Crossing Europe from London to Italy

The quickest way: Eurostar + TGV

For anybody looking to travel fast, the Eurostar is the first step to reaching Europe by train from London. This iconic high-speed train through the Channel Tunnel whisks you from London to Paris in under three hours, with the fastest journey time being 2 hours 16 minutes. Next, jump on the high-speed TGV train from Paris to Milan, which takes about 7 hours. For those really wanting to tick off the miles, Trenitalia's modern Frecciarossa train takes only 3 hours to cover the 360 miles from Milan to Rome.

The most comfortable way: Eurostar + Thello

If you're the type who enjoys both the journey and the ride, then you'll love Thello’s overnight sleeper from Paris to Venice (after taking the Eurostar to Paris). This is a leisurely 14-hour journey for people who enjoy the finer things in life: your own bed, a dining car, a courtesy morning wake-up call, and breakfast. If you really want to live it up, book a private cabin with your own bathroom, toilet, and shower! What's more, this route takes you through some of the region's finest cities, including Milan, Verona, and Padua.

The scenic route

If you'd like to visit a few more places on your journey from London to Italy, why not stop at the French Riviera? London to Marseille by train only takes 6 hours on the Eurostar via Paris. The Marseille to Genoa train is a beautiful railway journey, taking roughly 6 to 7 hours and passing through Nice, Monaco, and Cannes. It hugs the Côte d'Azur and the sparkling Ligurian coast, all the way to the edge of the Cinque Terre and the Tuscan Coast.

Another stopover option is to take the TGV from Paris to Lyon (1 hour 50 minutes), France's third-biggest city and gateway to the ski resorts of the French Alps. Continue on to Turin (4 hours), home of Italy's royal family and automobile industry. From Turin, you're within a stone's throw of Milan (45 minutes), Bologna (2 hours), and Florence (2 hours 40 minutes), from where you can take regional trains to explore more of Tuscany.

London to Italy by train: what you need to know

France and Italy have well-developed railway systems. In each country, the railway network is dominated by a national body: SNCF in France and Trenitalia in Italy. It's good to have an idea of how each of these systems operates because their ticketing and booking systems differ. Although the railway tracks are connected between the countries, the operators are not; you can't buy a ticket through SNCF that will be valid on Trenitalia trains once you cross the border into Italy. However, since our booking system is linked up with both SNCF and Trenitalia, you can book a single ticket with us that will get you all the way from, for example, London to Rome.

Since travelling from London to continental Europe by train will require you to take the Eurostar from St Pancras International station, it's worth knowing a couple of things about the journey. There is a range of Eurostar ticket classes, from Standard (Economy) up to Eurostar Business Premier (First Class), which includes a menu curated by Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc. Even Standard tickets have their perks, giving you discounted entry to attractions in Europe and 2-for-1 access to museums in Paris. Some Eurostar trains have WiFi and power sockets, and all of them have luggage hold areas and overhead compartments, making it easier for you and your bags.

Top tips

Get good deals

Depending on how many trains you plan to take on your journey, you can save money by looking into travel passes and ticket options. You can find details on our website about how to find the best cheap ticket prices for Eurostar trains. If you're going to spend more time in Europe or like the sound of the scenic routes outlined above, look into buying an Interrail or Eurail pass. These allow you to hop on and off any regional train, or reserve seats on long-haul lines, giving you the ultimate freedom to make up your itinerary as you go along. A pass also helps you save money over buying separate tickets. Find out more or buy your pass now on our Interrail or Eurail pages.

Make the most of it

Many of the cities and towns between London and Italy are worthy of more than just a passing visit to stopover locations. In addition to the headliners like Paris, Nice, Venice and Milan, take some time to explore some lesser-known – but no less worthy – destinations in between. Turin, a beautiful city of Gothic architecture set against a stunning mountain landscape, is home to the National Automobile Museum of Italy, and the epicentre of Italy's slow-food movement. Along the Côte d'Azur, get off the railway platform at the sleepy seaside town of Antibes to eat seriously fresh seafood and visit the Picasso Museum, which is housed in an old fortress overlooking the sea.

Still not sure? You can find plenty more information on our website. It covers all aspects of travelling from London to Italy by train, as well as FAQs and general inquiries about how to book. If you're ready to plan your next trip, see which routes you can take from London to Italy on our Journey Planner.