ICE train at Berlin Hbf

A German ICE train...

bullet pointI want to go from Hamburg to...

     

      Click here for journeys starting in another city

      See COVID-19 information & update

      Click for Hamburg Hbf station information

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

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...

Back to top


Hamburg to London...

Back to top


Hamburg to Paris from €39.90...

Option 1, by daytime trains in a single day...

Option 2, by day trains with overnight stop in Cologne - the time-effective overnight option with an evening in Cologne... 

Option 3, 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 200 mph 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.  360Ί 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.  360Ί photo.

 

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

Back to top


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

Option 1, Hamburg to Lyon, Avignon or Marseille in a day with one easy change in Frankfurt...

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

Option 3, with overnight stop in Brussels...

Back to top


Hamburg to Brussels & Bruges from €39.90...
High-speed ICE3 train at Brussels Midi   ICE2 train, 2nd class

An ICE3 at Brussels Midi platform 5...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

ICE3 train, 1st class   Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Larger photo.

 

ICE3 bistro.  See this month's menu.

Back to top


Hamburg to Amsterdam from €39.90...
A DB InterCity train

A German Intercity train.  More 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...

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.

Back to top


Hamburg to Luxembourg from €39.90...

Back to top


Hamburg to Basel, Zurich, Geneva & Switzerland from €39.90...

Option 1, by high-speed ICE train in a single chill-out day...

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 on an ICE4...

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...

Option 2, by Nightjet sleeper train...

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

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Back to top


Hamburg to Venice from €60...

Option 1, by Nightjet sleeper train to Innsbruck then scenic daytime train to Venice.  This is the option I'd recommend for the scenery.

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

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

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

   

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

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families...

Option 2, by ICE train to Munich, then Nightjet sleeper train from Munich to Venice...

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Munich by high-speed ICE train leaving Hamburg Hbf around 16:01 and arriving Munich Hbf around 21:41.

    Have a late dinner in Munich, for local Bavarian food & beer try www.augustinerkeller.de at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf.

    Book this train at German Railways www.bahn.de and print your own ticket or load it into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Venice by comfortable Nightjet sleeper train leaving Munich Hbf at 23:20 arriving Venice Santa Lucia at 08:34.

  • This Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3-berth compartments with washbasin, toilets & shower at the end of the corridor, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds with private shower & toilet), couchette cars (4 & 6 berth compartments) & ordinary seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning, see the Nightjet information page.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 in a single-bed sleeper.

    Book the nightjet at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at.  Bookings can open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

Option 3, by daytime trains via the Brenner Pass with an overnight stop in Munich...

  • Day 1, travel from Hamburg to Munich in as little as 5h45 on any ICE train you like. 

  • Stay overnight in Munich.  The Sofitel Munich Beyerpost, Eden Hotel Wolff, InterCity Hotel or (budget) the Pension Locarno are all right next to the station with good or great reviews.  For dinner with local Bavarian food and a beer or two try www.augustinerkeller.de at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf.

  • Day 2, travel from Munich to Venice by Austrian EuroCity train thorough the wonderful Brenner Pass, see the Brenner Pass scenery video here.  It leaves Munich Hbf at 11:34 and arrives at Venice Santa Lucia at 18:25.  The train has an elegant restaurant car so treat yourself to lunch!  Or you can take the 09:34 from Munich Hbf arriving Venice 16:40, although this involves a change at Verona.  There's also an earlier 07:34 to Verona which goes direct to Venice at weekends.  Your call!

  • Hamburg to Venice starts at €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

  • To buy tickets, book from Hamburg to Venice at the German railways website www.bahn.de, but before running the enquiry click Add intermediate stops and entering Munich Hbf in the via box and (say) 12:00 in the hh:mm stopover box.  Look carefully in the search results to find a journey that suits, adjusting the Munich stopover time and departure time as necessary.  I've set up this link to bahn.de for you with the necessary parameters.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone or laptop screen.

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.

Back to top


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

Option 1, by luxurious ICE train to Munich then Nightjet sleeper train to Bologna, Florence & Rome - the most time-effective option...

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Munich by superb ICE train leaving Hamburg Hbf around 13:01 and arriving Munich Hbf at 18:42.

    By all means book an earlier train.  You've time for dinner in Munich, for local Bavarian food and a beer or two try www.augustinerkeller.de at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf

    Book this train at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket or load it into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.

  • Step 2, travel by Austrian Nightjet sleeper train leaving Munich Hbf at 20:10 and arriving Bologna Centrale 05:20, Florence SMN at 06:19 and Rome Termini at 09:22.  Another portion of this train goes to Milan, arriving Milan Porta Garibaldi at 08:10.

    Each portion of this comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3-berth compartments with washbasin, toilets & shower at the end of the corridor, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds with private shower & toilet), couchette cars (4 & 6 berth compartments) & ordinary seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning, see the Nightjet information page.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 in a single-bed sleeper.

    Book the nightjet at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at.  Bookings can open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • If you're heading to Naples, you may be able to book through to Naples Centrale on bahn.de.  If not, buy a separate Rome-Naples ticket at www.italiarail.com (they'll refund their small booking fee if you email them afterwards at seat61@italiarail.com) or www.trenitalia.com.

Option 2, by Nightjet sleeper train to Innsbruck then scenic ride through the Brenner Pass - a time-effective & scenic option...

