ICE train at Berlin Hbf

A German ICE train...

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This page explains how to travel by train from Frankfurt 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...


Frankfurt to Cologne, Berlin, Munich & other destinations in Germany...

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Frankfurt to London & UK...

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Frankfurt to Dublin & Ireland...

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

Option 2, Frankfurt to Dublin via Paris & Cherbourg - several times a week...

Irish Ferries' WB Yeats

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

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

Club cabin on the WB Yeats with shower & toilet.

 

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

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Frankfurt to Paris from €39.90...
An ICE3 (class 407) to Paris at Frankfurt

A Frankfurt to Paris ICE3 boarding at Frankfurt (Main) HbfMore information about ICE trains...

Bistro-restaurant on a class 407 ICE3   Lunch in the bistro on an ICE train

Bistro-restaurant car...

Lunch in the restaurant car...

2nd class seats on a class 407 ICE3   Class 407 ICE3 1st class seats

2nd class seats...

 

1st class seats...

Cafe-bar on a class 407 ICE3   Lunch served at a 1st class seat on an ICE train

Cafe-bar, at the other end of the restaurant car...

Meal served at my seat in 1st class...

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Frankfurt to Strasbourg from €29.90...

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Frankfurt to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Cannes, Nice...

Option 1, using the direct Frankfurt-Marseille TGV...

Option 2, via Milan...

Frankfurt to Marseille TGV

The direct TGV Duplex from Frankfurt to Marseille, ready to leave Frankfurt am Main Hbf...

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

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

 

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

First class on board a TGV Duplex   A TGV Duplex at Frankfurt

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

 

The TGV to Marseille, boarding at Frankfurt am Main Hbf.  You enter on the lower deck, with 9 stairs up to top deck.

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Frankfurt to Brussels or Bruges from €29.90...
ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M at Brussels MidiMore information about ICE trains...

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.

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Frankfurt to Amsterdam from €29.90...
ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

An ICE3M to Frankfurt at Amsterdam CentraalMore information about ICE trains...

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.

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Frankfurt to Luxembourg from €20.90...

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Frankfurt to Basel, Zurich, Geneva & Switzerland from €37.90...
ICE3M to Cologne & Brussels, boarding at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf

An ICE3 at Frankfurt (Main) HbfMore 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.

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Frankfurt to Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome & Italy from €39.90...

Option 1, Frankfurt to Italy in a day through the Alps - the scenic option...

ETR610 EuroCity train at Frankfurt Hbf

The direct train from Frankfurt to Milan, boarding on platform 2 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 a Milan to Basel train

Lake Maggiore, seen from the restaurant car over an excellent lunch of salmon tagliatelle & excellent Swiss red wine.

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

The Nightjet sleeper train from Munich to Venice at Munich Hbf

The Munich to Venice Nightjet, on platform 12 at Munich HbfMore information about Nightjet trains.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchettes   Couchette car on sleeper train

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Option 3, Frankfurt to Italy using the Bernina Express through the Swiss Alps - the ultimate scenic route... 

  • This takes longer and must be split over 2 days, but it's fabulous and well worth the extra time.  It involves the most spectacular Alpine panoramic scenic train of them all, the famous narrow-gauge Bernina Express.  And I'll show you how to do it really cheaply...

  • Day 1, take an afternoon or evening train from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to Zurich HB in just 3h55, you can leave Frankfurt as late as 18:05, but by all means leave earlier and spend a pleasant evening in Zurich.

  • Stay overnight in Zurich.  For something really special, the 5-star Hotel Schweizerhof is one of my favourite hotels anywhere, just across the road from the station.  They'll even send a uniformed commissionaire to meet you & carry your bags from the train.  For something cheaper, also next to the station with great reviews, try the 4-star Hotel St Gotthard or the excellent 3-star Hotel St. Josef, 7 minutes walk from the station, see walking map.  If you're on a tight budget you can book private rooms in a one-star hotel or backpacker hostel near the station at www.hostelworld.com.  Alternatively, you could stay overnight in the smaller town of Chur.

  • Day 2, travel from Zurich to Chur early morning, then by the fabulous Bernina Express from Chur to Tirano and by afternoon connecting regional train to Milan Centrale.  You can reach Venice or Florence or Rome that evening.  See the Bernina Express page for full details of the Zurich-Chur-Tirano-Milan schedule.

  • How much does it cost?

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

    If you want to travel in the panorama carriages of the famous Bernina Express you must pay a modest reservation fee, details here.

    Tirano to Milan by regional train costs €12, fixed-price.

    Milan to Florence or Venice starts at €19.90 in 2nd class or €29.90 in 1st class. Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • How to buy tickets...

    Step 1, book from Frankfurt to Tirano using the German Railways website www.bahn.de, use this special link I have set up.

    To get the overnight stop in Zurich, you click Stopover and enter Zurich HB and a suitable stopover duration, say 12h30, the special link does that for you, just enter passenger numbers and your date of travel.  In the search results, look for an option marked ICE, IC, D with arrival in Tirano at 12:49.  If you click show details the timings from Chur onwards should match those shown on the Bernina Express page.  Adjust the departure time & stopover duration to get an earlier or later train between Frankfurt and Zurich, some trial & error may be required!

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You 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.  But see my booking tip below...

