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A guide to Trains in Europe

Overnight sleeper and couchette trains in Europe

Guide to sleeper and couchette trains in Europe inc Allegro, City Night Line, Elipsos, EuroNight, Lunea, Thello trains, plus tickets and reservations.

ThereByTrain's unique map of overnight train routes in Europe can be accessed from HERE

WARNING - But the map needs to be updated (and will be soon, it's on the To Do list!)

This is because the following overnight train services have now been withdrawn

  • The Thello train service between Paris and Bologna; Florence/Firenze and Rome/Roma has been discontinued.
  • The 'Jan Kiepura' Euronight overnight train no longer operates between Basel and Warsaw/Moscow via Frankfurt (Main), though it still operates on the Amsterdam - Cologne/Koln - Warsaw route (will no longer serve Amsterdam from mid-December)
  • The Elipssos (ELP) Paris - Barcelona train, the 'Joan Miro' has now been withdrawn in both directions
  • The Elipssos (ELP) Paris - Madrid train, the 'Francisco De Goya ' has also now been withdrawn in both directions MEANING THAT THERE ARE NO LONGER OVERNIGHT TRAINS OPERATING OVER THE BORDER BETWEEN SPAIN AND FRANCE IN EITHER DIRECTION.

There are many different types of overnight train that operate in Europe.
When overnight trains have a specific train type/brand (ie THOSE LISTED BELOW), all the trains that operate within a particular branding have common facilities and ticketing arrangements - they are in effect specific 'types of train'.

On non-branded 'Other' overnight trains, facilities and ticketing can vary.

If you want to know which facilities are available on the overnight train(s) on a journey, or hold a rail pass and need to know which additional charges apply, you need to identify which 'type of train' you will be travelling by.

To assist rail travellers, ThereByTrain.com has produced this unique guide as to which type of overnight train operates on each route.

EuroNight Trains

I've been spent more than a year researching our guide to overnight trains, and have been perplexed by the definition of a EuroNight train on more than one occasion.

I  have concluded that EuroNight is NOT a term that applies to ALL European overnight trains, as, for example, it does not include the City Night Line trains that operate many on routes.
According to Wikipedia it does include the majority of other overnight trains, but certain types of 'EuroNight' trains DO have specific terms and conditions.

For example, ticketing prices, types of accommodation and reservation fees that apply to all of the 'Euronight Allegro trains between Italy and Austria are unique to these 'Allegro'trains.
Also the 'Euronight Thello train between France and Italy, also has specific prices/facilities unique to this Thello service.

I have therefore striven to use these specific categories such as Allego and Thello onThereByTrain, in place of the non specific term, 'EuroNight', so that travellers know what to expect when taking journeys on these specific trains and routes.

The majority of overnight trains to/from Austria and Hungary, including the 'Metropol' between Berlin and Budapest/Vienna are branded as 'EuroNight' on published timetables, so I have opted to also use 'EuroNight' as the specific type of train for these services/route only.

The use of 'EuroNight' indicates a high quality overnight train, but as our guide below explains, the specific facilities offered on board and pricing policy can vary on these 'EuroNight' routes.

Still confused? Frankly we're not surprised, but trust us, take the time to read the information below, and all will be clearer.

Types Of Train per Route Guide

Overnight Trains - Austria
To/From: Czech Republic/Germany/Romania/Switzerland = EuroNight(EN)
To/From - Italy = EuroNight Allegro (ALG)
To/From - Poland = 'Other'

Overnight Trains - Belgium
There are no overnight trains to/from Belgium

Overnight Trains - Czech Republic
To/From: Denmark/Germany/Netherlands/Switzerland = CityNightLine (CNL) - (Denmark/Netherlands services are being discontinued from mid-December 2014)
To/From: Austria/Hungary = EuroNight (EN)
To/From: - Poland/Russia/Serbia = 'Other'

Overnight Trains - Denmark
All overnight trains from/to Denmark are currently operated by CityNightLine (CNL), but are being discontinued from mid-December 2014

Overnight Trains - France
Domestic journeys within France and to Port Bou in Spain = Corail Lunea (LUN)
To/From: Germany = City Night Line (CNL) - being discontinued from mid-December 2014
To/From: Italy = Euronight Thello (TLO)
To/From: Spain (Madrid) = have been discontinued

Overnight Trains - Germany
Domestic journeys within Germany and to/from: Czech Republic//France/Italy/Switzerland = City Night Line (CNL)
To/From: Austria/Czech Republic (to/from Berlin)/Hungary/Poland (from Cologne)/Slovakia = (EuroNight) (EN)
To/From: Russia = 'Other'
To/From: Sweden = EuroNight Berlin Night Express (BNE)

Overnight Trains - Hungary
To/From: Austria/Czech Republic/Germany/Romania/Switzerland = (EuroNight) (EN)
To/From: Bulgaria/Russia/Serbia = 'Other'

Overnight Trains - Italy
Domestic trains within Italy = Inter City Night (ICN)
To/From: Austria = Euronight Allegro (ALG)
To/From: France = Euronight Thello (TLO)
To/From: Germany = City Night Line (CNL)

Overnight Trains - Netherlands
To/From: Denmark, Switzerland, Germany (Munich) and The Czech Republic = CityNightLine. (CNL) (Denmark/Czech Republic services are being discontinued from mid-December 2014)
To/From: Poland = EuroNight (EN) - being discontinued from mid-December 2014

Overnight Trains - Poland

To/From: Germany (Cologne)/Netherlands = EuroNight (EN)-  (Denmark/Netherlands services are being discontinued from mid-December 2014)
To/From: Austria/Czech Republic/Hungary/Russia/Slovakia = Other

Overnight Trains - Spain
Domestic services within Spain = Euronight Trenhotel (T-Hot)
To/From: Portugal (from Madrid) = Euronight Trenhotel (T-Hot)
To/From: Portugal (from Irun) = Euronight Trenhotel (T-Hot

Overnight Trains - Switzerland
To/From: Czech Republic/Denmark/Germany/Netherlands = City Night Line (CNL) (Denmark/Netherlands services are being discontinued from mid-December 2014)
To/From: Austria/Hungary = EuroNight (EN)
To/From Croatia/Serbia = 'Other'

Hotel Trains

The highest quality, most comfortable overnight trains in Europe are 'Hotel Trains'. 'Hotel' trains provide the following services.

