Amsterdam Centraal station
 

Amsterdam Centraal Station, opened in 1889.

 small bullet point  See Amsterdam Centraal station information

 small bullet point  See 1st class lounge information

 small bullet point  Suggested hotels in Amsterdam

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      Click here if your journey starts in another city

      See COVID-19 information & update.

This page explains how to travel by train from Amsterdam to other European cities and how to buy tickets the cheapest way.  Train information is current for 2020.

Where to wait for your train at Amsterdam Centraal:  With a 1st class international ticket including an Interrail or Eurail pass, you can use the NS Lounge at Amsterdam Centraal.  With any class of ticket, I recommend the beautifully retro Grand Cafe 1e Klas on platform 2B for a beer, coffee or meal before your train.  Give my regards to the cockatoo on the bar!

bullet pointBefore you buy your tickets...

Take a moment to read these tips for buying European train tickets.  They answer the usual questions, "Do I need to book in advance or can I just buy at the station?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just buy a €39 point-to-point ticket online?".   Click here to understand how far ahead you can buy train tickets.

bullet pointEuropean train travel FAQ...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to Interrail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...


Amsterdam to anywhere in the Netherlands...
Dutch double-deck train   Seats on Dutch double-deck train

Dutch double-deck intercity train at Amsterdam.

 

Upper deck seats on a double-deck intercity train.

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Amsterdam to London from €52...

Option 1, by train+ferry from €52...

 

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, 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  

Dinner before bed?  Metropolitan ΰ la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360Ί photo.

Option 2, by direct Eurostar from £40...

Option 3, by intercity train + Eurostar from €59...

Amsterdam to Hull, Newcastle, north of England & Scotland...
Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) at Newcastle   A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

DFDS Seaways sails overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam.  The ferries also have 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 arrived at Rotterdam Europoort from Newcastle.  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.

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Amsterdam to Paris in 3h20 from €35, www.nsinternational.nl...
A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

A Thalys arrived at Paris Nord.  See panorama photos inside a Thalys trainMore info about Thalys.

1st class (Comfort & Premium) seating on Thalys   2nd class seats on a Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam

Comfort & Premium seats, 2+1 across the car.  Larger photo.

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Crossing the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep

The Thalys sweeps across the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep one lazy evening, between Rotterdam & Antwerp.

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Amsterdam to Lyon, Nice, Cannes, Marseille & other destinations in France...

Option 1, by high-speed TGV, changing trains & stations in Paris...

Option 2, by high-speed TGV, changing in Brussels or Marne la Vallιe, by-passing Paris.  Same-station change = no need to cross Paris!

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Amsterdam to Brussels from €26...

There's a choice of two very different train services from Amsterdam to Brussels, a high-speed book-in-advance one & a classic flexible one...

Option 1, by Thalys high-speed train in 1h53, dynamic pricing from €29 to €82...

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

A Thalys to Brussels at Amsterdam Centraal.  See panorama photos inside a Thalys trainMore info about Thalys.

1st class (Comfort & Premium) seating on Thalys   2nd class seats on a Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam

Comfort & Premium seats, 2+1 across car width.  Larger photo.

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Crossing the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep

The Thalys sweeps across the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep one lazy evening, between Rotterdam & Antwerp.

Option 2, by InterCity train in 2h52 for €48.60 on the day or from €26 bought in advance...

InterCity train at Brussels

An InterCity train at Brussels Midi, jointly run by NS & SNCB (Dutch & Belgian railways)...

2nd class seats on an Amsterdam to Brussels InterCity train   1st class seats on an Amsterdam to Brussels InterCity train

InterCity train 2nd class seats.  See larger photo.

 

InterCity train 1st class seats.  See larger photo.

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Amsterdam to Bruges from €30, see the Amsterdam to Bruges page...
A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

A Thalys to Brussels & Paris at Amsterdam Centraal...  See panorama photos inside a Thalys train.

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Amsterdam to Luxembourg from €35.90

Option 1, by high-speed Thalys to Brussels & InterCity (IC) train to Luxembourg - fastest, most comfortable, but inflexible, can be expensive.

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 1, take a high-speed Thalys from Amsterdam to Brussels.  This is a Thalys at Amsterdam Centraal.  See panorama photos inside a Thalys trainMore info about Thalys.

1st class (Comfort & Premium) seating on Thalys   2nd class seats on a Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam

Comfort & Premium seats, 2+1 across car width.  Larger photo.

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Belgian intercity train from Brussels to Luxembourg

Step 2, take a Belgian intercity (IC) train from Brussels to Luxembourg.  This is an IC at Brussels Midi.

2nd class 1st class

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

Option 2, by IC trains - the cheap & flexible option...

InterCity train at Brussels

Step 1, take the hourly InterCity train from Amsterdam Centraal to Brussels Midi.  This is jointly run by NS & SNCB (Dutch & Belgian railways).  There's no catering, so bring your own food & drink.

2nd class seats on an Amsterdam to Brussels InterCity train   1st class seats on an Amsterdam to Brussels InterCity train

InterCity train 2nd class seats.  See larger photo.

 

InterCity train 1st class seats.  See larger photo.

Belgian intercity train from Brussels to Luxembourg

Step 2, take a Belgian intercity (IC) train from Brussels to Luxembourg.  This is an IC about at Brussels Midi.

2nd class 1st class

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

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Amsterdam to Basel, Zurich, Geneva & Switzerland from €37.90...

Option 1, by daytime trains via Germany from €37.90 upwards - Amsterdam to Switzerland in one day...

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

An ICE3M to Frankfurt at Amsterdam.  More information about ICE...

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

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

Option 2, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Cologne - comfortable & time-effective...

Option 3, using the Hannover-Zurich Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective sleeper option...

Option 4, by high-speed trains via Paris...  A fast option, especially to Geneva or Lausanne in western Switzerland, but involves crossing Paris.

Option 5, by Thalys to Brussels, direct TGV to Lyon, and local train to Geneva.  Saves crossing Paris, good if you need to get to Geneva.

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Amsterdam to Venice, Florence, Rome, Milan & Italy from €69...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Milan in a single day...  Milan to Verona, Venice, Florence, Rome or Naples next morning.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, by ICE3 from Amsterdam to Basel.  This is an ICE3M at Amsterdam.  More information about ICE...

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

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

Lake Maggiore, seen from a Milan to Basel train

Step 2, by ETR610 EuroCity train from Basel to Milan via the Gotthard main line through the Alps...  You'll pass a lake or two.  This is Lake Maggiore, seen from the dining-car of a northbound Milan to Basel train over an excellent lunch of salmon tagliatelle & excellent (but expensive!) Swiss red wine.  More information about ETR610 trains.

Restaurant car of a tilting 'Pendolino' train from Geneva to Milan.   Meal on a Swiss EuroCity train between Switzerland & Milan

The restaurant car.

 

Dinner in the diner?

1st class table for two   1st class seats on an ETR610 train

2nd class table for four, ideal for families...

 

1st class seats, 2+1 across car width.  See larger photo.

ETR610 EuroCity train at Milan Centrale

Buongiorno Milano!  The EuroCity reaches Milano Centrale, and you've reached Italy with no airports & no flights...

Option 2, Amsterdam to Venice by daytime trains to Munich then Nightjet sleeper train to Italy.  A time-effective option with dinner in Munich...

