The best trains in Italy:  A Eurostar Italia ETR500 power car

To buy train tickets from Florence to other Italian cities, use www.italiarail.com or Italian Railways' own website www.trenitalia.com.

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      Click here for journeys starting in another city

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      See Florence SMN station information

This page explains how to travel by train from Florence to other cities all over Europe, and how to buy tickets the cheapest way.  Information current for 2022.

bullet pointBefore 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.

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...

Which station in Florence?  See map...

The main station in the city centre is Firenze Santa Maria Novella, usually abbreviated to SMN.  It's a terminus, with easy level access between street, concourse and all platforms so no problem with luggage. To save reversing in the SMN terminus, some trains by-pass Florence SMN calling at Firenze Campo di Marte which is a taxi ride away, just on the edge of the city centre.  In the text below Florence means Firenze SMN unless it says otherwise.  A third station, Firenze Rifredi, is also not as central as SMN.  See map of Florence showing stationsSee Florence Santa Maria Novella station information.


Florence to other Italian towns & cities from €9.90, www.italiarail.com
  • Most trains in Italy are operated by Trenitalia, the trading name for Italian State Railways.

    Tickets for all Trenitalia long-distance trains come with a seat reservation automatically included, so yes, in theory trains can sell out although although there are so many trains & seats it's easy to buy tickets at the station on the day if you like, the real issue is price.

    Trenitalia has airline-style pricing, so it's significantly cheaper to book in advance.  Cheap Economy or Super-Economy advance-purchase fares are for the specified train only, limited or no refunds or changes to travel plans.  Pre-book if you can.

    If you buy on the day the Base fare applies, which is flexible and can be changed to another departure up to 60 minutes after the departure of the train you originally booked. 

    Local, suburban and regional trains don't require reservations and have one fixed price called Ordinaria which you can pay at the station on the day and just hop on the next train, remembering to validate the ticket.  There is no need to pre-book regional trains and no advantage in doing so other than saving a few minutes at the station.

Florence to Rome, Naples, Milan, Turin & Venice...
  • Nobody flies any more...

    Florence to Rome takes as little as 1h32 by hourly Frecciargento or Frecciarossa high-speed train, city centre to city centre with zero check-in and a departure once or twice an hour.  Florence to Venice takes just 2h05, again with trains once or twice an hour.  Florence to Naples takes as little as 2h29.

  • A choice of operator...

    On the premier Naples-Rome-Florence-Milan-Turin & Rome-Florence-Venice routes you have a choice of operator:  State-owned Trenitalia or privately-owned Italo.  Both are excellent, indeed red-hot competition has driven quality up & fares down, see my advice on which operator to take.

    Trenitalia uses Frecciarossa 500s & Frecciarossa 1000s on the Naples-Rome-Florence-Milan-Turin route and a mixture of Frecciargento, Frecciarossa 500 & Frecciarossa 1000 on the Rome-Florence-Venice route.  Italo operates a train every hour or so, using its original AGV trains on the Naples-Rome-Florence-Milan-Turin route and mostly its new EVO trains on the Naples-Rome-Florence-Venice route, see the Italo page for more details.  I can recommend all of these trains!

    Both operators use Florence's main station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella = Florence SMN.

  • How much does it cost?

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

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

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

    Super-economy & Economy = advance-purchase fares with limited or no refunds or changes to travel plans. 

    Base = what you pay at the station on the day, refundable, changeable up to an hour after departure. 

    All tickets are for a specific train and come with a reserved seat.  But there are almost always places available on the day, if you're happy paying the most expensive Base fare.  These are Trenitalia's fare types, but it's a similar story on Italo.

Florence to Pisa...
  • Regional trains link Florence SMN with Pisa, one Regional Veloce (Regional Express) every hour taking between 49 & 60 minutes then at least one regular Regionale every hour taking between 1h11 & 1h21.  The fare is around €8.70 each way.

  • No reservation is necessary or even possible, tickets for regional trains have a fixed price and unlimited availability so you can turn up, buy a ticket & hop on the next train.  All these regional trains are 2nd class only, they have toilets and plenty of room for luggage, most are now modern and air-conditioned.

  • Tip:  Visiting the Leaning Tower?  Pisa Centrale is 25 minutes walk from the famous Leaning Tower, but some trains go beyond Pisa Centrale to Pisa San Rossore which is 12 minutes walk from the Leaning Tower, see advice for visiting the leaning tower of Pisa.

  • Check train times at www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com, but you can just buy regional train tickets at the station from the staffed ticket office or from the self-service machines, there is no advantage in buying in advance other than saving time at the station.

    Tip:  If you buy a ticket for a regional train at the station they give you an open ticket, so you need to validate it before you board the train in the little green validator machines, see the photo here.  Once validated, tickets are good for any train in the next 4 hours. 

    Tip:  If you buy a ticket for a regional train online it comes pre-validated for 4 hours starting from the time of the train you buy it for, no changes, no refunds - so if you miss that train, or change your mind and want a later one, you can simply hop on any train leaving up to 4 hours after the train you originally selected.

Florence to Siena...
  • Regional trains link Florence SMN with Siena every hour, journey time 1h28, fare around €9.50 each way.

  • No reservation is necessary or even possible, tickets for regional trains have a fixed price and unlimited availability so you can turn up, buy a ticket & hop on the next train.  All these regional trains are 2nd class only, they have toilets and plenty of room for luggage, most are now modern and air-conditioned.

  • In Siena, the station is at the foot of the hill and it used to be a steep trek up to the old town.  However, there's now a series of modern escalators and moving walkways that ferry you almost painlessly to the top of the hill, from where it's just a minute or two's walk to the Porta Camollia at the entrance to the old town.  From the Porta Camollia it's a pleasant 15 minute stroll to the famous Pizza del Campo.

  • Check train times at www.raileurope.com, www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com, but you can just buy regional train tickets at the station from the staffed ticket office or from the self-service machines, there is no advantage in buying in advance other than saving time at the station.

    Tip:  If you buy a ticket for a regional train at the station they give you an open ticket, so you need to validate it before you board the train in the little green validator machines, see the photo here.  Once validated, tickets are good for any train in the next 4 hours. 

    Tip:  If you buy a ticket for a regional train online it comes pre-validated for 4 hours starting from the time of the train you buy it for, no changes, no refunds - so if you miss that train, or change your mind and want a later one, you can simply hop on any train leaving up to 4 hours after the train you originally selected.

Florence-Siena regional train at Siena

A regional train from Florence to Siena, arrived at Siena.  This train is of a type called Minuetto...

Florence to Lucca...
  • Regional trains link Florence SMN with Lucca once or twice per hour, journey time between 1h19 and 1h45, fare around €7.90 each way.

  • No reservation is necessary or even possible, tickets for regional trains have a fixed price and unlimited availability so you can turn up, buy a ticket & hop on the next train.  All these regional trains are 2nd class only, they have toilets and plenty of room for luggage, most are now modern and air-conditioned.

  • Check train times at www.raileurope.com, www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com, but you can just buy regional train tickets at the station from the staffed ticket office or from the self-service machines, there is no advantage in buying in advance other than saving time at the station.