  • CityNightLine (CNL) trains - all routes
  • the EuroNight (EN) trains between Cologne/Hamburg and Vienna
  • the EuroNight (EN) train between Amsterdam/Koln and Warsaw* (the 'Jan Kiepura')
  • the EuroNight (EN) train between Berin - Budapest and Vienna (the 'Metropol')
  • the overnight train between Vienna and Warsaw (recently modernised)
  • Euronight 'Trenhotel' (T-Hot) trains - all routes
  • SJN trains (one/two berth cabins)
  • Luxury 'Excelsoir' cars operate on the Euronight 'Allegro' (ALG) train between Vienna and Rome and on many Inter City Notte (ICN) trains within Italy
  • *The EuroNight 'hotel' cars between Amsterdam and Warsaw are conveyed in the 'Jan Kiepura' overnight train.

Pricing Explained/Rail Pass Supplements

Travelling by sleeping cabins on overnight trains in western Europe (in particular) is not a budget option.
Ticket prices for individual journeys factor in the daytime travel cost PLUS a 'supplement'/reservation fee for a bed in a sleeping cabin, berth in a couchette, or a reclining seat.

Travelling overnight by train is therefore generally more expensive than travelling by daytime connections (when daytime connections are an option).

To travel in 1st/class luxury sleeping cabin expect to pay a 'supplement'/reservation of approximately €120-200 per person, to travel in a Tourist/2nd class sleeping berth expect to pay a 'supplement'/reservation fee of €60-100.

Couchette berths have a 'supplement' of approx €30-60.

On certain types of overnight train (including ALG, CNL,  LSG and TEO), users of Eurail and InterRail passes pay fixed price reservation fees (supplements) for each type of accommodation, irrespective of the journey being taken.
The costs of these are included in the information listed below for each specific type of overnight train.

Factors such as the fewer beds in a sleeping cabin and/or additional (non-standard) facilities, such as showers being available in the sleeping cabin itself, push up the prices of 'supplements'/reservation fees.

However, tickets for overnight trains are often discounted, particularly trains to/from Austria, Germany and between these two countries, in particular look out for deals on Allegro, City Night Line and EuroNight trains.

Rail Passes on overnight trains

For rail pass holders the GENERAL rule on overnight trains is that a rail pass is valid for the journey only and does NOT include the supplement/reservation fee for sleeping cabins, couchettes and (reclining seats (when available).


These supplements are the equivalent of the supplements/reservation fees that ordinary ticket holders have to pay, so therefore rail pass users can expect to pay higher charges for 1st class/luxury cabins that have fewer beds and/or additional facilities such as a shower in the cabin itself.

Rail pass 'supplements' on overnight trains have a fixed price and are not discounted when deals are available for ordinary tickets.

It is ThereByTrain's understanding that as beds/berths on overnight trains are often not sold as 1st/2nd class, rail pass users can usually opt to pay the 'supplement' of their choice, irrespective of whether they're using a 1st or 2nd class pass.
So holders of 1st class passes can economize by selecting cheaper options such as travelling in a couchette, while conversely users of 2nd class passes can trade up and travel in comparatively luxury, as long as the required supplement is paid in advance.
An exception is City Night Line, on these CNL trains, 1st class pass users have to pay the appropriate fee to travel in the 'Deluxe' accommodation , while 2nd class pass users have to travel 'Economy' on CNL trains.

When ordinary (non-reclining) daytime type seats are available on overnight trains (much more common in eastern Europe) supplements/reservation fees usually not required for these ordinary seats (an exception is the Allegro trains from/to Italy and now on any train to/from Hungary).

The reservation fees listed below for each specific train type are guide prices and do not include additional surcharges such as booking fees that may apply.

Rail pass users must always reserve beds in sleeping cabins, berths inc couchettes and reclining seats, by paying the appropriate supplement/reservation fee, prior to boarding
You cannot board a European overnight train and hope that a bed/berth will be available.

New Services/Amendments for 2014

A new timetable for European overnight trains was introduced on December 15th 2013. The majority of departure/arrival times will be in effect until December 14th 2014.
ThereByTrain has summarised the MAJOR changes to previous overnight services that will apply until December 2014 .

  • The Thello train service between Paris and Bologna; Florence/Firenze and Rome/Roma has been discontinued.
  • The 'Jan Kiepura' Euronight overnight train no longer operates between Basel and Warsaw/Moscow via Frankfurt (Main), though it still operates on the Amsterdam - Cologne/Koln - Warsaw route
  • The Elipssos (ELP) Paris - Barcelona train, the 'Joan Miro' has now been withdrawn in both directions.
  • The Elipssos (ELP) Paris - Madrid train, the 'Francisco De Goya' has now been withdrawn in both directions.
  • The direct overnight train service has been restored between Belgrade/Beograd and Thessaloniki

New Services/Amendments for 2015

A new timetable for European overnight trains will be introduced on December 14th 2014. 

There is an expectation that major cut backs will be made to European overnight train services. If when planning an overnight train journey after this date, or when trying to book tickets online, you cannot see the train service listed  then it may have been withdrawn.
In December 2014 the Elipsos overnight trains between France and Spain were with withdrawn without any advance notification that they were about to be discontinued.

City Night Line (CNL) has already confirmed that will discontinue the following services on December 14th 2014:
- Copenhagen - Basel
- Copenhagen - Amsterdam
- Copenhagen - Prague (Copenhaghen/Kobenhavn will no longer served by overnight trains from this date)
- Paris - Hamburg
- Paris - Berlin
- Paris - Munich (meaning that there will no longer be any overnight trains between France and Germany)
- Amsterdam - Prague/Praha (the service is being cut back so that it operates between Cologne/Koln and Prague/Praha only)
- As a result the 'Jan Keipura' service between Amsterdam and Warsaw/Warzawa is also being withdrawn, it will only operate between Koln/Cologne and Warsaw/Warzawa.

