Five Game-Changing New Overnight Train Routes In Europe

All aboard the unstoppable rise of the sleeper train. We’ve packed our overnight bag for a sustainable stay on one of the next-gen trains pulling into stations across Europe

Time to check the arrivals board: a host of new-look sleeper trains are in development across the continent, from Parisian "hotel on wheels" concepts to luxurious alpine shuttle services that will whisk you away to the snowy slopes in serious style. Here's our pick of the new sleeper trains to get excited about (and one old-school favourite that has kept the romance of train travel alive, too).

All aboard: five European overnight train services to book now

European Sleeper


European Sleeper

Whizzing your way from Brussels to Berlin used to be a long slog during the day. From May this year, though, Dutch-Belgian company European Sleeper will be offering an overnight rail route between the two cities, with stops at Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Deventer en route. Judging by its name, The Good Night Train will be all about ensuring a smooth journey from B to B, with carriages separated into typical sleeper train ticket categories. Book a private cabin (up to three beds, plus a washbasin), stick to old-school couchette carriages (seats that switch into bunks come nightfall) or keep it cheap in one of the seated carriages. The train starts at Brussels Midi, which is the same terminal as the Eurostar stop, so you'll now be able to travel from London to Berlin by rail in 24 hours.

What it costs: Couchettes from £140pp
Midnight Trains


Midnight Trains

Touting itself as a "hotel on wheels", the French startup Midnight Trains has grabbed our attention with a sneak peek of some seriously good-looking private cabins - set to be rolling around Europe by 2024. Forget slumming it in a too-small, rocky bunk bed. MIdnight Trains says it will offer all private rooms (with shower en-suites) dressed up in interiors inspired by the golden age of rail travel, with space for singles, doubles and even families. A restaurant carriage will serve cocktails, craft beers and a menu of seasonal food in a moody, low-lit dining space, and you'll also be able to order to your cabin. Co-founders Adrien Aumont and Romain Payet are hoping to launch with a Paris-Milan-Venice route, but have ambitious plans to send their rolling rooms to Brussels, Berlin, Copenhagen, Rome and even Madrid.

What it costs: TBC
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Paris-French Alps

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

One for powder hounds. Belmond's Venice Simplon-Orient-Express service has announced four new winter journeys to whisk skiers out of central Paris' grey Hausmann streets and into the snow-capped scenery of the French Alps. Starting in December 2023, those iconic navy carriages (manned by dapperly dressed staff) will transport travellers to Albertville, Moûtiers and Bourg-Saint-Maurice in cabins worthy of an Agatha Christie tale (think art deco-inspired lacquered panelling, marble en-suites with mosaic flooring, and jewel-toned velvet furnishings). Not that you'll see much of them; in the words of one staff member we spoke to, "this train wasn't built for sleeping. It's for partying". Get a head start on the après-ski with live music throughout the journey, a bar car pouring classic cocktails, and three restored 1920s restaurant carriages serving up an ultra-luxe menu from Top Chef winner Jean Imbert. Expect fellow guests to wear Gucci: options on the caviar menu start from a cool £390.

What it costs: From £3,300pp, including dinner, breakfast, brunch and soft drinks
hamburg-copenhagen Night Train
Photo credit: Tommy Alven /


EuroNight trains

Struggling with flygskam? Banish flight shame by hopping on this Scandinavian sleeper next time you're heading to Stockholm. As if rail travel wasn't sustainable enough, the Swedish rail operator SJ's Hamburg-Copenhagen-Stockholm sleeper trains run on 100 per cent renewable energy sourced from hydropower and wind turbines. Interiors aren't quite Copenhagen Design Week level, but they're still sleek and the brand-new carriages include first-class sleeping compartments (with private showers and loos), as well as six-bunk sharing couchettes.

What it costs: From £75pp for a shared couchette compartment
Caledonian Sleeper Train
Photo credit: Lucy Knott Photography


Caledonian Sleeper

The Scots were a step ahead when they relaunched the Caledonian Sleeper services between London Euston and Scottish stations including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness in 2019, and the fresh-out-the-box cabins (revamped for an eye-watering £150million) glide up the West Coast Main Line each night from Sunday to Friday, the trusty navy carriages trundling through dusky moorlands and under the industrial pyramids of the Forth Bridge. Though technically not new, a raft of teething problems (let's not talk about the three-hour delay on the debut journey) has meant that travellers heading across the border have only recently had a smooth journey. Cabins, designed by Scottish interiors maestro Ian Smith, have tartan touches that don't feel too kitsch. Instead, the palette reflects the changing landscapes beyond the window (all rusty oranges, taupes and greys), with bonnie extras, like Scottish toiletries and Mackie's of Scotland chocolates, provided during the journey.

What it costs: From £225pp for a classic room
Royal Scotsman, Scotland
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