Moscow to Nice sleeper train, Russian Railways
The Moscow to Nice sleeper train is one of the longest rail routes in the world, stretching 2,607 km across eight countries – in fact, it’s hard to believe it’s a railway line at all. The train has been operating since 2010, the first railway line connecting Russia and the French Riviera since the days of Tsarist Russia. Now run by Russian Railways it aims to recreate the romance of the golden age of travel, departing Russia’s capital Moscow for the glitzy French Riviera on a journey that takes around 50 hours.
In 2015, to mark the 150th anniversary of the railway connection between the two countries, the train was considerably upgraded, and passengers now enjoy a rather premium experience. Changing restaurant cars, incredible views and a nostalgia for old-world travel all make this rail route a definite bucket-list journey.
Prices from: £285
Departing from: Moscow
Journey length: 1 night
Moscow to Nice sleeper train route
During summer, the Moscow to Nice train runs once a week on a Thursday, departing from Moscow’s Belorussky station at 18:17 and pulling into Nice two days later at 18:30. The journey takes an average of 51 hours and 13 minutes, crossing through Russia, Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy and Monaco before finally entering France. The scenery outside is pretty fantastic, and guests will get to travel through Moscow’s suburbs, Minsk, cross the former iron curtain from Czech Republic into Austria, gaze at the snowy peaks of northern Italy and finally the pastel-hued ports of the Mediterranean. The train also runs eastbound, leaving Nice on Sunday mornings at 09:29 and arriving in Moscow two days later at 11:44.
Moscow to Nice sleeper train
The train is made up of three deluxe carriages, six 1st class carriages and one second-class carriage. The only other carriages open to the public are the restaurant cars, of which the train always has two of. Between Moscow and Brest they’re provided by Russian Railways and between Warsaw and Nice they are operated by Polish Railways. Washrooms and toilets are available at the end of each sleeper carriage.
Cabins on the Moscow to Nice sleeper train
Travelling over two nights the Moscow to Nice train is well-equipped with comfortable sleeper carriages, and passengers can choose from deluxe 1st class ticket, standard 1st class or 2nd class ticket. Deluxe compartments have two berths on an upper and lower level, and have pleasing mahogany fixtures and amenities like toiletries, a dressing gown, flat-screen TV and DVD player. Standard 1st compartments are also double occupancy, but both beds are lower berth due to the accommodation not having a private shower room.
Finally, 2nd class accommodation sleeps four passengers, two lower and two upper. All carriages on the train are air-conditioned, have hotel-style key cards and have access to showers – located in each sleeper carriage for passengers in standard 1st and 2nd class.
Food and drink
Dining on the Moscow to Nice train is part of the excitement, as the train gets a different restaurant car depending on its location. Journeys start with a Russian-run restaurant car, being replaced by a Polish car where breakfasts include scrambled eggs, meats and cheeses. Other dining highlights include meals like camembert with salad and pork schnitzel.
Deluxe 1st Class ticket holders have breakfast included, but breakfast and other hot meals and snacks are available to purchase from the dining car. Menus are all in Russian and English and the staff speak Russia, Polish and English. It’s worth stocking up on packet soups and noodles and bringing a mug and spoon, as unlimited boiling water is available for free.
There is no dress code on the train, and travelling is a casual affair. Remember to pack for two different climates and bring comfy, modest clothing for sleeping (especially if sharing a sleeper compartment with strangers). Trains are fully heated so no need for warm clothes indoors.
Deluxe 1st class passengers get breakfast included, whereas 1st and 2nd class passengers just get accommodation included.
Pros and cons
Crossing eight countries and traversing between two completely different cities, this is a truly amazing rail route once used by the aristocrats of imperial Russia. The only con is the trip comes with a lot of paperwork. Passengers will need a Russian via and as the route crosses Belarus a Belarus transit visa is also needed complete this journey.