Questions about the trains that don't need reservations

  • 8 May 2024
  • 1 reply

Hello everyone, my name is Nathan and I will be travelling with 6 of my friends all over the Europe this august between the 1st and 17th of August. 

We planned to do : 

  • Paris → Amsterdam 
  • Amsterdam → Berlin
  • Berlin → Vienne
  • Vienne → Ljubljana
  • Ljubljana → Zagreb
  • Zagreb → Budapest
  • Budapest → Prague
  • and then take a flight between Prague and Paris 

We will stay in each place for 1 to 2 nights and sometimes take a train during the night in order to not pay any hostel (for ex. between Berlin and Amsterdam). However, when we try to reserve any seats, it says that we don’t need any reservations. Does that mean that we just go to the train and enter it hoping there are any places left ? If there any places available, can we just stay in the corridor or we must go out ? If we must go out of the train, we are in a pretty sh*tty situations since we have all of our hostels reserved in advance. 

How does we active a travel-day on our pass ? We just have to show our phone with the reservations ? 


Best answer by thibcabe 8 May 2024, 19:25

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Sometimes seat reservations are optional yes. However this summer most routes in and out of Germany will require them: Berlin - Prague, Berlin - Amsterdam, etc.

This is due to severe overcrowding: in the last summers they had to call the police as people didn't want to leave a packed train. When I mean packed it's not only a few people standing but the whole train and for security reasons it's dangerous.

In short: even when they're optional please make them if you don't want to get stuck somewhere. You'll be travelling in peak peak season and as a group.

The occupation also depends on the route (and frequency) so feel free to ask more specific questions.

Night trains require a reservation (European Sleeper on Amsterdam - Berlin for example). We usually suggest to spend the night in a couchette rather in a seat, otherwise you'll have a terrible experience.

Paris - Amsterdam requires a reservation as well (32€ for the direct Eurostar). Book as soon as possible: some trains are already sold out with the Olympics. There are cheaper but slower alternatives.

You could avoid the flight by reordering the itinerary in a more logical sense:

- Berlin - Prague - Vienna - Budapest - Zagreb - Ljubljana - night train to Stuttgart or Zurich

Btw Zagreb is pretty boring. I might suggest skipping it (my personal opinion only of course).