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This New Train Route Will Visit 7 Of The Most Beautiful European Cities This Spring

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With its 94,000 miles of railways, traversing scenic landscapes, and numerous countries where border controls no longer apply, Europe is, without question, the easiest continent to explore in the world.

We're no staunch Ryanair detractors ourselves, having made use of their $10 dollar flights to Spain an unhealthy number of times before, but there's no denying trains can be a lot more comfortable and at times, even more convenient:

Frauenkirche Church In Dresden Old Town, Saxony, Germany, Central Europe

Debuting March 25, the long-anticipated new European sleeper will visit as many as seven historic spots, including the beautiful ‘Venice of the North' and Germany's most beautiful city, and it's essentially a hotel on rails:

Welcome Onboard Europe's Good Night Train

Starting this spring, these are all 7 destinations served by Europe's new ‘Good Night Train‘:

  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Antwerp, Belgium
  • Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Dresden, Germany
  • Prague, Czech Republic
Young Female Traveler Admiring The View From A Train In Europe, Unspecified Location

It leaves from Brussels, Belgium during the evening at 7:22 pm, calling at Antwerp (still in Belgium), Rotterdam and Amsterdam in The Netherlands, Berlin and Dresden in Germany, before finally reaching Prague, Czech Republic at 10:56 am the following day.

Trains are scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and are set to run year-round.

On the reverse route, trains are scheduled to depart Prague at 6:14 pm and terminate at Brussels-South at 9:27 am the next morning, running every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Bruxelles-Midi Station In Brussels, Belgium, Central Europe

This means tourists can ‘go to bed' in Belgium and magically wake up in the Czech Republic, or the other way round, without having to go through the usual airport check-in and security clearance ordeal, not to mention they have an opportunity to visit two other countries on the way.

You may be wondering what are some of the main attractions in the seven destinations it serves, and why exactly they're worth visiting.

Here's a brief summary:

Brussels, Belgium

Amazing Architecture And World-Renowned Food Scene
Historical Square Surrounded By Medieval Guildhalls, Grand Place, Brussels, Central Europe

The departure station is in Brussels, the capital of Belgium and one of Europe's food meccas, with numerous traditional eateries serving tourist faves like Liege waffles, moules frites, and what have you, and an unparalleled wealth of medieval and Art Nouveau buildings.

Brussels' centrally-located Grand Place is arguably the prettiest square in all of Europe, flanked by opulent guildhalls with flamboyant façades; a short 4-minute walk from the square, visitors will find the infamous ‘Pissing Boy' statue, as well as the Gothic Cathedral of St. Gudula.

Art Nouveau Maison Saint-Cyr In Brussels, Belgium, Central Europe

Other architectural gems include Maison Saint-Cyr, an exceptionally-narrow house with over-decorated wrought-iron balconies, the fairy-tale 13th-century Black Tower, unique in the sense that it is surrounded by modern apartment blocks, and of course, the iconic Brussels Atomium.

Antwerp, Belgium

The City Of Diamonds And Ornate Fountains

Belgium's largest Dutch-speaking metropolis, Antwerp has been known for centuries as the ‘Diamond City‘, owing it to its role in the diamond trade.

Antwerp Centruum In Antwerp, Belgium

If you're planning on shopping for some jewelry for yourself or loved ones, or even planning on popping the question anytime soon, streets west of the Central Station are where you'll find the shiniest gemstones.

In terms of architectural value, the Central Station itself is an absolute marvel in itself, with its grand hall and palatial exterior, and it's a pleasant 23-minute walk to the Grote Markt, Antwerp's medieval central square, and the city's beating heart well into the contemporary age.

Historical Buildings In The Medieval Grokt Markt, Antwerp, Belgium, Central Europe

It is bounded by ornate guildhalls, in classic Belgian fashion, and the most striking features are Antwerp's Renaissance-style City Hall, the intact 16th-century Guildhall of Sint John, and Brabo Fountain, depicting the city's founder towering victorious above a defeated giant.

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The Vibrant, Multicultural Port City
Panoramic View Of The Modern Port City Of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Northern Europe

Crossing into the Netherlands, the next stop is Rotterdam, a vibrant port city with a skyscraper-dominated historic center.

This may be common in the New World, but it's exceedingly rare in Europe, where cobbled streets and ancient structures trump modernist efforts.

Unlike other destinations on the Good Night Train, Rotterdam is not a place for sightseeing – much of the city was bombarded during World War II and had to be rebuilt, hence the ‘Americanized' urban layout – but rather somewhere you go for the nightlife and experiencing multiculturalism.

