Amsterdam Centraal station
 

Amsterdam Centraal Station, opened in 1889.

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This page explains how to travel by train from Amsterdam & the Netherlands to other European cities and how to buy tickets.  Information current for 2024.

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...

bullet pointStarting from other Dutch cities

On this page I explain journeys assuming you are starting from Amsterdam, but you can start from anywhere in the Netherlands.

 

Map of international train routes leaving the Netherlands

Click for larger map

Reproduced with the kind permission of the European Rail Map people.  Buy the map at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu

You can join the train at other stations

(1)  Eurostar (formerly Thalys) trains from Amsterdam to Brussels & Paris also pick up at Rotterdam Centraal.

(2)  Intercity trains from Amsterdam to Osnabruck & Berlin also pick up at Hilversum, Amersfoort, Apeldoorn, Deventer, Almelo, Hengelo.

(3)  ICE trains from Amsterdam to Düsseldorf, Cologne & Frankfurt also pick up at Utrecht & Arnhem.

(4)  Nightjet sleepers from Amsterdam to Zurich, Munich, Innsbruck & Vienna also pick up at Utrecht & Arnhem.

You can book from almost any station in the Netherlands

On this page I explain how to book from Amsterdam.  Here's how to book if you are starting at another Dutch city:

(1)  Journeys heading to or through Germany, where I say book at int.bahn.de:

The German Railways website int.bahn.de can book from almost any Dutch station at an inclusive price.  So if I say 'Book from Amsterdam to Munich' and you were travelling from Groningen, book from Groningen to Munich and it'll work out connecting trains & issue a Groningen to Munich through ticket for one inclusive price.

Tickets are normally good for any train on the Dutch domestic section, I'd take an earlier train than the one the system suggests in case of delay.  Better a 35-minute connection & a coffee than a missed 5-minute connection.

(2)  Journeys to or via Brussels or Paris:

www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com, www.nsinternational.nl can book you from anywhere in the Netherlands just as easily as Amsterdam.  In this case they add a separate ticket for the Dutch domestic train.

www.sncf-connect.com can book the Eurostar trains from Amsterdam & Rotterdam to Brussels, Paris & beyond, but can't book from other Dutch stations.

(3)  Journeys using Nightjet sleeper trains:

www.thetrainline.com, www.raileurope.com & www.oebb.at at can book Nightjet sleeper journeys to Switzerland, Munich & Austria from any Dutch station, not just from Amsterdam.  They add a separate ticket for the Dutch domestic connection.

However, when catching a sleeper I'd want at least 45 minutes between trains rather than the bare minimum the system allows, so take an earlier connecting train than the one the system shows.  The Dutch ticket will be good for any train that day.



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

Upper deck seats on a double-deck intercity train.

 

Dutch double-deck intercity train.

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Amsterdam to London & UK

Option 1, Amsterdam to London by Eurostar from £40 - just 4 hours centre to centre at up to 300 km/h

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.

Option 2, Amsterdam to London & Cambridge by train+ferry - the ferry alternative, with overnight 'sleeper' option

 

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 à la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360º photo.

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Amsterdam to Hull or Newcastle

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 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.

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Amsterdam to Dublin & Ireland

Option 1, Amsterdam to Dublin via London & Holyhead - daily departures

Option 2, Amsterdam to Dublin via Paris & Cherbourg - several departures a week

Irish Ferries' WB Yeats

Sail from Cherbourg to Dublin aboard Irish Ferries' WB YeatsWB Yeats photos courtesy of Irish Ferries.

Irish Ferries' WB Yeats club cabin   Irish Ferries' WB Yeats deluxe cabin

Club cabin on the WB Yeats with shower & toilet.

 

Deluxe cabin on the WB Yeats with shower & toilet.

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Amsterdam to Paris in 3h20 from €35, www.eurostar.com
A Thalys train from Brussels at Paris

A Eurostar at Paris Nord.  360º photos inside the train More about Eurostar (formerly 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 train sweeps across the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep one lazy evening, between Rotterdam & Antwerp.

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Amsterdam to Strasbourg

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Amsterdam to Bordeaux, Toulouse, Biarritz, Lourdes, Nantes, Brittany

Option 1, via Paris - involves changing trains & stations in Paris, but the fastest, most frequent & usually cheapest option

Option 2, avoiding Paris - less frequent, takes longer, usually costs more, but avoids crossing Paris if that's important to you

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Amsterdam to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Cannes, Nice & other French cities

Option 1, via Paris - involves changing trains & stations in Paris, but fastest, most frequent & usually cheapest

A Thalys train from Brussels at Paris

Step 1, Amsterdam to Paris Nord by Eurostar, seen here at Paris Nord.  More about Eurostar (formerly 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.

TGV Duplex train from Paris to Nice

Step 2, Paris to Cannes, Antibes or Nice by double-deck TGV Duplex, seen here at Paris Gare de Lyon.

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

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

 

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

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

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

 

A TGV Duplex.  You enter on the lower deck, with 9 stairs up to top deck.

Option 2, avoiding Paris - avoids crossing Paris, but less frequent and usually costs more

Option 3, Amsterdam to Toulon, Cannes, Antibes, Nice using the Paris-Nice overnight train

A Thalys train from Brussels at Paris

Step 1, Amsterdam to Paris by Eurostar, seen here at Paris Nord.  360º photos inside the trainsMore about Eurostar (formerly 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.

Intercite de nuit overnight train at Paris Austerlitz

Step 2, Paris to the South of France by Intercité de nuit seen here at Paris Austerlitz More about Intercités de Nuit.

Intercite de Nuit 2nd class 6-berth couchette   Intercite de Nuit 2nd class couchette

2nd class 6-berth couchettes.

 

A cosy 2nd class couchette.

Intercite de Nuit 1st class couchette   Intercite de Nuit 1st class 4-berth couchette

1st class couchette, made up for the night.

 

1st class 4-berth couchettes.

The Paris to Nice sleeper running along theMediterranean coast

The Paris to Nice Intercité de Nuit running along the Côte d'Azur in the morning sun.  Photo courtesy of Noam auf Gleis 13.

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Amsterdam to Brussels from €25, see the Amsterdam to Brussels page
A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

A train to Brussels at Amsterdam Centraal.  See panorama photos inside the train.

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Amsterdam to Bruges from €29, see the Amsterdam to Bruges page

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Amsterdam to Antwerp

Option 1, Amsterdam to Antwerp by Eurostar (formerly Thalys) high-speed train - fastest, but less flexible

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

A Eurostar to Brussels at Amsterdam Centraal.  See panorama photos inside the trainMore about Eurostar (formerly 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 train sweeps across the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep one lazy evening, between Rotterdam & Antwerp.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Antwerp by Intercity train - a bit slower, more flexible

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 Luxembourg from €35.90

Option 1, Amsterdam to Luxembourg by Eurostar (formerly Thalys) to Brussels & InterCity to Luxembourg - fastest, most comfortable, expensive at short notice.

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 1, take a high-speed Eurostar from Amsterdam to Brussels.  This is a Eurostar at Amsterdam Centraal.  See panorama photos inside the train More about Eurostar (formerly 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 Luxembourg station.  There's no catering, so bring your own food & drink.  There are just two power sockets per coach, one at each end of the car above head height.

2nd class on a Brussels-Luxembourg train 1st class on a Brussels-Luxembourg train

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Luxembourg by Intercity (IC) trains - cheaper, more flexible

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.

2nd class on a Brussels-Luxembourg train 1st class on a Brussels-Luxembourg train

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, Amsterdam to Switzerland by Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective overnight option

AB33 sleeping-car on the Amsterdam-Zurich Nightjet train

The sleeping-car on the Amsterdam-Zurich sleeper train.  More about NightjetsWatch the video.

Single-bed sleeper on Amsterdam-Zurich train   Single-bed sleeper on Amsterdam-Zurich train

Single sleeper, washbasin behind door on right. Larger photo.

 

Breakfast next morning.  Larger photo.

Couchette compartment on Amsterdam to Switzerland Nightjet train   Couchette compartment on Amsterdam to Switzerland Nightjet train

4 or 6 berth couchettes, bedding supplied.  Larger photo.

 

Couchette car from Amsterdam arrived at Basel.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Switzerland by high-speed train from €37.90 upwards - the fast daytime option

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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.

