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

bullet pointI want to go from Amsterdam to...

    

      I want to start from another Dutch town or city

      I want to start from another European 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.  Information current for 2022.

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

bullet pointBefore you buy your tickets...

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

bullet pointEuropean train travel FAQ...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to Interrail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...

bullet pointStarting from other cities in the Netherlands...

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

 

Map of international train routes leaving the Netherlands

Click for larger map

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

You can join the train at other stations...

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

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

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

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

You can book from almost any station in the Netherlands...

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

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

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

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

(2)  Journeys to or via Brussels or Paris:

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

Thalys.com and sncf-connect.com can only book the direct Thalys trains from Amsterdam & Rotterdam to Brussels, Paris & beyond, they can't book from other Dutch stations.

(3)  Journeys using Nightjet sleeper trains:

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

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


Amsterdam to anywhere in the Netherlands...
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.

Back to top


Amsterdam to London & UK...

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

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320...

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

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

Option 2, Amsterdam to London & Cambridge by train+ferry from €52 - the ferry alternative, with overnight 'sleeper' option...

 

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

 

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

Metropolitan restaurant on the Stena Line ferry  

Dinner before bed?  Metropolitan à la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360º photo.

Back to top


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.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Dublin & Ireland...

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

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

Irish Ferries' WB Yeats

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

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

Club cabin on the WB Yeats with shower & toilet.

 

Deluxe cabin on the WB Yeats with shower & toilet...

Back to top


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

A Thalys to Paris at Amsterdam Centraal platform 15.  360º photos inside 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.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Strasbourg...

Back to top


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...

Back to top


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...

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 1, Amsterdam to Paris Nord by Thalys, seen here on platform 15 at Amsterdam Centraal.  More 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.

TGV Duplex train from Paris to Nice

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Option 2, avoiding Paris - 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...

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 1, Amsterdam to Paris by Thalys, seen here at Amsterdam Centraal platform 15.  360º photos inside 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.

Intercite de nuit overnight train in Paris

Step 2, Paris to Cannes, Antibes or Nice by Intercité de Nuit. Above, an Intercité de Nuit boarding at Paris AusterlitzMore information about Intercités de NuitPhoto courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

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 Paris to Nice sleeper running along theMediterranean coast

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

Back to top


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

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

Back to top


Amsterdam to Bruges from €29, 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.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Antwerp...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Antwerp 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, Amsterdam to Antwerp 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.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Luxembourg from €35.90

Option 1, Amsterdam to Luxembourg by Thalys to Brussels & InterCity 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, Amsterdam to Luxembourg by Intercity (IC) trains - cheaper & more flexible...

InterCity train at Brussels

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

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

InterCity train 2nd class seats.  See larger photo.

 

InterCity train 1st class seats.  See larger photo.

Belgian intercity train from Brussels to Luxembourg

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

2nd class 1st class

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

Back to top


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

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

AB33 sleeping-car on the Amsterdam-Zurich Nightjet train

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

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

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

 

Breakfast next morning.  Larger photo.

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

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

 

Couchette car from Amsterdam arrived at Basel.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Switzerland by high-speed train from €37.90 upwards - 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 3, Amsterdam to Switzerland by classic train via the scenic Rhine Valley - a slower route, but more to see...

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf by ICE train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 06:38 Mondays-Saturdays arriving Düsseldorf 08:46.

    The ICE train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, a steward takes food & drink orders and serves them at your seat.  It's an early start, but you've time for a more extensive breakfast in Düsseldorf.

  • Step 2, travel from Dusseldorf to Switzerland by Swiss EuroCity train, leaving Düsseldorf at 10:24 arriving Basel SBB 15:36 & Zurich HB 17:00.

    This  EuroCity train (EC9) has spacious & comfortable Swiss Federal Railways cars and an elegant Swiss restaurant car, see the photos below.

    This is effectively the same overall route as option 1, but instead of taking the high-speed line between Mainz & Cologne, these trains take the classic line along the scenic Rhine valley, past river boats, vineyards, castles and the legendary Lorelei Rock, see the Rails Down the Rhine page for more information, photos & video.  I think it's well worth the extra time!

  • 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.

    German Railways offer these cheap Sparpreis through tickets from almost any Dutch station to almost any Swiss station.

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.de from anywhere in Switzerland to anywhere in Belgium, but read on!

    To get this route with a robust connection in Dusseldorf, click Stopover.  Select 2 stops, enter Düsseldorf City as the first, with a stopover duration of 60 minutes in the hh:mm box.  Enter Koblenz Hbf as the second, leaving duration zero.  Look for the 1-change journey.

    Tip:  By default, the ticketing system suggests the 08:08 from Amsterdam as connecting with EuroCity train EC9 suggested below, which gives a tight 8-minute connection.  A 10-minute delay and you're toast.  If you're serious about using this route, and especially if you're booked into the lovely 1st class panorama car, I'd play safe and take the earlier train.  Have a nice breakfast in Düsseldorf!

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

  • Tip:  Panorama car...  You'll thank me for this!  EuroCity train EC9 conveys a wonderful Swiss 1st class panorama car, see photos here.  Speeding along the Rhine in this is a real treat, yet all you need to sit in it is a 1st class ticket.  To make sure you get a seat in it, add a free seat reservation when you book, using the select seat link to pick a seat in car 263, see the advice on the Rails Down the Rhine page.

EuroCity train from Zurich

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

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle seen from the train

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

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

  • If option 1 sounds too long a journey to do in one go, you can stop overnight on the way, and have virtually a full day in Amsterdam followed by most of a day in Switzerland.  And perhaps discover another city along the way into the bargain.

  • Step 1, take a comfortable ICE train from Amsterdam Centraal to Cologne Hbf, there's one at 18:38 arriving 21:15.

    Times vary, and some arrive at Cologne Messe/Deutz on the other side of the bridge from Cologne Hbf.  By all means take an earlier one and spend a pleasant evening in Cologne.  For dinner I recommend the Brauhaus Sion (www.brauhaus-sion.de), 5 minutes walk from the station.

  • Stay overnight in Cologne, pausing to admire the impressive cathedral, right next to the station.  The good & inexpensive Ibis Hotel Köln-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.

  • Step 2, take a morning train from Cologne to Switzerland:  The 06:54 ICE high-speed train from Cologne Hbf arrives Basel SBB at 10:47 with restaurant car & free WiFi, but by all means have a leisurely breakfast and book the later 08:54 or 10:54, direct ICE trains to Switzerland leave every 2 hours.  But I recommend the slower 08:53 or 10:53 EuroCity (EC) via the Rhine Valley route, see the tip below!

  • How much does it cost? 

    Amsterdam to Switzerland starts at €37.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

  • How to buy tickets...

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

    To get the overnight stop in Cologne, before running the enquiry click Stopover, enter Cologne Hbf and a suitable stopover duration, say 10 hours, in the hh:mm box.  Adjust the departure time and stopover duration to get the trains you want either side of Cologne.  Some trial and error may be needed! 

    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:  Take the scenic route along the Rhine Valley, see the Rails Down the Rhine page for more information, photos & video.

    It takes an extra hour but it's worth it.  There are two direct Cologne-Switzerland EuroCity (EC) trains with restaurant car, EC7 at 08:53 direct to Basel, Bern & Interlaken Ost, and EC9 at 10:53 direct to Basel & Zurich.  These trains take the classic route along the scenic Rhine Valley via Koblenz, rather than the newer & faster Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed line.  When booking Cologne to Switzerland, simply click Stopover and enter Koblenz leaving stopover duration as zero.  You will now see journeys routed via the Rhine Valley line past castles, vineyards, river boats and the legendary Lorelei Rock.  You could make Koblenz the overnight stop instead of Cologne if you like.  Make sure you find seats on the left hand side of the train going south, as that's where the Rhine will be.  You can't usually choose a side if you choose to reserve seats, but on these trains you can sit anywhere you like in any unreserved seat.

    Train EC9 leaving Cologne at 10:53 even has an excellent Swiss 1st class panorama car, see more information here.

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

  • Buy tickets from Amsterdam to Geneva at www.raileurope.com, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee.

    Tip:  I recommend clicking More options and entering Paris (any station) as a via station, with a suitable stopover duration to ensure at least 60 minutes between trains and/or time for lunch.

