Niels Benedikter

"Young people have begun to demonstrate for the preservation of our natural resources. As scientists and scholars, based on sound scientific knowledge, we declare: These concerns are justified! The current measures for climate, biodiversity, forest, marine, and soil protection are far from sufficient. (..) It is critical to immediately begin reducing CO2 emissions and eliminate them to zero worldwide between 2040 and 2050 at the latest."

Gregor Hagedorn et al: Concerns of young protesters are justified.
Science Vol. 364, Issue 6436, pp. 139-140, 2019. doi: 10.1126/science.aax3807

Below you can read about the climate impact of aviation and find information about climate-friendly travel and other sustainability topics.

Watch Don't look up and read Michael E. Mann's book The New Climate War. Want to know more about how big oil creates fake citizen's initiatives to undermine political progress? Watch The Troll Army of Big Oil on Climate Town's youtube channel. Unfortunately some physicists also had inglorious roles in this context: Merchants of Doubt, based on the book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. Other lies to uncover? Der Graslutscher (German). And read Dark PR by Grant Ennis.

New night train 2023 Brussels - Amsterdam - Berlin - Prague: European Sleeper.

Your Main Contribution: Air Travel

"Ryanair is now (April 2019) one of the top 10 carbon dioxide emitters in Europe, a league which had been exclusively occupied by coal [power] plants. [..] This trend will continue until Europe realises that this undertaxed and under-regulated sector needs to be brought into line." Transport & Environment

For our climate, it doesn't matter much whether you separate your trash or avoid plastic bags: with one intercontinental flight a year, you ruin all your ecological efforts.

"Other than setting fire to a forest, flying is the single worst thing an ordinary individual can do to cause climate change. Replacing a long-haul flight with a local holiday can save 6 tons of CO2‬."

Gramms of CO2-equivalent per person and km, calculated at average occupancies:

Airplane: 200 g/Pkm
Car: 140 g/Pkm
Train and Bus: 25 g/Pkm

"In 2015, an average Swiss citizen travelled 9000km by plane, emitting approximately 3 tons of carbon dioxide. That is as much as for all other means of transportation including car, plus heating the flat, plus electricity, plus warm water all together." (Der Bund)

Find out about your personal contributions:

In the last five years, carbon dioxide pollution from flying has risen 26% in Europe.

What you can do

Become politically active: Support organizations and parties advocating strict measures for climate neutrality: vote, demonstrate, talk to people, speak up.

Avoid emissions: Whenever possible, travel by train or night train. And plan your holiday in Italy instead of Indonesia.

Compensate emissions: Compensate unavoidable flights via Atmosfair.

Avoid the Rebound Effect: "that if one compensates, one flies even more".

  • Choose your destinations so that you avoid flights: Plan your holiday on your home continent. Instead of two weekend trips, go for one longer visit. Bundle trips.
  • Use the train even if it might be more
    expensive The prize should never be the deciding factor, even if flying is occasionally cheaper!
    Often flying is not cheaper even though airlines make us believe it. Anyway, if we can spend 10€ on a drink, we can also spend 10€ on our environment.
    or take
    longer Maybe our environment is worth some minutes of our time?
    Even if you already took into account the time for printing the boarding pass, going to the airport, waiting at security, waiting at the gate, boarding 20min before departure etc.: On the train you can work during the whole trip, whereas all the time in security checks and walking around the airport is lost.
    than flying!
  • Night trains are a great option for comfortable climate-friendly trips. Check out the list under "Finding Train Connections" further down. On some connections you can even bring your car along on holiday.
  • Always check train connections first, e.g., on Break the habit of looking for flights directly.
  • It is cynical that CO2-compensation offers us to compensate the consequences of our lifestyle by reducing emissions in poorer countries. Still better than nothing, but if you don't like the concept: calculate the amount and consider it an incentive to support another good cause. For example Médecins Sans Frontières, Breaking The Silence, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Terre des hommes, Yesh Din, PanEco, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, GiveWell, Evidence Action, B’Tselem, Stay Grounded...
Does my individual lifestyle matter?

Does the plane fly anyway? Actually not! Low-cost airlines frequently cancel underbooked flights. Don't we need institutional solutions? Yes, we do. But changing our lifestyle helps pave the road for legislation!

