ICE train at Berlin Hbf

A German ICE train...

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This page explains how to travel by train from Hamburg to other key European cities, 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...


Hamburg to other German towns & cities...

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Hamburg to London & UK...

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Hamburg to Dublin & Ireland...

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

Option 2, Hamburg 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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Hamburg to Paris from €39.90...

Option 1, Hamburg to Paris in a single day...

Option 2, Hamburg to Paris with overnight stop in Cologne - the time-effective overnight option with an evening in Cologne... 

Option 3, Hamburg to Paris using a Nightjet sleeper train, the most time-effective option if you don't mind the early start.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de l'Est

TGV Duplex at Paris Est. These impressive 320 km/h double-deck trains link Germany with Paris...

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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Hamburg to Strasbourg...

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Hamburg to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Cannes, Nice & other French cities...

Option 1, Hamburg to Lyon, Avignon or Marseille in a day with one easy change in Frankfurt - no need to cross Paris!

Frankfurt to Marseille TGV

The TGV Duplex from Frankfurt to Lyon, Avignon & Marseille, about to leave Frankfurt (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.  360º 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. 360º photo.

 

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

Option 2, Hamburg to anywhere in France with an overnight stop in Paris...

Option 3, Hamburg to central & southern France with overnight stop in Brussels...

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Hamburg to Brussels & Bruges from €39.90...

Option 1, Hamburg to Brussels or anywhere in Belgium with a DB through ticket... 

Option 2, Hamburg to Cologne by InterCity train, then Cologne to Brussels by high-speed Thalys train.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Frankfurt 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 with metal cutlery!  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier.  See current month's menu.

 

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

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Hamburg to Amsterdam from €37.90...
A DB InterCity train at Hamburg Hbf

A German Intercity train at Hamburg HbfMore information about Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Dinner in the bistro...

 

Bistro car.  See current month's menu

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

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Hamburg to Luxembourg from €24.90...

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Hamburg to Basel, Zurich, Geneva & Switzerland from €35.90...

Option 1, Hamburg to Switzerland by sleeper train - the time-effective option...

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

The safe & comfortable Nightjet to Zurich.  This is a double-deck sleeping-car arrived 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.

Option 2, Hamburg to Switzerland by daytime train...

ICE4 at Hamburg Altona

An ICE4 at Hamburg Altona.  Most Hamburg-Switzerland ICEs are now ICE4.  Click on the interior images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4...

 

Restaurant car.  See current month's menu

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

The bar counter, other end of the restaurant car.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4...

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Hamburg to Venice from €60...

Option 1, Hamburg to Venice using the Munich-Venice Nightjet sleeper train - the most time-effective option...

ICE second class   High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

 

Step 1, Hamburg To Munich by ICE...

ICE2 restaurant car   ICE2 bar car

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

 

Bar car.  Larger photo.

ICE2 at Berlin   ICE first class

Boarding an ICE2...

 

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

The Nightjet sleeper train from Munich to Venice at Munich Hbf

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

Nightjet deluxe sleeper, 2-bed   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   4-berth couchette compartment from Cologne to Vienna

2-berth deluxe sleeper.  More info about Nightjet trains.

 

...en suite toilet & shower.

 

4-berth couchettes...

Sunrise as the sleeper train crosses the causeway into Venice

Sunrise as the Munich-Venice Nightjet crosses the causeway over the lagoon into Venice.  Courtesy of Andreas Wiedenhoff.

Option 2, Hamburg to Venice using the Hamburg-Innsbruck Nightjet sleeper & scenic daytime train to Venice - great scenery & morning free in Innsbruck.

The Nightjet sleeper to Vienna at Cologne Hbf

Step 1, Hamburg to Innsbruck by Nightjet sleeper train Above, a Comfortline sleeping-car on a Nightjet train at Innsbruck.  More information about Nightjet trains.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet train...

Step 2, Innsbruck to Verona, Bologna or Venice by Austrian EuroCity train.  This is the restaurant car on a EuroCity from Innsbruck arrived at Verona.  You don't need to book a table, just go along and sit down.  Dining on the move as the scenery glides by is one of the pleasures of travelling on trains like this...

Austrian second class seats   Austrian second class seats   Austrian first class seats

Second class seats, mostly in 6-seat compartments with side-corridor like this, but some cars are open-plan saloons...