    Alternatively, you can book from Amsterdam to Paris at the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com with no booking fee, then use it again to book Paris to Geneva, although www.sncf-connect.com is more fiddly to use than www.raileurope.com.

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

Back to top


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

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

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Zurich by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 20:30 every day arriving Basel SBB at 06:45 & Zurich HB at 08:05.  This train is new, it starts running from the timetable change in mid-December 2021.

    This comfortable Nightjet train has two air-conditioned sleeping-cars, one running Amsterdam-Basel-Zurich and one Amsterdam-Basel.  Each sleeping-car has 11 compartments, each compartment can be sold as 1, 2 or 3 berth (single, double or triple) with washbasin.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has an Amsterdam-Basel-Zurich couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments and one or two Amsterdam-Basel couchette cars, plus ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  Watch the Amsterdam-Switzerland sleeper video.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this sleeper train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Dutch Railways international website www.nsinternational.nl (in €).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Zurich to Milan by EuroCity train, leaving Zurich HB at 09:33 arriving Milan Centrale at 12:50.

    The EuroCity train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & fee WiFi.  It's a lovely ride across Switzerland through the Alps past various lakes.  The magnificent Milan Centrale is a landmark in its own right.

    Fares start at €29 in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class.  Fares work like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book from Zurich to Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples or anywhere in Italy as one transaction at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee).  Booking usually opens up to 90 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you just quote the booking reference on board.

  • Step 3, travel from Milan Centrale to Florence SMN in 1h39, Rome Termini in 2h55 or Venice Santa Lucia in 2h35 by Frecciarossa high-speed train.  The Frecciarossa has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    If you left Zurich at 09:33 and change in Milan, you'd arrive Florence at 16:04 or Rome at 17:49.

    Milan to Venice or Florence starts at €19.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  Milan to Rome or Naples starts at €19.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  Book from Zurich to anywhere in Italy as shown above.

AB33 sleeping-car on the Amsterdam-Zurich Nightjet train

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

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

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

 

Breakfast next morning.  Larger photo.

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

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

 

Couchette car from Amsterdam arrived at Basel.

Giruno train

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

1st class on Giruno   Restaurant car on Giruno

Giruno, 1st class.  Larger photo.

 

Restaurant car with bar counter. Larger photo.

2nd class on Giruna   Bar counter in the restaurant car

Giruno 2nd class.  Larger photo

 

Level boarding. Note the destination screen in the door. 

Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan to Zurich train

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

Lake Maggiore, seen from a Milan to Basel train

Zurich-Milan trains pass the Zugersee, Vierwaldstattersee & Lake Lugano, all in Switzerland.  Geneva-Milan trains skirt Lake Leman, and both Geneva-Milan & Basel-Milan trains pass Lake Maggiore in Italy.  Above, Lake Maggiore is seen from the restaurant car of the 11:25 Milan to Basel over an enjoyable lunch of salmon tagliatelle & excellent Swiss red wine...

A Frecciarossa 1000 at Milan Centrale

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

Frecciarossa 1000 standard class   A Frecciarossa 1000 train at Milan Centrale

Standard class seats, 2+2 across width.  Larger photo.

 

Executive class, 1+1 across width.  Larger photo.

Frecciarossa 1000 Business class seats   At-seat meal on Frecciarossa 1000

Business class seats 1+2 across car width, with tables for 2 and tables for 4 and complimentary prosecco.  Larger photo.

 

In business class you can order a simple meal at your seat, around €18.  More about Frecciarossas.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Milan in a single day.  Overnight stop, then Milan to Verona, Venice, Florence, Rome or Naples next morning...

  • How much does it cost?

    Amsterdam to Basel starts at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

    Basel to Milan starts at €29 in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class.

    Milan to Verona, Venice or Florence starts at €19.90 in 2nd class or €29.90 in 1st class.

    Milan to Rome or Naples starts at €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.

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

  • How to buy tickets, easy way...

    Go to www.raileurope.com.  This connects to both the German & Italian ticketing systems, so you can book all your tickets together in one place, in plain English, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee.

    Step 1, book from Amsterdam to Basel looking for the direct morning ICE train with 0 changes.  Add to basket.

    Step 2, book from Basel SBB to Milan looking for the early evening Basel-Milan EuroCity (EC) train, and add to basket.

    For the Amsterdam-Basel train you simply print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone.  Basel to Milan is ticketless, you just quote the booking reference on board the train.  Quicker journeys with more or tighter connections are possible, but this is the option I'd recommend.  It'll let you book Amsterdam to Milan in one go, but it may then suggest some tighter-than-desirable connections in Basel.

    Step 3, if going beyond Milan, now book from Milan to your final destination for the following day.  Add to basket and check out.

  • How to buy tickets, advanced...

    Alternatively, run an Amsterdam to Milan enquiry at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  It won't give fares at this stage, but browse the search results for an option with just 2 changes.  One of the changes will usually be Basel SBB or Zurich.  Now split the booking as follows to get the cheapest fares:

    (1)  Book from Amsterdam to Basel SBB or Zurich at www.bahn.de, selecting the trains you found on your Amsterdam-Milan enquiry.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone or laptop.  There's no booking fee.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

    (2)  Book from Basel SBB or Zurich to Milano Centrale at either www.italiarail.com (easy to use, recognises English place names, payment in €, $, £, the small booking fee will be refunded if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your PNR) or Italian Railways own website www.trenitalia.com (payment in €, requires Italian language place names, read this advice on using it first).  Select the train you found on your first Amsterdam-Milan enquiry at bahn.de.   It's ticketless, you just quote the reference on board.  I'd allow at least 45 minutes between trains at Basel or Zurich if buying separate tickets this way.

    (3)  Then book onward trains from Milan also at either www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com.

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.  Larger photo.

Lake Maggiore, seen from a Milan to Basel train

Step 2, by 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 Switzerland-Milan 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 3, Amsterdam to Italy using the Munich-Venice sleeper train - Time-effective, with dinner in Munich...

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Munich, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 12:38, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arriving Munich Hbf 20:07.

    You travel by luxurious German ICE train with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  By all means book an earlier train to have more time 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 $, will allow you to buy all your tickets in one place, small booking fee) or the German Railways www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or 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 Venice by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Munich Hbf at 23:20 and arriving Venice Santa Lucia at 08:34.

  • 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 train has couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

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

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

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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

Food is served on 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 sleeper train from Munich to Venice at Munich Hbf

Step 2, Munich to Venice by Nightjet sleeper train, seen on platform 12 at Munich HbfMore information about Nightjets.

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.

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

Important:  Due to trackwork, the Munich-Florence/Rome/Milan Nightjet won't run during the month of July 2022.

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

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

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

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

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

Food is served on 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 sleeper from Munich to Rome

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

  6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

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

  • How to buy tickets...

    Step 1, book the nightjet sleeper from Amsterdam to Innsbruck at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Dutch Railways international website www.nsinternational.nl (in €).  Look for the train marked NJ (Nightjet) with 0 changes. Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Step 2, now use www.thetrainline.com again to book from Innsbruck to Florence, Rome, Naples or anywhere in Italy.  This connects to both the German, Austrian and Italian ticketing systems so you can book this as one transaction all in one place.  You print your own ticket for the Austrian train and the Italian high-speed trains are ticketless, you just quote the reference on board.  There's a small booking fee.  The Austrian trains open for booking up to 6 months ahead, Italian trains may only open for booking 120 days ahead.

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Innsbruck by Nightjet sleeper train Above, the Nightjet boarding at Amsterdam Centraal.  More information about Nightjets.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

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

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

Option 8, Amsterdam to Italy via Paris from €64.  Fast & comfortable, although involves crossing Paris by metro or taxi...

  • This route is slightly faster than the route via Germany, if you don't mind changing trains & stations in Paris by taxi or RER express metro.  On Mondays to Fridays you can travel from Amsterdam to Venice, Florence or Rome in a single day if you don't mind an early start.  Or on any day of the week, you can travel from Amsterdam to Turin or Milan in a day, stay overnight, and travel onwards to Venice, Florence, Rome or Naples next morning.

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Paris by Thalys high-speed train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 06:15 Mondays-Fridays only, arriving Paris Gare du Nord 09:38.  No early train at weekends.

    Thalys trains have 3 classes, a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, see the Thalys guide.

Back to top


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

Option 1, Amsterdam to Barcelona in a single day.  Onwards to Madrid, Alicante, Malaga, Granada or Seville next day...

