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High-speed trains in Europe are a great way to get around, and a fantastic alternative to flying. Over the years, Europe has been witnessing a surge in high-speed rail services, as more rail operators across the continent continue to order some of the fastest trains in the world.

With high-speed trains in Europe, you can travel through the continent in style and cover vast distances quickly – all while enjoying modern amenities like WiFi and at-seat dining. So what are you waiting for? Have a peek below at the most important high-speed train routes in Europe with our quick and easy guide.

List of high-speed trains in Europe

Travelling through Europe is easy thanks to an extensive network of high-speed trains that can reach up to 200 mph (321 km/h). Within just a few hours you can get from the soft green hills of the United Kingdom to the Mediterranean seaside – that's so much quicker than flying when you take into account the time spent checking in and waiting in the terminal! Some of the major high-speed trains in Europe include: 

High-speed trains in Europe map

Europe features a wide network of high-speed trains which allow you to explore the diverse regions of the continent easily. Find popular routes on our interactive Europe train map, or delve in and take a look at some of the best high-speed trains in Europe below.

 

Top European high-speed trains

Altaria (Spain)

Altaria is the high-speed train operated by Renfe which connects the Spanish capital of Madrid to southern Spain in just a couple of hours. The main destinations served by Altaria include Algeciras, Granada, Cartagena and Murcia.

Two classes are available on Altaria trains – Clase Preferente (or First Class) and Clase Turista (or Second Class), and you can find out more about these on our dedicated page to Renfe.

Altaria routes

Madrid to Murcia

Madrid to Cartagena

Cordoba to Antequera

Madrid to Ciudad Real

 

Alvia (Spain)

Alvia high-speed trains cover large distances between Spain’s major cities, including Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, and Valencia, reaching speeds of up to 250 km/h (155 mph).

You can find plenty of amenities on board these modern high-speed trains, from spacious reclining seats to audio and video outlets. Learn more about Alvia trains.

Alvia routes

Madrid to Valencia

Madrid to Bilbao

Barcelona to Pamplona

Alicante to A Coruña

 

AVE (Spain)

AVE trains are Spain’s answer to high-speed rail in Europe, travelling at speeds of up to 310 km/h (193 mph). Connecting from city to city is made easy, and these trains also stop off at plenty of quieter towns if you’re looking to get off the beaten track!

There are three classes with extra benefits to choose from, and you can learn about them in our AVE trains and Renfe AVE First Class guides.

AVE routes

Madrid to Barcelona

Madrid to Seville

Barcelona to Cordoba

Madrid to Malaga

 

Avlo (Spain)

From 23rd June 2021, the new "low-cost AVE", also known as Avlo, will run between Madrid, Zaragoza, Barcelona and Figueres, making high-speed travel more accessible for anyone travelling on a budget and willing to explore some of Spain's largest cities.

Onboard you can enjoy free WiFi access through the PlayRenfe platform, power sockets at each seat to charge phones and laptops, and vending machines with hot and cold drinks and snacks. Visit our Avlo page to find out more.

Check out some of Avlo's routes below.

Avlo routes

Gerona to Barcelona

Gerona to Madrid

Barcelona to Tarragona

Gerona to Zaragoza

 

Euromed (Spain)

Euromed high-speed trains travel along the Mediterranean coast from Barcelona to Alicante, stopping at Tarragona, Castellón and Valencia. You can expect excellent onboard services and a travel time of under 5 hours. The Euromed is a convenient and relaxed way to explore the east coast of Spain.

Euromed routes

Barcelona to Alicante

Valencia to Barcelona

Valencia to Alicante

Valencia to Tarragona

 

Eurostar (the Netherlands - Belgium - France - Great Britain)

Connecting the UK to France, Belgium and the Netherlands via the Channel Tunnel, Eurostar trains (classes e300 and e320) can travel at speeds of up to 321 km/h (200 mph) along the routes from London to Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.

Travel underwater while enjoying all the comforts of a modern high-speed train. Learn more about Eurostar trains.

Eurostar routes

London to Paris

London to Amsterdam

London to Brussels

London to Rotterdam

 

ICE (Austria - Germany - France - Switzerland - the Netherlands)

Not just a cool name, ICE (Intercity Express) trains are some of the best high-speed rail services available in Europe, and for a good reason. Travelling at speeds of up to 305 km/h (190 mph), ICE trains tend to ferry passengers from city to city across Germany, though some of their routes also involve cross-border travel. On board some of the newer models, you can expect to find quiet zones, family areas and seats for children, as well as comfortable ergonomic seating.

There are two classes available for customers, Standard and First Class – find out more by visiting our ICE trains page.

