Sleeper trains are making a decisive comeback in Europe. Whether for nostalgia, affordability, or low carbon footprint, more travelers than ever are turning away from regional flights and coming back to overnight trains.
Nicolas Forien, a train advocate with ‘Back on Track’ and ‘Oui au Train de Nuit,’ recently commented on the cultural shift to overnight rail travel in Europe.
“Public opinion is changing compared to a few years ago, when night trains were considered old-fashioned and nostalgic, something from the past,” explained Mr. Forien. “Now it’s considered a serious alternative to flying which should be redeveloped.”
While budget flights may appear cheaper than overnight rail, sleeper trains actually save travelers in transport and accommodation costs.
The sleeper berth eliminates the need for a hotel, while the central locations of European train stations save the time and cost of getting between far-flung airports and city centers. Costs and time often even out or fall in favor of sleeper trains.
Rail travel also has the environment on its side.
This low-carbon travel option emits six times less greenhouse gas than hopping on a flight, helping travelers feel good about their responsible holiday. With more people than ever before considering the climate before they book travel, sleeper trains today have a leg up on the competition.
Here are four new exciting sleeper trains you can explore Europe with this summer:
1. Germany to Croatia with NightJet
This new service from the well-known Austrian carrier NightJet departs from Stuttgart, Germany and arrives in Zagreb, Croatia the following morning. Sleeper tickets start at €97.
Service includes stops in:
- Vienna, Austria
- Budapest, Hungary
- Venice, Italy
- Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Zagreb, Croatia
Traveler reviews suggest that NightJet’s 4-berth compartments or sleeping cars are the way to go. Couchettes in the 6-berth sleepers are not so well liked, featuring top bunks so high they require a literal safety net.
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2. Brussels to Berlin on European Sleepers’ Good Night Train
Starting tomorrow, May 25, European Sleepers’ brand new Good Night Train will connect travelers from Brussels to Berlin with a convenient stop in Amsterdam.
The Dutch cooperative European Sleepers have continued successfully sharefunding to expand the European overnight train network, with other new routes coming soon in Scandinavia and southern Europe.
Prices start at €129 for a couchette. Women-only compartments are a handy feature bound to be popular with solo female travelers. Deluxe sleepers appear sold out for the summer, but might be bookable through travel agencies.
3. Prague to Zurich with Canopus
Czech Railways (ČD) recently revived an old 2017 overnight route, the Canopus, from Prague to Zurich.
Tickets start at €75 for places in the refurbished sleeper carriages, featuring improved wifi and upgraded fire protection. This route will also stop in Dresden, Leipzig, and Frankfurt.
It’s no surprise that the Czech Republic is helping to lead the charge to bring back overnight trains. This country once built the first railway in all of continental Europe between České Budějovice and Linz in the 1820s. Their strong history of train infrastructure expansion continues with today’s renewed commitment to train travel.
4. Vienna to Verona with NightJet
NightJet’s second new debut this year is sure to be one of the most popular sleeper trains in Europe in no time.
This route departs from Vienna or Munich with stops in Venice, Milan, Verona, Genoa, and La Spezia (a great connection point to Cinque Terre).
Travelers may be willing to splash out on this more expensive option – starting at €120 for a couchette – in exchange for the opportunity to have dinner by the Danube and wake up with an Italian espresso on the Ligurian sea.
Wherever your European explorations may take you, there’s bound to be a sleeper train to get you there. We hope these exciting new overnight rail lines continue to expand in scope and convenience for all types of travelers to enjoy.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Friday 26th of May 2023
How can a train from Stuttgart to Zagreb have stops in both Budapest and Venice? That doesn't make sense
Friday 26th of May 2023
I would love to visit Zagreb because I intend to visit every European city with a population over 10,000 whose name begins with Z. I know this is controversial because Vladimir Putin's version of the Nazi swastika but I visited Zakopane before the Russians invaded Ukraine. Thank you for a very interesting article.