Travelling by train is an excellent way to see Europe. It is cost-effective, convenient and provides you with the opportunity to see the beauty of Europe from a different perspective. 

Whether you are planning a solo trip or travelling with friends and family, there are many things you need to know before embarking on a train journey in Europe. 

This beginner’s guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your train journey in Europe.

Chapter 1: Planning your trip

Before you begin your train journey, you need to plan your trip carefully. These are some considerations to make:

  • Destinations: 

Decide on the destinations you want to visit. Do some research to find out which cities and towns are easily accessible by train. Choose places that interest you and that fit within your budget.

  • Timetable: 

Check the timetable of the trains that run between the destinations you want to visit. Make sure you have enough time to explore each place before moving on to the next.

  • Tickets: 

Purchase your train tickets in advance to get the best deals. You can buy tickets online or at the train station. If you are planning to travel extensively, consider getting a Eurail Pass. This pass allows you to travel to multiple destinations within a specified period.

  • Accommodation: 

Book your accommodation in advance. You can find budget-friendly options such as hostels or budget hotels. If you are travelling during the peak season, make sure you book your accommodation well in advance.

source: traveltriangle

Chapter 2: Packing for the trip

Packing for a train journey in Europe requires some planning. Here are some tips to help you pack for your trip:

  • Pack light: 

As you will be travelling by train, it is essential to pack light. Bring only the essentials and avoid overpacking. Remember, you will have to carry your luggage on and off the train.

  • Clothing: 

Pack comfortable clothing that is appropriate for the weather. Layers are essential as the weather can be unpredictable. Moreover, bring a comfy pair of walking shoes.

  • Toiletries: 

Bring your toiletries and any medications you require. Most trains have toilets, but they may not be well-equipped.

  • Entertainment: 

Bring some entertainment such as a book, music or a game. It can get boring on long train journeys.

source: gearjunkie

Chapter 3: Boarding the train

Boarding a train in Europe can be a little intimidating for first-time travellers. Here are some pointers to assist you with the procedure:

  • Arrive early: 

Arrive at the train station at least 30 minutes before your departure time. This will give you enough time to find your platform and get settled.

  • Validate your ticket: 

If you have purchased your ticket online or at a ticket machine, you need to validate it before boarding the train. You can do this at a validation machine located near the platform.

  • Find your platform: 

Check the departure board to find your platform. Follow the signs to locate your platform. If you are unsure, ask for assistance from the station staff.

  • Board the train: 

Once you have located your platform, wait for the train to arrive. Board the train and find your seat. If you have reserved a seat, make sure you sit in the correct one.

source: amtrakvacations

Chapter 4: On-board the train

Europe’s rail travel is a unique experience. These are some considerations to make when on-board the train:

  • Seating: 

If you have reserved a seat, make sure you sit in the correct one. If you have not reserved a seat, find an empty seat and make yourself comfortable.

  • Luggage: 

Store your luggage in the overhead racks or under your seat. Always keep your valuables close to you.

  • Food and drink: 

Most trains have a food and drink cart that comes around during the journey. You can also bring your own food and drink on board.

  • Restrooms: 

Most trains have restrooms, but they may not be well-equipped. Make sure you carry toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

  • Entertainment: 

Bring some entertainment such as a book, music or a game. It can get boring on long train journeys.

source: cloudfront

Chapter 5: Safety and Security

Travelling by train in Europe is generally safe, but it is important to keep some safety tips in mind:

  • Keep your valuables with you at all times: 

Keep your passport, money and other valuables with you at all times. Do not leave them unattended in your luggage.

  • Be aware of pickpockets: 

Pickpockets can be a problem in some areas. Be mindful of your surroundings and keep your valuables hidden.

  • Stay alert:

Be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you feel uncomfortable or threatened, seek assistance from the train staff or the police.

  • Follow the rules: 

Follow the rules and regulations of the train. Do not smoke, drink or make loud noises on the train.

source: nytimes

Chapter 6: Making the most of your journey

Travelling by train in Europe can be a memorable experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your journey:

  • Meet locals: 

Strike up a conversation with locals on the train. They can provide you with valuable insights into the places you are visiting.

  • Explore the scenery:

The train journey can be scenic. Keep your camera ready and enjoy the views.

  • Take breaks: 

If you are travelling on a long journey, take breaks at the stops. Explore the stations and nearby areas.

  • Plan your time: 

Plan your time wisely. Make sure you have enough time to explore each destination before moving on to the next.

source: newayscenter

Tips for Train Travel in Europe:

To make your train travel experience in Europe as smooth as possible, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Consider a rail pass: 

If you’re planning to travel extensively, a rail pass can be a cost-effective option. There are several types of rail passes available, including Eurail and Interrail pass. 

These passes allow you to travel on multiple trains within a certain period of time, and they can also offer discounts on other travel-related expenses.

  • Be prepared for train problems: 

Unfortunately, no means of transport is 100% reliable, and trains can face disruptions or delays. 

It’s important to be prepared for these situations by having a backup plan or allowing extra time in your itinerary.

  • Take advantage of spontaneous trips: 

Domestic trains within a single country don’t usually require a reservation, so it can be easy to wake up and decide to visit a new city. 

Just arrive at the station before the train leaves, purchase a ticket, and climb aboard.

  • Know which train and track to take: 

Train stations can be confusing, with multiple trains passing on the same track minutes apart. 

Make sure to check the train number and destination before boarding, and pay attention to announcements and signs.

source: nationalgeographic

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In the end, train travel in Europe offers a unique and enjoyable way to explore the continent. From the stunning scenery to the ease of travel, there are many reasons why train travel is a popular choice among tourists. 

By following the tips and advice in this beginner’s guide, you can ensure that your train journey in Europe is safe, comfortable and memorable.

Remember to research your routes and tickets in advance, pack appropriately for your journey, and be mindful of your surroundings while on board. 

Whether you are travelling alone or with a group, train travel in Europe is an excellent way to explore the continent at your own pace.

So, grab your backpack, purchase your tickets, and get ready to experience the beauty of Europe from the comfort of a train seat. 

With a bit of planning and an open mind, you can make unforgettable memories on your European train journey.

Safe Travels.


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