Seat Reservations for Europe

About Seat Reservations

If you have determined that you require seat reservations, it is always better to book them in advance to avoid disappointment. Premium European trains often sell out fast especially in peak months or at peak times of the day.  You can however purchase seat reservations locally in Europe if you need to keep your schedule flexible. Reservations are normally available in various railway systems between 60 to 90 days in advance of your departure date.

See also: International Cross Border Trains.

Generally speaking, seat reservations for day trains and sleeper supplements for couchette accommodations are almost always required on International long distance trains, premium trains (high speed), all night trains and the majority of domestic long distance trains.  For local trains and regional services, seat reservations are not normally required. If you are travelling with a Eurail, Interrail or any other Europan rail pass on these trains, simply board the desired train, grab a seat and relax.

Note

If you are traveling on a Eurail or InterRail pass valid in the UK, you will need seat reservations on many trains. Please consult the following page for details.

At a glance, here are some rules on seat reservations by country

Austria

  • ÖBB Railjet trains: Reservations are optional
  • WESTbahn trains: Reservations are optional.
  • 1st class pass holders can upgrade to the PLUS service.

Belgium

  • Trains to/from Brussels airport require a supplement to be paid on the train or at the station

Bosnia-Herzegovina

  • ZFBH Trains: Reservations are optional

Bulgaria

  • Express (Ekspresen) trains: Reservations are mandatory

Croatia

  • ICN between Zagreb & Split: Reservations are compulsory
  • IC Zagreb between Rijeka, Osijek and Cakovec: Reservations are compulsory

Czech Republic

  • IC/EC (domestic trains): Reservations are recommended
  • SC SuperCity: Reservations are compulsory

Denmark

  • InterCity and InterCity Lyn: Reservations are recommended

Finland

  • InterCity: Reservations are recommended
  • Pendolino: Reservations are recommended

France

  • TGV: Reservations are mandatory
  • InterCités: Reservations are mandatory or recommended depending on the destination
  • TER trains: These local trains that serve most major cities in France do not require seat reservations

Germany

  • ICE, IC and EC and lond distance trains: Reservations are recommended
  • ICE Sprinter: Reservations are compulsory
  • IC Bus: Reservations are compulsory
  • EuroCity Express (for Berlin-Warszaw-Gdynia): Reservations are compulsory

Greece

  • Inter City Trains: Reservations are compulsory but free of charge

Hungary

  • EC (Domestic routes): Reservations are compulsory
  • IC: Reservations are compulsory 
  • IP: Reservations are compulsory

Ireland

  • IC: Reservations are optional. They must be made locally or through Irish Rail.

Italy

  • EuroCity (domestic routes) and Le Frecce , Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca: Reservations are compulsory
  • InterCity, InterCityNotte, Expresso: Reservations are recommended

Lithuania

  • Domestic routes: Reservations are highly recommended

Netherlands

  • InterCity Direct: Supplement fees are compulsory.

Norway

  • Domestic Trains: Reservations are highly recommended especially during peak season and on long distance trains

Poland

  • IC, TLK & EIC (domestic) trains: Reservations are compulsory
  • EIP (ExpressIC Premium): Reservations are compulsory

Portugal

  • Alfa Pendular and IC: Reservations are compulsory and must be made locally

Romania

  • IC/IR (domestic) Reservations are compulsory and can only be made locally
  • IC (international): Reservations are compulsory and can only be made locally

Serbia

  • ICS Beograd – Novi Sad / Subotica / Prijepolje: Reservations are compulsory and can only be purchased locally
  • Domestic route reservations are optional and can only be purchased locally

Slovakia

  • Inter City routes: Reservations are compulsory
  • Supercity: Reservations are compulsory

Slovenia

  • ICS trains (domestic routes): Reservations are compulsory

Spain

  • AVE: Reservations are compulsory
  • Arco, Talgo, Diurno: Reservations are compulsory
  • Avant: Reservations are compulsory
  • Euromed, Alvia, Altaria: Reservations are compulsory
  • TRD / MD: Reservations are compulsory

Sweden

  • InterCity and Regional trains: Reservations are recommended
  • SJ High Speed trains: Reservations are compulsory
  • Inlandsbanan (scenic train): Reservations are recommended
  • Snälltåget (Malmö – Stockholm) Reservations are compulsory

Switzerland

  • SBB (domestic): Reservations are recommended
  • Scenic Trains: (Bernina, Glacier Express, Golden Pass, Gotthard Panoramic Express) Reservations are compulsory
  • Domestic trains: Reservations are recommended

Turkey

  • Reservations are required for long distance trains but are free and only available locally