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

Buy train tickets in Italy at www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com www.italiarail.com or Italian Railways' website www.trenitalia.com.

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      Click here for journeys starting in another city

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      See Rome Termini station information

This page explains how to travel by train from Rome to other 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.  They answer all the usual questions, such as "Do I need to book in advance or can I just buy at the station?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just buy a €35 point-to-point ticket online?".  Click here to understand how far ahead you can buy train tickets.

bullet pointEuropean train travel FAQ...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to Interrail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...

Which station in Rome?

Rome Termini is the main central station in Rome, walking distance from most of the sights, and used by most trains.  However, Rome Tiburtina and Rome Ostiense are also important, but a little further out of the centre.  On this page, 'Rome' means Rome Termini unless it says otherwise.  Map of Rome showing stations.


Rome to other Italian towns & cities from €9.90, www.italiarail.com
Rome to Florence, Venice, Milan, Turin, Naples...
Rome to Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi...
Rome to Palermo, Catania, Siracuse & Sicily from €19.90...
Intercity train to Sicily on board the ferry

Train on a ferry! A Rome-Sicily train on board the train ferry on the Straits of Messina.  Courtesy Discoverbyrail.com.

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Rome to London from €74...

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Rome to Paris from €58.90...

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Rome to Lyon from €54.90...

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

Step 1, take a high-speed Frecciarossa from Rome to Milan in 2h55 at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  This is a Frecciarossa 1000 at Milan CentraleMore information about Frecciarossas & explanation of the 4 classes.

Frecciarossa 1000 standard class   A Frecciarossa 1000 train at Milan Centrale

Standard class, 2+2 across width.  Larger photo.

 

Executive class, 1+1 across width.  Larger photo

Frecciarossa 1000 Business class seats   At-seat meal on Frecciarossa 1000

Business class seats 1+2 across car width, with tables for 2 and tables for 4 and complimentary prosecco. Larger photo.

 

In business class you can order a meal at your seat, around €18.  More information about Frecciarossas.

Frecciabianca train at Milan Centrale

Step 2, take an Intercity or Frecciabianca train from Milan to Ventimiglia in around 3h45.  Here, a Frecciabianca is boarding at the magnificent Milan Centrale...

2nd class   1st class

2nd class.  Larger photo.

 

1st class.  Larger photo.

TER train at Juans-les-Pins station

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

Coastal scenery between Nice & Ventimiglia

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

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Rome to Brussels & Bruges from €64...

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

Important:  Due to trackwork, the Rome-Munich Nightjet won't run during the month of July 2022.

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

Step 1, Rome to Munich by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

   

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

Step 2, Munich to Brussels by ICE with one easy change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.  ICEs have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Above, an ICE3M at Brussels MidiMore information about ICE.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

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

Option 2, Rome to Brussels with overnight stop in Paris...

  • How much does it cost?

    Rome-Turin starts at €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.

    Turin-Paris starts at €29 in 2nd class or €44 in 1st class.

    Paris-Brussels starts at €29 in 2nd class or €55 in 1st class.

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

  • How to buy tickets...

    The easiest place to buy tickets is at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (whichever you prefer).

    These connect to both the Trenitalia & SNCF ticketing systems so you can book all your tickets together in one place, in plain English, in €, £ or $.  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  There's a small booking fee.

    First book Rome Termini to Paris (any station) and add to basket.  Then book Paris (any station) to Brussels Midi for the following day, add to basket & check out.

    The Italian train is ticketless, you just quote the booking reference on board.  For the two French trains, you print your own ticket or can show a mobile ticket on your phone.

  • How to buy tickets, advanced...

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

Option 3, Rome to Brussels with overnight stop in Turin...

  • How much does it cost? 

    Rome to Turin by Frecciarossa starts at €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.

    Turin to Paris starts at €29 in 2nd class or €44 in 1st class.

    Paris to Brussels starts at €29 in 2nd class or €55 in 1st class.

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

  • How to buy tickets...

    Buy tickets at either www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com, whichever you like best.

    These connect to both the Trenitalia, Italo & SNCF ticketing systems so you can book all your tickets together in one place, in plain English, in €, £ or $.  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  There's a small booking fee.

    First book from Rome Termini to Turin Porta Susa and add to basket.  Then book from Turin Porta Susa to Brussels Midi for the following day, add to basket & check out.

    Tip:  Before running the Turin to Brussels enquiry at www.raileurope.com, click More options and enter Paris (any station) as a via point with a stopover duration of at least 1 hour to ensure a robust connection.  If you don't do this, the system allows cross-Paris connections as tight as 40 minutes, which I consider too tight.

    The Italian train is ticketless, you just quote the booking reference on board.  For the two French trains, you print your own ticket or can show a mobile ticket on your phone.

  • How to buy tickets, advanced...

    Alternatively, you can book each train separately, more effort, more fiddly, same fares, but no booking fee.  First book the Italian train at www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, $ or £, they'll refund their small booking fee to seat61 users if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com afterwards) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, more fiddly, requires Italian-language place names, see advice on using it), then book the TGV & Thalys at the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com.

Option 4, Rome to Brussels with overnight stop in Munich - avoids crossing Paris...

  • Day 1, travel from Rome to Munich, leaving Rome Termini at 12:15, changing at Bologna Centrale and arriving Munich Hbf at 22:27.

    By all means take an earlier train and spend a pleasant evening in Munich - you'll find journeys arriving Munich at 16:26, 18:27 or 20:26, for example - just check times at www.raileurope.com.

    You take an Italian high-speed Frecciarossa to Bologna (or on some departures, Verona) with cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, then a comfortable Austrian EuroCity train with restaurant car for dinner through the scenic Brenner pass to Munich Hbf.  The journey is worth doing in daylight.