    Tip:  If you buy a ticket for a regional train at the station they give you an open ticket, so you need to validate it before you board the train in the little green validator machines, see the photo here.  Once validated, tickets are good for any train in the next 4 hours. 

    Tip:  If you buy a ticket for a regional train online it comes pre-validated for 4 hours starting from the time of the train you buy it for, no changes, no refunds - so if you miss that train, or change your mind and want a later one, you can simply hop on any train leaving up to 4 hours after the train you originally selected.

Florence to Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi...
Florence to Palermo, Catania, Siracuse & Sicily...

Option 1, by daytime train.  Florence to Sicily in a single day, an epic ride...

  • Fares start at just €39.80 in 2nd class or €59.80 in 1st class.  Book ahead for Trenitalia's cheap Super-Economy and Economy prices.

  • Buy tickets at either www.italiarail.com, www.thetrainline.com, www.raileurope.com or Italian Railways' own site www.trenitalia.com

    Tip:  I'd allow at least 45 minutes between trains in Rome or Naples, if necessary book each train separately.

    All 3 sites sell the same tickets, all offer ticketless travel for Italian intercity & high-speed trains, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead except when the mid-June & mid-December timetable changes are imminent when the booking horizon shrinks to less than this with some trains loaded before others.

    1.  www.raileurope.com is easy to use, in plain English, in €, £ or $, small booking fee.

    2.  www.italiarail.com is also easy to use, in plain English, in €, £, $ & Aus$.  They charge a €3.50 booking fee but they'll refund this if you email seat61@italiarail.com afterwards.  It can be cheaper than Trenitalia.com for 2 or more people travelling together as explained here.

    3.  www.trenitalia.com is fairly easy to use but it uses Italian-language place names and has a few quirks so see this advice on using it.

Option 2, by high-speed train to Rome then overnight sleeper.  The time-effective option...

  • Step 1, take an early-evening Frecciarossa high-speed train from Florence SMN to Rome Termini in as little as 1h19.

  • Step 2, take one of the two direct sleeper trains from Rome to Palermo, Catania or Siracuse, one usually leaving Rome Termini around 21:05 weekdays or 21:31 weekends, the other around 23:00.

    In the morning these sleeper trains are shunted onto a ferry to cross the Straits of Messina, a unique experience, have your camera ready.  They arrive in Sicily in the morning.

    The sleeper trains have Comfort couchettes with 4-berth compartments, ideal for families.  They also have sleeping-cars with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin.  The couchettes convert to seats for daytime use, the sleepers convert to a private sitting room with sofa.  There's no restaurant car (although morning tea or coffee is provided), so bring your own picnic and bottle of wine or beer.  One of the trains normally has an Excelsior sleeper with a few deluxe compartments with en suite toilet & shower.  See more information & photos of Italian domestic sleeper trains.

  • Florence to Rome starts at €19.90, then Rome to Sicily starts at €39.90 including a Comfort couchette or from €79.90 with a bed in a cosy 2-bed sleeper.  Book ahead for Trenitalia's cheap Super-Economy and Economy prices.

  • Buy tickets at either www.raileurope.com or www.italiarail.com.  If you'd like longer in Rome between trains (perhaps plan to have dinner there, or an afternoon wander) book each train separately, it makes no difference to the price.

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Florence to London from €105...

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Florence to Paris from €48.90...

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Florence to Lyon from €54.90...
Paris to Florence by Frecciarossa: A Frecciarossa 1000 at Milan Centrale

Milan to Lyon by Frecciarossa:  A Frecciarossa 1000 at Milan Centrale.  Interior photos courtesy of Nicholas Brooke.

Frecciarossa 1000 standard class   Frecciarossa 1000 Premium class seats

Standard class, with seats arranged 2+2 across the car width.  Larger photo.

 

Premium class, identical to Standard but in leather.  Sold as Standard on this route.  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, tables for 4 & complimentary prosecco. Larger photo.

 

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

Frecciarossa 1000 executive class   Frecciarossa executive meeting room

Executive class at one end of the train Larger photo.

 

The Executive class meeting room.  Larger photo.

Scenery in Italy, en route from Paris to Florence by train

Take a good book, a bottle o' red, and enjoy the scenery from Milan to Lyon with your feet up.  These are mountains in Italy, between Turin and Lyon, courtesy of www.discoverbyrail.com.

Scenery in France, en route from Paris to Florence by train

And these are mountains in France...

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Florence to Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo...
A Frecciarossa 1000 at Milan Centrale

Step 1, take a high-speed Frecciarossa from Florence to Milan in 1h55 at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  This is a Frecciarossa 1000 at Milan CentraleMore information about Frecciarossas & explanation of the 4 classes.

Frecciarossa 1000 standard class   A Frecciarossa 1000 train at Milan Centrale

Standard class, 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 meal at your seat, around €18.  More information about Frecciarossas.

Italian InterCity train

Step 2, take an Intercity train from Milan to Ventimiglia.  Above, an Intercity train at Milan Centrale...

2nd class   1st class

2nd class.  Larger photo.

 

1st class.  Larger photo.

TER train at Juans-les-Pins station

Step 3, take a TER local train from Ventimiglia to Monaco, Nice & Cannes.  Ventimiglia to Nice takes an hour along the coast.  Here, a TER rolls into Juan les Pins station, between Nice & Cannes.

Coastal scenery between Nice & Ventimiglia

Coastal scenery from the upper deck of the TER from Ventimiglia to Nice & Cannes...

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Florence to Brussels & Bruges from €57.80...

Option 1, Florence to Brussels using the Florence-Munich Nightjet sleeper - a comfortable & time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

Step 1, Florence to Munich by Nightjet sleeper trainMore 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 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.

   

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

Step 2, Munich to Brussels by ICE with one easy change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.  ICEs have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Above, an ICE3M at Brussels MidiMore 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, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

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

Option 2, Florence to Brussels with an overnight stop in Lyon - easy & time-effective...

  • How to buy tickets...

    Buy tickets for each of these trains at either www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (whichever you prefer).  Book each train individually, adding it to your basket, then check out.

    www.raileurope.com and www.thetrainline.com connect to both the Italian and French booking systems so you can book all these trains in one place, in plain English, in €, £ or $.  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  There's a small booking fee.

    The Italian trains are ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.  For the TGV, you print your own ticket or can show a mobile ticket on your phone.

  • How to buy tickets, advanced...

    Alternatively, you can book each train separately, more work, more fiddly, same fares, but saves the booking fee.  First book the Italian trains at www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, $ or £, seat choice from a seat map, they'll refund their small booking fee to seat61 users if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com afterwards) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, more fiddly, requires Italian-language place names, see advice on using it), then book the Lyon-Brussels TGV at the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com.

Paris to Florence by Frecciarossa: A Frecciarossa 1000 at Milan Centrale

Milan to Lyon by Frecciarossa:  A Frecciarossa 1000 at Milan Centrale.  Interior photos courtesy of Nicholas Brooke.

Frecciarossa 1000 standard class   Frecciarossa 1000 Premium class seats

Standard class, with seats arranged 2+2 across the car width.  Larger photo.

