ICE train at Berlin Hbf

A German ICE train.  More about ICEs.

I want to go to...

     

       Click here for journeys starting in another city

       Click here for Cologne Hbf station information

       Train information is current for 2017.

1st class passengers can use the 1st class DB lounges at Cologne & Düsseldorf

This page explains how to travel by train from Cologne or Düsseldorf to other key European cities, and how to buy the cheapest tickets, usually online direct from the operators with print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets & few or no booking fees.  It doesn't matter where you live, in Europe, Asia, the USA or Australia, you can buy train tickets from Cologne or Düsseldorf as shown below and save money over expensive railpasses or travel agent mark-ups.

Before you buy your tickets...

I recommend taking a moment to read these important tips for buying European train tickets.  It answers all the usual questions, such as "Do I need to book in advance or can I just turn up & buy at the station?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just go online & buy a €35 point-to-point ticket?".  And most important, 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)

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...



Cologne or Düsseldorf to other German towns & cities...
ICE second class ICE first class High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin

ICE1/2, 2nd class

ICE1/2, 1st class

A Cologne-Berlin ICE2 at Berlin.

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to London from €59, www.b-europe.com...

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Paris from €35, www.b-europe.com...
Second class seats on board a 'Thalys' high-speed train to Cologne 1st class seats on Thalys A Thalys for Amsterdam about to leave Brussels Midi...

2nd class (Comfort 2) seats...

1st class (Comfort 1) seats...

A Thalys at Brussels...

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Lyon, Nice, Marseille & other destinations in France...

Option 1, changing in Paris...

Option 2, changing in Brussels & by-passing Paris...

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Cologne or Dusseldorf to Brussels, Bruges, Ghent or Antwerp from €19...
ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Cologne & Frankfurt

ICE3 2nd class.

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.

ICE at Brussels.  See ICE info.

Second class seats on board a 'Thalys' high-speed train to Cologne 1st class seats on Thalys A Thalys for Amsterdam about to leave Brussels Midi...

2nd class (Comfort 2) seats...

1st class (Comfort 1) seats...

Thalys at Brussels. See Thalys info.

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Amsterdam from €19...
ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train at Cologne

ICE3 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE3 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

An ICE to  Amsterdam at Cologne.  More ICE info.

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Cologne or Dusseldorf to Luxembourg from €19...

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Basel, Zurich, Geneva & Switzerland from €39...

Option 1, by daytime trains...

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Cologne to Venice from €60...

Option 1, by ICE train to Munich, then Austrian Nightjet sleeper train from Munich to Venice - the most time-effective option!

 

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

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

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

Option 2, by Nightjet sleeper train to Innsbruck & scenic daytime train to Venice - time-effective and great scenery next day.

Option 3, by day trains via the Brenner Pass with overnight stop in Munich - if you prefer day trains, scenery & a hotel to sleepers...

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train at Cologne

ICE3 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE3 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

Step 1, ICE from Cologne to Munich.  More ICE info.

  InterCity 2nd class   InterCity 1st class (6-seat compartment type)

Step 2, Munich to Verona & Venice by EuroCity...

 

EuroCity 2nd class, mainly 6-seat compartments but some open-plan seating.  There's also a restaurant car...

 

EuroCity 1st class, open-plan.  Sometimes available in 6-seat compartments.

Mountains between Munich and Innsbruck   Scenery (and vineyards!) on the Brenner route

Vineyards & mountains...  Scenery on the Brenner route.

Option 4, via Zurich & the Bernina Express through the Swiss Alps - the ultimate scenic route... 

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Cologne to Florence, Rome, Milan, Verona or anywhere else Italy from €39...

Option 1, via the Austrian Nightjet sleeper train from Munich to Milan, Bologna, Florence & Rome - the most time-effective option...

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train at Cologne

ICE3 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE3 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

Step 1, ICE from Cologne to Munich.  More ICE info.

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 Munich to Milan, Florence & Rome.  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...

Option 2, by Nightjet sleeper train to Innsbruck & scenic daytime train to Venice - time-effective and great scenery next day.

Option 2, by daytime trains through the Swiss Alps - Cologne to Italy in a single day with great Alpine scenery!

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train at Cologne

ICE3 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE3 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

Step 1, ICE from Cologne to Basel SBB.  More ICE info.

Lake Maggiore, seen from a Milan to Basel train   Lunch in the Swiss-run restaurant car of the 11:25 Milan to Basel

You'll pass a lake or two...  This is Lake Maggiore, seen from the dining-car of a Milan to Basel EuroCity train over an excellent lunch of salmon tagliatelle & excellent (but expensive!) Swiss red wine.

ETR610 EuroCity train from Switzerland at Milan Centrale   2nd class seats on an ETR610 EuroCity train to Italy

Buongiorno Milano!  When the EuroCity from Zurich reaches Milano Centrale, you've reached Italy with no airports & no flights...