  • Step 2, travel from Paris to Barcelona by TGV Duplex, leaving Paris Gare de Lyon at 15:12 arriving Barcelona Sants at 21:54.

    This afternoon Paris-Barcelona TGV should run all year round, but due to covid-19 it will only run from 14 June to 30 September 2022.  When it isn't running, either leave Paris on the earlier 10:14 Paris-Barcelona TGV or use option 2 or 3 below.

    This impressive 320 km/h (199 mph) double-deck TGV Duplex has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  It's a comfortable & scenic journey - I recommend an upper deck seat for the best views, click here for the sights to see from the train on the way.

    Fares start at €39 in 2nd class or €59 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

  • Step 3, travel from Barcelona to other Spanish destinations next morning...

    For Madrid:  AVE-S103 high-speed trains link Barcelona Sants with Madrid Atocha every hour or two in as little as 2h30 from €35, check times at www.raileurope.com.

    For Cordoba & Seville:  Take the direct AVE-S112 high-speed train leaving Barcelona Sants at 08:30 arriving Cordoba 13:11 & Seville Santa Justa at 14:04.  Fares start at €45.  Alternatively, spend a morning in Barcelona and take the 15:45 AVE S112 high-speed train to Cordoba & Seville.

    For Malaga:  Leave Barcelona Sants at 08:30 by AVE-S112 high-speed train and change at Cordoba onto a high-speed AVE/Avant train arriving Malaga Maria Zambrano at 14:56.  Alternatively, spend a morning in Barcelona and take the direct 15:45 AVE S112 high-speed train to Malaga.

    For Granada:  A direct AVE S112 high-speed train leaves Barcelona Sants at 08:30 arriving Granada at 14:52.

    For Valencia & Alicante:  EuroMed trains link Barcelona Sants with Valencia & Alicante regularly through the day, for example one leaves Barcelona Sants at 08:15 Mondays-Fridays arriving Valencia Joaquin Sorolla 10:55 & Alicante 12:45 or at 10:15 every day arriving Valencia Joaquin Sorolla 12:55 & Alicante 14:48.  Fares from €23.

    For Santiago de Compostela, A Coruna & Vigo, there's a morning Alvia train to Galicia, see details here.

  • How to buy tickets...

    Book at www.raileurope.com.  It can book from Amsterdam to Barcelona in one go as one easy transaction with print-your-own tickets for both trains, and it connects to the Spanish Railways (Renfe) system to sell onward tickets in Spain.

    You can use www.raileurope.com wherever you live, overseas credit cards no problem.  There's a small booking fee.

    Booking for Thalys & the TGV usually opens 120 days ahead.  Spanish domestic trains open for booking 60 days ahead, although this varies.

    First book from Amsterdam to Barcelona.  In the search results, look for an option with just 1 change.

    If you want to stopover a few hours for lunch in Paris, just click More options and enter Paris, with a duration of however many hours you want.  In fact, I'd click More options and enter Paris anyway, as it'll then show separate prices either side of Paris and you can upgrade to 1st class if it's cheap to do so on one leg or the other, without having to upgrade throughout.  I'd allow at least 60 minutes between trains in Paris, ideally more - by default, the system allows as little as 40 minutes.

    If you are heading for Madrid, Malaga, Seville, Cordoba, Valencia or Alicante, first add the Amsterdam-Barcelona journey to your basket, then book Barcelona to your chosen Spanish destination for the following day, add this to your basket and check out, paying for both tickets as one transaction.

    Tip: I recommend an upper deck seat on the TGV Duplex for the best views.  Raileurope.com shows you your seat number before you confirm & pay, and any seat number above 60 is upper deck.  If you don't get an upper deck seat, simply leave it in your basket & try again until you get an upstairs seat, then delete the tickets you don't want from your basket.

  • Alternatively, you can book each train separately direct with the relevant operator, avoiding any booking fee, although this takes more effort and is unlikely to make it any cheaper.  It's easier to book everything together in plain English at www.raileurope.com!

    Book the Amsterdam-Paris Thalys at www.nsinternational.nl or www.thalys.com with print-at-home tickets;

    Then book the Paris-Barcelona TGV at www.sncf-connect.com with print-your-own or show-on smartphone tickets,

    Then book onward trains within Spain at www.renfe.com (no booking fee, but very fiddly and may reject some overseas payment cards, see advice on using it here) - easier to use www.raileurope.com (in €, £ or $, small booking fee) or www.petrabax.com (in $, small mark-up).

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 1, Amsterdam to Paris by Thalys seen above at Paris Nord.  360º 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.  360º 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.  360º 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 Béziers...

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

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

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

  • How to buy tickets...

    The easiest way to book from Amsterdam to Spain is at www.raileurope.com.  This connects to both French Railways for Thalys & TGV and to Spanish Railways (Renfe) for onward tickets within Spain.  You can use it wherever you live as all overseas credit cards are accepted. There's a small booking fee.

    Booking for Thalys & the TGV usually opens 120 days ahead.  Booking for Spanish trains normally opens 60 days ahead, but this can vary. 

    First book from Amsterdam to Paris, picking any direct Thalys train you like.  Add this to your basket.

    Now book from Paris to Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Seville, Valencia or Alicante as one journey.  In the search results, look for Paris-Barcelona options with 0 changes, or Paris to Madrid/Malaga/Seville/Valencia/Alicante options with 1 change in Barcelona.  Add this to your basket and check out, paying for both journeys as one transaction.

    Tip: I recommend an upstairs seat on the TGV Duplex for the best views.  Raileurope.com shows you your seat number before you confirm & pay, and any seat number over 60 is on the upper deck.  If you don't get an upper deck seat, simply leave it in your basket & try again until you get an upstairs seat, then delete the tickets you don't want from your basket.

  • Alternatively, you can book each train separately, although this takes more effort and is unlikely to make it materially cheaper: 

    Book the Amsterdam-Paris Thalys at www.nsinternational.nl or www.thalys.com with print-at-home tickets and no booking fee.

    Then book the Paris-Barcelona TGV at www.sncf-connect.com with print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets, no booking fee.

    Book onward trains within Spain at www.renfe.com (in €, very fiddly, may reject some overseas payment cards, see advice on using it here) or much easier to use alternative sites www.raileurope.com (in €, £ or $, small booking fee) or www.petrabax.com (in US$, small mark-up).

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

Back to top


Amsterdam to San Sebastian from €63...
  • Step 2, travel from Paris Gare Montparnasse to Hendaye on the Spanish border by high-speed double-deck TGV Duplex Océane in around 4h40.

    The TGV has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    Fares start at €25 in 2nd class or €45 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Step 3, transfer from Hendaye to San Sebastian by Euskotren metro, every 30 minutes, journey time 37 minutes...

    Simply walk out of Hendaye station and turn right, the little Euskotren station is in a corner of the main station forecourt.  Buy a ticket for €2.75 at the Euskotren station from the machines or staffed counter and hop on the next half-hourly Euskotren metro from Hendaye to San Sebastian Amara station, journey time 37 minutes.  See the Paris to San Sebastian page for more information, photos & tips.

  • For example:

    Leave Amsterdam Central at 06:15 Mondays-Fridays, change in Paris, arriving Hendaye at 16:47.

    Leave Amsterdam Central at 09:15 on Saturdays, change in Paris, arriving Hendaye at 18:47.

    Leave Amsterdam Central at 11:15 daily except Saturdays, change in Paris, arriving Hendaye at 20:47.

  • Buy tickets from Amsterdam to Hendaye at www.raileurope.com.  In the search results, look for journeys with just 1 change.

    If you'd like longer in Paris (I recommend allowing at least 70 minutes between trains, by default the system allows as little as 40), click More options, enter Paris (any station) and a desired stopover duration.

    Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  You print your own tickets or can select a mobile ticket to show on your smartphone.

    Buy your metro ticket  from Hendaye to San Sebastian at the Euskotren station in Hendaye either from the ticket machines or staffed counter.

    Alternatively, book the Amsterdam-Paris Thalys & Paris-Hendaye TGV at the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com, more fiddly, but no fee.

  • See the Paris to San Sebastian page for more details, including tips for the Paris-Hendaye-San Sebastian journey, with photos showing the location of the Euskotren station at Hendaye.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Ibiza & Mallorca...
  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Barcelona as shown in the Amsterdam to Barcelona section above.