    Step 2, if you want to travel in the panorama cars of the Bernina Express, make the necessary reservation following the instructions on the Bernina Express page.  Booking opens 60 days ahead.  You can travel in the Allegra unit that hauls the Bernina Express without any reservation if you like.

    Strep 3, buy the Tirano-Milan regional ticket on the day at the station, from the Italian station's cafe if the ticket office is closed or from the RhB station ticket office.  Or online at www.thetrainline.com.

    Step 4, buy an onward tickets from Milan Centrale to Florence, Rome, Naples or Venice at either www.thetrainline.com (in €, £, $ or Au$), www.italiarail.com (in €, £, $ or Au$) or www.trenitalia.com (in €).  You simply pay online and quote your booking reference (PNR) on board.  If you use ItaliaRail (which can also book the Milan-Florence/Rome/Naples connection), they'll refund their small booking fee if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your PNR.

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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Frankfurt to Sicily...
  • Step 2, travel from Milan to Sicily on Italy's longest train ride, an epic direct sleeper train leaving Milan Centrale at 20:10 every night and arriving next day (day 2) at Catania 14:32, Siracuse 15:48 with another portion to Palermo arriving 16:56.

    This train has 4-berth Comfort couchettes and a sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments.  It is ferried across the Straits of Messina to Sicily on a train ferry, a unique experience and one of the few places in the world where trains go onto ships, have your camera ready!  See the Trains to Sicily page for more information, photos & travel tips.

    Fares start at €39.90 with a couchette, €59.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper, €89.90 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.

    Buy tickets at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com and print them out or show them on your smartphone.

Coastal view from the Palermo to Milan sleeper train

Room with a view...  The sleeper travels overnight from Milan to southern Italy, then along the coast in daylight, often right next to the water, before being shunted onto a ferry to cross the Straits of Messina to Sicily.  Courtesy Philip Dyer-Perry.

2-bed sleeper, night mode, on the Milan-Sicily sleeper  

Milan-Sicily train on board the train ferry

2-berth sleeper.  It converts to a sofa by day.  Larger photo

 

Yes, the train goes onto a ferry!  This is the Milan-Sicily sleeper train on board the train ferry crossing the Straits of Messina. Photos courtesy of Andrew Harris.

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Frankfurt to Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante, Malaga & Spain...

Option 1, Frankfurt to Barcelona & Spain in a single day...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Paris by TGV Duplex leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 08:56 and arriving Paris Gare de l'Est around 12:52.

    The train has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  On Sundays, an earlier 06:56 departure is necessary.

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

    Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.de (in €, no booking fee) and print your own ticket or show it on your smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

    If you'd rather buy all your tickets together in one place, book at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (both easy to use, in €, £ or $, small booking fee) as these two websites connect to the German, French & Spanish railway ticketing systems.

    Cross Paris by metro or taxi to the Gare de Lyon.

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

    This afternoon Paris-Barcelona TGV should run all year round, but due to covid-19 it will only run from 14 June to 30 September 2022.

    This train has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  It's a fascinating journey with a lot to see on the way, from the Chateau de Montfaucon on the Rhone to Bιziers cathedral to the flamingos in the south of France to Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees, see photos & video about this journey here.  I recommend an upstairs seat on this 320 km/h (199 mph) double-deck train for the best views.

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

    Book this train at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (both sites easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or www.sncf-connect.com (in €, more fiddly, no booking fee).  Booking normally opens 120 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can select a mobile ticket to show on your smartphone.

Option 2, Frankfurt to Barcelona & Spain with overnight stop in Marseille - avoids having to cross Paris...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Marseille by TGV Duplex leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 13:57 and arriving Marseille St Charles 21:49.

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

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

    Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.de (in €, no booking fee), Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or show it on your smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

    Alternatively, If you'd prefer to buy all your tickets together in one place, book at either www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, small booking fee) as these two websites connect to the German, French & Spanish railway ticketing systems.

Frankfurt to Marseille TGV

Step 1, Frankfurt to Marseille by direct TGV Duplex, seen here ready to leave Frankfurt am Main Hbf...

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

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

 

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

First class on board a TGV Duplex   A TGV Duplex at Frankfurt

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

 

The TGV to Marseille, boarding at Frankfurt am Main Hbf.  You enter on the lower deck, with 9 stairs up to top deck.

AVE S100 at Barcelona Sants

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

Option 3, Frankfurt to Barcelona & Spain with overnight stop in Paris...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Paris by TGV Duplex leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 16:56 and arriving Paris Gare de l'Est around 20:41.

    Or there's a later train around 18:56 daily except Saturdays arriving Paris Gare de l'Est around 22:52.

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

    Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.de (in €, no booking fee) & print your own ticket or show it on your smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

    Alternatively, If you'd prefer to buy all your tickets together in one place, book at either www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, small booking fee) as these two websites connect to the German, French & Spanish railway ticketing systems.

    Cross Paris to the Gare de Lyon

  • Step 3, now take an onward high-speed train from Barcelona to Madrid, Valencia, Alicante...

    Same-day connections to Madrid, Valencia & Alicante are possible off both the 07:14 and 10:14 departures from Paris.  If you take the 07:14 from Paris (summer only) you can connect with a direct AVE leaving Barcelona at 15:45 arriving Malaga, Cordoba & Seville in the evening.  If you take the 10:14 TGV from Paris (all year) a same-day connection to Cordoba, Malaga or Seville is not possible, so you'll need to stay the night then there's an 08:30 AVE next morning. 