 

2nd class seats on an ETR610, all with power sockets.  See panorama photo.

Option 3, by day trains via the Brenner Pass with overnight stop in Munich - if you prefer day trains, scenery & a hotel to sleepers...

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train at Cologne

ICE3 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE3 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

Step 1, ICE from Cologne to Munich.  More ICE info.

  InterCity 2nd class   InterCity 1st class (6-seat compartment type)

Step 2, Munich to Verona & Venice by EuroCity...

 

EuroCity 2nd class, mainly 6-seat compartments but some open-plan seating.  There's also a restaurant car...

 

EuroCity 1st class, open-plan.  Sometimes available in 6-seat compartments.

Mountains between Munich and Innsbruck   Scenery (and vineyards!) on the Brenner route

Vineyards & mountains...  Scenery on the Brenner route.

Option 3, via Zurich & the Bernina Express through the Swiss Alps - the ultimate scenic route... 

First class seats   Bernina Express panormaic cars

Bernina Express 1st class seats...

 

the Bernina Express uses panoramic carriages...

The train descends from the Bernina Pass

The Bernina Express descends from the Bernina Pass...

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Barcelona & Spain...

Option 1:  Cologne to Spain by high-speed train, in a single day...

Option 2:  Cologne to Spain by high-speed train with overnight stop in Paris...

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon   Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon. These 200 mph double-deckers link Paris with Barcelona.  Watch TGV Duplex video.

 

2nd class table for 4 on TGV Duplex upper deck...

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

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

 

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

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/CanigouMore photos of what to see on the Paris-Barcelona train journey.

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Cologne or Dusseldorf to Lisbon, Porto & Portugal...

On board the Sud Express from Irun to Lisbon...

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Gran Clase private toilet & shower...

Sud Express trainhotel cafe-bar...    

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

 

4-berth tourist class sleepers (Turista Cama) are cosy & inexpensive...  They convert from beds to seats as shown.  See panorama photo of 4-berth tourist class sleeper.

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Cologne or Dusseldorf to Andorra...
 

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

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €39...

Option 1, by comfortable daytime trains...

Option 2, by Nightjet 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 Dusseldorf & Cologne to Vienna & Innsbruck.  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...

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Cologne & Düsseldorf to Copenhagen, Odense & Denmark...
A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...   Inside a Danish IC3 train...

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station.  IC3s now work all the Hamburg-Copenhagen trains.

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Cologne & Düsseldorf to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö...

Sadly, the Cologne-Copenhagen City Night Line sleeper was discontinued from1 November 2014.  But here are the daytime options...

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...   Inside a Danish IC3 train...

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...  Most Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are now EuroCity trains worked by Danish IC3 units like the one above, although the 09:28 from Hamburg and the 17:37 from Copenhagen are worked by Danish-owned ICE-TD trains like the one shown below.

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train from Brussels to Frankfurt

ICE 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

The Hamburg-Copenhagen ICE on board the Puttgarden-Rødby ferry.  More info on ICE.

125 mph tilting 'X2000' from Copenhagen to Stockholm, at Copenhagen station 2nd class seats on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm The self-service buffet on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm...

A 125 mph X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm.

 

2nd class seating on the X2000.  All seats have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

 

Self-service buffet car on the X2000 to Stockholm.

More information about X2000 trains

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Cologne & Düsseldorf to Oslo & Norway...

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

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

Germany to Oslo Color Line ferry at Kiel

This photo is taken from the exit of Kiel station, so you can see how close the ferry is.  It's a 5-6 minute walk across the harbour, with a street lift up to a connecting walkway which takes you to the ferry terminal. If you have reserved one of what Color Line call their "5 star suites", check in at the desk rather than the machines and you'll be directed to a special lounge to wait with free tea, coffee, juice, snacks & WiFi.  You'll also have priority boarding of the ship.  Photos courtesy of Andrew Leo.

Boarding the ferry in Kiel

Boarding the Color Line ferry to Oslo in Kiel...

Kiel to Oslo ferry, Color Class suite   Kiel to Oslo ferry, restaurant

A 5 Star Suite on the ferry...

 

More cruise liner than ferry!  The restaurant.

View from Color Line ferry to Oslo

Wake up to this....

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Cologne & Düsseldorf to Helsinki & Finland...

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Prague from €39...

Option 1, by daytime train - the leisurely same-day option...

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.

Option 2, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin from €39 - a time-effective option with an evening in Berlin...

Option 3, the cheapest option via Nuremburg & Cheb - from just €21 - or €30 in 1st class!

Cheb station, en route from Brussels to Prague

The easy & relaxed interchange at Cheb...  The red train on the left is the German regional train just arrived from Nuremberg.  You cross to the blue Czech train on the right about to leave for Prague.  Photo courtesy of Lennart Verbraeken.