    If you use option 2 above, you can leave Amsterdam early evening on Day 1, stay overnight in Paris, reaching Barcelona on Day 2 and Ibiza or Palma de Mallorca in time for breakfast on day 3.

    In Barcelona, it's a 3.8km 46-minute walk from Barcelona Sants to the Acciona and Balearia ferry terminal at the foot of La Rambla, near the Columbus monument, see walking map.  Or use a taxi or the metro, nearest metro station Drassanes.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Algeciras & Gibraltar...
  • Day 2, travel from Barcelona to Madrid by high-speed AVE, leaving Barcelona Sants at 11:00 and arriving Madrid Atocha at 13:45.

    Tip:  If you have a premium ticket you can use the Sala Club at Barcelona Sants.

  • Day 2, travel from Madrid to Algeciras by Intercity train, leaving Madrid Atocha at 15:05 arriving San Roque-La Linea 20:15 & Algeciras 20:30.

    The air-conditioned Intercity train is an articulated Talgo train with cafe-bar.  There's great scenery both on the high-speed line between Madrid and Cordoba through the mountains and on the classic line twisting through the hills to Algeciras, the Spanish town across the bay from Gibraltar.  See a video of the journey here.

  • Day 2, take a bus or taxi from Algeciras to la Linea & walk into Gibraltar.

    A taxi from Algeciras railway station to La Linea costs €24.75 and takes about 22 minutes.  Taxis don't use the meter on this run, and aren't normally allowed to cross the border into Gibraltar.

    To go by bus, cross the roundabout outside Algeciras railway station and enter the San Bernado bus station, then take bus M-120 to La Linea for around €2.50.  Bus M-120 runs every 30 minutes Mon-Fri at xx.00 and xx.30 past each hour or every 45 minutes at weekends, journey time about 45 minutes to La Linea, for bus information see siu.ctmcg.es.

    La Linea is the Spanish town outside the border crossing to Gibraltar, and La Linea's bus stop and taxi rank are right outside the entrance to Gibraltar.  Walk through the Spanish then UK passport checkpoints into Gibraltar (5-10 minutes).  Then either (a) keep walking straight ahead of you into Gibraltar town, it's takes about 15 minutes to the centre or (b) take a frequent local Gibraltar bus from the border into town or (c) look for the taxi stop on the right just after the passport check and wait for a taxi to your hotel for a few pounds - Gibraltar taxis will accept euros.  The walk from the border to Gibraltar's Main Street takes you across Gibraltar airport's runway, though they stop cars and pedestrians when an aircraft is landing or taking off!   Map of Algeciras - La Linea - Gibraltar area.

    Alternative via San Roque-La Linea station:  The closest station to Gibraltar is actually San Roque-La Linea, and all trains to Algeciras call here around 20 minutes before arriving at Algeciras.  So if you prefer, you can get off here and take a taxi to La Linea, or walk the 1.6 km (1 mile) to the Bar La Redonda bus stop on the main road on the M-120 bus route from Algeciras to La Linea.  Buses run to La Linea every 30 minutes weekdays, every 45 minutes weekends.  Taxis are usually available outside San Roque station, San Roque to the La Linea/Gibraltar border is about 16 km (10 miles) and it takes just over 30 minutes depending on traffic.

  • How much does it cost?

    Amsterdam to Paris starts at €35 in 2nd class or €79 in 1st class.

    Paris to Barcelona starts at €39 in 2nd class or €59 in 1st class.

    Barcelona to Madrid starts at €38 in standard class or €45 in comfort class.

    Madrid to Algeciras starts at €25 in standard class or €38 in comfort class.

    Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • How to buy the train tickets...

    You can buy all your tickets together at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com, both easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee.

    First book from Amsterdam to Barcelona, add this to your basket, then book Barcelona to Madrid and Madrid to Algeciras for the following day, add each of these to your basket & check out.

    Booking for Thalys & TGV opens up to 4 months ahead, for the AVE & Intercity train 60 days ahead, but it varies.  You print your own tickets. 

    Alternatively, you can book from Amsterdam to Barcelona at the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com (in €, same fares, more fiddly, no fee) then book Barcelona to Madrid and Madrid to Algeciras at the Spanish Railways website www.renfe.com (in €, much more fiddly, may reject some overseas credit cards, see this advice on using it), you'll find www.thetrainline.com much easier to use.

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.

Back to top


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

Option 1, Amsterdam to Lisbon via Barcelona & Madrid...

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

  • Day 2, travel across Spain from San Sebastian to Vigo on one of these two possible departures:

    Morning departure, every day:  Travel from San Sebastian (Renfe station) to Madrid by Alvia train, leaving San Sebastian at 08:57 and arriving Madrid Chamartin at 14:28.  Then travel from Madrid to Vigo by Alvia train, leaving Madrid Chamartin at 16:00 and arriving Vigo Urzaiz at 20:12.  The comfortable high-speed Alvia trains have a cafe-bar, standard & comfort class.  Vigo Urzaiz station is a 1.1 km 15-minute walk from Vigo Guixar station, see walking map.

    Afternoon departure, Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays only:  Spend the morning in San Sebastian.  An Intercity train leaves San Sebastian (Renfe station) at 12:13 arriving Vitoria/Gasteiz at 13:58.  This is a guaranteed connection into the Barcelona-Galicia Alvia train which leaves Vitoria/Gasteiz at 14:16 on Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays arriving Vigo Guixar at 23:12.

    Tip:  There's a lovely relaxed cafe-bar at San Sebastian Renfe station, accessible from the forecourt or the near-side platform, just north of the main station building, ideal for a cafe con leche before your train.

    San Sebastian to Vigo starts at €23 each way.  The price varies, book ahead for the cheaper prices.

    Book this at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.  Booking for Spanish trains normally opens 60 days ahead, but this varies.

    Tip:  If using the daily departure with a change in Madrid, you might need to treat San Sebastian-Madrid & Madrid-Vigo as separate bookings.

  • Stay overnight in Vigo. The NH Collection Vigo hotel & cheaper Hotel Atlantico Vigo are both near the station with great reviews.

  • Day 3, travel from Vigo to Porto by air-conditioned regional train, leaving Vigo at 08:58 arriving Porto Campanhã at 10:20.  If you'd like to spend some time in Vigo, there's a later train leaving Vigo at 19:56 arriving Porto 21:18.

    The fare is €14.80, fixed price.

    This can also be booked at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com,  Booking opens 60 days ahead, but this can vary.

  • Day 3, take any suitable onward train from Porto to Lisbon, for example the 11:40 Alfa Pendular arriving Lisbon Santa Apolonia at 14:30.  Fares start at €15.  Book this at the Portuguese Railways website www.cp.pt (in €) or at Omio.com (in €, £ or $).

Back to top


Amsterdam to Andorra...

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

  • Step 2, travel from Paris to Toulouse by high-speed TGV, leaving Paris Montparnasse at 15:11 arriving Toulouse Matabiau 19:23.

    Fares start at €25 in 2nd class or €45 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com (more fiddly, in €, but no fee).   You print your own ticket or can choose a mobile ticket.

    Have dinner in Toulouse...

  • Step 3, travel from Toulouse Matabiau to Andorra la Vella by bus, taking 4 hours, fare €33.

    There are 3 services every day run by Andbus, check times at www.andorrabybus.com.  I'd allow at least an hour between train and bus in Toulouse, just in case of delay.  There's normally a bus leaving Toulouse Matabiau at 20:00 arriving Andorra at midnight.

    The buses leave from bus stand 15 inside the Gare Routière (bus station) immediately outside Toulouse Matabiau station.  Simply walk out of the station onto the forecourt and look to your right.  The bus station is the modern building with the glass-and-blue-framework upper section, see the photos below.

    Book the bus ticket at www.andorrabybus.com.

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 café-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, Amsterdam to Andorra using the Paris-Toulouse-l'Hospitalet overnight train...

  • Step 2, travel from Paris to either Toulouse or l'Hospitalet près l'Andorre by Intercité de Nuit, leaving Paris Gare d'Austerlitz at 21:14 arriving l'Hospitalet près l'Andorre at 08:46, or leaving Paris Gare d'Austerlitz at 21:45 arriving Toulouse Matabiau at 07:05.

    These Intercités de Nuit have 1st class 4-berth couchettes, 2nd class 6-berth couchettes & 2nd class reclining seats.

