There is one overnight service between Paris and Munich, onboard the City Night Line service 'Cassiopeia'. By taking the sleeper train, you can reach your destination fresh and ready for the day ahead, whilst also saving on the price of a hotel.
Paris is the capital city of France, with an estimated population of around 2.2million. The city is world-renowned as a centre for fashion, art, food and design, and is home to several luxurious fashion brands. The city is also famous for its striking architecture and landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre art gallery. Paris is divided into twenty districts, connected by an efficient metro system.
Paris is the gateway to much of the European rail network. The majority of Eurostar services from the UK terminate at Paris, with the city's numerous international rail stations carrying passengers into neighbouring countries and beyond. Whilst Paris has no central station, it does have six mainline station which connect the city to cities within France and beyond. The six stations are:
- Gare du Nord
- Gare d'Austerlitz
- Gare de l'Est
- Gare de Lyon
- Gare St Lazare
- Gare Montparnasse
The Eurostar service to London runs to/from Gare du Nord, whilst Gare d'Austerlitz serves much of France as well a Spain and Portugal. Those wishing to travel towards Germany should travel from Gare de l'Est, whilst services to Italy depart from Gare de Lyon.
The service between Paris and Munich (with some services terminating in Stuttgart) is operated on the high-speed TGV line, with a total journey time of less than four hours to Stuttgart, and less than six hours to Munich. Much of the TGV service has been recently redecorated/rejuvinated to provide comfortable and clean interiors for your journey.
It is also possible to reach Munich via Cologne, or on the City Night Line service, which also calls at Stuttgart.
Travelling by train between London and Barcelona is a great way to see both France and Spain, and is far more relaxing than the equivalent plane journey! Of course, it takes longer than a flight, and with the number of low-cost carriers flying between the two cities, it is unlikely to be cheaper. Nevertheless, the enjoyment of the journey has to be worth something, as does waking up feeling refreshed once your reach Barcelona.
The journey starts off in London as you board the Eurostar at St Pancras. You travel across the English Channel in style, reaching Paris in the early evening. You can choose to travel earlier if you want time to explore Paris during the day. Once in Paris, you make your way over to Gare d'Austerlitz on the Paris Metro. From there, you board the trainhotel (trenhotel) to Barcelona.
If you are trying to make the journey as quick as possible, aim for these specific services. If you would like to spend longer in Paris, feel free to catch an earlier Eurostar service. There is only one sleeper train to Barcelona a day though, so try not to miss it!
London to Barcelona by Train:
Depart London St Pancras (Eurostar): 15.01 (15.31 Sat)
Arrive Paris Gare du Nord: 18.17 (18.47 Sat)
Transfer between Paris Gare du Nord and Gare d'Austerlitz: allow one hour
Depart Paris Gare d'Austerlitz (TrenHotel): 20.23
Arrive Barcelona Franca: 08.05
Barcelona to London by Train:
Depart Barcelona Franca (TrenHotel): 20.43
Arrive Paris Gare d'Austerlitz: 08.37
Transfer between Gare d'Austerlitz and Paris Gare du Nord: allow one hour
Depart Paris Gare du Nord (Eurostar): 10.13
Arrive London St Pancras: 11.39
The route used to be operated by Artesia trains, but in place of this service are traditional TGV services. An alternative overnight service between Paris and Milan is available, continuing to Venice (and detailed elsewhere on this website).
The overnight trainhotel (trenhotel) between Paris and Barcelona is the easiest way to travel between the two cities by train. The journey is made on board a rolling hotel, the Joan Miro run by Elipsos.
There are four principal seating options, with the most uncomfortable (for an overnight journey) being a standard reclining seat. Often the cheapest option is to travel in Tourist Class, which is a four-berth cabin with washbasin. Preferente cabins have one or two berths, with a washbasin and breakfast included. The most luxurious class is the Gran Clase, which has one or two berths, a private shower, toilet, and includes breakfast and dinner in the price.
Fare discounts are available if you are travelling as a pair or as a family. See the fare table below, or follow the booking links for further information.
Two of Western Europe's key financial cities are linked by a high-speed service, the operation of which is shared by France's TGV and Germany's InterCity Express (ICE) on a service known as Alleo. The journey is made in around four hours.