 

First class leather seats.  On a few trains you'll find 6-seat compartments too....

Mountains on the Brenner route...

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

Vineyards, mountains and castles south of Brenner as the train heads for Trento & Verona...

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...  See the Brenner Pass scenery video here.

Option 3, Hamburg to Venice via the Brenner Pass with overnight stop in Munich...

The restaurant car on a EuroCity from Munich, arrived at Verona.  You don't need to book a table, just go along and sit down.  Dining on the move as the scenery glides by is one of the pleasures of travelling on trains like this.  More photos & information about these Austrian EuroCity trains.

Austrian second class seats   Austrian second class seats   Austrian first class seats

Second class seats, mostly in 6-seat compartments with side-corridor like this, but some cars are open-plan saloons...

 

First class leather seats.  On a few trains you'll find 6-seat compartments too....

Mountains on the Brenner route...

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

Vineyards, mountains and castles south of Brenner as the train heads for Trento & Verona...

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...  See the Brenner Pass scenery video here.

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Hamburg to Florence, Rome, Milan, Verona or anywhere else Italy from €39.90...

Option 1, Hamburg to Italy using the Nightjet sleeper train from Munich to Bologna, Florence & Rome - the time-effective option...

ICE second class   High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

 

Step 1, Hamburg To Munich by ICE...

ICE2 restaurant car   ICE2 bar car

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

 

Bar car.  Larger photo.

ICE2 at Berlin   ICE first class

Boarding an ICE2...

 

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Munich-Amsterdam sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car.

Option 2, Hamburg to Italy in a single day - a scenic ride!

ETR610 EuroCity train to Milan at Zurich HB

Step 2, Zurich to Milan by EuroCity train.  This is a Swiss-owned Astoro train about to leave Zurich HB with a EuroCity train to Milan CentraleMore information about Zurich-Milan trains.

1st class table for two   1st class seats on an ETR610 train

2nd class seats, arranged 2+2 across car width.

 

1st class seats, 2+1 across car width.  See larger photo.

The restaurant car on an ETR610 EuroCity train   Meal on a Swiss EuroCity train between Switzerland & Milan

The restaurant car on an ETR610...

 

Lunch in the diner?

Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan to Zurich train

Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan to Zurich train on the Gotthard route.  On the Zurich-Milan Gotthard route you'll also pass the Zugersee & the Vierwaldstattersee in Switzerland, and if it's a train routed via Como, you'll glimpse Lake Como too.

Option 3, Hamburg to Italy using the Hamburg-Innsbruck sleeper, then scenic ride through the Brenner Pass...

The Nightjet sleeper at Innsbruck

Step 1, Hamburg to Innsbruck by Nightjet sleeper train Above, a Comfortline sleeping-car on a Nightjet train at Innsbruck.  More information about Nightjet trains.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car...

Step 2, Innsbruck to Bologna by Austrian EuroCity train.  This is the restaurant car on a EuroCity from Innsbruck arrived at Verona.  You don't need to book a table, just go along and sit down.  Dining on the move as the scenery glides by is one of the pleasures of travelling on trains like this...

Austrian second class seats   Austrian second class seats   Austrian first class seats

Second class seats, mostly in 6-seat compartments with side-corridor like this, but some cars are open-plan saloons...

 

First class leather seats.  On a few trains you'll find 6-seat compartments too....

Mountains on the Brenner route...

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

Vineyards, mountains and castles south of Brenner as the train heads for Trento & Verona...

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...  See the Brenner Pass scenery video here.

Option 4, Hamburg to Italy via the scenic Brenner Pass, with overnight stop in Munich...

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Hamburg to Barcelona, Madrid & Spain from €79...

Option 1, Hamburg to Barcelona & Spain with overnight stop in Paris...

Option 2, Hamburg to Barcelona & Spain using a French sleeper train between Paris and the Spanish border...

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Hamburg to San Sebastian...

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Hamburg to Lisbon, Porto & Portugal...

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Hamburg to Andorra...
Intercite de nuit overnight train in Paris

Paris to Toulouse or l'Hospitalet by Intercité de Nuit, seen here at Paris Gare d'AusterlitzMore information about Intercité de Nuit trains Watch the video.