ICE routes

Munich to Berlin

Frankfurt to Munich

Cologne to Hannover

Dortmund to Berlin

 

Le Frecce (Italy)

Travel with high-speed Le Frecce trains for a speedy connection to the heart of many Italian cities, including Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, and Naples. With three types of Le Frecce trains – Frecciarossa, Frecciargento and Frecciabianca – not only can you reach the most popular cities in the country, but also the smaller towns across the countryside.

Learn more about Le Frecce trains.

Le Frecce routes

Milan to Rome

Turin to Milan

Rome to Florence

Rome to Turin

 

Railjet (Hungary - Austria - Germany - Switzerland)

Reaching speeds of up to 230 km/h (142 mph), Railjet (RJ) high-speed trains operate between Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, and Switzerland.

You can find three classes on board Railjet trains – First Class, Business Class and Economy Class. Find out more on our ÖBB Railjet trains page.

Railjet routes

Vienna to Munich

Vienna to Innsbruck

Prague to Graz

Klagenfurt to Salzburg

 

Renfe-SNCF (Spain - France)

Renfe-SNCF is an international high-speed train that connects Spain to France, which allows you to get from Madrid and Barcelona to Paris, Marseille, and Lyon in no time.

There are two classes available on Renfe-SNCF trains (First and Second Class), and you can find out more about them in our guide to Renfe-SNCF trains and Renfe-SNCF First Class.

Renfe-SNCF routes

Barcelona to Lyon

Barcelona to Marseille

Madrid to Marseille

Barcelona to Paris

 

TGV (France) 

With TGV trains able to reach cracking top speeds of (320 km/h) 198 mph, SNCF’s high-speed service is certainly a worthy leader on this list. But they’re not just fast – they’re comfortable too! TGV trains feature double-decker carriages kitted out with all the facilities you’d expect of a modern train service, from power sockets to buffet cars. Some top destinations you can reach at speed include Lille, Paris, Strasbourg, Lyon, and Bordeaux.

There are two classes available to you (First and Second class), and you can find out more about these by visiting our dedicated TGV trains page.

TGV routes

Paris to Lyon

Lille to Paris

Marseille to Nice

Paris to Bordeaux

 

TGV Lyria (France - Switzerland)

A collaboration between SNCF and SBB (the main train operator in Switzerland), TGV Lyria trains offer quick connections from Paris, Dijon and Marseille to popular Swiss cities like Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich.

Learn more about TGV Lyria trains and travelling TGV Lyria First Class.

TGV Lyria routes

Paris to Geneva

Paris to Lausanne

Paris to Dijon

Geneva to Marseille

 

Thalys (France - Belgium - Germany - the Netherlands)

Thalys trains connect some of the biggest cities in Europe via high-speed rail, including Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Cologne. Enjoy comfortable and quick cross-border travel on these trains, perfect for if you’re on a country-hopping holiday.

Find out more about Thalys trains.

Thalys routes

Paris to Brussels

Paris to Amsterdam

Brussels to Dortmund

Cologne to Paris

 

Javelin (Great Britain)

Javelin trains were first introduced by Southeastern in 2009 and connect central London to many destinations in Kent. These trains travel at speeds of up to 225 km/h (140 mph), they were originally used to ferry spectators to and from the Olympic Park during London 2012.

Learn more about Javelin trains.

Javelin routes

London to Canterbury

London to Margate

London to Ramsgate

London to Dover

How to get cheap European high-speed train tickets

There are different ways you can get cheap European high-speed train tickets without having to pay over the odds. Our top tips for saving money on high-speed train tickets are:

Buy in advance

In general, train tickets in Europe are usually at their cheapest price when they first go on sale, normally around three to six months before the date of travel. Check out our dedicated page to cheap European train tickets for more details.

Travel Off-Peak

Train tickets tend to be more expensive during rush hour (mornings and early evenings Monday to Friday). If you can, be sure to look for tickets outside of these times to see if you can snap up a lower price.

Look out for train deals

There’s a wide range of train deals and discounts in Europe that can help you save money on your journey. Deals can vary based on the country and train company, but if you’re travelling with children, in a group, or fall into a certain age category, you can benefit from discounted ticket prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast are high-speed trains in Europe?

High-speed trains in Europe can reach speeds of up to 198 mph (320 km/h). Some of the fastest trains in Europe travelling at these speeds include AVE, TGV and Frecciarossa 1000.

Do I need a seat reservation on European high-speed trains?

Yes, you'll need to make a seat reservation on most high-speed trains in Europe. You'll be able to do so on our platform if you buy your tickets online with us.

Which countries have high-speed trains?

Several countries have built and developed high-speed rail infrastructure to connect major cities. In Europe, these include: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

Learn more about high-speed trains in Europe

So, now you know all about what European high-speed trains have to offer. Whether you’re ready to book or want to find out more about train travel in Europe, we’re here to help.

Start a search for tickets in our Journey Planner at the top of the page or check out some of our guides to travelling with high-speed trains in Europe, where they can take you, and train travel around Europe in general.

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