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

    Bologna or Verona to Munich starts at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

    Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book from Rome Termini to Munich Hbf at www.raileurope.com, but (this is important) click More options, enter Bologna Centrale as a via station and a stopover duration of 45 minutes.  Look for journeys with just 1 change.  Now re-run the enquiry with Verona Porta Nuova as a via station also with 45 minutes stopover selected to see if this gives a cheaper or quicker 1-change journey, which it will be on some departures.

    Booking normally opens up to 4 months ahead for Italian trains, which are ticketless, you simply quote the booking reference on the train.  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead for the Austrian EuroCity trains, you print your own ticket or can show them on your laptop or smartphone.

  • 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.

  • Day 2, travel from Munich to Brussels by ICE train, leaving Munich Hbf at 08:27, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arriving Brussels Midi 15:35.

    ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Exact times may vary, earlier or later departures are also available.

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

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months head.

    You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

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Rome to Amsterdam from €64...

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

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

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Milan by Frecciarossa, leaving Rome Termini 07:20 (07:10 Sundays), arriving Milan Centrale 10:35 (10:50 Sundays).

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

  • Step 2, travel from Milan to Frankfurt by ETR610 EuroCity train leaving Milan Centrale at 11:20 and arriving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 18:44.

    The ETR610 EuroCity train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    It's a lovely ride through the Alps past Lake Maggiore and via the famous Simplon & Lφtschberg route.  Treat yourself to lunch as the lakes & mountains glide by.  You'll also pass through the world's longest rail tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the transit takes just 20 minutes.

  • Step 3, travel from Frankfurt to Amsterdam by ICE3, leaving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 19:28 and arriving Amsterdam Centraal at 23:28.

    This train runs daily except Saturdays and a few other dates.  ICE3 trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

  • How much does it cost?

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

    Milan to Amsterdam start at €59.90 in 2nd class or €119.90 in 1st class.

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

  • How to buy tickets...

    Step 1, book the train from Florence to Milan at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.comBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  it's ticketless, you just quote the reference on the train.

    Step 2, book from Milan to Amsterdam at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  See suggested hotels in Amsterdam.

ETR610 EuroCity train at Frankfurt Hbf

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

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

2nd class on a Trenitalia ETR610...

 

1st class on a Trenitalia ETR610.

Lake Maggiore, seen from the train

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

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

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Milan by Frecciarossa 1000, leaving Rome Termini at 11:10 and arriving Milan Centrale at 14:50.

    High-speed Frecciarossa trains have 4 classes, a cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi. More information about Frecciarossas.

    Fares start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  Fares work like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book from Milan to Zurich to at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee).  Booking usually opens up to 4 months ahead.  It's ticketless, you just quote the booking reference on board.

    Tip:  A later departure is possible with a 20-minute connection in Zurich, but as you're catching a sleeper I'd play safe and allow plenty of time between trains in Milan.  The magnificent Milan Centrale is an attraction in its own right, go & find Mussolini!

  • Step 2, travel from Milan to Zurich by EuroCity train through the Alps, leaving Milan Centrale at 16:10 arriving Zurich HB at 19:27.

    The EuroCity train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & fee WiFi.  It's a lovely ride across Switzerland through the Alps past various lakes including Lake Lugano, see the Milan to Zurich video.  Have your camera ready!

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

    Fares start at €29 in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class.  Fares work like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book from Milan to Zurich to at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee).  Booking usually opens up to 4 months ahead.  It's ticketless, you just quote the booking reference on board.

  • Step 3, travel from Zurich to Amsterdam by Nightjet sleeper trainFrom the timetable change on 13 December 2021, a Nightjet sleeper train leaves Zurich HB 21:59 every evening, arriving Amsterdam Centraal at 09:14.

    This comfortable Nightjet train has an air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 berth compartments with washbasin.  The sleeping-car attendant can serve drinks, snacks & light meals from a room service menu.  The train has a couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in sleepers & couchettes, served in your compartment.  Watch the Amsterdam-Switzerland sleeper video.

    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, all per person per berth.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this sleeper train at www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Dutch Railways international site www.nsinternational.nl (in €, no booking fee).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

Giruno train

Steps 1 & 2, travel from Rome to Milan by high-speed train & Milan to Zurich by EuroCity train.  Above, a Milan-Zurich EuroCity train is seen at Bellinzona.  The train passes through the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest rail tunnel, though the transit takes just 20 minutes.

1st class on Giruno   Restaurant car on Giruno

Giruno, 1st class.  Larger photo.

 

Restaurant car with bar counter. Larger photo.

2nd class on Giruna   Bar counter in the restaurant car

Giruno 2nd class.  Larger photo

 

Level boarding. Note the destination screen in the door. 

Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan to Zurich train

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

AB33 sleeping-car on the Amsterdam-Zurich Nightjet train

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

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

Single-bed sleeper with washbasin.  Larger photo.

 

Breakfast next morning.  Larger photo.

Couchette compartment on Amsterdam to Switzerland Nightjet train   Couchette compartment on Amsterdam to Switzerland Nightjet train

4 or 6 berth couchettes, bedding provided.  Larger photo.

 

Couchette car...

Option 3, Rome to Amsterdam using the Rome-Munich sleeper - a safe, comfortable & time-effective option, but not as scenic as option 2...

Important:  Due to trackwork, the Rome-Munich Nightjet won't run during the month of July 2022.

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Rome Termini at 20:17 and arriving Munich Hbf at 09:20. 

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

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

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria & click nj.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Amsterdam by ICE train, leaving Munich Hbf at 12:27, making one easy change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arriving Amsterdam Centraal at 20:28.

    ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Exact times may vary.

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

    Book this at the German Railways website www.bahn.deTip:  Change Duration of transfer from standard to at least 40 minutes

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  See suggested hotels in Amsterdam.

