Sleeper trains are an efficient way of covering long distances. Thanks to our many years’ experience of organising rail travel for our customers, we know which services offer the most enjoyable and comfortable experiences. Below are some of our favourites.
Elipsos Trenhotel (Spain) and Sud Expresso (Portugal)
Thanks to the wider gauge of the Spanish and Portuguese rail network, which can carry wider trains, these stylish trains are the most spacious of Europe’s sleeper services. The free baggage allowance is equally generous – up to 30kg, in fact – and you can keep all of your luggage with you in the cabin.
We recommend the Gran Class cabins. These are air-conditioned, compact, private cabins with two comfortable bunk beds, a luggage rack above the door, plus an ensuite shower and toilet. On boarding, you are offered a glass of cava and shown to your cabin, which at this stage is in ‘daytime mode’, with the beds folded away to create a sitting area. You are asked at this stage for your tickets and passports, which the staff look after for you so that you aren’t disturbed during the night for passport checks.
Dinner service starts in the restaurant car soon after the train departs from Paris. Included in the Gran Class fare is a three-course meal accompanied by half a bottle of wine per person, coffee and liqueurs. By the time you return to your cabin, your beds will have been made up for you with a pillow and duvet. Towels are also provided.
The following morning, you again make your way to the restaurant car, where you can choose from the omelettes, pastries, fruit and yogurts on offer.
City Night Line (Germany)
Modern and air-conditioned, the City Night Line offers a reliable service. You are greeted on the platform and shown to your cabin, where the attendant asks you if they can look after your passport and tickets overnight to avoid your having to be woken for immigration checks.
The economy cabins are compact, with space for your luggage, two bunk beds (which are already made up when you board but which can be converted into a seating area the next morning if you wish), and a wash basin. A shared toilet and shower are located at the end of the carriage.
For greater space and comfort, as well as your own shower and toilet, you can upgrade to a deluxe cabin. These are popular, so you need to book in good time. Whether you upgrade or not, you are provided with a towel, duvet, pillow and a complimentary bottle of water.
There is no restaurant on board the City Night Line, so you should dine before boarding the train, or bring a picnic tea with you. Arrangements for breakfast depend on the type of cabin you have booked – in economy, you are given a light ‘breakfast box’; in deluxe, you are served a croissant, bread roll and butter on china.