    Find trains & buy tickets using www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (both easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the Spanish Railways website www.renfe.com (in €, much more fiddly, rejects some overseas credit cards, see advice on using it).  Spanish trains normally open for booking 60 days ahead, but it varies.

Option 4, Frankfurt to Paris by TGV, French sleeper train to the Spanish border & onward Spanish trains...

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Frankfurt to San Sebastian...
  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Paris by high-speed ICE leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 06:56 and arriving Paris Gare de l'Est at 10:52.

    The ICE has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

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

    Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.de (in €, no booking fee) & print your own ticket or show it on your smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

    Alternatively, If you'd prefer to buy all your tickets together in one place, book at either www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, small booking fee) as these two websites connect to the German, French & Spanish railway ticketing systems.

    Change stations in Paris by metro or taxi.

  • Step 2, travel from Paris to Hendaye by TGV Duplex Ocιane, leaving Paris Gare Montparnasse at 12:11 and arriving Hendaye at 16:47.

    The high-speed double-deck TGV Duplex Ocιane has a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

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

    Book this train at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (both sites easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com (in €, more fiddly, no fee).

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

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

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

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Frankfurt to Lisbon, Porto, Faro & Portugal...

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

Option 2, Frankfurt to Lisbon via San Sebastian & Vigo...

  • Day 1, travel from Frankfurt to Paris by high-speed ICE leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 08:54 and arriving Paris Gare de l'Est at 12:54.

    On Sundays an earlier 06:56 departure is necessary.

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

    Book this train the German Railways website www.bahn.de (in €, no booking fee) & print your own ticket or show it on your smartphone.

    Alternatively, If you want to buy all your tickets together in one place, book at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, small booking fee) as these websites connect to the German, French & Spanish railway ticketing systems.

    Change stations in Paris by metro or taxi.  Always allow at least 60 or 70 minutes between trains in Paris, ideally more.

  • Day 1, at Hendaye walk out of the station and turn right, walk across the forecourt to the Euskotren station (www.euskotren.eus).  Buy a ticket and hop on the half-hourly local train to San Sebastian.  Hendaye to San Sebastian Amara station takes 37 minutes - Amara (Euskotren) station is 10 minutes walk from the Renfe station.

  • Stay overnight in San Sebastian.  The Pension Regil is close to the old town with great reviews, 10 minutes walk from the Renfe station, 7 minutes walk from the Amara Euskotren station.  If you want something in the old town itself, try the Pension Garibai or Pension Alameda.  If you want to push the boat out, San Sebastian's most venerable hotel (which I can recommend personally, having stayed there) is the Hotel de Londres y Inglaterra, on the sea front.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The fare is €14.80, fixed price.

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

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

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Frankfurt to Andorra...

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

  • Change stations in Paris by metro or taxi.  Always allow at least 70 minutes between trains in Paris.

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

    Fares start from €25 in 2nd class or €45 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Have dinner in Toulouse...

  • Step 3, travel from Toulouse Matabiau station to Andorra la Vella by bus, taking 4 hours, fare €33.  There are 3 services every day run by Andbus, check times at www.andorrabybus.com.  I'd allow at least an hour between train and bus in Toulouse, just in case of delay.  There's normally a bus leaving Toulouse Matabiau station (bus stand 15) at 20:00 arriving Andorra at midnight.

  • How to buy tickets...

    Buy a ticket from Frankfurt to Toulouse Matabiau at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (both easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com (more fiddly, in €, but no fee).   If necessary, book Frankfurt-Paris & Paris-Toulouse separately, to get sufficient time between trains in Paris.  You print your own ticket or can choose a mobile ticket. 

    Buy the bus ticket at www.andorrabybus.com.

Option 2, Frankfurt to Andorra using the Paris-Toulouse-l'Hospitalet overnight train...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Paris by TGV Duplex, leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 12:54 and arriving Paris Gare de l'Est at 16:54.

    The TGV Duplex travels at up to 320 km/h (199 mph) on the TGV-Est high-speed line, with cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Book an upper deck seat for the best views.

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

    Book this at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (both easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the German Railways website www.bahn.de (in €, no fee).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

Intercite de nuit overnight train   Intercite de nuit couchette

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

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Frankfurt to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €27.90...

Frankfurt to Austria by daytime trains...

  • Comfortable ICE trains with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi link Frankfurt (Main) Hbf with Vienna Hbf in 6h24.

    There are also trains between Frankfurt and other cities in Austria, including Salzburg, Hallstatt, Graz or Innsbruck.

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

  • Check train times and buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

    Tip:  Check www.thetrainline.com too, this connects to the Austrian Railways ticketing system.  You may find cheaper fares on the Austrian system than bahn.de on the same date & train.  You print your own ticket.