ALG - (Euronight) ALLEGRO

Therebytrain.com code: ALG
Routes : 

(1) Vienna/Wien - Klagenfurt -Florence/Firenze - Rome/Roma

(2) Vienna - Salzburg - Linz - Venice/Venezia

(3) Vienna - Klagenfurt - Verona - Milan/Milano is now discontinued

Sleeping Cabins - 1st class (Excelsoir): 2 berth and single berth - shower and WC in cabin - 'hotel train' standard
Sleeping Cabins - 2nd class: 3 berth, 2 berth and single berth - washing facility in cabin, WC in car
Couchettes: 6 berth and 4 berth - washing facility in car, WC in Car
Reclining Seats: Not available
Standard Seats: 2nd class only
Restaurant Car: Not available
Tickets: Travelling from Austria book online at, the OBB website, when travelling from Italy book online at Trenitalia.com
Rail Pass holder reservation fees (guide prices) per person:

  • 1st class (Excelsoir) single berth sleeping cabin =€117
  • 1st class (Excelsoir)two berth sleeping cabin =€77
  • (2nd class) single berth sleeping cabin = €107
  • (2nd class) two berth sleeping cabin =€67
  • 2nd class three berth sleeping cabin =€47
  • four berth couchette =€37
  • six berth couchette =€27
  • ordinary seat =€7

Notes:

  • The 'ordinary seats' aren't the same as the seats on daytime trains.
    There are seats that face each other that can, in theory, be pulled flat to create a sort of bed.
    However, to make use of this facility you need to have a spare seat opposite to yours.
    The seats are grouped in rows of 3, so a total of six seats, can be arranged so that three people can lie down on one large bed (cosy).
    However, don't assume that you can make big savings on couchette/sleeping cabin prices and still have a bed for the night.
    If too many seats are occupied then converting them into beds won't be possible, though you can try asking people to move seats, if you're desperate to get your head down.
    Even if you can make a 'bed' a good night's sleep isn't guaranteed. A friend who made several journeys in one of these 'beds' and then switched to a couchette for another journey has said that the 'couchette' felt like The Ritz' in comparison!
  • Multiple berth sleeping cabins are single sex only unless all berths in the cabin are booked simultaneously by a couple or family/friends group.
  • It is possible to make a group booking for all berths in a couchette.
  • Spare berths in sleeping cabins and couchettes are likely to be occupied.
  • All couchettes are mixed sex.
  • You must hold a 1st class rail pass to book a single berth 1st class sleeping cabin. Holders of 2nd class rail passes can book two berth 1st class sleeping cabins if they pay the required supplement.
  • 1st class pass holders can book 2nd class sleeping accommodation on payment of the required supplements.
  • On the Venice to Vienna journey the train calls at Salzburg and Linz very early in the morning.
  • Don't expect an undisturbed journey on Allegro trains, passport checks are carried out at the border, no matter what time of night the train arrives at the crossing.
    Though not all passengers are asked to show passports, you won't escape the noise etc.

BNE - (Euronight) BERLIN NIGHT EXPRESS

Therebytrain.com code: BNE
Route:Berlin - Malmo (via the train ferry)

Sleeping Cabins: - 1st/2nd class
Couchettes:Available .
Reclining Seats:Not Available
Standard Seats - 1st classNot Available
Standard Seats - 2nd class : Not Available
Restaurant Car:Not Available
Tickets: Book online at D-Bahn (Germany) or SN (Sweden) websites
Rail Pass holder reservation fees (guide prices) per person:

  • Double cabin (sleeper) =€39
  • couchettes = €19

Notes: This service now scheduled in the summer months only, so isn't currently operating, whether it will resume in summer 2015 is yet to be confirmed.

CNL – City Night Line

Therebytrain.com code: CNL
'Hotel Train' = yes
Routes:

  • Amsterdam - Utrecht - Arnhem - Cologne/Koln - Munich*
  • Amsterdam - Utrecht - Arnhem - Cologne - Odense - Copenhagen/Kobenhavn* (discontinued from December 14th 2014)
  • Amsterdam - Utrecht - Arnhem - Cologne - Dresden - Prague/Praha (discontinued from December 14th 2014)
  • Amsterdam - Utrecht - Arnhem - Cologne - Basel- Zurich*
  • Berlin - Metz - Paris (Gare de l'Est)*
  • (discontinued from December 14th 2014)
  • Berlin - Potsdam - Munich
  • Berlin - Potsdam - Basel - Zurich*
  • Hamburg - Hannover - Metz - Paris (Gare De L'Est)
  • (discontinued from December 14th 2014)
  • Hamburg - Hannover - Basel - Zurich*
  • Hamburg - Hannover - Munich
  • Munich - Augsburg - Metz - Paris (Gare De L'Est)*
  • (discontinued from December 14th 2014)
  • Munich/Munchen - Innsbruck - Vicenza - Padua - Venice/Venezia
  • Munich - Innsbruck - Bologna - Florence/Firenze - Rome/Roma*
  • Munich - Milan/Milano
  • Prague - Copenhagen
  • (discontinued from December 14th 2014)
  • Zurich - Basel - Leipzig - Dresden - Prague/Praha *
  • Basel - Mannheim - Frankfurt - Odense - Copenhagen
  • (discontinued from December 14th 2014)

Sleeping Cabins - Deluxe (1st class): 3 berth, 2 berth and single berth - shower and WC in cabin, Fresh pillow, duvet,& toiletries and towels provided. Breakfast included

Sleeping Cabins - Economy (2nd class): 4 berth, 3 berth, 2 berth and single berth - washing facility and WC in cabin, shower in car. Fresh pillow, duvet, toiletries and towels provided. Breakfast included.