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Innsbruck by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Hamburg Hbf 20:29 & arriving Innsbruck Hbf 09:14 next morning.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3-berth compartments with washbasin, toilets & shower at the end of the corridor, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds with private shower & toilet), couchette cars (4 & 6 berth compartments) & ordinary seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning, see the Nightjet information page.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper.

    Book the nightjet at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at.  Bookings can open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, take a comfortable Austrian EuroCity train through the scenic Brenner Pass to Verona & Italy, leaving Innsbruck Hbf at 11:24 and arriving Verona Porta Nuova at 14:58 & Bologna at 16:20.  A restaurant car is available for lunch.  See the Brenner Pass scenery video here.  Don't risk a tight connection with the earlier 09:24 EuroCity to Verona, I'd play safe and stick with the 11:24.  If you have a sleeper ticket, or a 1st class ticket for the onward EuroCity train, you can use the ΦBB Lounge at Innsbruck with complimentary tea & coffee.

    Change at Bologna for a high-speed Frecciarossa train to Florence SMN, Rome Termini or Naples Centrale. 

    Fares from Innsbruck to Bologna start at €29 in 2nd class or €59 in 1st.  Bologna to Florence starts at €19.90, to Rome or Naples €29.90.

    The easiest way to check times and book is using Raileurope.com, as this connects to both the German and Italian ticketing systems - but (and this is important) click More options and enter Bologna Centrale (if you're going to Florence, Rome or Naples) or Verona Porta Nuova (if you're going to Milan) as a via station with a stopover duration of 45 minutes before running the enquiry.  You'll get a self-print or mobile ticket for the EuroCity train and the Italian train will usually be ticketless, you just quote the booking reference on board.

Option 3, by daytime trains via the Brenner Pass, with an overnight stop in Munich...

  • Day 1, travel from Hamburg to Munich in 5h40 on any ICE train you like, you can leave Hamburg Hbf as late as 18:01 arriving Munich Hbf at 23:43 but by all means take an earlier train and enjoy a pleasant evening in Munich. 

  • Stay overnight in Munich.  Hotels right next to the station with good or great reviews include the Sofitel Munich Beyerpost, Eden Hotel Wolff, InterCity Hotel or (if you're on a budget) the Pension Locarno.  For dinner in Munich with local Bavarian food and a beer or two try www.augustinerkeller.de at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf.

  • Day 2, travel from Munich to Verona by Austrian EuroCity train thorough the wonderful Brenner Pass, see the Brenner Pass scenery video here.  Trains leave Munich Hbf every 2 hours or so taking a leisurely 5h25, and all have an elegant restaurant car so treat yourself to lunch!  The 09:34 departure runs beyond Verona all the way to Bologna.

  • Change in Verona (or, if taking the 09:34, in Bologna), for an onward Italian train to anywhere you like in Italy.  Verona to Florence takes just 2h35, Verona to Rome as little as 2h50.

  • How much does it cost? 

    Hamburg to Verona starts at €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class. 

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

    Verona to Rome or Naples at €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.

  • First book from Hamburg to Verona Porta Nuova, or (if you plan to take the 09:34 from Munich) Bologna Centrale, at www.bahn.de.  Before running the enquiry click Add intermediate stops, enter Munich Hbf and a stopover duration of (say) 12 hours.  Adjust the departure time and stopover duration until you get the trains you want either side of Munich.

    Then buy onward tickets from Verona Porta Nuova or Bologna Centrale to Florence, Rome, Milan or Naples or anywhere in Italy separately at www.italiarail.com (easy to use, recognises English place names, the small booking fee will be refunded if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your PNR) or Italian Railways own website www.trenitalia.com (more fiddly to use, requires Italian language place names, no booking fee, read this advice on using it).  If buying separate tickets, I recommend allowing at least 45 minutes to change in Verona in case of any delay.

Option 4, by daytime trains, via the Swiss Alps...  Also a scenic ride!

  • First use the German Railways website www.bahn.de to book from Hamburg to Basel or Zurich with fares from €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  You print your own ticket.

  • Now book an onward journey from Basel or Zurich to Florence, Venice, Rome or wherever at www.italiarail.com (easy to use, recognises English place names, the small booking fee will be refunded if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your PNR) or Italian Railways own website www.trenitalia.com (more fiddly to use, requires Italian language place names, no booking fee, read this advice on using it). 

  • I'd allow at least 45 minutes between trains in Basel or Zurich.  Hamburg to Milan via Basel or Zurich is an all-day train ride.  If you'd prefer to split it over 2 days with an overnight stop in Basel or Zurich or even Lucerne or Lugano, no problem.  Indeed, that's a good option!

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

ETR610 train as now used on all Switzerland-Milan EuroCity trains.  More information about ETR610 trains.

 

2nd class seats on the stylish ETR610 EuroCity train...

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

The restaurant car on an ETR610...

 

Dinner in the diner, northbound...