Option 3, Amsterdam to Switzerland by classic train via the scenic Rhine Valley - the slower, scenic daytime option

EuroCity train from Zurich

EuroCity train at Zurich HB.

2nd class seats on Munich-Zurich EuroCity train   Restaurant car on EC9 Hamburg-Cologne-Zurich train

2nd class seating.  Larger photo.

 

The Swiss restaurant car:  Treat yourself!  Larger photo.

Swiss panorama car, Munich to Zurich train   1st class seats in panorama car, Munich to Zurich train

Panorama car with 1st class seats, only on train EC9.  Make sure you reserve a seat in car 263 as there is just one 1st class panorama car and two other regular 1st class cars.  See advice on booking it Larger photo.

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle seen from the train

Pfalzgrafenstein castle on the Rhine.  See the Rails Down the Rhine page for more information.

Option 4, Amsterdam to Switzerland with overnight stop in Cologne - comfortable & time-effective

Option 5, Amsterdam to Switzerland by high-speed trains via Paris - a useful option, especially to Geneva or Lausanne, involves crossing Paris.

Option 6, Amsterdam to Switzerland by Eurostar to Brussels, direct TGV to Lyon, and local train to Geneva.  Saves crossing Paris, good for Geneva.

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

Option 1, Amsterdam to Italy using the daily Amsterdam-Zurich sleeper train - a time-effective sleeper then a scenic daytime ride

AB33 sleeping-car on the Amsterdam-Zurich Nightjet train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Zurich by Nightjet sleeper train.  This is the sleeping-car boarding at Amsterdam Centraal.  More about NightjetsWatch the video.

Single-bed sleeper on Amsterdam-Zurich train   Single-bed sleeper on Amsterdam-Zurich train

Single sleeper, washbasin behind door on right. Larger photo.

 

Breakfast next morning.  Larger photo.

Couchette compartment on Amsterdam to Switzerland Nightjet train   Couchette compartment on Amsterdam to Switzerland Nightjet train

4 or 6 berth couchettes, bedding supplied.  Larger photo.

 

Couchette car from Amsterdam arrived at Basel.

EuroCity train from Zurich to Milan at Zurich HB

Step 2, Zurich to Milan by EuroCity train, through the Alps.  Operated by a modern Giruno train, seen here boarding at Zurich HB.  The train passes through the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest rail tunnel, the transit takes just 20 minutes.

1st class on Giruno   Restaurant car on Giruno

Giruno, 1st class.  Larger photo.

 

Restaurant car with bar counter. Larger photo.

2nd class on Giruna   Bar counter in the restaurant car

Giruno 2nd class.  Larger photo

 

Level boarding. Note the destination screen in the door. 

Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan to Zurich train

The Zurich to Milan trains take the Gotthard main line through the Swiss Alps, past Lake Lugano.

Frecciarossa 1000 at Roma Termini

Step 3, Milan to Venice, Florence, Rome or Naples by high-speed Frecciarossa.  This is a Frecciarossa 1000 at Rome TerminiMore about Frecciarossas & explanation of the 4 classes.

Frecciarossa 1000 standard class   Frecciarossa 1000 premium class

Standard class, 2+2 across width.

 

Premium class, 2+2 across width.

Frecciarossa 1000 Business class   Frecciarossa 1000 executive class

Business class, 1+2 across car width.

 

Executive class, with food & drink included.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Milan in a single day.  Overnight stop, then 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 about ICE trains.

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.

Astoro EuroCity train at Milan Centrale

Step 2, by EuroCity train from Basel to Milan through the Alps.  This is a Milan-Basel EuroCity train at Milan Centrale.  More about Switzerland-Milan EuroCity trains.

1st class on a Switzerland to Milan Astoro train   ETR610 restaurant car

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

 

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

Lunch on an ETR610 train   1st class seats on an ETR610 train

Lunch in the restaurant car.

 

2nd class.  Larger photo 360 degree photo.

Lake Maggiore, seen from a Milan to Basel train

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.

Option 3, Amsterdam to Italy using the Stuttgart-Venice sleeper train - Time-effective, with dinner in Stuttgart

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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.

The Nightjet sleeper train from Munich to Venice at Munich Hbf

Step 2, Stuttgart to Venice by Nightjet sleeper trainMore 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 photo Video 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 Nightjet sleeper train

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train.

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.

Option 4, Amsterdam to Italy using the sleeper train from Munich to Milan, Verona, Bologna, Florence, Rome - time-effective, with dinner in Munich

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 about ICE trains.

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.

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

Step 2, Munich to Florence & Rome by Nightjet sleeper train, seen here boarding on platform 11 at Munich Hbf.

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 couchette on Nightjet train

Nightjet couchette car.

 

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

Option 5, Amsterdam to Italy using the Amsterdam-Innsbruck sleeper train and the scenic Brenner route - scenic & time-effective

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Innsbruck by Nightjet sleeper train.  Above, the Nightjet boarding at Amsterdam Centraal.  More 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 photo Video 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 Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train.

EuroCity train to Verona about to leave Innsbruck

Step 2, Innsbruck to Verona, Bologna or Venice by Austrian EuroCity train.

2nd class seats in an open-plan car   Austrian first class seats

2nd class seats, some in open-plan saloons like this, some in 6-seat compartments.

 

1st class leather seats.  You'll also find seats in classic 6-seat compartments.

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

Option 7, Amsterdam to Italy via Munich & the scenic Brenner route - with overnight stop in Munich.

Option 8, Amsterdam to Italy via Paris from €64.  Fast & comfortable, but 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.  Onwards to Madrid, Alicante, Malaga, Granada or Seville next day

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 1, Amsterdam to Paris by Eurostar seen above at Paris Nord.  360º photos inside the trainMore about Eurostar (formerly 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 train 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.  360º photo.

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

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

 

A TGV Duplex.  The 1 near the door indicates 1st class, a 2 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 Béziers.

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 Paris, stay overnight in Paris, Paris to Barcelona & Spain next day

Option 3, Amsterdam to Paris by Eurostar, a French sleeper train to the Spanish border, then onward Spanish trains

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Amsterdam to San Sebastian from €63

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Amsterdam to Ibiza & Mallorca

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Amsterdam to Algeciras & Gibraltar
Madrid-Algeciras train at Madrid Atocha

An Intercity train (formerly branded Altaria), at Madrid Atocha.

Cafe-bar on Madrid-Algeciras train   Turista Plus seats on Madrid-Algeciras train

Cafe-bar, with bar stools.

 

Comfort class seats.

Turista seats on Madrid-Algeciras train   Algeciras station

Standard class seats.

 

Algeciras station, across the road from the bus station.

Bus M-120 for La Linea (Gibraltar's frontier) boarding at Algeciras bus station.   The Rock of Gribraltar, viewed from a taxi approaching La Linea

Bus M-120 boarding at Algeciras bus station

 

Rock of Gibraltar, seen from a taxi near La Linea.

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Amsterdam to Lisbon, Porto & Portugal from €122

Option 1, Amsterdam to Lisbon via Barcelona & Madrid.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Porto & Lisbon via San Sebastian & Vigo - slightly slower, can be cheaper

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Amsterdam to Andorra

Option 1, Amsterdam to Andorra in a day

TGV from Paris Gare Montparnasse to Hendaye, for the train to San Sebastian

Paris to Toulouse by TGV Duplex.  This is a TGV Duplex at Paris Montparnasse. Click the images below for larger photos.

TGV Océane cafe-bar   TGV Océane 2nd class seats

TGV Océane cafe-bar, upper deck car 4 (or 14)

 

TGV Océane 2nd class.

TGV Océane 1st class seats   TGV Océane 1st class seat   TGV Océane 1st class drop-down table

TGV Océane 1st class.  An innovation on TGV Océane, all 1st class seats (except the end ones) rotate to face direction of travel, or can be rotated to make a face-to-face group of 2 or 4 seats.  The drop-down tables open to reveal USB & 2-pin power sockets.

Bus station next to Toulouse Matabiau station   Bus station next to Toulouse Matabiau station

Travel from Toulouse to Andorra by bus, seen at bus stand 15.  The bus station is right next to the rail station.

