Lunch in the restaurant car between Berlin & Prague

I want to go from Bratislava to...

     

       Click here for journeys starting in another city COVID-19 update.

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

Bratislava Hlavna is Bratislava's main station, often abbreviated to Bratislava hl.st, see Bratislava station information

Pictured right:  The civilised way to go...  Lunch and a beer in the restaurant car of a Bratislava to Berlin express...

Before you buy your tickets...

Take a moment to read these tips for buying European train tickets.  It answers all 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 €35 point-to-point ticket online?".  Click here to understand how far ahead you can buy train tickets.

European train travel FAQ...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Top 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...


Buying tickets for journeys within Slovakia...

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Bratislava to Prague for €17...

Option 1, by EuroCity train every 2h - the most frequent option...

EuroCity train to Budapest boarding in Prague

A Prague-Bratislava-Budapest EuroCity train at Prague Hlavni...

Prague to Budapest EuroCity traiin   2nd class open seating on Prague-Budapest EuroCity traiin

Restaurant car...

 

2nd class open plan saloon seating...

Option 2, by private operator Regiojet - 4 departures a day...

A RegioJet train to Prague at Vienna Hbf

A RegioJet train in its distinctive yellow & grey colours, see the interior photos of RegioJet trains here

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Bratislava to Brno from €6...

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Bratislava to Vienna for €11.20...
The train from Vienna to Bratislava...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna Hbf to Bratislava Hlavna

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Bratislava to Linz, Salzburg or Innsbruck

Option 1, by direct railjet train - new from 9 December 2018...

Railjet train at Bratislava

The new railjet train at Bratislava Hlavna...  Courtesy of Helmut Uttentahler.

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf.  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

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

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

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant car...

Option 2, other departures with a change of train in Vienna - if the early morning direct train doesn't suit you...

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Bratislava to Berlin, Dresden or Hamburg from €39.90

Option 1, by EuroCity train Hungaria - the leisurely daytime option...

The EuroCity train Hungaria between Berlin & Budapest

The Budapest-Bratislava-Berlin Hungaria with the latest air-conditioned Hungarian cars.  Photos courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

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

2nd class seats on the Hungaria...

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria...

Option 2, by EuroNight sleeper train Metropol - the time-effective overnight option, saves a hotel bill too...

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

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

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

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Bratislava to Munich from €34.90...

Option 1, by daytime train...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf.  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

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

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

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant car...

Option 2, by sleeper train...

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Bratislava to Frankfurt, Cologne & other stations in Germany from €39.90

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Bratislava to Zurich & Switzerland...

Option 1, Bratislava to Zurich by direct railjet train - the best option if the timing suits you...

Railjet train from Bratislava to Zurich

The new Bratislava-Zurich railjet train at Bratislava Hlavna...  Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

Scenery in the Arlberg pass - the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows, see the Arlberg Pass scenery video.

 

In railjet first & business class, the steward takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

Option 2, by daytime trains with an easy change in Vienna - if the timing of the direct train doesn't suit you...

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

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Bratislava to Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome & Italy from €44...

Option 1, Bratislava to Venice in a single day...

Afternoon train to Venice boarding at Vienna Hbf

The railjet from Vienna to Venice, boarding at Vienna Hbf...

Option 2, by sleeper train - the time-effective option...

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

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand.  Larger photo.

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as used on the Austrian Nightjet trains from Vienna to Italy.  More pictures & information about nightjets.

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

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

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

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

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Bratislava to Paris...

Option 1, Bratislava to Paris in a single day - the scenic option via the Arlberg Railway...

Railjet train from Bratislava to Zurich

The new Bratislava-Zurich railjet train at Bratislava Hlavna...  Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

Scenery in the Arlberg pass - the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In railjet first & business class, the steward takes your order & serves lunch at your seat...

Option 2, by sleeper train from Vienna to Zurich & high-speed train to Paris - the most time-effective option...

    Double-deck sleeping-car on Vienna-Zurich Nigtjet at Zurich

Cosy 2-berth sleeper.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

The Nightjet sleeper from Vienna to Zurich...

TGV-Lyria at Paris Gare de Lyon   TGV bar car

By TGV-Lyria from Zurich to Paris.  There's no check-in, you just walk up to it & get on..

 

The cafe-bar, serving tea, coffee, beer, wine, hot & cold snacks & microwaved hot dishes....

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

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Bratislava to Brussels or Bruges...

Option 1, by daytime trains...

Option 2, by sleeper train...

