why not take a peek at some of our top picks when booking your scenic train ride?

First class on trains in Europe

Exploring Europe by train has become increasingly popular in recent years, and with good reason. With its fast, efficient service and unbeatable comfort, nothing compares to the convenience, luxury and relaxation of travelling in First Class.

Whether you’re winding your way through the Italian Alps or whizzing through the picturesque French countryside, a First Class ticket opens up a world of travel possibilities.

From enhanced legroom and extra-wide leather armchairs to complimentary snacks, beverages, free WiFi and access to exclusive lounges – your journey will be an absolute breeze.

So if you’re looking for a luxurious and hassle-free way to explore Europe, look no further than First Class rail travel.

With unbeatable comfort and convenience at your fingertips, it won’t be long before you reach your destination in ultimate style and comfort. Bon voyage!

A bridge crossing a canal lined with colourful houses in Brugge

Top train routes in Europe

Some of the most popular routes throughout Europe are:

  • London to Paris on the High-Speed Eurostar
  • Paris to Amsterdam with Thalys
  • Madrid to Barcelona with Renfe
  • Madrid to Valencia with Renfe
  • London to Edinburgh with LNER
  • Barcelona to Valencia with Renfe
  • Brussels to Paris with Thalys
  • Rome to Florence with Italo or Trenitalia
  • Rome to Milan with Italo or Trenitalia
  • Lille to Paris with TGV

Bikes on trains in Europe

United Kingdom

Whenever you board a British train, it’s free to bring along your bike – though the specific types of bikes accepted may differ.

All folding bicycles can be brought on trains without any limitations or needing reservations.

For full-size cycles, however, bookings are sometimes required for certain services and during peak times there may be restrictions in effect.


Travelling with your bike in Europe is easy and affordable!

Most trains will take it on board at no extra cost, provided you pack it into a specially designated bag or case.

For those routes that require an additional fee allows you to reserve space to store your bicycle in the train’s dedicated compartment.

Top tips for families, seniors and students

Families, seniors and students can enjoy some extra discounts and deals which make travel more affordable.

Some of the best deals are:


  • Trenitalia Bimbi Gratis: Take advantage of complimentary train travel for children under 15 when they are accompanied by a group of 2 to 5 adults with valid Base tickets on most Trenitalia services in both First and Second class!
  • Renfe – Niño: Take advantage of our train ticket deal and get a remarkable 40% off tickets for children aged 4-13. Plus, if there’s an adult accompanying them, young kids under the age of four can ride free on their lap!
  • Kids for a QuidLooking for an affordable journey in the UK? Various railway companies permit up to four children aged 5-15 to make a single or round trip for only £1 when travelling with an adult during Off-Peak hours. Take advantage of this amazing deal and explore Britain today!


  • Senior Discount with Interrail: If you’re 60 or over, you can get a 10% discount on an adult Global Pass! This offer is available for both First and Second Class passes.
  • Senior Discount with BritRail: Enjoy a 15% discount on the adult BritRail Pass prices if you are 60 years of age or above.
  • Senior RailcardSenior travelers aged 60 and over can take advantage of discounted rail fares, reducing the cost of eligible train tickets in the UK by up to one-third!


  • Youth Discount with Interrail: Are you 27 years old or younger? Take advantage of our special 25% discount on a Global Pass for First and Second Class passes!
  • 16-25 Railcard: Take advantage of fantastic savings – up to 1/3 off the cost of qualified train tickets in the UK! This deal is ideal for high schoolers, university students, graduates and young professionals.
  • Super Sparpreis: Save money on long-distance Deutsche Bahn journeys within Germany by booking ahead – fares start from a low €17.50 (excluding the cost of a booking fee)..

Bus travel with Trainline Europe

Although it’s the slower mode of transport, Europe’s well-developed bus network usually charges lower fares than trains for the same journey.

Furthermore, most buses provide similar onboard amenities to its rail counterparts such as air-conditioning and WiFi – making it an enjoyable way to cruise between destinations.

One could even take advantage of handy power sockets on board some buses!

Tips for travelling with Trainline Europe

  • Depending on the trip you are taking it might be cheaper to book a round trip, for example, the Eurostar is best booked as a return journey. However, many journeys around Europe are no cheaper for a return ticket so it offers more flexibility to book one way tickets.
  • If you would like to add a stop or take a specific route you can use the via or avoid function when booking your tickets
  • If a journey doesn’t show up or there are no tickets available it may mean that the part of the journey is not available on The trainline Europe yet or that bookings are not open
  • Download the app and use in train stations or hotels with Wifi to plan your journey
  • If you are unsure on the best route or how to book your ticket most train stations will be able to help you (and find some who speaks English)
  • ALWAYS purchase a ticket, or if using a rail pass make sure it is valid. There are large fines if you are found without a ticket or without a completed rail pass

FAQs: Travel with Trainline Europe

Does Trainline app work in Europe?

