Here we list some recommendations for useful websites when you are planning and booking rail travel across Europe or beyond.
Rail Tour OperatorsIf you prefer traveling within a group or prefer someone to book and plan your travel itinerary for you, then there are several companies which offer escorted and independent rail tours from the UK to many different European & International destinations.
Of course we always recommend taking along a copy of our timetable for those times when things don't go to plan!
|Great Rail Journeys & Rail Discoveries (UK)||These sister companies are the original train-travel holiday specialists with their own dedicated departure office at St Pancras International station|
|Ffestiniog Travel (UK)||We have been recommending Ffestiniog travel to our customers for several years because of their knowledge and friendly customer service. If you prefer to deal with a smaller independent company rather than a call center then this is the operator for you|
Rail PassesPasses are usually the most economical way of travelling around a country by rail. Passes can be used across Europe or can be specific to a country or region and will be valid for a set period, they will therefore vary in price accordingly. The type of pass you need to purchase will depend on your country of residence.
|InterRail (European Residents)||Buy a "Global Pass" for flexible train travel in 30 countries. Or a pass for 1 or more countries for more specific travel|
|Eurail (Non-European Residents)|
If you are making point to point journeys or organising your travel yourself then you have the choice of buying direct from the train operators or you can use a ticketing agent who will sell tickets from multiple train operators and organise your travel for you. If you do use a general ticketing agent they will usually add on a commission cost so going direct can often be cheaper but more complicated, depending on your journey.
|Voyages SNCF||French railways|
|Deutsche Bahn (DB)||German Railways|
|Loco2||Their ethos is to connect to as many of the individual national rail booking systems as possible to sell the same tickets as the operators themselves, at the same prices with no booking fees. They currently integrate with the national ticketing systems of France (SNCF), Germany (DB), Spain (Renfe), and Italy (Trenitalia), along with UK National Rail.|
|Italia Rail||Offices in the UK, Australia and Canada.
Partnered with Trenitalia, Italy’s national railway they offer high-speed and regional train routes including: Eurostar, Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciablanca InterCity & Eurocity, French TGV, German InterCity Express, Elipsos, Lyria and Eurail & Interrail Passes
|TrainsEurope||Based not far away from us in March, Cambridgeshire, TrainsEurope can handle most aspects of train travel including UK-rail, Eurostar, onward European connections, International tickets (including India & USA) as well as rail passes.|
|Major distributor in North America for European train tickets and rail passes|
Scenic Railways around Europe
|The Flam Railway||Norway: Myrdal to Flåm||Named as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world and is one of the leading tourist attractions in Norway.||See Table 781 of ERT
Open year round, tickets can be booked through their website
|Austria||A world heritage site, the lines run through the spectacular mountain scenery of the Eastern Alps. An engineering spectacle the line takes you through 16 viaducts and 15 tunnels||See Table 980 of ERT
Interrail passes for Austria are valid on the Semmering line. No supplement or reservation is required.
|Rhaetian Railway (RhB)||Switzerland & Italy||The famous Berina & Glacia express services offer a spectacular way to cross the Alps along world heritage listed lines.||See Table 575 of ERT.
Tickets and special packages can be purchased through their website. Interrail passes are valid on the entire Bernina Express journey. Seat reservations are compulsory only for the special panorama train
Other useful sites for planning a rail holiday
|The Man in Seat 61||A great website which is absolutely packed with information about rail travel across the globe|
|Trains and Travel with Jim Loomis||Informative site by the author of “All Aboard! The Complete North American Train Travel Guide"|
|RailServe||A huge directory of links to everything rail related, a wealth of information in 180 categories|
|Europe by Rail||The website which accompanies our guidebook|