Amsterdam Centraal station
 

Amsterdam Centraal Station, opened in 1889.

 small bullet point  See Amsterdam Centraal station information

 small bullet point  See 1st class lounge information

 small bullet point  Suggested hotels in Amsterdam

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      Click here if your journey starts in another city

      See COVID-19 information & update.

This page explains how to travel by train from Amsterdam to other European cities and how to buy tickets the cheapest way.  Train information is current for 2021.

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

bullet pointBefore you buy your tickets...

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

bullet pointEuropean train travel FAQ...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to Interrail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...


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

Dutch double-deck intercity train at Amsterdam.

 

Upper deck seats on a double-deck intercity train.

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Amsterdam to London from €52...

Option 1, by train+ferry from €52 - the time-effective '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 ΰ la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360Ί photo.

Option 2, by direct Eurostar from £40 - the high-speed option...

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

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

A Thalys arrived at Paris Nord.  See 360Ί photos inside a ThalysMore information about Thalys.

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

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

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Crossing the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep

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

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Amsterdam to 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 the fastest, most frequent & usually cheapest option...

Option 2, avoiding Paris - less frequent, takes longer, usually costs more, but avoids crossing Paris...

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

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Amsterdam to Brussels from €26...

Option 1, by Thalys high-speed train in 1h53 - the fastest & most comfortable option...

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

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

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

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

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Crossing the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep

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

Option 2, by InterCity train in 2h52 - the slower but more flexible option, cheaper at short notice...

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 Antwerp...

Option 1, by Thalys high-speed train - the fastest but less flexible option...

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

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

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

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

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Crossing the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep

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

Option 2, by Intercity train the slower but more flexible option...

InterCity train at Brussels

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

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

InterCity train 2nd class seats.  See larger photo.

 

InterCity train 1st class seats.  See larger photo.

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

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

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Amsterdam to Luxembourg from €35.90

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

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

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

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

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

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Belgian intercity train from Brussels to Luxembourg

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

2nd class 1st class

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

Option 2, by IC trains - 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.  This is an IC about at Brussels Midi.

2nd class 1st class

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

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

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

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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

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

 

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

Option 2, Amsterdam to Switzerland via the Rhine Valley - the scenic route, takes a little longer...

EuroCity train from Zurich to Munich

EuroCity train boarding at Zurich HB...

2nd class seats on Munich-Zurich EuroCity train   Restaurant car on Zurich to Munich 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, available on train EC8, but not EC6.  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.

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle seen from the train

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

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

Option 4, using the Hannover-Zurich Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective sleeper option...

Option 5, by high-speed trains via Paris...  A fast option, especially to Geneva or Lausanne in western Switzerland, but involves crossing Paris.

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

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

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

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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

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

 

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

Lake Maggiore, seen from a Milan to Basel train

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

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

The restaurant car.

 

Dinner in the diner?

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

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

 

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

ETR610 EuroCity train at Milan Centrale

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

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

Amsterdam to Venice...

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Frankfurt to Munich. This is an ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal.  More information about ICE...

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

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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

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

 

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

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

Step 2, Munich to Venice by Nightjet sleeper train, see here arrived at Venice Santa LuciaSee more nightjet information, photos & video.

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

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

 

...en suite toilet & shower.

 

4-berth couchettes...

Sunrise as the sleeper train crosses the causeway into Venice

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

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

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Munich by ICE, changing at Frankfurt. Above, an ICE3 at Amsterdam.  More information about ICE

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

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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

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

 

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

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

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

Step 2, Munich to Italy by Nightjet sleeper train.  This is a Comfortline sleeping-car on an Austrian Nightjet train...

   

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

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

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

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

The Nightjet sleeper at Innsbruck

Step 1, Amsterdam to Innsbruck by Nightjet sleeper train Above, a Comfortline sleeping-car on a Nightjet train at Innsbruck.  More information about Nightjet trains.

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Step 2, Innsbruck to Verona, Bologna or Venice by Austrian EuroCity train.  This is the restaurant car on a EuroCity from Innsbruck arrived at Verona.  You don't need to book a table, just go along and sit down.  Dining on the move as the scenery glides by is one of the pleasures of travelling on trains like this...

Austrian second class seats   Austrian first class seats

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

 

1st class leather seats.  You'll also find seats in classic 6-seat compartments with side corridor, too....

Mountains on the Brenner route...

