Do I need a reservation?
When traveling with a Eurail pass, it’s good to know which trains need to be reserved in advance. As a general rule, reservations are required for all European night trains and most of the high-speed trains. In popular countries like France, Spain and Italy, most Eurail travelers make a seat reservation at least once.
The video below shows you how to find out whether or not your train requires a reservation.
If you’re planning your Eurail trip and want to find out if you need a reservation, just head to our timetable and it will show you whether you need one or not. On some trains, a reservation is mandatory. Other reservations are optional. But if you really want to make sure you have a seat or would like to sit together with a group of friends, it’s a good idea to make one. And lastly, some trains, usually regional trains, don’t need a reservation at all. Just hop on and enjoy the journey. If you have any questions, we’re here to help.
Read on if you'd like to learn more about trains that need a reservation.
Types of trains that need to be reserved
Here is an overview of the types of trains that need to be reserved:
Most high-speed trains in Europe.
All night trains: You need to reserve the type of seating or sleeping accommodation you prefer.
Find out about your seat and sleeping options on night trains.
Most French trains (except regional trains): These trains have a limited number of seats available to pass holders.
Read about limited seats on French trains.
Some scenic trains have the option to travel in a special panoramic coach, which requires a reservation.
How to check if a train needs a reservation
Here’s how to find out if a train needs to be reserved:
Go to the Eurail timetable.
Enter your departure and arrival stations, as well as your departure date and time.
Click on ‘Find you train route’ to view your different options for that route.
A pink 'R' symbol will show if a reservation is needed.
In the example below, you can see that if you take the InterCity (IC) train from Amsterdam Centraal to Bruxelles-Midi (Brussels) no reservation is needed. However, if you take the high-speed Thalys (THA) on the same route a reservation is required (mandatory).
Types of seat reservations
It’s useful to understand the different types of reservations to help you decide if it's really necessary to book a reservation:
Mandatory: You must reserve in advance.
Optional: These trains don't usually get full, but it is possible to make a reservation. You may want to reserve these trains if you're traveling in a group and want to be sure to sit together, or if you have a flight on the other end and want to play it safe.
Recommended: You don’t have to make a reservation but we highly recommend it because the train often gets full.
None: Reservations are not possible.
Want to save money and see more of a country? Learn how to find trains without a reservation.