Each week, our holiday hero, Neil Simpson, delves into a brilliant holiday topic and does all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: With the night train through Europe.
Night trains are one of the most atmospheric ways to travel across Europe and are back in fashion in time for summer.
“Sleeper trains have had a tough time, but they’re having a real renaissance,” says Mark Smith, founder of rail information service seat61.com. He says they’re popular with climate-conscious travelers who like to travel long distances without flying, and that many passengers enjoy the atmosphere of the “golden age” as they fall asleep to the rhythmic sound of a train.
Golden Age: Catch an early afternoon Eurostar to Paris and have dinner at Le Train Bleu restaurant at Gare de Lyon before boarding a night train across Europe
Above is the view from Le Train Bleu, a restaurant full of old-school glamour
Most compartments have two berths, some even four, making them perfect for families. Linen is normally provided and most include toiletries and towels.
There are some compartments with private toilets and showers, but most have shared facilities at the end of each carriage. Some night trains also have bistros offering a range of dishes in the evening, and many serve coffee and breakfast trays in the morning.
Here are some of the best routes to try.
If you’re traveling to the south of France, Smith recommends taking the Eurostar to Paris in the early afternoon and dining amidst the old-school glamor at Le Train Bleu restaurant at Gare de Lyon.
Then stroll across the Seine to Gare d’Austerlitz to board the 9pm Intercités de Nuit or IC night train to Nice. It arrives on the sunny French Riviera just after 9am.
From Paris, board the 9pm Intercites de Nuit train to Nice and you’ll arrive on the sunny French Riviera (above) just after 9am
Night train fares on the Intercites de Nuit train start at £43 per person for a berth in a four-berth compartment. Above is the train in the French city of Briançon, running on a different route. Image courtesy of Creative Commons
Night train fares start from £43 per person for a berth in a four-berth compartment, the smallest available.
Couples or groups of three may pay a supplement for single occupancy — usually a little less than the cost of empty beds.
Austrian-owned Nightjet sleeper trains connect major cities across Europe. While you typically cannot purchase food or beverages onboard these services, passengers are free to bring their own to enjoy in the cabin.
Standard class sleepers on Nightjet trains have compartments with one, two or three beds and wash basins, while deluxe versions have en-suite bathrooms.
Austrian-owned Nightjet sleeper trains connect major cities across Europe. Above is a Nightjet train in Vienna
Above is a couchette car on a Nightjet train. Cities on Nightjet routes include Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Rome and Venice
Bottled water is provided at each Nightjet berth for boarding, while hot beverages and a chilled breakfast are delivered in the morning
Every Nightjet route arrives without passengers being woken up for passport controls during the journey
Bottled water is provided at each berth for boarding, while hot drinks and a chilled breakfast are delivered in the morning (passengers order items like yogurt and pastries from a menu the night before).
Cities on Nightjet routes include Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Rome and Venice – and each arrives without waking passengers up for passport control en route. On the Vienna-Venice route, trains depart at 9:30 p.m. and arrive around 8:30 a.m. Fares start from around £88 per person in a two-berth compartment.
Another impressive journey leads from Prague to Budapest, where statues of British steam train pioneers James Watt and George Stephenson stand in the large Keleti train station.
Trains on this route are operated by EuroNight Metropol and each carriage has 12 sleeping compartments that can be reserved as single, double or triple rooms.
Catch a EuroNight Metropol train from Prague to Budapest, where statues of British steam train pioneers James Watt and George Stephenson stand in the grand Keleti station (above).
Each carriage of EuroNight Metropol trains has 12 sleeping compartments that can be reserved as single, double or triple rooms. Above is the train arriving in Budapest. Image courtesy of Creative Commons
Hotel-style key cards open compartment doors, and unlike some sleeper trains, you should also get Wi-Fi and power outlets.
Hot drinks and boxed breakfasts are served in the mornings, and during the night there is a room service menu with light snacks and drinks provided by the sleeper attendant.
Depart Prague at 10:00 PM and wake up at 8:30 AM in the heart of Budapest. Fares start from around £55 per person in a two berth sleeper.
For train and cabin photos and booking information for all European night trains, visit seat61.com. For fares and train times, see thetrainline.com.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-10702267/Europes-best-sleeper-trains-revealed-Vienna-Venice.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Europe’s best night trains revealed, from Vienna to Venice