  • John Nolt: How Harmful Are the Average American's Greenhouse Gas Emissions?
    Ethics, Policy & Environment Vol. 14, Issue 1, 2011.
    doi: 10.1080/21550085.2011.561584

    "It has sometimes been claimed (..) that the harm caused by an individual (..) is negligible. (..) this paper attempts to estimate the harm done by an average American. (..) the average American is responsible, through his/her greenhouse gas emissions, for the suffering and/or deaths of one or two future people."

  • Anne Schwenkenbecher: Is there an obligation to reduce one's individual carbon footprint? Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy Vol. 17, Issue 2, 2014.
    doi: 10.1080/13698230.2012.692984

    "This paper focuses on the question of whether individuals (..) have duties to reduce their individual carbon footprint. To this end it will examine three kinds of arguments that have been brought forward against individuals having such duties: the view that individual emissions cause no harm; the view that individual mitigation efforts would have no morally significant effect; and the view that lifestyle changes would be overly-demanding. The paper shows how all three arguments fail to convince."

  • Stephan Lessenich and Der Freitag:

    "The knowledge of extreme inequality - that others don't have potable water while we are planing our next holiday - everyone has that. We blame it on politics, 'the system', or the weather. Because in reality it is unbearable, that billions of people suffer for us. One should at least conclude: I'm never going to fly again from Munich to Cologne. Nobody changes her/his behaviour, because all the others don't do it either. Therefore the state should prohibit it or at least tax it highly.

    "Instead of coffee capsules there has been fair-trade coffee for a long time. It has a market share of about 3%. Ethical consumption is not common enough, but it also wouldn't make for a significant difference. We need completely different consumption structures here. We have to drink less coffee and juice, also eat less meat."

The Bill (4 minutes on Youtube).

Second Order Corrections

The following points contribute less to your emissions than a transatlantic flight, but they are the next biggest influences.

  • Do not commute by car, drive as little as possible. Go by foot, bicycle, or public transport.
  • Change to 'green' electricity - a very moderate extra cost and no life style change required.
  • Improve the heat insulation of your home and install a modern heating system.
  • Reduce meat and dairy consumption:
    • Livestock accounts for ca. 18% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Producing beef, lamb or butter creates over 30 times the emissions as the same calories in potatoes. An ecological diet can reduce your emissions by 300kg (low-meat diet) or even 600kg (organic vegan diet) of CO2. And this is leaving aside the fact that a mostly plant-based diet is healthier, as well as the questionable ethics of industrial animal farming.
    • If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef: "If every American made one dietary change: substituting beans for beef—even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed, even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this change could achieve 46-74% of the reductions needed to meet the US' 2020 Paris agreement target."
    • In recent years a lot of vegan meat/milk replacement products have appeared. Some of it is quite good, and almost all of it more sustainable. Give it a try!
Finance and Investment
  • Climetrics Rating: planning to invest in funds? Check their climate-friendliness here. 5 green leaves = good, 4 green leaves = ok, "not disclosed" = stay away (even if it has a "green" name). Warning: even highly-rated funds could invest in fossil fuels, as long as they invest only in their most efficient use.
  • GLS-Bank: biggest German ethical bank. Does not invest in weapons or fossil fuels, supports sustainable projects and renewable energies. Warning: might invest also in unscientific things like homeopathy.
  • Banca Etica: biggest Italian ethical bank.

A smartphone has a carbon footprint of about 70kg CO2, of which 81% are for production and 12% for the electricity it consumes during its lifetime. Not a lot compared to the 500kg for a flight from Germany to Spain! But when it comes to your slavery footprint your phone and clothing are significant.