There are plans in the works for a direct high-speed service between Frankfurt and London to run in the near future. This would be operated by Deutsche Bahn, using InterCity Express trains, and would cut down the journey time between the two cities considerably, opening up the European high-speed rail network to an even greater extent.
The high-speed TGV service from Paris to Nice and Ventimiglia takes around 6 hours, passing through almost the whole length of the French countryside. An alternative journey, Lille - Nice (TGV) is also available, but generally terminates at Nice. The direct service to Ventimiglia doesn't run as often as services terminating at Nice, as shown in the Timetables section.
The overnight train journey between Paris and Madrid is made onboard the 'Francisco de Goya" sleeper train. This Elipsos Train Hotel is effectively a hotel on rails, with a full restaurant and bar. There are a range of seating and sleeping options, which you can tailor to your budget. The Elipsos website offers a virtual tour of the train so that you can get a better idea of what to expect.
In the middle of the night, the train pauses at Hendaye to switch gauge. This process doesn't involve passengers getting off the train (unlike some daytime alternative routes), but the wheels are changed with passengers on-board.
As with any night train, it can be difficult to get to sleep if you are a light sleeper. If you are worried that you might get woken up, take a pair of earplugs, which should help. We recommend paying for a couchette or sleeping berth, rather than trying to sleep in a reclining chair. Berths are significantly more civilised, offering greater security, comfort and overall level of service. Surprisingly, they can also be cheaper than reclining chairs, as the operator offers special reduced rates on berths, but not for reclining seats (view the pricing section for more information).
The service between Paris and La Rochelle is most easily made by TGV Atlantique, in just under three hours. On-board you can expect the standard high quality TGV service as you travel through France at high-speed. The service is fairly frequent, with trains departing every hour and a half throughout the day.
The City Night Line train is a comfortable sleeper train, travelling between various destinations throughout Europe. The journey between Paris and Berlin is made on-board 'Perseus', and takes around 13hrs. City Night Line services are very affordable, and offer a great alternative to travelling during the day, allowing you to arrive fresh at your destination, and saving on hotel bills.
Russian Railways have recently introduced an upgraded overnight service direct between Paris and Moscow, called the Trans-European Express. The trains on this route reach speeds up up to 200km/hr as they travel through five different countries en route.
The train carries a range of Luxury, First and Second Class carriages, as well as a restaurant car. The sleeping compartments are configured as either 3-berths, 2-berths or single berths. You can opt to share a multiple berth compartment with a stranger, if you would rather not pay the extra for a single berth. Each compartment doubles up as a sitting room during the day time, with beds that fold down for the evening. Each room has its own basin, and towels, linens and toiletries are provided.
The train's Luxury carriage offers four compartments, arranged as single or twin compartments with private bathroom facilities, as well as telveision system and complimentary breakfast.
A dining car is attached for the length of the journey, although it is Polish between Paris and Warsaw, and Russian between Brest and Moscow. Each carriage also has a samovar, which provides hot water for drinks and snacks.
If this route doesn't take your fancy, there are alternative ways of reaching Moscow from Western Europe, including journeys from Cologne, Brussels, Helsinki and even Amsterdam.
Replacing the nightly Artesia sleeper service between Paris and Venice is new company Thello's offering. The service calls at destinations including Milan and Verona en route.
The journey takes a total of 12 hours, and is comfortable and relaxing, allowing you to arrive in the heart of Paris or Venice rested afor the day ahead. If you don't like the idea of a sleeper train, an alternative would be to catch a TGV between Paris and Milan, and a Eurostar City service between Milan and Venice.
The most popular international train service is the high-speed Eurostar service between St Pancras International Station at King's Cross in London, and travelling to Gare du Nord in Paris, the Eurostar acts as the UK's route into Europe.
Taking just two hours and fifteen minutes from London to Paris, and with some services calling at Ebbsfleet and Ashford en route, it is a fast option that can be taken without your feet leaving the ground.
The Eurostar is also one of the cheapest ways to get across the channel, and offers a relatively luxurious alternative to flight. It is also one of the most regular services, operating up to 21 services a day from London to Paris, as early as half past five in the morning, and as late as eight o'clock in the evening.
Travelling to Australia without flying is difficult, expensive, time-consuming, but also one of the most rewarding overland trips imaginable. The total journey time is something like five weeks in total, and in that time you will sit on numerous trains as well as ships. There are a few different ways that this trip can be made, but the quickest utilises the Trans-Siberian Railway as a tool for crossing continental Asia.
