Taking an overnight train is the smart and enjoyable way to reach the larger European cities.
It lets you really make the most of your holiday time. You can travel long distances across a country or countries while you sleep – when you’d otherwise be paying for a hotel room.
You arrive well rested at your destination in the morning, with the whole day ahead of you.
There are two types of sleeping accommodation on overnight trains in Europe – ‘sleepers’ and ‘couchettes’.
are the most refined and comfortable way to travel. You get:
- A cosy 1-berth or 2-berth and, occasionally, a 3-berth room.
- Proper made-up beds, including mattress, pillow and blanket or duvet.
- Washbasin, towels and complimentary toiletries.
- During the day, the beds usually fold away to leave sofa-style seating and a small table.
- Sometimes a light breakfast is included in the fare.
- On some routes, ‘train hotels’ offer a deluxe option with en-suite shower and toilet.
offer more basic, lower-cost sleeping accommodation:
- Compartments contain either 4 or 6 bunks.
- Each bunk is a padded platform with a pillow, sheet and blanket.
- Each berth has its own reading light.
- Washrooms and toilets are at the end of the carriage.
- They’re a great option if you’re travelling as a family or group of friends.
- Single travellers share the room with other people.
- Single-sex couchettes are available on some trains.
On certain overnight trains there may also the option of travelling in an open carriage on airline-style reclining seats
. But we wouldn’t recommend this unless you are really on a tight budget.
- Sleepers and 4-berth couchettes are deemed first class travel.
- Six-berth couchettes and reclining seats are standard class tickets and therefore offer the lowest fares.
Yes but you must still make a reservation on overnight trains. InterRail pass holders pay a supplement – this can still be better value than staying a night in a hotel.
Generally, overnight trains connect major destinations that are at least 7 hours apart. Journey times are a little longer than the corresponding day trains that serve the same route.