Fair Clothing
  • The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) defines environmental and social standards for production of textiles. In Germany "kbA" (for cotton etc.) and "kbT" (for wool etc.) designate organic production.
  • Hess Natur: partly also with production in Europe
  • Maas Natur: well-established
  • Armed Angels: new, relatively expensive
  • Pure Waste: textiles made from recycled cotton. (Cotton production was one of the main reasons for the drying out of the Aral Sea. The resulting salt plains produce dust storms, and crops in the region are destroyed by salt being deposited onto the land. Summers have become hotter and melting levels of glaciers increased by 12 times, adding to the scarcity of water.)
  • For shoes not so many certificates are available. But Loints of Holland seems to produce in Europe and follows environmental standards. Also available in some offline shops.
  • Refurbed (in Germany, Austria, and Poland): Buy refurbished smartphones, tablets, laptops etc. As good as new - and around 45% cheaper, 70% less CO2-emissions, less toxic trash.
    Backmarket has the same concept and operates in Belgium, Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the US.
    For laptops, another similar option is Notebook Heaven.
  • Broke your laptop or your phone? Fixing is more sustainable than buying new. Instructions and spare parts on IFixIt; check also their "Fixability Rating" before buying.
  • Lubuntu is a free, open, user-friendly operating system (based on Ubuntu Linux) that speeds up old computers if reinstalling the original system is not sufficient. Works also on Apple MacBooks! Another very nice and even lighter and faster option is antiX Linux. Both are easy to install and easy to use.
  • LineageOS is a lighter version of Android and can speed up your smartphone if a factory reset is not sufficient. If your phone is not in their list, google for inofficial builds. I explain the installation on a Samsung Galaxy J5 from 2015 step-by-step.

Avoiding plastic? Reusable or compostable coffee cup? Regionally grown potatoes? Nice, but marginal.


Legislation favours aviation:

  • flight tickets are VAT-free, whereas train passengers pay VAT
  • airlines do not pay kerosene tax, whereas railway operators pay full energy taxes
  • many small airports are unprofitable and heavily subsidised (for the purpose of offering cheap holiday flights with RyanAir?).
  • European airlines are only partially required to buy EU emission certificates
  • plane emissions (and ships) are not regulated by the Paris agreement, so states lack incentive to reduce air travel
  • rail transport suffers from insufficient infrastructure capacity
  • night trains become unprofitable due to track access fees
  • there is no unified European train booking system

All together, German society subsidises airlines with 11 Billion € per year!

From 2010 to 2015, European air travel grew by 57%! And Europe wants to become "green" simply by switching to renewable electricity?

More information and essays

How many gigatons of CO2 more can we safely release?
In February 2016, we had 8 years left before breaking the limit of max. 2°C global warming.
Two years earlier, in April 2014, we had 17 years left!

Finding Train & Night Train Connections

The most important webpages:

  • The Man in Seat Sixty-One: excellent train travel guide for anywhere in the world
  • Trainline: compares offers from different ticketing agencies; can save more than 70%. Includes also some night trains! (Loco2 is similar, but try both - they occasionally find different connections!)
  • Rome2rio: Compare flights, trains, ferries, buses between any two places in the world.
  • Interrail: by train and ferry to Greece, Turkey, Ireland, Gibraltar, great for holidays (non-European residents can use Eurail instead).
List of night trains in Europe (incomplete)
  • European Sleeper is a community-owned start-up running since 2023 a night train Brussels - Amsterdam - Berlin - Prague:
  • ÖBB Nightjet:
    Biggest European night train network; daily regular services, also with car transportation on selected connections.
  • Swedish Railways and Norwegian Railways operate night trains ranging, e.g., from Hamburg and Berlin to Stockholm, and further beyond the Arctic Circle.
  • Trenitalia:
    A wide range of comfortable night trains in Italy
  • Alpen Express Oostenrijk:
    Night train from the Netherlands to Austrian Ski Areas
  • Train4You Urlaubs-Express:
    Night train with car transportation between Hamburg and Lörrach (near Basel), Verona, Villach, Munich (seasonal)
  • MSM party trains:
    Party trains for special events: Carneval in Cologne, Oktoberfest in Munich, beach train to North Sea...
  • Snälltåget:
    Night train from Northern Germany to Sweden, as well as, e.g., Malmö - Copenhagen - Hamburg - Austria. The company operates also a night train from Malmö to the ski resorts in Åre/Duved 2x/week during the ski season.
  • BTE-Autoreisezug:
    Night train with car transportation from Lörrach (near Basel) to Hamburg
  • Flixtrain:
    Used to run a night train from Lörrach/Freiburg to Hamburg. Also offers very economic day connections in Germany as well as national and international buses.
  • Optima Express night train with car and motorcycle transportation from Austria to Edirne (near Istanbul), seasonal.
  • Many state railways in Eastern Europe still operate night trains. See the itineraries below for some examples (to Croatia, Hungary, Poland...) and check Seat61, Rome2Rio or the DB information system (even if you buy tickets online, they can be booked in railway stations or by phone).
  • Check out the lists of night trains collected by Interrail and Back On Track. Another list can be found on, where you also find a description of night train comfort, and you can ask for hints and help with bookings ("Tickethelfer").
Recommended Train Travel Itineraries