    Fares start at €35 in a 2nd class couchette or €65 in a 1st class couchette.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    The Paris-L'Hospitalet night train should run daily all year, but there are occasional dates or periods when it doesn't run due to track work, so check for your date of travel.  It also has an annoying habit of opening late for booking, less than the expected 4 months ahead, so don't be too impatient.  If the Paris-l'Hospitalet train is not running on your date of travel, check the train from Paris to Toulouse.

    Buy tickets at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (both easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com (in €, more fiddly, no fee).  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can choose a mobile ticket.

    Tip:  If getting off in Toulouse, I can recommend the breakfast buffet at the Pullman Hotel, a few minutes walk from the station.

  • Step 3 if you go via Toulouse (slower, longer road journey, but cheaper):  Travel from Toulouse to Andorra by bus.

    A bus run by Andbus (www.andorrabybus.com) typically leaves Toulouse at 11:00, arriving Andorra la Vella bus station at 15:00.  Check current times at www.andorrabybus.com, I'd allow at least an hour between train and bus in Toulouse in case of delay.

    The bus leaves from bus stand 15 inside the Gare Routière (bus station) immediately outside Toulouse Matabiau station.  Simply walk out of the station onto the forecourt and look to your right.  The bus station is the modern building with the glass-and-blue-framework upper section, see the photos below.

    Book the bus at www.andorrabybus.com.  The fare is around €33 one-way.

  • Step 3 if you go via l'Hospitalet (fastest, more rail & less road, but with expense of a taxi):  Enjoy the scenic train ride into the Pyrenees to l'Hospitalet près l'Andorre, then travel from l'Hospitalet to Andorra la Vella by road, see the London to Andorra page for taxi details.

Intercite de nuit overnight train in Paris

Paris to Toulouse or l'Hospitalet by Intercité de Nuit, seen here at Paris Gare d'AusterlitzMore information about Intercité de Nuit trains Watch the videoPhoto courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

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.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Cologne, Frankfurt or anywhere in Germany from €18.90...
  • Fares start at €18.90 to Cologne, from €27.90 to Frankfurt or €37.90 to anywhere else in Germany in 2nd class.

    1st class fares start at €49.90 to Cologne, €59.90 to Frankfurt or €69.90 to anywhere else in Germany.

    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.

    You print your own ticket (on A4 paper, US Letter size is fine) or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can always log in and check or re-print all your bookings.

    You can also book at the Dutch Railways international site www.nsinternational.nl.

  • Tip:  Amsterdam-Frankfurt ICE trains cross the Rhine before entering Cologne Hbf, with the impressive towers of Cologne cathedral visible on the left right next to the station.  The train then leaves the same way it came in, re-crossing the Rhine before turning southwards.  Don't be surprised when your train changes direction at Cologne, and crosses the same Rhine bridge twice!

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.  Larger photo.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Berlin from €37.90...
  • Every two hours, a comfortable InterCity train leaves Amsterdam Centraal for Osnabruck (3h05), Hanover (4h18) & Berlin Hbf (6h22).

    Trains are the best option on this route, they're centre to centre with no check-in or airport hassle.  The trains have plenty of space for luggage and a bistro car, so treat yourself to a meal and a beer or two.

  • Amsterdam to Berlin start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 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.  I recommend registering when prompted, rather than booking as a guest, so you can always log in and check or re-print all your bookings.  You print your own ticket (on A4 paper, or US Letter size is fine) or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

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...

Back to top


Amsterdam to Munich from €37.90...

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

  • New in 2021, an excellent Nightjet sleeper train leaves Amsterdam Centraal at 19:30 every evening arriving Munich Hbf at 07:11 next morning.

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

  • Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Dutch Railways international website www.nsinternational.nl (in €).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

The Nightjet sleeper train boarding at Amsterdam Centraal.  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 Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

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

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

    I recommend registering when prompted, rather than booking as a guest, so you can always log in and check or re-print all your bookings.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

    You can also book at the Dutch Railways international site www.nsinternational.nl.

  • Tip:  Take the Rhine Valley scenic route!   See the Rails Down the Rhine page for more information, photos & video.

    By default, the journey planner at www.bahn.de will send you the fastest way, either via Hannover or via the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed line.  If you don't mind taking an extra hour you can use the classic curvaceous Rhine Valley route between Cologne and Frankfurt, past vineyards, mountains, castles, river boats and the legendary Lorelei Rock.

    To get this option using www.bahn.de, simply click Stopover and put Koblenz in the via box.  You'll now see options via Bonn & Koblenz in the search results, which means the Rhine Valley route.  Make sure you find seats on the left hand side of the train going south, as that's where the Rhine will be.

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.  Larger photo.

Option 3, Amsterdam to Munich with overnight stop in Cologne...

  • 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 Köln-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 07:54 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 Stopover 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 Stopover 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.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Vienna from €49.90...

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

  • New in 2021, a Nightjet sleeper train leaves Amsterdam Centraal at 19:30 every evening arriving Linz at 07:46 & Vienna Hbf at 09:19.

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

  • Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Dutch Railways international website www.nsinternational.nl (in €).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

The Nightjet sleeper train boarding at Amsterdam Centraal.  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 Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

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

  • You can travel from Amsterdam to Vienna in a single chill-out day on superb ICE trains with one easy change of train.  For example,

    Leave Amsterdam Centraal at 08:08, change Frankfurt Flughafen (an easy same-platform change), arrive Vienna Hbf 18:45.

    Leave Amsterdam Centraal at 10:38, change Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arrive Vienna Hbf 23:05.

    Take a good book and enjoy the ride, ICE trains have power sockets at all seats, free WiFi and a restaurant car serving tea, coffee, wine, beer, snacks & hot dishes - in 1st class orders for food & drink are taken and served at your seat.  I recommend the Erdinger weissbier!

  • Fares start at €49.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 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.  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.

    Tip:  You can programme in a few hours stop in Cologne or Nuremberg if you like.  Book from Amsterdam to Vienna, but click Stopover, enter Cologne Hbf or Nuremberg Hbf, enter desired number of hours stopover (say 3) and off you go.

  • You can also book at the Dutch Railways international site www.nsinternational.nl.

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, Amsterdam to Vienna with overnight stop in Cologne or Nuremberg...

  • If you'd rather break up the trip with an overnight stop, Cologne or Nuremberg are two good places for an overnight stop.

    Both cities are worth building in a few hours to look around - in Cologne the cathedral is right next to the station, and in Nuremberg there's a pleasant old town, a railway museum and the historic Party Rally Grounds (take tram 9 from outside Nuremberg Hbf). 

  • Go to www.bahn.de and book from Amsterdam to Vienna, but click Stopover, enter Cologne or Nuremberg, enter desired number of hours stopover (say 10) in the hh:mm box and off you go.

    You can programme in up to 2 stopovers up to 48 hours, and still get end to end Sparpreis tickets.  Adjust the departure time and stopover duration through trial & error until you see the trains that suit you either side of Cologne or Nuremberg.

    Booking this way is cheaper than buying two tickets.  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.

Back to top


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

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

  • New in 2021, a Nightjet sleeper train leaves Amsterdam Centraal at 19:30 every evening arriving Innsbruck Hbf at 09:14, with another portion en route to Vienna arriving in Wels at 07:14. Change in Wels for a railjet train to Salzburg Hbf, arriving 08:48.

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

  • Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or Dutch Railways international website www.nsinternational.nl (in €, no fee).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

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 Salzburg or Innsbruck by daytime trains...

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

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

  • Stay overnight in Cologne.  The good & inexpensive Ibis Hotel Köln-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, take any morning train you like from Cologne to Salzburg:  The 06:44 from Cologne Hbf will get you to Salzburg Hbf at 12:58 with breakfast on board in the restaurant, or have a leisurely breakfast at your hotel and book a later train, they leave at least hourly. 

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

  • Buy tickets from Amsterdam to anywhere in Austria at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.

    To get the overnight stop in Cologne, click Stopover and put Cologne Hbf in the via box with your desired stopover duration in the hh:mm box.  Why not allow time for a wander round Cologne, visiting the cathedral right next to the station?  You can add a stopover of up to 48h.  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 or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

Back to top


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

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

  • How to buy tickets...

    Book from Amsterdam or almost anywhere in the Netherlands to Copenhagen or almost anywhere in Denmark 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.

  • If you're going to Malmö...