 

Premium class, identical to Standard but in leather.  Sold as Standard on this route.  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, tables for 4 & complimentary prosecco. Larger photo.

 

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

Frecciarossa 1000 executive class   Frecciarossa executive meeting room

Executive class at one end of the train Larger photo.

 

The Executive class meeting room.  Larger photo.

Scenery in Italy, en route from Paris to Florence by train

Take a good book, a bottle o' red, and enjoy the scenery from Milan to Lyon with your feet up.  These are mountains in Italy, between Turin and Lyon, courtesy of www.discoverbyrail.com.

Scenery in France, en route from Paris to Florence by train

And these are mountains in France...

Option 3, Florence to Brussels with an overnight stop in Turin...

Option 4, Florence to Brussels by day trains with overnight stop in Munich - avoids crossing Paris...

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Florence to Amsterdam from €64...

Option 1, Florence to Amsterdam in a single day - daily except Saturdays...

Incredibly, it's now possible to get from Florence to Amsterdam in a single day using top-quality high-speed trains, with some wonderful views of Italian & Swiss lakes.  It's a long day, however, so consider using a sleeper (option 2) or breaking up the journey with an overnight stop at Zurich or Munich (options 3 & 4).  But here's how to cross Europe in comfort by train in a single day...

ETR610 EuroCity train at Frankfurt Hbf

The Milan-Frankfurt train at Frankfurt Hbf.  There's a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Photo courtesy of @Nordkommission.

Frecciargento train 2nd class seats   Frecciargento train 1st class seats

2nd class on a Trenitalia ETR610...

 

1st class on a Trenitalia ETR610.

Lake Maggiore, seen from the train

Lake Maggiore, seen over lunch in the restaurant car...

Option 2, Florence to Amsterdam using the Zurich-Amsterdam Nightjet sleeper - scenic & time-effective...

Giruno train

Steps 1 & 2, travel from Florence to Milan by high-speed train & Milan to Zurich by EuroCity train.  Above, a Milan-Zurich EuroCity is seen at Bellinzona.  The train passes through the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest rail tunnel, though 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

Lake Lugano, seen from the Milan-Zurich EuroCity train on the Gotthard route.

AB33 sleeping-car on the Amsterdam-Zurich Nightjet train

Step 3, Zurich to Amsterdam by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about NightjetsWatch the sleeper video.

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

Single-bed sleeper with washbasin.  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 couchette compartment.  Larger photo.

 

Couchette car...

Option 3, Florence to Amsterdam using the Florence-Munich Nightjet sleeper train - a comfortable and time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Amsterdam

Step 1, Florence to Munich by Nightjet sleeper trainMore 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 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.

   

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 2, Munich to Amsterdam by ICE with one easy change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.  ICEs have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Above, an ICE3M at Amsterdam CentraalMore 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, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

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

Option 4, Florence to Amsterdam with overnight stop in Zurich - if you prefer day trains & a hotel to sleepers...

Option 5, Florence to Amsterdam with overnight stop in Munich - Another option if you prefer day trains to sleepers...

EuroCity train from Munich to Innsbruck & beyond

A EuroCity train at Munich Hbf.  More photos & information about these Austrian EuroCity trains.

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

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

 

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

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...

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

Vineyards, mountains and castles south of Brenner as the train heads from Verona to Innsbruck...

Mountains on the Brenner route...  See the Brenner Pass scenery video here...

Option 6, Florence to Amsterdam with an overnight stop in Paris...

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Florence to Luxembourg...

Option 1, Florence to Luxembourg using the Florence-Munich Nightjet sleeper train...

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

Florence to Munich by Nightjet sleeper trainMore 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 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.

   

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Option 2, Florence to Luxembourg with overnight stop in Zurich...

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Florence to Geneva, Zurich, Luzern, Basel & Switzerland from €49...

Choose between fast, comfortable & scenic (option 1, using mainline trains) and slow, comfortable, fabulous world-class highlight-of-your-trip scenic (option 2, via the Bernina Express).

Option 1, Florence to Switzerland by high-speed train...

ETR610 EuroCity train at Milan Centrale

A EuroCity train at Milan Centrale, about to leave for Switzerland.  More information about these EuroCity trains.

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

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

 

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

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

Lunch in the restaurant car...

 

2nd class.  Larger photo 360 degree photo.

Lake Maggiore, seen from the train

This is Lake Maggiore, seen from the restaurant car of the 11:25 Milan to Basel EuroCity train over an excellent lunch of salmon tagliatelle & excellent Swiss red wine...

Sion castle, see from the train to Venice

Sion castle, as seen from a Milan to Geneva train.  This route train passes through the famous Simplon Tunnel, opened in 1906, on the very route used by the celebrated Simplon Orient Express of Agatha Christie fame.

Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan to Zurich train

This is Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan-Zurich EuroCity train...

Option 2, Florence to St Moritz, Chur & Zurich via the scenic narrow-gauge Bernina route...

This is much slower and a little more effort to book, but it's arguably the best Swiss Alpine train ride of them all, an amazing experience.  Watch the video:  Milan to Zurich via the wonderfully scenic Bernina 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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Florence to Barcelona, Madrid & Spain from €89...

Option 1, Florence to Barcelona & Spain via Lyon - the easiest & usually cheapest option...

Option 2, Florence to Barcelona & Spain with overnight stop in Marseille...

Italian InterCity train

Step 1 & 2, take a Frecciarossa from Florence to Milan and an Intercity train from Milan to Ventimiglia.  Above, an Intercity train is seen at the magnificent Milan Centrale.

2nd class   1st class

2nd class.  Larger photo.

 

1st class.  Larger photo.

TER train at Juans-les-Pins station

Step 3 & 4, take a TER local train from Ventimiglia to Nice, then a TGV from Nice to Marseille.  Here, a TER rolls into Juan les Pins station, between Nice & Cannes.

Coastal scenery between Nice & Ventimiglia

Coastal scenery from the upper deck of the TER from Ventimiglia to Nice & Cannes...

AVE S100 at Barcelona Sants

Step 5, travel from Marseille to Barcelona by AVE.  This is an AVE-S100 at Barcelona Sants.

 

1st class seats on an AVE S100.  360Ί photo of 1st class.

Cafe-bar...

AVE train at Barcelona  

These S100 AVE trains operate the TGV/AVE services from Madrid to Marseille, Barcelona to Lyon, Toulouse.  This is an AVE-S100 at Barcelona Sants.

 

2nd class seats on the S100 AVE, all with power sockets.  Luggage goes on the racks at the car ends or above the seats.  360Ί photo of 2nd class More photos & info about AVE S100.

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...

Option 3, Florence to Barcelona & Spain with overnight stop in Geneva...

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Florence to Lisbon & Portugal...

Option 1, Florence to Lisbon via Madrid...

Option 2, Florence to Faro & the Algarve using a bus from Seville...

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Florence to Andorra...

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Florence to Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin & Germany...

Option 1, Florence to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train & onwards train to Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin or anywhere in Germany - the time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

Florence to Munich by Nightjet sleeper trainMore 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 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.