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

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

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

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

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

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

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

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

Option 1:  Amsterdam to Barcelona in a single day.  Stay overnight in Barcelona, on to Madrid, Alicante, Malaga, Granada or Seville next day...

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 1, Amsterdam to Paris by Thalys seen above at Paris Nord.  360Ί photos inside a ThalysMore info about Thalys.

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

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

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Crossing the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep

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

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

Dinner from the cafe-bar...

 

View from the train, passing Bιziers...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

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

Option 2:  Amsterdam to Paris, stay overnight in Paris, Paris to Barcelona & Spain next day...

Option 3, Amsterdam to Paris by Thalys, 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...
To Morocco by train...   En route to Morocco by train: gran classe 2-bed sleeper (day mode)   en route to Morocco by train: Gran Classes 2-bed sleeper (night mode)   Paris to Madrid & Barcelona by trainhotel: Gran Classe sleepers have a private shower and toilet

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

 

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

 

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

 

Gran Clase private toilet & shower...

Sud Express trainhotel cafe-bar...    

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

 

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

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Amsterdam to Andorra...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Andorra in a day...

TGVs to the Spanish border at Paris Montparnasse   1st class on a TGV Atlantique

Take a high-speed TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Toulouse, with cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

 

1st class on TGV Atlantique, showing semi-compartments.  Courtesy Rafal Tomasik.

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV bar car

2nd class seats on the TGV.  Most are unidirectional, some are in bays of 4 like this.  See 360° photo

 

The cafι-bar car, serving drinks, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.  See a typical menu here...

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, using the Paris-Toulouse-l'Hospitalet overnight train...

Intercite de nuit overnight train in Paris

Paris to Toulouse or l'Hospitalet by Intercitι de Nuit, seen here at Paris Gare d'AusterlitzMore information about Intercitι de Nuit trains Watch the video.

InterCite de Nuit couchette   Refurbished French 2nd class 6-berth couchettes   Refurbished French 1st class 4-berth couchettes

Couchette with sleeping-bag & mineral water

 

2nd class 6-berth couchettes...

 

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 l'Hospitalet-pres-l'Andorre 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 information about ICE...

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

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Lunch in the bistro car...

 

2nd class seats...

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Amsterdam to Munich from €37.90...

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

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

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

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Option 2, by daytime trains...

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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

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

 

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

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

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Cologne by ICE train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 18:38 arriving Cologne Hbf at 21:15.

    By all means book an earlier train for a pleasant evening in Cologne.  ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

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

  • Day 2, travel from Cologne to Munich on any morning train you like:  For example, the 07:55 from Cologne Hbf arrives Munich Hbf at 12:27.  Or have a leisurely breakfast at your hotel and book a later train, they leave every hour or better.

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

  • Book at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.

    Enter Amsterdam Centraal to Munich Hbf, then click Add intermediate stops and put Cologne Hbf in the via box with your desired stopover duration in the hh:mm box, say 11 hours.

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

    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 (on A4 paper or U.S. Letter size is fine) or can show it on your smartphone or laptop.

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

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Amsterdam to Vienna & Linz from €49.90...

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

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

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

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

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger 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 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) Hbf...

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

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

 

Lunch in the restaurant.  In 1st class you can choose to be served at your seat.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!

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

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

 

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

Scenery from the train

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

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

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

Option 1, 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 information about Nightjet trains.

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Option 2, Amsterdam to Austria by daytime trains...

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

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

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

Option 1, Amsterdam to Copenhagen in a single day...

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

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Osnabruck & Osnabruck to Hamburg by Intercity trainMore information about Intercity trains.

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

Lunch in the bistro car...

 

2nd class seats...

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

Step 2, Hamburg to Copenhagen by Danish IC3...  This is the late afternoon Hamburg-Copenhagen IC3 leaving platform 5 at Hamburg Hbf on a busy summer day.  The yellow stripe above the windows indicates first class, located at one end of both 3-car units.  More information about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

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

Boarding a Danish IC3 train at Hamburg Hbf...

 

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

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

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

 

An IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg.

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Amsterdam to Stockholm & Gothenburg from €59.90...

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

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

Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, Amsterdam to Osnabruck & Osnabruck to Hamburg by Intercity train More information about Intercity trains.

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

Lunch in the bistro car...

 

2nd class seats...