    Catch the next Öresund train from Copenhagen to Malmö, these run every 20 minutes taking 34 minutes, crossing the water to Sweden on the impressive Öresund fixed link.  You can buy a Copenhagen-Malmo ticket at the station, no pre-booking required, but you can save money by booking Amsterdam to Malmo rather then Copenhagen when using Bahn.de as German Railways offer through tickets.

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

  • How much does it cost?

    Amsterdam to Copenhagen starts at €49.90 in 2nd class or €79.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

  • How to buy tickets...

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

    To get the overnight stop in Hamburg, click Stopover, enter Hamburg Hbf and a stopover duration of (say) 10 hours in the hh:mm box and run the enquiry.  I've set up this link for you with the necessary parameters.  Adjust departure time and stopover duration to get the trains you want.  If you have any problems you can book Amsterdam-Hamburg for day 1 and again Hamburg to Copenhagen for day 2, although this may work out slightly more expensive.

    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're going to Malmö, travel from Copenhagen to Malmö by Öresund train, these run every 20-30 minutes to Malmö, journey time 39 minutes.  Book from Hamburg to Malmö as one transaction at www.bahn.de.

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.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Stockholm & Gothenburg from €56.90...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Stockholm using the Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper train, starting 1 September 2022 - the time-effective option...

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Hamburg, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 13:00, changing at Osnabruck & arriving Hamburg Altona 18:16.

    The ICE train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  A later departure at 15:00 is possible, but this gives little room for manoeuvre in the event of a delay, so I'd play safe and take the 13:00 departure.  Have dinner in Hamburg.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.

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

  • Step 2, travel from Hamburg to Stockholm by sleeper train, leaving Hamburg Altona at 21:55 & arriving Stockholm Central 09:55 next morning.

    This train starts running from 1 September 2022.  Procured by the Swedish government and run by Swedish Railways SJ, the train has sleeping-cars with compact 1 & 2 berth compartments with washbasin, several 1, 2 or 3 bed deluxe compartments with en suite toilet & shower, couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  The sleeping-cars are former Austrian Railways AB32s, refurbished.

    Fares start at €44.90 with a couchette in 6-berth, €69.90 with a couchette in 4-berth, €79.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €164.90 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.  All prices per person per bed, fares vary like air fares so book ahead.

    Book tickets at either www.sj.se or (as this is a Nightjet partner route) Austrian Railways www.oebb.at.

    Booking opens several months ahead, you print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone.

Standard sleeper, set up as a single   Standard sleeper, beds folded away, sofa folded out.   Hamburg-Stockholm night train

Standard sleeper, set up as a single, shown in both night & daytime modes whilst the AB32 sleeping-car was in service with ÖBB.  AB32s have 13 narrow standard compartments.  Above right, an artist's impression of the new livery, courtesy of SJ.

Deluxe sleeper, day   Deluxe sleeper, shower   Deluxe sleeper, night-time

Deluxe sleeper, taken whilst the AB32 sleeping-car was in service with ÖBB.  AB32s have just 2 deluxe compartments.

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

  • To buy tickets...

    The cheapest way is to book from Amsterdam to Stockholm or Gothenburg as one transaction at the German Railways website www.bahn.de - but click Stopover and enter Hamburg Hbf in the via box and (say) 10:00 in the 'hh:mm' box.  Click here to open bahn.de all set up with the necessary parameters - enter your date of travel and passenger details.  Adjust departure time & stopover time if necessary to get the trains you want either side of Hamburg.  This way you'll get a Sparpreis Sweden fare from Amsterdam to Stockholm or Gothenburg from just €59.90 with an overnight stop in Hamburg built in.  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.

    If you have any problems you can break the journey down:  Book from Amsterdam to Hamburg & Hamburg to Copenhagen at www.bahn.de, then book Copenhagen to Stockholm at either www.sj.se (in Krona, can struggle with some overseas credit cards, no booking fee) or Omio.com (formerly GoEuro.com, in Krona, €, £ or $, small booking fee, quick & easy to use and readily accepts overseas credit cards).

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

  • To buy tickets...

    The cheapest way is to book Amsterdam to Stockholm or Gothenburg as one transaction at German Railways www.bahn.de - but click Stopover and enter Copenhagen in the via box and (say) 12:00 in the 'hh:mm' box.  Click here to open bahn.de all set up with the correct parameters - enter your date of travel and passenger details.  Adjust departure time & stopover time if necessary to get the trains you want either side of Copenhagen.  You print your own ticket.  This way you'll get a Sparpreis Sweden fare from Amsterdam to Stockholm or Gothenburg from just €56.90 with an overnight stop in Copenhagen built in.

    If you have any problems, you can book from Amsterdam to Copenhagen at www.bahn.de then Copenhagen to Stockholm at either www.sj.se (in Krona, can struggle with some overseas credit cards, no booking fee) or Omio.com (formerly GoEuro.com, in Krona, €, £ or $, small booking fee, quick & easy to use and readily accepts overseas credit cards).  You print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone.

  • If you're going to Gothenburg...

    Stay overnight in Copenhagen and travel to Gothenburg by Öresund train next morning.  These run every hour, journey time 3h53.  You can buy a Copenhagen-Gothenburg ticket at the station, no reservation necessary.

    However, the cheapest way to buy tickets is usually to book Amsterdam to Goteborg Central at German Railways www.bahn.de, but clicking Stopover and entering Copenhagen in the via box and (say) 12:00 in the 'hh:mm' box.  This way you'll get an Amsterdam to Gothenburg Sparpreis Sweden fare from just €59.90 with an overnight stopover in Copenhagen built in.  Adjust the departure time and stopover duration until you get the trains you want either side of Copenhagen.  Click here to open bahn.de all set up with the necessary parameters - just enter your date of travel and adjust departure point & stopover time to suit.

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

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

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Kiel by train, leaving in the morning.

    The journey takes around 7h15, you'll typically find a train leaving Amsterdam Centraal at around 08:08 with changes at Duisburg and Hamburg.  However, you should book the ferry first and confirm ferry times, then book a train that arrives at Kiel Hbf around 2 hours before the ferry sails.

    Book the train at the German Railways site www.bahn.de

    You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

    In Kiel, the ferry terminal is 750m from the station, a 9-minute walk, see walking map.

  • Step 2, sail overnight from Kiel to Gothenburg by Stena Line ferry.

    The ferry normally sails at 18:45 and arrives around 09:15, but times may vary so check online.

    The ferry is a floating hotel with restaurants & bars, all passengers travel in a cosy private cabin with en suite toilet & shower.  You can add dinner & breakfast to your ticket when you book.

    Fares vary, you might pay €39 per passenger as basic fare plus €75-€89 per cabin for a private 1 or 2 bed room.

    Book the ferry at www.stenaline.com and print your own ticket or show it on your phone.

    In Gothenburg, the ferry terminal is a short taxi ride (or 4.3 km 53-minute walk) from Goteborg Central station, see walking map.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, Netherland to Norway by direct overnight ferry...

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Eemshaven by train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 09:07, change at Almere & Groningen, arriving Eemshaven station at 12:13.  Check train times from anywhere in the Netherlands to Eemshaven at www.ns.nl.

  • Step 2, sail from Eemshaven to Kristiansand by overnight ferry, 3 times a week

    Holland Norway Lines will start this new service from April 2022.  The m/v Romantika will sail from the port of Eemshaven near Groningen at 15:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays, arriving Kristiansand at 09:00 next morning.

    You must check in at least 90 minutes before sailing time.  All passengers travel in a private cabin with shower & toilet, and there are a range of restaurants and bars and a sauna.

    Fares start at around €75 per person plus cabin cost.  Cabins start at around €75 (per cabin) for a 2-berth with shower & toilet.

    Buy ferry tickets at hollandnorwaylines.com.

  • Step 3, check onward train times from Kristiansand to Oslo Sentral (or westbound to Stavanger) at entur.no or www.vy.no, see the advice here.  I'd allow at least 2 hours between the ferry's arrival and any onward train.  You can normally reach Oslo by late afternoon.

Ferry m/v Romantika   2-berth sea view cabin

m/v Romantika.  Photos courtesy of @mightyalan

 

2-berth sea view cabin. Larger photo.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Oslo via Hamburg & Copenhagen - by train all the way...

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

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Kiel on any suitable train, for example leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 13:00 arriving Kiel Hbf at 19:34 with two easy changes at Osnabruck and Hamburg Hbf.