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

Step 1, Rome to Munich by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

   

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

ICE3 at Amsterdam Centraal

Step 2, Munich to Amsterdam by ICE with one easy change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.  ICEs have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Above, an ICE3M at Amsterdam CentraalMore information about ICE.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

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

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

  • Day 1, travel from Rome to Milan by high-speed Frecciarossa train in 2h55 then from Milan to Zurich by EuroCity train in 3h17.

    You can leave Rome Termini at 15:20 arriving Zurich HB at 22:27, but trains leave every hour, so by all means book an earlier train and spend a pleasant evening in Zurich.

    The Frecciarossa has a cafe-bar, the EuroCity train has a restaurant car, both trains have power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  It's a lovely ride along Lake Lugano and through the Alps, see the Milan to Zurich video.

    Fares from Rome to Milan start at €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.

    Fares from Milan to Zurich start at €29 in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class.

    Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Buy tickets at www.raileurope.com, www.thetrainline.com or www.trenitalia.com.  Booking usually opens 90 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you simply quote the booking reference on board the train.

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

  • Day 2, travel from Zurich to Amsterdam by ICE, leaving Zurich HB at 07:59, change at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arriving Amsterdam Centraal 17:29.

    By all means choose an earlier or later train, check times online.  ICE trains have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

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

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

  • Day 1, travel from Rome to Munich, leaving Rome Termini at 12:15, changing at Bologna Centrale and arriving Munich Hbf at 22:27.

    By all means take an earlier train and spend a pleasant evening in Munich - you'll find journeys arriving Munich at 16:26, 18:27 or 20:26, for example - just check times at www.raileurope.com.

    You take an Italian high-speed Frecciarossa to Bologna (or on some departures, Verona P. Nuova) with cafe-bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, then a comfortable Austrian EuroCity train with restaurant car for dinner through the scenic Brenner pass to Munich Hbf.  The journey is worth doing in daylight.

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

    Bologna or Verona to Munich starts at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class. 

    Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book from Rome Termini to Munich Hbf at www.raileurope.com, but (this is important) click More options, enter Bologna Centrale as a via station and a stopover duration of 45 minutes.  Look for journeys with just 1 change.  Now re-run the enquiry with Verona Porta Nuova as a via station also with 45 minutes stopover selected to see if this gives a cheaper or quicker 1-change journey, which it will be on some departures.

    Booking opens up to 4 months ahead for Italian trains, which are ticketless, you simply quote the booking reference on the train.  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead for the Austrian EuroCity trains, you print your own ticket or can show them on your laptop or smartphone.

  • Stay overnight 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.

  • Day 2, travel from Munich to Amsterdam by ICE, leaving Munich Hbf at 07:47, change Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, arriving Amsterdam Centraal 15:29.

    By all means choose an earlier or later departure.  ICE trains have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    Fares start at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

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

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

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

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

 

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

Austrian restaurant car   Meal in an Austrian restaurant car on a Munich-Verona train

The elegant restaurant car.  Larger photo.

Lunch with wine on board...

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...

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

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

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

Option 6, Rome to Amsterdam via Paris - the route to use if you want to stop off in Paris...

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Rome to Luxembourg...

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

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Rome Termini at 20:17 every night and arriving Munich Hbf at 09:20.

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

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

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria & click nj.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to Luxembourg, leaving Munich Hbf at 10:28 by ICE train, change at Mannheim, Saarbrucken & Trier, arriving Luxembourg at 17:24.

    Fares start at €32.90.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book from Munich to Luxembourg at the German Railways website www.bahn.de, allowing at least 1 hour between trains in Munich.

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

    Tip:  To avoid buses and get an all-train journey, click Stopover and enter Igel as a via station.

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

Rome to Munich by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

   

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

Option 2, Rome to Luxembourg with overnight stop in Zurich - if you prefer day trains & hotel to sleepers...

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

  • Day 2, travel from Zurich to Luxembourg, leaving Zurich HB at 07:59, changing at Mannheim & Koblenz, arriving Luxembourg at 17:24.

    Or have a leisurely breakfast and take the easiest departure with just 1 change, leaving Zurich HB at 10:59 by direct EuroCity train EC8 to Koblenz, time for coffee in Koblenz, then the 17:06 from Koblenz direct to Luxembourg arriving 19:24.

    These are all comfortable air-conditioned trains and they all head along the scenic Rhine Valley route between Mainz and Koblenz past vineyards, castles, river boats & the legendary Lorelei Rock - see the Rails Down the Rhine page - then along the pretty Moselle river to Trier.  The whole journey is made on a through ticket, so no worries about connections, they normally go like clockwork.  There are earlier or later departures, too, just check online.

    Tip:  EuroCity train EC8 has a Swiss 1st class panorama car, to book it, see the advice on the Rails Down the Rhine page.

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

    Book from Munich to Luxembourg at the German Railways website www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead.

    You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in & check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.

    Tip:  To get an all-train journey and avoid journeys with a bus, click Stopover and enter Igel as a via station.

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Rome to Geneva, Zurich, Lucerne, Basel & Switzerland from €59...

Choose between fast, comfortable & scenic (option 1, using mainline trains) and slow, comfortable, fabulous world-class highlight-of-your-trip scenic (option 2, via the Bernina Express).  With the daytime trains increasingly fast, there are no longer any sleeper trains between Rome & Switzerland, although there are plans to reintroduce one in 2024, when new rolling stock becomes available.

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

  • How much does it cost?

    Rome to Milan start at €29.90 in 2nd (standard) class or €39.90 in 1st (business) class.

    Milan to Geneva, Zurich & other Swiss cities start at €29 in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class when using a direct train.

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

  • How to buy tickets, the easy way...

