Take the train to Slovakia - Bratislava cathedral and castle
 

The Bratislava skyline, with castle and cathedral

From the UK to Slovakia by train

It's easy to reach Bratislava by train from the UK.  Take a mid-afternoon Eurostar to Brussels or Paris, the excellent Nightjet sleeper overnight to Vienna and the hourly regional express to Bratislava.  Change in Bratislava for an express to Poprad Tatry or Kosice.  This page explains how to book train travel to Slovakia.

small bullet point  London to Bratislava using the Brussels-Vienna sleeper

small bullet point  London to Bratislava using the Paris-Vienna sleeper

small bullet point  London to Bratislava by daytime trains with overnight stop

small bullet point  London to Bratislava using the Harwich-Hoek ferry

small bullet point  UK to Bratislava using a ferry from Newcastle or Hull

small bullet point  Trains from other European cities to Bratislava

small bullet point  Trains from Bratislava to other European cities

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

small bullet point  Vienna to Bratislava by Danube river boat

small bullet point  Recommended guidebooks

small bullet point  Hotels & accommodation in Slovakia

small bullet point  General European train travel information

small bullet point  Luggage   Taking bikes   Taking dogs

Route map

Route map:  London to Bratislava & Slovakia by train


Useful country information

Train operator:

ZSSK (Železničnα spoločnosť Slovensko), www.zssk.sk.

Free train travel in Slovakia for those over 62 and children of any nationality under 15, see www.zssk.sk/en/zero-fare.

 

Eurostar times & fares.  All European train times: All-Europe online train times

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:

 

+421

Currency:

£1 = approx 1.15 euros.  Slovakia joined the euro in 2009.  Currency converter

Tourist information:

slovakia.travel.   Recommended guidebooks.    

Bratislava bus & tram information:  www.imhd.sk

Hotels:

Find a hotel in Slovakia.

Page last updated:

15 November 2023.  Train times valid 10 December 2023 to 14 December 2024.


Option 1, London to Bratislava using the Brussels-Vienna sleeper

This is the easiest, most comfortable & most time-effective way from the UK to Bratislava.  Take Eurostar to Brussels, the excellent 3-times-a-week Nightjet sleeper from Brussels to Vienna, then the hourly regional express to Bratislava.  The sleeper is expected to become daily from autumn 2024.  Incidentally, option 2 is almost identical in all respects, but via Paris rather than Brussels, so check that out too.

London ► Bratislava

Bratislava ► London

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

 From £52 one-way, £78 return 2nd class.

 From £97 one-way, £168 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 2. Brussels to Vienna

 by Nightjet sleeper train

 one-way per person per bed

In a seat

In a couchette

In the sleeping-car

6-berth

4-berth

3-berth

2-berth

1-berth

3-berth

+ shower

2-berth

+ shower

1-berth

+ shower

 Fares start at:

€29.90

€49.90

€59.90

€89.90

€109.90

€159.90

€99.90

€139.90

€189.90

 

 3. Vienna to Bratislava

 by regional train

 €11.00 each way in 2nd class.

 

 4. Bratislava to Poprad Tatry or Kosice

 From €21 in 2nd class or €29 in 1st class, each way.

On the sleeper train, berths are sold individually, so one ticket means one bed, the other beds in your compartment will be sold to other passengers.  For sole occupancy, simply book 1 ticket in a 1-berth sleeper, 2 tickets in a 2-berth sleeper, 4 tickets in a 4-berth couchette & so on.

How to buy tickets

Another way to buy tickets

How to buy tickets by phone

Or use an Interrail pass

Let Railbookers arrange it for you

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 including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guideIn Brussels, I recommend using the Pullman Hotel bar as your VIP waiting room.