Amsterdam to Venice...

High-speed ICE3 train at Amsterdam Centraal   ICE2 train, 2nd class

An ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal platform 2...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

ICE3 train, 1st class   Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Larger photo.

 

ICE3 bistro.  See current month's menu.

The Nightjet train from Vienna to Venice, arrived at Venice Santa Lucia

The Nightjet sleeper train from Munich, arrived at Venice Santa Lucia.  See more nightjet information, photos & video.

Nightjet deluxe sleeper, 2-bed   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   4-berth couchette compartment from Cologne to Vienna

2-berth deluxe sleeper.  More info about Nightjet trains.

 

...en suite toilet & shower.

 

4-berth couchettes...

Sunrise as the sleeper train crosses the causeway into Venice

Sunrise as the Munich-Venice Nightjet crosses the causeway over the lagoon into Venice.  Courtesy of Andreas Wiedenhoff.

Amsterdam to Milan, Verona, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples...

High-speed ICE3 train at Amsterdam Centraal   ICE2 train, 2nd class

An ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal platform 2...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

ICE3 train, 1st class   Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Larger photo.

 

ICE3 bistro.  See current month's menu.

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Italy   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

Nightjet train from Munich to Italy.  This is a sleeping-car on an Austrian Nightjet train...

   

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen.  Couchettes are the economical option, flat bunks with rug & pillow.

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families.  Larger photo.

Option 3, Amsterdam to Innsbruck by Nightjet sleeper train, then Innsbruck to Italy through the scenic Brenner Pass - scenic & time-effective...

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Innsbruck   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

Step 1, ICE to Cologne & Nightjet train to Innsbruck.  This is an ΦBB Nightjet train using cars taken over from City Night Line...

   

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen.  Couchettes are the economical option, flat bunks with rug & pillow.

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families.  Larger photo.

The restaurant car on a EuroCity from Innsbruck arrived at Verona.  You don't need to book a table, just go along and sit down.  Dining on the move as the scenery glides by is one of the pleasures of travelling on trains like this...

Austrian second class seats   Austrian second class seats   Austrian first class seats

Second class seats, mostly in 6-seat compartments with side-corridor like this, but some cars are open-plan saloons...

 

First class leather seats.  On a few trains you'll find 6-seat compartments too....

Mountains on the Brenner route...

Scenery (and vineyards!) on the Brenner route   Scenery on the Brenner route

Vineyards, mountains and castles south of Brenner as the train heads for Trento & Verona...

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...  See the Brenner Pass scenery video here.

Option 4, Amsterdam to Italy via the Gotthard route - with overnight stop in Heidelberg.

Option 5, Amsterdam to Italy via Munich & the scenic Brenner Pass - with overnight stop in Munich.

Option 6, Amsterdam to Italy by daytime trains via Paris from €64.  Fast & comfortable, although involves crossing Paris by metro or taxi...

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Amsterdam to Barcelona, Madrid & Spain from €74...

Option 1:  Amsterdam to Barcelona in a single day by high-speed train, no airports, no flights and lots to see:  Breakfast in Amsterdam, lunch in Paris, dinner in Spain!  Overnight hotel in Barcelona, on to Madrid, Alicante, Malaga or Seville next day.

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 1, Amsterdam to Paris by Thalys.  Above, a Thalys has arrived at Paris Nord.  See panorama photos inside a Thalys trainSee more info about Thalys.

1st class (Comfort & Premium) seating on Thalys   2nd class seats on a Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam

Comfort & Premium seats, 2+1 across the car.  Larger photo.

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Crossing the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep

The Thalys sweeps across the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep one lazy evening, between Rotterdam & Antwerp.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

Step 2, Paris to Barcelona by TGV Duplex.  Here, a TGV Duplex is boarding at Paris Gare de LyonSee more information, photos & video about the Paris-Barcelona train journey.

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

Cafe-bar on upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes.

 

2nd class seats on the upper deck.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360Ί photo.

First class a TGV Duplex upper deck   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class seats on upper deck, a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.  360Ί photo.

 

A TGV Duplex at Barcelona Sants.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

Lunch from the cafe-bar on the train to Barcelona   The hilltop cathedral at Beziers

Dinner from the cafe-bar...

 

View from the train, passing Bιziers...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Perpignan to Girona, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canigou.

Option 2:  Amsterdam to Barcelona by high-speed train with an overnight stop in Paris.  As option 1, but with an overnight stop to break up the journey.

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Amsterdam to San Sebastian from €63...

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Amsterdam to Lisbon, Porto & Portugal from €122...

On the Sud Express from Hendaye to Lisbon...  See more photos & information.

To Morocco by train...   En route to Morocco by train: gran classe 2-bed sleeper (day mode)   en route to Morocco by train: Gran Classes 2-bed sleeper (night mode)   Paris to Madrid & Barcelona by trainhotel: Gran Classe sleepers have a private shower and toilet

The Sud Express, about to leave Irun on the Franco-Spanish frontier, bound for Lisbon...  Courtesy of Ron Baker See panorama photo...

 

Gran Clase sleeper, in evening mode with the seats folded out...

 

....return from the bar to find the beds made up...

 

Gran Clase private toilet & shower...

Sud Express trainhotel cafe-bar...    

The trainhotel's cafι-bar serves drinks & food.  Grab a barstool early, it gets crowded later on!

 

4-berth sleepers (Turista Cama) are cosy & inexpensive, converting from beds to seats.  See 360Ί photo of 4-berth sleeper.

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Amsterdam to Andorra...
Intercite de nuit overnight train   Intercite de nuit couchette

The intercitι de nuit overnight train from Paris to Latour de Carol has 1st class 4-berth & 2nd class 6-berth couchettes, each with lightweight sleeping-bag & mineral water...

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Amsterdam to Cologne, Frankfurt or anywhere in Germany from €19.90...
ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

An ICE3M to Dusseldorf, Cologne & Frankfurt at Amsterdam Centraal.  More information about ICE...

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

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

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Amsterdam to Berlin from €37.90...
Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity train.  More information about these Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   2nd class on the Intercity

Lunch in the bistro car...

 

2nd class seats...

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Amsterdam to Munich from €37.90...

Option 1, by Amsterdam-Munich Nightjet sleeper train - the most time-effective option:..

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Munich   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as now used on the Austrian Nightjet train from Amsterdam to Munich...

   

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Option 2, by daytime trains...

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

An ICE3M to Frankfurt at Amsterdam.  More information about ICE...

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

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

Option 3, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Cologne from €37.90.  Comfortable & time-effective...

  • Travel from Amsterdam to Cologne by comfortable ICE train, for example one leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 18:38 and arriving Cologne Hbf at 21:15.  Or take an earlier train and spend an evening in Cologne.

  • Stay overnight in Cologne.  The good & inexpensive Ibis Hotel Kφln-am-Dom is ideal as it's part of Cologne Hbf itself, with an entrance to the left of the main station entrance - many of its rooms have a cathedral view.  Also near the station with good reviews are the Breslauer Hof Am Dom, Hotel Domspitzen, CityClass Hotel Europa am Dom, Hilton Cologne, Excelsior Hotel Ernst am Dom.

