The following information will give a short introduction to seat reservations:
What are seat reservations?
Are reservations included in my DiscoverEU Interrail Pass?
Reservation costs are not included in your Interrail Pass. They come at a small fee, which is different depending on which train and route you're travelling on. However, in most cases, you can avoid seat reservations if you prefer. To find some tips and tricks for this, check out this article.
Reservations are only required for some trains, particularly those travelling at high-speed or overnight. The fee is the same regardless of how long you stay on this train, as your Pass will pay for the distance travelled. Therefore, if you need to cover a long distance, the upgrade to a high-speed or overnight train can be worth the time saved. For shorter distances, taking local trains would often be a better alternative.
In almost all countries where reservations are not required you just hop on, find an empty seat, and show the barcode of the journey on your Interrail Pass when asked by the conductor (for more information on how to use the Pass, check this article). There's nothing more to pay.
The overview below will give you an idea of what to expect when planning your trip:
- Countries where reservations are rarely needed: Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Great Britain (often needed, but free of charge), & Ireland.
- Countries where an extra-cost reservation is almost always needed: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Norway & Sweden.
- In Central & Eastern Europe the situation varies, some trains you can just hop on, other trains require a seat reservation, as shown in the timetables with a ‘seat reservations required' message. If you need a reservation, it usually only costs 2€-4€ and can be made either online or at the station until shortly before departure.
- Overnight sleeper trains: You always need to pay a supplement and make a reservation for a sleeper or couchette on overnight trains, in all countries.
How to avoid making seat reservations?
It is possible to travel without having to make train reservations. You can choose to take local and regional trains that do not require reservations, though they will take longer to arrive at their destination than high-speed or overnight trains.
The DiscoverEU Travel App allows you to plan your journey without having to travel on any trains that require reservations. When entering your trip in the Trip Planner, tick the box “no reservation needed”. This will then only display trains and routes that do not require any reservations.
You can find more tips on how to best avoid reservations here.
Note: The Rail Planner app, referenced in the video, works the same as the DiscoverEU Travel App. You will not need to download the Rail Planner app to travel with your DiscoverEU Interrail Pass.
How to make seat reservations?
Reservations for an Interrail Pass can be made through the DiscoverEU Travel App or the Interrail Self-Service. Especially when travelling in summer, we encourage you to make your reservations as early as possible. Make sure that you have received your Interrail Pass confirmation email, as you'll need it in order to log into your Interrail account.
You can easily make reservations through the DiscoverEU app. Go to ‘More’ and tap ‘Seat Reservations’. Here you can select the country you want to make seat reservations for and the app will then show you the options on how to book. This system will allow you to book seats on almost all of Europe's main train connections! E-ticket reservations can be booked up to 1 hour before departure (subject to availability). Paper ticket reservations have to be booked at least 1-2 weeks before the train's departure, depending on where they need to be shipped to.
For more information on booking seat reservations, check out these articles.
Note: Seat reservations cannot be made through this system for the Baltic countries, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Türkiye, and the UK (except the Eurostar trains). If you want to travel to any of these countries, check out this article.
How far in advance can I make reservations for my Interrail Pass?
- For 'normal' trains, you can start making reservations 2 months before your train's departure.
- For most high-speed and night trains, up to 3 months in advance. Many of these trains get fully booked, so we advise you to make your reservations at least 2 months in advance.