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

Step 2, Hamburg to Copenhagen by Danish IC3...  This is the late afternoon Hamburg-Copenhagen IC3 leaving platform 5 at Hamburg Hbf on a busy summer day.  The yellow stripe above the windows indicates first class, located at one end of both 3-car units.  More information about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

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

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

 

An IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg.

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

Step 3, Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000 train seen here at Copenhagen main station...

 

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

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

X2000 bistro car...

 

X2000 bistro car seating area.  Larger photo.

 

Bistro self-service...

Winter scenery fro a Copenhagen-Stockholm train

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

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Amsterdam to Oslo & Norway...

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

Option 2, Amsterdam to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo Color Line cruise ferry - the most 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, using a Finnlines ferry from Germany to Helsinki - the easiest option...

Finnlines Star class ferry to Helsinki   Cabin on the Finnlines ferry to Helsinki

One of Finnlines 3 star class ferries to Helsinki.  Courtesy of Finnlines.

 

Cabin on the ferry...

Option 2, by train to Stockholm, then 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?

  • Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.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 smartphone or laptop.

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

    It's also worth checking Amsterdam-Prague prices at the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz as they sometimes have cheaper prices than the Germans for exactly the same trains, although booking only opens 90 days ahead on cd.cz.  See my tips for using cd.cz.

  • Why not build in some time in Berlin? 

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

Option 2, by day trains with an overnight stop in Berlin from €37.90 - time-effective, with a chance to see Berlin.

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train with bistro, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 15:00 & arriving Berlin Hbf 21:22.

    By all means leave Amsterdam on the earlier 11:00 or 13:00 departures to have more time in Berlin, Berlin Hbf is just 10-15 min walk from the Reichstag & Brandenburg Gate, so even a few hours stopover is a worthwhile experience.

    See the Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train page for tips, photos of the train and things to see along the way.

  • Fares from Amsterdam to Prague start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.

    To get the overnight stop in Berlin, click Add intermediate stops and enter Berlin Hbf as a via station with a suitable stopover duration, say 12 hours.  Adjust the departure time and stopover duration to get the trains you want either side of Berlin.

    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 smartphone.

  • If you can possibly build in an afternoon or morning in Berlin, do so - it's a fascinating city.  Don't forget to visit Checkpoint Charlie museum and climb the tower at Berlin Alexanderplatz!

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

Step 1:  Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train...

 

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

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

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

 

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

EuroCity train to Prague about to leave Berlin

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

2nd class compartment on Berlin to Prague traiin   First class on Berlin to Prague EuroCity traiin

2nd class seats in classic compartments...

 

1st class seats in an open-plan 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.

More cliffs along the river Elbe

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Amsterdam to Cesky Krumlov & other Czech destinations...

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Amsterdam to Bratislava & Slovakia from €46.90...

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

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train, seen here arrived at Vienna HbfMore information about Nightjets.

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

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

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

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

2-bed sleeper on the Berlin to Budapest-train   Slovakian sleeping-car

A 2-bed double sleeper (above left) in the air-conditioned Slovakian sleeping-car on the Metropol from Berlin to Bratislava.

Each sleeper compartment is fitted with 3 beds so can be sold as a single, double or triple.  Sleeper compartments convert to comfortable private sitting room for evening use.  A light breakfast is included in the fare.  See larger photo.  See more photos of this type of sleeping-car. Interior photo courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

Option 4, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin from €46.90...

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Amsterdam to Budapest from €56.90...

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

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train More information about Nightjet trains.

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

The EuroCity train Avala from Vienna to Budapest, at Budapest Keleti

Step 2, Vienna to Budapest by EuroCity train.  Courtesy of Colin Wilby...

1st class seats on the Vienna-Budapest EC train   2nd class seats on the Vienna-Budapest EC train

1st class on a Hungarian EuroCity train, classic 6-seat compartment.

 

2nd class on a Hungarian EuroCity train, open-plan saloon type.  Photos courtesy Colin Wilby...

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

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

  • Fares start at €56.90 in 2nd class or €99.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

  • Go to the German Railways website www.bahn.de and book from Amsterdam Centraal to Budapest Keleti with an 07:00 start time set.  Look for options with the fewest changes and a saver fare shown.  Tickets are sent by regular post to any address worldwide for a small fee, allow up to 2 weeks for them to arrive.

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

    Tip:  To get print at home tickets, split the booking into Amsterdam-Frankfurt & Frankfurt-Budapest.  You should now get a digital ticket for both sectors that you can simply print out.  This may up the price a bit as you'll be buying 2 tickets not 1, but it saves the postage fee and there's no risk of tickets getting lost in the post.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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

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

 

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

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

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 11:00 & arriving Berlin Hbf at 17:22.