Couchettes: 6 berth and 4 berth - washing facility in car and WC in Car. Blankets, sheets, pillows provided
Reclining Seats: Available (except on Basel AND Prague - Copenhagen routes)
Standard Seats: Not available
Seating plans:
Sleeping cabins with economy (grey) and Deluxe (red)
Two (single) berth economy cabins
Couchette
Reclining Seats

Restaurant Car: Available on routes marked* (but may now have also been withdrawn from other routes)
Tickets: Book online here
Rail Pass holder reservation fees (guide prices) per person:

  • 1st class (deluxe) single berth sleeping cabin =€110
  • 1st class (deluxe) two berth sleeping cabin =€70
  • 1st class (deluxe) three berth sleeping cabin =€50
  • 2nd class (economy) single berth sleeping cabin =€110
  • 2nd class (economy) two berth sleeping cabin =€70
  • 2nd class (economy) three berth sleeping cabin =€45
  • 2nd class (economy) four berth sleeping cabin =€45
  • two-four berth couchette =€37.50
  • five-six berth couchette =€27.50
  • reclining seat =€17.50

Notes:

  • English language City Night Line brochure is available here
  • Rail pass holders can only book 1st class (deluxe) sleeping cabins and pay the appropriate reservation fee if they hold a 1st class rail pass
  • Therefore users of 2nd class passes can only travel 'Economy'
  • Multiple berth sleeping cabins are single sex only unless all berths in the cabin are booked simultaneously by a couple or family/friends group
  • It is possible to make a group booking for all berths in a couchette
  • Spare berths in sleeping cabins and couchettes are likely to be occupied
  • Female only couchettes are available

ELP - (Euronight) ELIPSOS

All Elipsos trains services have now been withdrawn there are no longer any overnight trains between Spain and France, Switzerland and Italy.

EN - EURONIGHT (Hans Albers/Jan Kiepura/Kalaman Imre/Lisinki/Ister/Metropol/Weiner Waltzer/Zurich Zee) 

Therebytrain.com code: EN

Unlike the other specific types of European overnight (EuroNight) trains that have a specific sub category, such as Euronight Allegro, these 'EuroNight' services, do not have set types of facilities for sleeping cabins and couchettes.

The number of berths in 1st/2nd class sleeping cabins/couchettes and the washing facilities provided can vary on each route.

Generally a 1st class sleeping cabin has 1 or 2 berths, a 2nd class sleeping cabin has 4 berths and a couchette has 6 berths. 

WCs and washing facilities will be available in each car, but whether the washing facility/WC will be available in 2nd class sleeping cabins varies. In cabin washing facilities are  generally available in 1st class.

Routes (in each direction) :
1st/2nd class 'hotel' sleeping cabins/couchettes/reclining seats provided:

  • Amsterdam - Cologne/KolnWarsaw/Warsawa (Jan Kiepura) **
  • Hamburg - Hannover- Vienna/Wien** (Hans Albers)
  • Cologne - Frankfurt - Vienna*** (as far as we can tell this train does not have a specfic name)

Routes (in each direction) :
1st/2nd class sleeping cabins/couchettes/ordinary (daytime) 2nd class seats provided:

  • Munich/Munchen - Vienna - Budapest (Kalman Imre)
  • Munich/Munchen - Ljubljana - Zagreb (Lisinki)
  • Budapest - Bucharest* ('Ister')
  • Vienna/Wien and Budapapest - Bucharest* ('Dacia' does not operate Jan 19-Apr 22 and Oct 1 - Nov 30
  • Berlin/Dresden/Prague -Bratislava/Budapest (Metropol)
  • Berlin/Dresden/Prague - Vienna
  • Zurich - Vienna/Budapest** (Weiner Waltzer)
  • Zurich - Graz (Zurich Zee)
  • Zurich - Zagreb/Belgrade (Zurich Zee)

Routes (in each direction) :
1st/2nd class sleeping cabins only

  • Basel - Frankfurt - Warsaw*

Example ('hotel' trains between Cologne and Vienna) Rail Pass holder reservation fees (guide prices) per person :

  • Deluxe (1st class) single berth sleeping cabin =€158
  • Economy (2nd class) single berth sleeping cabin = €126
  • Deluxe (1st class) two berth sleeping cabin =€116
  • Deluxe (1st class) three berth sleeping cabin =€105
  • Economy (2nd class) 2 berth sleeping cabin = €105
  • 4 berth couchette =€48
  • 6 berth couchette =€39
  • reclining seat =€25

Example (trains between Berlin and Budapest and Vienna) Rail Pass holder reservation fees (guide prices) per person :

  • Deluxe (1st class) single berth sleeping cabin =€158
  • single berth sleeping cabin = €91
  • two berth sleeping cabin =€39
  • three berth sleeping cabin =€26
  • 4 berth couchette =€17.50
  • 6 berth couchette =€14
  • ordinary seat =€5

Notes

  • * = conveys restaurant car serving dinner and breakfast

  • ** = conveys restaurant car serving breakfast

  • *** = conveys refreshment facility not open throughout journey

  • Tickets = There is no EuroNight website, book tickets on the websites in the countries in which you wish to start/finish the journey

  • All berths in sleeping cabins/couchettes (and reclining seats) MUST BE RESERVED prior to boarding

  • Therebytrain.com also recommends reserving ordinary 2nd class seats (when available) prior to boarding particularly in summer months (reservations compulsory on trains to/from Hungary)

  • The 'ordinary seats' ON SOME ROUTES aren't the same as the seats on daytime trains.
    You may discover that seats that face each other can in theory be pulled flat to create a sort of bed.
    However, to make use of this facility you need to have a spare seat opposite to yours.
    The seats are grouped in rows of 3, so a total of six seats, can be arranged so that three people can lie down on one large bed (cosy).
    However, don't assume that you can make big savings on couchette/sleeping cabin prices and still have a bed for the night.
    If too many seats are occipied then converting them into beds won't be possible, though you can try asking people to move seats, if you're desperate to get your head down.
    Even if you can make a 'bed' a good night's sleep isn't guaranteed. A friend who made several journeys in one of these 'beds' and then switched to a couchette for another journey has said that the 'couchette' felt like The Ritz' in comparison!

