Overnight from Sylt to Salzburg, luxuriating on the Orient Express or looking for Santa Claus in Lapland – night train routes make it possible. Let’s immerge in the most beautiful ones in Europe.
For many, night trains were considered a thing of the past- at the latest when Deutsche Bahn in Germany discontinued all night train services in 2016. But growing environmental awareness has helped nostalgic travel make a comeback. After all, the train is one of the most environmentally friendly means of transport today.
Explore Europe Overnight
Throughout Europe, state and private operators are expanding their connections. Night train routes take travelers from the warm south all the way up to the icy north, with no traffic jams and no stress.
Night Train to Romantic Verona
Verona is one of the most romantic cities in Italy. No wonder - it is the setting of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". With its many well-preserved historic buildings, the city is also a real tourist magnet. The vacation express of the private train provider Train4you takes travelers overnight from Düsseldorf or Hamburg directly to the south.
From the Rhineland it goes via Cologne and South Tyrol to Verona, the connection from the Hanseatic city leads through Austria and Veneto to the destination station. From the end of May, the night train departs every Friday heading south and every Saturday back to Germany.
All-night trains have a sleeping car and a couchette. Those who wish can take a bicycle or car for an extra charge, breakfast on board is also offered.
Comfortably to Rome
Fall asleep in Munich in the evening and roll into Paris station the next day with a coffee in hand. Since December 13, 2021, a new Nightjet operated by Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) has been running between Vienna, Munich and Paris.
Three times a week, the night train follows in the footsteps of the classic Orient Express - which was on this route until 2007. You can also take a night jet from Hamburg to Zurich and vice versa. Or from Vienna to Berlin by night train. From Vienna to Paris, you can travel on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, and back on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
ÖBB combines nostalgia with modern comfort. The "Nightjet of the Future" is scheduled to hit the rails in 2023. The cars will then be equipped with free Wi-Fi, wireless charging and even more comfortable beds.
Orient Express: Night Train to London
In the 19th century, the Orient Express was the first train to travel across Europe - from Paris via Vienna and the Balkans to Istanbul. Only those with a decent amount of money in their pockets could afford the three-day journey in the chic compartments with sparkling crystal and polished wood.
In December 2009, the last connection of the Orient Express was discontinued. Now the luxury train is back: under the name of Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the train runs routes between Geneva and Venice, Paris and Venice, and Paris and Florence, among others. But you can also get to Rome or Istanbul from Paris by night train. Or from Vienna with the night train to London.
Then as now, the trip is an expensive pleasure. Guests can travel from Florence to Paris on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for around 3500 euros per person. But in return, they get full board and an unforgettable experience.
To the North to Santa Claus
High up in the cold north, the Santa Claus Express transports travelers. The Finnish double-decker night train travels from Helsinki in Finland to snow-covered Lapland. On the way, it stops in Rovaniemi - Santa's official hometown.
From there, we continue to Kemijärvi, the northernmost city in Finland. In summer, the sun shines uninterruptedly for weeks, but in winter it doesn't show its face for weeks. With a bit of luck, travelers can observe the aurora borealis along the way.
For the approximately ten-hour journey, guests can choose from a variety of offers ranging from a simple seat to a de-luxe sleeper car.
The Berlin Night Express takes travelers from Berlin directly to Stockholm in around 16 hours. It is currently the only direct train from Germany to Sweden. Until 2020, there was a very special travel experience on the journey: For part of its route, the night train sailed across the Baltic Sea on board a ferry.
Because the ferry service has been discontinued, the train now travels exclusively overland, but with a stop in Hamburg. The provider promises comfortable sleeping compartments and delicious food in the onboard restaurant.
To Sunny Croatia
1777 kilometers of Adriatic coastline, more than 1200 islands and mountains up to 1830 meters high as well as culturally rich cities in the interior: Croatia has a lot to offer. However, getting to Croatian vacation bliss does not have to be by air.
Time also flies on the night train with air-conditioned seats, couchettes or sleeping cars, according to the provider. The Croatian operator HZPP - a partner of Deutsche Bahn - offers two connections from Munich.
The capital Zagreb, one of the oldest cities in Central Europe, is served daily during the high season. There is also a daily night train to the port city of Rijeka on the northern Adriatic.