 

Bus station in Toulouse Matabiau forecourt.  Photos courtesy of Andrew McIntyre.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Andorra using the Paris-Toulouse-l'Hospitalet overnight train

Intercite de nuit overnight train at Paris Austerlitz

Paris to Toulouse or l'Hospitalet by Intercité de Nuit More about Intercités de Nuit.

Intercite de Nuit 2nd class 6-berth couchette   Intercite de Nuit 2nd class couchette

2nd class 6-berth couchettes.

 

A cosy 2nd class couchette.

Intercite de Nuit 1st class couchette   Intercite de Nuit 1st class 4-berth couchette

1st class couchette, made up for the night.

 

1st class 4-berth couchettes.

The castle at Foix

If you choose to go via l'Hospitalet, you stay on the sleeper train as it climbs into the Pyrenees south of Toulouse.  This is Foix, between Toulouse & l'Hospitalet.  The castle is on the right just south of the station.

Mountains in the Pyrenees

Beyond Foix, the sleeper train climbs higher into the mountains.

Mountain   l'Hospitalet station

...and arrives at Andorre-l'Hospitalet station, pictured above right.

Bus station next to Toulouse Matabiau station   Bus station next to Toulouse Matabiau station

Road transport to Andorra.  This is a Toulouse to Andorra bus at Toulouse bus stand 15.

 

The bus station in Toulouse Matabiau forecourt.  Photo courtesy of Andrew McIntyre.

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Amsterdam to Cologne, Frankfurt or anywhere in Germany from €18.90
ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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.

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Amsterdam to Berlin from €37.90

Option 1, Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity train - the daytime option

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

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

Option 2, Amsterdam to Berlin by European Sleeper - the overnight option, 3 times a week

Sleeping-car set up as a single   4 or 6 berth couchette compartment

Private sleeper, can be set up as 1, 2 or 3 bed.

 

Couchette compartment, usable as 4 or 6 berth.

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Amsterdam to Hamburg from €32.90
Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Osnabruck by Intercity train, seen here at Amsterdam Centraal.  Power sockets at all seats and a refreshment trolley.  More about these Intercity trains.

1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

1st class compartment.

 

2nd class.

ICE4 at Hamburg Altona

Step 2, Osnabruck to Hamburg by ICE4.  These come with a waiter-service restaurant car, cafe counter, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  More about ICEs.

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

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

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

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

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Amsterdam to Munich from €37.90

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

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

The Nightjet sleeper train boarding at Amsterdam Centraal.  More 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 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 couchettes   Couchette car on Nightjet sleeper train

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Munich by daytime trains

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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.

Option 3, Amsterdam to Munich with overnight stop in Cologne

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Amsterdam to Vienna from €49.90

Option 1, Amsterdam to Linz & Vienna by sleeper train - the most time-effective option

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

The Nightjet sleeper train boarding at Amsterdam Centraal.  More 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 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 couchettes   Couchette car on Nightjet sleeper train

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Vienna in a single day

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

An ICE-T from Frankfurt to Vienna, at Frankfurt (Main) HbfMore about ICE-T 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 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, Amsterdam to Vienna with overnight stop in Cologne or Nuremberg

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Amsterdam to Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €37.90

Option 1, Amsterdam to Austria by Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective option, recommended:..

The Nightjet sleeper at Innsbruck

Above, a Comfortline sleeping-car on a Nightjet train at Innsbruck.  More 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 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 couchettes   Couchette car on sleeper train

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Salzburg or Innsbruck by daytime trains

Option 3, Amsterdam to Salzburg with overnight stop in Cologne.  Comfortable & time-effective

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Amsterdam to Legoland, Odense & Copenhagen from €49.90

Option 1, Amsterdam to Copenhagen in a single day

Option 2, Amsterdam to Copenhagen with an overnight stop in Hamburg

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Osnabruck by Intercity train, seen here at Amsterdam Centraal.  Power sockets at all seats and a refreshment trolley.  More about these Intercity trains.

1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

1st class compartment.

 

2nd class.

ICE4 at Hamburg Altona

Step 2, Osnabruck to Hamburg by ICE4.  These come with a waiter-service restaurant car, cafe counter, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  More about ICEs.

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

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

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

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen

Step 3, Hamburg to Copenhagen by EuroCity train.  From June 2023, these trains are temporarily being operated by former German Railways intercity cars and a Danish electric locomotive, until new trains being built by Talgo arrive in 2024.  The current trains have 1st & 2nd class, power sockets at seats, but no catering so bring your own food & drink.  More about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

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

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

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

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Amsterdam to Stockholm & Gothenburg from €56.90

Option 1, Amsterdam to Stockholm using the new Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper train - the time-effective option

Hamburg-StockholmSJ EuroNight at Hamburg Altona   6-berth couchette on the Hamburg-Stockholm SJ night train

The inaugural Hamburg to Stockholm SJ EuroNight train in Hamburg on 1 September 2022. The author rode this first departure.  More about this train.

6-berth couchettes.

Larger photo.

Standard sleeper, set up as a double   Hamburg-StockholmSJ EuroNight at Padborg

2-bed sleeper.  Larger photo.

The inaugural train from Hamburg to Stockholm calls at Padborg, just after entering Denmark.

Scenery from the Hamburg to Stockholm train

Typical Swedish scenery on the morning run into Stockholm.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Stockholm with an overnight stop in Hamburg, from €56.90

Option 3, Amsterdam to Stockholm with an overnight stop in Copenhagen, from €56.90

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Osnabruck by Intercity train, seen here at Amsterdam Centraal.  Power sockets at all seats and a refreshment trolley.  More about these Intercity trains.

1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

1st class compartment.

 

2nd class.

ICE4 at Hamburg Altona

Step 2, Osnabruck to Hamburg by ICE4, with restaurant car, cafe counter, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  More about ICEs.

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

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

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

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen

Step 3, Hamburg to Copenhagen by EuroCity train.  From June 2023, these trains are temporarily being operated by former German Railways intercity cars and a Danish electric locomotive, until new trains being built by Talgo arrive in 2024.  The current trains have 1st & 2nd class, power sockets at seats, but no catering so bring your own food & drink.  More about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

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

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

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

An X2000 train at Stockholm Central

Step 4, Copenhagen to Stockholm by tilting 200km/h X2000, seen at Stockholm CentralMore about X2000 trains.

1st class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train 2nd class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

1st class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train   Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

Bistro seating on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

 

Bistro on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

On the Oresund link!

Crossing the impressive Öresund bridge from Denmark to Sweden.

Option 4, Amsterdam to Gothenburg using Stena Line's Kiel-Gothenburg overnight ferry

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Amsterdam to Oslo & Norway

Option 1, Amsterdam to Oslo via Hamburg & Copenhagen - by train all the way

Option 2, Amsterdam to Oslo using the DFDS Copenhagen-Oslo ferry

Option 3, Amsterdam to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo cruise ferry - the most luxurious 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

Option 1, Amsterdam to Helsinki using the Finnlines ferry from Germany to Helsinki - the easiest option

Finnlines ferry Travemunde-Helsinki

Finnlines operate the Finnstar, Finnmaid & Finnlady on the Travemünde-Helsinki route.  Photo courtesy of Hubert Bartkowiak.  Photos below courtesy of Chris Russell.

Cabin on Finnlines ferry Travemunde-Helsinki   Gym on Finnlines ferry   Sauna on Finnlines ferry

Standard cabin.  Larger photo.

 

Gym with a view.

 

Sauna.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Helsinki by train to Stockholm & ferry to Helsinki

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Amsterdam to Prague from €37.90

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

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity trainMore about these Intercity trains.

1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

1st class compartment.

 

2nd class.

EuroCity train to Prague about to leave Berlin

Step 2, Berlin to Prague by EuroCity train, seen here boarding in Berlin.

First class on Prague to Budapest traiin   2nd class compartment on Prague to Budapest traiin

1st class seats.

 

2nd class seats in a compartment car.

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

So civilised!  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 ridePhoto courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Scenery along the river Elbe

Option 2, Amsterdam to Prague using the Amsterdam-Berlin European Sleeper - the most time-effective option, 3 times a week

Sleeping-car

Amsterdam to Berlin by European Sleeper.  This is the stainless-steel sleeping-car about to leave Berlin Hbf. Click the interior photos for larger images.

Sleeping-car set up as a single   4 or 6 berth couchette compartment

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a single.