Here you find tested itineraries. On night trains I recommend sleeper car (Schlafwagen), which has real beds, fresh towels and a hand basin. Couchette (Liegewagen) is also ok, but I recommend to pay for occupation with four persons instead of six. Upper beds in couchettes may be too short for people taller than 1.80m. Earplugs are useful. Most sleepers and couchettes have complimentary breakfast. See for fotos and descriptions of an ÖBB NightJet. Travelling by night train can be enjoyable, maybe get a beer, have interesting conversations with fellow travellers, or just look outside.

Some of these itineraries are outdated, check your connections on the webpages listed above.

Stuttgart/Frankfurt - Milano

The Chiasso hack: if you look for Stuttgart - Milano on Trainline or DB, you find only expensive connections. Travel much cheaper as follows:

  • Check for convenient connections Stuttgart - Milano on, but do not book. Take note of the number of the EC train from Zurich to Milan that you see in the connection details.
  • Instead book a ticket Stuttgart - Chiasso from Deutsche Bahn using that EC train: this can be as cheap as 29 Euro.
  • Then book a Trenitalia ticket on the same EC train from Chiasso to Milano; this should cost around 10 Euro. You do not change train in Chiasso, you remain seated. It's only your ticket that changes in Chiasso.

If you depart from an S-Bahn station in the Stuttgart region instead of from Stuttgart Hbf, it saves a few euro, and most importantly, add's passenger rights protection to the change in Stuttgart Hbf if you include one or two stops of S-Bahn in the right direction. E.g., you want to go to Waiblingen, then book a Deutsche-Bahn-ticket until Fellbach (no change in prize) and then use the VVS Mobility app to activate a Check-In-ticket while your S-Bahn passes through the Fellbach stop.

If you have a Deutschland ticket: the direct IC trains Stuttgart - Zurich share code with a regional train. You can use them with the Deutschland ticket until Singen. Tickets from Singen to Chiasso can be bought starting at 19 Euro.

From Frankfurt, Mannheim, and Karlsruhe there are also a few direct EC trains every day to Milano, but usually more expensive and not necessarily faster.

Stuttgart - Vienna
  • Option 1: ICE to Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof and from there by ÖBB Nightjet to Vienna, arriving at 8:19. Advantages of this connection: less time on day trains, latest departure, more than 45min connecting time, sleeping until 7:30am.
  • Option 2: ICE or IC to Munich Hbf and from there by MAV EuroNight to Vienna, arriving at 6:35. Advantages: often cheaper than Nightjet, early arrival, couchette class modern and comfortable, train continues directly to Budapest.
  • Option 3: by day trains, as fast as 6h29min. On some days there are direct Railjet trains, otherwise a change in Munich or Salzburg is required. Advantages: can be much cheaper, starting at 32 Euro on the Trainline webpage (with BahnCard 25).

All three options can be booked on Trainline (look for the arrival times and number of changes in the list). But if the option for sleeper/couchette on the night trains does not show up, try also OEBB which seems to have a bigger contingent.

Return trip: the Nightjet to Frankfurt arrives for my taste far too early in the morning. On the other hand, the Friday afternoon direct Railjet from Vienna to Stuttgart (and onward to Frankfurt) is very convenient.

Vienna - London - Plymouth

The following connection works well, with safe connections and high comfort:

  • Vienna Hbf 20:41 - Cologne Hbf 8:15 (+1 day) by Nightjet NJ 40490, Cologne Hbf 9:43 - Bruxelles Midi 11:35 by ICE 214, Bruxelles Midi 12:52 - London St. Pancras International 14:05 by Eurostar EST 9133

You have time to step outside Cologne main station and take a look at the impressive cathedral of Cologne, and there are many options for waiting with coffee and a second breakfast in the station. In Bruxelles I can recommend a quick lunch with Belgian beer at 'La Brasserie de la Gare' just across the street from the main entrance of the station (tell them that you have a train to catch to get express service). Remember that you have to go through a security and passport check before boarding the Eurostar, for which you should plan 45 minutes to be on the safe side. The Eurostar departure terminal is easy to find in the main hall of Bruxelles Midi (it's called Bruxelles-Midi Eurostar, but it is just a particular platform inside the station of Bruxelles Midi).

