Launched in December 2016, Nightjet is the brand name given by Austrian Federal Railways to its overnight passenger train services linking the countries of Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Following the withdrawal of DB (Germany Railways) from the overnight sleepers’ map, ÖBB has successfully stepped in to replace this loss of services with passenger numbers reportedly growing year by year. Despite its extensive network, today I will be focusing on the sleeper service from Vienna to Milano as well as my overall experience and travel tips that you need to know before booking this trip.
Its baroque streetscapes and artistic and vibrant culture alongside its stunning imperial palaces and architecture is what make Vienna one of the top destinations in central Europe. Personally, I was quite lucky to find myself in this beautiful city during the Christmas holidays as everything was decorated nicely, including beautifully lit streets featuring crystal chains with a few million LEDs thrown in for effect. The result is rather pretty as you can see by yourself below.
If you want to experience the Christmas lights in Vienna, too, make sure that you start at Michaelerplatz, down to Kohlmarkt until you reach the Graben. As you go, check the side streets as well. You might find even more lights along the way.
While in Vienna, opt for visiting Schloss Belvedere and Schloss Schönbrunn. The former being a masterpiece and one of the world’s finest baroque palaces featuring excellent landscape gardens, while the latter is now a UNESCO Heritage site and boasts around 1441 rooms, 40 of which are open to the public.
Vienna central station
Vienna Hauptbahnof is Vienna’s new modern central station and was officially opened in 2015. Up until then, Vienna used to have three termini stations (Westbahnof, Ostbahnof and Südbahnof) resulting in great frustration since passengers had to travel from one station to another in case they needed to change services and even trains had to spend at least 15-20 minutes attaching/detaching locomotives. Today the situations has greatly been improved as all trains use one main central hub where all trains can call regardless whether passing Vienna through East, West etc.
In case you have a First-Class ticket or a First-Class Interrail/Eurail Pass, you are eligible to use the First Class Lounge. Its entrance is located on the main concourse of the station. The Lounge is open every day of the week from 06:00-23:30 offering complimentary tea, coffee, WIFI, soft drinks, wine and beer. The customer service was absolutely fantastic and the members of staff were very professional. The lounge also provides comfortable modern seating equipped with power outlets as well as an exclusive selection of Austrian and international newspapers and magazines.
ÖBB offers its passengers numerous well-equipped lounges at seven locations throughout Austria. These are, for instance, Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, Salzburg, Vienna and Vienna Meidling. For more information such as Opening Hours and Lounge Conditions check out ÖBB’s official website.
The nightjet train from Vienna to Milan
Nightjet offers three different travel options designed specifically to cater for the needs of every passenger. These options include normal seats, couchettes or sleepers.
Sleepers are one, two or three bed compartments. The standard ones come with a washbasin while the deluxe ones with ensuite shower and toilet. They are normally converted by your steward from private sitting rooms to bedrooms. Berths are sold individually.
Couchettes are the affordable option and include simple bunks in 6 or 4-berth compartments and are ideal for families, groups or passengers on a budget.
Seats are also provided though not recommended for long distance trips as they are not particularly comfortable.
This is the option I personally went for. Standard sleepers are identical to deluxe compartments apart from the ensuite toilet. Brilliant toilets and a hot shower are located at the end of the corridor which also comes with free shower gel. Just don’t forget to take a towel from your compartment as well as your plastic key to unlock the door.
The compartment also comes with a goodie bag. That includes complimentary drinks such as sparkling wine, water, fruit drink, a pen, disposable slippers and a towel. Also, included is your breakfast order form and a Menu. There’s a power socket near the compartment door for your electronic devices and a washbasin, of course.
Breakfast is included with your reservation and is served in your compartment. Therefore, as soon as you arrive at your compartment you fill in a form to select 6 breakfast items from a list. You can pay for more items if you like and free tea/coffee refills are included. Bear in mind that there is no restaurant car on Nightjets so do have dinner before you board. Of course, you could also bring your own food if you prefer.
This journey takes approximately 9 hours and 20 minutes to complete; however, I had no problems at all and enjoyed a relaxed good night’s sleep. My steward, in fact, was one of the kindest I’ve ever met and even went the extra mile by giving me a bar of chocolate as a welcome gift.
How to buy nightjet tickets from Vienna to Milano?
Prices shown per person.
6-berth: 49 EUR
4-berth: 59 EUR
2-bed: 89 EUR
Single: 129 EUR
Rail Pass holders:
If you have an Interrail or Eurail Pass you only need to pay for a reservation fee.
Seat: 14 EUR
Couchette in 6 berth: 34 EUR
Couchette in 4-berth: 44 EUR
3-berth sleeper: 54 EUR
2-berth sleeper: 74 EUR
2-berth deluxe sleeper: 94 EUR
Single berth sleeper:114 EUR
Single berth sleeper deluxe: 134 EUR
You can buy your tickets directly on Trainline / nightjet or from Austrian railways. Same ticket price on both websites. If you have an Interrail/Eurail Pass you need to buy your reservation by calling ÖBB on +43 (0)5 1717
In conclusion, this service left me positively surprised. Coming from the UK where nigh train services are excellent, I was quite tentative to test this Sleeper service to Milano. However, the train arrived to Milano the following day and I’ve already had a good sleep and a full-breakfast. Ηaving also saved money and time as well given that I didn’t need a hotel for the night before.
If you have any further questions regard this Nightjet service or anything else head to our friendly forum where one of us will be glad to help.
Thank you so much for reading this trip report.