InterCite de Nuit couchette   Refurbished French 2nd class 6-berth couchettes   Refurbished French 1st class 4-berth couchettes

Couchette with sleeping-bag & mineral water

 

2nd class 6-berth couchettes...

 

1st class 4-berth couchettes...

The castle at Foix

If you choose to go via l'Hospitalet, you stay on the sleeper train as it climbs into the Pyrenees south of Toulouse.  This is Foix, between Toulouse & l'Hospitalet.  The castle is on the right just south of the station.

Mountains in the Pyrenees

Beyond Foix, the sleeper train climbs higher into the mountains...

Mountain   l'Hospitalet station

...and arrives at l'Hospitalet-pres-l'Andorre station, pictured above right...

Bus station next to Toulouse Matabiau station   Bus station next to Toulouse Matabiau station

Road transport to Andorra...  This is a Toulouse to Andorra bus at Toulouse bus stand 15.

 

The bus station in Toulouse Matabiau forecourt.  Photo courtesy of Andrew McIntyre.

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Hamburg to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €37.90...

Option 1, Hamburg to Vienna by daytime train...

Hamburg to Vienna ICE train

An ICE-T at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.  One of these superb ICE-T trains runs direct from Hamburg to Vienna every day...

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Scenery from the train

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

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

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

A comfortline sleeping-car on a Nightjet sleeper train, arrived 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 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...

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Hamburg to Copenhagen & Denmark from €27.90...
Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

Step 2, Hamburg to Copenhagen by Danish IC3...  This is the late afternoon Hamburg-Copenhagen IC3 leaving platform 5 at Hamburg Hbf on a busy summer day.  The yellow stripe above the windows indicates first class, located at one end of both 3-car units.  More information about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

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

Boarding a Danish IC3 train at Hamburg Hbf...

 

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

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

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

 

An IC3 train to Copenhagen at Hamburg.

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Hamburg to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö & Sweden from €59.90...

Option 1, Hamburg to Malmö, Gothenburg & Stockholm by year-round regular trains...

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 to 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 2, Hamburg to Malmo & Stockholm by Berlin Night Express, daily from April to September...

The Snalltaget sleeper toHamburg & Berlin, at Stockholm Central

The Snälltåget sleeper from Hamburg to Stockholm.  This is in fact the southbound train at Stockholm Central the day the new service was launched, about to make its inaugural departure.  Courtesy of Robert Enskog.

Stockholm-Berlin couchette, day mode   Stockholm-Berlin couchette, night mode

The Snälltåget sleeper train uses ex-German Railways couchettes, sold as a whole private compartment for up to 6 people.  Bedding is provided, toilets & washrooms are at the end of the corridor.  Photos courtesy of Snalltaget.

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Hamburg to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, Hamburg to Oslo by train all the way...

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

Germany to Oslo Color Line ferry at Kiel

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

Boarding the ferry in Kiel

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

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

A 5 Star Suite on the ferry...

 

More cruise liner than ferry!  The restaurant.

View from Color Line ferry to Oslo

Wake up to this....

Option 3, Hamburg to Oslo using the DFDS overnight cruise ferry from Frederikshavn to Oslo - cheaper than Color Line...

DFDS ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo

The huge DFDS luxury overnight cruise ferry Crown Seaways berthed at Oslo...  Courtesy of Ivor Morgan.

Atrium on the ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo   Standard cabin on the ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo

The ferry is a floating hotel, with cabins, suites, restaurants, bars and entertainment.  The Pearl Seaways even features an outdoor jacuzzi but reportedly her sister ship Crown Seaways lacks this.  Courtesy of Andrew Leo.

1, 2, 3 or 4 berth standard cabin on the Crown Seaways with shower & toilet and satellite TV.  Larger photoCourtesy of Ivor Morgan.

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Hamburg to Helsinki & Finland...

Option 1, Hamburg to Helsinki by direct ferry from Germany - the easiest option...

Finnlines sail from Travemünde in Germany to Helsinki every day, boarding from 22:30 to 24:00 and arriving Helsinki Vuosaari ferry terminal at 09:00 2 nights later.  First, go to the Direct Ferries website or www.finnlines.com or  to check sailing dates, times & to book the ferry.  Then travel as follows:

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, Hamburg to Helsinki, by train to Stockholm then ferry...

