DFDS Seaways ferry "Queen of Scandinavia"  Photo courtesy of DFDS.

R I P. The DFDS ferry to Norway was sadly withdrawn for good in September 2008, ending over 120 years of direct ferry links between the UK & Norway. Photo courtesy of DFDS

UK to Norway without flying

The last ferry between the UK & Norway (DFDS from Newcastle to Bergen) was sadly withdrawn in 2008, but there's no need to fly.  It's easy to travel from London to Norway by train, travelling from London to Hamburg by train on day 1, stopping overnight, then Hamburg to Oslo on day 2.  Or take a train from London to Kiel in northern Germany and sail on the luxurious Color Line ferry to Oslo, sailing up Oslo Fjord over breakfast.

Train times, fares & tickets

On this page you'll find a step-by-step guide to planning, booking & making a journey from the UK to Norway by train, with train times, approximate fares, and the best way to buy tickets.

small bullet point  London to Oslo by train all the way

small bullet point  London to Oslo via DFDS Denmark-Oslo ferry

small bullet point  London to Oslo via Color Line Kiel-Oslo ferry

small bullet point  London to Kristiansand & Stavanger via Hirtshals

small bullet point  Trains in Norway: Oslo to Bergen, Stavanger...

small bullet point  How to buy Norwegian train tickets

small bullet point  Coastal ferries Bergen-Trondheim-Kirkenes

small bullet point  Trains from Norway to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from other European cities to Norway

small bullet point  Useful country information: dial code, currency...

small bullet point  Hotels in Oslo, Bergen & Norway

small bullet point  The Norway in a Nutshell tour

small bullet point  General European train travel information

small bullet point  Luggage   Taking a bike   Taking a dog

Interactive map:  London to Scandinavia by train & ferry

Cick on a route for times, fares & how to buy tickets.

Route map, London to Norway by train Train travel in Norway Copenhagen-Oslo train or ferry Key - Finland via ferry from Germany Key - via Harwich-Hoek Key - via Eurostar via Eemshaven Via the Harwich-Hoek ferry Train travel in Sweden Train travel in Finland Travemunde to Helsinki by ferry Helsinki-St Petersburg by train Ferries to Tallinn Stockholm-Riga by ferry Stockholm-Helsinki by ferry London-Norway via Hirtshals London-Copenhagen by train

Useful country information

Train operator in Norway:

Norwegian Railways (Norges Statsbaner, NSB) rebranded to Vy in 2019, www.vy.no, but train routes have now been outsourced to several operators including Vy, and (confusingly) SJ Swedish Railways.  The Vy website remains a portal to all Norwegian train services, but there is now a government-owned national transport website for all trains with no booking fees, entur.no.

Ferries to Norway:

www.dfds.com (Copenhagen-Oslo).

www.colorline.com (Kiel-Oslo).  Last UK-Norway ferry withdrawn in 2008.

Norwegian coastal steamers:

Hurtigruten Line sails along the Norwegian coast to the far North.

Railpasses:

Beginner's guide to European railpasses  Buy a rail pass online

Time zone:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

+47

Currency:

£1 = 13 Krone, €1 = 11 Krone, approx.   Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.visitnorway.com     Recommended guidebooks

Hotels in Norway:

Find a hotel in Norway.  Hostels:  www.hostelworld.com

Page last updated:

18 June 2024.  Train times valid 10 December 2023 to 14 December 2024.


Option 1, London to Oslo by train

You can travel from London to Oslo by train all the way, with an overnight stop in Hamburg, leaving London on day 1 and arriving Oslo late at night on day 2.  Or take an evening Eurostar and travel to Oslo with overnight stops in Brussels & Copenhagen, with time to travel up to London from other locations across the UK and it breaks up the journey.

London ► Oslo with overnight stop in Hamburg

London ► Oslo with overnight stops in Brussels & Copenhagen

Oslo ► London with overnight stop in Hamburg

Oslo ► London with overnight stops in Copenhagen & Brussels

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

How to buy tickets - advanced

Have your trip arranged as a package

How to buy tickets by phone

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More about ICE3 trains Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3neo at Brussels Midi

An ICE3neo at Brussels Midi.  ICE3neo photos courtesy of OM the rails.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

1st class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo.