Lake Maggiore, seen from a Milan to Basel train

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

Back to top


Hamburg to Barcelona, Madrid & Spain from €79...
  • Day 2 afternoon, you can catch an onward train from Barcelona Sants to Valencia, Alicante or Madrid the same day.  If you're going to Malaga, Cordoba or Seville, the 07:14 summer-only TGV from Paris connects nicely with the 15:50 AVE from Barcelona to Malaga, Cordoba & Seville the same day, arriving in the evening, but if you take the 10:14 from Paris (all year) you'll need to stay overnight in Barcelona and catch the 08:30 AVE to Malaga, Cordoba & Seville next morning.  Check times and buy tickets using Raileurope.com (in £ or €, easy to use, small booking fee) or www.petrabax.com (in $, small mark-up, easy to use) or Spanish Railways own site www.renfe.com (much more fiddly to use, but no booking fee, in €).  You'll find cheap Promo and Promo+ fares if you book in advance.  You print your own ticket.  Allow at least 45 minutes between trains in Barcelona for connections.

Back to top


Hamburg to Lisbon, Porto & Portugal...
  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg Hbf to Paris Gare du Nord or Paris Gare de l'Est and stay in Paris overnight.  Book a Hamburg-Paris ticket at German Railways www.bahn.de from €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  How to change stations in Paris.

  • Step 2, leave Paris Gare Montparnasse at 12:52 by high-speed double-decker TGV Duplex for Hendaye on the Spanish border, arriving 17:36 with fares from €25.  A cafe-bar is available on board, there are power sockets at all seats and this train usually has free WiFi.

    Check times and buy tickets at Raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (both sites easy to use, in €, £ or $, a small booking fee applies) or en.oui.sncf (in €, a little more fiddly but no booking fee). You print your own ticket.

  • Step 3, take the overnight Sud Express trainhotel sleeper train leaving Hendaye at 18:35 and arriving Lisbon Oriente at 07:20 and Lisbon Santa Apolonia at 07:30 next morning.  Fares from €37 with bed in 4-bed sleeper, €132 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper, or €148 with a bed in a 2-bed gran clase sleeper with shower & toilet.

    Book this at Raileurope.com.  Booking for this train usually only opens 60 days ahead, sometimes less than this, although sometimes more, so check online but be aware that this is usually the limiting factor.

  • For Porto, alight from the Sud Express at Coimbra B, Entroncamento or indeed Lisbon and take a train north to Porto, book this at the Portuguese railways website www.cp.pt, which is the only site that can book Portuguese trains.

  • For the Algarve, change at Lisbon Oriente for an InterCity train to Faro, book this at the Portuguese railways website www.cp.pt.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Gran Clase private toilet & shower...

Sud Express trainhotel cafe-bar...    

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

 

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

Back to top


Hamburg to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €39.90...

Option 1, by daytime train...

  • The German railways website, www.bahn.de can book tickets from Hamburg to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck or anywhere in Austria from €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

    One ICE train runs direct from Hamburg to Vienna every day, leaving Hamburg Hbf at 08:02 arriving Vienna Hbf at 16:45, a leisurely ride across Germany on a very comfortable & spacious train with restaurant car and power sockets at all seat - bring a book and bottle of wine and put your feet up.

    Just use www.bahn.de to find times and buy tickets!  I recommend registering when prompted, rather than booking as a guest, so you can always log in and check or re-print all your bookings.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone or laptop screen.

    Top tip:  Check Austrian Railways www.thetrainline.com as well, fares also start from €39 but I've often seen significantly cheaper fares on oebb.at than bahn.de on a given date & train.  You also get a print-your-own ticket.

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, by Nightjet sleeper train...

  • There's an excellent direct Austrian Nightjet sleeper train leaving Hamburg Hbf at 20:29 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 08:27.  A separate portion goes to Innsbruck, arriving Innsbruck Hbf at 09:14.

  • This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3-berth compartments with washbasin, toilets & shower at the end of the corridor, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds with private shower & toilet), couchette cars (4 & 6 berth compartments) & ordinary seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning, see the Nightjet information page.

  • Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper.

  • Book the nightjet at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at.  Bookings can open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

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

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

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

   

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

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families...

Back to top


Hamburg to Copenhagen & Denmark from €29.90...
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.

Back to top


Hamburg to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmφ & Sweden from €39.90...

Option 1, 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-Stockholm X2000 train boarding at Copenhagen main station...

 

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

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

X2000 bistro car...

 

X2000 bistro car seating area...

 

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, twice a week March-October, daily in high summer...

  • Private operator www.snalltaget.se has run a sleeper train between Berlin and Malmφ twice a week in summer in previous years, and in 2021 it is being expanded to run direct from Berlin & Hamburg to Malmo & Stockholm, and for a longer operating period, too

    The Berlin Night Express runs on Wednesdays & Saturdays from 31 March to 2 October 2021, and every day 11 June to 5 September 2021.

    It will leave Berlin Hbf at 19:02, Hamburg Hbf at 23:26 and arrive Malmo at 07:40 & Stockholm at 14:20.

    The train has ordinary seats, reclining seats, and 6-berth couchettes.  A fixed price is charged for a whole couchette compartment for private occupancy, the same price for 1 person or any number of people up to 6, unlike normal overnight trains berths are not sold individually.

    Fares start at 499 SEK (about €49) per person with a seat, 749 SEK (€74) per person with a reclining seat, or 2999 SEK (€295) for sole occupancy of a couchette compartment for any number of people between 1 & 6.

    See www.snalltaget.se for operating dates, times, fares & to buy tickets online.

Berlin Night Express at Berlin

The Berlin Night Express about to leave Berlin Hbf, see www.snalltaget.seCourtesy of Stephen Barker...

