My wife and I have decided to move across Europe by train. Do you know of any good sites for planning a trip via train (schedule and maybe prices)? We're going to go across Europe from east (Russia and Baltic countries) to west (France and Germany).
I've found only one so far: OEBB.

  • You might want to checkout rome2rio.com Not a map, but certainly a good tool to evaluate routes
    – user141
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 14:10
  • None of the five or more sites I've tried (including Rome2Rio) can find a train route from Spain to Romania. Maps show routes. Milan is on the way, but the first site that was able to handle Milan to Bucharest insisted that part of the trip is by bus.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 0:00

12 Answers 12


Seat 61 is the absolute definitive guide for international rail travel. It has all the information you need about routes, prices, and schedule. It also has plenty of links to the places where you can price up and buy tickets, and where to buy them if you can't buy them online.


If you have more specific questions you can ask them here obviously.

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    +1. I've not long got back from a train journey from London to Istanbul planned with information from this site. It is an excellent guide.
    – Gareth
    Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 8:16
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    Seat 61 is the definitive introductory guide for train travel. But once you've reached the right country you'll need to turn somewhere else. The DB (German railways) site is the reference site for timetables and routes in most of Europe. Commented Jul 4, 2011 at 20:15

For route planning, the German Railway's website - http://www.bahn.de - is unbeatable for working out how to get from Helsinki to Madrid by train. It doesn't cover the ticket purchasing for journeys outside Germany though.


I'm surprised no answer so far has mentioned Raildude. This is a very useful, community-driven website for international trains in Europe. It is particularly focussed on budget travel, and indeed originates from an Interrail-related website.

Hafas is not always accurate

I'd like to issue a word of warning about relying too much on Hafas-based search engines. Bahn.de, B-Rail, ÖBB, and NS Hispeed are all based on the same international train database known as Hafas. It relies on participating train companies submitting their timetables, and is not always complete. In my experience:

  • It is not complete. It's all-too-easy to think it is complete because it has so many trains, but it is not. In my experience, the farther from Germany, the more trains are missing. I've taken decent trains in Spain that were not registered in Hafas.

  • It may contain invalid connections. For example, in Sweden, each railway station has a minimum transfer time. HAFAS may not be aware, so it might recommend a connection with a 10-minute change whereas the minimum transfer time is 15 minutes. Minimum transfer time in this case means that connections are guaranteed, so that tickets are replaced if a connection is missed. With a connection less than the minimum connection time, this guarantee will not work.

  • It is even less complete around timetable shifts. Each year, in the beginning of December, timetables change. Around the shift of timetables, Hafas is very incomplete, even in Germany. In practice, planning a Christmas holiday is not possible with a Hafas-based search engine, because so many trains are missing or only registered extremely late. This problem in particular is true even on national railway websites.

The different Hafas-based search engines have slightly different features. For example, B-Rail permits to specify the maximum number of connections, whereas Bahn.de allows to specify the minimum change time. Most allow to have one or more via stations. By combining those features, one can often get a much better connection than to simply write Stockholm to Madrid in an arbitrary search engine. For example, you may want to avoid changing trains in the middle of the night, or increase the transfer time after a train that is often late.

Complementary sources

  • If possible, use the various national railway websites to double-check the timetable obtained with Hafas. For example, inside Spain, Renfe have a much more complete and reliable timetable than any international website (although they cannot list connections with more than one transfer). Most, if not all, countries have national railway company websites. This list on Wikipedia might get you started.

  • The German forum Drehscheibe Online has a list of PDF timetables for the various national railway companies, where available, although those are getting rarer (Sweden no longer produces any, for example). Personally, I love to browse "paper" railway timetables, but they are not for everyone, and for most countries it can be quite hard to find the correct timetable.

  • For long-distance journeys, browse earlier-mentioned websites such as Seat 61 and Raildude. The latter specifically mentions connections between major cities, whereas the former is originally mostly written from a UK perspective, but also has information on many pairs of European cities nowadays. In case of doubt, Seat61 tends to err on the side of comfort, and might omit mentioning a connection where one enters the night train at 00:30, recommending a hotel and early morning train instead (if this exists), and it will usually not recommend seated-only night trains. If you are more tolerant of late-night connections or seated-only night trains, Seat61 will also be incomplete for you.

  • Regarding the connection times. At bahn.de website you can customise this parameter. You can choose the minimum you want. If you miss a connection it's your problem, and you won't automatically get a refund. In Germany, with the cheapest tickets you have to take specified trains. If you miss one of them, you can take another train, but you probably have to pay an extra fee. If you buy these tickets ("Sparpreis" & co.) you are alone responsible to get your connections. Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 13:47
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    @MarcelC you can only specify one global minimum connection time. The problem is that a station like Stockholm C requires 20 minutes, but Boden C requires only 5 minutes. There are 15 minutes between the day train Narvik–Luleå and the night train Luleå–Göteborg, and this connection is guaranteed, but not shown if one specifies a minimum 20 minute connection. I've lost connections in Sweden several times while traveling Sweden–Spain, and they've always replaced my tickets immediately — of course when my change time was sufficient.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 14:19
  • It depends on the fine-print. For some kinds of tickets you get a refund for other you don't. The cheaper the ticket, the less you can ask for ... Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 14:25
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    The relevant article is article 32: § 1 The carrier shall be liable to the passenger for loss or damage resulting from the fact that, by reason of cancellation, the late running of a train or a missed connection, his journey cannot be continued the same day, or that a continuation of the journey the same day could not reasonably be required because of given circumstances. The damages shall comprise the reasonable costs of accommodation as well as the reasonable costs occasioned by having to notify persons expecting the passenger.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 22:48
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    @AndréPeseur My reply is a bit late but if you miss a connection with a German saver fare even by a minute you are entitled to use another train without paying extra to your destination. That was also true in 2012. The above quoted rule is not only for "serious delays" (whatever the definition of that is) but for any delay (with some caveats for expected delays below 60 minutes at the final destination).
    – neo
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 12:55

I suggest to use InterRail pass instead of buying tickets. This is cheaper if you plan to travel more than few thousand kilometers.