  • All sleeping cabins are single sex unless booked by a couple or family

  • All couchettes are mixed sex.

  • Spare berths in sleeping cabins and couchettes are likely to be occupied so be sure to secure valuables.

ICN - INTER CITY NOTTE 

Therebytrain.com code: ICN
'Hotel Train' = yes
Routes:

  • Udine - Venice - Rome
  • Turin - Genoa - La Spezia - Pisa - Villa San Giovanni** (for ferry to Sicily)
  • Turin - Genoa - Rome - Naples - Salerno
  • Milan/Milano - Piacenza - Parma - Modena - Bologna - Bari - Lecce*
  • Milan - Piacenza - Rome - Napoli - Salerno
  • Rome/Roma - Bari - Lecce*
  • Bolzano - Verona - Roma - Napoli - Salerno

Sleeping Cabins - Excelsior Class: 2 berth and single berth - shower and WC in cabin
Sleeping Cabins - Tourist Class: 4 berth, 3 berth, 2 berth washing facility and WC in car.
Couchettes: 6 berth and 4 berth - washing facility in car and WC in Car.
Reclining Seats: Not Available
Standard Seats - 1st class: Available on all routes marked*
Standard Seats - 2nd class: Available on all routes except that marked**
Restaurant Car: Not available
Tickets: Book online by filling in the journey info on this page
Rail Pass holder reservation fees (guide prices) per person:

  • 1st class single berth sleeping cabin =€95
  • special class single berth sleeping cabin=€75
  • (2nd class) two berth sleeping cabin=€48
  • (2nd class) three berth sleeping cabin =€39
  • four berth couchette = €19 or €33
  • six berth couchette = €14
  • ordinary 2nd class seat= €3

Notes:

  • Inter City Night trains are often branded 'Trenno Notte'
  • The 'ordinary 2nd class seats often aren't the same as the seats on daytime trains.
    Seats that face each other can in theory be pulled flat to create a sort of bed.
    However, to make use of this facility you need to have a spare seat opposite to yours.
    The seats are grouped in rows of 3, so a total of six seats, can be arranged so that three people can lie down on one large bed (cosy).
    However, don't assume that you can make big savings on couchette/sleeping cabin prices and still have a bed for the night.
    If too many seats are occipied then converting them into beds won't be possible, though you can try asking people to move seats, if you're desperate to get your head down.
    Even if you can make a 'bed' a good night's sleep isn't guaranteed. A friend who made several journeys in one of these 'beds' and then switched to a couchette for another journey has said that the 'couchette' felt like The Ritz' in comparison!
  • Multiple berth sleeping cabins are single sex only unless all berths in the cabin are booked simultaneously by a couple or family/friends group
  • Spare berths in sleeping cabins and couchettes, if you don't require all the available berths when making a booking, may be occupied by other people.

LSG - LAPPLANDSTAGET

Therebytrain.com code: LSG
Routes:

  • Malmo - Stockholm - Boden - Narvick (Fridays)
  • Narvick - Boden - Stockholm - Malmo (Wednesday)
  • Gothenburg - Stockholm - Boden - Narvick (Mondays)
  • Narvick - Boden - Stockholm - Gothenburg (Sundays

Sleeping Cabins: Not available
Couchettes: 6 berth only - washing facility and WC in car.
Reclining Seats: Not Available
Standard Seats - 2nd class : Available
Restaurant Car: Available
Tickets: Book online at this page
Rail Pass holder reservation fees (guide prices) per person:

  • Couchette berth (approx. cost) =€15
  • Ordinary seat (approx. cost) =€2

Notes:
For additional charges couchette cabins can be privately reserved on a sliding scale of price, the fewer occupants, the more expensive tickets are per person.

All couchette cabins are single sex only unless the entire cabin is reserved by a mixed sex group.

LUN – CORAIL LUNEA

Therebytrain.com code: LUN
Routes:

  • Paris (Austerlitz) - St Raphael - Cannes - Antibes -Nice
  • Paris (Austerlitz) - Narbonne - Perpignan - Cerbere - Port Bou/Cerbere
  • Paris (Austerlitz) - Bayonne - Biarritz - Hendaye - Irun
  • Paris (Austerlitz) - Pau - Lourdes - Tarbes
  • Paris (Austerlitz) - Bourg St Maurice (winter only)
  • Luxembourg - Metz - Nancy - Montpelier - Narbonne - Perpignan - Port Bou/Cerbere/li>
  • Luxembourg - Metz - Nancy - St Raphael - Cannes - Antibes - Nice
  • Strasbourg - Mulhouse - Besancon - Montpelier - Narbonne - Perpignan - Port Bou/Cerbere
  • Strasbourg - Mulhouse - Besancon - St Raphael - Cannes - Antibes - Nice

Sleeping Cabins - 1st class: Not Available
Sleeping Cabins - 2nd class: Not Available
1st class Couchettes: 4 berth* - washing facility in car, WC in Car. Sleeping bag and pillow provided
2nd class Couchettes: 6 berth - washing facility in car, WC in Car. Sleeping bag and pillow provided
Reclining Seats: Available
Standard Seats: Not available
Restaurant Car: Not available
Tickets: Book online here
Rail pass holder reservation fees: Enquire at ticket offices

Notes:

  • 1st class fares apply when reserving a 4 berth cabin for specific occupancy for three, two or 1 people
  • It is possible to make a group booking for all berths in a couchette
  • Spare berths in couchettes are likely to be occupied
  • All couchettes are mixed sex
  • The Corail-Lunea trains to/from Port Bou/Cerbere have connections with local trains to/from Barcelona.
  • This is a cheaper option for travelling overnight between Paris and Barcelona than using Elipsos (ELP) trains

LUS - (Euronight) TRENHOTEL (Lusitania)