Frankfurt to Vienna ICE train

An ICE-T from Frankfurt to Vienna, at Frankfurt (Main) HbfMore information about ICE-T.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Scenery from the train

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

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Frankfurt to Copenhagen & Denmark from €39.90...
  • Fares start at €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

  • Book at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or show it on your smartphone or laptop.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

    Tip:  I recommend clicking Stopover and entering Hamburg Hbf with a stopover duration of 00:40 (= at least 40 minutes), to get a robust 1h18 connection in Hamburg (with time for a coffee or beer!) rather than an 18-minute one.  The times shown above take that into account.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

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

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

Boarding a Danish IC3 train at Hamburg Hbf...

 

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

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

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

 

An IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg.

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Frankfurt to Stockholm, Gothenburg & Malmφ from €59.90...

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

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Hamburg by ICE train, leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 15:58 and arriving Hamburg Altona at 19:50.

    The ICE train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Always allow at least an hour when connecting with a sleeper train you don't want to miss.  Have dinner in Hamburg.

    Fares start at €18.90 in 2nd class or €29.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Option 2, Frankfurt to Sweden with overnight stop in Hamburg...

  • Stay overnight in Hamburg.  The Hotel Reichshof Hamburg is just 200m from the station, features art deco-based design and gets great reviews.  Other hotels next to Hamburg Hbf with good or great reviews include (starting with the cheapest) the Hotel Continental Novum, Hotel Furst Bismarck, Hotel Europaischer Hof, Hotel Atlantic Kempinski.  If you're on a budget, private rooms in the A&O Hotel near Hamburg Hbf start at around £33 for one person or £49 for two people booked at www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2, travel from Hamburg to Copenhagen by Danish IC3 intercity train, leaving Hamburg Hbf at 08:56 arriving Copenhagen at 13:33.

    An altered timetable applies from 18 June to 21 August 2022, see the timetable here.

  • Day 2, catch a connecting train from Copenhagen to Sweden:

    If you're going to Stockholm, travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000 train leaving Copenhagen at 14:19 and arriving Stockholm Central at 19:37.  The 200 km/h X2000 train crosses the water from Denmark to Sweden over the impressive Φresund fixed link

    From 18 June to 21 August 2022, either take the 06:52 from Hamburg Altona to connect with the 12:19 Copenhagen-Stockholm (arriving Stockholm 17:37), or the 10:53 from Hamburg Hbf to connect with the 16:19 Copenhagen-Stockholm (arriving Stockholm 21:38).

    If you're going to Gothenburg, travel from Copenhagen to Goteborg Central by Φresund train, these leave every hour taking 3h53, also using the impressive Φresund fixed link.

  • The German Railways sell through fares from Frankfurt to Stockholm from €56.90 in 2nd class.

    Book from Hamburg to Stockholm at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  To build in the overnight stop in Hamburg, click Stopover and enter Hamburg Hbf as a via station with a suitable stopover duration, say 11 hours, in the hh:mm box.  I have set up this special link to Bahn.de for you, just enter your date of travel and number of passengers.  You print your own ticket or can 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.

  • Step 3 for Malmφ or Gothenburg, Φresund trains run every 20-30 minutes from Copenhagen to Malmo taking 39 minutes, and hourly from Copenhagen to Gothenburg taking 3h53.

    The German Railways sell through fares from Frankfurt to Malmφ or Gothenburg from €56.90 in 2nd class.

    Book from Hamburg to Malmφ or Gothenburg (listed as Goteborg Central) at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  To build in the overnight stop in Hamburg, click Stopover and enter Hamburg Hbf as a via station with a suitable stopover duration, say 11 hours, in the hh:mm box.  I have set up this special link to Bahn.de for you, just enter your date of travel and number of passengers.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

Option 3, Frankfurt to Sweden with overnight stop in Copenhagen...

  • Day 2, if travelling to Stockholm:  Travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000 train in around 5h15, there are regular departures.  There's usually one leaving Copenhagen around 08:19 arriving Stockholm Central 13:34, by all means have a leisurely breakfast and take a later one.

  • Day 2, if travelling to Gothenburg:  Travel from Copenhagen to Gothenburg (= Gφteborg Central) by hourly Φresund train, journey time 3h53.

  • How much does it cost? 

    German Railways sell Sparpreis tickets from Frankfurt to Malmφ, Gothenburg or Stockholm from €59.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  The fare varies, book early for the best prices.

  • How to check times & buy tickets...

    If travelling to Stockholm or Gothenburg, go to www.bahn.de and book from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to Stockholm or Gφteborg Central with a morning departure selected, but to see these cheap fares you must click Stopover, enter Copenhagen in the via box and a time of (say) 12:00 in the hh:mm stopover box.  This will give you a 12-hour stopover in Copenhagen.  Click here for a link to bahn.de which I've set up for you.  Adjust the overnight stopover time as necessary to get the trains you want, a little trial & error is often needed!

    If travelling to Oslo, go to www.bahn.de and book from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to Gφteborg Central with a afternoon departure selected, but to see the cheap fares you must click Stopover enter Copenhagen in the via box and a time of say 12:00 in the hh:mm stopover box.  Click here for a link to bahn.de which I've set up for you.  Adjust the overnight stopover time as necessary to get the trains you want.  Now add a connecting Gothenburg to Oslo S ticket using either www.vy.no or www.sj.se.

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...   1st class seats on a Danish IC3 train

A Danish IC3 train at Copenhagen station...

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train...

2nd class seats on a Danish IC3 train   IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg

2nd class seats on an IC3 train...

 

Boarding a train to Copenhagen in Hamburg.

