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UPDATED: The best websites for cross-Europe train travel

Planning to travel by train across Europe but not sure where to start? Here are the best websites to help make it happen.

UPDATED: The best websites for cross-Europe train travel
Travelling by train across Europe is easy - once you know where to look for tickets and routes. (Photo by Niklas Jeromin / Pexels)

Travelling across Europe by train is quickly becoming the preferred mode of transport for many people – mostly due to environmental concerns.

For others though, making the switch from cars or planes to trains is not so simple.

With planes, there are well-known websites like Skyscanner and Expedia, which makes it easy to find cheap flights. As well good connections across the continent from most major airports.

Then there is the convenience of travelling by car, which can be hard to beat – especially for those living in more rural areas. 

So what are the options for trains? Are there websites like Skyscanner but for train travel? And where can you find cheap tickets or the best routes?

Here are the websites you need to know when planning a trip across Europe by train.

Seat 61

The Seat 61 website provides tips on how to travel comfortably and affordably by train, while aiming to help visitors to rediscover the “pleasure, romance  and adventure of the journey”.

It includes an introduction to train travel in Europe, as well as an extensive search feature to find trains by starting location.

For example, The Local searched for trains from Salzburg to Italy and found routes to Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome and Naples, including on Nightjet sleeper trains.

The guide then describes the features of the Nightjet service, such as air conditioning, showers and room service all useful information for any newbies starting out with train travel.

Seat 61 is run by Mark Smith, a train enthusiast and former manager at the UK Department of Transport.

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The Trainline is an international platform focused on train travel. The company is based in the UK but has extensive coverage of train travel in 45 countries across Europe.

The aim of the Trainline is find to the cheapest tickets for a selected route. Most of the time, this means booking in advance.

The site also highlights some great offers, such as €7 tickets between Barcelona and Madrid, and Paris to Amsterdam from €20.

As an added bonus, the search function on the Trainline is very user-friendly and allows people to search by location, as well as add extras such as railcards or return tickets.

The Trainline can be accessed via the website or app.

Rail Europe

Rail Europe is a leading distributor of European train tickets. The website covers 25,000 destinations and 11,000 routes across the continent.

The search function on Rail Europe works in a similar way to other websites and users can view tickets by destination to get the best price. It’s also possible to purchase railcards direct from Rail Europe.

Additionally, the site includes a useful overview of the latest ticket releases and sales, such as special offers on journeys between Paris and Geneva.

Users can pay for tickets in Euros, Sterling or Dollar (US, Canada and Australia) on the website or the app.

Rail Europe is headquartered in Paris but was founded in New York in 1932.

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The Interrail Pass is a railcard that is available for residents in Europe. For people that live outside of Europe, they can purchase the Eurail Pass.

The passes are aimed at backpackers, or anyone spending time travelling across Europe.

The Interrail website has details about the different passes on offer under the umbrella of Interrail, like the Global Pass, One Country Pass and the German Rail Pass

For example, prices for the One Country Pass for Spain start at €182 for three days of travel within one month. Or you can pay €235 for five days of travel within one month.

Whereas the Global Pass starts at €251 for seven days of train travel in one month, but goes up to €677 for a three month unlimited travel ticket.

Interrail or Eurail Pass holders can buy tickets and make reservations via the desktop website or the Rail Planner app.


Omio is a travel platform where you can book train, bus and flight tickets. It has a free app to download or users can search and book on the website.

The Omio site has a dedicated section just for train travel. It even highlights 28 routes in Europe that are faster by train than plane – as well as the amount of carbon dioxide saved on the trip.

Examples are London to Brussels, which takes just two hours, or Frankfurt to Cologne in one hour.

There is also a handy FAQ section with information about booking train tickets in Europe, baggage conditions and travelling with pets.

At the time of writing, The Local found a ticket from Zurich to Vienna on Omio for €60 (when searching for dates two months in advance).

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National rail operators

Aside from the five websites detailed above, it’s also worth checking out the websites of national rail operators to find deals and travel passes.

Here are the rail operators for each country covered by The Local.

Austria: Visit to find Sparschiene (cheap/discounted) tickets on selected routes across the country. Tickets can also be booked for the Nightjet (overnight rail service).

Denmark: DSB is the national rail operator in Denmark. Timetables and tickets can be found at, including discounts for travelling outside of rush hours. 

France: Rail operator SNCF can be found at The website even has a guide on how to save money on rail travel in France.

Germany: Deutsche Bahn is Germany’s national rail service. Visit to find cheap tickets for travel within Germany and throughout Europe.

Italy: Train tickets in Italy can be purchased at You can even get a free Italian phrase ebook if you sign up to the Italia Rail newsletter.

Norway: Travellers can check prices and book tickets in Norway at Most trains in Norway are operated by SJ or Vy trains.

