As flight-free travel becomes more popular, European rail journeys are seeing a revival.
According to Euronews, the newest inter-country line will connect three underserved cities in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Changing your mode of transportation is one of the most effective strategies to lower your carbon footprint. Flying from London to Paris, for example, releases 14 times more CO2 than taking the train.
Fortunately, countries throughout the EU are investing in railways that will provide better – and faster – links than ever before.
From low-cost night trains to cross-country routes, these are the most recent European railway routes.
Vienna to Paris with Nightjet
Since 2016, Austrian national rail company BB has been leading Europe’s sleeper train renaissance with Nightjet. It will establish a new route between Vienna and Paris via Salzburg and Munich in late 2021.
The voyage takes 14 hours and is available three times a week in both directions, with rates ranging from roughly €30 for a seat to €120 or more for a private compartment.
Nightjet will introduce new trains in the summer of 2023 that will rival first-class flights in terms of comfort. Wireless charging outlets, free wifi, bicycle and snow sports equipment storage, and private compartments with their own showers and toilets are all available.
Vienna to Genoa and La Spezia with Nightjet
Nightjet’s new 2023 schedule extends its Vienna/Munich route to Milan to Genoa and La Spezia in Italy. You can catch trains from here to Monaco, Nice, and Cinque Terre.
Brussels to Berlin via Amsterdam with European Sleeper
On May 25, the long-teased European Sleeper, a Belgian-Dutch social cooperative, will launch its inaugural route, from Brussels to Berlin via Amsterdam.
Passengers on the European Sleeper can continue their journey to Paris, London, Prague, and Warsaw with just one change. The route will be extended to Dresden and Prague beginning in 2024.
Liège to Aachen and Maastricht with****Arriva, SNCB and NS (December 2023)
A new rail service will connect Aachen, Germany, Liège, Belgium, and Maastricht, Netherlands.
Arriva (part of Germany’s Deutsche Bahn Group), SNCB (Belgium’s National Railway Company), and NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) are working together on the project.
Prague to Zurich with ČD
The Czech Republic’s national rail operator, eské dráhy (D), will operate a new sleeper service connecting Prague to Zurich in December 2022, with stops in Frankfurt and Basel along the way.
The overnight voyage, a resumption of a service that ceased operations in 2017, will take just under 14 hours. Passengers will have a variety of ticket options, ranging from six-bed couchettes to deluxe sleeper cabins with en-suite toilets and showers.
A seat in a six-bed couchette costs €49.90 per person.
Paris to Aurillac with SNCF (December 2023)
The Paris-Aurillac night train, which was decommissioned in the early 2000s, is due to reopen later this year.
From 10 December 2023, SNCF Voyageurs’ Le Pyrénéen and L’Occitan night trains will connect the French capital with the south-central commune.
During holiday seasons, a daily train will serve Cantal, and on Friday and Sunday evenings in both directions the rest of the time.
This is part of a larger plan to restart the country’s night trains, which has already included services between Paris and Nice and Paris and Lourdes.
Paris to Berlin with TGV (2024)
France and Germany have announced a new TGV rail route between Paris and Berlin, which will begin service in 2024.
Currently, travelers between the two major cities must change trains at a different stop, such as Cologne or Frankfurt.Passengers would be able to complete the journey in about seven hours because to the new high-speed link.
Paris to Venice with Midnight Trains (2025)
Midnight Trains, a French business sponsored by the European Commission, plans to connect France and Italy with a new night train service from Paris to Venice through Milan beginning in 2025. This will make taking the train from the UK to Italy faster and easier.
Paris to Madrid with Trenitalia (starts late 2024)
FS Italiane Group, the owner of Italy’s main state-owned railway Trenitalia, revealed plans for a new high-speed Frecciarossa train service between Paris and Madrid in December 2022.
The new train will connect Paris and Barcelona, where an existing high-speed service already connects the two cities. It is scheduled to launch in late 2024, with hints that further routes may connect Madrid to Italy via France.
Berlin to Stockholm with Snälltåget
Snälltget, a Swedish railway corporation, has relocated its Berlin-Malmö train service through Hamburg and Denmark, while also expanding it to Stockholm. The entire travel takes little under 17 hours, with direct services starting at roughly €50.
Munich to Genoa and La Spezia with Nightjet
Nightjet’s new 2023 schedule extends its Vienna/Munich route to Milan to Genoa and La Spezia in Italy. It is possible to travel to Monaco, Nice, and Cinque Terre from here.
Stuttgart to Zagreb and Rijeka with Nightjet and EuroNight
Nightjet expanded its sleeper train service from Munich to Venice, Ljubljana, and Zagreb with its new 2023 timetable to begin in Stuttgart, Germany.
The service will also run seasonally to the Croatian coastal city of Rijeka, with a total journey time of about 15 hours.
Nightjet operates to Venice via Munich, Salzburg, and Treviso, while Croatian Railways H and Slovenian Railways S operate services to the Croatian and Slovenian capitals under BB’s EuroNight.
Brussels to Berlin with European Sleeper
Liège to Aachen and Maastricht with Arriva, SNCB and NS (December 2023)
Genoa to Naples with NTV Italo
NTV Italo, an Italian high-speed rail firm, will commence a Genoa service in late 2021, connecting the historically underserved port city in Italy’s northwest to the country’s south.
The trip from Genoa to Naples takes little under seven hours and costs roughly €80 round trip.
