Sustainable travel: Travelling Europe by night train

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Sustainable travel is becoming increasingly important in society. One particularly environmentally friendly alternative to flying or driving is the night train.

Although the sleeping car was long considered a phase-out model, you can easily reach almost every major city in the EU by train.

A nice side effect: you arrive at your destination rested and relaxed.

The railway companies of Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland are planning to further expand cross-border night train connections by 2024.


  • The ÖBB Nightjet is one of the best known night trains in Europe.
  • In addition, there are the so-called EuroNight trains, which are operated by ÖBB's partner railways.
  • Night trains usually have sleeping and couchette compartments, so you can lie down and rest during the night.
  • Tickets for the Nightjet are available from ÖBB and Deutsche Bahn.
  • Children under 15 travelling alone must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Four new European night train connections are planned by 2024.

Across Europe with the ÖBB Nightjet

The Nightjet (NJ) is a night train operated by the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB). The Nightjet network covers six countries. Belgium, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The cheapest way to travel on the Nightjet is in the Seat Car. Up to six passengers share one compartment.

If you want to travel more comfortably, you can book a private compartment for up to three people, which is available on many Nightjet trains.

By the way: Children under the age of 15 travelling alone must be accompanied by an adult.

Travel in your sleep: Other night trains in Europe

What is the difference between a sleeping car and a couchette car?

A sleeping car has beds and can accommodate up to three people, which makes it more comfortable.

A couchette car, on the other hand, has seats. Passengers can choose between a four-person or a six-person compartment. If necessary, the seats can be converted into a kind of plank bed.

Night travel in a couchette car

Travel in couchettes is suitable for individuals, families or groups.

There are compartments with four or six berths arranged one above the other. It is also possible to reserve your own compartment in the couchette car.

You can enjoy a light breakfast of coffee or tea with a roll, butter and jam.


There is no gender separation when booking berths in couchettes. For example, if you are a woman and would like to travel with other women, you can book a seat in the women's compartment.

Night train: Travelling in a sleeping car

The most comfortable way to travel is in a sleeping car. These are fitted with real beds so you can enjoy the most comfortable journey possible.

Sleeping car travel also includes breakfast.

On the Nightjet you can choose between a single, double or triple compartment. For an extra charge, you can even book a deluxe compartment with a private bathroom with washbasin, shower and toilet.

Where can I buy a Nightjet ticket?

Tickets for the Nightjet are available from ÖBB and Deutsche Bahn AG (DB).

You will need to make a reservation for the Nightjet. It is best to make a reservation when you buy your ticket. With the DB BahnCard you get discounts on the Nightjet.

Can I take my bike on the Nightjet?

Nightjet currently only offers the possibility to take bicycles on a few routes between Austria and Germany and between Austria and Switzerland.

A separate ticket and reservation is required.

Bicycle transport is available on the following routes:

  • NJ 490 Vienna - Linz - Hannover - Hamburg
  • NJ 491 Hamburg - Hannover - Linz - Vienna
  • NJ 40420 Innsbruck - Munich - Hamburg
  • NJ 40491 Hamburg - Munich - Innsbruck
  • NJ 466 Vienna - Zurich
  • NJ 467 Zurich - Vienna

Tips for a relaxed Nightjet journey

  • Theft protection
    Always lock your compartment and keep valuables close to you.
  • More privacy
    Book a single compartment if privacy is important to you.
  • Quiet night on the rails
    Take earplugs with you so you are not disturbed by train noise or other passengers.
  • Pack your suitcase properly
    It can get cramped in the compartment, so put your pyjamas, toothbrush and flannel in the top of your bag.
  • Start the day relaxed
    Take an alarm clock or use the wake-up service in the sleeping car so you have time to freshen up and have breakfast in the morning.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.