Modern Tramway In Rotterdam, A City In The Netherlands, Northern Europe

Home to nearly 200 different nationalities, a youthful Witte de Withstraat district packed with pubs and night venues, and the solitary Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, the sole surviving edifice of now-flattened medieval Rotterdam, it's definitely worth a brief visit.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands*

The Venice of the North and Europe's Capital of Libertarian
Bikes Next To A Bridge In Amsterdam During Sunset, Holland, The Netherlands, Europe

Up next is Amsterdam, capital of The Netherlands and so-called ‘Venice of the North‘: criss-crossed by UNESCO-listed waterways lined by narrow dark-brick houses, it is a Good Night Train highlight, and a quintessential piece your Europe puzzle map won't be complete without.

If you happen to have an interest in the arts, you'll want to pay the world-famous Rikjsmuseum, and the nearby Van Gogh Museum a visit; on the other hand, if you're in town for the lively social scene, hit up the Red Light District for the Bohemian vibes and libertarian nature.

The colorful illuminated buildings in the Red Light District of Amsterdam

Fascinated with World War II? Then you shouldn't miss Anne Frank Huis, a biographical museum housed in the diarist's former hiding place.

Alternatively, if it's a leisurely stroll by picturesque canal fronts you're keen on, Prinsengracht and its row of Mannerist houses is the perfect starting point.

*Boarding the Prague-bound sleeper train in Amsterdam, departure time is set for 10:34 pm, arriving in Brussels the next day at 9:27 am.

Berlin, Germany*

A Culturally-Charged Capital With An Edgy Touch To It
German Flag Flying In Front Of An Official Government Building In Berlin, Germany

Berlin in Germany is the third national capital served by the European Good Night Train and one of the continent's top city breaks, with a rich History dating back as early as the 13th century, and an emotional roller coaster for World Wars and Cold War aficionados.

Five unmissable points of interest are the Berlin Wall, a permanent reminder of the turbulent period of East-West divide, the neoclassical Brandenburg Gate, the heart-wrenching Holocaust memorial, the richly-decorated Berlin Cathedral, and the communist-era TV tower.

aerial view of Berlin, Germany

Plus, if you think the Red Light District in Amsterdam is wild, you should know it doesn't come anywhere close to the unabashed freedom and hedonism of Berlin nights, with unconventional adult entertainment venues lurking at every corner, and thumping music coming from underground techno clubs.

*Boarding the Brussels-bound sleeper train in Berlin, departure time is set for 10:56 pm, arriving in Brussels the next day at 9:27 am.

Dresden, Germany

The Most Beautiful City In Germany (With A Harrowing Past)
Dresden Old Town, Saxony, Germany, Central Europe

Dresden is one of two additional cities served on the extension of the Good Night Train (the other being Prague), and this is great news for culture buffs, as it is often considered the finest, most beautiful city in Germany and one of its most historically-charged destinations.

Despite having been bombed towards the end of WWII, the ‘Jewel Box' – how its historic center is known – has been reconstructed and largely restored to its former Baroque-Rococo character, with magnificent opera houses that rival Vienna's in splendor, winding cobbled lanes and tall domes.

Zwinger Palace, Dresden, A City In Saxony, Germany, Central Europe

Other than the invaluable architectural and musical heritage – it is the birthplace of composers like Schütz and Wagner – Dresden has achieved notoriety for its meat-heavy Saxon cuisine (trust us, you don't want to travel onward to Prague without first trying their potato and spicy-beef stew).

Prague, Czech Republic*

Imposing Medieval Castles And Cobbled Alleyways
Young woman taking photo from the Tyn Church in Prague

The Czech capital is the last stop on the Good Night Train coming from Brussels, and it stands out with its gorgeous Gothic Old Town, concentrating a number of Europe's most remarkable sights, with the Astronomical Clock and a monumental Prague Castle to name a couple.

Simply by walking the extent of the Vltava River, you can tick off a number of landmarks, from the stone-built Charles Bridge to Kampa, an idyllic, fluvial island traversed by canals and dotted with Czechia's traditional red-roofed houses.

A tram winds through the streets of Prague

Possibly the cheapest destination on this railway route, Prague offers half-liters of beer for as cheap as a dollar, meals for around ten bucks, and a higher perception of safety compared to most European hotspots: in fact, the Czech Republic is one of the safest countries in Europe.

*Boarding the Brussels-bound train in Prague, departure time is set for 10:56 pm, calling at Amsterdam the next day at 6:26 pm, and arriving in Brussels at 9:27 am.