    See the Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train page for tips, photos of the train and things to see along the way.

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

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

    Book this at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, using this will allow you to book all your tickets together in one place, small booking fee) or the German Railways website www.bahn.de (in €, no fee).  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Budapest on the sleeper train Metropol, leaving Berlin Hbf at 18:43 & arriving Budapest Keleti at 08:35.

    The train has an air-conditioned 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.

    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.

2-bed sleeper on the Berlin to Budapest-train   Slovakian sleeping-car

A 2-bed double sleeper (above left) in the air-conditioned Slovakian sleeping-car on the Metropol from Berlin to Budapest.  Above right, a morning view of the Berlin-Budapest couchette car (nearest the camera) and sleeping-car in the morning light, en route to Budapest...

Each sleeper compartment is fitted with 3 beds so can be sold as a single, double or triple.  Sleeper compartments convert to comfortable private sitting room for evening use.  A light breakfast is included in the fare.  See larger photo.  See more photos of this type of sleeping-car. Photos courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

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

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

    Have dinner in Munich before boarding your sleeper, for typical Bavarian food & beer I recommend the Augustiner Keller (www.augustinerkeller.de) at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf, see walking map.

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

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

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Budapest by EuroNight sleeper train Kalman Imre leaving Munich Hbf at 23:20 & arriving Budapest Keleti at 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 information 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.

    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.

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

An ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal platform 2...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo

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

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

 

ICE3 bistro.  See current month's menu.

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

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

 

2-bed sleeper. Larger photo

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

Hungarian couchette car at Munich

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

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Munich on any trains you like, for example leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 14:38 arriving Munich Hbf at 22:13.

    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 www.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 show it on your laptop or smartphone.

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

  • Day 2, travel from Munich to Budapest 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 Add intermediate stops feature at www.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 www.bahn.de too.  You print your own ticket, but in this case it must be printed, it can't be shown on a mobile device.

Option 6, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin, from €56.90...

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

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Budapest on the EuroCity train Hungaria, leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:16 & arriving Budapest Keleti at 20:20.

    The Hungaria has a restaurant car & free WiFi.  Grab a seat on the left-hand side of the train for the best views along the scenic Elbe river valley between Dresden & Prague, see the scenery photos here.

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

    Buy tickets booked at www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket, although in this case it can't be shown on a mobile device.

  • Tip:  It's cheaper to book this as one journey, Amsterdam to Budapest from €56.90.  Book from Amsterdam to Budapest at www.bahn.de, to get the overnight stop click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin Hbf and a stopover duration of 11:30 hours.  I have set this link up for you, just enter date of travel and number of passengers.  In the search results, look for a journey with 1 change, matching the times above.  To get an earlier departure from Amsterdam with more time in Berlin, set departure time to 11:00 or 13:00 and increase the stopover duration.  Important:  The downside of booking as one journey is that tickets cannot now be printed out, they are sent by regular post to any address worldwide for a small fee.  They can take a couple of weeks to arrive.  You may prefer to stick with the 2-ticket printable option!

The EuroCity train Hungaria between Berlin & Budapest

The Berlin-Budapest EuroCity train Hungaria. Courtesy of David Frankal. Photos below courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

2nd class seats on the EuroCity train Hungaria Berlin-Budapest   The restaurant car of the Hungaria from Berlin to Budapest

2nd class seats on the Hungaria Larger photo.

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria.  Larger photo.

Scenery along the river Elbe

Between Dresden & Prague the train runs along the pretty river Elbe, or Labe in Czech.  One of Europe's major rivers, the Elbe eventually flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven near Hamburg.  Watch for river boats, even the occasional paddle steamer.  See the photos & video of this part of the journey here.

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

Option 1, via Budapest...

  • Step 2, travel from Budapest to Romania on the sleeper train Ister leaving Budapest Keleti at 19:10 and arriving Brasov 09:54 & Bucharest Gara de Nord 12:33 next day.

    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.

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

    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.

    Book this train at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.  Click EN top right for English.  Booking opens 60 days ahead.  For Bucharest type Bucuresti.  It can book seats, couchettes or sleepers.  For Hungary to Romania journeys you print your own ticket.

