Night Trains - sleeping car (plus family related stuff)

Jack Axelsson @ 29-07-2008 04:32

New here, already posted this once but the message never appeared on the forum so here's a new try...

We are a young family with two kids aged 3 and 1 heading from Finland to Spain in August. Our first ever Interrail trip. Any route will do and comfort is more important than economy. We are opting for the 10/22 Interrail card for the flexibility so we get to pick whicever route we happen to fancy. Surcharges are also no problem. Sweden-Denmark-Germany-Switzerland-Italy-France-Spain is the likely route, but we want to be free to choose as we go. (We might also catch the Berlin train from St. Petersburg as we're near the Finnish-Russian border even though it's outside of Interrail.)

I've been reading this site and the forum for a couple of days now, an awful lot of information - thanks! There is, however, very little if anything about travelling with kids. If there is a family-specific train site/forum, please reply with a link.

Accommodation is our 1st concern. We will likely choose either hostels along the way and/or night trains. Being a family, we will need a room / couchette / sleeping car of our own. I've been trying to figure out what the cost would likely be per night. Currently I'm estimating around 60-150 Euros per night for the four of us, but I don't know whether that's anywhere near the mark.

I've visited the CNL website but am still not sure which pricing applies to us. I suppose we fall under the Surcharge category (being Interrail card holders). The list is as follows (from the CNL website):

- Couchette 2-berth: 30 Euro (x 2)
- Economy 2-berth sleeping car with washing facilities: 40 Euro (x 2)
- Deluxe 2-beth sleeping ca w/o shower/WC: 80/100 Euro (x 2) (not sure which applies to us, two prices listed)

I guess we won't pay any extra for the kids as they're under 4 and sleep in our bed? What if no 2-berth couchettes/sleeping cars are available and we need to occupy a 4-berth one, will we need to pay extra for the two empty berths?

What's more, this only applies for the CNL trains. Once we leave Germany, I have no idea how much we would be expected to pay. How much do they usually charge for a room in a typical hostel per night? Not a bed in a dorm but a separate room? We're not necessarily looking for the best and most comfortable hostels, but preferably something not too far from the railway station as we'd prefer not to walk very far.

I'd also like to point out that we would prefer to avoid the bigger cities. Picturesque villages is more like our idea of where to go 🙂 Maybe with the exception of Venice (though I'm told August is not the best time to be there).

How much would we be expected to pay per night for a couchette / sleeping car in Italy/France/Spain?

Thanks in advance.

Pete @ 29-07-2008 12:12

hej hej ....
have a look at these links which will help you... your kids normally will travel for free in your beds.
there are often special compartments for families available. the best is to buy the reservations for you whole trip in either Helsinki or Berlin !! 🙂

night trains...

Malmö to Berlin:

Berlin to Europe:

... and just have a look at the country topic bellow at the forum !! 🙂
you will find all supplements for night trains you need!! 🙂

about hostels, have a look at

there is no special website I know for train travels with kids I know ...

I hope this will help you !!!
all the best, Peter 🙂

Jack Axelsson @ 28-08-2008 13:41

Sorry for the late reply.

Thanks for the links. However, I still have no information as to how much a whole cabin/sleeper car costs. We will probably take the following route:

1. Copenhagen - Basel (CNL)
2. Basel - Bern
3. Bern - Barcelona (Euronight)

I have not been able to find out how much we will pay on top of our IR cards for a whole sleeper car/couchette/cabin on the two night trains above.

Thanks in advance,


Perino-Cooper @ 16-11-2009 12:45

Hello Jack!

It was very good to read this message . I'm portuguese , studied in the UK , and now living in Africa- Mozambique . Although next summer i'm going for a visit to Portugal like always , but this time i want to do an interrail , with my partner and my child , he is 2 years old , and i find very difficult to understand this interailing with kids ! I have never done an interarail before , and i'm completly lost about this topic , and with a baby is even worst , i'm not looking for the cheapest option , i'm looking for comfort , so we can have a smooth trip , i would love to visit has many places has possible , but only have 2 weeks , or 3 weeks max .
I got inspired by you traveling with your family , have you found any information on night trains ? or whats the best option . Sorry for taking you time , but i would be very thankfull if you can share your knowladge with me . I guess i will get the first train in Spain!


Bárbara perino

Pete @ 16-11-2009 15:55

Hi ...

Good news: to have comfortable travels, just buy 1st class InterRail tickets. As 1st class trains are very high quality in Europe.
Your child will travel for free as for the age.

About night trains, it is no problem to get a 2 bed cabin with your child for your own. Supplements for night trains are at the country topics of the forum here.

I hope this will help you a little bit preparing your tour. 🙂

To mention: you either need a six months stay in Europe or an European passport to be allowed to travel by InterRail - otherwise you will need an Eurail ticket:

All the best, Peter 🙂

Admlangford @ 04-06-2010 08:04

Hi, when traveling also make sure that you ask for a sleeping cart well in advance, do not assume anything.

Whilst traveling in Italy the language barrier got the better of us and we thought that we has specified a sleeping cart. Needless to say, we didn't and spent a very uncomfortable night trying to sleep with our luggage.

For our children we had an ipod and just played some audio to get our child to sleep:


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