Do I need a reservation?

reservation for CityNightLine

When travelling with a Eurail pass you’ll need to book reservations for most high-speed trains and all night trains. In the popular countries of France, Italy and Spain almost all trains need reservations, except the slower regional trains. 

You can book your reservations up to 3 months in advance (in some cases 2 months) before your travel date.

 

 

Types of trains that need to be reserved

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

 

How to check if a trains 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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