When and how do I make a seat reservation on trains in Europe?

You must be in possession of a valid rail pass that covers the routing of the train in order to make a reservation. It is helpful to research the train schedules before making a request.

Reservations are required for: Sleeping accommodations on all overnight trains; most high-speed trains (e.g. Eurostar, TGV, TAV, Thalys); Long Distance and Express Trains in Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe; and Long Distance and Express Trains during high season (July and August). You can make a reservation at the station or by contacting the participating railway company directly.

Why and When Reservations are Needed with RailPass.com Eurail Passes

A rail pass is the equivalent of a train ticket, and some trains require both a train ticket and a reservation. For many trains, a ticket—or your rail pass—is enough. When it's not, you'll need to get a reservation as well. In other words, trains that require reservations mean that every passenger must have a reservation—not just rail pass holders. Anyone buying a point-to-point ticket for those trains still needs to get a reservation, too.

The various types of Eurail passes, from the Global Pass to the Single Country Pass exist because of the cooperation between some 27 European countries. That said, each national railway has its own set of rules and regulations and the rules regarding reservations vary from country to country. It's important that you check with us to find out exactly which trains need reservations and what the extra costs may be. You can hop on and off the majority of local and regional trains in the countries covered by your pass at will, but a good rule of thumb is that reservations are usually required on premium trains including: overnight trains, high-speed trains, and international trains.

Reservations for Sleeper Cars

  • Private cabins include 1-2 berths in 1st class and 2-3 berths in 2nd class.
  • Sleeper prices are generally lower in Italy, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Prices are higher on certain quality trains such as Hotel trains between France and Spain.
  • Couchettes are community cabins and include 6 berths in 2nd class and 4 berths in 1st class if available (mostly in France).
  • Most British sleepers and ferry crossing reservations must be made in Britain.

Reservations cost the same whether you have a train ticket or a rail pass, and prices range from roughly $11-14 USD for a typical high-speed train seat up to about $85 USD for an international 1st-class reservation.

Please note: If you board a train that requires reservations without a reservation you can be fined up to $65 USD per person and have your rail pass confiscated, which means you'll lose whatever days of travel you have left on the pass.

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