Overnight trains and hotel trains have a range of accommodations, including sleepers, couchettes and sleeperettes. All sleepers and couchettes convert from seats to berths for nighttime travel, and back to seats for daytime travel. For information on prices and reservations for night trains, please click here. (will link to Using A Rail Pass & Tickets/Reservations)
Sleeper compartments have washbasins, soap, towels, a razor plug, mineral water, and a lockable door. The berths come with a pillow, sheets, and a duvet or blanket. Stewards are present in the sleeper cars to assist passengers and take care of all border crossing procedures. Many of the stewards speak the languages of the countries the train will pass through, as well as English. Compartments are gender specific unless booked by couples or families. Fares for sleepers require a 1st class ticket or a rail pass plus the sleeper supplement fee. First class/rail pass passengers can book a single, double, or triple sleeper. Single passengers can reserve a double sleeper, but they may have to share with another passenger based on availability.
Couchettes are compartments with berths for 4-6 people. Each berth has a pillow, sheets and blankets. Washbasins are not available in the compartments, and restrooms are at the end of the car. Berths can be booked individually or in groups. Compartments are non-gender specific and passengers are expected to sleep in their day clothes. Stewards are available only on international routes. Fares for couchettes require a 1st or 2nd class ticket or a rail pass plus the couchette supplement fee.
Sleeperettes are seats in open coach cars that recline to allow passengers to sleep more comfortably. Seats may have small head pillows attached, but no blankets are provided. Fares for sleeperettes require a 1st or 2nd class ticket, or a rail pass and a reservation. There is normally no additional cost for sleeperettes, however, some hotel trains may charge a higher reservation fee for seats. Hotel trains combine long distance night travel with the security, privacy and comfort of a hotel stay. All compartments have locking doors and access to dining cars. There are 3 levels of accommodation: Tourist, First Class, and Luxury Class. Tourist class accommodations include 4 beds in a compartment. Toilets are found outside the compartment in the car. First class accommodations include compartments with 1 to 2 beds. Toilet and shower facilities are located outside the compartment in the car. Luxury class accommodations include 1 to 2 beds per compartment. They also include a private toilet and shower within the compartment.
There are several night or hotel trains in Europe:
This train covers international routes between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Trains have Deluxe, Economy, Couchette and Sleeperette accommodations. Deluxe compartments have 1 - 2 fixed beds, moveable chairs and tables, and a full washroom with a shower. Economy sleepers have 2 - 4 beds, for families, and 1 washroom in the car. Deluxe and Economy accommodations include breakfast. Couchette and sleeperette passengers may buy breakfast at the bar.
This train covers domestic routes in Germany and international routes to Denmark. Accommodations include Comfort, Couchette, and sleeperettes. Comfort cabins have doors with key-card locks and a private shower and toilet cabin. On German domestic routes, a restaurant and bistro car is available.
This train services domestic routes in Spain and international routes between Spain and France, Portugal, Italy, and Switzerland. Classes of accommodation include Luxury, 1st Class, Tourist, and Sleeperette. Dinner and breakfast are included for all passengers in single or double accommodation.
Thello trains cover international routes between France and Italy. More information here.
Trenhotel trains cover international routes between Spain and other European countries, including Italy.
Hotel Train Lusitania
This train covers travel between Portugal and Spain. Accommodations include Luxury, 1st class and regular seats. Breakfast is included.
The Overnight Express train covers international routes between the Netherlands and Italy. Accommodations include Sleeper, Couchette and Sleeperette. Depending on class, accommodations include free meals or snacks. Please note that Eurail Pass holders must have Benelux as an associated country to ride this train. Eurail Select Passes are not valid on this train.
Photo credit: Mihail Jershov