Europe sleeper trains travel far and wide
From Brussels to Prague, Paris and beyond
September 1, 2023 | View PDF
Why do I write so many columns about trains? Because I'm old, you're old and we can't walk that far anymore.
Taking a train means you see more of a country and its cities, towns and villages, and in style and comfort.
Comfort means a lot at our age.
Czech railway company RegioJet picks up speed
If you're traveling by train between major cities in the Czech Republic or Vienna, Regiojet offers economy class, first class, business class, and four-bed cabins, which are like bunk beds and perfect if you're traveling with your extended families on the trip.
The bright yellow trains hum through mountains and valleys like a bumble bee, traveling up to 124 mph. From Brussels to Prague it's just 15 hours.
Routes include Brussels to Prague by way of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Hanover, Berlin and Dresden. Plans are to add a route from Amsterdam to the south of France, which should prove very popular.
The most affordable class is standard, with prices starting at $206 a night, and includes reclining seats with headrests, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a selection of drinks (mint tea, coffee, apple juice). After boarding, guests in the Business Class have the option of enjoying orange juice or Bohemia Sekt Brut, including a quiet compartment for four people with electric sockets.
Remember you'll need a European plug adapter to use with your wall charger so that you can plug it into a wall outlet in in Europe, except in the UK.
America uses type-A/B plugs, while most European countries use Type-C plugs. American appliances run on 110 volts, while European appliances run on 220-240 volts.
There are all kinds of world plug adapters, ranging from basic ones that are simple but would do the job, to sophisticated but pricier ones. Easiest place to get one may be off of Amazon.
Travel on a legend
Many of us have read the book, or seen the movie "Murder on the Orient Express," and now you can board it.
Six new trains of the 2023 premier of the Orient Express La Dolce Vita offers six routes traveling through 14 regions. And three international itineraries are offered through eight countries, linking Rome to Paris, Istanbul and Split, Croatia.
Plus, opening in 2024, there is a first-ever Orient Express Hotel, Accor's Grand Hotel de la Minerva.
Not for the faint of heart penny pincher, the cost begins at a whopping $2,255 per night, per guest. Go to https://www.orient-express.com.
With 12 deluxe cabins, 15 suites and a restaurant, you will be wrapped in luxury, fed gourmet meals and fine Italian wines.
Skip the plane and airport hell and sleep tight
In 2024, Midnight Trains, a French start-up railway company will launch its all-private sleeper car service that includes private baths and premium bedding.
From Paris to 13 cities - Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Florence, Hamburg, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Porto, Rome and Venice-all trains will arrive at their destination the next morning.
The debut route will likely connect Paris to Milan and Venice in the future, according to the company.
Rooms are configured for solos, duos, and for friends or family traveling together. Each train accommodates up to 350 passengers in high-European style, not AMTRAK style. Meals are served in the dining room, at the bar, or in your room. Go to https://www.midnight-trains.com.
Touted as being 23 times less polluting than air travel, the company says you would have to travel 23 times from Paris to Rome to equal the pollution effect of one air flight on the same route.
The founders Adrien Aumont and Romain Payet say, "The experience of flying around Europe is inefficient and marked by stress and discomfort. The speed the airlines offer is an illusion, and a one-hour flight is actually a grueling four-hour trip from door to door.
"Finally, and most importantly, air travel produces high carbon emissions. Midnight Trains was born of these observations. It's time to choose a more comfortable, efficient, and sustainable alternative."
In June, France passed a bill to ban short-haul flights through parliament where a train alternative of 2.5 hours or less exists