    You can also normally 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 smartphone.  However, since MAV revamped its website in 2020, it can't book couchettes or sleepers, only seats, though this should be fixed at some point.

Option 2, via Vienna...

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

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

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

    The Dacia Express has 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-bistro is then attached in the morning between Arad & Bucharest, serving drinks, snacks and breakfast.  There's wonderful almost Alpine scenery through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest, a real treat...

    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.

    Book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.  Booking normally opens 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 ΦBB ticket machine in Vienna.

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

Dacia Express sleeping-car

The Dacia Express has one or at peak times two air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-cars, seen here at Bucharest.  You can check the train formation at www.vagonweb.czCourtesy of @PaliparanDotCom

Washbasin   Dacia Express sleeper compartment   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

Sleepers:  Each compartment can be sold as a single, double (as here) or triple.  Most compartments have a washbasin as shown, two compartments have a shower & toilet.  Beds fold away to form a private sitting room for day use.  Larger photo.

 

Couchettes:  4 & 6-berth, bedding is provided.  Larger photo.

Dacia Express couchette car

The Dacia Express has one couchette car, seen here at Bucharest.  Courtesy of @PaliparanDotCom.

Scenery in Transylvania

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

Dacia Express bar-bistro car

The Dacia Express en route to Bucharest...  Photo courtesy of @PaliparanDotCom.

  Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest

Enjoy lunch and a beer in the bar car, as a bar-bistro is attached to the Dacia Express in Romania between Simeria & Bucharest.  Larger photo.  Photos courtesy of @PaliparanDotCom & @_DiningCar.

Dacia Express Carpathian mountains

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

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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 19:30 and arriving Munich Hbf at 07:11.

    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.

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

    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, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book this journey at the German Railways website www.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 smartphone.

    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 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 22:13, 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 www.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 show it on your laptop or smartphone.

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

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Ljubljana or Zagreb, leaving Munich Hbf at 08:17 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 14:32 & Zagreb at 17:12.

    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 www.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 smartphone.

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

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

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

 

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

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

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

Scenery in the Austrian Alps between Munich & Ljubljana

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

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

  2nd class seats on the Munich-Zagreb train

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

 

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

Scenery between Ljubljana & Zagreb

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

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

The EuroCity train Sava, arrived at Zagreb.

 

More scenery along the Sava between Ljubljana & Zagreb.

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

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Munich by comfortable daytime ICE trains with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    For example, you can usually leave Amsterdam Centraal at 12:38, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to arrive Munich Hbf at 20:14.

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

    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 www.bahn.de (in €, no fee).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

    Tip:  Have dinner in Munich before boarding your sleeper, for typical Bavarian food & beer I recommend 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 by sleeper train, leaving Munich Hbf at 23:20 and arriving Ljubljana 05:57 & Zagreb 08:35.

    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.

    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.

    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 €, more fiddly).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

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

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

This 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 19:30 every evening, arriving Vienna Hbf 09:19.

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

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

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

    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.

    Book this sleeper 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.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Zagreb by EuroCity train Croatia, leaving Vienna Hbf at 15:58 and arriving Zagreb at 22:33. 

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

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

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

    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.

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

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

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

The Croatia train from Zagreb to Vienna

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

 

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

 

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

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

The elegant restaurant car.  See larger photo.

Dinner with wine on board...

Scenery from the train on the Semmering Railway

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

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

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

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Amsterdam to Belgrade, Sofia, Montenegro...

Option 1, using the Munich-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 Munich, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 12:38, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf and arrive Munich Hbf at 20:14.

    You travel on comfortable ICE trains with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Earlier departures are possible if you'd like 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 www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, using this will allow you to book all your tickets together in one place, small booking fee) or the German Railways website www.bahn.de (in €, no fee).  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

    Tip:  Have dinner in Munich before boarding your sleeper, for typical Bavarian food & beer I recommend 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 Zagreb by sleeper train, leaving Munich Hbf at 23:20 and arriving Zagreb at 08:35 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.

    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 is still currently suspended due to Covid-19.

    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.

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

  • Step 4 for Sofia, stay overnight in Belgrade and 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.

Option 2, 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 www.bahn.de (in €, no fee).  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

  • Step 2, travel from Zurich to Ljubljana or Zagreb by sleeper train, leaving Zurich HB at 20:40 and arriving in Zagreb at 10:43 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.

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

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

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

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

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

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

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Amsterdam to Warsaw & Poland from €37.90...