Long-distance journey options are as follows:

  • Brussels to Berlin
  • Brussels to Prague
  • Amsterdam to Berlin
  • Amsterdam to Prague
  • Rotterdam to Berlin
  • Rotterdam to Prague
  • Berlin to Amsterdam
  • Berlin to Rotterdam
  • Berlin to Brussels
  • Prague to Amsterdam
  • Berlin to Rotterdam
  • Prague to Brussels
Woman boarding a European sleeper train

How Much Do Good Night Train Tickets Cost?

There are three types of ticket available: ‘Seat', ‘Couchette' and ‘Sleeper'.

‘Seats' are sold for as low as $63 one-way, and while they can be a great option for traveling shorter distances (e.g. Berlin to Prague) they're not really recommended for long-distance routes.

For the latter, ‘couchette' compartments for four or six people are the ideal option, with seats during the day, fold-up tables available, and lie-flats during the night.

‘Couchette' tickets cost $85 per journey.

3 Travelers taking a selfie in a sleeper train cabin with 4 bunks

Finally, the ‘Sleeper' carriage provides the most comfort, with a maximum of three beds per compartment, perfect for couples or trios of travelers who are able to book it exclusively for themselves.

It's the most expensive alternative, with prices per bed starting from $192, and an extensive list of amenities:

  • A seating area
  • Private washbasin
  • A more comfortable mattress
  • Wake-up call at the desired time
  • Breakfast included

Europe is quite safe, but if you're a solo female traveler with reservations about sharing a compartment with men, there are women-only compartments available.

Traveler Sleeping In Train

Why Take The Train When You Could Just Fly?

Why take the train when you could simply fly from one destination to the other?

Flights between Brussels and Prague, or Amsterdam and Berlin may get you where need to be faster, but there are three not-so-obvious pros to taking the train that may surpass the convenience of flying.

No Restrictions On Luggage
traveler rushing in an airport dragging a suitcase shot from a low angle

Firstly, there are typically no restrictions on how much luggage you can carry.

Unlike low-cost carriers that will make you fork out $12 per extra kilo you're bringing if you don't respect their strict baggage size rules, train companies don't charge you extra for carrying hold luggage or additional items, within reason.

Hassle-Free Travel

The second one relates to hassle-free travel.

Couple Of Young Happy Travelers Getting On A Train, Train Travel Concept

While there are plenty of low-cost, $30 flight options (no luggage added) leaving from Brussels to Prague every day, these normally depart from Charleroi Airport, located a whole 28 miles outside the Belgian capital.

Flying from Charleroi, you will either have to book a private transfer, which can set you back by at least a hundred dollars, or leave super early to get the shuttle from Brussels Midi Station (still subject to changes in schedule and traffic congestion).

Another option is going from Brussels to Charleroi, the town closest to the airport, and then switching to the local airport bus.

A train passing through European landscape

Add to that the usual queuing, an airport wait time of four to five hours, and flight delays, and you'll soon realize how taking the train would have been much simpler.

It Makes More Sense Budget-Wise

Finally, Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels have some of the highest hotel rates in Europe, with prices ranging between $119 and $154 for private rooms.

Add to that airport shuttles ($10), flights ($30), hold luggage fees ($36), and other airport-related expenses, and that's at least $230 spent on a single travel day, food excluded.

people walking in Brussels train station

By traveling overnight in a comfortable sleeper train, you can save a considerable amount of money:

In a way, you're combining hotel and transportation costs in a single $85 train ticket – hotel on rails, remember? – and of course, who wouldn't like to add a cross-border train visiting five different European countries to their list of lived experiences?

In summary:

  • You can bring in as much luggage as you want (again, within reasonable limits)
  • It can be considerably less stressful than flying
  • You'll save money on accommodation and transportation

Book your Good Night Train tickets for traveling between Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, and the Czech Republic from March 25 here.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Lee Sullenberger

Tuesday 20th of February 2024

Very informative and inspiring article. Looks like the way to travel to me! I love trains anyway. Relaxing, visuals are great, what's not to love? One can draw and be creative on trains. Thanks for the article!

Nan Crumlish

Tuesday 20th of February 2024

So I have travelled widely across Europe and am reaching out to you today to urge your followers to lean into train travel. I support your views about the cities this train nods to especially Rotterdam. Don't get off the train - horrible. You may as well be in America - minus the gun crime! Maybe more like some generic Australian city - minus the rudeness!! Just joking!!! But seriously, stay on the train in Rotterdam - it won't be long till you're back home I Carbondale!!!!