   

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Option 2, Florence to Hamburg or Berlin using the Zurich-Hamburg/Berlin sleeper...

Option 3, Florence to Munich & Germany via the Brenner route - a scenic daytime option...

EuroCity train from Munich to Innsbruck & beyond

A EuroCity train at Munich Hbf.  More photos & information about these Austrian EuroCity trains.

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

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

 

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

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...

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...

Mountains on the Brenner route...  See the Brenner Pass scenery video here...

Option 4, Florence to Frankfurt & Germany via the Gotthard route - another scenic daytime option...

ETR610 EuroCity train at Milan Centrale

An ETR610 at Milan Centrale, as used on the direct Milan-Frankfurt EuroCity train.  More information about these trains.

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

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

 

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

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

Lunch in the restaurant car...

 

2nd class.  Larger photo 360 degree photo.

Lake Maggiore, seen from the train

Lake Maggiore, seen over lunch in the restaurant car...

Option 5, Florence to anywhere in Germany with overnight stop in Munich...

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Florence to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €59..

Option 1, Florence to Salzburg & Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train - the time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna HbfMore information about Nightjet trains...

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet sleeper train...

Option 2, Florence to Salzburg or Vienna by daytime trains - a scenic daytime option with lunch in Venice...

  • You can travel from Florence to Salzburg or Vienna by train in a single chill-out day.  And how about lunch in Venice?

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Venice by Frecciargento high-speed train, leaving Florence SMN at 12:20, arriving Venice Santa Lucia at 14:24.

    If you'd like lunch and a wander around Venice, take an earlier train from Florence, for example the 07:20, 08:20 or 09:20.  The Rialto Bridge is just 20 minutes walk from Venice Santa Lucia, St Mark's Square just 27 minutes walk, see map of Venice showing station.  There's a left luggage office at the station.  Of course if you haven't been to Venice before, I'd recommend an overnight stop, not just a few hours!

    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, using this means you can book all your tickets together in one place) or www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, £, $ or Au$) or www.trenitalia.com (in €).  Italiarail will refund their booking fee if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com afterwards.

    Booking normally opens 120 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

  • Step 2, travel from Venice to Vienna by smart Austrian railjet train, leaving Venice Santa Lucia at 15:55 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 23:35.

    This train takes the wonderful UNESCO-listed Semmering route, you might see something of the landscape at least in summer when it's light until ten.  The railjet train has a bistro-restaurant, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi, see the Venice to Vienna by railjet page.

    For Salzburg, change in Villach arriving Salzburg Hbf around 21:48.  Don't worry about the 5-minute interchange at Villach, this is a recognised connection which many people make, it's a simple cross-platform switch from platform 2 to platform 3.  In any case you will have a through ticket so will be looked after if there's missed connection.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €44.90 in 1st class or €59 in business class (= premium 1st).  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book from Venice to Vienna or Salzburg at www.thetrainline.com (easiest to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways web site www.oebb.at (in €, more fiddly, same fares). 

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

A Venice-Vienna railjet at Venice Santa Lucia More photos & info about Venice-Vienna railjets.

Railjet restaurant car   Business class seats on a railjet train

Restaurant.  In 1st & business you're served at your seat.

 

Business class.  About business class.

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

First class.

 

Economy class.

The railjet 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.

Option 3, Florence to Innsbruck, Salzburg or Vienna in a day via the Brenner Pass - another scenic daytime option...

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Bologna by Frecciarossa, leaving Florence SMN at 10:36 and arriving Bologna Centrale at 11:15.

    The 300 km/h (186 mph) Frecciarossa has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

  • How to buy tickets...

    First book the 11:52 from Bologna Centrale to Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna or anywhere in Austria using www.thetrainline.com (quickest & easiest to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (same prices, in €, more fiddly).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

    Now add the connecting train from Florence SMN to Bologna Centrale at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, small booking fee, using Trainline means all your bookings are together in one place), or www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, £, or $) or www.trenitalia.com (in €), making sure you have at least 40 minutes between trains in Verona in case of any delay.  If you use Italiarail they'll refund the small booking fee if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your booking reference.

    Booking normally opens 120 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

EuroCity train from Munich to Innsbruck & beyond

A EuroCity train at Munich Hbf.  More photos & information about these Austrian EuroCity trains.

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

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

 

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

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...

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...

Mountains on the Brenner route...  See the Brenner Pass scenery video here...

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Florence to Copenhagen, Gothenburg & Stockholm...

Option 1, Florence to Copenhagen, Gothenburg & Stockholm using the Zurich-Hamburg sleeper...

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Milan by Frecciarossa, leaving Florence SMN at 11:55 and arriving Milan Centrale at 13:50.

    Fares start at €19.90 in 2nd class or €29.90 in 1st class.  The Frecciarossa has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, requires Italian language place names, see advice on using it).  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

  • Step 2, travel from Milan to Zurich by EuroCity train, leaving Milan Centrale at 15:10 and arriving Zurich HB at 18:27.

    The EuroCity train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  It's a lovely run through the Alps, past Italian and Swiss lakes and passing through the world's longest railway tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel.  Have dinner in Zurich, I can recommend the steak-frites and a beer at the Brasserie Federal on the main concourse at Zurich HB.

    Fares start at €29 in 2nd class or €49 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 www.trenitalia.com (in €, requires Italian language place names, see advice on using it). Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

  • Step 3, travel from Zurich to Hamburg by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Zurich HB at 19:59 and arriving Hamburg Hbf at 07:54.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has two air-conditioned double-deck sleeping-cars (1 & 2 bed compartments with washbasin, 1 & 2 bed deluxe compartments with shower & toilet, plus a few 3-berth compartments with washbasin), couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments & ordinary seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning, see the Nightjet information page.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, 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 Switzerland & click nj.

  • Step 4, travel from Hamburg to Copenhagen by EuroCity train, leaving Hamburg Hbf at 08:56 & arriving Copenhagen at 13:33.

    From 18 June to 21 August 2022 an altered timetable applies, you leave Hamburg Hbf at 10:53 & arrive Copenhagen at 15:33.

    Fares start at €27.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book from Hamburg to Copenhagen at the German Railways website www.bahn.de or www.raileurope.com

  • Step 5, travel from Copenhagen to Sweden by train...

    For Stockholm, travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000 train leaving Copenhagen at 14:19 and arriving Stockholm Central at 19:37.

    From 18 June to 21 August 2022 when you leave Hamburg later, leave Copenhagen at 16:19 and arrive Stockholm Central at 21:38.

    For Gothenburg, travel from Copenhagen to Gothenburg by Φresund train, these leave every hour taking 3h53.

    For Malmo, travel from Copenhagen to Malmo by Φresund train every 20-30 minutes taking 39 minutes.

    All these trains cross the water from Denmark to Sweden over the impressive Φresund fixed link

    Fares from Hamburg to Sweden start at €56.90.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book from Hamburg to Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmφ as one transaction at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  Gothenburg is listed as Gφteborg Central.  If you have any problems, for example if you don't see any affordable 1st class fares, split the booking, booking Hamburg to Copenhagen at www.bahn.de and booking Copenhagen to anywhere in Sweden at either Omio.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, small fee) or www.sj.se (in SEK, has been known to reject some overseas credit cards).