This train is now a Trenhhotel service (see below), but it has retained the name 'Lusitania' hence it's classification on ThereByTrain as 'LUS'

Therebytrain.com code: LUS
'Hotel Train' = yes
Route: Madrid - Lisbon/Lisbon - Madrid
Sleeping Cabins - Grand Class: single berth and two berth - includes dinner in restaurant car and breakfast; shower and WC in cabin; complimentary toilet case; towels provided; complimentary newspaper and magazines

Sleeping Cabins - Club Class: single berth and two berth - includes breakfast in restaurant car; shower and WC in cabin; complimentary toilet case; towels provided; complimentary newspaper and magazines

Sleeping Cabins - Tourist class: 4 berth only - washing facility in cabin; WC in car; towels provided.
Couchettes: Not Available
Reclining Seats: Not available
Standard 1st Class Seats: Available
Standard 2nd Class Seats: Available
Restaurant Car: Available
Tickets: To book online click here Enter your start and end station (Lisbon is Lisboa) and select tickets for the train marked 'Trenhotel'

Rail Pass holder reservation fees (guide prices) per person:

  • Grand class single berth sleeping cabin =€145
  • Grand class two berth sleeping cabin =€85
  • Cub class single berth sleeping cabin =€96
  • Club class two berth sleeping cabin =€51
  • Tourist class sleeping cabin =€30
  • 2nd class standard seat =€7

Notes:
Both 1st and 2nd class rail pass holders can travel in any class of sleeping accommodation on payment of the appropriate supplement
The sleeping cabins in Club Class and Grand Class are of a similar standard, the key difference is that Grand Class ticket holders/supplement payees can have a free dinner in the restaurant car .
Multiple berth sleeping cabins are single sex only unless all berths in the cabin are booked simultaneously by a couple or family/friends group.
Spare berths in Tourist Class and 2 berth cabins are likely to be occupied 
The 'Lusitania' is the only direct train between Madrid and Lisbon

SJN – SJ NIGHT

Therebytrain.com code: SJN
Routes:

  • Stockholm - Lulea - Kiruna - Narvik
  • Stockholm - Ulvea - Lulea (connections for Narvik)
  • Gothenburg - Ulvea - Lulea

Sleeping Cabins - Single berth: shower and WC in cabin; bedding provided, breakfast included
Sleeping Cabins - Two berth: shower and WC in cabin; bedding provided; can only be booked by two people travelling together
Sleeping Cabins - Three berth: shower and WC in car; bedding provided; single sex only unless cabin reserved completely when making a booking

Couchettes: Not Available .
Reclining Seats: Not Available
Standard Seats - 1st class: Not Available
Standard Seats - 2nd class:  Available
Restaurant Car: Available
Tickets: Can be booked online
Rail Pass holder reservation fees: Enquire at stations re: sleeping cabin fees. Pass holders can travel in 2nd class standard seats by paying approx. €4.
Notes
Spare berths in three berth sleeping cabins are likely to be occupied

T-HOT inc Sud Express - (Euronight) TRENHOTEL

Therebytrain.com code:T-Hot

'Hotel Train' = yes
Routes:
(1) Madrid - A Coruna - Ferrol
(2)   Barcelona - Granada 

(3) Barcelona - Gijon
(4) Barcelona - A Coruna - Vigo
(5) Bilbao - Burgos - Valladolid - Avila - Cordoba - Malaga
(6) Madrid - Lisbon ('Lusitania' service see above)
(7) Irun - Lisbon (The 'Sud Express)

Notes

Sleeping Cabins - Grand Class: single berth and two berth - includes dinner in restaurant car and breakfast; shower and WC in cabin; complimentary toilet case; towels provided; complimentary newspaper and magazines 

Sleeping Cabins - First Class: single berth and two berth - includes breakfast in restaurant car; washing facility in cabin; WC in car; complimentary toilet case; towels provided; complimentary newspaper and magazines 
Sleeping Cabins - Tourist class: 4 berth only - washing facility in cabin; WC in car; towels provided.
Couchettes: Not Available
Reclining Seats: Available
Standard 1st Class Seats: Not Available
Standard 2nd Class Seats: Not 
Restaurant Car: Available
Tickets: To book online click here Enter your start and end station (Lisbon is Lisboa) and select tickets for the train marked 'Trenhotel'
Rail Pass holder reservation fees (guide prices) per person: Likely to be similar prices to Lusitania trains (see above)
Notes:
Multiple berth sleeping cabins are single sex only unless all berths in the cabin are booked simultaneously by a couple or family/friends group. 
Spare berths in First Class and Tourist class cabins are likely to be occupied.

TLO - (Euronight) THELLO

Therebytrain.com code: TLO
'Hotel Train' = yes
Website: Here (French language only)

Route: Paris (Gare De Lyon) - Dijon - Milan - Verona - Vicenza - Padua - Venice/Venezia

The Paris - Bologna - Florence/Firenze - Rome/Roma train service is now withdrawn

Sleeping Cabins: three berth - 2 berth and single berth - WC/showers in cabin
Couchettes: 6 berth and 4 berth - washing facility in car, WC in Car
Reclining Seats: Not available
Standard Seats: Not Available
Restaurant Car: Available
Tickets: Prices in euros are available here
Rail pass holder reservation fees:~
Not available, rail pass users must pay the full price and book separate tickets.
Eurail pass users can find out more detailed information on alternative trains between France and Italy HERE
InterRail pass users can find out more detailed information on alternative trains between France and Italy HERE

Notes:

The following information is valid for TLO trains:

  • Multiple berth sleeping cabins are single sex only unless all berths in the cabin are booked simultaneously by a couple or family/friends group.
  • It is possible to make a group booking for all berths in a couchette.
  • Spare berths in sleeping cabins and couchettes are likely to be occupied.
  • Avoid leaving reservations of sleeping cabins and couchettes to the last minute/day of travel. It is likely that Thello trains will be fully reserved days in advance, particularly in the summer months - book as soon as possible for travel in late July and August!

