Reserving your seat on international trains
With our without seat reservation?
With your comfort in mind, seats can be booked in most international trains. In fact, booking is actually compulsory in some trains, and is often included in your fare. The methods and timings of making bookings depend on whether you're travelling in a high speed train, an overnight train with a fixed price, or a traditional train (day or night).
Eurostar, Thalys and TGV: compulsory (and automatic) seat reservation
On Eurostar, Thalys and TGV, seat reservation is compulsory, and automatically included in the fare.
- With Eurostar, booking is possible as from 4 months before departure.
- With Thalys and TGV, booking is possible as from 3 months before departure.
Of course, these are the general booking delays. There may be exceptions (e.g. for the skiing season, when the bookings start earlier than usual).
More about Eurostar >
More about Thalys >
More about TGV >
ICE : Seat reservation not compulsory
ICE makes a distinction between the ticket for your journey and your seat reservation, which states the date of your journey, time of departure, time of arrival and your carriage and seat numbers.
- On ICE trains, reservation is not compulsory, as you are free to move your departure earlier or later. However, if you would still like to reserve a seat (which is strongly recommended), the reservation would usually cost you €4 per journey.
Traditional trains (day and night): reservation according to train type and country
Reserving your seat on classical trains depends on the train type (InterCity, EuroCity, regional trains etc...) and on the country.
In the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), you will travel on classical trains without any seat reservation.
Many ther trains all over Europe allow you to book numbered tickets for seats, couchettes, and berths.
When to book?
Depending on the country and the type of seat, these bookings can be made from 2 months or 3 months before the train departure date. Please note! You cannot travel with a seat reservation only; you must also have a valid ticket.
Fixed price night trains
Whether you're travelling in a couchette, a sleeping car or a seat, booking is compulsory and is automatically included in the fare. This applies particularly to Elipsos and Artesia night trains.