  • Then travel by any morning train to Munich you like:  For example, the 06:44 from Cologne Hbf arrives Munich Hbf at 11:08, you can have breakfast in the restaurant car.  Or have a leisurely breakfast at your hotel and book a later train, they leave every hour or better.

  • Fares for the whole journey start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class if you book as explained below...

  • The cheapest way to book is at German Railways www.bahn.de, enter Amsterdam Centraal to Munich Hbf then click Add intermediate stops and put Cologne Hbf in the via box with your desired stopover duration in the hh:mm box.

    Why not allow time for a wander round Cologne, visiting the cathedral right next to the station?  You can add a stopover of up to 48h duration.  Adjust the departure time and stopover duration to get earlier or later trains for each part of the journey with a longer or shorter overnight stop in Cologne.

    You print your own ticket (on A4 paper or US Letter size is fine) or can show it on your smartphone or laptop.

  • Tip:  Take the scenic route!  If you have an extra hour, take the scenic route along the Rhine Valley from Cologne southwards, rather than the faster high-speed line.  Simply click Add intermediate stops again and enter Koblenz leaving duration as zero.  You will now be routed via the twisting Rhine Valley line past castles, vineyards, river boats, and the legendary Lorelei Rock.  Indeed, you could make Koblenz the stopover instead of Cologne if you like, booking Amsterdam to Munich with Koblenz in the via box and stopover duration say 10 hours..  Sit on the left hand side going south as that's the side the river will be.  See the Rails Down the Rhine page for more information, photos & video.

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Amsterdam to Vienna & Linz from €49.90...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train - the most time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

The Nightjet sleeper to Vienna, arrived at Vienna Hbf More information about Nightjet trains.

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

 

The 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 sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Option 2, Amsterdam to Vienna in a single day from €49.90...

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

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

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 can choose to be served at your seat.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!

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

You'll glimpse the Inn and Danube rivers from the Frankfurt-Vienna ICE...

Option 3, by daytime trains from €49.90 with overnight stop in Cologne or Nuremberg...

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Amsterdam to Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €37.90...

Option 1, take the Amsterdam-Austria Nightjet sleeper train - the most time-effective option:..

1 or 2 bed sleeper on Nightjet train to Vienna   en suite shower & toilet in deluxe sleeper   Comfortline sleeping-car as now used on Nightjet trains

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as now used on the Austrian Nightjet train from Amsterdam to Innsbruck.  More information about Nightjets.

   

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Option 2, by daytime trains from €37.90...

Option 3, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Cologne.  Comfortable & time-effective...

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Amsterdam to Legoland, Odense & Copenhagen from €49.90...

The sleeper train from Amsterdam to Copenhagen was discontinued in 2014, but you can easily travel by comfortable daytime trains...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Copenhagen in a single day from €49.90.

Option 2, Amsterdam-Copenhagen with an overnight stop in Hamburg, from €49.90...

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Amsterdam to Osnabruck & Osnabruck to Hamburg by Intercity train.  More information about these Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   2nd class on the Intercity

Lunch in the bistro car...

 

2nd class seats...

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

Hamburg to Copenhagen by Danish IC3...  This is the late afternoon Hamburg-Copenhagen IC3 leaving platform 5 at Hamburg Hbf on a busy summer day.  The yellow stripe above the windows indicates first class, located at one end of both 3-car units.  More information about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

Boarding a Danish IC3 train at Hamburg Hbf...

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

2nd class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen   A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...

2nd class seats on a IC3 train.  Larger photo.

 

An IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg.

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Amsterdam to Stockholm & Gothenburg from €59.90...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Stockholm with an overnight stop in Hamburg, from €59.90...

Option 2, Amsterdam to Stockholm with an overnight stop in Copenhagen, from €59.90...

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

2nd class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen   IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg

2nd class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

 

Boarding a train to Copenhagen in Hamburg.

125 mph tilting 'SJ2000' from Copenhagen to Stockholm, at Copenhagen station SJ2000 2nd class seats

A Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train boarding at Copenhagen main station...

 

2nd class seats on an X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm.

SJ2000 train   SJ2000 buffet car seating area   SJ2000 self-service buffet car.

X2000 bistro car...

 

X2000 bistro car seating area...

 

Bistro self-service...

Winter scenery fro a Copenhagen-Stockholm train

Winter scenery from a train between Copenhagen & Stockholm. Courtesy of Radoslav Sharapanov

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Amsterdam to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, via Hamburg & Copenhagen - by train all the way...

Option 2, Amsterdam to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo Color Line cruise ferry - the most comfortable way to Oslo...

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.  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.

View from Color Line ferry to Oslo

Wake up to this....

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Amsterdam to Helsinki & Finland...

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Amsterdam to Prague & the Czech Republic from €37.90...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Prague by train in a single day - why not spend a few hours in Berlin?

  • Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone or laptop.  Easy!

    Tip:  To find the easiest journeys, click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin Hbf, you can enter a stopover duration if you like.  Then click More means of transport and change admit changes to direct connections in both sections.  You will now see only convenient journeys with one easy change of train at Berlin's magnificent hauptbahnhof.

    It's also worth checking Amsterdam-Prague prices at the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz as they sometimes have cheaper prices than the Germans for exactly the same trains, and you also print your own ticket.  See my tips for using cd.cz.

  • Why not build in some time in Berlin? 

    This breaks up the trip, there are left luggage lockers available and Berlin Hbf is just 10-15 min walk from the Reichstag & Brandenburg Gate, so even a couple of hours stopover is a worthwhile experience.  If you took the 07:00 from Amsterdam, you could spend 13:22-16:59 exploring Berlin, reaching Prague at 21:26.  To book a ticket with a stopover, simply use www.bahn.de, click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin and enter a desired stopover duration in the hh:mm box.  With the cheap advance tickets, you can programme in up to 2 stopovers, each up to 48 hours.  You can't add a stopover if you use cd.cz, unless you buy each leg of the trip separately of course.

Option 2, by day trains with an overnight stop in Berlin - more time-effective, with a chance to see Berlin.

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Step 1:   Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train...

 

The bistro car on an Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train.  Treat yourself to lunch!  Larger photo.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   2nd class seats on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

1st class seats on these trains are usually in traditional 6-seater compartments.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class seating on these trains is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Larger photo.

Czech restaurant car on a Berlin to Prague train   Lunch in the restaurant car between Berlin & Prague

Step 2, Berlin to Prague by EuroCity train...  A meal in the Czech restaurant car as the Berlin-Prague express snakes along the beautiful Elbe river south of Dresden.  Most Berlin-Prague trains use Czech carriages like this, a few use Hungarian air-conditioned carriages.  See more photos, tips & info for the Berlin to Prague train ride.  Photo courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

More cliffs along the river Elbe

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Amsterdam to Bratislava & Slovakia from €60...

Option 1, using the Amsterdam-Vienna Nightjet sleeper train - the most time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

The Nightjet sleeper to Vienna, arrived at Vienna Hbf More information about Nightjet trains.

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

 

The 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 sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Option 2, Amsterdam to Bratislava in a single day from €46.90...

Option 3, by train to Berlin then sleeper to Bratislava.  A comfy & time-effective option...

Option 4, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

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Amsterdam to Budapest from €69.80...

Option 1, using the Amsterdam-Vienna Nightjet sleeper train - the most time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

The Nightjet sleeper to Vienna, arrived at Vienna Hbf More information about Nightjet trains.

