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Night trains from Berlin: Europe from the sleeping compartment

Why waste waking hours on travelling, when you can sleep through it? Here are the European cities you can reach via train from Berlin.

There’s a certain romance to taking a night train across Europe, and Berlin makes the perfect starting point for a trip across the continent. Eco-conscious Europeans are ditching cheap air travel for sustainable rail travel, with fewer emissions and less guilt. So where do you want to go? Vienna, Paris, Rome? No problem. Buy a ticket, get comfortable, and feel no Flugscham.

We’ve picked out a few night train lines to Europe’s most beautiful cities for you. We’ll start with direct connections, then we’ll introduce you to connecting services and scheduled night trains.

Direct connection: Berlin – Basel – Zürich

The Austrian Federal Railways offer many trips on night trains. Photo: Imago/Rüdiger Wölk

In Basel, you could view a new exhibition at the Kunsthaus, visit the tomb of Erasmus, or walk your way from Germany to France and back to Switzerland again – all in one day.  In Zurich, you can admire the Grossmünster and explore the old town. Both Swiss cities have night trains running directly from Berlin and the ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) also provides transportation here. Wake up early to catch wonderful landscapes from the compartment window.

  •  Berlin Hauptbahnhof Europaplatz 1, Moabit, departure times vary, from €89.90, more info here

Direct connection: Berlin – Wrocław – Vienna

Directly by night train from Berlin: Vienna is actually just as magnificent in person as it is in pictures. Photo: Imago/Volker Preußer

Walk in the footsteps of Mozart, Freud or Beethoven, drink a melange in a picturesque coffee house or stroll through the Naschmarkt and marvel at Sisi’s palace? Sounds geil to us. The Nightjet of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) is the best choice for a trip to Vienna. In addition to sleeping cars, couchette cars are also offered, and you can also take your bike with you for an additional charge. Warsaw is the halfway point, and makes for an excellent short trip that is easily combined with a trip to Vienna.

  • Bahnhof Berlin Charlottenburg Europaplatz 1, Moabit, departure times vary, from €89 more info here

Direct connection: Berlin – Stockholm

Stockholm can also be reached by night train from Berlin. Photo: Imago/Panthermedia/xansharx

The historic old town of Stockholm is called Gamla Stan, and its winding alleyways are a real treat. Check out the Vasa Museum of the eponymous warship. The Stockholm company Snälltåget (literally, fast train) has not only a melodious name, but also set up the connection from Berlin to Stockholm. The journey goes via Hamburg, Copenhagen and Malmö, the birthplace of the unbelievably charming footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

  • Berlin Hauptbahnhof Europaplatz 1, Moabit, 7.4-23.9 (daily), 22.12-3.1 (Mondays and Wednesday), 4.1-8.4 no trains, various departure times, from 94 €, more info here

Direct connection: Berlin – Frankfurt – Paris

Berlin has the TV Tower, Paris the Eiffel Tower. You can get there by night train from December 2022. Photo: Imago/YAY Images

Oh là là, soon you’ll be able to travel directly from Berlin to Paris by train. Currently, you need at least one change in Mannheim or Frankfurt to get to the city of love and premium croissants. With the direct route, which should get going some time in 2023, you’ll be sipping wine by the Seine in no time. Well, in a few leisurely, uninterrupted hours at least.

  • Berlin Hauptbahnhof Europaplatz 1, Moabit, currently suspended.

Direct connection: Prague-Berlin-Zurich

Prague or Zurich? The main thing is Italy! Photo: Imago/robertharding

From December 11, 2022, you can travel by night train from Berlin to Zurich through southern Germany – or directly to Prague, depending on the direction of travel. This gives you two more opportunities to escape the drab Berlin winter. Both destinations are well worth a visit – all it takes is a little patience and a good book.