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 Vienna by Nightjet sleeper

This is an Austrian Railways (ΦBB) Nightjet train, with sleeping-car, couchettes & seats.  The sleeping-car has 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds with private shower & toilet.  The sleeper berths come fully made up with sheets and duvets, all sleeper passengers get mineral water in the evening and a light breakfast served in their compartment next morning.  Towels & toiletries are provided, including shampoo and shower gel in the deluxe sleepers.  In the more economical couchettes, you can book a couchette in a cheaper 6-berth compartment or a less-crowded 4-berth compartment, each provided with sheet, blanket, pillow & small bottle of water, and couchette passengers get a tea or coffee in the morning.  When waiting for the northbound sleeper train in Vienna, if you have booked a sleeper you can use the ΦBB lounge with complimentary refreshments.  More about Nightjet trains.

The Nightjet sleeper from Brussels to Vienna at Brussels

On 20 January 2020, the inaugural Nightjet left Brussels for Vienna, the first scheduled sleeper train to leave Brussels in 16 years.  Above, that inaugural train is seen ready to leave Brussels Midi on 20 January - naturally, the Man in Seat 61 was on board!

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

Same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchettes   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Brussels-Vienna Nightjet.

3. Vienna to Bratislava by Regional Express train

The hourly regional express train from Vienna Hbf to Bratislava Hlavna, seen below about to leave Vienna.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can! More about Vienna-Bratislava regional express trains.

The train from Vienna to Bratislava, at Vienna Huaptbahnhof...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, seen about to leave from Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can!

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Option 2: London to Bratislava using the Paris-Vienna sleeper

Almost identical to option 1, but via Paris instead of Brussels.  Option 1 involves an easy same-station change in Brussels from Eurostar to Nightjet, this involves an easy 7 minute walk from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l'Est, that's the only real difference.  The Paris-Vienna & Brussels-Vienna Nightjets run on the same 3 days of the week (both due to become daily from autumn 2024), in fact they run coupled together as a single train between Mannheim and Vienna.

London ► Bratislava

Bratislava ► London

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Paris by Eurostar

 From £52 one-way, £78 return 2nd class.

 From £97 one-way, £168 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 2. Paris to Vienna by

 Nightjet sleeper train

 one-way per person per bed

In a seat

In a couchette

In the sleeping-car

6-berth

4-berth

3-berth

2-berth

1-berth

3-berth

+ shower

2-berth

+ shower

1-berth

+ shower

 Fares start at:

€29.90

€49.90

€59.90

€89.90

€109.90

€159.90

€99.90

€139.90

€189.90

 

 3. Vienna to Bratislava by regional train

 €11.00 each way in 2nd class.

 

 4. Bratislava to Poprad Tatry or Kosice

 From €21 in 2nd class, €29 in 1st class, each way.

Fares vary like air fares, book early for the cheapest prices.

On the sleeper train, berths are sold individually, so one ticket means one bed, the other beds in your compartment will be sold to other passengers.  For sole occupancy, simply book 1 ticket in a 1-berth sleeper or 2 tickets in a 2-berth sleeper or 4 tickets in a 4-berth couchette and so on.

Return fares are twice the one-way fare.

How to buy tickets

How to buy tickets by phone

Or use an Interrail pass

What's the journey like?

1. London to Paris by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Paris in just 2 hours 20 minutes, 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 including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guideGare du Nord station guide.

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. Paris to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper

This is an Austrian Railways (ΦBB) Nightjet train, with sleeping-car, couchettes & seats.  The two sleeping-cars each have nine 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3 bed deluxe compartments with private shower & toilet.  The sleeper berths come fully made up with sheets and duvets, all sleeper passengers get mineral water in the evening and a light breakfast served in their compartment next morning.  Towels & toiletries are provided, including shampoo and shower gel in the deluxe sleepers.  In the more economical couchettes, you can book a couchette in a cheaper 6-berth compartment or a less-crowded 4-berth compartment, each provided with sheet, blanket, pillow & small bottle of water, and couchette passengers get a tea or coffee in the morning.  When waiting for the northbound sleeper train in Vienna, if you have booked a sleeper you can use the ΦBB lounge with complimentary refreshments.  More about NightjetsParis Gare de l'Est station guideVienna Hbf station guide.