    Buy tickets at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.  Both are easy to use, in €, £ or $ (www.thetrainline.com can also sell in CHF), overseas credit cards are no problem, there's a small booking fee.

    www.thetrainline.com connects to both the Italian and Swiss ticketing systems.  www.raileurope.com connects to the Italian system and can sell full-flex Swiss tickets through an arrangement with French Railways.  That means both sites can sell from Venice to anywhere in Switzerland, at least in principle.  Each handles the data slightly differently, so I'd check both sites.

    Booking for the international EuroCity trains opens 90 days ahead.  However, booking for Swiss domestic trains only opens 60 days ahead.

    Italian high-speed trains & the EuroCity trains are ticketless, you simply quote the booking reference on the train.  Swiss domestic tickets can be printed out or a mobile ticket can be shown on your smartphone.

  • How to buy tickets, advanced...

    Now for the science bit.  Trenitalia's ticketing system can sell tickets for the international EuroCity trains between Italy & Switzerland, and obviously for its own trains within Italy, but cannot access SBB's ticketing system so cannot sell any journey involving a Swiss domestic train.

    Meanwhile, the Swiss ticketing system can sell Swiss domestic tickets & tickets for the international EuroCity trains to Italy which it jointly runs with Trenitalia, but it cannot access Trenitalia's ticketing system so cannot sell Trenitalia's cheap fares within Italy.

    Step 1, run an enquiry on the all-Europe online timetable provided by German Railways at www.bahn.de.  Look for a suitable journey, ideally with as few changes as possible.  Note down the trains you want, identifying the Italian train, the EuroCity train and any Swiss domestic train.

    For example, say you ran an enquiry from Rome to Zermatt.  You'd pick a journey that suits you:  A high-speed Frecciarossa from Rome to Milan, a EuroCity (EC) train from Milan to Brig, then a Swiss train from Brig to Zermatt.  Then you'd split the booking like this:

    Step 2, book the Italian train and EuroCity train using the Italian ticketing system at www.thetrainline.com or www.raileurope.com (both easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, $ or £, they'll refund the €3.50 booking fee to seat61 users if you email them afterwards at seat61@italiarail.com) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, more fiddly, requires Italian-language place names, see advice on using it).

    In our example, you'd book from Rome to Brig.  Booking opens 90 days ahead.  Italian high-speed trains and the EuroCity are ticketless, you just quote the booking reference on board.

    Step 3, now add a Swiss domestic ticket separately using either www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in CHF, €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the Swiss Federal Railways site www.sbb.ch (in €, no fee).  Regular Swiss tickets are fixed-price, cannot sell out, and are good for any train that day, so this bit isn't as crucial.  You could buy at the station on the day if you like!

    In our example, you'd book from Brig to Zermatt.  Booking opens 60 days ahead (if necessary, wait to book this bit).  You print your own ticket.

ETR610 EuroCity train at Milan Centrale

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

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

Table for 4 in 2nd class, ideal for families...

 

1st class seats...

Restaurant car of a tilting 'Pendolino' train from Geneva to Milan.   Meal on a Swiss EuroCity train between Switzerland & Milan

Restaurant car...

 

Lunch!

Lake Maggiore, seen from the train

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

Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan to Zurich train

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

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

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

  • Step 2, travel from Milan Centrale to Tirano by Trenord local train...

    The 10:20 from Milan connects with the Bernina Express itself, with time for a sandwich and beer in Tirano, see the Bernina Express page.

    However, these trains run every 2 hours throughout the day, fare around €12, you can check train times at www.thetrainline.com or www.trenord.it.  No reservation is necessary or even possible, you just buy a ticket to Tirano from the self-service machines at Milan Centrale and hop on the next train.

    In Tirano, the Italian Trenord station is right next to the Rhδtische Bahn one on the same town square.

  • Step 3, travel from Tirano to St Moritz & Chur on the Rhδtische Bahn...

    This is the fabulous Bernina Express route over the Bernina Pass.  You can check times & prices from Tirano to St Moritz, Chur or Zurich at www.thetrainline.com or the Swiss Railways website www.sbb.ch.  If you take one of the regular normal local trains, no reservation is necessary or possible, just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on.  Only if you want to use the once or twice daily Bernina Express with its special all-reserved panoramic carriages do you need a seat reservation, see the Bernina Express page.

  • Step 4, travel from Chur to Zurich by Swiss Intercity train...

    On arrival in Chur, simply cross the platform to the waiting half-hourly InterCity or InterRegional train to Zurich.  Again, no reservation necessary or possible, if you're bound for Zurich simply buy a ticket to Zurich in Tirano.  You can check times and fares from Tirano to Zurich at www.thetrainline.com or www.sbb.ch.

First class seats   Bernina Express panormaic cars

Bernina Express 1st class seats...

 

the Bernina Express uses panoramic carriages...

The train descends from the Bernina Pass

The Bernina Express descends from the Bernina Pass...

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Rome to Barcelona, Madrid & Spain...

Option 1, Rome to Barcelona & Spain with overnight stop in Marseille - the most direct route...

  • Day 1, travel from Rome to Ventimiglia on the French border, leaving Rome Termini at 06:57 by Frecciabianca train, changing at Genoa Piazza Principe onto a regional train, arriving Ventimiglia at 16:03.  There's great scenery along the coast both between Rome & Genoa and between Genoa & Ventimiglia.

  • Day 1, travel from Ventimiglia to Marseille by TER local train, leaving Ventimiglia 16:55, changing at Nice Ville, arriving Marseille St Charles 21:03.  There's more great scenery along the coast between Ventimiglia & Toulon.

  • How much does it cost?

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

    Genoa to Ventimiglia by regional train is around €14, fixed-price.

    Ventimiglia to Marseille by TER costs around €41, fixed price, but a promotional price of €25 is sometimes available.

    Marseille-Barcelona starts at €25 in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class.  Marseille-Madrid starts at €35 in 2nd class or €59 in 1st class.