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

Option 2, Amsterdam to Warsaw with overnight stop in Berlin - with a chance to see Berlin.

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

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

    To get the overnight stop in Berlin, click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin Hbf and a suitable stopover duration, say 10 hours, in the hh:mm stopover box.  Adjust the stopover duration 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 smartphone.

Amsterdam-Berlin InterCity   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

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

 

The bistro car.  Larger photo.

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

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

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

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

1st class compartment car...

 

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

 

The bar...

 

Decent food, served on proper china...

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Amsterdam to Krakow from €37.90...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Krakow with overnight stop in Berlin - with a chance to see Berlin.

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train Wawel, leaving Berlin Hbf at 10:37 every day, arriving Wroclaw 14:47, Katowice 16:44 & Krakow Glowny 17:39.  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 €37.90 in 2nd class or €56.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

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

    To get the overnight stop in Berlin, click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin Hbf and a suitable stopover duration, say 10 hours in the hh:mm stopover box.  Adjust the stopover duration 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 smartphone.

Amsterdam-Berlin InterCity   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Step 1, Amsterdam to Berli]n by InterCity train...

 

The bistro car.  Larger photo.

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

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

Step 2, Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train...

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

1st class compartment car...

 

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

Restaurant car on the EuroCity train Wawel

Restaurant car of the type used on the Wawel.  You don't need to reserve a table, just go along and sit down....

Option 2, Amsterdam to Krakow using the Berlin-Krakow sleeper - the most time-effective option...

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train with bistro, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 11:00 & arriving Berlin Hbf 17:22.

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

    See the Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train page for tips, photos of the train and things to see along the way.

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

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Poland by sleeping-car, leaving Berlin Hbf at 18:43 and arriving Krakow Glowny 03:47 & Rzeszow Glowny 06:39.

    Tip:  Instead of getting off at Krakow at silly o'clock, I recommend booking the sleeper to Rzeszow Glowny.  Have breakfast in the historic city of Rzeszow with its lovely well-preserved old town, then return to Krakow on any train you like, Rzeszow to Krakow takes around 1h40 and trains leave regularly.

    The Berlin-Krakow-Rzeszow-Przemysl sleeper train has a safe & comfortable Polish sleeping-car bound for Przemysl, with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin.  There are also two seats cars, but no couchettes and no restaurant car, so bring a picnic & bottle of wine.

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

  • You can buy both tickets together in one place at www.thetrainline.com, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee:  First book the train from Brussels to Berlin and add to basket.  Then book the sleeper from Berlin to Krakow or Rzeszow, add to basket and check out.  Booking for the sleeper normally opens 60 days ahead.  You print your own tickets.

    Alternatively, more work and a little more fiddly, but no booking fee, you can book like this:  First book the sleeper from Berlin to Krakow (or Rzeszow) at Hamburg to Berlin at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and print your own ticket, then book your Amsterdam-Berlin connecting train separately at the German Railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

    If you want to pre-book a Rzeszow-Krakow ticket, buy this at the Polish Railways website www.intercity.pl and print it out.

Amsterdam-Berlin InterCity   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

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

 

The bistro car.  Larger photo.

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

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

The Berlin-Poland sleeper at Berlin Hbf

Step 2, Berlin to Krakow by sleeper...  This is the modern Polish air-conditioned sleeping-car on the Berlin-Krakow-Rzeszow-Przemysl train, about to leave Berlin Hbf.  Quiet, carpeted, civilised, a pleasure to travel in.  This type of sleeper also has two deluxe compartments with toilet & shower, but as Polish Railways cannot guarantee this type on this train, all compartments are sold as standard sleepers and if you get a deluxe it's a bonus.  Photo courtesy of Nicholas A Milligan.

Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   Modern Polish sleeper in day mode, set up as a triple   Deluxe 2-bed sleeper in modern Polish sleeping-car   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

Standard sleeper in evening/morning mode with seats folded out.

 

Standard sleeper set up as a 3-berth.  It can also be sold as a single or double.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet...

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Amsterdam to Vilnius. Riga, Tallinn...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Lithuania with overnight stop & morning free in Warsaw...

  • Day 2, travel from Warsaw to Kaunas & Vilnius, leaving Warsaw at lunchtime, changing at Bialystok and arriving Kaunas in Lithuania in the evening, with connections to Vilnius, see the Warsaw to Vilnius page for details.  Warsaw-Vilnius costs around €24.