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

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

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

   

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

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families...

High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Cologne & Frankfurt   ICE3 second class ICE3 first class
Cologne to Brussels by ICE.  More ICE info.  

ICE3 2nd class.  ICEs are perhaps the most comfortable trains in Europe...

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Seats in both classes have power sockets.

Option 3, with overnight stop in Prague - the cheapest option from €44!

  • OK, so this isn't the fastest option.  But with an amazing €29 fare between Prague & Brussels from Czech Railways and a €15 fare from Bratislava to Prague, it's the cheapest way to go!  The trains are just as good quality as other routes, too, see the photos here.

  • Day 1, travel from Bratislava to Prague on any EuroCity train you like, see the timetable here.  Book this train from €15 at Czech Railways www.cd.cz and print your own ticket.

  • Stay overnight in Prague.  In fact, if you took the 06:10 from Bratislava Hlavna arriving Prague Hlavni at 10:07, it's possible to make a same-day connection with the 10:45 to Brussels, so you can do this whole trip in a day.  But there's no room for delay, so only do this if you're prepared to take a chance.  You'd make this connection 95% of the time.  Hotels in Prague with good reviews next to the station include the Esplanade Hotel (good choice, I've stayed there myself), Falkensteiner Hotel Maria, Chopin Hotel.

  • Step 2, travel from Prague to Brussels by train.  You don't get much control over the trains or route, it involves 3 changes and takes a day, but it's true.  You can go from central Prague to central Brussels in comfort by train for as little as €29, or €43 in 1st class.  For example:

    Prague Hlavni depart 06:43, change Cheb, Nuremberg & Frankfurt arriving Brussels Midi at 17:35.

    Prague Hlavni depart 10:43, change Cheb, Nuremberg & Frankfurt arriving Brussels Midi at 21:35.

    Simply use the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz to book from Prague to Brussel, but (and this is the important bit) you must click More options then click Travel via and put Cheb in the via box.  You'll see fares from as little as €29 (about 757 Czech Koruna) via a route with 3 changes at Cheb, Nuremberg & Frankfurt.  Or treat yourself to first class from €43, about 1096 Koruna.  You print your own ticket.

    There's nothing cut-rate about the trains:  You travel on a swish air-conditioned regional train from Prague to Cheb and from Cheb to Nuremberg, then by top-quality high-speed ICE train from Nuremberg to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Brussels, complete with bistro-restaurant cars and beer on tap, see the photos here.

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Bratislava to Amsterdam from €69...

Option 1, by day trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

Option 2, by time-effective sleeper...

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

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as now used on the Austrian Nightjet train from Vienna to Cologne.  More information about Nightjet trains...

   

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

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families...

High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Cologne & Frankfurt   ICE3 second class ICE3 first class
Cologne to Amsterdam by ICE.  More ICE info.  

ICE3 2nd class.  ICEs are perhaps the most comfortable trains in Europe...

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Seats in both classes have power sockets.

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Bratislava to London...

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Bratislava to Barcelona & Spain...

By daytime trains with overnight stop in Zurich or Geneva...

  • Step 3, take a Swiss domestic train from Zurich HB to Geneva, these run twice an hour, no reservation needed, you reach Geneva around 20:18.

  • Stay overnight in Geneva, hotels with good reviews near the station include Hotel Cornavin Geneve, Hotel Les Arcades, ibis Styles Geneva Gare..

  • Step 4, travel from Geneva to Barcelona.  Usually you'll find a TER regional train leaving Geneva at 11:30, change trains at Lyon Part Dieu (arrive 13:25, depart 14:28) onto a direct AVE high-speed train arriving Barcelona Sants at 19:33.  Fares start at around €69 in 2nd class.

    Book this at Raileurope.co.uk (in €, £ or $, can be used by anyone from any country, small booking fee) or www.trainline.eu (anyone from any country, small booking fee) or at en.oui.sncf (in €, a bit more fiddly, but no booking fee).  You usually print your own ticket.

  • What's the journey like?  Between Lyon & Barcelona you'll follow the same interesting route taken by the Paris-Barcelona TGVs, see the photos & video on the Paris to Barcelona page.  You'll pass the Chateau de Montfaucon, Bιziers cathedral, flamingos on the lakes in the South of France between Montpelier and Perpignan, the historic Catalan-built Fort de Salses right by the tracks, and get great views of the massive Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees, visible all the way from Perpignan to Girona.