OTHER OVERNIGHT TRAINS (Eastern Europe)

On certain overnight routes, particularly in eastern Europe, the trains do not have a specific types. The accommodation provided can vary per route, so before travelling by such trains it can be a good idea to check at stations/international travel desks if you require specific information, but the following conditions are generally common to all such trains:

  • Tickets - It's generally a good idea to book tickets at stations for these trains - the majority of train operator's websites in eastern Europe only have information available in the domestic language.
  • Don't over worry about not being able to book in advance, though it's a good idea top book your onward travel by overnight train when you first arrive at the station and don't leave it until the day you want to travel. If you use a major ticket office, you should find that some form of accommodation is available on the train you wish to travel by. Also tickets are unlikely to be more expensive than by trying to book in advance, so you won't have wasted money by not booking online.
  • When booking ticket at a station booking office be clear whether you want to travel in sleeping cabin, couchette or ordinary seat - if you don't specify the type of ticket you require, the default tickets that you may be sold may only be valid for travel in ordinary seats.

    If you're travelling on a rail pass and haven't booked onward travel, our recommendation is to do so when you arrive at the destination that you'll later be departing from.

  • Alternatively, if you'll be travelling through a major station in Germany before heading to a country in which you'll be travelling on one of these 'other' overnight trains listed below, you MAY be able to book tickets/make reservations at a D-Bahn international rail travel desk and you won't be charged a booking fee.
  • Rail passes are NOT VAILD for travel in the sleeping cabins/couchettes of these overnight trains UNLESS rail pass users have paid reservation fees prior to boarding (tickets are much cheaper in Eastern Europe), but before committing to a rail pass for travel in Eastern Europe check how many times you'll want/need to pay reservation fees for the overnight trains. You are less likely to be saving money than in western Euroope. 

    Also check that your rail pass is valid on the entire journey that you will be taking.

  • Holders of 2nd class rail passes can often travel in the ordinary 2nd class seats (when available) at no extra charge (though reserving seats prior to boarding is recommended - and now compulsory when travelling to/from Hungary)
  • Holders of 1st class rail passes MAY also be able travel in the ordinary 2nd class seats at no extra charge, CHECK BEFORE BOARDING
  • 1st class rail passes are required to travel in ordinary (daytime) 1st class seats (when available)
  • All berths in sleeping cabins/couchettes (and reclining seats) MUST BE RESERVED prior to boarding
  • Generally 1st class sleeping cabins have two berths. 2nd class sleeping cabins have four berths and couchettes have six berths.
  • Couchettes are not air-conditioned on trains operated the state railways of Bulgaria Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey.
  • All sleeping cabins are single sex unless booked by a couple or family
  • All couchettes are mixed sex.
  • Spare berths in sleeping cabins and couchettes are likely to be occupied, so be sure to secure valuables.

Type of accommodation offered per route:

Route
both
directions
1st/2nd
class
Sleeping
Cabin
Couchettes 1st class
seats
2nd class
seats
Restaurant
Warsaw/Warszawa - Budapest 'newly refurbished Hotel Train' Yes Yes No Yes No
Warsaw - Prague/Praha 'newly refurbished Hotel Train' Yes Yes No Yes No
Warsaw - Vienna ('newly refurbished Hotel Train') Yes* Yes No Yes No
Paris/Frankfurt/Berlin - Moscow Yes Yes No No No
Krakow - Budapest Yes Yes No No No
Krakow - Vienna Yes Yes No No No
Krakow - Prague Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Bucharest - Sofia Yes No Yes Yes No
Bucharest - Istanbul** No Yes No No No
Sofia - Belgrade Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Sofia - Istanbul** No Yes No No No
Belgrade - Villach*** Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Belgrade - Budapest No Yes Yes No No

Notes:

  • * = luxury 1st class sleeping cabins also available

  • ** = trains to/from Istanbul are being replaced by buses for the majority of the journey in Turkey on many dates until further notice.
    On dates on which buses are being used the trains that provide the remainder of the journey may contain ordinary seats in place of OR in addition to couchettes.

  • *** = These train services have been temporarily been suspended

What is a couchette?

A couchette is a self-contained compartment on a train with a door to a corridor that has seats for daytime use which convert into beds for overnight travel. The accommodation is less comfortable than a standard sleeping cabin.

An attendant on the train will convert the compartment and pillows, sheets and a form of sleeping bag is often provided (though not on all trains).

The key difference between travelling in a couchette and a sleeping cabin is that travellers remain in their daytime clothes. 
Also washing facilities and WCs are always only available at the end of the train outside of the cabin.

As passengers remain in their clothes, couchette compartments are often mixed sex, though CNL and COR-LUN trains offer women only couchettes.

Couchettes can be 4 berth or 6 berth, with 6 berth being cheaper when both types are offered.
4 berth couchettes are sold as 1st class on COR- LUN trains is France.

Couchettes are considerably cheaper than sleeping cabins.

Reservations are now always compulsory for travel by couchettes, so rail pass holders must always reserve a berth in advance (and pay any reservation fees before boarding a couchette, if they want to be sure of a bed for the night).

If you’re travelling in a group of 6 people (4 in 1st class couchettes) and want to reserve an entire compartment you need to do so at the earliest opportunity.

If you’re in a group of less than 6 people it’s likely that you’ll be sharing a compartment with people that you don’t know.

It can be a great way of making new travel companions and swapping tips, but be aware of security and keep valuables hidden and locked if possible.

What is a sleeping cabin

A distinction between couchettes and sleeping cabins is that beds in sleeping cabins are fully made up, as they would be in a hotel and the bedding is prepared by the attendant on the train.

However do not expect 4* hotel standards when travelling on many overnight trains.

Although 'Hotel Trains' have comparatively luxurious (comfortable) premium priced sleeping cabins.

Not all sleeping cabins offer WCs and showers in the cabin and when they are available they attract a premium price.