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Amsterdam

A comfortline sleeping-car on a Nightjet sleeper train.  More information about Nightjets.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

Same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on a Nightjet.

3. Vienna to Bratislava by Regional Express train

The hourly regional express train from Vienna Hbf to Bratislava Hlavna, seen below about to leave Vienna.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can!  More about Vienna-Bratislava regional express trains.

The train from Vienna to Bratislava, at Vienna Huaptbahnhof...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, seen about to leave from Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can!

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Option 3, London to Bratislava by daytime trains

If you prefer daytime trains and a hotel to sleepers, this is the option for you.  London to Bratislava is too far to go in a day, so an overnight stop is needed either in Brussels or Frankfurt.  Those are the obvious choices on the direct route with fewest changes.

London ► Bratislava with overnight stop in Brussels

London ► Bratislava with overnight stop in Frankfurt

Bratislava ► London with overnight stop in Brussels

Bratislava ► London with overnight stop in Frankfurt

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

A cheaper 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 information about Eurostar including 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 Frankfurt 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 Liθge, 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.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the long Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine before joining the 300km/h high-speed line to Frankfurt.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant area on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

2. Frankfurt to Vienna by ICE-T

The ICE-T has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  Between Frankfurt and Vienna you'll pass rolling countryside and run along the Danube in several places.  More information about ICE-T Brussels Midi station guideFrankfurt (Main) Hbf station guideVienna Hbf station guide.

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

An ICE-T from Frankfurt to Vienna, at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.  More about ICE trains.

1st class table for two on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train   Lunch in the restaurant car on the Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Table for two in 1st class, my favourite configuration.  There are also tables for four in both classes.

 

Lunch in the restaurant.  In 1st class you're served at your seat.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See  current month's menu.

ICE-T train, driving cab   ICE-T train, 2nd class

You can see into the cab at each end of the train.

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the ICE-T to Vienna.

Scenery from the train

Chill out across Germany & Austria, with glimpses of the Inn and Danube rivers.

4. Vienna to Bratislava by Regional Express train

The hourly regional express train from Vienna Hbf to Bratislava Hlavna, seen below about to leave Vienna.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can!  More about Vienna-Bratislava regional express trains.

The train from Vienna to Bratislava, at Vienna Huaptbahnhof...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, seen about to leave from Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can!

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Option 4, London to Bratislava by ferry from Harwich

The ferry alternative!  This is a great option if you live in East Anglia, if you prefer a ferry to the Channel Tunnel, or if problems are affecting Eurostar.  Indeed, if you need to travel at short notice when there are no cheap Eurostar tickets, the rail & sail option is often still affordable.  I don't recommend the Dover-Calais route because of poor train/ferry connections, the Stena Line rail & sail service via Harwich & Hoek van Holland is the one to use as it has co-ordinated timetables and integrated ticketing, see the Stena Line Rail & Sail page & watch the video.

London, Cambridge & Harwich ► Bratislava

Bratislava ► Harwich, Cambridge & London

How much does it cost?

  • London or any Greater Anglia station to Hoek van Holland starts at £62 per person each way, plus cabin.

    Cabins start at £34 for a single berth cabin or £45 per cabin for a 2-berth, and are compulsory on the night sailing.  For full details of fares and cabin types and costs, see the Stena Line Rail & Sail page.

    Hoek to Schiedam by metro costs around €4.  Schiedam to Amsterdam by train costs €17.20.

How to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

Step 1, London to Amsterdam by train & ferry

A train takes you from London's Liverpool Street station directly to the ferry terminal at Harwich.  You walk off the train, into the terminal, get your boarding card & cabin key at the Stena Line check-in desk and walk straight onto the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland.  The superferry Stena Britannica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  All passengers travel in private cabins with shower, toilet & satellite TV.  The journey from London to Amsterdam is explained in detail on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page See the video.

Stena Line ferry captain's class cabin   Stena Line ferry at Harwich

Captain's Class cabin on the Harwich-Hoek ferry with double bed, complimentary minibar with sparkling wine, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer.  Larger photo.