  • Step 5, stay overnight in Barcelona (see suggested hotels near the station) and book onward high-speed trains from Barcelona to Madrid, Seville, Malaga, Alicante etc, using Raileurope.co.uk (easy to use, in €, £ or $, small booking fee) or www.petrabax.com (easy to use, in US$, small mark-up) or Spanish Railways own website www.renfe.com (in €, no booking fee, but much more be fiddly, see this advice on using it).

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  Seen from the train and one of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline all the way from Girona to Perpignan...

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Bratislava to Budapest for €17.50...
EuroCity train to Budapest boarding in Prague

A Prague-Bratislava-Budapest EuroCity train about to leave Prague Hlavni...

Prague to Budapest EuroCity traiin   2nd class open seating on Prague-Budapest EuroCity traiin

Restaurant car...

 

2nd class open plan saloon seating...

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Bratislava to Brasov, Sighisoara & Bucharest from €57...

Option 1, via the sleeper train Ister from Budapest to Brasov & Bucharest...

  • Step 1, travel from Bratislava to Budapest by air-conditioned EuroCity train, leaving Bratislava Hlavna at 13:57 and arriving Budapest Nyugati at 16:20.  The fare is around €18 bought at the station, no reservation necessary.  To check train times use www.slovakrail.sk or www.bahn.de.  Walk, metro or tram to Keleti station.

  • Step 2, take the EuroNight sleeper train Ister leaving Budapest Keleti at 19:10 & arriving Brasov 09:53 & Bucharest Gara de Nord 12:30 next day.

    This comfortable train has 4 & 6 berth couchettes and a modern air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, also deluxe sleepers with 1 or 2 beds and shower/toilet.  There's great scenery in the morning over breakfast through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest.

    Fares start at €39 with a couchette or €59 with a bed in a sleeper.

    Book this train at the Hungarian railways website www.mavcsoport.hu, clicking EN for English top right.  You collect your tickets from the yellow ticket machines at Budapest Keleti station.

Option 2, by daytime trains with an overnight stop in Budapest...

Option 3, via the Dacia Express sleeper train from Vienna to Sighisoara, Brasov & Bucharest...

  • Step 1, travel from Bratislava to Vienna by regional train, leaving Bratislava Hlavna at 05:38 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 06:44.  The fare is €11.20, you can buy at the station on the day or buy at www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Romania by Dacia Express, leaving Vienna Hbf at 19:42 every day and arriving next day at Sighisoara 11:22, Brasov 14:05 & Bucharest Gara de Nord at 16:35.

    The Dacia Express has a modern air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, plus several deluxe compartments with en suite shower & toilet.  It has a couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.  A Hungarian restaurant car operates between Vienna and Budapest, treat yourself to dinner.  A bar-bistro is then attached in the morning between Arad & Bucharest, serving drinks, snacks and breakfast.  There's wonderful almost Alpine scenery through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest, a real treat...

    Fares start at €49 with a couchette in a 6-berth compartment, €69 with a bed in a 3-berth sleeper, €89 with a bed in a 2-berth sleeper or €149 with a bed in a single-berth sleeper all to yourself.

    Book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.  You collect tickets from the ticket office or ticket machines in Vienna.

    In the search results, look for the direct train marked D with no changes.  You collect tickets from  an ΦBB ticket machine in Vienna.

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

Dacia Express at Vienna   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

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

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Sleeper on the Dacia Express   Dacia Express at Sighisoara

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

 

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

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Bratislava to Ljubljana & Rijeka from €30...

Option 1, by day trains via Vienna, all year round...

Austrian 1st class car   Austrian 2nd class compartment

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

 

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

Lunch in Slovenian restaurant car   Slovenian restaurant car

The Emona has a Slovenian restaurant car with inexpensive freshly-cooked meals, beer & wine...

Between Vienna & Villach the Emona travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

Scenery from the train between Zagreb and Vienna

Scenery in Slovenia, between Maribor & Zidani Most....

Option 2, via Budapest...

Option 3, Bratislava to Ljubljana & Rijeka by direct Regiojet sleeper train, summer-only, 3 times a week...

  • This new train is operated by open-access operator Regiojet.  It will run on Tuesdays, Fridays & Sundays from 30 June to 25 September 2020, as COVID-19 border restrictions have now been relaxed (in other words, yes it's running in spite of COVID-19!).

  • The train leaves Bratislava Hlavna on Tuesdays, Fridays & Sundays at 21:17 arriving Ljubljana at 05:14 & Rijeka at 08:56.