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

 

The 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 sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Option 2, Amsterdam to Budapest in a single day...

  • If you leave at around 07:00 or 08:00, you can travel from Amsterdam Centraal to Budapest Keleti in a single day, arriving late evening.  The journey involves superb ICE trains for much of the way, with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  A chill-out day!

  • Fares start at €56.90 in 2nd class or €99.90 in 1st class with a German Railways through ticket.

  • Go to the German Railways website www.bahn.de and book from Amsterdam Centraal to Budapest Keleti with an 07:00 start time set.  Look for options with the fewest changes and a saver fare shown.  Tip: I recommend selecting the specific station Budapest Keleti, not the generic BUDAPEST.

    Tickets are sent by post to any address worldwide for a few euros fee.  Tip: To get print at home tickets, split the booking into Amsterdam-Frankfurt & Frankfurt-Budapest.  This will change the price as you'll then be buying 2 tickets, but you should get an digital ticket for both sectors.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

An ICE3M to Germany at Amsterdam.  More information about ICE...

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

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

Option 3, by daytime train to Berlin then Hungarian sleeper train to Budapest.  Also a comfy & time-effective option...

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Budapest on the EuroNight sleeper train Metropol leaving Berlin Hbf at 18:43 and arriving Budapest Keleti at 08:35, sleeping in a comfortable Hungarian sleeping or couchette car, see the Hungarian sleeping-car video.

    Fares start at €49 with a couchette in a 6-berth compartment, €59 with a couchette in a 4-berth compartment, €79 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper with washbasin, €99 in a 2-bed sleeper with washbasin or €129 in a single-bed sleeper with washbasin.

    Book the sleeper at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at.  Bookings usually open up to 90 days ahead and you print your own ticket.

Option 4, by daytime trains to Munich then Hungarian sleeper train to Budapest.  Another time-effective option with dinner in Munich...

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Munich by comfortable daytime ICE trains with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  for example leaving Amsterdam Centraal around 12:38, changing at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to arrive Munich Hbf around 20:07.

    Have dinner in Munich before boarding your sleeper, for typical Bavarian food & beer try www.augustinerkeller.de at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

    Book this train at either www.thetrainline.com or the German Railways website  www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket or can load it into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.

High-speed ICE3 train at Amsterdam   ICE2 train, 2nd class

An ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal platform 2...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo

ICE3 train, 1st class   Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Larger photo.

 

ICE3 bistro.  See current month's menu.

The sleeper train to Budapest   Sleeper compartment in the Hungarian sleeping-car from Munich to Budapest

Step 2, take the sleeper train to Budapest.  Here, the Kalman Imre is about to leave Munich...

 

2-bed sleeper. Larger photo

6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   Couchette car on the Kalman Imre to Budapest

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

Hungarian couchette car at Munich

Option 5, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Munich.  If you prefer daytime trains and a hotel to sleepers...

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam Centraal to Munich Hbf on any daytime trains you like, from €39 booked at www.bahn.de.  There are many options, including ones taking 7h52 by comfortable German ICE train with one easy change.  You can leave Amsterdam Centraal as late in the day as 14:38 arriving Munich at 22:06.  You print your own ticket (on A4 paper, or US Letter size is fine) or can show it on your smartphone or laptop.

  • Stay overnight in Munich The Sofitel Munich Beyerpost, Eden Hotel Wolff, InterCity Hotel or (budget) the Pension Locarno are all right next to Munich Hbf with good or great reviews.

  • Day 2, travel from Munich to Budapest by modern Austrian railjet train in 7h15 from €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class also booked at www.bahn.de.  Trains leave every 2 hours, the 07:23 from Munich Hbf will get you to Budapest Keleti at 14:19, but by all means have a leisurely breakfast and take the 09:29 departure arriving 16:19.  Railjets have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi. You print your own ticket, but in this case the ticket must be printed it cannot be shown on a screen.

    Look out for views of Salzburg citadel as you cross the river Salzach approaching Salzburg station.  If you like, you can incorporate a stopover in Salzburg of a few hours or a day or two at no extra charge using the Add intermediate stops feature.  Left luggage lockers are available.

Option 6, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

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Amsterdam to Sighisoara, Brasov & Bucharest from €109...

Option 1, via Budapest...

Option 2, via Vienna...

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train as shown in the Amsterdam to Vienna section above.  Book this as shown.

  • Spend a day in Vienna, left luggage is available.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Romania on the EuroNight sleeper train Dacia Express, leaving Vienna Hbf at 19:42 every evening and arriving next day in Sighisoara 10:34, Brasov 13:35 & Bucharest Gara de Nord at 16:04.

    The Dacia Express has modern & comfortable Romanian sleeping-cars (1, 2 & 3 bed compartments, including a couple of deluxe sleepers with shower & toilet) and couchettes (4-berth & 6-berth compartments).  There's wonderful almost Alpine scenery through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest, a real treat...

    Book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at for as little as €49 with a couchette in a 6-berth compartment, €69 with a bed in a 3-berth sleeper, €89 with a bed in a 3-berth sleeper or €149 with a bed in a single-berth sleeper all to yourself.

    In the search results, look for the direct train marked D with no changes.  If it says not available you can't book it, but if a sparschiene fare is shown you can.  You collect tickets from  an ΦBB ticket machine in Vienna.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the consist for this train, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria & click D, then look for Dacia.

Dacia Express at Vienna   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

The Dacia Express boarding at Vienna Hbf.  Always book a couchette, not just a seat.  Couchettes convert from bunks at night to seats for day use.

4 or 6 berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Sleeper on the Dacia Express   Dacia Express at Sighisoara

A 1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper with washbasin.  Larger photo.

 

The sleeping-car of the Dacia Express arrived at Sighisoara.  Sleepers convert from beds to private sitting rooms for day use.  Courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest  

Enjoy breakfast in the bar-bistro eastbound, or an evening beer westbound, as a bar-bistro is attached in Romania to both the Ister & Dacia ExpressBar-bistro photos courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

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Amsterdam to Ljubljana & Slovenia or Zagreb & Croatia from €72...

Option 1, using the Amsterdam-Munich Nightjet sleeper train then scenic EuroCity train to Ljubljana & Zagreb...

  • Step 1, travel overnight from Amsterdam to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 19:30 and arriving Munich Hbf at 07:11 next morning.  See important Covid-19 update about this Nightjet service.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned Comfortline sleeping-car with nine 1, 2 & 3-berth standard compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet. There are toilets & a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

    Fares start at €59.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €69.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem, small booking fee) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at (same prices, a bit more fiddly, no booking fee).  Bookings open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, now leave Munich Hbf at 08:17 by air-conditioned Austrian railjet train, there's a quick and simple cross-platform change at Villach onto a waiting Slovenian & Croatian EuroCity train called the Sava, arriving Lesce-Bled on Lake Bled at 13:50, Ljubljana at 14:32 and Zagreb at 17:12.  Book this journey online at www.bahn.de with fares from €39.  Ignore any departures marked Bus in the search results as these are buses.  The train ride is a wonderfully scenic journey across Austria and along the beautiful River Sava between Ljubljana and Zagreb, enjoy it!