 

The restaurant car.  See current month's menu.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo

3. Cologne to Hamburg by ICE4

ICE4s have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, and are capable of 265 km/h (165 mph).  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, Cologne-Hamburg trains cross the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then pass through the industrial Ruhr.  More about ICE trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf

An ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf.  Click on the images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

4. Hamburg to Copenhagen by EuroCity train

As from June 2023, Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by former German Railways intercity cars like this, now shown in the timetable as EC for EuroCity.  This is only temporary, as brand-new trains being built for DSB will be delivered in 2024.  These ex-DB intercity cars have power sockets at all seats (although no WiFi).  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.  More about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen

On 17 June 2023, the first Copenhagen to Hamburg train to use the 'new' German intercity cars is boarding at Copenhagen.  Photo courtesy of Peter Kincey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seats in are almost all open-plan like this.  There are a handful of 6-seat 2nd class compartments in one of the coaches.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   1st class 6-seat compartment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

The 1st class car has 6-seater compartments like this. Larger photo Larger photo.

5. Copenhagen to Oslo by train

Oresund train at Copenhagen

Copenhagen to Gothenburg by Öresund train.  More about Öresund trains.

Oresund train 1st class seats   Oresund train 2nd class seats

1st class seats. Larger photo.

 

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

On the Oresund link!

These Öresund trains cross the impressive Öresund bridge from Denmark to Sweden.

Seats on the  Norwegian train from Gothenburg to Oslo   The Norwegian train from Gothenburg to Oslo, arrived at Oslo Central

Step 2, Gothenburg to Oslo by Norwegian trainCourtesy of @Marcos Castro

 

The train arrived at Oslo Sentral.  Photos courtesy of @Marcos Castro.

Scenery from the Gothenburg to Oslo train

Scenery between Gothenburg & Oslo. Photo courtesy of @Simply_Railway.

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Option 2, London to Oslo via DFDS ferry

In this option, you travel by train from London to Denmark, then use the luxurious DFDS overnight cruise ferry between Copenhagen & Oslo.  It's faster than the previous option using train all the way, and the cruise into Oslo Fjord is a bonus.

London ► Oslo

Oslo ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Another way to buy tickets

How to buy tickets by phone

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More about ICE3 trains Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3neo at Brussels Midi

An ICE3neo at Brussels Midi.  ICE3neo photos courtesy of OM the rails.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

1st class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo.

 

The restaurant car.  See current month's menu.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo

3. Cologne to Hamburg by ICE4

ICE4s have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, and are capable of 265 km/h (165 mph).  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, Cologne-Hamburg trains cross the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then pass through the industrial Ruhr.  More about ICE trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf

An ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf.  Click on the images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

4. Hamburg to Copenhagen by train

From June 2023, Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by former German Railways intercity cars like this, now shown in the timetable as EC for EuroCity.  This is only temporary, as brand-new trains being built for DSB will be delivered in 2024.  These ex-DB intercity cars have power sockets at all seats (although no WiFi).  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.  More about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen

On 17 June 2023, the first Copenhagen to Hamburg train to use the 'new' German intercity cars is boarding at Copenhagen.  Photo courtesy of Peter Kincey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seats in are almost all open-plan like this.  There are a handful of 6-seat 2nd class compartments in one of the coaches.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   1st class 6-seat compartment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

The 1st class car has 6-seater compartments like this. Larger photo Larger photo.

Hamburg to Copenhagen train approaches the Great Belt fixed link

Crossing the Little Belt (Lillebælt in Danish) from Jutland (mainland Denmark) to Funen, the island on which Odense is located.

5. Copenhagen to Oslo overnight by DFDS cruise ferry

DFDS ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo

The huge DFDS luxury overnight cruise ferry Crown Seaways berthed at Oslo.  Courtesy of Ivor Morgan.

Atrium on the ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo   Standard cabin on the ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo

The ferry is a floating hotel, with cabins, suites, restaurants, bars and entertainment.  The Pearl Seaways even features an outdoor jacuzzi but reportedly her sister ship Crown Seaways lacks this.  Courtesy of Andrew Leo.