For schedules, search HAFAS on Google. This is the common database shared by most rail companies in Europe (e.g.: Germany, Switzerland, Belgium)

Finally, for dreaming, check Orient-Express.

  • Buying passes from North America is a HUGE savings over buying individual tickets once in Europe. My 8 day pass for train travel in England (bought from Canada) cost less than one of the one way legs I knew I wanted to do would have cost had I bought that ticket in England. Run the numbers well in advance because you need to leave time for the paper passes to be shipped to North America before you leave. Commented Jul 4, 2011 at 14:31
  • InterRail passes are great if you have a planned itinerary. If you like to wander randomly wide and far the passes cover certain areas so if you have a pass that covers the south and you have a sudden whim to head north or east it might not be flexible enough. At least that's what I found ten years ago on my first europtrip. Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 8:34
  • You can buy an InterRail pass that is valid for all countries. But flexibility is more expensive.
    – mouviciel
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 11:14
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    Just note that Interrail and Eurail passes are not valid in the baltic countries, in Russsia, Ukraine and Belarus.
    – user766
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 19:20
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    Rail passes can be a good deal but in many cases they are not cheaper, and as time goes on that gets worse. Cheap early bought tickets are the cheaper option in most cases. And remember InterRail for Europeans, Eurail for the rest of the world, both have many different versions on top of that.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 18:15

The site that stands out by a mile is seat61.com. Really well written, very comprehensive, and has all the information you'll need on how to book when you've decided. I use it all the time!


EURail should be a good place to plan the trip.

They do go as far east as Poland and Bulgaria, but no further than that.

EuroStar is another network that may be useful, but it stops short of EURail on the eastern side.

  • What do you mean by "stops short of Eurail?". It connects the UK to France/Belgium, and both of the latter are countries where you can use your Eurail pass.
    – victoriah
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 20:44
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    I mean that EURail goes further east than EuroStar does.
    – Raj More
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 20:59

If you travel through the Baltic countries, prefer the bus to the train. Buses are faster, more frequent and more comfortable than trains. Once you are in Poland, you can switch to trains. So here are the sites:

  • DB TravelService has schedules that will cover the whole trip, apart from the buses in the Baltic countries. It only has fares for trains within Germany. And for some trains to and from Germany.
  • Go Rail for the trains from Moscow or Saint Petersburg to Tallinn.
  • Lux Express is operating buses between the Baltic countries, but also between Tallinn and Saint Petersburg and Vilnius and Warsaw.
  • For train travel within Poland, use the PKP route planner.
  • For train travel to and within Germany, use DB TravelService.
  • For train travel to France, use DB TravelService or Voyages SNCF.
  • For train travel in France, use Voyages SNCF and possibly TER SNCF for local trains.
  • If you travel through Belgium, SNCB Europe can be helpful for the long distance trains and SNCB/NMBS for the local trains.

Here is the Interrail map:

On the site, it is also available as a 14Mb PDF that you can zoom for details.

As speed/duration depends on many factors, the map only distinguishes between high speed lines, main lines and other lines.

Interrail map

  • Nice! This is the closest thing to what I want so far :)
    – Jon
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 14:23
  • An example for the duration: Frankfurt-Cologne takes between 1:03 and 2:24, both with ICE without to change trains
    – Dirty-flow
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 14:27
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    since it also depends on how often the trains come (for the connections across Europe), I think this answer is sufficient. And anyway, everything has flaws. Example: you are in italy and want to go to Slovenia. You will need to go to through Austria. I would recommend to take this map, and use bahn.de and try to plan your trip. There are very convenient ways, and others that are not.
    – Vince
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 15:17
  • I just found another helpful map: parisprague.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/train_europe.gif It shows only the times and only for some cities. It is still quite helpful about overall duration of a trip.
    – Vince
    Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 21:12
  • If you want a high-quality large scale printed map, get the Thomas Cook Europe Rail Map, available in all good bookshops.
    – TRiG
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 23:46

As mentioned by others Seat 61 is really the bible for European train travel and I would have been lost without it when planning and booking our train travel. It's focused on travelling from London but it's still really useful even if you're not starting your journey in London. It will point you in the right directions in terms of finding online timetables and tickets from the various operators and retailers.

I also stumbled across Loco2 but haven't used it other than some quick searches. I'd be interested if there's anyone here that's used it and has some feedback.


To go from Russia and Baltic Countries to Germany and France you have to go through the Poland. Although in other answers you have good international links, I think it's good to double-check connections on country-specific site. Polish railways has schedules and approximate prices on site: http://rozklad.pkp.pl/


This website is awesome to find route around europe by official.

btw, If you planned to travel in Europe by train, You should use an Eurail or InterRail(if you are EU/CH resident) It's more saving and can change itinerary any time without worries


The best website to plan a trip in europe like an InterRail is http://www.eurorailplanner.com/

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    Is this your website? Are you in any way affiliated with it? Why is it the best ?
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 21:27
  • Because you can plan a complex itinerary quickly. I used this website to plan my InterRail in November 2014. I think it's the best website because it's the only website I know that has multidestination schedules, that means all segments of your trip at the same time.
    – user7226
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 23:11

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