    Barcelona to Malaga or Seville starts at around €45.  Barcelona to Pamplona or San Sebastian starts at around €28.

    Fares vary like air fares (except for regional & TER trains), book ahead for the cheapest prices.

  • Buy tickets the easy way...

    Go to either www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com.  Book from Rome to Marseille on day 1 and add it to your basket.  Then book from Marseille to Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Alicante, Seville, Malaga or wherever for day 2, add it to your basket and check out.

    www.thetrainline.com & www.raileurope.com both connect to the Italian, French & Spanish rail ticketing systems, so you can buy all these tickets together in one place, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem.  There's a small booking fee.

    Booking for Trenitalia trains, French trains & the Marseille-Spain AVE normally opens up to 4 months ahead.  Booking for Spanish domestic trains opens 60 days ahead, but this varies.

    Italian Frecciabianca trains are ticketless, you just quote your booking reference to the conductor on board.  For the AVE and TER trains, you print your own ticket or can show a mobile ticket on your smartphone.  For Spanish trains & Italian regional trains, you print your own ticket.

  • Alternatively, you can book each train separately like this, although it's more work and the fares should be the same, but no booking fee...

    Step 1, book from Rome to Ventimiglia using either www.italiarail.com (easy to use, English place names, and they'll refund their €3.50 booking fee if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your PNR) or Italian Railways' own site www.trenitalia.com (you'll need to use Italian language place names).  It's ticketless, you just quote your booking reference to the conductor on board the train.

    Step 2, book from Ventimiglia to Marseille at the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com (in €, more fiddly).  You print your own ticket or can show a mobile ticket on your smartphone.

    Step 3, book from Marseille to Barcelona or Madrid for day 2 at the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com.  You print your own ticket or can show a mobile ticket on your smartphone.

    Step 4, book any onward trains within Spain at the Spanish Railways website www.renfe.com (much more fiddly, may reject some overseas credit cards, see this advice on using it, it's a lot easier to use www.thetrainline.com).  You print your own tickets.

TER train at Juans-les-Pins station

By TER local train from Ventimiglia to Nice.  Here, a TER rolls into Juan les Pins station, between Nice & Cannes.

Coastal scenery between Nice & Ventimiglia

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

AVE S100 at Barcelona Sants

By AVE from Marseille to Barcelona.  This is an AVE-S100 at Barcelona Sants.

 

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

Cafe-bar...

AVE train at Barcelona  

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

 

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

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  Seen from the train and one of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline all the way from Girona to Perpignan...

Option 2, Rome to Barcelona & Spain with overnight stop in Geneva...

Option 3, Rome to Barcelona by cruise ferry...

  • Another excellent option is the Grimaldi Lines cruise ferry from Civitavecchia (an hour by regional train north of Rome) and Barcelona.  The ferry sails daily at 22:15 and arrives at 18:15 next day.  To check times, fares, accommodation and to book online use the Direct Ferries website or go to www.grimaldi-lines.com.  Grimaldi Lines also run a ferry several times a week between Barcelona and Livorno, and between Salerno (near Naples) and Valencia.

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Rome to Lisbon & Portugal...

Option 1, Rome to Lisbon via Madrid...

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

  • Day 2, travel from Seville to Faro by bus.  Buses run from Seville Plaza de Armas to Faro several times daily, journey time around 3h40, fare around €16-€20.

    Buses are run by Damas, Eva-Bus & Alsa amongst others, you can check times & buy tickets for various bus companies all in one place at Omio.com.  You print your own ticket.

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Rome to Andorra...

  • Step 2, travel from Marseille to Toulouse by Intercitι leaving Marseille St Charles at 09:28 & arriving Toulouse Matabiau at 13:15.

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

    Book this train at either www.thetrainline.com or www.raileurope.com (both easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the French Railways website www.sncf-connect.com (in €, more fiddly, but no fee).  Booking for French trains opens up to 4 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show a mobile ticket on your smartphone.

  • Step 3, travel from Toulouse Matabiau station to Andorra la Vella by bus.  Andbus run several buses per day taking 4 hours, fare €33.  There's a bus leaving Toulouse Matabiau station (bus stand 15) at 15:00 arriving Andorra 19:00.  Check times & book the bus at www.andorrabybus.com.  I'd allow at least an hour between train and bus in Toulouse, just in case of delay.

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Rome to Munich, Berlin & Germany from €39...

Option 1, Rome to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train & onward train to Berlin or anywhere in Germany - the time-effective option...

Important:  Due to trackwork, the Rome-Munich Nightjet won't run during the month of July 2022.

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Rome Termini at 20:17 every night and arriving Munich Hbf at 09:20.

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

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

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria & click nj.

  • Step 2, travel from Munich to anywhere in Germany, for example leaving Munich Hbf 10:55 by ICE train and arriving Berlin Hbf at 15:29.

    Book from Munich to any German destination at the German Railways website www.bahn.de, allowing at least 1 hour between trains in Munich.

    Fares start at €18.90 upwards.  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.   I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

Rome to Munich by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

   

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

Option 2, Rome to Hamburg or Berlin using the Zurich-Hamburg/Berlin sleeper - another time-effective option...

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Milan by Frecciarossa, leaving Rome Termini at 10:50 and arriving Milan Centrale at 14:00.

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

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

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, $ or £, they'll refund their small booking fee to seat61 users if you email them after booking at seat61@italiarail.com) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, more fiddly, requires Italian-language place names, see advice on using it).

    Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  It's ticketless, you just quote your booking reference on board.

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

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

    Fares start at €29 in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, requires Italian language place names, see advice on using it).  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you just quote your booking reference on board.

  • Step 3, travel from Zurich to Germany by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Zurich HB at 19:59 & arriving Hamburg Hbf 07:54 or Berlin Hbf 07:38.

