The ÖBB nightjet connects Munich with Rome daily overnight. You can travel comfortably by night train from the Isar to the Tiber within about 13 hours. Tickets are available for three different comfort categories: seating car, couchette car and sleeping car. If you are looking for that extra bit of comfort there are even deluxe sleepers with ensuite shower and WC available. Travelling by night train is a perfect way to travel. Have a drink in the evening before going to bed and wake up the following day enjoying the rolling hills of Tuscany. After arriving in the centre of Rome you simply have to check in and can then start exploring the city. Join us on our trip from Munich to Rome in the sleeping car!
Train tickets for this trip are available at Trainline, ÖBB (Austrian Railways), DB (German Railways) or Trenitalia (Italian Railways) - online or directly at a train station.
Austrian Railways ÖBB operate a large network of "nightjet" night trains in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. From Munich two daily night trains start to Italy. One train runs to Milan and Rome and a second train connects the capital of Bavaria with Venice. You can find the detailed schedules here: Munich - Rome | Munich - Milan | Munich - Venice
All trains offer three different comfort categories:
- Seating car: compartments with six seats; two WC at the end of each carriage
- Couchette car: compartments with six or four bunk beds; two WC and a lavatory at the end of each carriage
- Sleeping car: compartments with up to three beds; economy compartments have a washbasin, deluxe compartments have ensuite WC and shower; additionally two WC and a shower at the end of each carriage
When travelling in a couchette a bottle of water and a small breakfast are included. If you are travelling in the sleeping car you will get two bottles of water, a breakfast and a welcome bag with lots of nice things. More info below.
Munich to Rome in the Sleeping Car
We start our journey at the always busy central station of Munich. Unfortunately the DB Lounge is only accessible for passengers in deluxe sleeping car compartments, so we pass the time watching the hustle and bustle in the massive departure hall. About half an hour before departure the train arrives at the platform. The nightjet consists of two portions: the rear coaches run to Milan, the front coaches to Rome. We walk along the platform until we reach our sleeping car, coach 254. The sleeping car steward welcomes us, checks the tickets and shows us to our compartment.
The ÖBB nightjet to Italy convey modern and comfortable sleeping cars by Siemens, branded "Comfortline". Each carriages has nine "economy" compartments with three beds and a washbasin as well as three "deluxe" compartments with three beds and ensuite shower and WC. Two adjacent compartments can be connected, creating a six-bed "suite". We have a booked a "Double" (two-bed) economy compartment. One of the three beds in the compartment remains folded up against the wall.
Besides sleeping cars the nightjet also conveys couchette and seated carriages. You'll find more info about these below.
Our Sleeping Car Compartment
There is enough space to store our luggage in the compartment. Luggage racks are available but we manage to store everything besides the bottom bed. A special feature of the ÖBB nightjet is the welcome bag for passengers in the sleeping car. It contains a towel, slippers, soap and earplugs as well as a pretzels and water. Additionally you will get a small bottle of sparkling wine and a dessert. I do not know of a similar service in any other regularly operating European night train. The welcome bag is a really nice gift for the travellers with useful things for your trip (only a sleeping mask is missing). The sparkling wine is nice as well, quickly bringing you into a relaxed travel mood.
After storing our luggage we make ourselves at home and have a drink to a good journey. If you don't want to go to bed immediately this is no problem. The compartment is set up in "day mode" with all beds folded up against the wall and instead three cushioned seats available. If you decide to go to bed the steward will then convert the compartment into "night mode" and prepare the beds for a good night's sleep. Depending on what kind of accomodation you have booked (Single/one-bed, Double/two-bed or T3/three-bed), unused beds remain folded up and do not take up any space. Each bed has comfortable bed linen with duvet and pillow, a reading light and a small baggage net. A power socket is available as well as a ladder to reach the upper beds.
Our economy compartment also has a washbasin with mirror, hot and cold water. You can easily brush your teeth, wash your hands and handle your contact lenses here. At the end of the carriage a bathroom is available with shower and WC where you can have a shower in the evening and the next morning as well. A second WC is also available on the opposite end of the car.
On the Way to Rome
Meanwhile we have left Munich and are on our way to Salzburg. Shortly after the departure our sleeping car attendant comes by our compartment to check tickets and hand us our breakfast cards. The tickets are collected and remain with the train staff overnight. That way they can be checked by Italian train staff overnight without disturbing our sleep. On the following morning the tickets will be returned to us.