    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 tickets at the German Railways site 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.

  • Stay overnight in Kiel.  The InterCity Hotel Kiel gets good reviews, is relatively inexpensive and is right next to the station and a few minutes walk from the ferry.  The B&B Hotel Kiel City is also next to the station with good reviews, and is even cheaper.  For something upmarket, the Atlantic Hotel Kiel gets great reviews and is in Bahnhofsplatz in front of the station.

    In Kiel the Color Line ferry terminal is just a 5-6 minute walk from Kiel Hbf.

  • Step 2, sail from Kiel to Oslo by luxurious overnight ferry, Color Line's m/v Magic or m/v Fantasy normally sails at 14:00 arriving Oslo at 10:00 next morning.  The ferry is a floating hotel with a wide range of en suite cabins, suites, restaurants, bars & lounges.

    Check times & buy tickets using the Direct Ferries website or at www.colorline.com.

    Make sure you're on deck next morning as the ship sails through spectacular scenery up Oslo Fjord.  The ship docks at the modern Color Line terminal about 2 km from the city centre.  Color Line provide transfer buses to Oslo Sentral station costing 55 krone, or there are plenty of taxis.  If you have little luggage it's possible to walk.  See map of Oslo showing ferry terminal.

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....

Back to top


Amsterdam to Helsinki & Finland...

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

  • Book onward trains within Finland at the Finnish Railways website www.vr.fi.

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, Amsterdam to Helsinki by train to Stockholm & ferry to Helsinki...

Back to top


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 Stopover, 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 Stopover, 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, Amsterdam to Prague with an overnight stop in Berlin - 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 Stopover 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

Step 1, 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...

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

Back to top


Amsterdam to Cesky Krumlov & other Czech destinations...

  • You can book from Amsterdam (or anywhere in the Netherlands) to most stations in the Czech Republic at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.

    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.

    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.

    Tip:  It's an all-day ride from the Netherlands to the Czech Republic, so select an early morning departure time to do it all in one day.

    Tip:  You might prefer breaking up a long journey with an overnight stop, perhaps Nuremberg, if your route goes that way.  To get an overnight stop, click Stopover and enter Nuremberg, with a suitable stopover duration, say 11 hours, or up to 48 hours.

  • For Cesky Krumlov (a lovely town that's the second most-visited place in the Czech Republic, see the Cesky Krumlov page) you need to book to Ceske Budejovice, not Cesky Krumlov, because the branch line between Ceske Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov is run by private operator GWTR and German Railways cannot ticket that part.

    So simply book Amsterdam to Ceske Budejovice at www.bahn.de from €39.90, then buy the local ticket from Ceske Budejovice to Cesky Krumlov either at the station in Ceske Budejovice from the distinctive green and orange ticket kiosk in the main hall, or on board the train using the self-service ticket machines, contactless cards accepted.  You can check train times from Ceske Budejovice to Cesky Krumlov at www.gwtr.cz.

  • For Karlovy Vary or Plzen, book at www.bahn.de, looking for 3-change options via Frankfurt, Nuremberg & Cheb from €37.90.

  • For Brno, book Amsterdam to Brno at www.bahn.de.  It tends to route you via Vienna, as this is slightly quicker.  By all means click Stopover and enter Prague, this can be cheaper.  By adding a stopover duration of a suitable number of hours, you can have an overnight stop there.

    The most time-effective option from the Netherlands to Brno is to take the Nightjet sleeper train from Amsterdam to Vienna overnight as shown above, allow at least an hour between trains in Vienna, then take a Vienna-Brno train booked at either www.thetrainline.com (sells both Regiojet & ÖBB/CD trains), www.oebb.at (ÖBB/CD trains only) or www.regiojet.com (Regiojet trains only).

Back to top


Amsterdam to Bratislava & Slovakia from €46.90...

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

  • Step 3 if you're going to eastern Slovakia & the Tatra mountains:  Take an express from Bratislava to Poprad Tatry & Kosice.  In this case, you'd pre-book a ticket from Vienna to Poprad Tatry & Kosice from €29 at either www.thetrainline.com or www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.  You'll find a regional train leaving Vienna at 10:16, change at Bratislava Hlavna arriving Poprad Tatry late afternoon & Kosice  early evening.

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train, seen here at Amsterdam CentraalMore 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 Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Nightjet couchette car...

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

Step 2, Vienna to Bratislava by hourly Regional Express train, seen at Vienna Hbf.  Behind the locomotive is a smart Slovakian air-conditioned intercity coach, the rest of the train consists of more basic non-air-con Austrian City Shuttle carriages, with interiors as shown in the photo above right.  Find a seat in the more Slovakian car if you can!  More information about these trains.

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

  • Fares start at €46.90 in 2nd class, €99.90 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.  Tickets are sent by post to any address worldwide for a small fee.

    Tip:  In the search results, look for journeys with just 2 changes.

    Tip:  To get a digital ticket that can be printed out or shown on your smartphone, split the booking:  Book Amsterdam to Vienna at www.bahn.de, then buy a ticket for the Vienna-Bratislava regional train either at the station in Vienna on the day or at www.oebb.at.  This method costs a few euros more, but you avoid the postage fee and there's no delay in getting your ticket.

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

  • Step 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.

    Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  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.

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Bratislava on the sleeper train Metropol, leaving Berlin Hbf at 18:43 and arriving Bratislava Hlavna at 05:54.

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

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

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

EuroNight sleeper train from Berlin to Budapest

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

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

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

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Budapest from €56.90...

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

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

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

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or Dutch Railways international website www.nsinternational.nl (in €).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you have a sleeper ticket and/or 1st class ticket for the onward train to Budapest, you can use the ÖBB first class lounge at Vienna Hbf between trains, with complimentary tea, coffee & snacks & free WiFi.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Budapest by EuroCity train with restaurant car, leaving Vienna Hbf at 10:42 & arriving Budapest Keleti at 13:19.

    Fares start at €19.90 in 2nd class or €29.90 in 1st class.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easiest to use, 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).  You print your own ticket.

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

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 Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

EuroCity train from Vienna to Budapest, at Budapest Keleti

Step 2, Vienna to Budapest by EuroCity train.

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

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

 

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

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

  • If you leave at around 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.  Larger photo.

Option 3, Amsterdam to Budapest using the Berlin-Budapest sleeper - Another 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 Nyugati at 08:20.

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

    Fares start at €49 with a couchette in a 6-berth compartment, €59 with a couchette in a 4-berth compartment, €79 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper with washbasin, €99 in a 2-bed sleeper with washbasin or €129 in a single-bed sleeper with washbasin.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

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

EuroNight sleeper train from Berlin to Budapest

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

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

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

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Option 4, Amsterdam to Budapest using the Munich-Budapest sleeper - 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 at 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.

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.  Larger photo.

The sleeper train Kalman Imre from Munich to  Budapest

Step 2, Munich to Budapest by sleeper train.  This is the Kalman Imre boarding on platform 12 at Munich Hbf.  More information about this train.

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

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

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes.

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

  • Day 1, travel from Amsterdam to Munich on any trains you like, for example leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 14:38 arriving Munich Hbf at 22:07.

    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 Stopover 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.

Back to top


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

Option 1, Amsterdam to Romania using a sleeper from Budapest...

  • Step 2, travel from Budapest to Romania by sleeper train Ister leaving Budapest Keleti at 19:10 & arriving Brasov 09:23 & Bucharest Nord 11:59.

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

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

    Book this train at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.  Click EN top right for English.  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  For Bucharest type Bucuresti.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    You can also 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.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Option 2, Amsterdam to Romania using a sleeper from Vienna...

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

  • Spend a day in Vienna, left luggage 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 Simeria 07:36, Sighisoara 10:09, Braşov 13:26, Ploeşti 15:08 & Bucharest Nord at 15:47.

    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...

    From 12 December 2021 the Dacia Express will also convey a second portion from Vienna to Bucharest via Timişoara, also leaving Vienna Hbf at 19:42 and arriving Timişoara Nord at 05:52, Craiova 12:42 & Bucharest Nord at 16:05.  This portion has a Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments, and ordinary seats.

    From 12 December 2021 the Dacia Express will convey a portion from Vienna to Cluj Napoca, also leaving Vienna Hbf at 19:42 and arriving Cluj Napoca at 08:19.  This portion has a Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments, and ordinary seats.

