Traveling Europe by rail is an adventure and we recommend everyone to try it at least once!
This type of trip is suitable for every traveler and it can be a romantic and relaxing journey.
Unlike when taking a flight, there are no cues for luggage, check-in, security checks, and boarding.
You don’t have to throw out your bottle of water before buying the same one again after security.
Well yes, it may be obvious that I’m not a big fan of flying anyway!
I do love a road trip, but then again, traveling by train is so much more relaxing. You don’t have to keep your eyes on the road the entire time and you’re allowed to nap every once in a while. On top of that, you can even cover ground while sleeping on night trains in Europe.
Ultimately, I can’t express enough how interesting and exciting it is to travel through an entire continent by train.
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Sleeper Trains in Europe
Since we wrote our previous post about how to travel Europe by train, a lot of things have changed. For that reason, we decided to write a new article about train travel in Europe (in this era). Since our previous post became so long and detailed, I decided to split the post up and create separate articles with the different types of trains you can take in Europe.
In this article, you’ll find the different night trains in Europe. Surprisingly, most of the recent changes in train types have occurred in the night trains department and over the last few years, a lot of night trains has been put to sleep them self.
Now, we introduce to you the current fleet of trains in Europe, because who doesn’t dream of taking the Amsterdam to Budapest train or Paris to Rome night train? I
In this article, we collected as many night trains as possible!
Night trains in Europe
Night trains are our favorite trains because you cover a lot of ground while you’re sleeping. But that’s not the only reason! It’s the entire experience of living on a train and the feeling of going back in time during these journeys.
The older night trains have been suspended, so it’s more of a modern feeling these days and in most trains, you’ll get all the luxury you’ll need. But for me, it will always have this Orient Express feeling.
In this post, we listed the most important night train services below with a little information about the stops, the seating options, …
EuroNight – EN
EuroNight is the nocturnal version of the Eurocity and InterCity trains. The EuroNight trains usually travel on international journeys and they use carriages of different national rail companies.
EuroNight sleeper trains are available all around Europe and there are a lot of trajectories or routes you can follow to travel to the entire continent.
EN 414: Zagreb – Villach – Zurich
EN 462 – EN 463: Budapest – Vienna – Munich
EN 477 – EN 40406: Prague – Vienna
EN 480: Rijeka – Salzburg – Zurich
EN 498: Zagreb – Ljubljana – Salzburg – Munich
EN 40462 -EN 40467: Budapest – Vienna – Zurich
EN 40465: Zurich – Zagreb
EN 50463: Munich – Salzburg – Ljubljana – Zagreb
EN 50466: Prague – Linz – Zurich
EN 50467: Zurich – Prague
EN 60406 – EN 60444: Vienna – Poprad – Kosice
EN 60463: Munich – Salzburg – Rijeka
But Usually, the staff speaks English as well
Night Jet – NJ
OBB Night Jet sleeper trains are operated by OBB, the Austrian Federal Railway company.
Night Jet trains have been operational since 2006 and they eventually replaced many of the former City Night Line trains, which were operated by the Deutsche Bahn. The German railway company stopped offering night trains at the end of 2016 and luckily many operators have jumped on the opportunity to take over the night train empire.
Make sure to check out the Night Jet website because it is super interesting and good looking!
NJ 235: Milan – Verona – Villach – Vienna
NJ 237: Vienna – Venice
NJ 294: Rome – Florence – Bologna – Salzburg – Munich
NJ 295: Munich – Rome
NJ 401: Hamburg – Zürich
NJ 420 – NJ 421: Innsbruck – Munich – Cologne – Dusseldorf
NJ 464: Graz – Zurich
NJ 466: Vienna – Zurich
NJ 470 – NJ 471: Zürich – Basel – Frankfurt – Berlin
NJ 1237 – NJ 1234: Vienna – Florence – Pisa – Livorno
NJ 40233: Vienna – Rome
NJ 40235 – NJ 40295: Milan – Verona – Salzburg – Munich
NJ 40236 – NJ 40436: Venice – Villach – Salzburg – Munich
NJ 40294: Rome – Florence – Bologna – Vienna
NJ 40420: Innsbruck – Munich – Hannover – Hamburg
NJ 40421: Düsseldorf – Innsbruck
NJ 40463: Munich – Salzburg – Venice
NJ 40470: Zürich – Hamburg
NJ 40490: Vienna – Frankfurt – Cologne – Dusseldorf
Couchette with 6 beds
Couchette with 4 beds
Women only couchettes
Sleeper Cabin 3 beds
Sleeper Cabin 2 beds
Sleeper Cabin 1 bed
Trenhotel Spain is a national night train service in Spain, but there is also one trajectory taking you to Lisbon in Portugal. The train service is called TrenHotel or Hotel Train because the Spanish RENFE wants their visitors to feel as if they have booked a night in a hotel and they offer services to match that criterium. Upon boarding the train, you will be greeted by the sleeper compartment crew who will be at your service during the entire trip.
