This post was updated on 24th March 2019.
Interrail passes enable you to travel by train throughout most of Europe. However, for most train journeys, you have to buy seat reservations in addition to your pass. Purchasing these reservations online is notoriously difficult, so we’ve made this guide to buying reservations online in advance of your Interrail trip.
Before trying to make any reservations, it’s sensible to plan out a route, so you can search for the specific trains you need. If you haven’t already done so, get planning here.
A rule of thumb is to try to make reservations up to 2 months in advance to ensure you can book the trains you want. Reservations often aren’t available to book until 3 months in advance, so your best window of opportunity lasts about 1 month.
Now, onto the different ways to make reservations online!
Oui.sncf is one of the easier websites to use. It has a straightforward search form, isn’t limited to one particular country, and allows you to book international trains. When using the search form, make sure to add your pass as part of your passenger details, and then it will show you results for seat reservations.
ACPRail is as straightforward as Oui.sncf and, similarly, allows you to search for domestic and international trains in the majority of European countries. The form is very simple – just make sure you choose ‘Reservations’, rather than ‘Tickets’.
Deutsche Bahn allows you to search almost the entire European train timetable, but it is usually only possible to make reservations for trains in and out of Germany. On the search form, look for the link to the ‘Seat only (no ticket)’ search.
Quite niche, but use SJ’s website to book seats on trains to or from Sweden. To reserve seats with your Interrail pass, follow these instructions. You need to have already purchased your Interrail pass so that you can enter in your pass number when searching for reservations.
Interrail.eu Reservations Service
Self-service reservations: the self-service tool allows you to book trains yourself in Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, and the Benelux.
Managed reservations service: the managed service is more like a travel agent, and can be used to book train reservations for European countries not available via self-service. You request the trains you desire, and Interrail.eu handle the reservations. You can do this as a group to ensure you are sat together. Make sure to request your reservations at least 8 business days in advance.
The downside of the Interrail.eu services is that there are booking fees per train – on top of the cost of the seat reservation itself (you can see the general costs of seat reservations here). The additional booking fee is €6 per train for self-service reservations and €8 per train for the managed service (apart from Spanish reservations which are only €6). However, it may well be worth paying for the convenience – especially if you don’t have any luck with the other options above!
We hope this guide can help you to book the train reservations you need for your Interrail trip, but if there’s something you think we’ve missed, please do let us know.