  • Info on prices and departure times will follow

Direct connection: Berlin – Warsaw – Minsk – Moscow

Moscow may be beautiful, but it is not an attractive destination at the moment. The night train there will probably stop for the time being. Photo: Imago/photosteinmaurer.com

Russian Railways has been operating the Moscow via Berlin to Paris route for decades. The journey takes 40 hours, and from Berlin to the Russian capital (only!) 23. However Russian Railways suspended services during the pandemic, but plans to resume operations in December 2022. Few are likely to be interested in the trip at the moment, given the current geopolitical situation. The Deutsche Bahn has not yet announced anything but it seems likely that operations will remain suspended.

  • Berlin Hauptbahnhof Europaplatz 1, Moabit, the train could potentially resume in December 2022, more info here

No direct connection, but still worthwhile 

These are the several direct sleeper connections to other European countries from Berlin. But if these don’t catch your imagination, just take the ICE to Munich. From there, a number of new possibilities open up and you can doze your way to some truly incredible cities. 

Change in Munich: Zagreb

Aerial view of Zagreb, the capital of Croatiai Photo: Imago/anthermedia/zatletic

Vacation in Croatia is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the summer. From Zagreb you can quickly get to the coasts, but the inland capital is itself worth a trip. The climate is pleasant, the old town bustling, the restaurants are not quite cheap, but provide good value for money, and the church architecture is unique. The journey to Munich is quick and from there you board the air-conditioned Croatian Railway sleeper train.

  • Berlin Hauptbahnhof Europaplatz 1, Moabit, prices for train to Munich vary, prices from Munich to Zagreb from €44.90, more info about the sleeper train here

Change in Munich: Bologna – Florence – Rome

Piazza Navona, Rome. Photo: Imago/Panthermedia/entdusud

From Munich, ÖBB also operates a night train to Italy. The night train crosses the Alps and in the morning you will find yourself rested and ready to go, in the heart of these major Italian cities. Your only problem will be choosing which one! 

  • Berlin Hauptbahnhof Europaplatz 1, Moabit, prices for train to Munich vary, from von Munich Hauptbahnhof with ÖBB-Nightjet to Rome, departure times vary, from €89.90, more info here

Change in Munich: Verona – Lake Garda – Milan

Don’t worry, most of the influencers are now in Dubai. By the way, the cathedral in Milan is well worth seeing. Photo: Imago/Westend61

The third important connection from Munich to Italy is via Verona and Lake Garda to Milan. This modern city in the north of Italy, famous for its fashion,  has fantastic restaurants, good nightlife and spectacular shopping. You should also see the Duomo and maybe get a ticket for La Scala.

  • Berlin Hauptbahnhof Europaplatz 1, Moabit, prices for train to Munich vary, from Munich Hauptbahnhof with ÖBB-Nightjet to Milan, departure times vary, from €89.90, more info here

Planned night train routes

More night trains are planned in Berlin for the next few years. So, what can we look forward to?

Berlin – Zagreb Direct connection

When travelling from Berlin to Zagreb, it is still necessary to change trains in Munich. The private railway company Regiojet wants to change that in December 2022. A connection is planned from Berlin via Prague, Vienna and Graz to Zagreb and Ljubljana. According to the company, the necessary routes have already been requested from the regulatory authorities. The train will probably be divided on the journey, so that one half is heading for Ljubljana and the other for Zagreb.

Berlin – Amsterdam – Brussels

Also in cooperation with the company European Sleeper, Regiojet plans to introduce a train connection from Prague via Berlin and Amsterdam to Brussels in 2022. We are excited, especially since both destinations have a lot to offer, be it canals, museums or wonderful Coffeeshops  old towns.

Any others?

Deutsche Bahn, in cooperation with ÖBB, the French SNCF and the Swiss Federal Railways, wants to expand the range of night trains. Many European metropolises will hopefully join the expanding network. A route from Vienna via Berlin and Brussels to Paris is planned for December 2023 and one from Zurich to Barcelona for December 2024.