Berlin Night Express aboard the ferry   4-berth couchette on the Berlin Night Express

The Berlin Night Express after being shunted aboard the Sassnitz-Trelleborg ferry above left and a 4 or 6 berth couchette compartment, above right.  From 2021 onwards it will no longer go via the ferry.  Photos courtesy of Stephen Barker.

Back to top


Hamburg to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, by train all the way...

  • Day 1, travel from Hamburg to Gothenburg (= Gφteborg Central), booked as one transaction from €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class at German Railways www.bahn.de.  The best journey involves one change in Copenhagen.  Stay overnight in Gothenburg.

  • Day 2, take a train from Gothenburg (Gφteborg Central) to Oslo.  the cheapest way to book this is with Norwegian Railways at www.vy.no looking for a cheap minipris fare.

  • Alternatively, you can go Hamburg-Copenhagen in the afternoon or evening of day 1, then Copenhagen-Gothenburg-Oslo on day 2.  The cheapest way to book is still to use www.bahn.de to book through from Hamburg to Gothenburg, but in this case you'd click Add intermediate stops, enter Copenhagen in the via box and (say) 12:00 in the hh:mm box.  It will then give you a cheap Hamburg to Gothenburg ticket with a 12 hour stopover in Copenhagen.  Adjust the times and stopover length to get your desired train times.

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

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Kiel Hbf in around 1h16 by hourly regional train, fare around €23.  Check times at the German Railways site www.bahn.de

    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 online at the seat61 Ferry Shop or www.colorline.com.

    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....

Back to top


Hamburg to Helsinki & Finland...
  • For Finland, you'll find ferries the best bet from Travemόnde in Germany to Helsinki, see www.finnlines.com.

  • Then check train times from Hamburg to Travemόnde at www.bahn.de.

Back to top


Hamburg to Prague from €29.90...
  • There are several direct Hamburg-Prague EuroCity trains every day and additional departures with a change of train in Berlin.  South of Dresden, the trains snake along the scenic Elbe valley, make sure you grab a unreserved seat on the left hand side of the train for the best river views.  Most of these trains also have a proper waiter-service dining-car, why not have a meal while you travel?  What's the train ride to Prague like?

  • Departures from Hamburg Hbf are at 06:48, 08:51, 12:51 & 14:51 every day, journey time to Prague 6h45.

  • You can book from Hamburg to Prague at the German Railways site www.bahn.de from €29.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone or laptop screen.

  • Fancy a few hours stopover in Dresden on the way to Prague?

    To book a Hamburg to Prague train journey with a stopover in Dresden, go to www.bahn.de, enter Hamburg to Prague, click Add intermediate stops, enter Dresden in the via box and the number of hours you want to have in Dresden (max 48 hours) in the hh:mm box.  Then run the enquiry and buy the ticket.  There are left luggage lockers at Dresden Hbf.

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 Hamburg-Prague express snakes along the beautiful Elbe river south of Dresden.  Most Hamburg-Prague trains use Czech carriages like this.  Photo courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Back to top


Hamburg to Bratislava from €39.90...

Option 1, by direct daytime train.,..

  • There is a daily direct EuroCity train called the Hungaria leaving Hamburg Hbf at 06:48 and arriving Bratislava Hlavna at 17:50, with waiter-service restaurant car, taking the scenic route along the Elbe river valley between Dresden and Prague.  The Hungaria uses Hungarian Railways' latest air-conditioned cars with power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

  • Fares start at €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket.

Option 2, by sleeper train via Vienna...

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Vienna by Austrian Nightjet sleeper train leaving Hamburg at 20:29 arriving Vienna Hbf at 08:2

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper, see the Nightjet information page.

    Book the nightjet at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at.  Bookings can open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, catch the hourly Regional Express train from Vienna Hbf to Bratislava Hlavna taking 1h07.  You can buy a ticket for the Vienna-Bratislava train at the station in Vienna for €11.20, as no reservation is necessary or possible, just buy a ticket and hop on the next train.

Back to top


Hamburg to Budapest from €39.90...

Option 1, Hamburg to Budapest by daytime train - the cheap & leisurely option...

  • A direct EuroCity train called the Hungaria leaves Hamburg Hbf at 06:48 and arrives Budapest Nyugati at 20:20.

    The Hungaria uses Hungarian Railways' latest air-conditioned cars with power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  It's an all-day train ride on a comfortable & spacious EuroCity train with waiter-service restaurant car and some great scenery along the way along the Elbe River between Dresden and Prague, see photos & video about the Berlin-Dresden-Prague part of this journey.

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

    Alternatively you can also take the 08:51 from Hamburg with one easy change at Prague Hlavni.

  • Fares start at €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

  • Buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket.

The EuroCity train Hungaria between Berlin & Budapest

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

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

2nd class seats on the Hungaria...

 

Restaurant car on the Hungaria...

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

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Vienna overnight by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Hamburg Hbf at 20:29 & arriving Vienna Hbf at 08:27.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3-berth compartments with washbasin, toilets & shower at the end of the corridor, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds with private shower & toilet), couchette cars (4 & 6 berth compartments) & ordinary seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning, see the Nightjet information page.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper.