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Hamburg to Prague from €27.90...
EuroCity train to Prague about to leave Berlin

Hamburg to Prague by EuroCity train, seen here calling at Berlin Hbf...

2nd class compartment on Berlin to Prague traiin   First class on Berlin to Prague EuroCity traiin

2nd class seats in classic compartments...

 

1st class seats in an open-plan car...

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

So civilised!  A meal in the Czech restaurant car as the Berlin-Prague express snakes along the beautiful Elbe river south of Dresden.  Most Berlin-Prague trains use Czech carriages like this, a few use Hungarian air-conditioned carriages.  See more photos, tips & info for the Berlin to Prague train ridePhoto courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

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Hamburg to Bratislava from €46.90...

Option 1, Hamburg to Bratislava by direct train - the leisurely daytime option, until 11 December 2021 & from 1 September 2022...

The EuroCity train Hungaria from Hamburg to Budapest

The Berlin-Bratislava-Budapest Hungaria. Courtesy of David Frankal. Photos below courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

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

2nd class seats on the HungariaLarger photo.

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria Larger photo.

Option 1, Hamburg to Bratislava by daytime trains - the leisurely daytime option from 12 December 2021 to 31 August 2022...

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Step 1, Hamburg to Vienna by ICE train.  This is an ICE-T arrived at Vienna Hbf.  More information about ICE-T trainsCourtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler .

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 Bordrestaurant.  I highly 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...

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

Step 2, Vienna to Bratislava by regional express train More about Vienna-Bratislava trains.

Option 2, Hamburg to Bratislava using the Hamburg-Vienna sleeper...

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Hamburg to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper trainMore 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.

 

Nightjet couchette car...

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

Step 2, Vienna to Bratislava by hourly Regional Express train, seen 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 3, Hamburg to Bratislava using the Berlin-Bratislava sleeper...

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

Above left, the Hungarian sleeping-car from Berlin to Bratislava & Budapest boarding on platform 11 at Berlin Hbf.  Above right, a 2-berth double sleeper.

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

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Hamburg to Budapest from €46.90...

Option 1, Hamburg to Budapest by daytime train - the cheap & leisurely option, until 11 December 2021 & from 1 September 2022...

The EuroCity train Hungaria from Hamburg to Budapest

The Berlin-Budapest Hungaria. Courtesy of David Frankal. Photos below courtesy of Siddhartha Verma.

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

2nd class seats on the HungariaLarger photo.

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria Larger photo.

Option 1, Hamburg to Budapest by daytime trains - the leisurely daytime option from 12 December 2021 to 31 August 2022...

Berlin to Vienna ICE train

Step 1, Hamburg to Vienna by ICE train.  This is an ICE-T arrived at Vienna Hbf.  More information about ICE-T trainsCourtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler .

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 Bordrestaurant.  I highly 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...

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

Step 2, Vienna to Budapest by railjet.  This is a railjet on platform 9 at Budapest's historic Keleti stationMore information about railjets.

Business class on the Vienna to Venice train   Business class on the Vienna to Venice train

Economy (2nd) class...  Larger photo.

 

First class...  Larger photo.

Option 2, Hamburg to Budapest using the Hamburg-Vienna sleeper - the time-effective option...

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Hamburg to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper trainMore 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.

 

Nightjet couchette car...

EuroCity train from Vienna to Budapest, at Budapest Keleti

Step 2, Vienna to Budapest by EuroCity train.  Courtesy of Spas Nikolov...

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

1st class on a Hungarian EuroCity train.

 

2nd class on a Hungarian EuroCity train.

Option 3, Hamburg to Budapest using the Berlin-Budapest sleeper - another time-effective option...

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

Above left, the Hungarian sleeping-car from Berlin to Bratislava & Budapest boarding on platform 11 at Berlin Hbf.  Above right, a 2-berth double sleeper.

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

Option 4, Hamburg to Budapest using the Prague-Budapest sleeper...

EuroCity train to Prague about to leave Berlin

Step 1, Hamburg to Prague by EuroCity train, seen here calling at Berlin Hbf...

2nd class compartment on Berlin to Prague traiin   First class on Berlin to Prague EuroCity traiin

2nd class seats in compartments or open-plan.