    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.

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

Zurich to Hamburg by Nightjet...  This is a double-deck sleeping-car at Zurich HB. Courtesy of DiscoverbyRail.com.

   

2-berth sleeper on lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

1 or 2-bed sleeper on lower deck with washbasin, viewed through window.  Set up as 1-bed.  Note how compact the compartment is...

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen station

Hamburg to Copenhagen by Intercity train seen here at Copenhagen.  More about Hamburg to Copenhagen trains.

2nd class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

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

 

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

An X2000 train at Stockholm Central

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

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

1st class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

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

Bistro seating on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

 

Bistro on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

On the Oresund link!

Crossing the impressive Φresund bridge from Denmark to Sweden...

Option 2, Florence to Copenhagen, Gothenburg & Stockholm using the Florence-Munich sleeper...

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Munich by excellent Austrian Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Florence SMN at 22:47, arriving Munich Hbf 09:20.

    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, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 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 the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (same prices, more fiddly, in €). Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, 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 nj.

    If you'd prefer a daytime journey with an overnight stop in Munich, use the Florence to Munich in a single day option above.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Copenhagen, leaving Munich Hbf 10:22, changing at Hamburg Hbf and arriving Copenhagen at 21:33.

    From 18 June to 21 August 2022 an altered timetable applies, leave Munich Hbf 11:56, change Hamburg Hbf, arrive Copenhagen 23:33

    Treat this as a chill-out day with a good book and a glass or two of wine (I can recommend DB's Spδtburgunder red).  You travel from Munich to Hamburg by ICE train with restaurant car for lunch, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  You travel from Hamburg to Copenhagen by comfortable Danish intercity train with free WiFi whilst in Denmark, but no catering car so bring your own food & drink.

    If you're only going as far as Copenhagen, book from Munich to Copenhagen from €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class at the German Railways site www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

  • Step 3 if you're going to Malmo, simply take the next available Φresund train from Copenhagen to Malmφ, these leave every 20-30 minutes taking 39 minutes.  You can book through from Munich to Malmφ from €39.90 at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

  • Step 3 if you're going to Stockholm or Gothenburg, stay overnight in Copenhagen then travel to Stockholm in just 5h15 by X2000 high-speed train or to Gothenburg in 3h53 by Φresund train.

    You can book tickets from Copenhagen to anywhere in Sweden at the Swedish Railways site www.sj.se, but there's a cleverer way to book if you are coming from Munich.  Use this special link to bahn.de to book from Munich to Stockholm from €56.90 with an overnight stop in Copenhagen programmed in using the Stopover feature - just enter your date of travel from Munich.  Adjust the intermediate stopover time as necessary to get the trains you want, or if no fares show up initially, it may take a bit of trial & error to get the trains you want.  This method works to book from Munich to Gothenburg, too - you'll find bahn.de lists Gothenburg as Gφteborg Central.

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

Florence to Munich by Nightjet sleeper trainMore 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 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.

   

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Option 3, Florence to Copenhagen, Gothenburg & Stockholm by daytime trains with overnight stops in Munich & Copenhagen...

  • Stay overnight in Copenhagen.  Hotels near the station with good reviews include the Nimb Hotel (5-star luxe), Radisson Blu Royal Hotel (5-star), Axel Guldsmeden (4-star), Andersen Boutique Hotel, First Hotel Mayfair (3-star), Hotel Ansgar (3-star), City Hotel Nebo (2-star).

  • Day 3, travel from Copenhagen to Gothenburg by hourly Φresund train in 3h53, or travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm by fast X2000 train in around 5h15 with various departures to choose from, fares from around €28 upwards.  Book this at Omio.com or the Swedish Railways website www.sj.se.

    Tip:  You may be able to save money by buying a Munich-Stockholm or Munich-Gothenburg through ticket from German Railways like this:  Go to www.bahn.de, enter Munich-Stockholm or Munich-Gothenburg.  Before running the enquiry, click Stopover, enter Copenhagen and a stopover duration of (say) 12 hours.  It should then give you a Sparpreis fare with an overnight stop in Copenhagen, specified trains only, limited or no refunds.

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Florence to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, Florence to Oslo via Munich & Copenhagen - by train all the way...

Option 2, Florence to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo cruise ferry - the most luxurious way to Norway...

  • Day 1, travel from Florence to Milan by Frecciarossa, leaving Florence SMN at 12:10 and arriving Milan Centrale at 13:58.

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

    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 www.trenitalia.com (in €, requires Italian language place names, see advice on using it).  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

  • Day 1, travel from Milan to Zurich by EuroCity train, leaving Milan Centrale at 15:10 and arriving Zurich HB at 18:27.

    The EuroCity train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  It's a lovely run through the Alps, past Italian and Swiss lakes and passing through the world's longest railway tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel.  Have dinner in Zurich, I can recommend the steak-frites and a beer at the Brasserie Federal on the main concourse at Zurich HB.

    Fares start at €29 in 2nd class or €49 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 www.trenitalia.com (in €, requires Italian language place names, see advice on using it).  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

  • Day 1, travel from Zurich to Hamburg by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Zurich HB at 19:59 and arriving Hamburg Hbf at 07:54.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has two air-conditioned double-deck sleeping-cars (1 & 2 bed compartments with washbasin, 1 & 2 bed deluxe compartments with shower & toilet, plus a few 3-berth compartments with washbasin), couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments & ordinary seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning, see the Nightjet information page.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 in a single-bed sleeper, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, 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 Switzerland & click nj.

  • Day 2, take a regional train from Hamburg Hbf to Kiel then the overnight Color Line cruise ferry to Oslo.  The ferry sails from Kiel around 14:00, arriving in Oslo around 10:L00 on day 3 from Rome.  For full details of this Hamburg to Oslo journey, see Hamburg-Oslo option 2 on the trains from Hamburg page.

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

Zurich to Hamburg by Nightjet...  This is a double-deck sleeping-car at Zurich HB. Courtesy of DiscoverbyRail.com.

   

2-berth sleeper on lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

1 or 2-bed sleeper on lower deck with washbasin, viewed through window.  Set up as 1-bed.  Note how compact the compartment is...

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Germany to Oslo Color Line ferry at Kiel

Kiel to Oslo by cruise ferry...  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....

Option 3, using the Zurich-Hamburg sleeper & Frederikshavn-Oslo ferry - a cheaper option, more changes, slightly quicker...

  • Day 1-2, travel from Rome to Hamburg as shown in option 2 above.

  • Day 2, travel from Hamburg to Frederikshavn in the north of Denmark by train, and take the comfortable DFDS overnight ferry from Frederikshavn to Oslo.  This is a cheaper option than the Color Line ferry from Kiel, although Hamburg to Frederikshavn involves 2 changes and the ferry doesn't sail until very late at night.  For full details of this Hamburg to Oslo journey, see Hamburg-Oslo option 3 on the train from Hamburg page.

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Florence to Helsinki & Finland...