    This comfortable Austrian Nightjet train has portions.  The Hamburg portion  has two air-conditioned double-deck sleeping-cars (1 & 2 bed compartments with washbasin, 1 & 2 bed deluxe compartments with shower & toilet, plus a few 3-berth compartments with washbasin), couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments & ordinary seats.  The Berlin portion has a 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.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning, See the Nightjet page for a guide to on-board accommodation, tips, photos & video.

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

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Switzerland & click nj.

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

  • How much does it cost?

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

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

    Bologna or Verona to Munich or anywhere in Germany starts at €37.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.

    Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

  • How to buy tickets...

    Book from Rome Termini to Munich or anywhere in Germany at www.raileurope.com, but (and this is important) click More options, enter either Verona (any station) or Bologna Centrale as a via station and a stopover duration of 45 minutes.  Look for journeys with just 1 change to Munich or 2 changes if going beyond Munich.

    www.raileurope.com connects to both the Italian and German ticketing systems so can source both tickets as one seamless booking.  You can pay in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, there's a small booking fee.

    The Italian train opens for booking up to 4 months ahead.  It's ticketless, you quote the booking reference on board.  The Austrian/German trains open for booking up to 6 months ahead, you print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

    Alternatively, you can book the Italian train at www.italiarail.com (in €, £ or $, the small fee will be refunded if you email them afterwards at seat61@italiarail.com) or www.trenitalia.com, then book the Austrian/German trains from Bologna or Verona to anywhere in Germany at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.

The restaurant car on a EuroCity from Verona to Munich, 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.

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

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

 

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

Austrian restaurant car   Meal in an Austrian restaurant car on a Munich-Verona train

The elegant restaurant car.  Larger photo.

Lunch with wine on board...

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...

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

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

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

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

  • Step 2, travel from Milan to Frankfurt by ETR610 EuroCity train leaving Milan Centrale at 11:20 and arriving Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 18:44.

    The EuroCity train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  It travels along Lake Maggiore and through the Swiss Alps via the famous Simplon & Lφtschberg route.  Change in Frankfurt for Cologne, Dusseldorf & so on.  It's even possible to reach Hamburg or Berlin shortly after midnight!

    Fares from Milan to Germany start at €59.90 in 2nd class or €119.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book from Milan to anywhere in Germany at the German Railways website www.bahn.de (in €, no booking fee) or at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, small booking fee, allows you to keep all your bookings together in one place), looking for the 11:20 departure.  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

ETR610 EuroCity train at Milan Centrale

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

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

Table for 4 in 2nd class, ideal for families...

 

1st class seats...

Lake Maggiore, seen from the train

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

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

Restaurant car...

 

Dinner in the diner...

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

  • Day 1, take a high-speed train from Rome Termini to Verona Porta Nuova in 2h50, then a comfortable Austrian EuroCity train with restaurant car from Verona Porta Nuova to Munich Hbf via the scenic Brenner Pass in around 5h10, see the Brenner Pass scenery video here.

    You can leave Rome Termini as late as 12:15 arriving Munich Hbf at 22:27, but by all means take an earlier train for an evening in Munich.

    Book from Rome Termini to Munich at www.raileurope.com, first clicking More options, entering Verona (any station) as a via station and a stopover duration of 45 minutes.  Look for journeys with just 1 change.  Now re-run the enquiry with Bologna (any station) entered as a via station to see if this gives a cheaper or quicker 1-change journey, once or twice per day it does.

    www.raileurope.com can be used by anyone from any country, in €, £ or $, small booking fee.  Italian trains open for booking up to 4 months ahead, it's ticketless, you quote the reference on board.  The EuroCity trains open for booking up to 6 months ahead, you print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

    Alternatively, book the Italian train at www.italiarail.com (in €, £ or $, the small fee will be refunded if you email them afterwards at seat61@italiarail.com) or www.trenitalia.com, then book the EuroCity train from Bologna or Verona to Munich at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.

  • Day 2, take comfortable ICE or IC trains from Munich to anywhere in Germany.

    Fares start at €18.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

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

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

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

Important:  Due to trackwork, the Rome-Salzburg/Vienna Nightjet won't run during the month of July 2022.

  • An excellent Nightjet sleeper train leaves Rome Termini at 20:17 every night and arrives Salzburg Hbf at 06:49 & Vienna Hbf at 08:52.

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

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

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria & click nj.

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Nightjet couchette car...

Option 2, Rome to Salzburg or Vienna in a day via Venice - a scenic daytime route with lunch in Venice...

  • You can travel from Rome to Vienna by train in a single chill-out day from €58.  How about lunch in Venice?

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

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

Railjet restaurant car   Business class seats on a railjet train

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

 

Business class.  About business class.

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

First class.

 

Economy class.

The railjet travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

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

The restaurant car on a EuroCity from Verona to Munich, 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.

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

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

 

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

Austrian restaurant car   Meal in an Austrian restaurant car on a Munich-Verona train

The elegant restaurant car.  Larger photo.

Lunch with wine on board...

Hilltop fortresses seen from the Brenner Pass train

Watch out for hilltop fortresses...

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

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

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

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Rome to Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Stockholm...

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

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Milan by Frecciarossa, leaving Rome Termini at 10:50 and arriving Milan Centrale at 14:00.

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

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

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, requires Italian language place names, see advice on using it).  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  It's ticketless, you just quote your booking reference on board.

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

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

    Fares start at €29 in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, requires Italian language place names, see advice on using it).  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you just quote your booking reference on board.

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

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

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

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Switzerland & click nj.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

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

   

2-berth sleeper on the lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

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

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

Hamburg to Copenhagen by Danish IC3...  This is a 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.

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.

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

Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000 seen here 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, Rome to Copenhagen, Gothenburg & Stockholm using the Rome-Munich sleeper...