Singapore / Indonesia - Australia
The most difficult part of this journey is the leg between Indonesia/Singapore and Australia. The problem is, that there aren't too many good options for travelling between the countries without flying. In fact, there are only three real ways to do it, and that is by cruise liner, cargo ship or on-board a private yacht. If you wish to try any of these options, read the details found in the route details below for more detailed information.
If you are feeling adventurous, you could head to the harbour and ask around to see if anyone is in a position to carry you on their boat. Darwin in Australia is known to be a good spot to try, as many boats heading our from Australia stop here en route.
Fancy travelling between the United Kingdom and Finland without flying? Well the journey isn't easy, but it's certainly do-able. In total, the journey takes around two days (after you've included waiting times), with six different legs in total.
An alternative would be to travel via Russia, catching a train from Paris to Moscow, Moscow to St Petersburg, and then St Petersburg to Helsinki. However, this route would require additional visas for travel in Moscow, which would have cost implications.
The latest long-distance international coach service, known as iDBUS, offers a direct route between London, Lille and Paris. The service, managed by French rail operator SNCF, hopes to become a major player in the European coach market.
The journey between the two capitals takes a total of nine hours, whilst the journey between London and Lille takes around six. Most of the coaches cross the channel on-board the Eurotunnel (Shuttle), although some services travel on ferries. When crossing the channel, passengers go through standard border security checks.
This direct service between Paris, Brussels and Cologne is particularly useful if you are travelling to/from other parts of Europe. Cologne links many European rail destinations, whilst Brussels and Paris have direct links with the United Kingdom via Eurostar.
This journey, made on board a high-speed Thalys service is the most convenient way to travel between the two cities, with regular services throughout the day. There is an alternative InterCity Express service that runs between Brussells and Cologne a few times each day, details of which can be found on its dedicated route page.
The Venice Simplon Orient Express is a luxury train service, running between London, Paris, Innsbruck, Verona and Venice. The journey begins/ends at London Victoria.
The complete journey, running between London and Venice takes approximately 24 hours. Ticket prices start at around £1500 per person, with the cheapest rates available direct from the operator, Venice Simplon Orient Express.
Assuming that your journey is starting at London, the Venice Simplon Orient Express service from London to Venice begins with the trip from London to Folkestone on board a luxurious Pullman train. The train departs from London Victoria Station in the late morning, with brunch served on-board, before reaching Folkestone in the afternoon.
On reaching Folkestone West Station, passengers are transferred onto private mini-buses. These then drive onto the EuroTunnel train service. Following the quick crossing, passengers are transferred from the minibuses onto the luxury Continental Trains for the onward journey, calling at Paris, Innsbruck, Verona and Venice.
Throughout the journey, passengers are treated to the highest quality of service. After arriving in France, passengers settle into their cabins before being shown to the restaurant car for a four course dinner. The following day, passengers are served breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea before arrival in Venice. Throughout the journey, passengers are treated to the finest scenery as the train travels through Europe.
The overland journey between Helsinki and Lisbon is by no means short, involving a number of overnight train journeys, and crossing much of western Europe.
If you are travelling between central Paris and Disneyland, you will be travelling on RER Line A. Fortunately, the station used for Disneyland, Marne-la-Vallee is at the end of the line, so it is a bit easier to find when looking for the next train.
A new long-distance international coach service, known as iDBUS, offers travellers a new direct service between Paris, Lille and Amsterdam, with connecting services to London and Brussels. The service, managed by French rail operator SNCF, hopes to become a major player in the European coach market.
The journey between Paris and Amsterdam takes nearly seven hours, whilst the trip between Lille and Amsterdam takes between three and a half and four hours.
The journey between Paris and Amsterdam is very fast onboard this Thalys service. However, if travelling from the United Kingdom towards Amsterdam, you are best off taking the Eurostar to Brussels, and then joining this Thalys service there (rather than going into Paris), as it is much cheaper and quicker.
A new international coach service operating in Western Europe operates a service between Paris and Brussels via Lille. The service, managed by French rail operator SNCF, hopes to become a major player in the European coach market.
The journey between the two cities takes between four and five hours, whilst the journey between Brussels and Lille takes less than two.