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

    Book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.atBooking opens up to 90 days ahead.  In the search results, look for the direct train marked D with no changes.  If it says not available you can't book it, but if a sparschiene fare is shown you can.  You collect tickets from an ÖBB ticket machine in Vienna.

    You can also (as of 2022) book this train at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.  Click EN top right for English.  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  For Vienna type Wien, for Bucharest type Bucuresti.  It can book seats, couchettes or sleepers.  For Austria to Romania journeys you can now print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or phone.

    Tip:  Prices might be cheaper than on oebb.at, so check both sites!

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

Dacia Express sleeping-car

The Dacia Express has an air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car, 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

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

The daytime train from Budapest to Bucharest

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Back to top


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 trains to Munich and Croatian sleeper train to Ljubljana & Zagreb - time-effective 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 20:07.

    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 06:00 & Zagreb 08:32.

    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.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at (same prices, in €, 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. Larger photo.

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

Step 2, Munich to Ljubljana & Zagreb by sleeper train.  Above, the air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb is boarding on platform 12 at Munich Hbf.  It has 10 compartments with washbasin, each of which can be used as 1, 2 or 3 berth, with toilets at the end of the corridor.  Compartments convert to a private sitting room for evening or morning use.  A light breakfast is included in the sleeper fare.  The Croatian couchette car is the next vehicle to the right, also modern & air-conditioned with 4 & 6 bunk compartments, ideal for families.  Couchettes convert from bunks to seats for evening or morning use.

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

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

Set up as a single-berth.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes. 360º photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

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

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

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Munich on comfortable ICE trains with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, there are various departures every day, the best journeys are the ones with just one change.

    You can leave Amsterdam Centraal as late as 14:38, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf and arrive Munich Hbf at 22:07, 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...

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About.

 

Restaurant car.

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

First class.

 

Economy class.

Scenery in the Austrian Alps between Munich & Ljubljana

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

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

  2nd class seats on the Munich-Zagreb train

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

 

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

Scenery between Ljubljana & Zagreb

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

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

The EuroCity train Sava, arrived at Zagreb.

 

More scenery along the Sava between Ljubljana & Zagreb.

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

This is a slower option, if only because of the morning at leisure in Vienna, but it's straightforward & comfortable.

  • Step 1, travel from Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 19:30 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.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this sleeper at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Dutch Railways international website www.nsinternational.nl (in €).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Zagreb by EuroCity train Croatia, leaving Vienna Hbf at 15:58 and arriving Zagreb at 22:30. 

    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.

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train, seen here at Amsterdam Centraal 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 Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

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.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Belgrade, Sofia, Montenegro...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Belgrade & beyond 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 20:07.

    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 08:32 next morning. 

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

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

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

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

    This train 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.

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.  Larger photo.

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

Step 2, Munich to Zagreb by sleeper:  Above, the air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb is boarding on platform 12 at Munich Hbf.  It has 10 compartments with washbasin, each of which can be used as 1, 2 or 3 berth, with toilets at the end of the corridor.  Compartments convert to a private sitting room for evening or morning use.  A light breakfast is included in the sleeper fare.  The Croatian couchette car is the next vehicle to the right, also modern & air-conditioned with 4 & 6 bunk compartments, ideal for families.  Couchettes convert from bunks to seats for evening or morning use.

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

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

Set up as a single-berth.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes. 360º photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Book this at either www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, small booking fee, using thetrainline allows you to buy both tickets together in one place) or the German Railways website 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

Zurich to Zagreb by sleeper:  The modern air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car from Zurich or 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 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...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Day 2, travel from Budapest to Bucharest on the sleeper train Muntenia, leaving Budapest Keleti at 15:10 and arriving Bucharest Nord at 08:06.

    The Muntenia has 4 & 6-berth couchettes and ordinary seats.  A Romanian sleeping-car is attached from Timişoara Nord (depart 22:00) to Bucharest.  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.

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

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

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

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

    The fare is around €34.

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

Nightjet sleeper train at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 1, Amsterdam to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train.  More 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 Amsterdam-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

A Railjet train at Budapest

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

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About.

 

Restaurant car.

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

First class.

 

Economy class.

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

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

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

A sleeping-car with 1, 2 or 3-bed compartments is attached between Timisoara & Bucharest, of the classic type shown above, bought second-hand from German Railways. Courtesy of @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.comLarger photo.

Back to top


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 Stopover, 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 to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, 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...

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

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

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

1st class compartment...

 

2nd class.  Some seats are in compartments.

Restaurant car on the Berlin to Warsaw train

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

 

The bar counter...

 

Decent food, served on proper china...

Back to top


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 10:39 every day, arriving Wroclaw 14:52, Katowice 16:57 & Krakow Glowny 17:52.  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 Stopover, 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 to Berlin InterCity train

Step 1, 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...

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin Hbf

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

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

2nd class.  Some seats are in compartments.

 

1st class seats on the Wawel.

Restaurant car on the Berlin to Warsaw train

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

Back to top


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 InterCity Hotel (my favourite) or Meininger Hotel are right next to Berlin Hbf, a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag or 15 minutes from the Brandenburg Gate, relatively inexpensive with good reviews.  The Steigenberger Hotel is more upmarket, also right next to the station with great reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, the famous & historic Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is next to the Brandenburg Gate.  If you're on a tight budget, the cheaper Motel One Berlin-Hbf is behind the station or 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 Stopover, 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...

Back to top


Amsterdam to Kiev & Ukraine...

Option 1, Amsterdam to Lviv & Kiev 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 10:26 & Kiev at 16:21.

    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 ÖBB station in Austria.  They cannot be collected in Ukraine.  Booking this way you pay no fee or mark-up, just the official fare.  The sleeper has become popular, it can sell out.

    If you have any problems or want a one-way ticket starting in Ukraine, you can also book the Vienna-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 2, Amsterdam to Kiev via 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.  The InterCity train has a bistro car.

    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 InterCity Hotel (my favourite) or Meininger Hotel are right next to Berlin Hbf, a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag or 15 minutes from the Brandenburg Gate, relatively inexpensive with good reviews.  The Steigenberger Hotel is more upmarket, also right next to the station with great reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, the famous & historic Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is next to the Brandenburg Gate.  If you're on a tight budget, the cheaper Motel One Berlin-Hbf is behind the station or see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:38 daily arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:11.

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

    Fares start at €27.90 in 2nd class or €37.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, 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 30 minute walk from Centralna station - if you fancy a modest splurge, the celebrated Ufukiera restaurant (www.ufukiera.pl) is excellent and right on the square in the heart of Warsaw's old town.  The Palace of Culture (a wedding cake style Soviet skyscraper and distinctive Warsaw landmark, www.pkin.pl) is right next to the station and has a viewing terrace on the 30th floor.

  • Day 2, travel from Warsaw to Kiev on the Kiev Express sleeper train leaving Warsaw Wschodnia at 17:48 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.

The Warsaw to Kiev train at Warsaw Centralna

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

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

1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper...

 

Washbasin...

 

Kiev Express...

Back to top


Amsterdam to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia

Option 1, Amsterdam to Moscow 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 InterCity Hotel (my favourite) or Meininger Hotel are right next to Berlin Hbf, a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag or 15 minutes from the Brandenburg Gate, relatively inexpensive with good reviews.  The Steigenberger Hotel is more upmarket, also right next to the station with great reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, the famous & historic Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is next to the Brandenburg Gate.  If you're on a tight budget, the cheaper Motel One Berlin-Hbf is behind the station or see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2 morning, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:38 daily arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:11.

    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 30 minute walk from Centralna station - if you fancy a modest splurge, the celebrated Ufukiera restaurant (www.ufukiera.pl) is excellent and right on the square in the heart of Warsaw's old town.  The Palace of Culture (a wedding cake style Soviet skyscraper and distinctive Warsaw landmark, www.pkin.pl) is right next to the station and has a viewing terrace on the 30th floor.

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

    This train is currently suspended due to Covid-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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 currently suspended due to Covid-19

    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.

    These trains are currently suspended due to Covid-19

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

Back to top


Amsterdam to Athens, Corfu & Greece...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, currently summer-only...

  • 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.

Back to top


Amsterdam to Istanbul & Turkey...

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

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

Option 2, via Belgrade & Sofia...

Back to top


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.

  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.

 


Back to home page