 

Boarding the Stena Britannica at Harwich.  She's a floating hotel to Hoek van Holland, with easy rail connections on either side of the Channel.  Restaurants, bars, shop, kennels, cinema.

Metropolitan restaurant on the Stena Line ferry   Stena Line cabin

Dinner before bed?  Metropolitan ΰ la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360Ί photo.

2. Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet  See the Nightjet guide

This is an Austrian Railways (ΦBB) Nightjet train, with sleeping-car, couchettes & seats.  The sleeping-car has nine 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds with private shower & toilet.  The sleeper berths come fully made up with sheets and duvets, all sleeper passengers get mineral water in the evening and a light breakfast served in their compartment next morning.  Towels & toiletries are provided, including shampoo and shower gel in the deluxe sleepers.  In the more economical couchettes, you can book a couchette in a cheaper 6-berth compartment or a less-crowded 4-berth compartment, each provided with sheet, blanket, pillow & small bottle of water, and couchette passengers get a tea or coffee in the morning.  When waiting for the northbound sleeper train in Vienna, if you have booked a sleeper you can use the ΦBB lounge with complimentary refreshments.  More pictures & information about Nightjet trains.

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

The Nightjet sleeper to Vienna, boarding at Amsterdam Centraal.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

Same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchettes   Couchette car on Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train to Vienna.

3. Vienna to Bratislava by Regional Express train

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, seen below about to leave from Vienna Hauptbahnhof.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can! More photos, tips & information about Vienna-Bratislava trains.

The train from Vienna to Bratislava, at Vienna Huaptbahnhof...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, seen about to leave from Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can!

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Option 5, Scotland & North to Bratislava   

If you live in the North of England or Scotland, you can of course take a train up to London and travel to Slovakia as described above.  You can buy special connecting train tickets from most UK stations to London International, see advice on buying connecting train tickets to London.  But DFDS Seaways (www.dfds.com) run an excellent daily cruise ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam overnight, and P&O Ferries (www.poferries.com) sail overnight from Hull to Rotterdam.  So why not by-pass London, with lunch in Amsterdam into the bargain?

Scotland & the North ► Bratislava

  • Day 3, travel from Vienna to Bratislava by regional express train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 10:17 and arriving Bratislava Hlavna at 11:26.

    These trains run every hour, no reservation is necessary or possible on these trains, just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on.  There are always plenty of seats and they cannot sell out.  There are also hourly trains on the hour to Bratislava Petrzalka, but this is not as convenient for the city centre as Bratislava Hlavna.

Bratislava ► Scotland & the North

  • Day 1, travel from Bratislava to Vienna by regional express train, leaving Bratislava Hlavna at 17:35 and arriving Vienna Hbf 18:44.

    Trains run every hour, by all means take an earlier one and have dinner in Vienna, but don't risk any tighter connections when catching a sleeper you don't want to miss.  No reservation is necessary or possible on these trains, just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on.

    Tip:  At Vienna Hbf, if you have a 1st class ticket or a ticket for any sort of sleeper (not couchette or seat) you can use the ΦBB Lounge at Vienna Hbf between trains, with complimentary tea, coffee, snacks & free WiFi.

How much does it cost?

  • To check train fares to Hull or Newcastle, see any train operator website such as www.lner.co.uk.

  • To check ferry fares, go to www.dfds.com (Newcastle-Amsterdam), www.poferries.com (Hull-Rotterdam).  There's more info on the Hull-Rotterdam page & Newcastle-Amsterdam page.

  • Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train starts at €59.90 with a couchette in 6-berth, €69.90 with a couchette in 4-berth, €109.90 with a bed in a cosy 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 with a bed in a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.

  • Vienna to Bratislava by regional train costs €11.00, the ticket is good for any train that day.

How to buy tickets

  • Step 1, book your ferry at www.dfds.com (Newcastle-Amsterdam) or www.poferries.com (Hull-Rotterdam).  There's more info on the Hull-Rotterdam page & Newcastle-Amsterdam page.

