Seat & Sleeper Reservations : Reserving a seat

Information on booking seat reservations with a rail pass

We highly recommend that you pre-purchase your pass-holder fares (seat reservations) or sleeper accommodation for high speed and night trains as far in advance of your travel date as possible.

Are seat reservations compulsory?

Seat reservations are compulsory on most high-speed services. Notable countries where seat reservations are (almost) always compulsory are:

  • France (except TER trains)
  • Italy (except regional trains)
  • Spain

However, there are certain countries were seat reservations are not compulsory even on high-speed trains:

  • Germany (except certain international services)
  • Austria (except certain international services)
  • Switzerland (except scenic trains and certain international services)

For a full list by country please refer to our handy chart.

Which trains require seat reservations?


Frequently asked questions

How do seat reservations work on high-speed trains?

High-speed trains operate like an airline so you need a physical seat number. A rail pass is a voucher and has no seat numbers so on most high-speed trains you will need to purchase a "pass-holder fare".

What is a pass-holder fare?

A pass-holder fare is a supplement charged for passengers travelling with a rail pass and is heavily discounted compared to a full priced fare on the same train. A pass holder fare gives you a seat number allowing you to travel on a particular train.

Should I book my seat reservations before departing to Europe?

We suggest you pre-purchase your tickets from us before you go. Alternatively, you can book your seat reservations in Europe at the station before your train's departure, however, you do run the risk of the train being sold out. Seat reservations are at an extra cost.

Do seat reservations sell out?

Seats on such trains can be in high demand, especially during the summer holiday months of July and August and peak times of the day. Additionally, the number of seats allocated to Eurail Pass holders can be limited.

How to book a seat reservation?

To book passholder fares online on our booking engine you just need to tick the box next to the "Seat Reservations Only".

How far in advance can I book?

Please note that many seat reservations cannot be booked until 2-3 months in advance. Please refer to our how far in advance can I book page for exact timelines.

Are all seat reservations the same?

Different types of pass-holder fares apply to different types of trains. Please make sure when booking online you check the conditions of the pass-holder fare you are booking. The conditions must match your pass. Night trains also require a supplement for sleeping accommodation.