 

1st class seats in an open-plan car...

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

So civilised!  A meal in the Czech restaurant car as the Berlin-Prague express snakes along the beautiful Elbe river south of Dresden.  Most Berlin-Prague trains use Czech carriages like this, a few use Hungarian air-conditioned carriages.  See more photos, tips & info for the Berlin to Prague train ridePhoto courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

The sleeper train from Prague to Budapest, boarding in Prague

Step 2, Prague to Budapest by sleeper, seen here boarding at Prague Hlavni platform 4.

Czech Railways standard (economy) 2-berth sleeper   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.  Larger photo.

 

The same sleeper, berths folded away & seats folded out.  Very similar to a deluxe, but without the shower & toilet.  Larger photo.

 

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

 

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

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Hamburg to Brasov & Bucharest from €98...

Option 1, Hamburg to Romania via Vienna - 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.

Dacia Express bar-bistro car

The Dacia Express en route to Bucharest...  Photo courtesy of @PaliparanDotCom.

  Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest

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

Dacia Express Carpathian mountains

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

Option 2, Hamburg to Romania via Budapest...

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 @AndyBTravels, DiscoverByRail.com.

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

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Hamburg to Ljubljana & Zagreb from €39.90...

Option 1, Hamburg to Ljubljana & Zagreb using the Munich-Zagreb sleeper - the most time-effective option...

ICE second class   High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

 

Step 1, Hamburg To Munich by ICE...

ICE2 restaurant car   ICE2 bar car

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

 

Bar car.  Larger photo.

ICE2 at Berlin   ICE first class

Boarding an ICE2...

 

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

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

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

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

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

Set up as a single-berth.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes. 360º photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

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

Option 2, Hamburg to Ljubljana & Zagreb in a single scenic day, or with an overnight stop in Munich...

Austrian restaurant car between Munich and Villach   Scenery in the Austrian Alps between Munich & Ljubljana

An early lunch in the Austrian restaurant car as the Alpine scenery flies by.  The first stage is on a smart Austrian EuroCity train from Munich to Villach...

 

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

  2nd class seats on the Munich-Zagreb train

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

 

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

Option 3, Hamburg to Ljubljana & Zagreb using the Hamburg-Munich sleeper then scenic onward daytime train...

Option 4, Hamburg to Ljubljana & Zagreb using the Hamburg-Vienna sleeper, morning in Vienna, EuroCity train to Zagreb.

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Hamburg to Belgrade, Sofia & Montenegro...

Option 1, Hamburg to Belgrade & beyond via Zagreb...

ICE second class   High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

 

Step 1, Hamburg To Munich by ICE...

ICE2 restaurant car   ICE2 bar car

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

 

Bar car.  Larger photo.

ICE2 at Berlin   ICE first class

Boarding an ICE2...

 

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

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

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

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

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

Set up as a single-berth.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes. 360º photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

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

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

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

Option 2, Hamburg to Sofia via Bucharest - currently the easiest option for Sofia...

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Hamburg to Warsaw, Krakow & Poland from €37.90...

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

Option 2, Hamburg to Wroclaw & Krakow in a single day from €37.90...

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin Hbf

Berlin to Warsaw or Krakow by EuroCity train.  This is the Wawel to Krakow on platform 11 at Berlin Hbf.

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

2nd class.  Some seats are in compartments.

 

1st class seats on the Wawel.

Restaurant car on the Berlin to Warsaw train

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

 

The bar...

 

Decent food, served on proper china...

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Hamburg to Vilnius. Riga, Tallinn...

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

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

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Hamburg to Kiev & Ukraine...

Option 1, Hamburg to Kiev using the Warsaw-Kiev sleeper...

The Warsaw to Kiev train at Warsaw Centralna

A Ukrainian sleeping-car on the Kiev Express at Warsaw CentralnaCourtesy 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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Hamburg to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia...

Option 1, Hamburg 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...

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

Option 3, Hamburg to Moscow via Kiev - avoiding Belarus...

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Hamburg to Athens, Corfu & Greece...

Option 1, Hamburg 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, Hamburg to Athens overland by train via Munich & Belgrade - a rail adventure across the Balkans...

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Hamburg to Istanbul & Turkey...

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bullet pointHotels in Hamburg & 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.

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

  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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