Jump to content

Overnight sleeper trains in Europe


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Nala05

Posted 29 June 2019 - 05:57 AM

Hello!

I know it is a first world problem. We (2 adults and two kids 11 and 13) are having our first trip to Europe in December. We are travelling by train between cities. I would appreciate hearing people thoughts on overnight trains as we are doing two long legs; Cologne to Innsbruck (around 8 hours) and Salzburg to Rome (around 12 hours).

Also would you go couchette or pay the extra for the sleeper cabins? Any other train tips would be much appreciated!

Thank you!



#2 Apageintime

Posted 29 June 2019 - 06:27 AM

Pay the extra for the sleeper ones. Gives you a lockable room.

I love sleeper trains personally. They're a fun way to travel!

#3 lizzzard

Posted 29 June 2019 - 07:32 AM

Pay for the sleeper cabins - it’s so fun! We took the overnight train from Moscow to St Petersburg in January. I was so excited I barely slept 😂 but it was very comfortable though with plenty of space and a comfy bed with a mattress even!

#4 Jersey Caramel

Posted 29 June 2019 - 07:56 AM

We did 2 overnight legs on our recent trip.  Venice-Munich and Vienna-Zurich. It was a lot of fun!

The trains we were on (Nightjet) had family couchette cabin options, where for a flat rate (199E) you got a cabin to yourself (lockable, 6 bunk bed style couchettes). It was so much cheaper than sleeper cabins for us (family of 5).

DH and I didn't get a lot of sleep,  but the kids slept fine. In hindsight,  the Venice to Munich trip wasn't quite long enough to warrant an overnight train...it meant we were waiting outside in the cold at night in Venice (train was delayed around an hour from its 9pm departure time) and arriving in the very cold and dark Munich morning (6am) (this was in December). By the time we got on and got settled,  there were only a few hours to rest before we were woken for breakfast (hot drink and bread rolls with butter and jam). We were also woken overnight for a passport check.

The Vienna to Zurich leg was much better,  departed Vienna around 8pm, no passport checks overnight,  arrived into Zurich around 8am so it was already light and we had much longer to sleep on the train.

Daytime train travel is great too, watching the scenery roll by. We had some days with 2 x 3-4 hour train trips and they were nice.  I think for up to about 7-8 hour trips in future we will go for daytime journeys but overnight trains are definitely a great experience for the longer legs.

#5 bubskitkat

Posted 29 June 2019 - 08:27 AM

Overnight sleeper cabins are the way to go. It’s a great experience and you’ll feel better the next day having gotten a good nights rest.

#6 MrsPuddleduck

Posted 29 June 2019 - 09:32 AM

We did Barcelona to Paris on an overnight train. As well as maximising your daylight sightseeing time in cities, it saves you the cost of a night’s accommodation and invariably the railway station is right in the middle of town and really convenient to get to, which saves travelling to far flung airports. You can also roll up pretty close to departure time rather than having to get to an airport two hours before, etc.

It will be cold at that time of year but you shouldn’t have too many dramas with snow etc on the tracks. If you flew there would be a high possibility of delays due to fog, wind, etc but trains tend to keep going! Make sure you have enough winter woollies to keep yourself warm on the platform when you leave and arrive.

Most trains will have a dining car but check first, and make sure you take snacks as well. Not all train “breakfasts” are created equal! The breakfast served on our train wasn’t enough for my husband so we ended up in a cafe in Paris when we arrived having a second breakfast.

A really good resource if you haven’t come across it yet is Seat61.com - https://www.seat61.com/sleepers.htm

Just make sure whatever you book you take up the whole compartment or you will find when you get there you might be split across compartments (for example - “Sleepers come in 1, 2, 3 and occasionally 4-bed varieties, depending on the route and type of sleeper.  Berths are sold individually, so one ticket = 1 person = 1 bed.  I'll spell it out for you:  If you book one ticket for a 2 or 3 bed sleeper, you get one bed and the other beds in the compartment will be sold to other passengers of the same sex.  Sharing with other civilised sleeper passengers like this is much cheaper than paying for a single-berth sleeper all to yourself.  Compartments are single-sex unless all the berths are booked by people travelling together.  So a woman booking one berth in a 3-berth sleeper will share with two other female passengers.  A man and woman travelling together and paying for two berths in a 2-berth sleeper will share the same compartment.  A man and a woman travelling together but choosing to pay only for 2 berths in a 3-berth sleeper will be booked into two different 3-berth rooms, one for male passengers and one for female passengers.”).

#7 Nala05

Posted 29 June 2019 - 09:39 AM

Thank you everyone for your advice, I really appreciate it. Looks like the overnight train is a "goer"!