  • Day 3, for onward travel from Vilnius to Riga, see here.

  • Day 4, for onward travel from Riga to Tallinn, see here.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Lithuania with overnight stop in Berlin - faster, Sundays-Fridays only, with a very early start from Berlin...

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by ICE train in the afternoon, on any train shown on the Amsterdam to Berlin page.  You can leave as late as 15:00, but by all means take an earlier train for a pleasant evening in Berlin.

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

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 05:43 Mondays-Saturdays only arriving Warsaw Centralna at 11:11.

    The Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train is a comfortable air-conditioned Polish train with trolley refreshment service and a restaurant car serving drinks, snacks and meals.  Treat yourself to a cooked breakfast the restaurant car.

    Amsterdam to Warsaw fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €56.90 in 1st class.

    Buy tickets from Amsterdam to Warsaw at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  To get the overnight stop in Berlin, click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin Hbf and a suitable stopover duration, say 10 hours.  Adjust departure time & stopover duration to get the trains you want either side of Berlin, a little trial & error may be needed.

    Tip: You may be able to buy a through ticket from Amsterdam to Bialystok covering both the Amsterdam-Berlin-Warsaw & Warsaw-Bialystok trains for almost the same price as Amsterdam to Warsaw.  In which case, you just need to buy a Bialystok-Kaunas/Vilnius ticket at the station in Warsaw, or on board the train.

  • Day 2, travel from Warsaw to Kaunas & Vilnius, leaving Warsaw at lunchtime, changing at Bialystok and arriving Kaunas in Lithuania in the evening, with connections to Vilnius, see the Warsaw to Vilnius page for details.  Warsaw-Vilnius costs around €24.

  • Day 3, for onward travel from Vilnius to Riga in Latvia, see here.

  • Day 4, for onward travel from Riga to Tallinn in Estonia, see here.

Warsaw to Vilnius by train, not bus

On the right, the Intercity from Warsaw has arrived at Bialystok, on the left the train to Kaunas waits to leave...

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Amsterdam to Kiev & Ukraine...

Option 1, using the Berlin-Przemysl sleeper train - the fastest option...

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 11:00 and arriving Berlin Hbf at 17:22. 

    See the Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train page for tips, photos of the train and things to see along the way.

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

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

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

  • Day 1, travel from Berlin to Przemysl (on the Polish-Ukrainian border) by sleeper, leaving Berlin Hbf at 18:43 and arriving Przemysl at 07:49.

    The train has a comfortable air-conditioned Polish sleeping-car with cosy 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin and two Polish 2nd class seats cars.  There are no couchettes.

    Fares start at €69 with a bed in a 3-berth, €89 with a bed in a 2-berth or €109 with a single-bed sleeper.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, same prices, a bit more fiddly).  Booking normally opens 60 days ahead.  You print your own ticket.

  • Day 2, travel from Przemysl to Lviv & Kiev by air-conditioned Ukrainian intercity train, leaving Przemysl 13:10 arriving Lviv 16:02, Kiev 23:09.

    Przemysl to Lviv costs around €7.10, Przemysl to Kiev around €13.40.

    Book at the Ukrainian Railways website booking.uz.gov.ua/en - if you have any problems contact reliable Polish agency www.polrail.com.

The sleeper from Berlin to Poland at Berlin Hbf

Berlin to Przemysl by sleeper train...  This is the modern Polish air-conditioned sleeping-car on the Berlin-Przemysl train, about to leave Berlin Hbf.  These cars also have two deluxe compartments with toilet & shower, but all compartments are sold as standard with washbasin on this train as PKP cannot guarantee that this type will always be available.  Courtesy of Nicholas A Milligan...

Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   Modern Polish sleeper in day mode, set up as a triple   Deluxe 2-bed sleeper in modern Polish sleeping-car   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

Standard sleeper in evening/morning mode with seats folded out.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 3-berth.  It can also be sold as a single or double.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet.  Click the photos for larger images..

06:50 Intercity train from Kiev to Lviv   1st class seats on the 06:50 train from Kiev to Lviv

Przemysl to Lviv & Kiev by intercity train.

 

1st class. Larger photo. Courtesy of DiscoverByRail.com.

2nd class seats on the 06:50 train from Kiev to Lviv   Cafe countrer on the 06:50 Intercity train Kiev to Lviv

2nd class. Larger photo. Courtesy of DiscoverByRail.

 

Cafe counter. Larger photo. Courtesy DiscoverByRail.