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

A Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train boarding at Copenhagen main station...

 

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

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

X2000 bistro car...

 

X2000 bistro car seating area.  Larger photo.

 

Bistro self-service...

Winter scenery fro a Copenhagen-Stockholm train

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

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

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Kiel by train, leaving late morning.

    The journey takes around 5h00, you'll typically find a train leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf around 11:00 with 1 easy change in Hamburg.  However, you should book the ferry first and confirm ferry times, then book a train that arrives at Kiel Hbf around 2 hours before the ferry sails.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Frankfurt to Oslo & Norway...

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

Option 2, Frankfurt to Oslo via the Kiel-Oslo cruise ferry - the most luxurious & scenic route to Oslo...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Kiel, leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 05:06 Mondays-Saturdays, arriving Kiel at 10:10.  On Sundays, leave at 05:50, changing in Hamburg, arriving 10:57.

    Fares start at €17.50 in 2nd class or €26.40 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can 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.

    In Kiel it's just a 5-6 minute walk from Kiel Hbf to the Color Line ferry terminal, but allow several hours between trains and ferry for the ferry check-in and in case of any delay.

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

    Check times & buy tickets using the Direct Ferries website or at www.colorline.com.  You print your own ticket.

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

Germany to Oslo Color Line ferry at Kiel

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

Boarding the ferry in Kiel

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

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

A 5 Star Suite on the ferry...

 

More cruise liner than ferry!  The restaurant.

View from Color Line ferry to Oslo

Wake up to this....

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Frankfurt to Helsinki & Finland...

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

  • Day 1, travel from Frankfurt to Hamburg by ICE train, leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 14:58 and arriving Hamburg Hbf 18:35.

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

    Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You 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.
  • Day 1, transfer from Hamburg Hbf to the Travemόnde ferry terminal by local train+bus and sail from Travemόnde to Helsinki with Finnlines.

    Finnlines sail from Travemόnde in northern Germany to Helsinki every day, boarding from 22:30 to 24:00 and arriving Helsinki Vuosaari ferry terminal at 09:00 2 nights later (Day 3 from Frankfurt).  See the Trains from Hamburg page for full details.

    Check sailing dates, times & book the ferry at www.finnlines.com or using the Direct Ferries website.

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

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Frankfurt to Prague from €16 - yes, really...

Option 1, Frankfurt to Prague via Cheb - fastest & cheapest, from €16 - or €30 in 1st class!

Cheb station, en route from Brussels to Prague

The easy & relaxed interchange at Cheb...  The red train on the right is the German regional train arrived from Nuremberg.  You cross to the blue Czech train on the left about to leave for Prague - although always check the departure boards as sometimes a faster train to Prague goes from an adjacent platform.

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb   Scenery from the train between Cheb & Prague

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

 

Hills & forest between Cheb & Prague.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

Option 2, Frankfurt to Prague via Dresden - the scenic route, from €27.90...

Czech restaurant car on a Berlin to Prague train   Lunch in the restaurant car between Berlin & Prague

So civilised!  A meal in the Czech restaurant car as the Berlin-Prague express snakes along the beautiful Elbe river south of Dresden.  See more photos, tips & info for the Dresden to Prague train ridePhoto courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

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Frankfurt to Cesky Krumlov & other Czech destinations...

  • You can book from Frankfurt to almost anywhere in the Czech Republic at the German Railways website www.bahn.de with through fares from €37.90.  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

    Tip:  Also check times & prices using the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz.  On cd.cz, booking normally opens 90 days ahead.

  • For Cesky Krumlov (a lovely town, and the second most-visited place in the Czech Republic, see the Cesky Krumlov page) you need to book to Ceske Budejovice, not Cesky Krumlov, because the branch line between Ceske Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov is now run by private operator GWTR and German Railways can no longer ticket that part.

    So book from Frankfurt to Ceske Budejovice at www.bahn.de from €27.90, then buy the local ticket from Ceske Budejovice to Cesky Krumlov either at the station in Ceske Budejovice from the distinctive green & orange ticket kiosk in the main hall, or on board the train using the self-service ticket machines, contactless cards accepted.  You can check train times from Ceske Budejovice to Cesky Krumlov at www.gwtr.cz.

    Tip:  The easiest journey is with 1 change in Linz, but Bahn.de doesn't show any cheap fares for this route!  The solution is to split the booking, first book Frankfurt to Linz at www.bahn.de then book Linz to Ceske Budejovice at www.cd.cz.  It's a short connection in Linz, so I'd actually book Frankfurt-Passau at www.bahn.de then Passau-Ceske Budejovice at www.cd.cz, making sure the Passau-Linz part of your train-specific Czech ticket is for the same ICE train that your Frankfurt-Passau ticket is for.  Then your rights are protected if there's a delay and you miss the connection and can take a later onward train at no extra cost.

  • For Karlovy Vary or Plzen, book at www.bahn.de, looking for 3-change options via Frankfurt, Nuremberg & Cheb from €18.90.

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

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Frankfurt to Bratislava from €39.90...
The train from Vienna to Bratislava, at Vienna Huaptbahnhof...   Inside the hourly train from Vienna to Bratislava...

The hourly regional express train from Vienna to Bratislava Hlavna, about to leave from Vienna Hbf.  More about these Vienna-Bratislava trains.