Milan to Paris with Frecciarossa
In late 2021, Frecciarossa, the high-speed arm of Trenitalia, the Italian national train operator, will introduce a fancy new train between Milan and Paris.
The train, which is faster and more comfortable than past trains on this route, takes slightly under seven hours. Tickets start at €29, but for a comfortable armchair, upgrade to a ‘executive’ price.
Porto to Lisbon and Vigo with the Iberian high-speed rail network (construction starting in 2024)
The Portuguese government has approved proposals for a high-speed train route connecting Lisbon, Porto, and Vigo. It will be part of the larger Iberian high-speed rail network that will unite the country and connect it to Spain.
Traveling by train between Porto and Lisbon currently takes over three hours. The new train link will reduce travel time to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The new railway will eventually connect the Portuguese cities with Vigo, Spain.
Amsterdam to Austria with TUI’s Ski Express
Snow sports enthusiasts are gearing up for the inauguration of a new overnight train between Amsterdam and several of Austria’s largest ski resorts.
TUI’s ‘Ski Express’ will leave Amsterdam every Friday night between December 23 and March 31.After departing from Amsterdam at 5:30 p.m., the service will stop in Utrecht before continuing directly to Austria.
Amsterdam to Zurich with Nightjet
Nightjet, an Austrian-led night train pioneer, will operate a line between Amsterdam and Zurich in late 2021. It departs at 8.30 p.m. and returns at 8.05 a.m.
Couchettes (from roughly €60) to sleeper cabins (from around €120) are available as sleeping alternatives.
Liège to Aachen and Maastricht with Arriva, SNCB and NS (December 2023)
Amsterdam to Barcelona with European Sleeper (Spring 2025)
Soon-to-launch European Sleeper, a Dutch-Belgian train operator, hopes to launch a new night train service from Amsterdam to Barcelona in spring 2025. This would substantially improve Europe’s north-south train connectivity.
Amsterdam to Berlin with Qbuzz (January 2027)
Qbuzz has applied for three new train links through the EU’s ‘open access’ railway package: Amsterdam to Eindhoven, Amsterdam to Berlin, and Amsterdam to Paris.
These could be active in January 2027 if allowed by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).
Madrid to Alicante and Valencia with Ouigo, Avlo and Iryo
Ouigo, a subsidiary of SNCF, will launch a new high-speed, low-cost line between Madrid and Valencia in November 2022. It will also run to Alicante beginning in the summer of 2023. Tickets will initially cost €9 one-way with one suitcase, but will eventually cost roughly €30.
But Renfe’s Aryo is likely to beat it to the punch: on March 27, the low-cost operator will debut its own Madrid-Alicante service, starting at €7. On June 2, Iryo will introduce a comparable service.
Ouigo intends to expand its service to Cordoba, Seville, Malaga, and the Costa del Sol in 2023 and 2024.
Barcelona to Madrid with Iryo
Traveling between Spain’s capital and its most popular tourist destination will be faster and cheaper starting in November 2022, thanks to Iryo’s new high-speed rail service.
Iryo, a joint venture of Spanish airline Air Nostrum and Italian railway firm Trenitalia, operates 16 daily return trains between Barcelona and Madrid, traveling as little as 2.5 hours each way and costing as low as €18.
On March 31, 2023, the low-cost rail carrier will also operate a three-hour service between Malaga, Madrid, and Cordoba. Renfe’s Avlo will also connect Madrid to Malaga and Seville beginning in June 2023.
Madrid to Marseille via Barcelona with Renfe (mid 2023)
In 2023, Spain’s state-owned rail network will introduce new high-speed AVE trains to France. Trains are expected to run on alternate days at first, but will eventually be increased to twice a day.
Barcelona to Lyon via Montpellier and Nimes with Renfe (mid 2023)
Renfe’s aim to expand its rail services into France involves the addition of a new line between Barcelona and Lyon later this year.
Additional lines to Paris are anticipated to open before the end of the year.
Ljubljana to Budapest with Hungarian Railways
The Hungarian Railways train from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Budapest, Hungary, which will be launched in December 2021, will take a picturesque route through Graz, Austria. The trip takes 7.5 hours and costs as little as €16 each way.
Stockholm to Hamburg with SJ EuroNight
The Stockholm Central to Hamburg-Altona night train will be powered by renewable energy when it launches in September 2022. It leaves every day at 5.30 p.m. and arrives at 6.30 a.m., traveling through Copenhagen on the route.
A carriage seat (from €25) is the most affordable alternative. A shared compartment bed costs €45, while a private compartment for two guests with a sink costs €165.Private compartments for one to three persons start about €205 and include their own shower, toilet, and breakfast.There are also pet-friendly train compartments available.
When combined with existing Eurostar and Deutsche Bahn services, the service may travel from London to Stockholm in under 24 hours.
Zurich to Rome with Nightjet
Nightjet announced at a press conference in 2020 that it will launch a new night train between Zurich and Rome in winter 2022. It remains to be seen whether the plans will be carried out as planned. The operator’s only Rome routes are now Vienna, Salzburg, Villach, and Munich.
London to Bordeaux with HS1 (approximately 2026)
The High Speed 1 (HS1) railway line in the United Kingdom, which operates the Channel Tunnel railway line, is preparing to open a new route from London to Bordeaux. Passengers must currently travel through Paris to reach the French wine region, which takes about six hours. The new line will avoid the capital, reducing travel time to roughly five hours.