  • Step 2, book the nightjet sleeper train from Amsterdam to Vienna at www.thetrainline.com, which links to the Austrian Railways system.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 3, now book from Vienna to Bratislava and back at www.thetrainline.com or www.oebb.at, or just buy a Vienna-Bratislava ticket at the station in Vienna, it's just a regional train, fixed price, no reservation needed, tickets always available.

  • Step 4, add any UK trains you need to Hull or Newcastle at any train operator website such as www.lner.co.uk.

What's the journey like?

Step 1, take the overnight cruise ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam with DFDS or Hull to Rotterdam with P&O, with private en suite cabins, restaurants, bars, cinema.  If travelling with DFDS from Newcastle, a transfer bus takes you from IJmuiden ferry terminal to Amsterdam Centraal station next morning.  If travelling with P&O from Hull, a transfer bus takes you from Rotterdam Europoort ferry terminal to Rotterdam Centraal, from where frequent Dutch trains run to Utrecht.

Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) at Newcastle   A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

DFDS Seaways Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) about to sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam.  The ferry also has deluxe Commodore class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.  See the video.

 

A standard Seaways class cabin with shower & toilet on DFDS Princess of Norway from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam   Cabin on P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam at Rotterdam Europoort.  The ferry also has deluxe class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.

 

A standard outside cabin with shower & toilet on P&O's Pride of Rotterdam from Hull to Rotterdam.

Step 2, take the daily Nightjet sleeper train from Amsterdam to Linz, Vienna or Innsbruck.

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

The Nightjet sleeper train to Vienna, boarding at Amsterdam Centraal.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photo Video of deluxe room

 

Same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car.

3. Travel from Vienna to Bratislava by Regional Express train

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, seen below about to leave from Vienna Hauptbahnhof.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more comfortable Slovakian car if you can! More photos, tips & information about Vienna-Bratislava trains.

The train from Vienna to Bratislava, at Vienna Huaptbahnhof...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, seen about to leave from Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, whilst the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.

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Vienna to Bratislava by fast ferry

As well as the hourly Vienna-Bratislava train service, you can travel between Vienna and Bratislava by fast Twin City Liner river boat, city centre to city centre along the scenic Danube.

Traveller Andrew Clayton reports:  "We chose the Danube fast ferry option rather than the train and paid €30 each one-way for unreserved seats on a weekday midday Vienna-Bratislava sailing with TwinCity Liner.  We bought the tickets in person the day before travelling at the booking office at the quayside at Schwedenplatz.  It's a leisurely 10 minute walk with wheelie bag from Stephansplatz.  Only the front five rows in the main cabin can be reserved.  Seats upstairs outside are only bookable on the day and if the weather is fine.  It's worth remembering that the boat travels at up to 70km/h so it can get a bit breezy on the upper deck!  There is generous space to stow luggage at the rear of the main cabin on the starboard side.  On the first part of the trip on the Danube canal, you must remain seated. Once on the Danube itself, you can walk about freely, either to the bar or to the stern deck and upper stern deck.  On our trip, almost all seats were taken at the start but for most of the voyage, the main cabin was nearly empty. The scenery along the way is pleasant rather than spectacular.  At Bratislava, the boat docks about five minutes walk from the southern edge of the old town; nearer to many of the amenities than the railway station which is some way to the north."

Twin City Liner river boat from Bratislava to Vienna   Scenery on the Danube from the Vienna-Bratislava twin City Liner

The Twin City Liner fast boat speeds between Vienna and Bratislava along the scenic Danube river.  Photo courtesy of Andy Brabin of www.discoverbyrail.com.

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Guidebooks

Lonely Planet Czech & Slovak Republics - click to buy at AmazonAmazon logoLonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at AmazonYou should take a good guidebook.  I think that the Lonely Planets and the Rough Guides are about the best out there for the independent traveller.  Both guides have everything you need - plenty of background historical and cultural information, and lots of practical information.  You won't regret buying one of these guides..!

Click the images to buy at Amazon

 

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European Rail Timetable & maps

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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Hotels in Bratislava

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:  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 most 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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