    Booking tip:  If you don't see any cheap fares from Munich to Ljubljana or Zagreb using bahn.de (for example, if it says No special fares available), try going to the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and booking from Salzburg to Ljubljana or Zagreb on exactly the same train (the train leaves Salzburg about 1h55 after leaving Munich), then using www.oebb.at again to add a ticket from Munich to Salzburg on the same train.

    Important:  Engineering work affecting the Munich-Ljubljana-Zagreb route until at least 10 July 2021...  Major engineering work has closed the Karawanks Tunnel between Austria & Slovenia until at least 10 July 2021, and normal train service is suspended.  To find alternatives, run a Munich-Ljubljana or Munich-Zagreb enquiry at the German Railways site www.bahn.de.  You'll find Munich-Ljubljana services with 1 change at Villach onto a rail replacement bus.  You'll find Munich-Zagreb journeys by train via the alternative Maribor route with 1 or 2 changes.

Option 2, by daytime ICE train to Munich, overnight stop, then scenic EuroCity train to Ljubljana & Zagreb...

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Munich by luxurious ICE trains, there are various departures every day, the best journeys are the ones with just one change.   You can leave Amsterdam Centraal as late as 14:38 or so, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf and arrive Munich Hbf at 22:06, but by all means take an earlier train and have a leisurely evening in Munich.

    Fares start at just €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

  • Stay overnight in MunichThe Sofitel Munich Beyerpost, Eden Hotel Wolff, InterCity Hotel or (budget) the Pension Locarno are all right next to the station with good or great reviews.

  • Step 2, leave Munich Hbf at 08:17 by air-conditioned Austrian railjet train, there's a quick and simple cross-platform change at Villach onto a waiting Slovenian & Croatian EuroCity train called the Sava, arriving Lesce-Bled on Lake Bled at 13:50, Ljubljana at 14:32 and Zagreb at 17:12.

    If you'd like a morning in Munich, there's a later 12:18 EuroCity train direct to Lesce-Bled, Ljubljana and Zagreb.

    Book this train at www.bahn.de (use this special link) with fares from €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  The scenery across Austria is wonderful and the journey along the river Sava between Ljubljana and Zagreb is a delight.

    Booking tip:  If you don't see any cheap fares from Munich to Ljubljana or Zagreb using bahn.de (for example, if it says No special fares available), try going to the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and booking from Salzburg to Ljubljana or Zagreb on exactly the same train (these trains leave Salzburg about 1h55 after leaving Munich), then using www.oebb.at again to add a ticket from Munich to Salzburg on the same train.

    Important:  Engineering work affecting the Munich-Ljubljana-Zagreb route until at least 10 July 2021...  Major engineering work has closed the Karawanks Tunnel between Austria & Slovenia until at least 10 July 2021, and normal train service is suspended.  To find alternatives, run a Munich-Ljubljana or Munich-Zagreb enquiry at the German Railways site www.bahn.de.  You'll find Munich-Ljubljana services with 1 change at Villach onto a rail replacement bus.  You'll find Munich-Zagreb journeys by train via the alternative Maribor route with 1 or 2 changes.

A railjet train about to leave Munich Hbf

The 08:17 departure from Munich is a smart Austrian railjet across Austria to Villach on the Austrian-Slovenian border...  This is a railjet about to leave Munich Hbf...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

Railjet is Austrian Railways premier train...  More photos & information about Railjet trains

 

Economy class on railjet, in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

Scenery in the Austrian Alps between Munich & Ljubljana

Through the Austrian Alps...  Clinging to the mountainside high in the Austrian Alps, the railjet snakes along between snow-capped mountains, absolutely wonderful.,,

If you use the morning train from Munich, there's a quick & simple cross-platform change of train at Villach onto a Slovenian & Croatian train called the Sava...

  2nd class seats on the Munich-Zagreb train

...along the Sava river in Slovenia.  Now across the border in Slovenia, the EuroCity train runs along the pretty River Sava all the way to Ljubljana & Zagreb...

 

Comfortable seats:  The 2nd class seats in the Slovenian cars are arranged 2+1 abreast, the same as 1st class!

Scenery between Ljubljana & Zagreb

More lovely scenery along the Sava between Ljubljana & Zagreb...

The EuroCity train 'Sava' from Munich to Ljubljana & Zagreb  

The EuroCity train Sava, arrived at Zagreb.

 

More scenery along the Sava between Ljubljana & Zagreb.

Option 3, by daytime trains to Munich then the Croatian sleeper train to Zagreb.  A time-effective option with dinner in Munich...

  • Step 2, take the comfortable Croatian sleeper train Lisinski leaving Munich Hbf at 23:20 and arriving Zagreb at 08:35 next morning.

    It has a modern Croatian air-conditioned couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments and a modern air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car with comfortable 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, see the photos below and the Croatian sleeper video here.

    Fares start at €49 with a couchette in 6-berth, €59 with a couchette in 4-berth, €89 in a 2-bed sleeper or €129 in a single-bed sleeper.

    Book this sleeper at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at.  Bookings usually open up to 90 days ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Important:  Munich-Ljubljana-Zagreb sleeper train cancelled until at least 10 July 2021...  Major engineering work has closed the Karawanks Tunnel between Austria & Slovenia until at least 10 July 2021, and the Munich-Zagreb sleeper train is temporarily cancelled.  Please use another option until this work is completed and the sleeper train resumes, for example option 4 below.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Munich by ICE with one easy change in Frankfurt. ICEs have a restaurant, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Above, an ICE3M at Amsterdam Centraal.  More information about ICE...

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

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

The 'Lisinski' sleeper train from Zagreb to Munich, at Zagreb main station   Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb

Step 2, Munich to Zagreb by sleeper.  The modern air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car of the Lisinski from Munich to Zagreb has 10 compartments with washbasin, each of which can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth room, with toilets at the end of the corridor.  Above left, the sleeper arrived at Zagreb.  See larger sleeper photo...

4-berth couchettes on Munich to Zagreb train   Couchette car on Munich to Zagreb train, at Munich

The couchette car on the Lisinski has modern air-conditioned 6-berth and 4-berth compartments.  Above right, the westbound train is seen boarding at Zagreb. See panorama photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

Wake up to scenery like this between Ljubljana & Zagreb, along the river Sava...

Option 4, using the Amsterdam-Vienna nightjet sleeper train, morning in Vienna, EuroCity train to Zagreb. 

This avoids the Karawanks Tunnel engineering work!  It's a slower option, if only because of the morning at leisure in Vienna, but it's straightforward & comfortable.

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 19:30 every evening, arriving Vienna Hbf 09:19.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet sleeper train has an air-conditioned Comfortline sleeping-car with nine 1, 2 & 3-berth standard compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet. There are toilets & a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

    The train travels along the famous Rhine Valley between Koblenz (23:46) and Mainz (00:39), so if you're still awake and your compartment happens to be on the left-hand side of the train, switch off the lights and watch the Rhine pass by, mountains, vineyards, castles & the legendary Lorelei Rock lit by moonlight.  Wonderful!

    In Vienna, you've the best part of a day to enjoy the city.  Left luggage lockers are available.

    Book this sleeper at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, international payment cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways site www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly, in €, no booking fee).  Bookings open up to 180 days ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Zagreb by EuroCity train Croatia, leaving Vienna Hbf at 15:58 and arriving Zagreb at 22:28. 

