Travelling by rail

Travelling by rail from the UK is a refreshingly different way to reach your holiday, as we explain in more detail on our rail pages, and the generous luggage allowance means that you can pack all you can comfortably carry. We publish ‘by rail’ prices for those holidays which you can reach comfortably in a day from London. However, it is possible to reach many more holidays by staying overnight in a city along the route or taking a sleeper train, so please contact us to discuss your plans.

What is involved

  • There can be few more splendid places to begin a journey than at elegant London St Pancras station, whose grandeur and bustle rekindles the excitement of travel. Having left London, the Eurostar speeds across Kent in just 35 minutes before whisking you through the Channel Tunnel and across northern France to Paris, Lille or Brussels to link with other rail services.

    Transferring from Eurostar onto the European rail network is easy: at Brussels Midi and Lille Europe stations, you simply change platforms. In Paris, you take direct Métro or RER services (tickets and directions included) from the Eurostar Terminal to other mainline stations, with the option of breaking your journey in the French capital for up to 24 hours without increasing the fare. (We will be happy to book the intimate, centrally located Hotel St Paul Rive Gauche for you.)

    Read our fuller description of the Eurostar experience >
  • Reaching France by rail can be simpler than flying, with many of our holidays reachable within a 6- to 9-hour rail journey from London, and even remote regions like the Basque Pyrenees accessible within 11 hours. What’s more, instead of planning your holiday around a weekly flight to a small regional airport, you can travel on the dates of your choice.

    After alighting from Eurostar in Paris and hopping onto the Métro, within 25 minutes you can be at your next station sipping a drink, waiting to board your TGV or Intercity train.

    More information about travelling to France by rail >
  • Our Catalan holidays are all within a 9- to 10-hour rail journey from London. Leave St Pancras by Eurostar at around 9am and, after lunch at Paris Gare de Lyon, take your seat on the TGV heading direct to either Figueres-Vilafant or Girona, where a pre-booked taxi awaits. It’s high-speed almost all the way, past rolling hills and hill-top villages, while conveniently slowing down by the Mediterranean coast for some of the best views.

    For holidays in Andalucia, we can arrange an overnight stay in Avignon. The following morning, take a high-speed AVE train direct to Madrid, from where you continue by another AVE train to Málaga or Seville (6 hours) for holidays in Andalucia.

    More information about travelling to Spain by rail >
  • Reaching Italy is equally simple, taking a mid-afternoon TGV from Paris Gare de Lyon. After watching hill-top villages whizz past at 186mph, you leave the Rhône Valley behind to cross the Alps at a gentler pace, arriving in the evening at Turin Porta Susa station. We offer a choice of high-quality hotels in Turin where you can break your journey. Leaving Turin the following morning, you can be in the Italian Lakes in 2 hours; Liguria or Tuscany in 4 hours; the Amalfi Coast in 7 hours; and Puglia, in southernmost Italy, in 9.5 hours.

    More information about travelling to Italy by rail >
  • The vast majority of our Swiss destinations can be reached in a day’s travel from St Pancras. The high-speed TGV from Paris Gare de Lyon connects at Basel, Zürich, Lausanne or Geneva with the highly efficient and integrated Swiss transport system. This is relaxed, independent travel at its finest, with Swiss rail services connecting with boats and post buses to take you to the remotest of valleys.

    For holidays in the Engadine Valley, we recommend breaking the journey in Zürich. After a night of traditional Swiss hospitality at the Hotel Adler, in the Old Town, enjoy the most spectacular part of your journey, skirting the shores of Lake Zürich and heading through idyllic valleys toward the mountains.

    More information about travelling to Switzerland by rail >
  • Most of our German destinations are within a day’s travel from St Pancras, with the Black Forest a 9- to 10-hour ride from London, via Paris.

    For our Bavarian holidays, we suggest an overnight stay in Paris or Munich, to break the 12- to 13-hour journey and to enable you to enjoy the best of the scenery by daylight.