The City Night Line sleeper train from Cologne to Prague was discontinued from 11 December 2016.

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Bratislava from €39...

Option 1, by daytime train... 

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 Cologne to Vienna.  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...

The train from Vienna to Bratislava...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Budapest from €39...

Option 1, by sleeper train via Munich - the most time-effective option...

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

The Kalman Imre, about to leave Munich...  Watch the Hungarian sleeping-car video

 

2-berth sleeper...

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes

 

Hungarian couchette car at Munich

Option 2, by daytime trains - the leisurely daytime option...

Option 2, by sleeper train via Vienna - another time-effective option...

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

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

A Comfortline sleeping-car, as now used on the Austrian Nightjet train from Dusseldorf & Cologne. to Vienna  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...

The morning RailJet train has arrived in Vienna.   Premium class seats on the Munich-Budapest RailJet train   Economy class seats on the Munich-Budapest RailJet train

Vienna to Budapest by Railjet.  This is a RailJet train at Budapest Keleti station...

 

Business class costs €15 more than normal 1st class...

 

Economy class on RailJet, comfortable open saloons with large picture windows.  Some seats around tables, some unidirectional.

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Bucharest from €98...

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Ljubljana & Zagreb from €39...

Option 1, by daytime train...

Option 2, by daytime train, with overnight stop in Munich...

The morning RailJet from Munich has arrived in Budapest.   Economy class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train

A smart Austrian railjet train.  More photos & information about Railjet trains

 

Economy class seats on RailJet.

Austrian railjet seats   Scenery in the Austrian Alps between Munich & Ljubljana

1st class seats on the Austrian Railjet from Munich through great scenery to Villach on the Slovenian border.  More railjet information...

 

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

  2nd class seats on the Munich-Zagreb train

...and 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 and Zagreb...

 

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

Option 3, overnight by time-effective sleeper train....

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

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

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

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

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

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

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Cologne or Dusseldorf to Belgrade, Sofia, Montenegro...

Option 1, daytime train - sleeper - daytime train...

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

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Warsaw, Krakow & Poland from €39...

Option 1, by daytime trains a single day - the leisurely daytime option...

Option 2, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin - this breaks up the trip nicely, and is a time-effective way to go...

The Berlin-Warsaw Express train   2nd class seating compartment on the Berlin to Warsaw Express train

The Berlin-Warszawa Express has modern air-conditioned 1st & 2nd class coaches, most with compartments and side corridor like this, others with open-plan seating.

Bistro car on the Berlin-Warszawa Express train   Sausage soup on the Berlin-Warszawa Express   A main course schnitzel in the bistro-restaurant on the Berlin to Warsaw Express train

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Kiev & Ukraine...
The Kiev Express   1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment   Each compartment has a washbasin

Boarding in Warsaw...

 

A sleeper compartment...

 

...with washbasin.

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Cologne or Düsseldorf to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia...

Option 1, using the Warsaw-Moscow sleeper train Polonez - 3 times a week, reduced from daily in June 2017

The Polonez train from Warsaw to Moscow uses Russian air-conditioned sleeping-cars, pictured below, with compartments which can be used as 1st class 2-berth or 2nd class 4-berth (shown below right), with a shower & toilets at the end of the corridor.  See panorama photo inside one of the new Russian sleepers.

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

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

The Strizh sleeper train from Berlin to Moscow

The Strizh sleeper train from Berlin to Moscow.  It's a Spanish-built articulated Talgo train - note the relatively small size of each car, with just one axle between each pair of cars.  Photos courtesy of Jaap van Ginkel.

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

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

 

Complimentary toiletry pack...

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Cologne & Düsseldorf to Athens, Corfu & Greece...

Option 1, Cologne 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 Cologne to Athens will take around 2 nights & 3 days, depending how the connections work out on your particular date.

  • Day 1, travel from Cologne to Milan in a single day as shown above, using option 2 via Basel.  Stay overnight in Milan.

  • Day 2, take the 07:35 Frecciabianca train from Milan Centrale to Bari Centrale.

  • Day 2, then sail across the Adriatic from Bari to Corfu, Igoumenitsa or Patras in Greece aboard a luxurious cruise ferry booked at www.superfast.com.  She normally sails daily except Sundays at 19:30 arriving 13:00 next day (day 3).

  • Day 3, Patras is a few hours bus ride from Athens.  If you hunt for it, there's a bus/train combined timetable from Patras to Athens on www.trainose.gr but it's pretty hard to find.

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

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

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

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

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

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

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

  • Travel from Cologne to Munich by daytime ICE trains from €39 booked at www.bahn.de.

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

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Cologne & Düsseldorf to Istanbul & Turkey...

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Hotels in Cologne & other cities

    

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It has been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel at a cheaper rate.

►► My recommended booking site:  www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings 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 great feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Suggested hotels near the station in Cologne...

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 spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

 


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