From Florence to Paris or Barcelona to Geneva or Munich to Rome, overnight train travel in Europe is not only convenient but it's a romantic means of traveling through the picturesque European countryside by day as well as night! Rolling along while the rattle and hum of the wheels gliding over the tracks resounds throughout your cabin; and the gentle side-to-side rocking motion soothes as it takes the edge off even the toughest day of sightseeing in Europe. Plus, when you book a private sleeper with shower and water closet, you not only get the convenience of your hotel room on the rails, you are welcomed aboard by your personal cabin steward who shares a champagne toast, makes your dinner reservations and gently wakes you up to breakfast in the morning. Does it get any better? Why waste all the time in an airport moving from country to country when you have this most romantic mode of travel that beckons to all those who seek to seek to see the passing landscapes and countryside from the convenience of a railroad car. If you ask me, there’s no other way to go! Above all that, what really made my journey special was the unexpected adventure of it all!
When you’re traveling abroad, you want to make the most of every minute and every moment. If the prospect of losing a day to travel between cities is a sacrifice you’re not willing to make, then overnight train travel is the answer. For me, what started out as a seemingly mundane solution to the dilemma of traveling between Florence and Paris without wasting a single moment of time, turned out to be an unforgettable journey that I will never forget—a fascinating trip through the Alps, Lake Maggiore and the other cities along the way. One thrilling moment after the next had my heart pumping and adrenalin surging that I almost didn't fall asleep that night. Needless to say, I practically didn't.
It all started after we finished having dinner in the dining car...only a few cars up from our sleeper coach. Just as we were settling into our little bunks by the windows and planning to retire for the evening, our intrepid journey led us through lands unknown, unknown to me anyway. For when I looked out of our cabin window, I was awe struck as each breathtaking vista and picturesque landscape passed us by while we rolled along the rails. For each new bend in the winding rails revealed enchanting European villages cast aglow in the velvety dark of the night, or train stations with illuminated signs of the cities I longed to visit, it was all there for me to embrace, to seize the moment and revel in my fantastic journey.
Suddenly surrounded by pitch-black darkness, I realized we plunged into one of many dark mysterious Alpine tunnels only to emerge into a dream—before my eyes was the sprawling Lake Maggiore with its coastline twinkling across its moonlit waters. Oh, if only this moment could last forever!
Having finally fallen asleep, not even sure what time it was, we awoke in the morning, about an hour or so outside of Paris. With still plenty of time to shower and enjoy breakfast which consisted of prepackaged pastry breads, coffee and juice— not bad, but not the meal of champions, it fueled the start of our first day in the City of Light.
If you’re planning to visit Europe and your itinerary takes from country to country or even better, across the continent, consider traveling by train in the day or overnight. From single seats to deluxe coach cabins, there are suitable accommodations to match every taste and budget. Prices vary from $50 per person for single seat to $300 or more per person for a private coach cabin, I recommend the latter for overnight. My best advice is to find what best suits your budget and book it as soon as you know your dates.
Here is a list of websites to help you plan your journey on the rails. Each offers many exciting options for day and overnight train travel throughout Europe.
Take the train and I promise you an unforgettable journey on the rails!