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

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

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

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

  • Step 3 if you're going to Malmo, simply take the next available Φresund train from Copenhagen to Malmφ, these leave twice an hour taking 39 minutes.  You can book through from Munich to Malmφ from €56.90 at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

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

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

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Rome

Step 1, Rome to Munich by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

   

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Hamburg Hbf

Step 2, Munich to Hamburg by ICE, then Hamburg to Copenhagen by Danish IC3.  This is a 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.

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.

Option 3, Rome to Copenhagen, Gothenburg & Stockholm with overnight stops in Munich & Copenhagen...

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

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

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

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Rome to Oslo & Norway...

Option 1, Rome to Oslo by train all the way, with overnight stops Munich & Copenhagen...

Option 2, Rome to Oslo using the Kiel-Oslo cruise ferry - the most luxurious way to Norway...

  • Day 1, travel from Rome to Milan by Frecciarossa, leaving Rome Termini at 10:50 and arriving Milan Centrale at 13:58.

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

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

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, requires Italian language place names, see advice on using it).  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  It's ticketless, you just quote your booking reference on board.

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

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

    Fares start at €29 in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or www.trenitalia.com (in €, requires Italian language place names, see advice on using it).  Booking opens up to 90 days ahead.  It's ticketless, you just quote your booking reference on board.

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

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

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

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Switzerland & click nj.

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

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

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

   

2-berth sleeper on the lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

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

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Nightjet couchette car...

 

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

Germany to Oslo Color Line ferry at Kiel

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

Boarding the ferry in Kiel

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

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

A 5 Star Suite on the ferry...

 

More cruise liner than ferry!  The restaurant.

View from Color Line ferry to Oslo

Wake up to this....

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

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

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

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Rome to Helsinki & Finland...

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

  • Day 1, travel from Rome to Munich by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Rome Termini at 20:17 and arriving Munich Hbf at 09:20. 

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

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

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria & click nj.

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

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

    Book this train at the German Railways site www.bahn.deBooking opens up to 6 months ahead, you print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted, so you can log on at any time and check or reprint tickets.  

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

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Rome to Prague from €68...

Option 1, Rome to Prague using the Rome-Vienna sleeper train - comfortable, safe & time-effective...

Important:  Due to trackwork, the Rome-Vienna Nightjet won't run during the month of July 2022.

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train leaving Rome Termini at 20:17 & arriving Vienna Hbf 08:52.

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

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

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

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria & click nj.

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

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Rome to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train...  More information about Nightjets.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet sleeper train...

Czech Railjet train to Vienna at Prague Hlavni station

Step 2, Vienna to Prague by smart modern railjet train, with economy, first & business class, restaurant car, free WiFi and draught beer on tap.  More information about Vienna-Prague railjets.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Zurich by train, leaving Rome Termini at 12:10, changing at Milan Centrale, arriving Zurich HB 19:27.

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

    Rome to Milan starts at €29.90 in 2nd class or €39.90 in 1st class.  Milan to Zurich starts at €29 in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class.

    Book from Rome Termini to Zurich HB at either www.raileurope.com, www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com.  Make sure you have at least an hour in Zurich to change trains in case of any delay.  It's ticketless, you just quote your booking reference on board.

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

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

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

    Fares start at €45 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper, €59 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €112 in a single-bed sleeper.  Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

    Book this sleeper at the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz and print your own ticket.  Easy!  Booking normally opens 92 days ahead, see my tips for using cd.cz.

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

Giruno train

Milan to Zurich by EuroCity train, through the Alps.  This is a Giruno train at Bellinzona.  The train passes through the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest rail tunnel, though the transit takes just 20 minutes.

1st class on Giruno   Restaurant car on Giruno

1st class.  Larger photo.

 

Restaurant car with bar counter. Larger photo.

2nd class on Giruna   Bar counter in the restaurant car

2nd class.  Larger photo

 

Level boarding. Note the destination screen in the door.

Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan to Zurich train

Lake Lugano, seen from a Milan to Zurich train on the Gotthard route.

The Zurich to Prague sleeping car boarding at Zurich HB

Zurich to Prague by sleeping-car, seen at Zurich HBMore information about this sleeper.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

A Venice-Vienna railjet, at Venice Santa LuciaMore information about Venice-Vienna railjets.

Railjet restaurant car   Business class seats on a railjet train

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

 

Business class.  About business class.

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

First class.

 

Economy class.

The railjet travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

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Rome to Bratislava from €64...

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

Important:  Due to trackwork, the Rome-Vienna Nightjet won't run during the month of July 2022.

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Rome to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train...  More information about Nightjet trains.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet sleeper train...

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

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

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

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

Venice to Vienna by railjet, seen at Venice Santa LuciaMore information about Venice-Vienna railjets.

Railjet restaurant car   Business class seats on a railjet train

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

 

Business class.  About business class.

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

First class.

 

Economy class.

The railjet travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

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

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

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Rome to Budapest from €68...

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

Important:  Due to trackwork, the Rome-Vienna Nightjet won't run during the month of July 2022.

The Nightjet sleeper at Vienna

Step 1, Rome to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train...  More information about Nightjet trains...

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Nightjet sleeper train...

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

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

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About business class.

 

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

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

First class.

 

Economy (2nd) class.

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

The railjet has landed...  A railjet on platform 9 at Budapest KeletiMore information about railjets.

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

A railjet train about to leave Vienna

A Venice-Vienna railjet, at Venice Santa LuciaMore information about Venice-Vienna railjets.

Railjet restaurant car   Business class seats on a railjet train

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

 

Business class.  About business class.

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

First class.

 

Economy class.

The railjet travels over the famous Semmering Railway, opened in 1854 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See the Vienna to Venice by train page for more information, photos & video.

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

    This comfortable train has an air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, and a Romanian couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments, see the photos on the London to Romania page.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes.  Larger photo.

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Rome to Ljubljana & Slovenia, Zagreb...