The breakfast card includes a large variety of different items. Six of them are included, and you can freely choose your individual breakfast. I will explain this in detail below. The steward also explains the different functions of our compartment. The door lock is particularly important. There are two separate locks, keeping the door securely closed overnight. Each compartment also has a keycard with which you can open the door from the corridor. That way you can go to the toilet overnight without having to worry about leaving your valuables in the compartment.
Since we are still hungry we order a small snack for dinner. The menu offers the classic "gulash soup" as well as chili con carne, a number of sandwiches, sweets and salty snacks. To drink you can order beer, wine, soft drinks, water as well as coffee, tea and hot chocolate. We order the gulash soup and as a vegetarian option the cheese sandwich. The food is then served on a small table which you can set up in front of the seats. Really convenient, also for the breakfast next morning!
While it slowly gets dark outside as we are rolling through the beautiful Chiemgau we enjoy our dinner. After a while we cross the Salzach and enjoy the stunning view of Hohensalzburg Castle before coming to a halt at the central station of Salzburg. Here we can get a bit of fresh air at the platform bevor our journey to the south continues. It is now time to prepare our compartment for the night and get ready for sleeping. During the journey across the Tauern line I fall asleep. I don't notice anything of our train's stop at Villach close to the Italian border. Here, the nightjet trains from Vienna to Milan and from Munich to Rome meet and swap cars for the other destination. Just a few minutes later the train crosses the border to Italy but I am already sound asleep.
Seat and couchette compartments
Besides sleeping cars, nightjet trains also convey seat and couchette cars. Both offer a cheaper yet comfortable alternative to the sleeping car. For passengers in couchette cars, a bottle of water and a small breakfast (two rolls, butter, jam, coffee or tea) are included. All travellers can also buy food, drinks and some useful travel accessories from the train attendants. You can find the menu here.
The couchette cars have nine compartments with six comfy bunk beds each. Each compartment has two power sockets, two toilets and a washroom are located at the end of the carriage. You can book tickets for six-bed or four-bed compartments. Depending on what ticket you booked, either two or three bunk beds are on each side of the compartment. For each bunk bed, pillow, linen and sleeping bag are provided. You can lock the compartments from the inside.
Seating coaches have eleven compartments with six comfortable seats. Each compartment has two power sockets, at the end of the carriage there are two toilets. Opposite seats can be converted to an almost-flat couch, however this is only possible if the compartment is not fully booked. If you want to lie down flat I recommend booking a bed in a couchette or sleeper. The compartments can not be locked from the inside so take special care of your valuables.
On the following morning I wake up as our train is about to leave the station of Florence. This means that we still have about three hours of travel ahead of us so I turn around and sleep a little bit longer. Finally I get up to wash and enjoy the beautiful Tuscan landscape outside of the window. Between Florence and Rome the nightjet also calls at Arezzo, Chiusi-Chianciano Terme and Orvieto. Arezzo and Orvieto are rewarding destinations as well with beautiful old towns, while Chiusi is the gateway to central Tuscany (Siena) as well as to Lake Trasimeno and to Perugia and Assisi in Umbria.
For us it is now time to have breakfast. This is another great thing about travelling on a nightjet sleeper. In the evening you get a breakfast menu, of which you can select six items that are included in the price. For instance, I ordered two rolls (count as one item), butter, jam, honey, orange juice and coffee. However, if you prefer to have cheese, ham or salami that's no problem as you can order your individual breakfast. Joghurt, tea and hot chocolate are available as well. If you think you are really hungry you can also order additional items for 1,20€ each. Hot drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) will be refilled for free. You hand your breakfast order to the steward in the evening and will then be served breakfast the following morning at a set time (usually one hour before your destination).
Unfortunately all good things come to an end so after breakfast we have to get ready and pack our bags as we are approaching Rome. Through the suburbs we pass Tiburtina station, then reach the central station, Roma Termini. Slowly the nightjet rolls along the platform before coming to a halt. We have reached our destination, ready to discover Rome!
Tickets for the ÖBB nightjet are available online at ÖBB, DB or Trenitalia and at train stations. The cheapest offers are "Sparschiene" (ÖBB), "Sparnight" (DB) and "Smart" (Trenitalia). These tickets have to be bought in advance and can not be exchanged or reimbursed. Tickets are available from 29€ in seated accomodation! Sleeping car compartments are separated by sex unless you book a whole compartment. Couchette compartments are mixed but dedicated "female only" compartments are available as well. Unfortunately the nightjet trains to Italy currently have no facilities for the disabled. Also, bicycles can only be conveyed as hand luggage (fully dismantled in a pack sack).
If you are travelling with a rail pass, you will find more information about travelling on nightjet trains with Interrail and Eurail at the railcc website.
Finally some impressions from our trip to Rome.
Update: November 2018