    Book the nightjet at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at.  Bookings can open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Budapest by smart Austrian railjet train leaving Vienna Hbf at 09:42 and arriving Budapest Keleti at 12:19.

    Fares start at €19 in 2nd class or €29 in 1st class.  Buy tickets at www.thetrainline.com.  You print your own ticket.

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

2-berth regular sleeper with washstand...

 

The toilet & shower in a deluxe sleeper...

 

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

   

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

 

6-berth couchettes, the cheapest option...

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families...

Option 3, using the Berlin-Budapest sleeper train Metropol...

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg Hbf to Berlin Hbf on any train you like, as long as you allow at least 1 hour between trains in Berlin.  For example, an ICE train usually leaves Hamburg Hbf at 15:36 arriving Berlin Hbf at 17:26, but times may vary.

  • Step 2, a comfortable air-conditioned EuroNight sleeper train called the Metropol leaves Berlin Hbf at 18:43 every night and arrives Budapest Keleti at 08:35 next morning.

    The train has a sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, 4 & 6 berth couchettes and 2nd class seats.  A light breakfast is included in the fare in sleepers.

    Fares start at €49 with a couchette in a 6-berth, €59 with a couchette in a 4-berth, €89 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €129 in a single-bed sleeper.  The sleeper fare includes a light breakfast, served in your compartment.

    Book online at either German Railways www.bahn.de or at www.thetrainline.com, you print your own ticket.  If necessary, book the sleeper train at www.oebb.at then add a Hamburg-Berlin connection at www.bahn.de, allowing at least an hour between trains in Berlin.

    Although operated by Hungarian Railways (MAV), for this train MAV hire in the sleeping-car & couchette car from the Slovakians, see photos of the sleeping-car here & photos of the couchette car here.  The sleeping-car If you like, you can see the formation of this train at www.vagonweb.cz - Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Hungary, click EN then select the Metropol.

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

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

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

Option 4, using the Prague-Budapest sleeper train...

  • Step 1, take a EuroCity train from Hamburg to Prague with restaurant car, leaving Hamburg Hbf at 12:51 and arriving Prague Hlavni at 19:36.  By all means catch an earlier train for an evening in Prague, when it's light the line between Dresden and Prague is very scenic, all along the Elbe river valley, see the photos here.  Book this train at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.  Have dinner in Prague.

  • Step 2, take the overnight sleeper train Metropol from Prague to Budapest, booked at the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz.  It leaves Prague Hlavni at 21:56 and arrives Budapest Keleti at 08:35 next morning.  It has couchettes and a comfortable modern sleeping-car with 1, 2 and 3 bed compartments, and deluxe sleepers with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with shower & toilet.

Back to top


Hamburg to Brasov & Bucharest from €98...

Option 1, via Vienna - the fastest & most comfortable option...

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Vienna by ICE-T high-speed train, leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 08:02 and arriving Vienna Hbf at 16:45.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.

    Buy tickets at the German Railways site www.bahn.de & print your own ticket or load it into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Romania on the Dacia Express, leaving Vienna Hbf at 19:42 every day and arriving Sighisoara 10:34, Brasov 13:35 & Bucharest Gara de Nord at 16:04.

    It has a modern air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, plus several deluxe compartments with en suite shower & toilet.  It has a couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.

    A Hungarian restaurant car operates between Vienna and Budapest, treat yourself to dinner.  A bar-bistro is then attached in the morning between Arad & Bucharest, serving drinks, snacks and breakfast.  There's wonderful almost Alpine scenery through the Carpathian mountains between Brasov and Bucharest, a real treat...

    You can book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at from as little as €49 with a couchette in a 6-berth compartment, €69 with a bed in a 3-berth sleeper, €89 with a bed in a 2-berth sleeper or €149 with a bed in a single-berth sleeper, all to yourself.

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

Dacia Express at Vienna   Romanian couchette car from Vienna to Bucharest

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

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

Sleeper on the Dacia Express   Dacia Express at Sighisoara

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

 

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

Couchette car on the Ister EuroNight train from Budapest to Bucharest  

Enjoy breakfast in the bar-bistro eastbound, or an evening beer westbound, as a bar-bistro is attached in Romania to both the Ister & Dacia ExpressBar-bistro photos courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Option 2, via Budapest...

  • Step 1, take the excellent Austrian Nightjet sleeper train leaving Hamburg Hbf at 20:29 and arriving in Vienna Hbf at 08:27.  This has a comfortable sleeping-car with 1 & 2 bed compartments, 1 & 2 bed deluxe compartments with shower & toilet, and 4 & 6 berth couchettes.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €69.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €89.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €139.90 in a single-bed sleeper.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com and print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, take a smart Austrian railjet train from Vienna to Budapest.  There's one from Vienna Hbf around 09:42 arriving Budapest Keleti 12:19.  Enjoy an afternoon in Budapest.  Fares from €19.90 in 2nd class or €29.90 in 1st class.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com and print your own ticket.

Back to top


Hamburg to Ljubljana, Zagreb from €39.90...

Option 1, by scenic daytime train either in a single day or with overnight stop in Munich...

  • The German railways website, www.bahn.de can book tickets from Hamburg to Ljubljana or Zagreb from €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  You'll need to select an early departure time, set time to say 05:30 when running the enquiry, as it's an all-day train ride with 1 change in Munich.  But the scenery through the Austrian alps is superb, as is the scenery along the lovely River Sava between Ljubljana and Zagreb.  You simply print your own ticket.