 

Couchettes, can be sold as 4 or 6 bunk.

Scenery along the river Elbe

Scenery from the EuroCity train between Berlin & Prague.

Option 3, Amsterdam to Prague with an overnight stop in Berlin - breaks up the journey nicely, with a chance to see Berlin.

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Amsterdam to Cesky Krumlov & other Czech destinations

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Amsterdam to Bratislava & Slovakia from €46.90

Option 1, Amsterdam to Bratislava using the Amsterdam-Vienna Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective option, recommended

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train, seen here at Amsterdam CentraalMore 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 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 couchettes   Couchette car on Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Nightjet couchette car.

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

Step 2, Vienna to Bratislava by hourly Regional Express train, seen at Vienna Hbf.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, 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 Slovakian car if you can!  More about these trains.

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

Option 3, Amsterdam to Bratislava using the Berlin-Bratislava sleeper - A comfy & time-effective option

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity trainMore about these Intercity trains.

1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

1st class compartment.

 

2nd class.

EuroNight sleeper train from Berlin to Budapest

Step 2, Berlin to Budapest by sleeper train Metropol, seen here boarding at Berlin Hbf.

Sleeper compartment in the Hungarian sleeping-car from Budapest to Berlin   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a 2 bed.  Larger photo.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

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Amsterdam to Budapest from €56.90

Option 1, Amsterdam to Budapest using the Amsterdam-Vienna Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective option, recommended

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train.  More 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 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 couchettes   Couchette car on Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train.

EuroCity train from Vienna to Budapest, at Budapest Keleti

Step 2, Vienna to Budapest by EuroCity train.

1st class seats on a Hungarian EuroCity train   2nd class seats on a Hungarian EuroCity train

1st class is usually in 6-seat compartments.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class, open-plan saloon type, modernised.  Larger photo.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Budapest in a single day from €56.90

  • If you leave at around 06:00 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.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Go to the German Railways website int.bahn.de and book from Amsterdam Centraal to Budapest Keleti with an 06:00 start time set. 

    Look for options with 2 changes.

    Tip:  I recommend using the specific station Budapest Keleti, as your destination rather than the generic BUDAPEST.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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.

Option 3, Amsterdam to Budapest using the Berlin-Budapest sleeper - Another comfy & time-effective option

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Budapest on the sleeper train Metropol, leaving Berlin Hbf at 19:21 & arriving Budapest Nyugati at 08:29.

    The train has an air-conditioned Hungarian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, an air-conditioned couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and 2nd class seats.  A light breakfast is included in the fare in sleepers.

    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.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, more fiddly, same prices).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity train More about these Intercity trains.

1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

1st class compartment.

 

2nd class.

EuroNight sleeper train from Berlin to Budapest

The Berlin to Budapest sleeper train Metropol, boarding at Berlin Hbf.

Sleeper compartment in the Hungarian sleeping-car from Budapest to Berlin   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a 2 bed.  Larger photo.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Option 4, Amsterdam to Budapest using the Stuttgart-Budapest sleeper - Another time-effective option with dinner in Stuttgart

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Stuttgart by comfortable ICE train.

    Until 15 July 2024, leave Amsterdam Centraal at 12:38, change at Düsseldorf, arriving Stuttgart Hbf 19:22.

    From 16 July 2024, leave Amsterdam Centraal at 12:38, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arriving Stuttgart Hbf 18:38.

    The ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  By all means book the earlier 10:38 departure to have more time in Stuttgart.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, will allow you to buy all your tickets in one place, small booking fee) or the German Railways int.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or show it on your laptop or phone.

    Have dinner in Stuttgart.

  • Step 2, travel from Stuttgart to Budapest by EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre leaving Stuttgart Hbf at 20:29 & arriving Budapest Keleti 09:19.

    The Kalman Imre has an air-conditioned Hungarian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, an air-conditioned Hungarian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats, see more about this sleeper train.  In sleepers, morning tea or coffee is included.

    Fares start at €49.90 with a couchette in a 6-berth, €59.90 with a couchette in a 4-berth, €69.90 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €88.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €129.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (more fiddly, same prices, in €).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Stuttgart 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 about ICE trains.

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.

The sleeper train Kalman Imre from Munich to  Budapest

Step 2, Stuttgart to Budapest by sleeper train.  More about this sleeper train.

The sleeper train from Zurich to Budapest   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

2 bed sleeper, can also be set up as 1 or 3 bed.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes.

Option 5, Amsterdam to Budapest with overnight stop in Munich - if you prefer daytime trains & hotel to sleepers

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Munich on any trains you like, for example leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 14:38, change at Düsseldorf (until 15 July 2024) or Cologne Messe/Deutz (from 16 July 2024), arriving Munich Hbf at 22:10.

    These comfortable German ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  By all means take the earlier 10:38 or 12:38 departures from Amsterdam for more of an evening in Munich.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  You print your own ticket or show it on your laptop or phone.

  • Stay overnight in Munich.  The affordable Eden Hotel Wolff & NH Collection München are across the road from the station's north side exit with great reviews.  Or consider the more upmarket 25 Hours Hotel The Royal Bavarian, Excelsior by Giesel & Mercure City Center.  For a splurge, the luxurious Sofitel Munich Beyerpost occupies the former Royal Bavarian Post Office building of 1896-1900, at the station's south side exit.

    Tip:  For dinner, I recommend the Bavarian food & beer at the Augustiner Keller (www.augustinerkeller.de) at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf, see walking map.

  • Day 2, travel from Munich to Budapest on any railjet train you like.

    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 from Munich arriving Budapest at 16:19, they leave roughly every two hours.

    These swish Austrian railjet trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Look out for views of Salzburg citadel as you cross the river Salzach approaching Salzburg Hbf.  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 Stopover feature at int.bahn.deLeft luggage lockers are available.

    Fares start at €39.90 in 2nd class, €69.90 in 1st class or 84.90 in business class (= premium 1st class).

    Book this at int.bahn.de too.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone.

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Amsterdam to Sighisoara, Brasov & Bucharest from €109

Option 1, Amsterdam to Romania using a sleeper from Budapest

  • Step 2, travel from Budapest to Romania by sleeper train Ister leaving Budapest Keleti at 19:10 & arriving Brasov 08:50 & Bucharest Nord 11:30.

    This sleeper train Ister has an air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin and a Romanian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  There's wonderful almost Alpine scenery through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest, a real treat.  Ister is the ancient name for the Danube.

    Fares start at €39 with a couchette in 6-berth, €46 with a couchette in 4-berth, €69 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €84 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €162 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.  All prices per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.

    Click EN top right for English.  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  For Bucharest type Bucuresti.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    You can also book at the Hungarian Railways website www.mav-start.hu, see my advice on using it.  For Bucharest type Bucuresti.  You show your ticket in the MAV app on your phone.

2-berth sleeper on the Ister   The Ister at Bucharest Nord

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

 

The sleeping-car (vagon de dormit) on the westbound Ister at Bucharest.  Sleepers convert from beds to private sitting rooms for day use.  Courtesy of DiscoverByRail.

Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

The vagon cuseta (couchette car) on the westbound Ister, boarding at Bucharest.  Couchettes convert from bunks at night to seats by day.  Courtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.com.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Romania using a sleeper from 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 lockers are available.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Romania on the sleeper train Dacia Express, leaving Vienna Hbf at 19:42 every evening and arriving next day in Simeria 07:10, Sighisoara 09:13, Braşov 12:36, Ploeşti Vest 14:28 & Bucharest Nord at 15:06.

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

    A Hungarian restaurant car is attached between Vienna and Budapest, treat yourself to dinner with wine.  A bar car is attached in the morning between Arad & Bucharest, serving drinks & snacks.  There's wonderful almost Alpine scenery through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest, a real treat.

    The Dacia Express also conveys a portion from Vienna to Cluj Napoca, also leaving Vienna Hbf at 19:42 and arriving Cluj Napoca at 10:47.  This portion has a Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments, and ordinary seats.

    Fares start at €59 with a couchette in a 6-berth compartment, €69 with a couchette in a 4-berth compartment, €79 with a bed in a 3-berth sleeper, €99 with a bed in a 3-berth sleeper or €159 with a bed in a single-berth sleeper all to yourself.  All per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.

    Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  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 ÖBB ticket machine in Vienna.

