Rest your head in one city and wake up in another with night trains in Europe. There’s a reason people like to travel by starlight – and it’s not just the extra element of excitement it brings. Travelling at night means you won’t lose half a day of your trip – just shut your eyes and you’ll be at your next destination in no time. Sleeper trains can also be a real money saver as they’re your hotel for the night too.
From the luxury of a sleeper cabin to the convenience to a couchette, there’s still something romantic about travelling by train at night. Our guide to European sleeper trains will tell you all you need to know about travelling across the continent by night.
No one likes waking up in the middle of the night, and as you’ll be sound asleep for most of your journey, it’s generally longer routes across Europe that offer a night train service. Take a look at our map below to see some of the major sleeper train routes across the continent.
Many European train companies offer a night service for longer domestic or cross border routes. We’ve listed some of the main sleeper trains running across Europe below.
Please note that Trainline may not currently sell tickets for all night train services.
Austria / Germany / Switzerland / Italy
The Nightjet is ÖBB’s sleeper train that connects destinations in Austria to other major cities in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. You can board this service from the main hubs in the country like Vienna, Villach and Linz and wake up in amazing destinations like Berlin, Hamburg, Florence and Rome to name a few.
Find out more on our ÖBB Nightjet page.
France / Italy
Operated by Thello, these sleeper trains offer overnight connections between some of the main cities in France and Italy, including Paris, Dijon Milan and Venice. You’ll find the most comfortable night trains on the Paris – Venice line, including a bar and restaurant (offering a seated service for dinner)
Some Thello night trains also offer a premium cabin with your own private shower and toilet, for those who don’t want to compromise on comfort.
Find out more about Thello trains.
France / Spain / Portugal
The night service from the main train company in Spain – Renfe. This sleeper service connects cities like Madrid, Lisbon, Barcelona, Ferrol, Irun and Hendaya. Travel in comfort from sunny Southern France to the beaches of Portugal without those queues at the airport.
Find out more about Trenhotel night trains.
England / France
A perfect way to start your holiday on the slopes, Eurostar ski trains run a weekly Friday night sleeper service between December and March. Connecting London St Pancras to ski resorts in the French Alps such as Moutiers, Aime La Plagne and Bourg-Saint-Maurice, you’ll enjoy all the comforts for a normal Eurostar train, plus extra space for skis and snowboards.
Read more about the Eurostar ski train.
This French night train service, operated by SNCF, runs four domestic overnight routes to and from Paris. Go to sleep in the capital and wake up refreshed in either Toulouse, Rodez, Briançon or Latour-de-Carol.
Find out more about SNCF trains.
England / Scotland
Travelling overnight from London to Scotland and vice versa, the Caledonian Sleeper offers a smooth journey to Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Highlands and beyond. Trains depart six nights a week, and brand-new sleeper trains are due to be introduced on this service in June 2019.
Read more about the Caledonian Sleeper.
Reservations are required on all night trains in Europe. If you’re booking with us via our website or app, we’ll show you the different travel options offered by the railway companies that manage the route you’re interested in.
Once you’ve chosen the sleeper route you’d like to travel on, you’ll be able to confirm the extra details of your journey like which type and size of carriage you’d like to travel in – sleeper cabin, couchette or seated.
Want to save money on train travel in Europe? Check out our guide to finding cheap European train tickets.
A good question a lot of people ask – and a very important one when it comes to spending a night on a train. Generally, couchettes on night trains convert from ordinary seating compartments during the day to bunks during the night. Sleeper carriages are the more luxurious option, with freshly made beds, washbasins and toiletries supplied. To give you a bit more of an idea about what levels of service you can expect on a sleeper train, we’ve listed the main features of each option below.
The most comfortable travel option on night trains, sleeper cabins are almost like staying in a moving hotel. Available as one, two, three and sometimes four berth carriages, during the day these rooms can act as a sitting room with comfortable seating and a small table. At night, beds are freshly made with pillows, duvets or blankets.
Sleeper cabins usually come with a sink, towels and toiletries so you can arrive at your destination as refreshed as possible. Some deluxe sleeper cabins even have their own shower and toilet for total privacy during your journey.
Usually available as either four or six berth carriages, couchettes transform from ordinary seating during the day to padded bunks (two or three on top of one another) during the night.
The most cost-effective way to travel on night trains, some services offer carriages with airline style reclining seats. Depending on the night train you’re travelling on, carriages can be divided into compartments of around six seats each or can be open plan.
Did you know that you can fall asleep in Paris and wake up in Milan? Or close your eyes in Madrid and reopen them in Lisbon? Find some of the most popular routes below, get inspired and start packing your suitcase.