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Booking Rail Tickets to Suit Your Travel Style

How far in advance can I book my Europe train tickets?
How far in advance can I book my Europe train tickets?

The wonderful thing about travelling in Europe is that your journey can be tailored to suit whatever form your wanderlust happens to take.

Whether you are the type of traveller that likes to research destinations and have a planned itinerary, or a spontaneous explorer who prefers to take a less structured approach and simply go where the road takes you, train travel is the way to go. In this article, we discuss how far in advance you can book your European rail tickets, and how to tailor your journey planning to suit your travel style.

How far in advance can I book?
Train How far in advance can I book? Seat Reservation Required
Eurostar 180 days Yes
TGV (within France) 90 days Yes
DB/ICE 90 days No
Trenitalia (within Italy) 90 days Yes
Thalys 90 days Yes
NTV Italo 120 days Yes


Provence 380 Onpage France
Plan ahead to experience the rustic delights of Provence

The well organised traveller

If you have a bucket list of must see sites in Europe, then a planned itinerary is the best way to go. The good news is that many of the most famous European attractions and destinations can be accessed via train networks which accept bookings between 60-90 days in advance.

Booking an itinerary three months in advance, you can start your journey by seeing the great landmarks of London, then spend a few days wandering beneath the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris before travelling down towards sunny Provence and along the French Riviera.

Your journey could finish up at the foot of the Colosseum in Rome, or exploring the bold modernist architecture of Barcelona.  



Bosphorus Istanbul 380 Onpage
Explore the heady delights of Istanbul

The wandering flâneur

If you prefer a spontaneous style of travel and aren’t particularly concerned about booking in advance, then the mysterious and intoxicating Balkans region is the perfect place to go. Train travel within many of the key countries in Eastern Europe like Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece, doesn’t require advanced reservations or compulsory seat reservations.

Eastern Europe is well suited to travellers who want to eke out a route as they travel, and take extra time to explore a particular city or region if the desire takes them.

Travelling this way, you could start in the bohemian city of Bucharest, wind your way down along the Black Sea through Bulgaria, and then wander through the spice scented streets of Istanbul or gaze out over the azure waters of the Agean from one of the Greek Islands


vineyard train france 380 onpage
The ideal itinerary includes a few days in each region

First time travellers to Europe

For those about to head off and discover the delights of Europe for the first time, it can be hard to know how much you should structure your journey. Europe is a continent brimming with so many unique cultures, stunning antiquities, and rich traditions that it’s unlikely you’ll have the time to experience them all in just one trip.

Instead of trying to pack all 55 countries into one holiday, we advise picking just a few regions or countries to explore, and planning to have at least a few days in each destination. Travelling this way means you can enjoy the structure and security of a pre-planned train itinerary, whilst still having the freedom to wander and discover the highlights of each place you visit. 


How can I find out exactly how far in advance I can book?

To find out how far in advance you can book your Europe train tickets from Australia or New Zealand for a range of different countries in Europe, visit the Rail Plus reservations page or call 1300 555 003.

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