    More information about travelling to Germany by rail >
  • The Nightjet, one of Europe's best sleeper trains, provides a comfortable means of reaching Austria. You depart from St Pancras in the middle of the morning and arrive in Amsterdam with free time to stretch your legs and have dinner before boarding the sleeper train either to Innsbruck (for holidays in the Tyrol) or Vienna (for holidays in the Danube Valley or Austria's Lake District). For some destinations it is necessary to change in Innsbruck or Vienna to a local train for the final leg, but, generally speaking, you'll be at your destination by lunchtime, at the very latest.

    More information about travelling to Austria by rail >
  • For Slovenia, we again recommend a sleeper train, this time the EuroNight (one of our favourites), which departs from Zürich (which involves taking the Eurostar to Paris, and the TGV from Paris to Zürich). Alternatively, you can opt to travel all the way in daylight, breaking your journey with an overnight stay in Munich

    More information about travelling to Slovenia by rail >
  • The ‘by rail’ prices all include:

    • return Eurostar from London St Pancras in second class to Lille, Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam, as described on the holiday page.

    • for journeys via Paris, we provide Métro/RER tickets between Paris’ mainline stations.

    • return onward rail in second class to the station closest to your holiday. Often this will be by high-speed or long-distance train with connecting regional rail.

    • where necessary, connecting taxi transfer, scheduled bus and/or car hire from the local station to your accommodation. We do not include transfers to city hotels.

    The tickets which we provide can only be used on the dates and times specified and cannot be changed or refunded.

    Our ‘by rail’ prices are based on tariffs negotiated with the rail companies and are subject to availability. Seats for Eurostar become available to book 10 months before travel. If you make your booking with Inntravel more than 10 months before your holiday, we guarantee the rail price quoted in the brochure. For later bookings, there may be no seats available at the guaranteed prices, but we may be able to offer you seats on the same services at a supplement.

    For holidays with ‘by rail’ prices, we show a brief synopsis of the normal route and an overall approximate journey duration. These are intended as a guide only, based on the previous season’s timetable with departures from St Pancras. Various route options may be possible, and journey durations will vary according to the route taken and the day of travel. We will discuss options with you when you book.
  • On most local and regional commuter trains, seat reservations are neither necessary nor possible, but we reserve seats on long-distance and high-speed services. We endeavour to book the best available seats for you wherever possible, but we are unable to guarantee specific seat requirements. On some trains, seat assignments are beyond our control and train companies also reserve the right to make last-minute changes to rolling stock which may affect your seating arrangements. If you have specific requirements for medical reasons, please discuss these with us when making your initial holiday booking.
  • The main advantage of upgrading to first class on European high-speed trains is the added space with wider reclining seats. Meals are not included in first class on most TGV and European high-speed trains.

    One exception is Eurostar’s Standard Premier class, which offers generous reclining seating, with a continental breakfast of pastries, fruit and yoghurt served at your seat with a cup of tea or Lavazza coffee. For departures after 11am, a light cold meal is served.
  • If you have a long journey between home and St Pancras, we would be pleased to adapt our routes to dovetail with your UK rail journey, perhaps adding an overnight stay in Paris or another city along the way. In terms of connection times, we recommend allowing at least 90 minutes at St Pancras (which is a short stroll from Kings Cross) before departure for check-in and security.
  • The UK government requires carriers (including airlines and rail and ferry operators) to collect API for passengers on routes to and from the UK, and governments of some other countries require similar information. API is sometimes collected as you check in and is normally restricted to the standard information contained in machine-readable passports, such as full given names, date of birth, nationality, gender, passport number, date of issue and expiry. However, some countries require the information to be submitted in advance of departure and some governments collect additional information such as your destination address. Where we have made travel arrangements on your behalf and your carrier requires the information in advance, we will collect the information from you and submit it to your travel provider. Please be assured that we have measures in place to protect the personal information you provide to us, as explained in our privacy policy.

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