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Frankfurt to Poprad Tatry & Kosice

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Frankfurt to Budapest from €39.90...

Option 1, Frankfurt to Budapest by daytime trains - the leisurely daytime option...

A railjet train about to leave Munich Hbf

A railjet to Budapest about to leave Munich Hbf.  More information about railjets.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

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

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

First class.

 

Economy (2nd) class.

A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

A railjet arrived on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjets.

Option 2, Frankfurt to Budapest using the Munich-Budapest sleeper - the safe, comfortable, time-saving option...

The sleeper train Kalman Imre from Munich to  Budapest

Sleeper train Kalman Imre, boarding on platform 12 at Munich Hbf.  More information about this train.

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

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

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes.

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Frankfurt to Brasov & Bucharest from €79...

Option 1, Frankfurt to Romania by Dacia Express sleeper train from Vienna to Sighisoara, Brasov & Bucharest - the fastest & most comfortable option...

Dacia Express sleeping-car

The Dacia Express has an air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car, seen here at Bucharest.  You can check the train formation at www.vagonweb.cz Courtesy of @PaliparanDotCom

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

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

 

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

Dacia Express couchette car

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

Scenery in Transylvania

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

  Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest

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

Dacia Express Carpathian mountains

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

Option 2, Frankfurt to Romania using the sleeper train Ister from Budapest to Brasov & Bucharest...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Budapest, leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 06:21, change at Vienna Hbf, arriving Budapest Keleti 16:19.

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket, although in this case it must be printed out, it cannot be shown on a mobile device.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

    Important tip:  You should specify Budapest Keleti as your destination rather than the generic BUDAPEST.  If you use plain BUDAPEST the journey planner sometimes finds the privately-run Regiojet IC trains (which go to Budapest Deli station and which it can't sell tickets for) as the fastest onward connection from Vienna, and therefore can't sell that departure from Frankfurt.  If you specify Budapest Keleti it always finds a normal Austrian or Hungarian Railways train to Budapest Keleti so cheap fares now appear for that departure from Frankfurt.

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

    This comfortable train has an air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, and a Romanian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.  There's no restaurant car (although a bar-bistro is usually attached within Romania) so take a picnic and bottle of wine.  There's wonderful almost Alpine scenery through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest, a real treat...

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

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

    You can also normally book at the Hungarian Railways website www.mav-start.hu, see my advice on using it.  For Bucharest type Bucuresti.  You show your ticket in the MAV app on your smartphone.  However, since MAV revamped its website in 2020, it can't book couchettes or sleepers, only seats, though this should be fixed at some point.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Option 3, Frankfurt to Romania with overnight stop in Budapest - if you prefer daytime trains & hotel to sleepers...

The daytime train from Budapest to Bucharest

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Frankfurt to Ljubljana or Zagreb from €29...

Option 1, Frankfurt to Ljubljana & Zagreb by daytime trains...

  • A direct EuroCity train leaves Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 08:20 arriving Lesce-Bled 17:50, Ljubljana 18:31 & Zagreb 20:46.

    The train has comfortable air-conditioned Austrian coaches, an elegant Austrian restaurant car is attached from Frankfurt as far as Villach on the border with Slovenia, so treat yourself to breakfast and/or lunch.  The scenery through the mountains on the Tauern route through Austria is fantastic, and the scenery along the Sava river between Ljubljana and Zagreb is lovely, at least in summer when it's light.

    Note that on departure from Frankfurt, only one 1st class compartment car, one 2nd class compartment car & one 2nd class open-plan car go through to Ljubljana & Zagreb, the rest of the EuroCity Blauer Enzian goes to Klagenfurt. The through cars to Ljubljana & Zagreb are detached at Villach and attached to two Slovenian cars to become the EuroCity Mimara from Villach to Zagreb.

  • Fares to Ljubljana or Zagreb start at just €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website, www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can 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.

Scenery in the Austrian Alps between Munich & Ljubljana

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

2nd class seats in an open-plan car   2nd class seats in 6-seat compartments

2nd class seats in an open-plan saloon.  See larger photo.

 

2nd class seats in a compartment.  See larger photo.

  1st class 6-seat compartment

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

 

1st class seats in an Austrian 6-seat compartment with side corridor as used on the Blauer Enzian/Mimara...

Option 2, Frankfurt to Ljubljana & Zagreb using the Munich-Ljubljana-Zagreb sleeper - safe, comfortable & time-effective...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to Munich Hbf on any evening ICE train arriving in Munich before 22:20, as I'd recommend allowing at least an hour between trains in Munich.

    You could leave Frankfurt as late as 18:54, but how about taking the earlier 17:54 and having dinner in Munich?  For typical Bavarian cooking & good Bavarian beer I recommend the Augustiner Keller (www.augustinerkeller.de) at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf, see walking map.

    Fares start at €17.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.de, you print your own ticket or can 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.  Tip:  Book the sleeper first & confirm times, then add a suitable Frankfurt-Munich train.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Ljubljana or Zagreb by sleeper train, leaving Munich Hbf at 23:20, arriving Ljubljana at 06:00 & Zagreb at 08:32.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

Set up as a single-berth.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes. 360Ί photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana & Zagreb

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

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

More scenery along the river Sava...