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

  • Day 1, travel from Florence to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Florence SMN at 22:47 and arriving Munich Hbf at 09:20. 

    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, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 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 the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (same prices, more fiddly, in €). Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, 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 nj.

  • Day 2, travel from Munich to Hamburg by ICE4 train, leaving Munich Hbf at 10:22 and arriving Hamburg Hbf 15:54.

    Fares start at €27.90 in 2nd class or €56.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at the German Railways site www.bahn.de and print your own ticket or show it on your laptop or smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

  • 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, Florence to Helsinki by train to Stockholm then ferry...

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Florence to Prague from €68...

Option 1, Florence to Prague overnight via Vienna - comfortable, safe, time-effective, with a chance to see Vienna on the way...

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Florence SMN at 22:47 arriving Vienna Hbf at 08:52 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, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 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 the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (same prices, more fiddly, in €). Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, 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 nj.

    Tip:  If you have a sleeper ticket and/or 1st class ticket for the onward train to Prague you can use the ΦBB lounge in Vienna Hbf between trains, with complimentary refreshments & free WiFi.

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Florence 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 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 couchettes   Couchette car on sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet sleeper train...

Czech Railjet train to Vienna at Prague Hlavni station

Step 2, take a smart modern Railjet train from Vienna to Prague, with economy, first & business class, restaurant car, free WiFi and draught beer on tap...

Economy seats on a Prague to Vienna Railjet train   1st class seats on a Czech Railjet train

Economy (2nd) class...  Mainly unidirectional seating but with some tables for 4.  All seats have power sockets & free WiFi.  Larger photo.

 

First class...  Mainly unidirectional, with some tables for 2 & tables for 4.  Larger photo

Restaurant car on a Prague-Vienna railjet train   Business class on a Czech railjet train

Restaurant car for snacks, meals, beer, wine, tea & coffee.  You don't need to reserve, just turn up & sit down.  There's waiter-service at tables or order at the counter & take back to your seat.  Larger photo.

 

Business class = premium 1st class.  Just 6 seats at one end of the 1st class car.  Same seats but very different layout from business class on Austrian railjetLarger photo.

Option 2, Florence to Prague or Cesky Krumlov via Zurich - another comfortable, safe & time-effective option...

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Zurich by train, leaving Florence SMN at 13:55, change at Milan Centrale, arriving Zurich HB at 19:27.

    You travel from Florence to Milan by Frecciarossa high-speed train with cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Then Milan to Zurich by EuroCity train with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  This train takes the scenic Gotthard route past Lake Lugano in the Swiss Alps.  20 minutes of the journey is now in the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest rail tunnel but you still get great views either side, see more about this journey here.

    Book from Florence SMN to Zurich HB using either www.raileurope.com, www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com.  Florence to Milan starts at €19.90 then Milan to Zurich starts at €29.  Make sure you have at least an hour in Zurich to change trains in case of any delay.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

    You've time for dinner in Zurich, I recommend the steak-frites and a beer or two at the Brasserie Federal on the main concourse at Zurich HB.

  • Step 2, travel from Zurich to Prague by sleeping-car, leaving Zurich HB at 21:40 and arriving Ceske Budejovice 08:52 & Prague Hlavni 10:57.

    The sleeping-car to Prague is a modern Czech Comfortline type with nine 1, 2 or 3 bed compartments with washbasin and three deluxe 1, 2 or 3 bed compartments with en suite toilet & shower.  There are toilets and a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers. Morning tea & coffee is included in the sleeper fare.  There are no couchettes on this route.  More information about the Zurich-Prague sleeper.

    Fares start at €45 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €59 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €112 in a single-bed sleeper.  Deluxe sleepers cost a bit more.  All per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this sleeper online at the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz.  Booking normally opens 90 days ahead.  You print your own ticket.  Easy!  See my tips for using cd.cz.

  • If you're going to Ceske Krumlov, get off the sleeper at Ceske Budejovice (its former name is Budweis, that's right, where the name of the beer comes from), have a coffee at the station then take the 10:13 express train to Ceske Krumlov arriving 10:50.  In this case you'd use www.cd.cz to book Zurich to Cesky Krumlov, of course looking for the 21:40 departure with 1 change.

EuroCity train from Zurich to Milan at Zurich HB

Milan to Zurich by EuroCity trainMore information about these EuroCity trains.

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

This is Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan-Zurich EuroCity train...

The Zurich to Prague sleeping car boarding at Zurich HB

Zurich to Prague by sleeping-car, seen here at Zurich HB More information about this sleeper.

City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper   City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper in day mode   City Night Line deluxe sleeper, private toilet & shower   Comfortline sleeper corridor

Standard sleeper set up as a 2-berth, with blind down & washstand open.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.

 

Same sleeper with berths folded away & seats out, washstand closed.  Very similar to a deluxe, but without shower & toilet.

 

Deluxe sleepers are similar to standard ones, with a bit more floorspace & compact shower & toilet instead of washstand.

 

Just like a hotel, the corridor in a Comfortline sleeping-car.  There's a shower at end of the corridor for standard sleeper passengers.

Option 3, Florence to Prague with overnight stop in Venice - if you prefer day trains & hotel to sleepers...

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

A Venice-Vienna railjet, at Venice Santa Lucia More photos & info about Venice-Vienna railjets.

Railjet restaurant car   Business class seats on a railjet train

Restaurant.  In 1st & business you're served at your seat.

 

Business class.  About business class.

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

First class.

 

Economy class.

The railjet 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.

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Florence to Bratislava & Slovakia from €64...

Option 1, Florence to Bratislava using the Florence-Vienna sleeper - safe, comfortable, time-effective...

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Florence SMN at 22:47 arriving Vienna Hbf at 08:52 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, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 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 the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (same prices, a bit more fiddly, in €). Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, 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 nj.

    Tip:  If you have a sleeper ticket you can use the ΦBB Lounge at Vienna Hbf between trains, with complimentary refreshments & free WiFi.

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Florence 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 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 couchettes   Couchette car on sleeper train

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet sleeper train.

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

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

Option 2, Florence to Bratislava with overnight stop in Venice - if you prefer day trains & hotel to sleepers...

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

Venice to Vienna by railjet, seen at Venice Santa LuciaMore photos & info about Venice-Vienna railjets.

Railjet restaurant car   Business class seats on a railjet train

Restaurant.  In 1st & business you're served at your seat.

 

Business class.  About business class.

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

First class.

 

Economy class.

The railjet 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.

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

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

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Florence to Budapest from €68...

Option 1, Florence to Budapest using the Florence-Vienna sleeper - safe, comfortable, time-effective...

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Florence SMN at 22:47 arriving Vienna Hbf at 08:52 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, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 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 the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (same prices, more fiddly, in €). Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, 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 nj.

    Tip:  If you have a sleeper ticket and/or 1st class ticket for the onward train to Budapest you can use the ΦBB lounge in Vienna Hbf between trains, with complimentary refreshments & free WiFi.

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Florence 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 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 couchettes   Couchette car on sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet sleeper train...

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

Step 2, Vienna to Budapest by railjet, seen at Vienna Hbf.  More information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About.