  • If you'd like to break up the journey with an overnight stop in Munich, simply click Add intermediate stops and type in Munich with (say) 11:00 in the hh:mm stopover box.  In Munich, Try the Sofitel Munich Beyerpost, Eden Hotel Wolff, InterCity Hotel or (budget) the Pension Locarno, all these hotels are right next to the station with great reviews.  For dinner in Munich with local Bavarian food and a beer or two try www.augustinerkeller.de at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf.

    Important:  Engineering work affecting the Munich-Ljubljana-Zagreb route until at least 10 July 2021...  Major engineering work has closed the Karawanks Tunnel between Austria & Slovenia until at least 10 July 2021, and normal train service is suspended.  To find alternatives, run a Munich-Ljubljana or Munich-Zagreb enquiry at the German Railways site www.bahn.de.  You'll find Munich-Ljubljana services with 1 change at Villach onto a rail replacement bus.  You'll find Munich-Zagreb journeys by train via the alternative Maribor route with 1 or 2 changes.

Option 2, by Hamburg-Munich sleeper train then scenic daytime train from Munich to Ljubljana & Zagreb...

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Hamburg Hbf at 20:29 and arriving Munich Hbf at 07:11.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has an air-conditioned sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3-berth compartments with washbasin, toilets & shower at the end of the corridor, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds with private shower & toilet), couchette cars (4 & 6 berth compartments) & ordinary seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning, see the Nightjet information page.

    Fares start at €49.90 in 6-berth couchettes, €59.90 in 4-berth couchettes, €89.90 in a 3-bed sleeper, €109.90 in a 2-bed sleeper or €159.90 in a single-bed sleeper.

    Book the nightjet at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at.  Bookings can open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Ljubljana or Zagreb, leaving Munich Hbf at 08:17 by air-conditioned Austrian railjet train, there's a quick & simple cross-platform change at Villach onto a waiting Slovenian & Croatian EuroCity train Sava, arriving Lesce-Bled on Lake Bled at 13:50, Ljubljana at 14:32 and Zagreb at 17:12.

    This is a really lovely journey, through the mountains of Austria then along the Sava river between Ljubljana and Zagreb.  If you'd like a morning in Munich, there's a later 12:18 EuroCity train direct to Lesce-Bled, Ljubljana and Zagreb.

    Fares start at €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Book this train at www.bahn.de (use this special link) and print your own ticket.

    Important:  Engineering work affecting the Munich-Ljubljana-Zagreb route until at least 10 July 2021...  Major engineering work has closed the Karawanks Tunnel between Austria & Slovenia until at least 10 July 2021, and normal train service is suspended.  To find alternatives, run a Munich-Ljubljana or Munich-Zagreb enquiry at the German Railways site www.bahn.de.  You'll find Munich-Ljubljana services with 1 change at Villach onto a rail replacement bus.  You'll find Munich-Zagreb journeys by train via the alternative Maribor route with 1 or 2 changes.

Option 3, using the Munich-Zagreb sleeper train - the safe, comfortable & most time-effective option...

  • Step 1, take the 16:01 ICE from Hamburg Hbf to Munich Hbf arriving 21:41.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.  Book this at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket or load it into the DB Navigator app and show on your smartphone.

    You've time for dinner in Munich, for local Bavarian food & beer try www.augustinerkeller.de at Arnulfstrasse 52, north side of Munich Hbf.

  • Step 2, take the comfortable Croatian sleeper train Lisinski leavings Munich Hbf at 23:20 and arrives Ljubljana 05:57 & Zagreb at 08:35 next morning.  It has a modern Croatian air-conditioned couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments and a modern air-conditioned Croatian sleeping-car with comfortable 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin, see the photos below and the Croatian sleeper video here.

    Fares start at €49 with a couchette in 6-berth, €59 with a couchette in 4-berth, €89 in a 2-bed sleeper with washbasin or €129 in a single-bed sleeper with washbasin.

    Book this sleeper at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways own site www.oebb.at.  Bookings can open up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Important:  Munich-Ljubljana-Zagreb sleeper train cancelled until at least 10 July 2021...  Major engineering work has closed the Karawanks Tunnel between Austria & Slovenia until at least 10 July 2021, and the Munich-Zagreb sleeper train is temporarily cancelled.  Please use another option until this work is completed and the Munich-Zagreb sleeper train resumes.

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 4, using the Hamburg-Vienna nightjet sleeper train, morning in Vienna, EuroCity train to Zagreb. 

This avoids the Karawanks Tunnel engineering work!  It's a slower option, if only because of the morning at leisure in Vienna, but it's straightforward & comfortable.

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Vienna by Nightjet, leaving Hamburg Hbf at 20:29 every evening, arriving Vienna Hbf 09:19.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet sleeper train has an air-conditioned Comfortline sleeping-car with nine 1, 2 & 3-berth standard compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet. There are toilets & a shower at the end of the corridor for passengers in the regular sleepers.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, travel tips, photos & video.

    In Vienna, you've the best part of a day to enjoy the city.  Left luggage lockers are available.

    Book this sleeper at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, international payment cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways site www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly, in €, no booking fee).  Bookings open up to 180 days ahead and you print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Zagreb by EuroCity train Croatia, leaving Vienna Hbf at 15:58 and arriving Zagreb at 22:28. 