    You can also book this train at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.

    Click EN top right for English.  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  For Vienna type Wien, for Bucharest type Bucuresti.  It can book seats, couchettes or sleepers.  For Austria to Romania journeys you can now print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    Tip:  Prices might be cheaper on one website than the other, so check both sites!

    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 sleeper at Vienna   Dacia Express 2-bed sleeper

The Dacia Express sleeping-car at Vienna Hbf.  The Dacia has an air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car of their most modern type.  Each compartment can be sold as a single, double or triple.  Most have a washbasin, two compartments have a shower & toilet.  Beds fold away to form a private sitting room for day use.  Sleeper interior courtesy of Jose Carlos Barbosa.  Larger photo.

Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest   Dacia Express couchette car

The Dacia Express couchette car, boarding at Vienna Hbf.  There is one Romanian couchette car with 4 & 6-berth compartments, bedding provided.  Larger photo.

Scenery in Transylvania

Transylvania:  The Dacia Express crosses rural Transylvania.  Courtesy of @PaliparanDotCom.

Dacia Express Carpathian mountains

The Carpathian mountains:  Almost Alpine scenery between Brasov & Bucharest.  Courtesy of @PaliparanDotCom

Option 3, Amsterdam to Romania with overnight stop in Budapest - if you prefer day trains & a hotel to sleepers

The daytime train from Budapest to Bucharest

The daytime train from Budapest to Bucharest has modern air-conditioned Romanian carriages.  Three cars travel all the way, additional cars are attached whilst in Hungary, and additional cars and a bar car are attached between Drobeta Turnu Severin & Bucharest.

The 'Transylvania' train to Brasov about to leave Budapest   2nd class on the Budapest to Bucharest train

On the left, the daytime train to Bucharest is about to leave Budapest Keleti.

 

Comfortable 2nd class seats on the Budapest to Bucharest train.  There are power outlets under the tables.  Larger photo.

Bar stools on the Budapest to Bucharest train   Bar car on the Budapest to Bucharest train

A bar car is attached between Drobeta Turnu Severin & Bucharest.  Photos courtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.com.

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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 from Amsterdam to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 19:00 and arriving Munich Hbf at 07:06.

    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 €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 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.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at (in €, same prices, more fiddly).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Ljubljana or Zagreb, leaving Munich Hbf at 08:16 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 14:31 and Zagreb at 17:10.

    The train ride is a wonderfully scenic journey across Austria on the Tauern route and along the beautiful River Sava between Ljubljana and Zagreb.  Enjoy!

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €56.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this journey at the German Railways website int.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    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.

Option 2, by daytime trains to Stuttgart and Croatian sleeper train to Ljubljana & Zagreb - time-effective with dinner in Stuttgart

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Stuttgart by comfortable ICE train.

    Until 15 July 2024, leave Amsterdam Centraal at 12:38, change at Düsseldorf, arriving Stuttgart Hbf 19:22.

    From 16 July 2024, leave Amsterdam Centraal at 12:38, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arriving Stuttgart Hbf 18:38.

    The ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  By all means book the earlier 10:38 departure to have more time in Stuttgart.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, using Trainline will allow you to buy all your tickets in one place, small booking fee) or the German Railways int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or show it on your laptop or phone.

    Have dinner in Stuttgart.

  • Step 2, travel from Stuttgart to Ljubljana or Zagreb by sleeper train, leaving Stuttgart Hbf at 20:29 and arriving Lesce-Bled 07:13, Ljubljana 08:09 & Zagreb 10:39.

    The comfortable sleeper train Lisinski  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.

    From 11 Dec to 8 Jan, 22 March to 8 April & 9 May to 29 September 2024, there's a direct Croatian sleeping-car for Rijeka, leaving Stuttgart Hbf at 20:29 & arriving Rijeka 11:17.

    Fares start at €49.90 with a couchette in a 6-berth, €59.90 with a couchette in a 4-berth, €66.90 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €86.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €129.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at (same prices, in €).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Stuttgart 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 about ICE trains.

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.

The 'Lisinski' sleeper train from Munic to Zagreb, boarding in Munich

Step 2, Stuttgart to Ljubljana & Zagreb by sleeper train.  Above, the air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car from Stuttgart to Zagreb.  It has 10 compartments with washbasin, each of which can be used as 1, 2 or 3 berth, with toilets at the end of the corridor.  Compartments convert to a private sitting room for evening or morning use.  A light breakfast is included in the sleeper fare.  The Croatian couchette car is the next vehicle to the right, also modern & air-conditioned with 4 & 6 bunk compartments, ideal for families.  Couchettes convert from bunks to seats for evening or morning use.

Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb   Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb   4 or 6-berth couchettes on train from Munich to Zagreb

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

Set up as a single-berth.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes. 360º photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

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

Option 3, by daytime ICE train to Munich, overnight stop, then scenic EuroCity train to Ljubljana & Zagreb

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Munich on comfortable ICE trains with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, 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, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf and arrive Munich Hbf at 22:10, but by all means take an earlier train and have a leisurely evening in Munich.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  You print your own ticket or show it on your laptop or phone.

  • Stay overnight in Munich.  The affordable Eden Hotel Wolff & NH Collection München are across the road from the station's north side exit with great reviews.  Or consider the more upmarket 25 Hours Hotel The Royal Bavarian, Excelsior by Giesel & Mercure City Center.  For a splurge, the luxurious Sofitel Munich Beyerpost occupies the former Royal Bavarian Post Office building of 1896-1900, at the station's south side exit.

    Tip:  For dinner, I recommend the Bavarian food & beer at the Augustiner Keller (www.augustinerkeller.de) at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf, see walking map.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Ljubljana or Zagreb, leaving Munich Hbf at 08:16 by railjet train, there's a quick & simple cross-platform change at Villach onto a waiting Slovenian & Croatian EuroCity train called the Sava, arriving Lesce-Bled at 13:50, Ljubljana at 14:31 & Zagreb at 17:10.

    The scenery across Austria is wonderful and the journey along the river Sava between Ljubljana and Zagreb is a delight.  If you'd like a morning in Munich, there's a later 12:18 EuroCity train direct to Lesce-Bled, Ljubljana and Zagreb.

    Fares start at €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at int.bahn.de (use this special link).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    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.

A railjet train about to leave Munich Hbf

The 08:16 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.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About.

 

Restaurant car.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

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

This is 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 19:00 every evening, arriving Vienna Hbf 09:17.

    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.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 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.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this sleeper at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Dutch Railways international website www.nsinternational.nl (in €). 

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.  You can also book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (same prices, in €).

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Zagreb by EuroCity train Croatia, leaving Vienna Hbf at 15:58 and arriving Zagreb at 22:20.

    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.

    Important update:  From September 2023 until further notice, you will have to make a quick cross-platform change in Graz.  The restaurant car only runs in the Austrian portion.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €49.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways site www.oebb.at (same prices, a little more fiddly, in €).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train, seen here at Amsterdam CentraalMore 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 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 couchettes   Couchette car on Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train.

EuroCity train Croatia from Vienna to Zagreb

Step 2, Vienna to Zagreb on the EuroCity train Croatia.  This is the Croatia about to leave Vienna Hbf.

 

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

Option 1, Amsterdam to Belgrade & beyond using the Stuttgart-Zagreb sleeper. 

The line between Budapest and Belgrade is currently blocked by long-term track upgrading work, so the way to go is via Zagreb.  The most direct and fastest way is usually to take the Munich-Zagreb sleeper as shown below.

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Stuttgart by comfortable ICE train.

    Until 15 July 2024, leave Amsterdam Centraal at 12:38, change at Düsseldorf, arriving Stuttgart Hbf 19:22.

    From 16 July 2024, leave Amsterdam Centraal at 12:38, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arriving Stuttgart Hbf 18:38.

    The ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  By all means book the earlier 10:38 departure to have more time in Stuttgart.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, will allow you to buy all your tickets in one place, small booking fee) or the German Railways int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or show it on your laptop or phone.

    Have dinner in Stuttgart.

  • Step 2, travel from Stuttgart to Zagreb by sleeper train, leaving Stuttgart Hbf at 20:29 and arriving Zagreb at 10:39 next morning. 

