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.

Types of trains that need a reservation
How to check if a train needs a reservation
Types of seat reservations

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 a reservation


Here is an overview of the types of trains that need to be reserved:

How to check if a train needs a reservation


Here’s how to find out if a train needs to be reserved:

  1. Go to the Eurail timetable

  2. Enter your departure and arrival stations, as well as your departure date and time.

  3. Click on ‘Find you train route’ to view your different options for that route.

  4. 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).

Screenshot showing Eurail timetable

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

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