    For Ljubljana, change at Maribor onto a Slovenian InterCity train, arriving Ljubljana at 22:00.

    The EuroCity train has comfortable air-conditioned Austrian coaches, and an Austrian restaurant car.  In summer when it's light, enjoy the wonderful scenery over dinner in the restaurant car, including a ride over the famous UNESCO-listed Semmering Railway south of Vienna, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semmering_railway.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €49.90 in 1st class.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, international payment cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways site www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly, in €, no booking fee).  Bookings usually open up to 90 days ahead and you print your own ticket.

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train, seen here at Vienna Hbf More information about Nightjet trains.

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

 

The 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 sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

The Croatia train from Zagreb to Vienna

Step 2, Vienna to Zagreb on the EuroCity train Croatia:  This is the northbound Croatia in Zagreb...

 

1st class open-plan seating as used on the Croatia.  1st class seats in 6-seat compartments are also available.

 

2nd class compartment as used on the Croatia.  Seats in open plan cars are also available...

Austrian restaurant car   Meal in an Austrian restaurant car on a Munich-Verona train

The elegant restaurant car.  See larger photo.

Dinner with wine on board...

Scenery from the train on the Semmering Railway

The Semmering Railway...  Shortly after calling at Vienna Neustadt, the Vienna-Zagreb train travels over the 41km (25 mile) Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage site.  You'll get these great views southbound in summer when it's light in the evening, and all year round from the northbound train.  Read more about the famous Semmering Railway at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semmering_railway.  Sadly, this slow, curvaceous and steep section of line will be by-passed in the mid-2020s when the new Semmering Base Tunnel opens, though this could save up to 90 minutes.

More scenery on the Semmering Railway   More scenery on the Semmering Railway

The train snakes its way over the Semmering Railway, summiting near Semmering itself at 898m (2,946 feet) above sea level.

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Amsterdam to Belgrade, Sofia, Montenegro...

The line between Budapest and Belgrade is currently blocked by long-term track upgrading work, so the way to go is via Zagreb, as follows.

  • Step 2, take the comfortable Croatian sleeper train Lisinski leaving Munich Hbf at 23:20 and arriving Zagreb at 08:35 next morning.  It has a modern Croatian air-conditioned couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments and a modern air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car with comfortable 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, see the photos below and the Croatian sleeper video here.

    Fares start at €49 with a couchette in 6-berth, €59 with a couchette in 4-berth, €89 in a 2-bed sleeper with washbasin or €129 in a single-bed sleeper with washbasin.

    Book this sleeper at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or the Austrian Railways site www.oebb.at.  Bookings usually open up to 90 days ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Important:  Munich-Ljubljana-Zagreb sleeper train cancelled until at least 10 July 2021...  Major engineering work has closed the Karawanks Tunnel between Austria & Slovenia until at least 10 July 2021, and the Munich-Zagreb sleeper train is temporarily cancelled.  Please use another option until this work is completed and the sleeper train resumes.

  • Step 3, travel from Zagreb to Belgrade by train, leaving Zagreb at 13:04 and arriving Novi Beograd at 20:17 & Belgrade Centar at 20:25.

    This train has air-conditioned Serbian carriages with comfortable 2nd class seats, but no 1st class.  There's no catering car, so bring a picnic and some beer or wine.

    The fare is around €29 bought at the station in Zagreb or paid on board the train, but tickets cannot be bought online.

    Tip:  Although Belgrade Centar is slightly closer to the city centre, you have to rely on a single bus line.  Trams 7 & 9 link Novi Beograd station with the site of the now-defunct old Belgrade station on the edge of the old city every 5-10 minutes so you may prefer to get off at Novi Beograd and take a tram, see the Belgrade station page for more information.

  • Step 4 for Sofia, stay overnight in Belgrade and take the train from Belgrade to Sofia next day (day 3) arriving in the evening.  See the Belgrade to Sofia page for schedule, fares & how to buy tickets.

  • Step 4 for Montenegro, transfer to Belgrade Topcider station and either take the overnight sleeper Lovcen to Podgorica and Bar arriving in the morning on day 3, or stay overnight in Belgrade and take the daytime train Tara next day.  See the Belgrade to Montenegro page for schedule, fares & how to buy tickets.

The 'Lisinski' sleeper train from Zagreb to Munich, at Zagreb main station   Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb

The sleeping-car on the Lisinski:  The modern air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car of the Lisinski from Munich to Zagreb has 10 compartments with washbasin, each of which can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth room, with toilets at the end of the corridor.  Above left, the sleeper arrived at Zagreb.  See larger sleeper photo...

4-berth couchettes on Munich to Zagreb train   Couchette car on Munich to Zagreb train, at Munich

The couchette car on the Lisinski has modern air-conditioned 6-berth and 4-berth compartments.  Above right, the westbound train is seen boarding at Zagreb. See panorama photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

Wake up to scenery like this between Ljubljana & Zagreb, along the river Sava...

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Amsterdam to Warsaw, Krakow & Poland from €37.90...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Warsaw in a single day - why not spend a few hours in Berlin on the way?

Option 2, Amsterdam to Krakow using the Berlin-Krakow sleeper - why not spend a few hours in Berlin?

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train with bistro, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 11:00 and arriving Berlin Hbf 17:34.  See the Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train page for tips, photos of the train and things to see along the way.

    By all means leave Amsterdam on the earlier 07:00 or 09:00 departures to have more time in Berlin, there are left luggage lockers available and Berlin Hbf is just 10-15 min walk from the Reichstag & Brandenburg Gate, so even a few hours stopover is a worthwhile experience.

    Book this train from €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class at the German Railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Krakow by sleeping-car, leaving Berlin Hbf at 18:43, arriving Krakow Glowny (main station) nice and early (well, early...) at 04:15 next morning.

    This train has two seats cars and a safe & comfortable Polish sleeping-car bound for Krakow & Przemysl.  The sleeping-car has 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin plus two deluxe compartments with 1 or 2 berths & en suite toilet & shower.  There are no couchettes on this train and no restaurant car, so bring a picnic & bottle of wine along, or have an early dinner in Berlin.

    Prices start at €39 with a bed in a 3-berth, €54 with a bed in a 2-berth or €79 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.

    Book the Berlin-Krakow sleeper using the German Railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.  You'll see this train in the search results twice, once marked EC (EuroCity = seats) and once marked  EN (EuroNight = sleeper).  You must select the one marked EN.

    You can also  book this sleeper online at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.  If you have any problem with oebb.at or bahn.de, book by phone, in the UK call German Railways on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04.

    Tip:  You may find that it's not possible to book a deluxe sleeper.  PKP have found they cannot always provide their most modern type of sleeper, sometimes operating a nicely refurbished older sleeper with all regular compartments instead, so they play safe and book all compartments as standard with washbasin.  If you end up in a deluxe it's a bonus!

Option 3, Amsterdam to Warsaw or Krakow with overnight stop in Berlin - time-effective & a chance to see Berlin.

  • For Krakow...

    The direct Berlin-Krakow EuroCity train Wawel makes a welcome return from 13 December 2020:  Day 2, travel from Berlin to Krakow by air-conditioned EuroCity train Wawel, leaving Berlin Hbf at 10:37 every day, arriving Katowice at 16:48 & Krakow Glowny at 17:51.  The Wawel is comfortable & air-conditioned with restaurant car, treat yourself to lunch and a beer or two.