    Update:  This train has proved so successful, it's being increased to run every day for much of this period.

    Update:  This train will only allow travel to Ljubljana if Slovenian COVID-19 restrictions allow, please check.

  • The fare is €22 in a seat or €30 with a couchette in a shared 4-berth compartment, for sole occupancy of a whole couchette compartment simply buy 4 tickets.  The couchette fare includes all necessary bedding and a light breakfast.

  • Buy an e-ticket online at www.regiojet.com.  It even allows you to choose your exact place from a carriage plan.

Regiojet sleeper train at Prague Hlavni

Regiojet sleeper train at Prague Hlavni.

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Bratislava to Zagreb from €39...

Option 1, via Vienna...

  • Step 1, travel from Bratislava to Vienna by regional train, leaving Bratislava Hlavna at 13:38 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 14:44.  By all means travel earlier and see something of Vienna, these trains run every hour.  The fare is €11.20, you can buy at the station on the day or buy at www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.  See the Bratislava to Vienna by train page for photos, tips & more details.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Zagreb on the EuroCity train Croatia leaving Vienna Hbf at 15:58 and arriving Zagreb at 22:36.

    The Croatia uses comfortable and spacious air-conditioned Austrian carriages, with power sockets at all seats with a choice of sitting in an open-plan saloon car (my own preference) or in classic 6-seater compartments with side corridor.  There's an elegant Austrian restaurant car, treat yourself to dinner, and at least in summer enjoy the fabulous scenery along the beautiful UNESCO-listed Semmering route through the mountains between Vienna & Graz.

    Fares start at €29 in 2nd class or €39 in 1st class.

    Book this train at www.trainline.eu (easiest, international payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways' own site www.oebb.at (same prices, a bit more fiddly).  You print your own ticket.

    If you like you can check the train formation & see what the carriages are like at www.vagonweb.cz - Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria, click EC then look for the Croatia.

Austrian restaurant car

Vienna to Zagreb on the Croatia:  This is an elegant Austrian restaurant car of the type used on the Croatia, a very civilised & comfortable train...

 

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

 

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

Between Vienna & Villach the Croatia travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

Scenery from the train between Zagreb and Vienna

Scenery in Slovenia, between Maribor & Zidani Most....

Scenery from the train between Zagreb and Vienna

Sevnica Castle, seen from the train between Zidani Most & Zagreb....

Option 2, via Budapest...

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Bratislava to Belgrade, Sofia, Montenegro...

The direct route via the Budapest-Belgrade line is currently blocked by major track upgrading, so this is the route I suggest in the meantime.

  • Step 1, travel from Bratislava to Vienna by regional train, leaving Bratislava Hlavna at 13:38 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 14:44.  By all means travel earlier and see something of Vienna, these trains run every hour.  The fare is €11.20, you can buy at the station on the day or buy at www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.  See the Bratislava to Vienna by train page for photos, tips & more details.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Zagreb on the EuroCity train Croatia leaving Vienna Hbf at 15:58 and arriving Zagreb at 22:36.

    The Croatia uses comfortable and spacious air-conditioned Austrian carriages, with power sockets at all seats with a choice of sitting in an open-plan saloon car (my own preference) or in classic 6-seater compartments with side corridor.  There's an elegant Austrian restaurant car, treat yourself to dinner, and at least in summer enjoy the fabulous scenery along the beautiful UNESCO-listed Semmering route through the mountains between Vienna & Graz.

    Fares start at €29 in 2nd class or €39 in 1st class.

    Book this train at www.trainline.eu (easiest, international payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways' own site www.oebb.at (same prices, a bit more fiddly).  You print your own ticket.

    If you like you can check the train formation & see what the carriages are like at www.vagonweb.cz - Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria, click EC then look for the Croatia.

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Bratislava to Krakow & Warsaw...

Option 1, by daytime train...

  • A comfortable air-conditioned EuroCity train called the Varsovia leaves Bratislava Hlavna at 11:10 and arrives Warsaw Centralna at 19:05.  It has modern Polish seats cars and a Hungarian restaurant car.

  • The Varsovia also conveys a direct Bratislava-Krakow through car, leaving Bratislava Hlavna at 11:10 and arriving Krakow Glowny at 18:07.  The through car is comfortable, modern & air-conditioned, with 2nd class seats.  If you insist on travelling in 1st class you'll have to switch trains at Bohumin just after 14:00, where the through car also switches trains.