For the return trip, take the following connection:

  • London St. Pancras International 15:04 - Bruxelles Midi 18:05 by Eurostart EST 9140, Bruxelles Midi 18:25 - Cologne Hbf 20:15 by ICE 19, Cologne Hbf 21:21 - Vienna Hbf 8:19 (+1 day) by Nightjet NJ 40421

Remember to be at St. Pancras 45 minutes in advance to go through security and passport check.

A word on tickets: for Cologne-London try to get a Sparpreis-Europa ticket from Deutsche Bahn, for the Nightjet compare prizes of Deutsche Bahn and Austrian Railways. For more information on the Eurostar (including the short cut for changing platform in Bruxelles when coming from London), see Seat 61.

From London you can reach almost all destinations in the UK by train, see Seat 61. We continued to Plymouth for camping in beautiful Cornwall. In the direction Plymouth to Continental Europe, do not plan a tight connection in London since trains in the UK are notoriously late.

Copenhagen - Zurich

Board the EC to Hamburg Hbf in Noerreport st around 15:27. For a short stretch the train is loaded on a ferry. Bring a dinner or have dinner on the ferry. In Hamburg, change directly to the ÖBB Nightjet to Zurich (if the EC is delayed, talk to the conductor, he can request the night train to wait a bit).

The connecting time in Hamburg is rather short (13 minutes) and the Danish train not always punctual. You may consider taking an earlier connection from Copenhagen to Hamburg - either an earlier direct EC, or via the mainland, changing in Fredericia and possibly Flensburg. Connecting times on the mainland may also be only 7 minutes, but these trains wait for each other, and are usually directly on the other side of your arrival platform. Additional advantage of the mainland connection: you cross the very impressive "Rendsburger Hochbrücke", which was the longest railway bridge in Germany until 2012.
If you arrive early in Hamburg, there are a number of very good dinner options near near the main station, e.g., "The Ramen Hamburg" (Rosenstrasse 5) or "Better Burger Company" (corner of Rosenstrasse and Gertrudenkirchhof square).

On the return trip, board the Nightjet in Zurich at 20:00. Next morning at Hamburg Hbf you have enough time to buy a coffee and take a little walk to the Binnenalster while waiting for the ICE to Copenhagen. Bring a lunch picnic on the train (there are plenty of shopping options in Hamburg main station) or have lunch on the ferry, then arrive at Noerreport st or Københavns Hovedbanegård in Copenhagen.

Check prizes on and and try Trainline. The direct connection gets closed sometimes (then bus replacement is mentioned in the schedule), in which case the slightly longer trip via Flensburg over the mainland is more reliable (involves 2 changes, but these are very reliable).

Brixen/Bressanone - Copenhagen

Take the EC from Brixen to Munich at 19:04. In Munich Hbf you have time to change to the ÖBB Nightjet going to Hamburg; from there on it is the same connection as in the previous example.

Stuttgart - Copenhagen

Take a late ICE from Stuttgart to Mannheim, in Mannheim take the ÖBB Nightjet towards Hamburg (departs around midnight), and from Hamburg take the ICE or EC directly to Copenhagen.
Alternatively, take a day train - it's a long trip (about 12h30), but requires only one change (in Hamburg), and it is cheap (around 35 Euro). On the ICE you can also have breakfast/lunch/dinner of acceptable quality and price.
The return trip Copenhagen - Stuttgart is reasonable only by day train. Expect to leave Copenhagen around 11:30 in the morning and arrive in Stuttgart around 22:50.

Zurich - Vienna

This is 7:50 hours with the railjet during the day, with a beautiful mountain landscape. Alternatively with the Euronight, departing from Zurich 21:40. The ÖBB train is very modern but bed rooms are rather small - if you don't know who's travelling with you I'd take the single occupation. Breakfast is included. This connection sells out quickly, book as early as possible!

Scandinavia: loop through Norway and Sweden

Copenhagen - Oslo by nightbus (not much sleeping, but extremely cheap).

Oslo - Trondheim by direct train (luckily my scheduled departure was 2h after the scheduled bus arrival, since the bus was 1h late) - the landscape is grandios and the train cozy, good bistro with panorama windows and cheap coffee refill. (Alternatively there is also a night train from Oslo to Trondheim. Or to do the first two legs of the trip in one: A faster way of getting from Copenhagen to Trondheim is by taking the Snälltåget ski night train Malmö to Åre/Duved, from where it is only 3 hours by train to Trondheim.)