Yes, Trainline app works in Europe. It allows users to book train tickets easily and quickly across Europe, and offers features such as flexible trips with via or avoid functions, discount search filters for cheaper fares, the ability to download mobile tickets when travelling on high-speed trains, and more.

What is the difference between Trainline and RailEurope?

Both the Trainline and RailEurope offer train and bus journeys in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. They both allow you to search several companies and the cheapest tickets available.

However, the Trainline is often marginally cheaper.

Is Trainline Europe reliable?

Yes, Trainline Europe is reliable.

It allows users to book train tickets easily and quickly across Europe, offering features such as flexible trips with via or avoid functions, discount search filters for cheaper fares, the ability to download mobile tickets when travelling on high-speed trains, and more.

In addition, Trainline has customer support available 24/7 in case of any issues or concerns.

This ensures convenient and secure buying experience for customers.

Is Trainline good for Europe?

Yes, Trainline is good for Europe. With European train booking made easy and convenient, users can now book tickets quickly with a variety of options such as via or avoid functions, discount search filters for reduced fares, downloadable mobile tickets when taking high-speed trains and more.

Can I use Trainline in Europe?

Yes, you can use Trainline in Europe. With the user-friendly interface, booking your next train ticket across Europe has never been easier.

Find discounts through our filter function, plan flexible trips with “via” or “avoid” functions, and even download mobile tickets while travelling on high-speed trains – all available in a few clicks!

Is Trainline Europe Legit?

Yes, Trainline Europe is legit. It is one of the best and cheapest ways to book European train tickets.

Do Trainline tickets work in Europe?

Yes, Trainline tickets work in Europe.

With the user-friendly interface, booking your next train ticket across Europe has never been easier.

Find discounts through our filter function, plan flexible trips with “via” or “avoid” functions, and even download mobile tickets while travelling on high-speed trains – all available in a few clicks!

Does Trainline cover Europe?

Yes, Trainline covers Europe. With its user-friendly interface, booking your next train ticket across Europe has never been easier.

Find discounts through our filter function, plan flexible trips with “via” or “avoid” functions, and even download mobile tickets while travelling on high-speed trains – all available in a few clicks!

Trainline is one of the best and cheapest ways to book European train tickets.

Are trains in Europe safe?

Yes, trains in Europe are generally considered safe. Most railway networks and public transportation systems throughout the continent have strict guidelines and safety procedures in place to protect passengers.

Additionally, many train operators also employ security personnel who patrol stations and ticket barriers.

Furthermore, most European countries have regulations requiring CCTV cameras on public transit platforms as well as other precautions like emergency intercoms for added security.

All these measures together ensure that train travel is a safe option in Europe.

Are dogs allowed on trains in Europe?

Yes, dogs are allowed on trains in Europe.

Most European train companies allow passengers to bring their pets onboard for an additional fee.

Dogs must also be kept on a leash and wear a muzzle at all times when aboard the train or in stations.

In addition, laws may vary by country regarding what types of animal can travel by rail, so it is important to check with each individual railway company before setting off on your journey.

How can I get cheap European train tickets?

Train tickets operate on a dynamic fare system and get more expensive closer to travel date, so make sure to book in advance.

Choose trains that are slower or include more connections as these are cheaper than direct high-speed trains.

Avoid travelling in peak times and look out for discounts.

How early can you book train tickets in Europe?

Train tickets open 3 – 6 months before travel date so keep your eye out on the Trainline for when your travel dates have opened.

Where is the biggest train station in Europe?

Germany’s Leipzig Hauptbahnhof is the largest railway station in Europe, boasting 19 overhead platforms under six remarkable iron train sheds, a multi-level concourse with magnificent stone arches soaring towards the sky and an impressive 298 metre long facade.

Wrap Up: The Trainline EU

The Trainline EU is an incredibly convenient and cost-effective way to book train tickets in Europe.

Not only are their fares competitive, but they also offer discounts through their filter function, flexible trip planning with ‘via’ or ‘avoid’ functions, mobile ticket downloading for high speed trains, and the ability to bring your pet along on certain routes.

With safety regulations in place throughout most European countries and the largest railway station located in Germany’s Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, travelling by train can be a safe and enjoyable experience that you’ll remember forever!

So don’t wait – head over to Trainline today and start planning your next European adventure!

Fiona xoxo

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