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

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Bruck an der Mur by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Rome Termini at 20:17 and arriving Bruck/Mur at 06:39.

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

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

    Boank" href="../booking/trainline.htm">www.thetrainline.com (in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (same prices, a bit more fiddly, in €).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead and you print your own ticket.

    Tip:  If you like, you can check the train formation, check car numbers & see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled using the excellent www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria & click nj.

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

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

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

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

    Book from Bruck/Mur to Ljubljana or Zagreb at www.thetrainline.com (easy to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at (in €, a bit more fiddly, same prices).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket.

Option 2, Rome to Ljubljana & Zagreb on the direct route through Trieste...

2nd class seats on the train from Venice to Ljubljana   The train from Trieste to Ljubljana

Inside the ETR563.  Larger photo.

 

The train to Ljubljana about to leave Trieste.  Courtesy of Marc Williams.

Scenery between Trieste and Ljubljana

Scenery in Slovenia, seen from the train from Trieste to Ljubljana...

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

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Venice by Frecciarossa 1000, leaving Rome Termini at 10:35 & arriving Venice Santa Lucia 14:34. 

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

    If you'd like lunch and a wander around Venice, take an earlier train from Rome, for example the 06:50, 07:50 or 08:50.  The Rialto Bridge is just 20 minutes walk from Venice Santa Lucia, St Mark's Square just 27 minutes walk, see map of Venice showing station.  There's a left luggage office at the station.  Of course if you haven't been to Venice before, I'd recommend an overnight stop, not just a few hours!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rome to Dubrovnik & Split...

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

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

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

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

  • Step 1, book an overnight ferry with comfortable en suite cabin either from Ancona to Split or from Bari to Dubrovnik.  www.jadrolinija.hr sails on both routes several times a week, leaving 19:45-22:00 and arriving 07:00-08:00.  You can choose a private cabin or cheaper berth in a shared cabin.  There are also reclining seats, but I always recommend a bed in a cabin for a safe and secure night's sleep.  Make sure you're on deck with your camera ready as the ship approaches the beautiful Croatian coast!

  • Step 2, now add a train ticket from Rome Termini to either Ancona Centrale or Bari Centrale using www.italiarail.com (easy to use, in €, £, $ or Au$) or www.trenitalia.com (in €).  Italiarail will refund their small booking fee if you email them at seat61@italiarail.com with your booking reference.  Booking opens up to 4 months ahead.  It's ticketless, you just quote your booking reference on board. 

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

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

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

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Rome to Belgrade & Sofia...

Option 1, Rome to Belgrade & Sofia with an overnight stop in Villach - the cheapest & simplest option...

  • Step 1, travel from Rome to Venice by Frecciarossa 1000, leaving Rome Termini at 10:35 & arriving Venice Santa Lucia 14:34. 

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

    If you'd like lunch and a wander around Venice, take an earlier train from Rome, for example the 06:50, 07:50 or 08:50.  The Rialto Bridge is just 20 minutes walk from Venice Santa Lucia, St Mark's Square just 27 minutes walk, see map of Venice showing station.  There's a left luggage office at the station.  Of course if you haven't been to Venice before, I'd recommend an overnight stop, not just a few hours!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2nd class only, there's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink along.

    The fare is around €29, it cannot be bought online so buy at the station or on board the train.

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

Option 2, Rome to Belgrade via the Bari-Bar overnight ferry - a lovely journey via a spectacular railway...

  • Step 1, travel from Rome Termini to Bari Central by tilting Frecciargento train in 3h59, an enjoyable and scenic ride across the spine of Italy.  Obviously, check ferry operating dates and times first and work out a suitable connecting train after booking the ferry.

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

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

    On arrival at Bari Centrale, walk 25 minutes or take a taxi from Bari Centrale to the ferry terminal which is adjacent to Bari's pleasant old town.

    Allow at least 3 hours between train arrival and ferry departure.

  • Step 2, sail overnight from Bari to Bar in Montenegro with Jadrolinija, as shown in the Rome to Montenegro section below.  The ferry sails weekly all year round, twice weekly in high summer.  In Bar, it's an easy 20 minute walk from ferry terminal to station.

  • Step 3, travel from Bar to Belgrade on the spectacular Bar to Belgrade Railway as shown here.  There's a daytime train and a sleeper train.  If the ferry is on time you might just make the one-hour connection between the ferry arrival and the 09:00 departure of the daytime train.

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Rome to Bar, Budva, Kotor & Montenegro...
Montenegro Lines ferry from Bar to Bari

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

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Rome to Warsaw, Krakow & Poland...

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

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

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Rome to Lviv, Kiev & Moscow...
The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

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

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

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

 

The sleeper corridor.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment.

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Rome to Athens & Greece...
A 2 or 4 berth cabin on the Italy-Greece ferry  

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

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

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

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Rome to Istanbul & Turkey...

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bullet pointRailbookers custom-made tours

If you just want to buy train tickets at the cheapest price, book online as shown on this page.  However, if you want someone to sort out your whole trip for you, arranging all your trains, hotels and transfers, and to look after you if anything affects your arrangements, talk to Railbookers.  Railbookers can tailor-make a train trip around Europe to your own specification.  Just tell them what you want and they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels.  They get good reports and a lot of repeat business!  They now have offices in the UK, North America and Australia.

UK flag  UK call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk.

US flag  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

Canadian flag  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website.

New Zealand flag  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

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bullet pointHotels in Rome & other cities

Hotels near Rome Termini with good or great reviews:  The Hive Hotel, Dream Station, Smooth Hotel Rome Repubblica.

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

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

Backpacker hostels...

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

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bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

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

UK flagIn the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

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

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

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

A Curve card saves on foreign transaction fees...

 

Curve card

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

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

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

 

Express VPN

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

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

 


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