Trondheim - Tromsø with Hurtigruten post ship, 2 days on a very comfortable ship along a fantastic coast, in the winter affordable and with only few people on board.

Tromsø - Kiruna first with Bus Line 100 (no reservation possible and normally not necessary, buy ticket directly from driver with credit card) to Narvik (we arrived perfectly on time) and from there by train to Kiruna (there are only 2 trains per day, the earlier one has a direct connection with the bus; the later one has more buffer time but then it might be too dark already to see the impressive landscape).

Kiruna - Copenhagen: my longest train trip ever (1900km): I booked from SJ the following: Kiruna - Boden, ordinary IC train. (In Boden 30min break, I bought a pizza in the main street.) Boden - Stockholm on the night train (this train still has a restaurant car!). Next morning about one hour break in Stockholm and then X2000 train (with coffee flatrate) to Copenhagen.

Don't forget to watch our for Northern Lights, and try dog sledding.

Zurich - Marseille

This can be as fast as 6:12h via Basel. I chose however a longer connection: TGV to Paris, brought my picnic to the square in front of Notre Dame, and after lunch continued to Gare de Lyon, from where the TGV does the 800km to Marseille in 3:22h through beautiful southern France.

Zagreb - Zurich

A great journey through the Slovenian alps! The EuroNight leaves Zagreb at 18:38. No restaurant car, but you can have an early dinner in Zagreb or bring a picnic. Sleeper cars are modern and spacious. The train also has couchettes and ordinary cars, which come from Beograde. You'll receive a bottle of water in the evening and breakfast in your sleeper compartment in the morning. Tickets can be bought on or maybe Trainline.

Stuttgart - Rome

Take the ICE from Stuttgart to Munich (leaves around 18:23). In Munich change to the ÖBB Nightjet to Rome, next morning you have time for an extended breakfast while watching the beautiful Italian landscape (watch our for the impressive city of Orvieto ontop of the cliffs); arrive in the center of Rome at the unbeatable 9:22. (And remember that you just saved at least 80€ for an extra hotel night.)

Rome/Milano - Split (Croatia)

Trenitalia has modern direct trains to Ancona, the fastest taking 3h24 from Rome or 2h59 from Milano. During the first part of the trip the train is quite full, 1st class is worth the investment and not much more expensive. No gastronomical service on the train (not even water bottles). Landscape is beautiful, coast to coast through the Italian mountains and tiny villages. Plan in a few hours so that you can explore the harbour of Ancona, climb on the hilltop and buy food.
In Ancona, there are ferries to many Croatian towns, see Rome2Rio. For us the cheapest option was BlueLine Ferries (service seasonal and not every day). A 2-berth cabin is cheap, has a private bath room with shower and one can sleep very well. You can have dinner on the ferry, but it didn't look attractive. Before boarding, you have to go to a counter (a short bus ride, bus departs in front of the station) and get a boarding pass. Don't forget your ID card, Croatia is not part of the Schengen space!

Rome - Zurich (- Berlin/Hamburg)

Unfortunately there is no night train on this connection anymore. The trip takes in the best case 6:41 hours and costs 61.90€. You start with Trenitalia's Frecciarossa or with Italo to Milano. The trip takes 3h with both companies. Long stretches are travelled at 300km/h, the average speed on the 600km distance being around 200km/h!
In Milano, change to a EC to Zurich (through the longest and deepest tunnel in the world, the Gotthard Base Tunnel)!

Going for a really long trip? In Zurich you can connect to the ÖBB Nightjet to Berlin or Hamburg.

Stuttgart - Siofok (at the Balaton in Hungary)

In 2004 it was possible to buy the complete trip from a DB office... take the ICE at 20:23 from Stuttgart to Munich, in Munich change to the EuroNight to Budapest-Keleti but get out at Kelenföld, from there take the local train to Siofok. If you have problems buying the ticket, until Kelenföld can be bought online from DB.