    For Ljubljana, change at Maribor onto a Slovenian InterCity train, arriving Ljubljana at 22:00.

    The EuroCity train has comfortable air-conditioned Austrian coaches, and an Austrian restaurant car.  In summer when it's light, enjoy the wonderful scenery over dinner in the restaurant car, including a ride over the famous UNESCO-listed Semmering Railway south of Vienna, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semmering_railway.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €49.90 in 1st class.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, international payment cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways site www.oebb.at (a little more fiddly, in €, no booking fee).  Bookings usually open up to 90 days ahead and you print your own ticket.

Back to top


Hamburg to Belgrade & Sofia...
  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Munich by superb German ICE train, leaving Hamburg Hbf at 16:01 and arriving Munich Hbf 21:41.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.

    Check times and book at www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket or can load it into the DB Navigator app and show on your smartphone.

    Have dinner in Munich, for local Bavarian food and a beer or two before boarding the sleeper try www.augustinerkeller.de at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Ljubljana or Zagreb by comfortable Croatian sleeper train Lisinski, leaving Munich Hbf at 23:20 and arriving Ljubljana 05:57 & Zagreb 08:35 next morning.

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

    Fares start at €49 with a couchette in 6-berth, €59 with a couchette in 4-berth, €89 in a 2-bed sleeper with washbasin or €129 in a single-bed sleeper with washbasin.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easiest to use, overseas payment cards no problem) or Austrian Railways' own site www.oebb.at (same prices but more fiddly).  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 3, travel from Zagreb to Belgrade by train.  Until 4 October 2020 it leaves Zagreb at 11:03 and arrives Novi Beograd at 18:00 & Belgrade Centar at 18:07.  From 5 October 2020 onwards it leaves Zagreb at 13:04 and arrives Novi Beograd at 20:17 & Belgrade Centar at 20:25.

    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) arriving in the evening.  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 Zagreb to Munich, at Zagreb main station   Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb

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

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

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

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

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

Back to top


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

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

  • The German railways website, www.bahn.de can book tickets from Hamburg to Warsaw using an ICE train with restaurant car & free WiFi from Hamburg Hbf to Berlin Hbf then a comfortable Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train with restaurant car from Berlin Hbf to Warsaw Centralna.

  • Fares start at just €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

  • Total journey around 7h35, take a good book, a bottle of wine and put your feet up.

  • Check times & buy tickets at www.bahn.de.  However, I'd recommend clicking Add intermediate stops, entering Berlin Hbf and a stopover duration of at least 40 minutes, this gives you more time to change train in case of any delay.  Look for a journey with just 1 change.

Option 2, Hamburg to Krakow in a single day from €37.90 - daily starting 13 December 2020...

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Berlin by ICE train with restaurant car & free WiFi, leaving Hamburg Hbf 07:38 & arriving Berlin Hbf 09:22.

    Note that a later departure is possible with a tighter connection in Berlin, but any delay would mean missing the once-a-day train to Krakow, so  I recommend the train shown above.

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train Wawel with leaving Berlin Hbf at 10:37 and arriivng Krakow Glowny at 17:51.

    The direct Berlin-Krakow EuroCity train Wawel makes a welcome return from 13 December 2020:  Day 2, travel from Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train Wawel, leaving Berlin Hbf at 10:37 every day, arriving Katowice at 16:48 & Krakow Glowny at 17:51.  The Wawel is comfortable & air-conditioned with restaurant car, treat yourself to lunch and a beer or two.

  • Fares from Hamburg to Krakow start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

  • Buy tickets at www.bahn.de, looking for a journey with just 1 change.  Tip: Click Add intermediate stops, 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 load it into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.

    Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

    A Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train at Berlin Hbf...

    1st class car on the Berlin to Warsaw train.   2nd class open plan seating on the Berlin to Warsaw train

    1st class compartment car...

     

    2nd class open-plan car.  Some seats are in compartments.

     

    The bar...

     

    Decent food, served on proper china...

Option 2, Hamburg to Krakow using the Berlin-Krakow sleeping-car - why not spend a few hours in Berlin?

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Berlin by ICE train with restaurant car.  Trains leave every hour or so, you could leave Hamburg Hbf at 15:36 and arriving Berlin Hbf 17:26, but by all means book an earlier train to have more time in Berlin, there are left luggage lockers available and Berlin Hbf is just 10-15 min walk from the Reichstag & Brandenburg Gate, so even a few hours stopover is a worthwhile experience.

    Book this train from €19.90 in 2nd class or €49.90 in 1st class at the German Railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Krakow by sleeping-car, leaving Berlin Hbf at 18:43, arriving Krakow Glowny (main station) nice and early (well, early) at 04:15 next morning.

    This train has two seats cars and a safe & comfortable Polish sleeping-car bound for Krakow & Przemysl.  The sleeping-car has 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin.  There are no couchettes on this train and no restaurant car, so bring a picnic & bottle of wine along, or have an early dinner in Berlin.

    Prices start at €39 with a bed in a 3-berth, €54 with a bed in a 2-berth or €79 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.