Spain: Renfe is the leading train operator in Spain and can be found at The website has a page dedicated to discounts and another where you can buy tickets for luxury tourist trains.

Sweden: SJ is Sweden’s national rail operator. Tickets can be bought at, including annual passes and special offers.

Switzerland: Visit for tickets on Switzerland’s national rail network. The website is available in four languages (English, German, French, Italian) and features offers like Supersaver tickets and the GA Travelcard.

Do you have other suggestions for websites we should add to this list? Let us know in the comments section below or email [email protected]

Member comments

  1. Commercial travel websites show what their sponsors wants them to show, and they are also designed from the ground up for air travel. German Rail allows you to choose all details of your trip, you can choose high speed trains or not, regional or even boat and bus. It works for all EU train stations, I even use it for domestic Swedish or France train travel,. France SNCF may be the worse, as it has separate sites for high speed, intercity and regional, and one for each region, totally confusing.

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Tips for short-haul foreign travel from Norway this Christmas

For the past two Christmases, strict Covid rules prevented many people from travelling. This year that isn't an issue, but there are a few things you should know about your journey this year.

Tips for short-haul foreign travel from Norway this Christmas

Whether you’re a foreigner in Norway planning a trip to see friends or relatives over the festive season or you’re planning a Christmas or New Year trip to Norway, there are several things worth keeping in mind when planning travel.


If you’re taking a trip to the UK, be aware that rail workers are currently engaged in a protracted battle to secure pay increases that will help them cope with the soaring cost of living and have not ruled out further strikes over the festive season.

Several strike dates have been announced for December 2022 and January 2023. These may complicate your travel plans significantly after arriving in the UK. You can check the latest strike dates here. In addition, public transport workers in London will also strike throughout December.  

If you’re going to Italy, there are widespread air and rail strikes in November that could continue into December, while Germany has also seen airline strikes. Low-cost airlines in Spain are also staging strike action that is currently scheduled to last until after Christmas.

You can find the latest in Italy here, Spain here and Germany here.

Meanwhile, back in Scandinavia, SAS cabin crew could strike over wages and working hours if an agreement isn’t reached during meditation. If they strike, this could lead to a reduced schedule to and from Norway.  


Many airlines are struggling to bring back staffing to pre-pandemic levels, making it difficult to increase the number of flights to meet demand. The current oil prices have also significantly increased airlines’ fuel costs.

Long-haul flight prices have increased significantly, while short-haul prices have also risen. 

One tip would be to travel from different airports to get to your destination. 

For example, flights from Oslo Torp (Sandjefjord) are typically cheaper than flights from Oslo Gardermoen. The downside is that you will need to travel to the other airport, meaning the journey may take longer. 

Earlier this summer, most airports across Europe, Norway (pretty much) excluded, suffered staffing issues, which led to travel disruption and long delays. 


While Norway is quite well connected to neighbours Sweden, with regular connections between the two countries and overnight options, the country’s rail links to other nations leave much to be desired. 

Essentially, if you plan to take a train to your destination, you will need to first get to Sweden or Denmark and use those countries as hubs to reach the rest of Europe. 

With train tickets across Norway and other countries, for that matter, you’ll need to book relatively soon-ish or face being disappointed. 

The Seat 61 website provides tips on how to travel comfortably and affordably by train. It includes an introduction to train travel in Europe and an extensive search feature to find trains by starting location.

Here you can find a link for journey plans from Oslo to London and other European cities. However, be aware that Eurostar is running around one-third fewer services to avoid massive queues due to the post-Brexit passport check rules, and passengers are now advised to allow 90 minutes for pre-boarding checks. Financial troubles at the company have also seen ticket prices rise.

The Trainline is an international platform focused on train travel. The company is based in the UK but has extensive coverage of train travel in 45 countries across Europe.

The Trainline aims to find the cheapest tickets for a selected route. Most of the time, this means booking in advance.


Taking a ferry is another option if you wish to avoid airport queues and all the hassle of checking in bags. The Oslo-Kiel line will get you to northern Germany. From there, you can head to the rest of Europe. Journeys on this route regularly sell out, though. 

For a family with a car, two adults and two children, tickets cost around 275 pounds per person for a return journey

Another option is the Kristiansand Eemshaven ferry, which travels from the south of Norway to outside Groningen in the Netherlands three times a week. Tickets, excluding the cost of a cabin, begin from 310 euros for a family of four and a car- 

Then there are various links to Denmark, where one can take the ferry to the top of the country or straight to Copenhagen and drive across the continent from there. Ferries from Norway include several routes from Larvik, Kristiansand, Langesund, Stavanger, and Bergen to Hirtshals. For a full overview of ferries from Norway, click here.