Copenhagen - Trieste

Leave Copenhagen with the EuroCity at 11:37, arrive in Hamburg at 16:22. Then take the ICE to Munich at 17:01, have dinner in the ICE restaurant car, arrive in Munich at 23:14. Continue with the ÖBB NightJet leaving Munich at 23:35 until Udine where you arrive at 6:23. Take one of the frequent regional trains to Trieste.
Remark on tickets: Copenhagen to Munich can be bought from Deutsche Bahn (I took first class since it is so long; in any case, take a seat reservation from Copenhagen to Hamburg!). The NightJet can be bought from ÖBB or DB. The Italian regional train can be bought from TrenItalia; TrenItalia online tickets for regional trains are valid for every regional train departing within 4 hours of the time printed on the ticket.
Side remark: In Trieste, take a ride on the Tram no. 2 - it has a great view, leads to SISSA with a short walk and for part of the trip, it is pulled like a funicular. Tickets can be bought at Tobacco shops (look for "T"-signs).

Tübingen (near Stuttgart) - Grenoble (near Geneva)

Easy one, just look for the connection on Fastest connection is 8h27, by local train to Horb, then IC to Zürich, then IC to Geneva, then by local train to Grenoble. However, the connection in Horb is tight (3 minutes), so better look for connections taking 8h40 via Stuttgart, Karlsruhe and Lyon (all connections have more than 16 minutes). Tickets can be bought from DB or Trainline, but book early since SNCF can be expensive.

Vienna - Stockholm - Kiruna (polar circle) - Vienna

Vienna to Stockholm is a comfortable one-day trip. Leave Vienna in the evening on the Nightjet to Hamburg. At Hamburg main station take the next EC to Copenhagen. From Copenhagen, either wait for the next Swedish X2000 directly to Stockholm, or take an Øresundstog to Malmö and an X2000 from there to Stockholm. Tickets: it might be cheapest to book the Nightjet to Hamburg from ÖBB and then a ticket Hamburg - Stockholm from DB. Alternatively, you can by a ticket Vienna - Copenhagen from ÖBB (slightly more expensive) and Copenhagen to Stockholm from the Swedish SJ. You arrive in Stockholm around 20:30 in the evening. Hint: Malmö station has a cozy restaurant section, also with quick and decent take-away pizza.

From Stockholm to Kiruna, and return, there are two daily night train connections, of which one is direct, one requires a change. On the return we travelled directly to Vienna without stop in Stockholm. This is two consecutive nights on night trains, a trip of about 3000km. The following connection should work: Depart 13:47 from Kiruna, change in Boden 17:23, arrive 6:38 at Stockholm Central -time for breakfast- continue at 08:25 to Copenhagen, arriving 13:32 -1.5 hours for lunch around Halmtorvet in Copenhagen- around 15:20 (exact schedule varies) continue by EC to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, arriving 20:16. At 20:26, catch the Nightjet to Vienna. Tickets: book Kiruna to Copenhagen as one ticket from SJ. Book Copenhagen to Vienna as one ticket from ÖBB: the connection in Hamburg is tight, but if you buy Copenhagen to Vienna in one single booking process from ÖBB you are protected by European passenger rights (i.e., if you miss the connection in Hamburg ÖBB will pay a hotel and a new onward ticket for you, plus 50% delay compensation).

Swedish night trains have a cozy restaurant car, which I can recommend both for dinner and breakfast.

Vienna - Milano - Marseille/Nice, and return

Under normal conditions, the easiest option is by Nightjet from Vienna to Milano, then by Thello from Milano to Marseille, a beautiful trip along the coast where the alps drop into the Mediterranean sea. Unfortunately, the day I needed to go, the line was closed for construction works, so I came up with the following alternative: from ÖBB, book the Hungarian EuroNight leaving Vienna at 23:25, arriving at Zurich HB 8:20. This train has excellent new 4-bed couchettes. Go sightseeing in Zurich (how about a trip by water bus on the lake and a Gipfeli?), then continue by the 13:34 TGV to Dijon Ville, from there by TGV to Marseille St Charles. From Zurich to Marseille is most easily booked on Trainline.