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

    Fares start at €49.90 with a couchette in a 6-berth, €59.90 with a couchette in a 4-berth, €66.90 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €86.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €129.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this sleeper at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the Austrian Railways site www.oebb.at (in €, more fiddly, same prices).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 3, travel from Zagreb to Belgrade by train, leaving Zagreb at 11:04 and arriving Novi Beograd at 18:04 & Belgrade Centar at 18:12.

    This train was suspended due to Covid-19 and remains suspended.

    This train has air-conditioned Serbian carriages with comfortable 2nd class seats, but no 1st class.  There's no catering, 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.

    While the train is suspended, take a bus from Zagreb to Belgrade

    It's a 17-minute 1.3 km walk from Zagreb station to Zagreb bus station, see walking map.

    A Flixbus leaves Zagreb bus station at 14:00, arriving Belgrade bus station at 19:30.

    The fare is around €20, buy a ticket at www.flixbus.com.

  • Step 4 for Sofia, stay overnight in Belgrade and travel from Belgrade to Sofia next day (day 3), 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.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Stuttgart 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 about ICE trains.

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.

The 'Lisinski' sleeper train from Munic to Zagreb, boarding in Munich

Step 2, Stuttgart to Zagreb by sleeper:  Above, the air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car from Stuttgart to Zagreb.  It has 10 compartments with washbasin, each of which can be used as 1, 2 or 3 berth, with toilets at the end of the corridor.  Compartments convert to a private sitting room for evening or morning use.  A light breakfast is included in the sleeper fare.  The Croatian couchette car is the next vehicle to the right, also modern & air-conditioned with 4 & 6 bunk compartments, ideal for families.  Couchettes convert from bunks to seats for evening or morning use.

Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb   Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb   4 or 6-berth couchettes on train from Munich to Zagreb

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

Set up as a single-berth.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes. 360º photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

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

2nd class seats in a Serbian air-conditioned train   The train from Belgrade to Zagreb & Zurich, about to leave Belgrade

Step 3, Zagreb to Belgrade by Serbian train.  There's no catering so bring your own food & drink.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Belgrade & beyond using the Zurich-Zagreb sleeper

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Zurich, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 08:08, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf arriving Zurich HB at 16:00.

    You travel on comfortable ICE trains with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Do not risk any tight connections when catching a sleeper, I'd want at least an hour between trains in Zurich.  Have dinner in Zurich before boarding the sleeper, I recommend the steak-frites at the Brasserie Federal inside Zurich HB.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at either www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, small booking fee, using Thetrainline allows you to buy both tickets together in one place) or the German Railways website int.bahn.de (in €, no fee).  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

  • Step 2, travel from Zurich to Ljubljana or Zagreb by sleeper train, leaving Zurich HB at 19:40 and arriving in Zagreb at 10:39 next morning.

    The train has an excellent air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin), a modern air-conditioned Croatian couchette car (4 & 6 berth compartments) and ordinary seats (not recommended).  Watch the Croatian sleeper video.

    This train will revert to its traditional departure time, 20:40, from 25 October 2024.

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

The Zurich to Zagreb sleeper train boarding at Zurich HB

The Zurich-Zagreb sleeper train boarding at Zurich HB as the sun sets on a summer day.  That's the Croatian couchette car on the right, the Croatian sleeping-car on the left.  See the Croatian sleeper video.

Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb   Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb   4 or 6-berth couchettes on train from Munich to Zagreb

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

Set up as a single-berth.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes. 360º photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana & Zagreb

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

2nd class seats in a Serbian air-conditioned train   The train from Belgrade to Zagreb & Zurich, about to leave Belgrade

Option 3, Amsterdam to Sofia via Bucharest - currently the easiest option for Sofia

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Vienna overnight as shown above, using the Amsterdam-Vienna Nightjet sleeper train.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, a bit more fiddly, same fares).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket or show it on your phone.

  • Day 2, travel from Vienna to Budapest by railjet train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 11:40 and arriving Budapest Keleti at 14:19.

    The swish Austrian railjet train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  By all means take an earlier train if you'd like more time in Budapest, perhaps for lunch.

    Fares start at €19.90 in 2nd class or €29.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, a bit more fiddly, same fares).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket or show it on your phone.

  • Day 2, travel from Budapest to Bucharest on the sleeper train Muntenia, leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:10 and arriving Bucharest Nord at 08:42.

    The Muntenia has 4 & 6-berth couchettes and ordinary seats.  A Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments is attached from Arad (depart 21:04) to Bucharest.  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.

    Fares start at €40 with a couchette in 6-berth or €47 with a couchette in 4-berth.  These are limited-availability advance-purchase fares

    Book this at the Romanian Railways international website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro/en.  You print your own ticket.

    If you want the comfort & privacy of a proper sleeper from Arad to Bucharest, (1) book a 2nd class seat from Budapest to Arad from €17 using bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro/en.  You print your own ticket.  (2) Now book berths in a 1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper from Arad to Bucharest Nord at the Romanian domestic website bilete.cfrcalatori.ro and print your own ticket.

  • Day 3, travel from Bucharest to Sofia by daytime train as shown on the train from Bucharest page.  You leave Bucharest Nord at 10:55 and arrive Sofia Central at 20:10 after a pleasant day meandering across the Danube and through the river valleys of Bulgaria.  In summer it's direct, in winter you have to switch trains at Ruse.  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.

    The fare is around €34.

    Book this at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro/en.  You print your own ticket.

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train.  More 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 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 couchettes   Couchette car on Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train.

A Railjet train at Budapest

Step 2, Vienna to Budapest by railjet, seen here arrived at Budapest Keleti.  More about railjet trains.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About.

 

Restaurant car.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

Step 3, Budapest to Bucharest on the sleeper train MunteniaPhoto courtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.com .

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

2-berth sleeper on the Ister   The Ister at Bucharest Nord

A Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 or 3-bed compartments is attached between Timisoara & Bucharest. Courtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.comLarger photo.

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Amsterdam to Warsaw & Poland from €49.90

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

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity train.  More about these Intercity trains.

1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Lunch in the bistro car.

 

2nd class seats.

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

Step 2, Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train, seen here boarding on platform 11 at Berlin Hbf.

1st class compartment on a Berlin to Warsaw train.   2nd class car on the Berlin to Warsaw train

1st class compartment.

 

2nd class.  Some seats are in compartments.

Restaurant car on the Berlin to Warsaw train

Restaurant car.  You don't need to reserve a table, just go along and sit down.

Food in therestaurant car on the Berlin-Krakow train   Food in therestaurant car on the Berlin-Krakow train

Zurek soup, a tasty starter.

 

Kotlet Schabowy, served on proper china.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Warsaw using the Amsterdam-Berlin European Sleeper - the most time-effective way, runs 3 times a week

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by European Sleeper, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 22:34 on Monday, Wednesday & Friday arriving Berlin Hbf 06:18.  In winter from 7 November 2023 to 24 March 2024 it won't usually run on Wednesdays, see the European Sleeper page.

    The European Sleeper has a comfortable sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed rooms with washbasin, economical couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments and ordinary seats.  Check times at www.europeansleeper.eu as they can vary.  More about the European Sleeper.

    Fares start at €49 in a seat, €79 with a couchette in 6-berth, €99 with a bed in 4-berth, €109 with a bed in 3-bed sleeper, €129 with a bed in 2-bed sleeper, €159 with a bed in single-bed sleeper.  All per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book the sleeper at www.europeansleeper.eu.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead although this can vary.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train, leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:52, arriving Poznan at 12:36 and Warsaw Centralna at 15:14.

    This EuroCity train is a comfortable air-conditioned Polish train with restaurant car serving drinks, snacks and full meals.  Treat yourself to an inexpensive lunch and a beer or two, I recommend the excellent Zurek soup and Kotlet Schabowy.  More about this EuroCity train.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €56.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Buy a ticket for the Amsterdam to Warsaw train at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens 60 days months ahead, you can book the sleeper and leave this until later if necessary.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

Sleeping-car

Step 1, Amsterdam to Berlin by European Sleeper.  This is the stainless-steel sleeping-car at Berlin Hbf. Click the interior photos for larger images.

Sleeping-car set up as a single   4 or 6 berth couchette compartment

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a single.

 

Couchettes, can be sold as 4 or 6 bunk.

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

Step 2, Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train, seen here boarding on platform 11 at Berlin Hbf.