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Frankfurt to Belgrade, Sofia, Montenegro...
  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to Munich Hbf on any evening ICE train arriving in Munich before 22:20, as I'd recommend allowing at least an hour between trains in Munich. 

    You could leave Frankfurt as late as 18:54, but how about taking the earlier 17:54 and having dinner in Munich?  For typical Bavarian cooking & good Bavarian beer I recommend the Augustiner Keller (www.augustinerkeller.de) at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf, see walking map.

    Fares start at €17.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.de, you print your own ticket or can 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.  Tip:  Book the sleeper first & confirm times, then add a suitable Frankfurt-Munich train.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Zagreb by sleeper train, leaving Munich Hbf at 23:20, arriving Zagreb at 08:32.

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

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

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

  • Step 3, 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.

    This train has air-conditioned Serbian carriages with comfortable 2nd class seats, but no 1st class.  There's no dining-car, so bring a picnic and some beer or wine.

    The fare is around €29 bought at the station in Zagreb or paid on board the train, but tickets cannot be bought online.

  • Step 4 for Sofia, stay overnight in Belgrade and take the train from Belgrade to Sofia next day (day 3), see the Belgrade to Sofia page for schedule, fares & how to buy tickets.

  • Step 4 for Montenegro, transfer to Belgrade Topcider station and either take the overnight sleeper Lovcen to Podgorica and Bar arriving in the morning on day 3, or stay overnight in Belgrade and take the daytime train Tara next day.  See the Belgrade to Montenegro page for schedule, fares & how to buy tickets.

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

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

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

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

Set up as a single-berth.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes. 360Ί photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana & Zagreb

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

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

More scenery along the river Sava...

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

Zagreb to Belgrade by Serbian train...

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Frankfurt to Warsaw & Krakow from €37.90...

Option 1, Frankfurt to Warsaw by in a single day from €37.90 - all in one day...

  • You travel from Frankfurt to Berlin on a superb ICE train with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, then from Berlin to Warsaw on a comfortable Polish EuroCity train with restaurant car.  Take a good book, a bottle of wine and put your feet up...

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

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  Booking to Poland opens 60 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can 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.

    Tip:  I recommend clicking Stopover, entering Berlin Hbf with a stopover duration of at least 40 minutes, this gives you a more robust connection in case of delay.

Option 2, Frankfurt to Wroclaw & Krakow in a single day from €37.90 - Mondays-Fridays only...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Berlin by ICE train with restaurant car & free WiFi, leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf 05:58, arriving Berlin Hbf 09:53.

    A later departure is possible with a tighter connection in Berlin, but any delay means missing the once-a-day train to Krakow, so I recommend the earlier train shown here, Mondays-Fridays only.

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

  • Buy tickets at www.bahn.de.  Booking to Poland opens 60 days ahead.  You print your own ticket or can 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.

    Tip:  Click Stopover, enter Berlin Hbf with a stopover duration of 40 minutes.  This gets you the robust connection in Berlin as recommended above.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin Hbf

Berlin to Warsaw or Krakow by EuroCity train.  This is the Wawel to Krakow at Berlin Hbf...

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

1st class on the Wawel to Krakow...

 

2nd class.  Some seats are in compartments.

Restaurant car on the Berlin to Warsaw train

Restaurant car...

 

The bar...

 

Decent food, served on proper china...

Option 3, Frankfurt to Warsaw or Krakow with overnight stop in Berlin from €37.90...

  • For Warsaw...

    Day 2, travel from Berlin to Warsaw on any Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train you like.  Daily except Sundays the 05:43 from Berlin Hbf will get you to Warsaw Centralna at 11:42 with breakfast in the restaurant car.  Or have a leisurely breakfast at your hotel and take the daily 09:38 arriving 15:45.  By all means take a later train from Berlin to spend some time in Berlin.  The German capital is fascinating...

  • For Krakow...

    The direct Berlin-Krakow EuroCity train Wawel made a welcome return in December 2020:  Day 2, travel from Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train Wawel, leaving Berlin Hbf at 10:39 every day, arriving Wroclaw 14:52, Katowice 16:57 & Krakow Glowny at 17:52.  The Wawel is comfortable & air-conditioned with restaurant car, treat yourself to lunch and a beer or two.

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

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.de:  Enter Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to Warsaw or Krakow, but click Stopover and enter Berlin and the number of hours stopover you want, say 12:00.  Adjust the departure time and the Berlin stopover duration to get the trains you want, with a little trial and error.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

    Tip:  Tickets to Poland only go on sale 60 days ahead, but you can book from Frankfurt to Berlin up to 6 months ahead, adding a separate Berlin-Warsaw or Berlin-Krakow ticket when booking to Poland opens.

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Frankfurt to Vilnius. Riga, Tallinn...

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

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

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

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

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

  • Day 1, travel from Frankfurt to Berlin by ICE train in the early evening.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star InterCity Hotel (my favourite) or Meininger Hotel are right next to Berlin Hbf, a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag or 15 minutes from the Brandenburg Gate, relatively inexpensive with good reviews.  The Steigenberger Hotel is more upmarket, also right next to the station with great reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, the famous & historic Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is next to the Brandenburg Gate.  If you're on a tight budget, the cheaper Motel One Berlin-Hbf is behind the station or see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 05:43 Mondays-Saturdays only arriving Warsaw Centralna at 11:42.