 

Restaurant car.

First class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

Option 2, Florence to Budapest with overnight stop in Venice - if you prefer day trains & hotel to sleepers...

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

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business classAbout.

 

The restaurant...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

A railjet at the impressive modern Vienna Hbf.

 

Economy class...

The railjet 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.

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Florence to Bucharest, Brasov & Romania...
  • Step 2, take the overnight sleeper train Ister leaving Budapest Keleti at 19:10 and arriving Brasov at 09:23 & Bucharest Nord at 11:59 next day. 

    This comfortable train 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, see the photos on the London to Romania page.

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

    Book this train at the Romanian Railways website bileteinternationale.cfrcalatori.ro.  Click EN top right for English.  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  For Bucharest type Bucuresti.  It can book seats, couchettes or sleepers.  You print your own ticket.

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

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.

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Florence to Ljubljana & Zagreb...

Option 1, Florence to Ljubljana & Zagreb using the Florence-Austria Nightjet sleeper train - the most time-effective option.

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Bruck an der Mur by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Florence SMN at 22:47 and arriving Bruck/Mur at 06:39.

    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, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 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 the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (same prices, a bit more fiddly, in €). Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, 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 nj.

  • Step 2, travel from Bruck an der Mur to Ljubljana by EuroCity train Emona, leaving Bruck/Mur at 09:58, and arriving Ljubljana at 14:00. 

    Change at Zidani Most for Zagreb, arriving 17:12.

    It's an enjoyable ride with some great scenery.  The Emona  has air-conditioned cars and a restaurant car, treat yourself to lunch.

    Fares start at €19.90.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book from Bruck/Mur to Ljubljana or Zagreb 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 prices).  You print your own ticket.

Option 2, Florence to Ljubljana & Zagreb using daytime trains on the direct route through Trieste...

  • Direct trains from Italy to Slovenia were restored in September 2018.  Two modern air-conditioned trains now run from Trieste to Ljubljana every day, with connections from Venice - and there's now a daily Austrian EuroCity train from Trieste to Ljubljana, too.

    Just €22 or so gets you from Venice to Ljubljana, any day, any date, no prior reservation necessary, it cannot sell out, just buy at the station on the day.  Change in Ljubljana for Zagreb.  And if you've ever wondered where prosecco comes from, you'll find out on this route!

    It's possible to travel from Florence to Ljubljana in a day this way, although you'll need to stay overnight & catch a train to Zagreb next morning.

    Click here for timetable & fares between Venice, Ljubljana & Zagreb, with photos & an account of the journey.

  • Add a ticket from Florence to Venice by Frecciarossa high-speed train from €19.90 at either www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com.

Scenery between Trieste and Ljubljana

Looking back from the rear of the Austrian EuroCity train as it climbs out of Trieste.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

Scenery between Trieste and Ljubljana

Scenery in Slovenia on the way from Trieste to Ljubljana.  More information about Venice-Trieste-Ljubljana.

Option 3, Florence to Ljubljana & Zagreb with overnight stop at Villach in Austria - a useful alternative...

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Venice by Frecciarossa 1000, leaving Florence SMN at 12:20, arriving Venice Santa Lucia 14:34.

    The high-speed Frecciarossa train has 4 classes, a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    If you'd like lunch and a wander around Venice, take an earlier train from Florence, for example the 07:30, 08:30 or 09:30.  The Rialto Bridge is just 20 minutes walk from Venice Santa Lucia, St Mark's Square just 27 minutes walk, see map of Venice showing station.  There's a left luggage office at the station.  Of course if you haven't been to Venice before, I'd recommend an overnight stop, not just a few hours!

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

    Book this train at www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, £, $ or Au$) or www.trenitalia.com (in €).  Italiarail will refund their small booking fee if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your booking reference.  Booking normally opens 120 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

  • Step 2, travel from Venice to Villach by railjet, leaving Venice Santa Lucia at 15:55 and arriving Villach at 19:11.

    The smart Austrian railjet train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Villach is in Austria, on the Slovenian border.

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

    Book this at www.thetrainline.com (quickest & easiest to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, same prices, a bit more fiddly).  You print your own ticket.

  • Stay overnight in Villach, I suggest the Hotel Goldenes Lamm or Hotel City, both near the station with great reviews.

  • Step 3, travel from Villach to Ljubljana & Zagreb, leaving Villach at 06:28 & arriving Lesce-Bled 07:28, Ljubljana 08:11 & Zagreb 10:43.

    Enjoy the lovely scenery as the train runs along the pretty river Sava from Ljubljana to Zagreb.

    Fares start at €9.90 to Ljubljana or €19.90 to Zagreb, 2nd class only.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at www.thetrainline.com (quickest & easiest to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, same prices, a bit more fiddly).  You print your own ticket.

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Florence to Dubrovnik & Split...

Option 1, Florence to Split & Dubrovnik via Zagreb - by train all the way...

  • Step 1, travel overland from Florence to Zagreb by train as shown above.

  • Step 2, take a train from Zagreb to Split (daytime or sleeper) then a bus Split to Dubrovnik (4 hours, lots of buses). 

Option 2, Florence to Split & Dubrovnik by ferry from Ancona or Bari - more time-effective...

  • Step 1, book an overnight ferry with comfortable en suite cabin either from Ancona to Split or from Bari to Dubrovnik.

    www.jadrolinija.hr sails on both routes several times a week, leaving 19:45-22:00 and arriving 07:00-08:00.  You can choose a private cabin or cheaper berth in a shared cabin.  There are also reclining seats, but I always recommend a bed in a cabin for a safe & secure night's sleep.  Make sure you're on deck with your camera ready as the ship approaches the beautiful Croatian coast!

  • Step 2, now add a train ticket from Florence SMN to either Ancona Centrale or Bari Centrale using www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, £, $ or Au$) or www.trenitalia.com (in €).  Italiarail will refund their small booking fee if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your booking reference.  Booking normally opens 120 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone. 

    You should choose a train which arrives in Bari or Ancona at least 3 hours before the ferry sails, to allow for transfer to the port and check-in.  In Bari it's a 25 minute walk via Bari's pleasant old town to the ferry terminal, or a 10 minute taxi ride.  In Ancona, take a taxi from station to ferry terminal.

Ancona to Split ferries in Split Harbour   Deluxe cabin onm Ancona to Split ferry

Blue Line & Jadrolinija ferries in Split Harbour...  Above right, a deluxe cabin on the Blue Line ferry, which comes complete with an en suite jacuzzi...  Courtesy of Andrew Leo.

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Florence to Belgrade & Sofia...
  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Venice by Frecciarossa 1000, leaving Florence SMN at 12:20, arriving Venice Santa Lucia 14:34.

    The high-speed Frecciarossa train has 4 classes, a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    If you'd like lunch and a wander around Venice, take an earlier train from Florence, for example the 07:30, 08:30 or 09:30.  The Rialto Bridge is just 20 minutes walk from Venice Santa Lucia, St Mark's Square just 27 minutes walk, see map of Venice showing station.  There's a left luggage office at the station.  Of course if you haven't been to Venice before, I'd recommend an overnight stop, not just a few hours!

