Night trains

I am looking at taking some night trains in Europe and am wondering how to book the reservations for them. Specifically I am looking At going from Paris to Madrid. Can I make the reservation at the train station the day of, or di i need to book in advance? What about night trains from Barcelona or just night trains in general? Can you book the day you are taking the night train or do you need to book in advance?

Posted by David
Bellevue, WA, USA
740 posts

i'd book on the day of arrival assuming you'll be in the city for a few days. don't wait till the day you leave.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3582 posts

Are you talking about reservations only (to use with a railpass), or buying the ticket, too? I would buy them ASAP! It used to be OK to wait until the day or two before to make reservations, but because people can buy them in advance, online...people DO buy them in advance, online. Start looking at some trains leaving within the next week; chances are good some will be sold out. This goes double if your traveling in the summer months.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2391 posts

Overnight trains sell out often. You need to buy your tickets as far in advance as possible, most likely online from the US. Tickets can be purchased online from that country's rail site (or a link from the site). You'll get advanced purchase discounts that way too. You might also look into discount airfares for such long trips. Planes for such long distances have mostly become cheaper than rail and you save considerable time on your vacation. True, an overnight train saves you a hotel bill, but it's nowhere close to the quality of space and sleep as a hotel.

Posted by Laura
Steamboat springs, CO, United States
24 posts

What websites can I use to book them ahead of time? I am currently in Europe.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

At this late date, discount fare tickets for a direct night train from Paris to Madrid probably are long gone. It will cost a lot less to fly on a budget airline. According to the search engine skyscanner.com, both easyJet and Vueling fly from CDG to Madrid. Ryanair flies from Beauvais to Madrid. Since Beauvais is a long bus ride from Paris, I'd choose either easyJet or Vueling.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2702 posts

Hi, In Beauvais the other choice is to take the train to Paris. From Beauvais train station to Gare du Nord is a bit over an hour. Nice small town not inundated with tourists, Beauvais is between Amiens and Paris.