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

    Frankfurt to Warsaw starts at €37.90 in 2nd class or €56.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Buy tickets from Frankfurt to Warsaw at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  Booking to Poland opens 60 days ahead.  To get the overnight stop in Berlin, click Stopover, enter Berlin Hbf and a suitable stopover duration, say 10 hours.  Adjust departure time & stopover duration to get the trains you want either side of Berlin, a little trial & error may be required.

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

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

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

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

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Frankfurt to Lviv, Kiev & Ukraine...

Option 1, Frankfurt to Lviv & Kiev via Vienna...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Vienna, leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 08:22 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 14:45.

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

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

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Lviv or Kiev by direct Ukrainian sleeping-car. leaving Vienna Hbf at 16:42 every day and arriving next day (day 3) at Lviv at 10:26 & Kiev at 16:21.  Introduced in December 2017, this train has a Ukrainian sleeping-car with comfortable 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, see the photos below.  At Chop on the other side of the border the through sleeping-car is jacked up to have its wheelsets changed from European standard gauge (4'8½") to Russian gauge used in Ukraine (5').

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

    This will only book one-way or round trip starting in Vienna because tickets need to be collected from an 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.

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

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

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

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

 

The sleeper corridor.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment.

Option 2, Frankfurt to Kiev via Warsaw...

  • Day 1, take a late afternoon or early evening train from Frankfurt to Berlin in around 4h10, booked at the German Railways website www.bahn.de from €27.90.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star InterCity Hotel (my favourite) or Meininger Hotel are right next to Berlin Hbf, a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag or 15 minutes from the Brandenburg Gate, relatively inexpensive with good reviews.  The Steigenberger Hotel is more upmarket, also right next to the station with great reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, the famous & historic Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is next to the Brandenburg Gate.  If you're on a tight budget, the cheaper Motel One Berlin-Hbf is behind the station or see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2 morning, travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:38 daily and arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:45.  On Mondays to Saturdays there's also an earlier Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train leaving Berlin Hbf at 05:43 every day and arriving Warsaw Centralna 11:42.  Fares start at €27.90, also booked at www.bahn.de.

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

    Tip:  It's usually cheaper to book like this:  Go to www.bahn.de and set up an enquiry from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf to Warsaw Centralna, click Stopover and enter Berlin and a stopover duration of say 10 hours.  You'll then get a through fare from €39 in 2nd class or €69 in 1st class with an overnight stop in Berlin built in.   I have set up this link to Bahn.de for you with the necessary parameters entered.  Adjust the departure time and stopover duration as necessary to get the trains you want in the evening and morning.

    Alternatively, you could leave Frankfurt earlier on day 1 and go Frankfurt-Warsaw all in one day, and staying overnight in Warsaw rather than Berlin.  That would also allow you to take the Sunday departure of the Warsaw-Kiev Kiev Express, as there's no connection from Berlin early enough on Sundays in this timetable period.  And it would give you a half day to explore Warsaw.

  • Day 2 evening, travel overnight from Warsaw to Kiev on the Kiev Express sleeper train leaving Warsaw Wschodnia at 17:48 and arriving Kiev at 11:00 next morning.  This train has comfortable Ukrainian 1, 2 and 3 bed sleepers with washbasin.  There's no restaurant car, so take a picnic and perhaps some wine or beer.

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

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

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

The Warsaw to Kiev train at Warsaw Centralna

The Kiev ExpressCourtesy of DiscoverByRail.com.

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

1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper...

 

Washbasin...

 

Kiev Express...

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Frankfurt to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia...

Option 1, Frankfurt to Moscow via Kiev - avoids Belarus, daily departures...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Kiev as explained in detail above, taking a morning train to Vienna on day 1 and overnight sleeper from Vienna to Kiev, arriving in late afternoon on day 2.

  • Step 2, take one of the various Kiev to Moscow sleeper trains, for example train 6 leaves Kiev at 19:36 arriving Moscow Kievskaya station at 10:09 the next morning (= the morning of day 3 from Frankfurt).

    This train is currently suspended due to Covid-19.

    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 ask www.polrail.com to book this for you too, or you can book tickets from Kiev to Moscow at the Ukrainian Railways site booking.uz.gov.ua/en/ booking from Kyiv to Moskva Kievskaya.  You collect tickets at the station in Kiev.  Feedback appreciated!

Option 2, Frankfurt to Moscow using the Berlin-Moscow sleeper train, twice a week...

  • Step 1, travel from Frankfurt to Berlin from €27.90.  For example, the 14:13 from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf arrives Berlin Hbf at 18:29, but by all means take an earlier train and have dinner in Berlin.  Book this at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

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

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

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

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

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

Option 3, Frankfurt to Moscow using the daily Warsaw-Moscow sleeper.

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

These modern sleeping-cars run from Warsaw to Moscow...

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Frankfurt to Athens, Corfu & Greece...

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

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

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

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

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

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

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Frankfurt to Istanbul...

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bullet pointHotels in Frankfurt & other cities

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...

Backpacker hostels...

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bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

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

UK flagIn the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

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

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

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

A Curve card saves on foreign transaction fees...

 

Curve card

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

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

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

 

Express VPN

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

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

 


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