Option 2, via Vienna - can be  more time-effective, with free time in Vienna...

  • Step 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.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Lviv or Kiev by direct Ukrainian sleeping-car. leaving Vienna Hbf at 16:42 every day and arriving next day (day 3) at Lviv at 10:14 & Kiev at 17:21.  Introduced in December 2017, this train has a Ukrainian sleeping-car 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-car is jacked up to have its wheelsets changed from European standard gauge (4'8½") to Russian gauge used in Ukraine (5').

    Book the train from Vienna to Lviv or Kiev 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 ΦBB 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-Kiev 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 Kiev 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 Kiev 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 Kiev Pass

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass.  Photos courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

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

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

 

The sleeper corridor.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment.

Option 3, using the Warsaw-Kiev sleeper...

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 15:00 and arriving at Berlin Hbf at 21:22.

    By all means take an earlier train for a leisurely afternoon or evening in Berlin, the station is just 15 minutes walk from the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate.

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

    Book at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

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

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:37 daily arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:19.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boarding in Warsaw...

 

A sleeper compartment...

 

...with washbasin.

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Amsterdam to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia

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

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Berlin by InterCity train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 15:00 and arriving Berlin Hbf at 21:22.

    By all means take an earlier train for a leisurely afternoon or evening in Berlin, trains also leave Amsterdam for Berlin at 09:00, 11:00 & 13:00.

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

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  Booking opens up to 6 moths ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

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

  • Day 2 morning, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:37 daily arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:19.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Step 1, take the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 11:00 and arriving Berlin Hbf at 17:22 with fares from €37.90.  Or by all means take one of the earlier trains at 07:00 or 09:00 and have more time in Berlin.  Book this train at www.bahn.de.

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

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

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

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

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

The Strizh sleeper train from Berlin to Moscow

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

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

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

 

Complimentary toiletry pack...

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

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

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

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

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

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Amsterdam to Athens, Corfu & Greece...

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

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

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

  • Stay overnight in Milan, the AC Milano Hotel (a Marriott Lifestyle Hotel) is 350 yards from Milan Porta Garibaldi and gets good reviews.

  • Day 2, travel from Milan to Bari, leaving Milan Centrale at 07:35 on a pleasant journey along the Adriatic coast to Bari Centrale.

    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 just quote your booking reference on board.

    In Bari it's a 10 minute taxi ride or 25 minute walk to the ferry terminal next to Bari's pleasant old town.  I'd allow at least 3 hours between train and ferry in Bari, including the 2-hour ferry check-in.

  • Day 2, sail from Bari to Patras with Superfast Ferries.  The ferry normally sails at 19:30 daily except Sundays, arriving Patras at 13:00 the next day (day 3).  On Sundays the ship sails at 13:30, too early to make connections from Milan.

    Check ferry times, dates, prices & buy tickets using the Direct Ferries website or at www.superfast.com or www.ferriesingreece.com

    The ship is modern and comfortable, with restaurants, bars, lounges and sun decks.  You can book a deck place (a nice cheap option in summer if you have your own sleeping bag) or a reclining seat or a berth in various types of cabin, including luxury cabins 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 number 18 links the port with the town bus station every hour on the hour, fare €1.20 or you can hop in a taxi for around €7, journey time 15-20 minutes.

  • Day 3, from Patras it's 3 hours to Athens by bus/train combo.  There's a bus/train combined timetable from Patras to Athens on www.trainose.gr but it takes a bit of finding.  Buy the bus ticket when you reach Patras, it costs around €18.

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

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

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

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

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

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

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

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

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Amsterdam to Istanbul & Turkey...

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

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

Option 2, via Belgrade & Sofia...

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bullet pointRailbookers custom-made tours

If you just want to buy train tickets at the cheapest price, book online as shown on this page.  However, if you want someone to sort out your whole trip for you 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.


bullet pointHotels in Amsterdam

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

The ultimate Amsterdam hotel:  The Grand

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

Mid-range to top end...

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

Mid-range...

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

Cheap but good...

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

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

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

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

Other hotel sites worth trying...

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

Backpacker hostels...

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


bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN...

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

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

UK flagIn the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

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

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

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

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

A Curve card saves on foreign transaction fees...

 

Curve card

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month at time of writing.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

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

I have a Curve Blue card myself - I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card - they'll give you £5 cashback through that link, too.

 

Express VPN

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

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

 


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