1st class compartment on a Berlin to Warsaw train.   2nd class car on the Berlin to Warsaw train

1st class compartment.

 

2nd class.  Some seats are in compartments.

Restaurant car on the Berlin to Warsaw train

Restaurant car.  You don't need to reserve a table, just go along and sit down.

 

The bar counter.

 

Decent food, served on proper china.

Option 3, Amsterdam to Warsaw with overnight stop in Berlin - breaks up the trip nicely, with a chance to see Berlin.

  • Fares from Amsterdam to Warsaw start at €49.90 in 2nd class or €63.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book from Amsterdam to Warsaw at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    To get the overnight stop in Berlin, click Stopovers and enter Berlin Hbf with a length of stay of (say) 10 hours.

    Adjust the length of stay and departure time to get the trains you want each side of Berlin.

    Booking to Poland normally opens 60 days ahead, but you can book from Amsterdam to Berlin separately up to 6 months ahead if you like.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

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Amsterdam to Krakow from €49.90

Option 1, Amsterdam to Krakow in a single day - possible from 10 December 2023

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 09:59 & arriving Berlin Hbf at 15:51.

    By all means take the earlier 07:51 departure for a more robust connection and time for lunch in Berlin.

    The Intercity train has power sockets all seats & a refreshment trolley.

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train, leaving Berlin Hbf 16:52, arriving Wroclaw 20:56, Katowice 23:05 & Krakow Glowny 23:54.

    The EuroCity train Oder is a comfortable air-conditioned Polish train with a restaurant car serving drinks, snacks & meals.  Treat yourself to an inexpensive dinner with a beer or two, I recommend the excellent Zurek soup & Kotlet Schabowy.  More about this EuroCity train.

  • Fares start at €49.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book from Amsterdam to Krakow at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking to Poland normally opens 60 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity train.  More about these Intercity trains.

1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   1st class compartment on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Lunch in the bistro car.

 

2nd class seats.

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin Hbf

Step 2, Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train Wawel.  This is the Wawel on platform 11 at Berlin Hbf.

2nd class car on the Berlin to Warsaw train   1st class compartment on a Berlin to Warsaw train.

2nd class.  Some seats are in compartments.

 

1st class seats on the Wawel.

Restaurant car on the Berlin to Warsaw train

Restaurant car.  You don't need to reserve a table, just go along and sit down.  Larger photo.

Food in therestaurant car on the Berlin-Krakow train   Food in therestaurant car on the Berlin-Krakow train

Zurek soup - an excellent tasty starter.

 

Kotlet schabowy, served on proper china.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Krakow using the Amsterdam-Berlin European Sleeper - runs 3 times a week

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by European Sleeper, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 22:34 on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays arriving Berlin Hbf at 06:18.  In winter from 7 November 2023 to 24 March 2024 it won't usually run on Wednesdays, see the European Sleeper page.

    The European Sleeper has a comfortable sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed rooms with washbasin, economical couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments and ordinary seats.  Check times at www.europeansleeper.eu as they can vary.  More about the European Sleeper.

    Fares start at €49 in a seat, €79 with a couchette in 6-berth, €99 with a bed in 4-berth, €109 with a bed in 3-bed sleeper, €129 with a bed in 2-bed sleeper, €159 with a bed in single-bed sleeper.  All per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book the sleeper at www.europeansleeper.eu.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead although this can vary.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train, leaving Berlin Hbf 10:52, arriving Wroclaw 15:05, Katowice 17:15 & Krakow Glowny 18:07.

    This EuroCity train is a comfortable air-conditioned Polish train called the Wawel, with restaurant car serving drinks, snacks and full meals.  Treat yourself to an inexpensive lunch and a beer or two, I recommend the excellent Zurek soup & Kotlet Schabowy.  More about this EuroCity train.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €56.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Buy a ticket for the Amsterdam to Krakow train at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens 60 days months ahead, you can book the sleeper and leave this until later if necessary.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

Sleeping-car

Step 1, Amsterdam to Berlin by European Sleeper.  This is the stainless-steel sleeping-car at Berlin Hbf. Click the interior photos for larger images.

Sleeping-car set up as a single   4 or 6 berth couchette compartment

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a single.

 

Couchettes, can be sold as 4 or 6 bunk.

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin Hbf

Step 2, Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train Wawel.  This is the Wawel on platform 11 at Berlin Hbf.

2nd class car on the Berlin to Warsaw train   1st class compartment on a Berlin to Warsaw train.

2nd class.  Some seats are in compartments.

 

1st class seats on the Wawel.

Restaurant car on the Berlin to Warsaw train

Restaurant car.  You don't need to reserve a table, just go along and sit down.  Larger photo.

Food in therestaurant car on the Berlin-Krakow train   Food in therestaurant car on the Berlin-Krakow train

Zurek soup - an excellent tasty starter.

 

Kotlet schabowy, served on proper china.

Option 3, Amsterdam to Krakow with overnight stop in Berlin - if you prefer day trains & hotel to sleepers, departures every day

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train Wawel, leaving Berlin Hbf at 10:52 every day, arriving Wroclaw 15:05, Katowice 17:15 & Krakow Glowny 18:07.  The Wawel is comfortable & air-conditioned with restaurant car, treat yourself to lunch and a beer or two.

  • Fares from Amsterdam to Krakow start at €49.90 in 2nd class or €63.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book from Amsterdam to Krakow at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    To get the overnight stop in Berlin, click Stopovers, enter Berlin Hbf and a length of stay of (say) 10 hours.

    Adjust the length of stay and departure time to get the trains you want each side of Berlin.

    Booking to Poland normally opens 60 days ahead, although you can book from Amsterdam to Berlin separately up to 6 months ahead if you like, and book the Berlin-Poland part later.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

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Amsterdam to Vilnius. Riga, Tallinn

Amsterdam to Lithuania with overnight stop in Warsaw

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Amsterdam to Kyiv & Ukraine

Option 1, Amsterdam to Lviv & Kyiv via Vienna - can be  more time-effective, with free time in Vienna

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train as shown in the Amsterdam-Vienna section above.  Enjoy the best part of a day in Vienna, left luggage lockers are available.

  • Day 2, travel from Vienna to Lviv or Kyiv by direct Ukrainian sleeping-car. leaving Vienna Hbf at 16:42 every day and arriving Lviv at 09:20 & Kyiv at 16:03 next day (Day 3).

    Introduced in December 2017, this train has one or two direct Ukrainian sleeping-cars with comfortable 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, see the photos below.  At Chop on the other side of the border the through sleeping-cars are jacked up to have their wheelsets changed from European standard gauge (4'8½") to Russian gauge used in Ukraine (5').

    Book the train from Vienna to Lviv or Kyiv online at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.

    This will only book one-way or round trip starting in Vienna because tickets need to be collected from an ÖBB station in Austria.  They cannot be collected in Ukraine.  Booking this way you pay no fee or mark-up, just the official fare.  The sleeper has become popular, it can sell out.

    If you have any problems or want a one-way ticket starting in Ukraine, you can also book the Vienna-Kyiv train via reliable agency www.polrail.com, with tickets posted or couriered to you for a small fee.  Polrail are based in Poland so charge in zlotys, but as they have access to Ukrainian ticketing system they are good for booking this train.

    Booked through oebb.at:

    Vienna to Kyiv costs €80.50 in a 3-berth sleeper, €90.50 in a 2-berth sleeper or €152.90 in a single sleeper.

    Vienna to Lviv costs €62.10 in a 3-berth sleeper, €70.10 in a 2-berth sleeper or €119.30 in a single sleeper.

    Booked through Polrail:

    Vienna to Kyiv costs around €138 in a 3-berth sleeper €149 in a 2-berth sleeper, or €241 in a single-berth sleeper.

    Vienna to Lviv costs around €120 in a 3-berth sleeper €129 in a 2-berth sleeper, or €207 in a single-berth sleeper.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Vienna

The Vienna-Kyiv sleeping-car boarding at Vienna Hbf.