  • To buy tickets, ideally book the whole journey from Hamburg to Krakow at the German Railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.  You'll see an option with 1 change appear in the search results twice, once marked ICE + EC (EuroCity = seats) and once marked  ICE + EN (EuroNight = sleeper), you must select the one marked ICE+EN.  Remember you can use bahn.de's features to give a longer connection or stopover in Berlin.

    Alternatively, you can also book the Berlin-Krakow sleeper at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and print your own ticket, then book Hamburg-Berlin separately at www.bahn.de.

    If you have any problem with oebb.at or bahn.de, book by phone, in the UK call German Railways on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04.

Back to top


Hamburg to Kiev & Ukraine...
  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Warsaw on day 1, from €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class with one easy same-station change at Berlin Hbf, booked at www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket.  Stay overnight in Warsaw, and explore Warsaw next morning.  Alternatively, catch an early evening train to Berlin and stay overnight there, taking the 09:37 Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train to Warsaw Centralna next morning, each leg booked at www.bahn.de.

  • Step 2, an overnight train called the Kiev Express leaves Warsaw Centralna at 18:05 and arrives in Kiev at 11:00 next day.  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.

  • Step 3, to book onward trains within Ukraine from Kiev to Odessa or the Crimea, see the Ukraine page.

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

Boarding in Warsaw...

 

1, 2 or 3-bed sleeper...

 

...with washbasin.

Back to top


Hamburg to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia...

Option 1, using the daily Warsaw-Moscow sleeper...

  • Day 1, travel from Hamburg to Warsaw as shown above

  • Stay overnight in Warsaw.  If your budget will stretch, the Polonia Palace Hotel is just across the road from both the Palace of Culture skyscraper and Warsaw Centralna station, and 25 minutes walk from Warsaw's old town. Opened in 1913, it was one of the few hotels to emerge unscathed from WW2, and has been used by many famous people including General (later President) Eisenhower and General de Gaulle.

  • Day 2, travel from Warsaw to Moscow by Russian sleeper train, leaving Warsaw Centralna at 19:15 daily and arriving Moscow Belorussky at 16:58 next day (day 3 from Hamburg).  You can check times at the Russian Railways website www.rzd.ru.

    This train uses impressive Austrian-built sleeping-cars with 4-berth compartments built in 2014, see photos of this type of sleeper here & see panorama photo inside one of these modern sleepers.  Each compartment can be sold as 1st class 1-berth, 1st class 2-berth or 2nd class 4-berth.  The train consist of two or three sleeping-car which start their journey in Prague.  There's a bistro car in Poland and a Russian restaurant car is attached between Brest (on the Polish/Belarus border) & Moscow.

    You can book this train by contacting reliable Polish train ticketing agency www.polrail.com - their booking system is at http://booking.polrail.com.  Tickets can be collected in Warsaw or (at extra charge) shipped to any address worldwide.

  • Alternatively, you can book with Russian Railways at www.rzd.ru although it's a little quirky and may not accept some overseas credit cards.

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

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

  • Step 1, travel from Hamburg to Berlin from €19.90 in 2nd class or €49.90 in 1st class.  For example, the 14:36 from Hamburg Hbf arrives Berlin Hbf at 16:19, but by all means take an earlier train.  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.

Back to top


Hamburg to Athens, Corfu & Greece...

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

  • The best and most comfortable option is to pick up a ferry in Bari.  The whole scenic and relaxing journey to Athens will take around 2 nights & 3 days, depending how the connections work out on your particular date.

  • Day 1, travel from Hamburg Hbf to Verona Porta Nuova from €39.90 in a single chill-out day with a restaurant car for lunch & dinner.  I'd leave around 06:30, have at least an hour between trains in Munich just in case of delay, then arrive Verona around 20:55, but there are various options.  Check times, prices & buy online with German Railways at www.bahn.de - you can use the adjust transfer time feature to increase the time between trains in Munich, otherwise it just gives you the minimum.

  • Stay overnight in Verona.

  • Day 2, take an early morning train around 07:50 from Verona Porta Nuova to Bari Centrale from €29.90 booked at either www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com.  Make sure you allow at least 3 hours between between train arrival and ferry departure in Bari.

  • Day 2, then sail across the Adriatic from Bari to Corfu, Igoumenitsa or Patras in Greece aboard a luxurious cruise ferry booked at www.superfast.com.  She normally sails daily except Sundays at 19:30 arriving 13:00 next day (day 3).  The ferry has bars, restaurants, lounges, reclining seats and cabins with en suite toilet & shower.  It's a lovely crossing, see the photos below.

  • Day 3, Patras is a few hours bus ride from Athens.  If you hunt for it, there's a bus/train combined timetable from Patras to Athens on www.trainose.gr but it's not always easy to find.

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

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

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

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

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

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

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

  • Travel from Hamburg to Budapest as shown above.

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

Back to top


Hamburg to Istanbul & Turkey...
  • Take the Austrian Nightjet sleeper train from Hamburg Hbf (departing 20:29) to Vienna Hbf (arriving 08:27).  You can buy tickets for this train at either the German Railways website www.bahn.de or www.thetrainline.com which is sometimes cheaper.  Prices from €59 with a couchette or €99 in a 2-bed sleeper.  You print out your own ticket.

  • From Vienna you can pick up the London-Istanbul route suggested on the London to Turkey page.

Back to top


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...

  • www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

Backpacker hostels...

  • www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

Back to top


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.

 


Back to home page