OBB Nightjet is one of the Europe’s most efficient train operators, running overnight trains all over the continent connecting towns and cities. Launched in 2016 by Austrian Railways (OBB), Nightjet trains are both efficient and exciting to experience, and one of the many routes to try is from Brussels to Vienna. Travelling overnight passengers arrive in a new European city refreshed the next morning, having slept in the train’s comfortable sleeper, couchette or seater cabin. Ideal for city hopping without the long drive or tedious flight, certain trains running the route even allow you to take along a car or motorcycle.
Prices from: €29
Journey length: 1 night
OBB Nightjet popular routes
OBB Nightjet trains
Efficient, clean and comfortable, a Nightjet overnight train is a pleasurable way to travel across Europe, with comfortable sleeping quarters and great facilities. Most of the Nightjet trains use Comfortline sleeping-cars built by Siemans in 2006/2006, so you won’t find dated or shabby carriages. As the trains have been specifically designed for overnight journeys, there’s no restaurant or lounge car on board, instead carriages are dedicated to sleeping compartments and seating areas. All cabins on board have been cleverly designed to maximise the space, ensuring a comfortable journey for all ages.
OBB Nightjet sleeper cabins
Travellers on the Nightjet Sleeper can choose from three ways to travel – in a sleeper cabin, in a couchette cabin or in a seater cabin. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for, and unless you are young and energetic, a night spent trying to sleep sitting up in a seater cabin is not recommended. It makes more sense to pay for a sleeper or couchette cabin and arrive in Berlin fresh and relaxed after a good night’s sleep.
Sleeper cabins – These are available in single, double or triple configurations and are the most comfortable way to travel. You can choose from a standard or deluxe cabin. Standard cabins feature a small wash basin (with a shower in the corridor), while Deluxe cabins boast their own bathroom with wash basin, shower and toilet, shower gel and towels. Your bed will be freshly made up with blankets, sheets and a pillow. You will also get towels, toiletries, slippers and earplugs.
Single cabins are designed for solo travellers; doubles are for 2 people – if you are travelling on your own you will share with a traveller of your own sex; triple cabins for three people. Again, if you are travelling solo, you will share with members of your own sex. For the evening and morning part of the journey the couchettes convert to seats so you can eat dinner and breakfast in your cabin.
Couchettes – these are great value cabins, suitable for those who are travelling with friends or a family group. These comfortable padded bunks come in 4 or 6 berth configurations. The sexes aren’t segregated in the couchette cabins but if you would prefer to sleep in a female-only couchette cabin, you can do this, but you will need to book ahead. For the evening and morning part of the journey the couchettes convert to seats so you can eat dinner and breakfast in your cabin. You will find the bathrooms and toilets outside in the coach.
Seater Cabins – You will find 6 seats (2nd class) in one cabin and this is the most affordable way to travel on the Nightjet Sleeper train. It’s also the most uncomfortable so only really suitable for the young or if you are cash-strapped. Bathrooms and toilets are located outside the cabin in the coach and in your cabin, you’ll find a food and drink menu so you can buy dinner or breakfast items to eat in your seat.
Food and drink
As the journey departs late at night and arrives early morning, there’s no restaurant or bar car open to passengers – so it’s worth grabbing dinner before boarding in Brussels.
But if you don’t want to do that, you can also take your own food and drink on board with you or order hot or cold food from the menu provided in your cabin. Your cabin attendant will help you with this. Passengers in sleeper cabins get a continental breakfast delivered to their cabin in the morning as part of their fare. You can choose 6 breakfast items from the list the night before. Meanwhile, couchette passengers get a light breakfast with tea, coffee or hot chocolate included in the fare.
As customary on all Nightjet trains, passengers in sleeper and couchette cabins get breakfast included in their fare and sleeping cabin passengers also receive a goody bag containing soap, slippers, a snack, bottle of water and a small bottle of sparkling white wine. In some city stations, like Vienna Hbf, sleeper passengers also have access to the first-class lounge for two hours after arrival, where there is complimentary tea, coffee, beer, snacks and (after 18:00) wine.
Pros and cons
This Nightjet sleeper train is a great way to travel easily between cities. It is built specifically for this purpose so everything has been well thought out and you will find it a highly efficient way to travel. The only con is that as yet, these trains don’t offer customers Wi-Fi access.
Brussels to Vienna route
The journey from Brussels Midi to Vienna Central Station takes on average 12 hours and 20 minutes, travelling through Germany and into Austria. The train runs Monday to Thursday departing Brussels Midi station at 18:04 and arriving in Vienna Central Station at 08:27. The journey runs overnight and makes many stops including Koblenz, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Passau and Linz. Vehicles can’t be taken on this route.
Zurich to Hamburg route
The journey from Zurich HB to Hamburg Central Station takes on average 12 hours, departing daily from Zurich at 20:00 and arriving in Hamburg at around 8am the next day. While it does run overnight, the train makes stops at Basel, Frankfurt and Hanover along the way. Vehicle transport is not available.
Innsbruck to Hamburg route
The overnight sleep train leaves Innsbruck between 17:00 and 20:00, and arrives early morning in Hamburg. The entire journey takes just over 12 hours. Stops along the way, albeit in darkness, include Rosenheim, Munich, Nuremberg and Hanover. Trains run daily on this route.
Vienna to Berlin route
The overnight sleep train leaves Vienna Central Station at around 22:00 and arrives in Berlin Charlottenberg at 10:00, with the entire trip taking 12 hours. With a few hours of daylight in the morning on board, you’ll be able to see some of Poland, the German city of Frankfurt(Oder) and outskirts of Berlin.