Which European train site to use for booking?

There are several sites available for booking train travel around Europe. Any idea which is best? I’ve looked at Rail Europe, Eurail, SNCF, couple others. None of them are very good (like, if I put in a time, it doesn’t find other time throughout the day, just barfs). Figuring out the most efficient route is not a simple thing…

I just used SNCB an hour ago for a simple one leg in France. I’m not sure there’s an easy solution to complex journeys.

It might be easier to plan with Google and only use one of those sites to purchase tickets.

I’ve always started here http://www.seat61.com/ when looking at train travel in Europe.

Agreed - the best starting point, very much a geeky specialist site, albeit that now has a degree of commercial success.

Great suggestion, thanks. Already found a much better site he recommends for finding routes and times Cheap Train Tickets | Timetables for Germany & Europe - Deutsche Bahn

I can echo the Seat61 and Bahn recommendations. For all of my travel through France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland I have gone this route.

I’ve used SNCF and Bahn.de but by far the best is https://www.trainline.eu/ for its easy to use interface and ability to book through multiple carriers all over Europe. If you create an account they even remember the names and birthdates of your traveling companions so you’re not constantly being asked if you’re under 26. There’s an excellent visual display of the various departures, so you can see at a glance what options you have. Plus they take a broad range of payment options, such as Amex and PayPal. Highly, highly recommended.

Yes! Deutsche Bahn’s website has been a go-to place since the late 1990s. I remember it was much better for Italian trains than the Italian FS site (surprise, surprise). It had every little Tooterville trolley line in Italy! It used to draw you a schematic map with stops and connections, too. It looks like they’ve removed that feature.

The bahn site has been outstanding for planning. Their prices look pretty good as well, but I haven’t tried comparing, or made a purchase yet. Fortunately, our train plans have become much simpler, just doing Venice-Milan, and Torino-Macon, rest by car.

Hi Alan
How long is the Torino - Macon leg? This might be an option for us to drive to Macon one year, leave the car there to tale the train to Torino, then return to pick up the car, visit the Macon area and then drive back. We’ve done the drive from UK to Piemonte before, but it is a long way for us as we’re not the sort who love long driving trips.

Direct trains to Torino from Lyon (close to Macon, and you’d have to switch trains there anyway) are 3:40 and 4:40. It’s a gorgeous trip over the Maritime Alps!

There’s John’s answer, and there is also a direct TGV Torino-Macon which says it takes 4:21. I’m not sure if they both take the same route over the alps.

Thanks guys - We’ve thought about the full London-Paris (change stations)-Torino journey by train, thinking outward journey only (flying back). The logic being the journey outward is full of holiday induced excitement, so should feel an event in its own right. However the return journey is often a case of ‘get me home as quick as possible’.

This is an interesting variant, and considering when we drove the full distance we stopped at Rijkhaert’s B&B on the way out and St Gengoux on the way back, we at least have a little confidence in the region. An overnight pitstop at a charming place we stayed near Calais in either direction would probably be needed, as we’re not fans of covering too many miles in a day.

Some useful thoughts to mull over!