1, 2, 3 or 4 berth standard cabin on the Crown Seaways with shower & toilet and satellite TV.  Larger photoCourtesy of Ivor Morgan.

Suite on the ferry   Suite on the ferry

Commodore Class suite with double bed on board the DFDS superferry to Oslo.  Courtesy of DiscoverByRail.com.

Sunset at sea on the DFDS ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo

Scenery in Oslo Fjord on the voyage to Norway.  Courtesy of Ivor Morgan.

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Option 3, London to Oslo via Kiel

OK, so this takes a bit longer, but with comfortable daytime trains, a night in a hotel in Kiel or Hamburg then a mini-cruise on a luxurious Color line cruise ferry.  In many ways the most luxurious way to Norway!

London ► Oslo

Oslo ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Another way to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More about ICE3 trains Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3neo at Brussels Midi

An ICE3neo at Brussels Midi.  ICE3neo photos courtesy of OM the rails

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

1st class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo.

 

The restaurant car.  See current month's menu.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo

3. Cologne to Hamburg by ICE4 & on to Kiel by regional train

ICE4s have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, and are capable of 265 km/h (165 mph).  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, Cologne-Hamburg trains cross the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then pass through the industrial Ruhr.  More about ICE trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf

An ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf.  Click on the images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

4. Kiel to Oslo overnight by Color Line cruise ferry

Germany to Oslo Color Line ferry at Kiel

This photo is taken from the exit of Kiel station, so you can see how close the ferry is.  It's a 5-6 minute walk across the harbour, with a street lift up to a connecting walkway which takes you to the ferry terminal. If you have reserved one of what Color Line call their 5 star suites, check in at the desk rather than the machines and you'll be directed to a special lounge to wait with free tea, coffee, juice, snacks & WiFi.  You'll also have priority boarding of the ship & free access to the on-board spa.  Photos courtesy of Andrew Leo.

Boarding the ferry in Kiel

Boarding the Color Line ferry to Oslo in Kiel.

Kiel to Oslo ferry, Color Class suite   Kiel to Oslo ferry, restaurant

A 5 Star Suite on the ferry.

 

More cruise liner than ferry!  The restaurant.

Mall on board the ferry to Norway

Shopping street in Oslo?  No, just the main mall on board the Color Line ship.

View from Color Line ferry to Oslo

Wake up to lovely scenery sailing up Oslo Fjord.

Ferry arrived in Oslo   Color Line transfer bus in Oslo

The Color Fantasy, arrived at Oslo Color Line terminal.

 

Transfer bus to Oslo Sentral.

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Option 4, London to Norway via Hirtshals

You can of course travel by train to Oslo, then take a train from Oslo to Bergen (a very scenic route), or from Oslo to Kristiansand & Stavanger.  Click here for advice on booking onward trains within Norway.

But as you can see on the route map above, the most direct route is to head up to Hirtshals in northern Denmark and take a Color Line or Fjord Line ferry direct to Kristiansand, Stavanger or Bergen, by-passing Copenhagen, Sweden & Oslo.

London ► Kristiansand, Stavanger & Bergen

Bergen, Stavanger & Kristiansand ► London

Fares & how to buy tickets

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Train travel in Norway

Oslo to Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, Bodo

How to buy Norwegian train tickets

Option 1, buy at entur.no

  How to buy Norwegian train tickets from Oslo to Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger...

Option 2, at www.vy.no

The scenic Flåm Railway

A scenic tourist line worth mentioning is the famous Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana) from Myrdal (on the Oslo-Bergen line) 900m above sea level to Flåm on the Fjord below.  Train run daily all year round, 4 departures a day in winter, 10 or so in summer.  It can be done as a day trip from Oslo, as the Myrdal-Flåm journey itself only takes 40-50 minutes each way.  See www.visitflam.com/flamsbana, then see www.vy.no for connections from Oslo or Bergen to Myrdal.

Sleeper trains from Oslo to Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim

You can't beat a daytime journey on the scenic Oslo to Bergen line, but on the way back you can save time by travelling on the sleeper.  Unlike most other European sleeper trains where you can book individual berths in shared compartments, in Norway you pay a fixed supplement and get a whole 2-berth compartment to yourself, whether there are two of you or only one.  When you board, you must first check in at the cafe car to have your ticket checked and receive the plastic card-key to your sleeper compartment.

