Europe’s night-train revival shows no sign of slowing down. The latest excursion planned will whisk passengers between two of the continent’s buzziest capitals in less than 16 hours.

Passengers will depart London on a Friday afternoon and wake up in Berlin on Saturday morning – with breakfast on board.

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Launched by the Dutch-Belgian rail company European Sleeper, the service is not direct. Passengers will board a Eurostar train in London’s St Pancras and then change trains in Brussels about two hours into the trip. The changeover will be quick, and the journey will take just under 16 hours in total. 

Europe is investing steadily in its rail network and continuously adding new options as alternatives to short-haul flights – an expansion largely fueled by climate concerns amid blistering summer heatwaves. In recent months we’ve seen the launch of NightJet’s Hamburg-to-Stockholm sleeper train and another overnight service from Prague and Dresden to Basel.

New routes are opening all the time from state-run companies and privately operated trains like the start-up Midnight Trains, which wants to take passengers from Paris to southern Europe, or the Alpen-Sylt Nachtexpress, which currently travels between the North Sea and the Alps. In 2024, Italy's Trenitalia network plans a massive expansion with an overnight service from Paris to Madrid that eventually runs to Milan.

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Passengers can travel between London and Berlin (pictured) in less than 16 hours by night train © Getty Images


In the meantime, if you want to take the new European Sleeper, the service will run three times a week, eventually becoming a nightly service by 2024. The Brussels-to-Berlin route departs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while the Berlin-to-Brussels route departs every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Passengers will start on the Eurostar train from London, departing St Pancras at 3:30pm and arriving at 6:04pm in Brussels Midi, where they’ll board the European Sleeper. This train will then make its way to Berlin Hauptbahnhof, rolling into the central station at 6:48am the following day. Breakfast on board is included.

There are nine other stops along the way, including in Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Hanover, but passengers won’t have to change trains again.

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The services will depart from Berlin Central Station © Getty Images

The return train leaves Berlin at 10:56pm and arrives in Brussels the following morning at 9:27am - just in time for the next train to London, which leaves Midi at 9.51am. If you have more time, the following train leaves at 12.51pm with regular departures throughout the day.

By December 2023, European Sleeper said it hopes to extend the service to Dresden in Germany and Prague.


One-way prices from Brussels to Berlin start at €49 for a seat, €79 for a couchette and €109 for a berth in a sleeper compartment. Bikes can be added for a fee of €24, and pets can be transported if you’ve booked a private compartment (but note that pets can’t travel on the Eurostar to and from London).

Children under the age of 4 travel for free, while those ages 11 and under travel at a reduced fare.

New high-speed train will connect Paris and Berlin in 7 hours

Unfortunately, Interrail/Eurail passes cannot be used on the European Sleeper service but can be used on the Eurostar (or RegioJet if you opt to take that train from London). 

Tickets from London to Brussels on the Eurostar generally start from €56 – which makes the cheapest all-in option €105 for a one-way ticket.

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European Sleeper service will launch this summer on May 25 © Getty Images

Is the night service cheaper than flying?

It depends on when you book a flight and when you choose to travel – but generally not. A search for London–Berlin airfares for the May launch weekend of European Sleeper shows round-trip prices starting at €138 with EasyJet, €145 with Ryanair (before you add bags) and €180 with British Airways. 

How to get tickets

Tickets will go on sale on February 20, 2023 through the European Sleeper website.

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