  • Fares from Amsterdam to Warsaw or Krakow start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €56.90 in 1st class, all on one ticket.

  • Book from Amsterdam to Warsaw or Krakow at www.bahn.de, but to get the overnight stop in Berlin, click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin Hbf and a suitable stopover duration, say 10 hours.  Adjust the stopover duration and departure time to get the trains you want each side of Berlin.  You print your own ticket or load it into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.

Amsterdam-Berlin InterCity   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Step 1, Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train...

 

The bistro car.  Larger photo.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   2nd class seats on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

Step 2, Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train, seen here boarding at Berlin Hbf...

1st class car on the Berlin to Warsaw train.   2nd class open plan seating on the Berlin to Warsaw train

1st class compartment car...

 

2nd class open-plan car.  Some seats are in compartments.

 

The bar...

 

Decent food, served on proper china...

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Amsterdam to Kiev & Ukraine...
  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 15:00 and arriving at Berlin Hbf at 21:22.  Fares start at €37.90 booked at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket.  By all means take an earlier train for a leisurely afternoon or evening in Berlin, the station is just 15 minutes walk from the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Meininger Hotel or InterCity Hotel are ideal as they are right next to Berlin Hbf and a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag or a 15-minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate, relatively inexpensive and get good reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, try the famous & historic Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin right next to the Brandenburg Gate.  If you're on a tight budget, try the cheaper Motel One Berlin-Hauptbahnhof just behind the station or see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:37 daily arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:32, from €29.90 also booked at www.bahn.de and also with print-at-home tickets.

    On Mondays to Saturdays you can also take the earlier 05:43 EuroCity train from Berlin arriving Warsaw 11:28, giving you a few hours to explore, see Warsaw Centralna station & city information.  Warsaw's historic old town is a 20 minute walk from Centralna station - if you fancy a modest splurge, the celebrated Ufukiera restaurant (www.ufukiera.pl) is excellent and right on the square in the heart of Warsaw's old town.  The Palace of Culture (a wedding cake style Soviet skyscraper and distinctive Warsaw landmark, www.pkin.pl) is right next to the station and has a viewing terrace on the 30th floor.

  • Day 2, travel from Warsaw to Kiev on the Kiev Express sleeper train leaving Warsaw Centralna at 18:05 every day and arriving Kiev at 11:00 next morning.  This train has comfortable Ukrainian 1, 2 & 3 bed sleepers with washbasin.  There's no restaurant car, so take a picnic and perhaps some wine or beer.

    The fare is around €46 in a 3-bed sleeper if you manage to book via the Ukrainian Railways website.  If you have to book via Polrail it costs around €57 including a bed in a 3-berth sleeper, €66 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €110 in a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.

    To buy tickets, first see if you can book online with Ukrainian Railways at booking.uz.gov.ua/en - but please, please, please read the important notes here which explain how to book this train using that website.  If that doesn't work for you, book with reliable Polish agency Polrail at http://booking.polrail.com.  Tickets can be collected in Warsaw or (at extra charge) shipped to any address worldwide.  Polrail are also pretty good at arranging the return reservation back from Kiev as they have close contacts with Ukrainian Railways.

  • To book onward trains from Kiev to Odessa & other places in Ukraine, see the Ukraine page.

The Kiev Express has modernised Ukrainian sleeping-cars with 2-berth & 3-berth compartments.  All bedding is supplied, and washrooms and toilets are at the end of the corridor.  Berths convert to seats for daytime use.  A smartly-uniformed Ukrainian railways sleeper attendant travels with each car.  Photos courtesy of www.railbookers.com

The Kiev Express   1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment   Each compartment has a washbasin

Boarding in Warsaw...

 

A sleeper compartment...

 

...with washbasin.

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Amsterdam to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia

Option 1, using the daily Warsaw-Moscow sleeper train...

  • Day 1, take the 15:00 InterCity train from Amsterdam Centraal arriving Berlin Hbf at 21:22, with fares from €37.90 booked at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket.  By all means take an earlier train for a leisurely afternoon or evening in Berlin, trains also leave Amsterdam for Berlin at 09:00, 11:00 & 13:00.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Meininger Hotel or InterCity Hotel are ideal as they are right next to Berlin Hbf and a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag or a 15-minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate, relatively inexpensive and get good reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, try the famous & historic Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin right next to the Brandenburg Gate.  If you're on a tight budget, try the cheaper Motel One Berlin-Hauptbahnhof just behind the station or see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2 morning, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:37 daily arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:32.  Fares start at €29.90, also booked at www.bahn.de.

    Alternatively, there's an earlier 05:43 EuroCity train on Mondays to Saturdays arriving 11:28, giving you time to explore Warsaw, see Warsaw Centralna station & city information.   Warsaw's historic old town is a 20 minute walk from Centralna station - if you fancy a modest splurge, the celebrated Ufukiera restaurant (www.ufukiera.pl) is excellent and right on the square in the heart of Warsaw's old town.  The Palace of Culture (a wedding cake style Soviet skyscraper and distinctive Warsaw landmark, www.pkin.pl) is right next to the station and has a viewing terrace on the 30th floor.

  • Day 2 evening, travel from Warsaw to Moscow by Russian sleeper train, leaving Warsaw Centralna at 19:15 every day and arriving Moscow Belorussky at 16:58 next day (day 3 from Amsterdam).  You can check times at the Russian Railways website www.rzd.ru.

    This train uses impressive Austrian-built sleeping-cars with 4-berth compartments built in 2014, see photos of this type of sleeper here & see panorama photo inside one of these modern sleepers.  Each compartment can be sold as 1st class 1-berth, 1st class 2-berth or 2nd class 4-berth.  The train consist of two or three sleeping-car which start their journey in Prague.  There's a bistro car in Poland and a Russian restaurant car is attached between Brest (on the Polish/Belarus border) & Moscow.

    You can book this train by contacting reliable Polish train ticketing agency www.polrail.com - their booking system is at http://booking.polrail.com.  Tickets can be collected in Warsaw or (at extra charge) shipped to any address worldwide.

  • Alternatively, you can book with Russian Railways at www.rzd.ru although it's a little quirky and may not accept some overseas credit cards.

    Don't forget to arrange both your Russian visa and Belarus transit visa as the train runs via Belarus.  See my important update about travel to Russia through Belarus.

  • For St Petersburg it's best to travel via Moscow.  Moscow to St Petersburg takes as little as 3h50 by daytime Sapsan trains, or can be done an a number of traditional overnight sleepers.  See the train travel in Russia page to buy tickets within Russia.

A modern Russian sleeping-car of the sort used on the Polonez   A 2-berth or 4-berth compartment in daytime mode

Option 2, using the new Berlin-Moscow Strizh (Swift) Talgo sleeper train, twice a week...

  • Step 1, take the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 11:00 and arriving Berlin Hbf at 17:22 with fares from €39.  Or by all means take one of the earlier trains at 07:00 or 09:00 and have more time in Berlin.  Book this train at www.bahn.de.

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Moscow by direct Russian sleeper train, leaving Berlin Hbf at 20:08 on Mondays & Saturdays, arriving at Moscow Belorussky station at 21:24 next day.