Oslo to Bergen sleeper train

The sleeper train from Oslo to Bergen.  Photos courtesy of Tom Gigo

Cafe car on the train to Bergen   Sleeping-car corridor   2-bed sleeper on the Oslo to Bergen sleeper train

Cafe car.

 

Sleeper corridor.

 

2-berth sleeper.

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Hurtigruten coastal ferries

Bergen to the Arctic Circle:  www.hurtigruten.com & www.havilavoyages.com

Bergen - Trondheim - Bodo - Tromso - Kirkenes

Every day, an express coastal steamer service sails from Bergen on an all-points trip north to Kirkenes in the Arctic Circle close to the Russian border, a 6-night one-way voyage or a 11 or 12-night round trip.  It's an essential transport service for the communities along the route which also offers cruises for visitors wanting an unrivalled boat ride along the beautiful Norwegian Fjords up to the land of the Midnight Sun. 

Until 2021, all sailings were operated by Hurtigruten (www.hurtigruten.com - the word hurtigruten simply means express route.  However, the Norwegian government has split the route into 3 contracts, two won by Hurtigruten and one by Havila Kystruten (www.havilavoyages.com).  From December 2021, 2 out of 3 sailings will be operated by Hurtigruten  and one by Havila Kystruten.

To check sailing times & buy tickets see www.hurtigruten.com and www.havilavoyages.com.  You'll need to check both, as each website only shows that company's sailings.  For more about their service and history, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurtigruten.

A Hurtigruten ferry   Cabin on a Hurtigruten ferry

Hurtigruten ferry.  Photo courtesy of Sue Smith.

 

Standard outside cabin.

Seating area in a Hurtigruten deluxe cabin   A Hurtigruten ferry

Seating area of a suite.

 

The M.S. Nordnorge

Norwegian fjord from a Hurtigruten ship

Norwegian Fjord, seen from a Hurtigruten ship.  Photo courtesy of Sue Smith.

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Norway in a Nutshell tour

Oslo - Bergen - Flam - Oslo over 5 days

The popular 'Norway in a Nutshell' circular tour takes you from Oslo to Bergen to Flam and back to Oslo over 5 days.  Train-based tour specialist Railbookers can sort this for you with train reservations & hotels.

UK flag  UK call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk

US flag  US call free 1-888-829-4775, www.railbookers.com

Canadian flag  Canada call 1-855-882-2910, www.railbookers.com

Australian flag  Australia call 1300 971 526, www.railbookers.com.au

New Zealand flag  New Zealand call 0800 000 554 or see website

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European Rail Timetable & map

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses) or www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide).  More information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map.  Buy online at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide) or at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).

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Guidebooks

Amazon logoMake sure you take a good guidebook.  For independent travel, I think this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both guidebooks provide the same excellent level of practical information and cultural and historical background.  You won't regret buying one!

Click the images to buy at Amazon.co.uk

Lonely Planet Norway - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   Click to buy - Lonely Planet Scandinavia   Rough Guide to Scandinavia - buy online at Amazon

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Hotels in Oslo, Bergen & Norway

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: www.booking.com

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust booking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & other tips

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with Staysure.co.uk myself.  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flag  www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection and gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag  www.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Maya.net logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a European mobile data package and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility list.  There's no need to buy a physical SIM card!  Maya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.

 

Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than getting a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When travelling you may use free public WiFi which is often insecure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using this link you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I also get some commission to help support this site.

 

Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, hotel bookings and Interrail or Eurail passes are often now held on your mobile phone.  You daren't let it run out of power, and you can't always rely on the phone's internal battery or on being near a power outlet.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or Buy from Amazon.com.

Touring cities?  Use hill walking shoes!

One of the best things I've done is swap my normal shoes for hill-walking shoes, in my case from Scarpa.  They're intended for hiking across the Pennines not wandering around Florence, but the support and cushioning for hiking works equally well when you're on your feet all day exploring foreign cities.  My feet used to give out first and limit my day, now the rest of me gives up before they do!

 


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