Sleeper to Kiev about to leave Vienna   Ukrainian sleeper corridor   1, 2 or 3 bed Ukrainian sleeper compartment

The Vienna-Kyiv sleeper about to leave Vienna Hbf. Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

The sleeper corridor.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Kyiv via the Warsaw-Kyiv sleeper

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  Top choice here is the InterCity Hotel Berlin Hbf (my favourite), only 200m from Berlin Hbf's main entrance, relatively inexpensive with great reviews, or if you're in the money, the excellent 5-star Steigenberger Hotel just outside the station.  If you're on a budget, the cheaper 3-star Motel One Berlin-Hbf is behind the station or use www.hostelworld.com.  Of course, if you really want to push the boat out, the famous Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is next to the Brandenburg Gate just 17 minutes walk away.

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:52 daily arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:14.

    There's a restaurant car, treat yourself to an inexpensive lunch and a beer or two.

    Fares start at €27.90 in 2nd class or €37.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Also book this at int.bahn.de.  Booking normally opens 60 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    On Mondays to Saturdays you can also take the earlier 05:52 EuroCity train from Berlin arriving Warsaw 11:16, giving you a few hours to explore, see Warsaw Centralna station & city information.  Warsaw's historic old town is a 30 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 Kyiv by Kyiv Express sleeper train leaving Warsaw Wschodnia at 17:49 every day, arriving Kyiv 12:17 next day.

    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 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 Kyiv as they have close contacts with Ukrainian Railways.

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

The Kyiv 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.

The Warsaw to Kiev train at Warsaw Centralna

A Ukrainian sleeping-car on the Kyiv ExpressCourtesy of DiscoverByRail.com.

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

1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper.

 

Washbasin.

 

Kyiv Express.

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Amsterdam to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia

Option 1, Amsterdam to Moscow using the daily Warsaw-Moscow sleeper train - suspended due to sanctions

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 15:59 and arriving Berlin Hbf at 21:51.

    By all means take an earlier train for a leisurely afternoon or evening in Berlin.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  Top choice here is the InterCity Hotel Berlin Hbf (my favourite), only 200m from Berlin Hbf's main entrance, relatively inexpensive with great reviews, or if you're in the money, the excellent 5-star Steigenberger Hotel just outside the station.  If you're on a budget, the cheaper 3-star Motel One Berlin-Hbf is behind the station or use www.hostelworld.com.  Of course, if you really want to push the boat out, the famous Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is next to the Brandenburg Gate just 17 minutes walk away.

  • Day 2 morning, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:52 daily arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:09.

    Fares start at €27.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at int.bahn.de too.  Booking normally opens 60 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    Alternatively, there's an earlier 05:51 EuroCity train on Mondays to Saturdays arriving 11:15, giving you time to explore Warsaw, see Warsaw Centralna station & city information.   Warsaw's historic old town is a 30 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 was suspended due to Covid-19 and remains suspended due to sanctions.

    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, Amsterdam to Moscow using the Berlin-Moscow Strizh (Swift) sleeper train, twice a week - suspended due to sanctions

  • Step 1, take the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 11:59 and arriving Berlin Hbf at 17:51 with fares from €37.90.  Or by all means take one of the earlier trains at 07:59 or 09:59 and have more time in Berlin.  Book this train at int.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 was suspended due to Covid-19 and remains suspended due to sanctions.

    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.

    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 Kyiv - 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 Kyiv, as most EU nationals don't need a visa for Ukraine.

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

  • Step 2, travel from Kyiv to Moscow by overnight train.  There are several night trains and times vary by date, but for example train 6 leaves Kyiv 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 int.bahn.de.  Note that there's also a direct train from Kyiv to St Petersburg, but this passes through a small corner of Belarus, requiring a Belarus visa.

    These trains were suspended due to Covid-19 and remain suspended due to the war in Ukraine.

  • Use reliable Polish ticketing agency www.polrail.com to book both your Warsaw-Kyiv and Kyiv-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.

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

  • Day 2, travel from Milan to Bari, leaving Milan Centrale at 08:05 on a pleasant journey along the Adriatic coast arriving Bari Centrale 15:27.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, easy to use, small booking fee) or www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, £, $ or Au$) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, more fiddly).  Italiarail will refund their small booking fee if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your booking reference.  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

  • Day 2, sail overnight from Bari to Patras in Greece with Superfast Ferries.

    The ferry sails from Bari at 19:30 on Mondays-Saturdays, arriving Patras at 13:00 next day (Day 3).

    On Sundays the ship sails at 13:30, too early to make connections from Milan.

    You can check sailing times & dates at using the Direct Ferries website or at www.superfast.com or www.ferriesingreece.com.

    You should check in at the Superfast desk on the ground floor of the cruise terminal (Terminal Crociere) at Bari port with passport & booking number to get your boarding pass, ideally 3 hours before departure in summer, although in practice 2 hours or even 1½ hours is normally fine.

    You then walk 500m from check-in to the ferry, board the ferry via the foot passenger gangway at the stern and head up the escalator to the main lounge and reception desk to get your cabin key.

    The ship is comfortable, with self-service restaurant, lounge, bar and sun deck.  You can book a deck place (a good & cheap option in summer if you have your own sleeping bag), a reclining seat or various types of cabin, all with private shower & toilet.  Strolling the decks in the morning sun as the ship cruises past the islands of Cephalonia and Ithaca is the nicest part of the trip, and it's a wonderful way to arrive in Greece.

    In Patras, the ferry arrives at the new South ferry terminal a few km from the town centre.  Bus 18 links the port with the Patras bus station every hour on the hour, fare €1.20 or you can hop in a taxi for around €9, journey time 15-20 minutes.

  • Day 3, travel from Patras to Athens by Greek Railways bus/train combo.

    Hellenic Train (Greek Railways) operate an integrated bus/train service from Patras to Athens every hour or two, total journey time 3h02, fare around €18.  No prior reservation is necessary, just buy a ticket to Athens at Patras railway station ticket office.

    For example, at the time I write this, buses leave from outside Patras railway station at 14:15, 15:15, 16:00, 17:15 & 18:15, taking 90 minutes to reach Kiato railway station near Corinthos.  At Kiato they connect with a modern air-conditioned regional train taking 78 minutes to Athens Larissa Station in downtown Athens.  You can check Patra to Athens bus/train times using the journey planner at www.hellenictrain.gr.

  • Corfu:  The Bari-Patras ferry calls at Corfu on certain dates in summer.  It calls at Igoumenitsa on the Greek mainland on all departures year-round.  If you can't find a direct ferry to Corfu, book the ferry from Bari to Igoumenitsa, then take the local ferry from Igoumenitsa to Corfu with Kerkyra Lines (kerkyralines.com).  These sail half a dozen times a day, crossing time 60-90 minutes, fare around €5-€10.  Buy a ticket at kerkyralines.com or when you get to Igoumenitsa.

Superfast ferry from Bari to Patras in Greece

The ferry Superfast II from Bari to Patras, boarding at Bari.  Photos courtesy of DiscoverByRail.com.

Boarding the ferry from Italy to Greece   Lounge and reception desk on the ferry to Greece

The passenger gangway, onto the ferry.

 

Reception desk & lounge on the ferry.

Lounge & bar on the ferry from Italy to Greece   Self-service restaurant on the ferry from Italy to Greece

Lounge and bar on the Superfast II.

 

Self-service restaurant.

En suite toilet & shower on ferry to Greece   Cabin on ferry from Italy to Greece

Private cabin with en suite toilet & shower.

Scenic views from the ferry from Italy to Greece

The ferry passes Cephalonia & Ithaca then approaches mainland Greece.  This is what travel to Greece should be like!

The ferry from Bari arrives at Patras

The ferry approaches the new port of Patras.

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

  • This is no longer a viable option.

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Amsterdam to Istanbul & Turkey

This is an overland adventure, taking 3 nights

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Railbookers 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 as a package, arranging trains, hotels & transfers, and to look after you if anything affects your arrangements, talk to 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 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.


Hotels 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 Kimpton de Witt Amsterdam 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: 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.


Travel insurance & VPN

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Columbus Direct 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 with Staysure.co.uk myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

UK flag  www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & 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 mobile data package for the country you're visiting and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM card so you don't need to buy a physical SIM, including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility listMaya.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 at time of writing.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

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 digging 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 you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  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 the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I get a small commission to help support this site.

 

Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, vaccination records and Interrail or Eurail passes are often held digitally on your mobile phone, so it's vital to keep it charged.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over if I can't get to a power outlet.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or from Buy from Amazon.com.

 


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