For Cologne to Innsbruck the 4 bunk couchette is 199 Euro and the sleeper cabins (2 x 2 bed) are 399 Euro (in total). Is it worth the extra cost?

Edited by Nala05, 29 June 2019 - 09:40 AM.


#8 MrsPuddleduck

Posted 29 June 2019 - 10:20 AM

I haven’t travelled on that train but I’d find the extra 200 euro hard to justify with my understanding of what the difference between sleeper and couchette is. Is that price the standard sleeper (with sink) or deluxe sleeper (with toilet/shower)?

This looks pretty informative: https://www.seat61.c...es/nightjet.htm

#9 Jersey Caramel

Posted 29 June 2019 - 10:39 AM

It depends on your budget,  but I wouldn't pay double for the sleepers over the couchette. The couchettes were fine from a comfort perspective,  it's more the train stopping and starting and carriages being shunted on and off that kept us awake, and that would be the same whichever class you were in. I also felt more comfortable all being in the one locked cabin,  especially when we were woken in the night by the burly Austrian uniformed passport control guys!! I think you might be able to get interconnecting sleepers though.

Thoroughly endorse the previous recommendation for seat61.com, we were even consulting it from the platform in Venice when we couldn't work out which train was ours!! There are often a few different numbers for each train,  so what was on the indicator board was not what was on our ticket.  Plus many of the sleeper trains split into two at a midpoint,  and go to two different destinations.  So the destination on the indicator board did not seem correct either!!

#10 Nala05

Posted 29 June 2019 - 12:21 PM

Thank you again for your reassurance.

Yes seat 61 has become my train "bible". I don't think I would have the confidence to take my family around Europe on trains without his advice.

#11 seayork2002

Posted 29 June 2019 - 02:16 PM

View PostNala05, on 29 June 2019 - 12:21 PM, said:

Thank you again for your reassurance.

Yes seat 61 has become my train "bible". I don't think I would have the confidence to take my family around Europe on trains without his advice.

I was going to mention him! Great site

#12 smithsholidayroad

Posted 30 June 2019 - 12:09 PM

We love travelling by sleeper train and have done so in a variety of countries.

As a family of 5 we booked the couchette from Amsterdam to Munich and it was great. We stocked up on a few snacks and wine to enjoy on the trip too.

My favourite train trip we have done is the Trans Mongolian from Beijing to Ulan Bator.

Bron

#13 Indi

Posted 02 July 2019 - 05:37 PM

View PostNala05, on 29 June 2019 - 12:21 PM, said:

Yes seat 61 has become my train "bible". I don't think I would have the confidence to take my family around Europe on trains without his advice.
Ditto.  So much information

#14 Nala05

Posted 23 October 2019 - 01:48 PM

Thank you everyone for your tips. Our tickets are booked. Can't wait!!

Edited by Nala05, 23 October 2019 - 01:49 PM.





1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

'My parenting style is Survivalist'

A helicopter or tiger mum, I am not.

8 mums reveal their favourite nappy bags

We asked a bunch of mums which nappy bags they love the most.

Why you shouldn't bother throwing a big first birthday party

If you're feeling the pressure to host an all-out, over-the-top shindig for your baby's birthday, I hereby grant you permission to throw the rules out the window.

The 24 baby names on the verge of extinction this year

If you're on the hunt for the perfect baby name and don't want a chart-topper like Oliver or Olivia, then do we have the list for you.

'My mum doesn't seem that interested in my baby'

Q: My mother and I have always been close, but now that I have a baby, she has not helped out as much as I thought she would.

New guidelines: "Bottle-feeding mums need support too"

Breast is best, but mums who can't, or choose not to breastfeed need support too.

Dads also struggle to 'have it all', study finds

Men and women both experience work-family conflict.

Language development may start in the womb

Study found babies can recognise foreign languages before birth.

Meet the baby born from an embryo frozen for 24 years

Experts say little Emma is a record breaking baby.

 
Advertisement
 

Top 5 Articles

Advertisement
 
 
 

From our network

Five things you need to know about flu and pregnancy

As the 2017 flu season begins in earnest, here?s what you need to know to protect yourself and baby.

Mum tips to keep your pre-baby budget in check

Money might be funny in a rich man's world (or so ABBA told us), but for the rest of us it's a major consideration – particularly before having a baby.

5 easy ways to make your maternity leave last longer

Maternity leave is a special time for you, your partner and your new little bundle. The last thing you want is for financial worries to stand in the way of that joy.

10 ways to keep your 'buying for baby' costs down

Becoming a parent is full of surprises – not least of all finding out that, for such small beings, babies cause a lot of chaos and expense.

5 ways to prepare to go from two incomes to one

Here are some ideas for getting that budget in shape, ready for being a one income family.

 

Baby Names

Need some ideas?

See what names are trending this year.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.