Night trains summon up the thoughts of cramped conditions and, for me at least, the reminder that it’s difficult to sleep on a train table. But if you do it right you’ll leave one city after dinner and arrive in the next one refreshed and revitalised after a great night’s sleep. All over Europe night trains are becoming a cheaper way to travel and a great alternative to short flights. We’ve picked out a few of the best routes to whet your appetite.
London to Fort William
Starting here in the UK, this is one of only two sleeper services in the country (the other runs to Penzance). As you drift off to sleep heading out of London’s Euston station you’ll wake in the Highlands with breathtaking scenery going past your window. Your final destination is the foothills of Ben Nevis so you can easily go from city slicker to fell walker in just a few zzzzzzzs.
Paris to Venice
Paris is practically the night train hub of the continent so there’s plenty of choices when it comes to overnight destinations, but we think Venice is the best of the bunch. Winding through the Alps before going past the Italian Lakes whilst you’re enjoying breakfast, you’ll make it to the tip of Venice before most of the other day trippers so you can head to St Mark’s Square and see it relatively crowd-free.
Rome to Nice
You can have the best of both worlds on your holiday if you head to the Eternal City for some sightseeing before heading to the French Riviera for a chic beach break. As you head away from Rome as night falls you’ll stick to the coast all the way, which makes for some wonderful views, particularly when you head through Monte Carlo just after you wake up.
Moscow to St Petersburg
This route even has its own theme song, which isn’t something you come across every day! Comfy beds await you on this prestigious service which doesn’t come all that cheap, but it’s an experience worth shelling out for. You can travel in the lap of luxury from the capital to one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the country, St Petersburg, not far from the border with Finland.
top image by St.Even.Cavanagh