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

    Book this train at www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, £, $ or Au$) or www.trenitalia.com (in €).  Italiarail will refund their small booking fee if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your booking reference.  Booking normally opens 120 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

  • Step 2, travel from Venice to Villach by railjet, leaving Venice Santa Lucia at 15:55 and arriving Villach at 19:11.

    The smart Austrian railjet train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Villach is in Austria, on the Slovenian border.

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

    Book this at www.thetrainline.com (quickest & easiest to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, same prices, a bit more fiddly).  You print your own ticket.

  • Stay overnight in Villach, I suggest the Hotel Goldenes Lamm or Hotel City, both near the station with great reviews.

  • Step 3, travel from Villach to Zagreb, leaving Villach at 06:28 & arriving Zagreb at 10:43.

    Enjoy the lovely scenery as the train runs along the pretty river Sava from Ljubljana to Zagreb.

    Fares start at €19.90, 2nd class only.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at www.thetrainline.com (quickest & easiest to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, same prices, a bit more fiddly).  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 4, travel from Zagreb to Belgrade by train, leaving Zagreb at 11:04 and arriving Novi Beograd 18:04 & Belgrade Centar at 18:12.

    This train is still currently suspended due to Covid-19.

    2nd class only, with two comfortable Serbian air-conditioned cars.  There's no catering, so bring your own food & drink.  This train cannot be booked online, just buy at the station or on the train for around €29.

  • Step 5 if you're going to Sofia, spend the night in Belgrade, I recommend the historic Hotel Moskva.  Travel from Belgrade to Sofia by train next day, see the Belgrade to Sofia page for full details.  Buy this ticket at the station for €20.60, there are always places available, even on the day.  It cannot be booked online, and there's no need.

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Florence to Bar, Budva, Kotor & Montenegro...
  • This is an excellent way to reach beautiful Montenegro from Florence.  Make sure you're on deck with your camera ready as the ship approaches the lovely Montenegrin coast!

  • Step 1, book an overnight ferry with comfortable en suite cabin from Bari to Bar in Montenegro.  Montenegro Lines ceased trading in early 2017, but Croatian ferry line Jadrolinija (www.jadrolinija.hr) resumed with one sailing a week all year round, twice a week in high summer.  You can choose a private cabin or cheaper berth in a shared cabin.  There are also reclining seats, but I always recommend a bed in a cabin for a safe and secure night's sleep.

  • Step 2, now add a train ticket from Florence SMN to Bari Centrale from €29.90 using www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, £, $ or Au$) or www.trenitalia.com (in €).  Italiarail will refund their small booking fee if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your booking reference.  It's ticketless, you simply print out your booking reference or show it on your phone.

    You should choose a train which arrives in Bari at least 3 hours before the ferry sails, to allow for transfer to the port and check-in.  In Bari it's a 25 minute walk via Bari's pleasant old town to the ferry terminal, or a 10 minute taxi ride.

  • Trains link Bar with Podgorica and indeed with Belgrade on the spectacular Bar-Belgrade Railway.  Buses link Bar bus station with Budva & Kotor.

Montenegro Lines ferry from Bar to Bari

The former Montenegro Lines ferry to Bari at Bar ferry terminal...

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Florence to Warsaw, Krakow & Poland...

Option 1, Florence to Krakow & Warsaw using the Florence-Vienna sleeper...

  • Step 1, travel from Florence to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Florence SMN at 22:47 arriving Vienna Hbf at 08:52 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, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 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 the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (same prices, more fiddly, in €). Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, 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 nj.

    Tip:  If you have a sleeper ticket and/or 1st class ticket for the onward train to Budapest you can use the ΦBB lounge in Vienna Hbf for 1½ hours after arrival and before departure, with complimentary refreshments & free WiFi.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Warsaw by EuroCity train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 14:10 and arriving Warsaw Centralna at 21:28.

    The train has a restaurant car, treat yourself to dinner.  For Krakow, change at Katowice, arriving Krakow Glowny at 20:07.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.  You print your own ticket.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead, but if booking Vienna to Krakow more than 30 days ahead it'll say Ticket for section only and only sell you the Vienna-Katowice train.  You can buy the connecting Katowice-Krakow ticket at the station in Katowice, or online at the Polish Railways website www.intercity.pl, booking for Polish domestic trains opens 30 days ahead.

  • Alternatively, spend the day in Vienna, then take the overnight sleeper train from Vienna to Krakow or Warsaw as shown in the Austria to Poland page, booked online at www.oebb.at from €39 with couchette or €69 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper.

Option 2, Florence to Krakow & Warsaw with overnight stop in Vienna...

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Florence to Lviv, Kiev, Moscow...
  • Day 1, travel from Florence to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train as shown in the Florence to Vienna section above, leaving Florence SMN in the evening and arriving at Vienna Hbf next morning.

  • Day 2, enjoy the best part of the day in Vienna, left luggage lockers are available.

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

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

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

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

    Booked through oebb.at:

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

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

    Booked through Polrail:

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

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

    Booked at the station in Ukraine, Kiev to Vienna costs around €80, Lviv to Vienna around €60, in both cases with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper.

  • Day 3, take a sleeper train from Kiev to Moscow.  Train 6 leaves Kiev at around 19:36 and arrives Moscow Kievskaya at around 10:09 next day (day 4 from Italy).  Taking the route via Kiev avoids Belarus, so no need for a Belarus visa.

    These trains were suspended due to Covid-19, and are now cancelled - and the lines blown up - due to the war in Ukraine...

    The fare is around €92 with a bed in 4-berth kupι or €180 with a bed in a 2-berth spalny vagon.

    You can book tickets starting in Kiev at the Ukrainian Railways site https://booking.uz.gov.ua/en/ booking from Kyiv to Moskva Kievskaya.  You collect tickets at the station in Kiev.  Feedback appreciated!

    Change in Moscow for fast trains to St Petersburg, see the train travel in Russia page.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Vienna Hbf

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Vienna Hbf.

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.

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Florence to Athens & Greece...
  • Step 1, book a train from Florence SMN to Bari Centrale, an enjoyable and scenic ride across the spine of Italy.  Obviously, book the ferry first and work out a suitable connecting train afterwards.

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

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

    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.

  • Step 2, sail from Bari to Patras with Superfast Ferries.  The ferry sails normally daily except Sundays at 19:30 arriving Patras at 13:00 the next day (day 3).  On Sundays the ship sails at 13:30, too early to make connections from Rome but you can take a train to Bari on Saturday evening and stay overnight in Bari.

    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 €9, journey time 15-20 minutes.

  • Step 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.hellenictrain.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 covered in more detail on the London to Greece page, just ignore the London to Milan part of the recommended journey!  You can also take ferries from Ancona or Brindisi with various companies.

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!

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Florence to Istanbul & Turkey...

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bullet pointRailbookers custom-made tours

If you just want to buy train tickets at the cheapest price, book online as shown on this page.  However, if you want someone to sort out your whole trip for you, arranging all your trains, hotels and 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 get good reports and a lot of repeat business!  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.

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bullet pointHotels in Florence

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.

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