  • This international train cannot be booked online, although it's thought that Slovakian Railways (www.slovakrail.sk) may start online booking of international tickets at some point.  So buy at the station or book by phone.  You can check train times (but not fares) at www.bahn.de.

Option 2, by sleeper train - the time-effective option...

  • A safe & comfortable EuroNight sleeper train leaves Bratislava Hlavna at 22:10  and arrives Krakow Glowny at 06:22 & Warsaw Centralna at 09:40.  It has a modern, safe & cosy Polish sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments, plus two 1 or 2 berth deluxe compartments with en suite toilet & shower, see the photos below.  It also has a couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.  The train comes from Budapest.

  • This international train cannot be booked online, although it's reported that Slovakian Railways (www.slovakrail.sk) may start online booking of international tickets at some point.  So buy at the station or book by phone.

  • You can check train times (but not fares) at www.bahn.de.

Modern Polish sleeping-car

Modern Polish sleeping-car of the type used Prague-Warsaw.  Photo courtesy of Michael Wieselfahrer...

Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   Modern Polish sleeper in day mode   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

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

 

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

 

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

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet...

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Bratislava to Moscow & St Petersburg...
  • Day 1, take the overnight sleeper from Bratislava to Warsaw, leaving Bratislava Hlavna at 22:10 and arriving Warsaw Centralna at 09:40.  This has couchettes (4 & 6 berth) and a sleeper (1, 2 & 3 bed).  Book this by phone or at the station, it cannot be booked online.

    Enjoy a day in Warsaw, see Warsaw Centralna station & city information.   Warsaw's historic old town is a 20 minute walk from Centralna station - if you fancy a modest splurge, the celebrated Ufukiera restaurant (www.ufukiera.pl) is excellent and right on the square in the heart of Warsaw's old town.  The Palace of Culture (a wedding cake style Soviet skyscraper and distinctive Warsaw landmark, www.pkin.pl) is right next to the station and has a viewing terrace on the 30th floor.

One of Russian Railways new international sleeping-cars   A 2-berth or 4-berth compartment in daytime mode

The sleeping-cars from Warsaw to Moscow are brand new Austrian-built ones owned by Russian Railways.  Each compartment converts from comfortable sofas to equally comfortable beds and can be used as either 1st class 2-berth with two lower berths or as 2nd class 4-berth with all four berths in use.  There are a shower and toilets at the end of the corridor.  Compartments have electronic key-card locks, and the cars are very smooth-riding.  The sleeper attendant can serve lovely Russian tea for around €0.50 a glass.  Highly recommended!

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Bratislava to Lviv & Kiev...
  • Step 1, travel from Bratislava to Vienna by regional train, leaving Bratislava Hlavna at 14:38 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 15:44.  By all means travel earlier and see something of Vienna, these trains run every hour.  The fare is €11.20, you can buy at the station on the day or buy at www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.  See the Bratislava to Vienna by train page for photos, tips & more details.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Lviv or Kiev by direct sleeping-car leaving Vienna Hbf at 16:42 every day, going via Budapest & Chop arriving next day at Lviv 10:14 & Kiev 17:21.

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

    A Hungarian restaurant car operates between Vienna and Zahony (on the Ukrainian border just before Chop), treat yourself to dinner.

    Book the train from Vienna to Lviv or Kiev online at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.  This will only book one-way or round trip starting in Vienna because tickets need to be collected from an ΦBB station in Austria.  They cannot be collected in Ukraine.  Booking this way you pay no fee or mark-up, just the official fare.  The sleeper has become popular, it can sell out.  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.

    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.

    You could also travel to Budapest and pick this train up there, but there is as yet no online booking of Budapest-Ukraine tickets, so it's easier and cheaper to go via Vienna.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

Boarding the Vienna to Kiev sleeping-car at Vienna Hbf.  Photo 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.

 

A comfortable 1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car has its wheels changed at Chop

The Vienna-Kiev sleeper is jacked up to have its bogies changed at Chop on the Ukrainian border.  Photo Helmut Uttenthaler.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

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

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Bratislava to Copenhagen & Scandinavia...

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Find hotels in Bratislava & other cities

My 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.

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Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

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.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

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

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

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a free Curve card to save on exchange rates & foreign transaction fees...

 

Curve card

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month at time of writing.  The 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 and it's great - I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I only recommend such things when I've read up on reviews and tried it myself.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card. Use code MAN61 to get £5 cashback after signing up and using your Curve card the first time.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing when you travel.  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 explained NordVPN & ExpressVPN are the two best buys and I use ExpressVPN myself.

 


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