    This train is an articulated Spanish-built Talgo train branded Strizh (Russian for swift) which started running in 2016.  It has ordinary seats, 2nd class 4-berth sleepers, 1st class 1 or 2 berth sleepers with washbasin and deluxe 1 or 2 berth sleepers with en suite shower & toilet.  There's a restaurant & bistro car.  See photo of 2-berth sleeper on this train.

    Russian track gauge is 5', but most of Europe (including the UK) is 4' 8½", so at Brest on the Belarus frontier the Talgo train runs through a special gauge-changing shed and the axles automatically adjust to the new gauge.  Once in Russia, the scenery is rolling hills, birch tree forests, and villages of small wooden houses.  Approaching Moscow, you may glimpse the plaques on the station building marked '1812' and '1942' as the train passes through the small station of historic Borodino...

    You can book the Berlin-Moscow train at the Russian Railways website www.rzd.ru and print your own ticket, it's a little fiddly but usually works, or you can easily buy it online with English language after-sales service if you need it, using the Real Russia online system here.

    Don't forget to arrange both your Russian visa and Belarus transit visa as the train runs via Belarus.  See my important update about travel to Russia through Belarus.

The Strizh sleeper train from Berlin to Moscow

The Strizh sleeper train from Berlin to Moscow, seen here boarding in Berlin.  It's a Spanish-built articulated Talgo train - note the relatively small size of each car, just one axle between each car.  Courtesy of Stuart Wilks & Jaap van Ginkel.

2-bed sleeper with washbasin, night   2-bed sleeper with washbasin, day mode   Complimentary toiletry pack in a Strizh sleeper

2-berth sleeper with washbasin, in night & daytime modes...

 

Complimentary toiletry pack...

Option 3:  Amsterdam to Moscow via Kiev - avoiding the need for Belarus visa...

  • It's not difficult to get a Belarus transit visa, but many people want to avoid the bureaucracy and cost of yet another visa, and you can easily travel via Kiev, as most EU nationals don't need a visa for Ukraine.

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Kiev as shown in the Amsterdam to Kiev section above.

  • Step 2, travel from Kiev to Moscow by overnight train.  There are several night trains and times vary by date, but for example train 6 leaves Kiev around 19:36 and arriving in Moscow Kievskaya station next morning at around 10:09, with 2-berth and 4-berth sleepers available.  Check times for your date using www.bahn.de/en.  Note that there's also a direct train from Kiev to St Petersburg, but this passes through a small corner of Belarus, requiring a Belarus visa.

  • Use reliable Polish ticketing agency www.polrail.com to book both your Warsaw-Kiev and Kiev-Moscow trains.  You collect tickets in Warsaw.

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Amsterdam to Athens, Corfu & Greece...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Athens by train & ferry via Italy - the leisurely option with an Adriatic cruise thrown in...

  • The best and most comfortable option is to pick up a ferry in Bari.  The whole scenic and relaxing journey from Amsterdam to Athens will take around 3 nights, depending how the connections work out on your particular date.

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Milan in Italy as shown above, using whichever option you like best.  Stay overnight in Milan.

  • Step 2, take the 07:35 Frecciabianca train from Milan Centrale to Bari Centrale.  In Bari it's a 10 minute taxi ride or 25 minute walk to the ferry terminal next to Bari's pleasant old town.  I'd allow at least 3 hours between train and ferry in Bari, including the 2-hour ferry check-in.

  • Step 3, sail across the Adriatic from Bari to Corfu, Igoumenitsa or Patras in Greece aboard a luxurious cruise ferry booked at www.superfast.com.  She normally sails daily except Sundays at 19:30 arriving 13:00 next day.

  • Step 4, from Patras it's a few hours bus ride to Athens.  There's a bus/train combined timetable from Patras to Athens on www.trainose.gr but it takes a bit of finding.  Buy the bus ticket when you reach Patras.

  • The Milan to Athens part of this journey is explained in more detail on the London to Greece page, just ignore the London to Milan part of the recommended journey!

A 2 or 4 berth cabin on the Italy-Greece ferry  

2 or 4-berth cabin with private toilet & shower.

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

At sea, passing Cephalonia & Ithaca.  This is what travel to Greece should be like!

Option 2, Amsterdam to Athens overland by train via Munich & Belgrade - a rail adventure across the Balkans...

  • You can also travel overland by train from Amsterdam to Athens via Belgrade.  It'll take 3 nights, with all the romance and adventure of an epic train ride through the Balkans.

  • Travel from Amsterdam to Munich by daytime ICE trains from €37.90 booked at www.bahn.de.

  • In Munich you pick up the London-Munich-Belgrade-Thessaloniki-Athens route explained in detail on the London to Greece page.

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Amsterdam to Istanbul & Turkey...

This is an overland adventure, taking 3 nights...

Option 1, via Munich, Budapest & Bucharest...

Option 2, via Belgrade & Sofia...

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bullet pointRailbookers custom-made tours

If you just want to buy train tickets at the cheapest price, book online as shown on this page.  However, if you want someone to sort out your whole trip for you, arranging all your trains, hotels and transfers, and to look after you if anything affects your arrangements, the people to talk to are Railbookers.  Railbookers can tailor-make a train trip around Europe to your own specification.  Just tell them what you want and they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels.  They get good reports and a lot of repeat business!  They now have offices in the UK, North America and Australia.

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

US flag  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

Canadian flag  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

New Zealand flag  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.


bullet pointHotels in Amsterdam

Book your accommodation in Amsterdam early, it can be difficult to find rooms at peak periods at short notice, the better & cheaper rooms quickly sell out.  You'll also find prices vary significantly even at the same hotel, depending on the season and what's going on in the city.

The ultimate Amsterdam hotel:  The Grand

The ultimate place to stay is The Grand, now the Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam.  From around €300 per night upwards for a double room, this is one of the most famous hotel in Amsterdam, 5 minutes walk from Dam Square and 10 minutes walk from Centraal Station.  For something smaller, slightly cheaper but equally special, try the Canal House boutique hotel, 15 minutes walk from the station, €205 upwards.

Mid-range to top end...

The Park Plaza Victoria Hotel gets great reviews and is very convenient as it's on the corner just across the road from Amsterdam Centraal station, doubles from around €135 upwards per night.  In a similar price bracket, try the Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre, 6 minutes walk from Amsterdam Centraal and also with excellent reviews. 

Mid-range...

The Hotel Luxer is cheaper, from around €109 upwards per night, and also just 7 minutes walk from Centraal station with great reviews.  Also try The Times Hotel, Hotel Tourist Inn or Daily Rooms Hotel.  Or the Hotel Sebastians, around €115 per night, equally well located 10 minutes walk from Centraal station, another hotel which gets great reviews.

Cheap but good...

There are many cheap hotels, including many near the station, but very few get outstanding reviews.  For ones that do, try the floating boat hotel AmiciA (formerly Friesland), around €45 per night 15 minutes walk from the station or the Rembrandt Hotel from €80, 10 min walk from Dam Square though 20 minutes walk from the station.

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

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

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.


bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN...

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

UK flagIn the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

UK flagIf you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

UK flagYou can use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

  Australian flag New Zealand flag  Irish flag    If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

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

A Curve card saves on foreign transaction fees...

 

Curve card

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee.  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 at time of writing.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  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 - I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card - they'll give you £5 cashback through that link, too.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

 


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