Rias Gallegas: Madrid – Ferrol
Galicia: Barcelona – Viga
First Class Bed – Single or twin cabin with a sink and shared bathroom
Tourist Class Bed – cabins with 4 beds
Gran Comfort Seating – extra leg space and further reclining
First Class Seating or Preferente Class
Second Class Seating or Turista Class
For luxury travelers in the Gran Clase cabins, cabin service is available
The Thello night trains run from Paris to Venice and it is the only night train connection run by Thello. The company also offers a high-speed train from Marseille to Milan. Even though it’s the only connection that is operated by Thello, it is an interesting one and you can only use Thello to make this journey by night train. Some days, no train by Thello is running, so you should always check their website in advance.
Paris – Dijon – Milan – Brescia – Verona – Vicenza – Padua – Venice
Reservations are compulsory
Charging sockets are available during this trip
Air conditioning inside the entire train
Standard Sleeper Cabin 1 to 3 persons
Couchette 4 or 6 persons
The Dining area is opened from 20h until midnight
Breakfast can be purchased in the dining car or at the trolley that serves the whole train
Intercity Notte Italy
Intercity Night Trains are becoming more popular in Europe. Even though it’s not always clear if an InterCity train has sleeping options, the InterCity Notte in Italy clearly does. The Italian InterCity night train connects the most popular cities in Italy with a sleeper train. It’s also possible to use the night trains for shorter trips with seated travel options, but all InterCity night trains in Italy have the option to book a couchette or a private sleeping cabin.
Rome to Calalzo
Rome to Siracusa
Rome to S Candido
Naples to Milan
Milan to Lecce
Venice to Lecce
Bolzano to Lecce
Bolzano to Naples
Tickets must be validated at the station before boarding
Cabins are air-conditioned
Cabins are provided with charging sockets
Classic Sleeper Cabin for single, double or triple occupancy
Tourist Class Sleeper Cabin for single or double occupancy
Comfort Sleeper Cabin with bunk beds
Couchettes with 4 or 6 bunk beds
Continental breakfast included with the Excelsior Sleeper and the Deluxe sleeper
Intercités de Nuit France
Intercités de Nuit is another InterCity night train service in Europe. The French railway company offers its InterCity connections by night with couchettes and sleeper cabins. Many of the French night trains have been dismissed a few years ago and only a few night train connections remain.
Paris to Briancon
Second Class Seating
Couchettes for 6 persons
Sleeper Cabins for 4 persons
Berlin Night Express
The Berlin Night Express is a seasonal EuroNight route which runs during the summer months from Berlin to Malmö. this night train only runs from April until August and only on specific days of the week. The most interesting part about this journey is that it crosses the sea between Germany and Sweden and for that it will be traveling on board a ferry while crossing the Baltic Sea. During the 4 hours that the train is on board the ferry, you can get off the train and visit the ferry.
Couchette with 6 beds
Alternatively, you can visit the restaurant on board of the ferry
The Snälltåget seasonal night train in Sweden takes travelers from Malmö to Åre in the northern half of Sweden overnight. In ,the past it was even possible to take the night train all the way north to Lapland. Since that service is no longer operational, travelers can only travel a little over halfway through the country. Åre is a popular hiking and skiing destination in Sweden. Taking this night train is only possible in the fall between August and September.
Seat in Second Class
Couchette with 6 beds
The Caledonian Sleeper Train is one of a different kind and this train is all about luxury and the experience. Instead of bringing you from one place to another while you sleep, the Caledonian sleeper resembles more of a hotel on wheels. These night trains all run between London and Scotland, but the carriages split up halfway into the journey. In these trains, people who buy first-class tickets have premium access to the lounge area, where superior dining can be expected, or have food delivered to their room.
In the spring of 2019, the Caledonian Sleeper Will start using a new set of trains. There will also be new accommodation options available, like en-suite rooms and rooms with double beds. Check the Caledonian Sleeper website to see the new trains!
Highlander route 2: Aberdeen – Dundee – Edinburgh – London
Highlander route 3: Fort William – Edinburgh – London
Lowlander route 1: Glasgow to London
Lowlander route 2: Edinburgh to London
You can not book this train with your Interrail or Eurail pass
Booking must be done via the Caledonian Sleeper website
Charging sockets available during this journey
Air conditioning available
Standard Class Cabin for up to 2 people with washing basin
Sleeping options in Night Trains
Night trains usually also offer seated options in order to keep your night train journey budget-friendly, but this is also the case on night trains where people get on and off the train for shorter distances. Some night trains are InterCity trains which also travels during the day.
