European Sleeper Trains

Discussion in 'travel and world' started by circleline, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. circleline

    circleline Well-Known Member

    Was getting a bit excited earlier about doing Christmas in Rome, via Eurostar and night train to Italy. Scrub that idea - daughter doing football on Boxing Day (never mind Rome, eh..)..But now researching and wondering about other dates and locations. Anyone got any experience, good or bad about sleeper train journeys? Have reigned in any overly romantic expectations such as linen tablecloths and fine dining in the restaurant car but would look forward to experiencing Europe from a window seat and the adventure of travel without the grim toil of Stansted airport. The article below not particularly inspiring; would appreciate any input.

    10 of the best night trains in Europe - World Travel Guide
    LynnDoyleCooper and moonsi til like this.
  2. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    Two suggestions from Spain.

    Granada to Barcelona. Basic. Exceptionally good value if booked 3 days in advance. Very slow. Little point in a window seat - it is dark outside! Early summer will give an hour, or so of sunrise. Bar/buffet carriage.

    Madrid to Lisbon. Old Skool luxury if you have the cash to splash.
  3. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    Visiting a friend in Vienna in November and was looking at the Nightjet from Cologne, but just don't have enough time this go around.

    Next time :cool: :)
  4. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

  5. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    It's the best way to arrive in Venice, if the Paris train still runs. The station's right out in the lagoon with the city and you arrive with the sunrise and the city all to yourself. Magical.

    EDIT: Looks like a different route/timetable these days so you get there 09:35, by which time the city's got its boots on :-/
    agricola likes this.
  6. circleline

    circleline Well-Known Member

    Thanks all; loads of options I haven't actually seen when googling.

    Sorry if repetitive; how one always thinks your own query is original when clearly not*

    (*Any advice travelling from UK to USA with a caution from 1995..) :)
    Bahnhof Strasse likes this.
  7. paolo

    paolo Well-Known Member

    Another way...

    The Nightjet 21:27 from Vienna arrives at 08:24

    I did it last December and at that time & month, yep, sunrise and empty. Sitting on the station steps with a coffee, looking at the canal, was truly amazing.
  8. not-bono-ever

    not-bono-ever Not what they want but what is good for them

  9. hash tag

    hash tag never too old

    Did Florence a few years back by sleeper. Eurostar to Gare Du Nord then cross Paris to Gare de Lyon for the sleeper to Florence.
    Paris to Florence was about 10 hours. The train was not particularly clean, dining facilities poor and I can't remember if we even got breakfast.
    I can reveal that I was allowed very little sleep ;)
  10. iamwithnail

    iamwithnail Well-Known Member

    The Budapest to Belgrade one is a bit intense, but kind of fun (also a good way to get between the two, as it's about.ten hours) - but the border crossing happens about two am. :D it's very cheap as well.
    not-bono-ever likes this.
  11. not-bono-ever

    not-bono-ever Not what they want but what is good for them

    Walk up fare is 15 Euro’s for Belgrade to Budapest + a small sleeper supplement. Silly money
  12. circleline

    circleline Well-Known Member

    Despite registering for an 'email alert' when cheap tickets become available (just in case, and all) usually 3 x months previously, I have received no such notification from any of the train providers. Fat fibbers.. :(
  13. circleline

    circleline Well-Known Member

    Change of plan from original post. Am now planning a timely meet-up with old friends in Portugal. Due to my recent preoccupation with European Sleeper Trains, I am planning to travel from London to Lisbon by train; most notably the sleeper train, travelling from the French border to Lisbon overnight:

    Irun & San Sebastian to Lisbon by Sud Express sleeper train

    I will let you know how it all goes. :)
  14. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!

    I want to give trains the thumbs up but my experience is that sleepers aren't that great. Usually too hot, quite pokey spacewise, quite expensive for what you get, noisy and hard to sleep in, sharing with strangers etc etc. I think some are probably good but they are also expensive.

    Since I really like trains I now travel in the day and stay the nights in hotels. My experience is that if you have the time to really look you can find pretty cheap places to stay and I just make that part of the holiday. It also means you can buy food in shops rather than in stations or on trains so you save money that way too. I've got my picnic kit with knife/spoon/plate/damp cloth etc etc so eat nice fresh food on board. I can't say its cheaper but it's not much more and it's much more enjoyable + more sociable. Plus you get to see loads of cities for a stroll and a shop.
    circleline and iamwithnail like this.
  15. circleline

    circleline Well-Known Member

    Co-op, you are so right. It's a major bloody headache doing the bookings. Am now having to make actual diagrams to appreciate train timings, connections and co-ordinations. Different train websites have differing quirks and *essential requirements along with expected language anomalies. Difficult at the end of a long and drawn-out booking to be sure you're getting an accurate summary of what you've actually booked, or so it seems. Have spent a good amount of time doing a trial booking before payment and am still unsure and not dared to add up all the separate pricing. I may email Rail-bookers, just for the exercise, to see what they charge to produce a detailed itinerary for my requirements. I want a raving, all-inclusive, 24-hour party bus to travel in, after all the energy I've put into this. Can't see that on the seating preferment options tag.
  16. paolo

    paolo Well-Known Member

    Ahhh Co-op you are so wrong. ;-)

    Well, each to their own and that, but I don’t mind the tiny space. I fork out for a compartment on my own. The last time I did them they all had their own thermostat.

    Waking up to fields of snow going by in Poland. Seeing a winter Berlin come into view as I have breakfast. Stepping out on to platform and seeing the adjacent train goes to Moscow and wanting to be on it.

    Standing in the corridor crossing the lagoon into Venice, to arrive whilst the city is still sleepy and I have the station steps to myself, to look at the canal.

    Hotels don’t do any of that, cheaper they may be. They’re just a generic room, with a fixed view, usually of nothing much, all too often the bins.

    You’ve given it a go though, can’t say fairer than that I guess.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
    colacubes and co-op like this.
  17. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!


    I think I've just got middle-aged. I have had some great sleeper journeys but it's not for me now!
    paolo likes this.
  18. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!

    These people are pretty good - Europe by train made easy | Loco2 - I have bought tickets through them before and they're not expensive. I also find the website intuitively usable and good for finding journeys. But they randomly don't do some countries - Denmark and Sweden no, Germany yes etc.

    The hassley bit of booking for me is finding cheap hotels, airbnbs etc - there are so many intermediary websites and all of that, then looking at maps to see how far it is from the station etc.
  19. paolo

    paolo Well-Known Member

    Seconded on Loco2.

    Probably the best train booking site I’ve ever used. Really good customer service too. They once got me refund, expenses and a free journey when a Eurostar was very late, as part of an extended journey I booked with them.
  20. co-op

    co-op Free the rhubarb crumble!

    Me too, a french train broke down between Paris and Turin so we were very late and luckily I kept the tickets and rang loco 2 when we got home and they got the entire fare back basically without me doing a thing.
    paolo likes this.
  21. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    We used Loco2 for London-Paris-Munich-Verona-Naples-Sicily a couple of years back and it was seamless.
    paolo likes this.
  22. circleline

    circleline Well-Known Member

    I would agree that Loco2 is good but does not seem to offer various sleeping arrangements (on sleeper train, obvs) compared to other sites. So, for sleeping stuff, have to book independent of Loco2 (confirmed, and as advised by seat61 webpage)- this is the major headache.

    Am bolstered in my headache of a search by friend I am meeting in Portugal advising me to: 'stick with it; imagine sitting in Lisbon with a glass of something cool..' So, I will and I am... Laters...
    co-op likes this.

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