Sleeping cabins can be 1, 2, 3 or 4 berth and are therefore single sex except when a 2 berth cabin is booked by a couple or a multiple berth cabin is booked by a family.

The fewer number of berths in the cabin, the higher the price, but consider you are likely to be sharing a multiple berth cabin, unless travelling in a group which has reserved every berth available.

Do I have to book a sleeping bed/compartment when I travel on an overnight train?

If you want any sort of flat bed on an overnight train in Europe (including couchettes) you now have to reserve it any advance, however in theory bookings can made on the day of travel IF  space is available on the train - though booking in advance for sleeping cabins and couchettes is highly recommended.

On certain routes beds in sleeping cabins and couchette berths can sell out days in advance.
In the summer months you often have to book months ahead for the Thello train(s) between Paris and Italy, and other overnight trains to/from Italy can be fully reserved weeks ahead of the travel date.

Rail pass users CAN NO L:ONGER scramble aboard an overnight train in the hope of finding a spare couchette berth to claim as your own for the night.

Do I have to use couchettes or sleeping cabins on overnight trains?

This depends on the type of train that you will be travelling, but the answer is usually 'NO', though factor in that you are less likely to have a good night's sleep if you don't opt to travel in a sleeping cabin or couchette.

Reclining Seats

On certain types of overnight trains, including CNL,  (EN - 'EuroNight 'hotel trains' routes only), and T-Hot trains, special reclining seats (similar to club class seats on airlines) are available to travellers who don’t want to pay a premium a flat bed/berth for the night. 

These reclining seats have to be reserved in advance, also incur a special price and pass holders have to pay reservation fees to use them, but they’re cheaper than couchettes or sleeping cabins.

Other (daytime style) seats

On other overnight trains, particularly in Eastern Europe, Italian ICN trains - some routes only (see above) and EuroNight routes not served by 'hotel trains', coaches with daytime type of seats often included in the overnight trains.

They are commonly charged at the daytime rate and usually pass holders don’t have to pay additional reservation fees (trains to/from Hungary and the EuroNight Allegro trains to/from Italy are an exception AND RESERVATIONS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ON ICN 'INTER CITY NOTTE' trains in Italy).

When available they therefore can sometimes offer the only means of overnight rail travel that doesn’t HAVE to be reserved in advance.

Often 'ordinary seats' on 'EuroNight and ICN 'Inter City Notte' trains aren't actually the same as the seats on daytime trains.
There are seats that face each other which, in theory, can be pulled flat to create a sort of bed.

However, to make use of this facility you need to have a spare seat opposite to yours.
The seats are grouped in rows of 3, so a total of six seats, can be arranged so that three people can lie down on one large bed (cosy).
However, don't assume that you can make big savings on couchette/sleeping cabin prices and still have a bed for the night.
If too many seats are occupied then converting them into beds won't be possible, though you can try asking people to move seats, if you're desperate to get your head down.
Even if you can make a 'bed' a good night's sleep isn't guaranteed. A friend who made several journeys in one of these 'beds' and then switched to a couchette for another journey has said that the 'couchette' felt like The Ritz' in comparison!

Tips and Notes for Overnight Train Travel

• Compare the costs of overnight accommodation at your destination with the special fare/reservation payable on overnight trains.

• Unless you’re travelling in a group/as a couple and have booked every berth in a sleeping cabin or couchette you’re likely to be sharing it with others (for this reason make sure you can lock away valuables/secure your luggage).

• A key reason for sleeping cabins being more expensive than couchettes (aside from the beds being slightly larger and, in theory, more comfortable) is because the beds in sleeping cabins are fully made up and the idea is that you get into it as you would in a hotel room. 

If you don’t want to do this when sharing your sleeping cabin, or would prefer to remain in your daytime clothes, carefully compare the costs of sleeping cabins and couchettes. 

If the sleeping cabin doesn’t have a WC/shower included in the cabin (and most don’t). you’re partially paying a premium for this facility to get into bed as you would in a hotel.

• Sleeping cabins are not a cheap option, single berth cabins in particular can cost the equivalent of a quality 5* hotel room.

• If you’re using a rail pass that restricts you to a set number of days travel in defined period, overnight trains that depart after 7pm and arrive the next morning count as one days travel and not two, so they can be a big help in travelling greater distances with this type of pass.

• Trains will pass often call at stations throughout the night which can disturb or prevent a good night’s sleep.

• Check whether your destination is the final stop of the train’s journey. If it’s not you’ll have to set the alarm and make sure you’re up in time to get off.

• We haven’t included overnight departures that leave later than 1am on our destination guide, as to us that negates any advantage of taking such a service.

• Also consider the arrival time at your destination, from many overnight services you’ll be disembarking at 7.30 am or earlier , so factor in check in times for your next night’s accommodation and how many hours sleep you’ll actually have.

• Unless you can sleep anywhere and don’t mind early mornings don’t plan on taking too many consecutive overnight trips by train. On certain routes overnight trains can arrive at/depart from certain stations in the middle of the night. Think twice before making such journeys, the facilities at the stations my be closed and check when/if you can check in to where you'll be spending the rest of the night.

Also avoiding paying a premium for a sleeping cabin/couchettes for these journeys. There's little point in paying for any sort of flat bed, if you have to get out of it at 3am or 4am.

Travelling with children

The following broad terms and conditions apply to accommodating children in sleeping cabins (not couchettes), but confirm when booking:

  • Child up to 4 years without separate berth - free
  • Children aged 1-10 without separate berth - free berth, but the ordinary child rate for the journey is charged
  • Children aged 1-10 travelling in a separate berth - full 'supplement' cost for the berth charged plus the child rate for the journey.
  • Children aged more than 10 years must travel in a separate berth - full 'supplement' cost for the berth charged plus the child rate for the journey.
  • Children up to 4 yrs sharing a berth- full 'supplement' cost for the berth charged plus the one half fare for the journey.
  • Children aged 4-10 yrs sharing a berth - full 'supplement' cost for the berth charged plus a minimum of one half fare for the journey (many operators will apply journey fares to both children).