For nighttime train journey, carriages are often added to offer sleeping options to travelers during nightly journeys. Some night trains offer special seating or sleeping options during their train journeys.
Seat in First class
First class seats are quite regular and you can also travel in a first-class seat by day.
Seat in Second class
Second class seats are also quite regular and you can also travel in a second-class seat by day.
Special Seating options on Night trains
A lot of night trains offer their passengers a more luxurious seating option aside from first and second class seating.
For instance, the Spanish Trenhotel offers a Gran Comfort Seating option during the night journeys where seats recline further and more leg space is available.
Additionally, the seats have a footrest that can be lifted and a comfortable, adjustable headrest.
You also get a blanket when booking these seats.
Couchettes are available on most night trains and they’re usually the most budget-friendly way of travel in night trains. Couchettes are available in 6-bed types and 4-bed types. When booking a bed in a couchette, you will probably get the company of other travelers, unless you book an entire couchette with your family or friends. Bookings in a couchette are unisex and you could be sleeping with travelers of the other sex. In most night trains, it’s possible to book a bed in a women-only couchette, but you have to clearly specify this.
In most trains, couchettes can be locked from the inside and they can always be unlocked by the train cabin crew. Some trains have a curtain instead of a door, but this is rather an exception.
What’s included when booking a couchette
A pillow, blanket, including fresh linen
A bottle of water when you board the train
Breakfast mostly included: depends on the exact train
Access to ordering food (food not included) during this journey
Shared bathroom nearby
Shared Washing facilities nearby
By DB Autozug GmbH [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Sleeper cabins are available NightJet and EuroNight trains, but also on the other night trains. They’re slightly more expensive than couchettes. These cabins are usually available for single, double, triple, or quadruple occupancy. You can either book an entire cabin with your family or friends, but you can also book just one bed in a sleeper cabin. In that case, another traveler will join you. Most cabins that are shared by travelers who don’t travel together are designated male or female cabins.
Sleeper cabins can be locked from the inside, but they can always be unlocked by the train cabin crew.
What’s included when booking a Sleeper cabin
A pillow, blanket, including fresh linen
A bottle of water
Breakfast mostly included: depends on the train type
Breakfast can be basic or a la carte
Welcome drink and a welcome bag with some travel goodies after boarding
Towels and toiletries
Access to ordering food or a dining area (food not included) during this journey
Wash basin inside the sleeper cabin
Shared bathroom and toilet nearby
Sleeper Deluxe cabins are available on most NightJet and EuroNight trains, but other night trains usually have a different name for their Deluxe cabins. Extra options and treats in Deluxe Sleeper cabins depend on the railway operator, but Deluxe cabins have a private bathroom with a shower inside the cabin and offer a more luxurious experience with more amenities. Deluxe cabins usually tend to be more spacious.
What’s included when booking a Deluxe Sleeper cabin?
A pillow, blanket, including fresh linen
A bottle of water when boarding the train
Breakfast usually included: depends on the train type
Breakfast can be basic but usually a la carte
Welcome drink and a welcome bag along with some travel goodies
Private bathroom with shower, toilet and wash basin inside your cabin
Towels and toiletries
Access to ordering food or a dining area during the trip
Usually, in-cabin dinner service (depends on the railway company)
Excelsior Sleeper Italian night trains
The Excelsior Sleeper class is available on the InterCity Notte in Italy and it offers high style to luxury travelers. Excelsior Sleeper cabins can be booked as a single or double cabin, but they’re also available as a suite. These sleeping cabins are located in a separate carriage that is added to the train and they add quite a bit of luxury to your nightly train journey. Cabins are equipped with a private shower and fully equipped bathroom with toilet and lavatory. Towels and linen are included and you can also use charging sockets, air conditioning, and a safe box. Through an intercom, you can reach the train assistants to help you with almost anything you might need.
What’s included in the Excelsior sleeper
Private bathroom with shower, toilet and wash basin inside the cabin
Air conditioning inside the cabin
Linen and towels, including a blanket
Bottle of water after boarding
Taking a Night train in Europe
Night trains in Europe are widely known and used and they are part of a grand adventure that you should experience at least once in a lifetime. We also tried some night trains in Asia and even though the experience is completely different, you still get the same feeling of adventure.
Should I explain further how much we love to travel by train or is that obvious by now? We’re certainly planning more rail journeys in the future and we’ll keep bringing up itineraries and travel tips to travel Europe by rail.
Did you know about these extreme train lines in Europe?
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