Return trip: Of course you can go through Zurich or better Milano again. But the most convenient option is as follows, but running only once per week: take any train to Nice until Saturday evening (can be booked on Trainline). On Sunday morning, 9:30, a train of the Russian Railways leaves for Moscow. This is a very modern train with Siemens sleeper coaches from 2014, and it arrives the next morning, 6:02, at Vienna main station. This train also carries an excellent Polish restaurant coach with very fair prices. To book tickets, go to the English page of, enter "Nice Ville" and "Wien" and make sure to choose a Sunday. You can book up to 45 days ahead (days marked in yellow) - if you try to book further ahead you get the misleading (wrong!) message "Fully booked". You can choose 2nd class (one bed in a 4-bed room), 1st class (with the options 1/1 meaning private room or 1/2 meaning shared with one traveller), or luxury class. You can choose a specific bed, but if you get a red Russian error message at the very end, go back and choose a bed in a different coach! Payment is by credit card, ticket is print-yourself. If your PDF has a red message "To use the e-ticket for your journey, please check in online." at the lower right corner, look for the check-in button on the webpage and download the PDF again. The booking is a bit fiddly, but the journey is beautiful and comfortable.

The RZD train is also a convenient option in the other direction, also as an alternative to the Nightjet between Vienna and Milan. While a bit more expensive, it runs at different times, may still have free beds when the Nightjet is already fully booked, and as a bonus, has a fantastic restaurant car.

Vienna/France/Switzerland - Aarhus (Denmark)

This is an easy one: book a ticket on the ÖBB Nightjet from Vienna to Hamburg. Next morning, take one of the direct trains from Hamburg to Aarhus. Tickets available on, trainline, or the ÖBB webpage.

From Paris you may travel to Frankfurt and board an ÖBB Nightjet to Hamburg there. Alternatively, and from everywhere else in France or Switzerland, travel to Zurich and board the Zurich-Hamburg Nightjet there, also operated by ÖBB.

Oberwolfach (near Frankfurt) - Berlin - Cracow - Vienna

From the mathematical research center Oberwolfach, take a taxi after dinner to Wolfach, where you take a local train at 21:20 to Offenburg (ticket machines at the station). From Offenburg, depart by ÖBB Nightjet at 22:30, arriving in Berlin around 8 o'clock next morning (tickets available online from the ÖBB webpage).

From Berlin, take the 9:55 train (EC 43, Berlin-Warschau-Express) arriving at Warszawa Centralna at 15:24 (ticket available on trainline or on This train has an excellent cozy restaurant car serving breakfast and freshly cooked meals at reasonable prices (but be warned that it will usually be completely full in the last two hours). Finally, catch one of many trains from Warsaw to Cracow, e.g. an EIP (Express Intercity Premium) train leaving Warsaw 15:50, arriving Krakow Gl (central station) at 18:08. Tickets for Polish trains from Warsaw to Cracow to be bought on, booking seems to open one month ahead of travel date.

From Cracow to Vienna you can travel by day or by night. I recommend the ÖBB Nightjet.

Vienna - Prague

From Vienna to Prague one may travel with ÖBB, Czech railways České dráhy, or as the best option with the private czech company Regiojet. Regiojet usually runs four trains per direction per day, travel time is almost identical to ÖBB (the confusingly similarly named Railjet). The main advantage of Regiojet: much cheaper tickets and better service on-board. For around 30 Euro you can travel in a very spacious business class compartment. Coffee, a cold drink and a snack are included there; full meals (packed in plastic, but except for the couscous salad quite good) can be bought from the steward at an excellent prize (for Austrian standards).

You may compare the regiojet comfort classes and look at the business class menu. Attention, in low-cost class there is no service and no refreshments can be purchased.

Milan - Morocco - Paris - Berlin - Warsaw - Vienna - Genoa

Train travel from Milan to Spain is slow and involves a number of changes, check Trainline. I found it more time-efficient to travel by Flixbus overnight from Milano Lampugnano (departure 19:40) to Barcelona Nord (arrival 9:10 next morning). As usual with Flixbus, this is not particularly comfortable; I did not manage to sleep and we also arrived with 90 minutes of delay in Barcelona.

From Barcelona travel by train to Algeciras (you can leave three hours of safety margin to the Flixbus arrival and still make it to Algeciras on the same day). There are many options on Spanish high speed lines; it is worth comparing prices of the four competing companies on Trainline. The last piece to Algeciras is a very scenic but slow line which offers only a small handful of connections per day; check the times carefully. Stay overnight in Algeciras, e.g., at Hotel Reina Cristina.

Next morning, take a ferry to Tangier Ville. Simply walk down to the ticket offices in the port of Algeciras and buy a ticket from FRS or Intershipping (no need to pre-book). In both cases, a free shuttle bus leaves from Algeciras to the ferry terminal in Tarifa one hour before the ferry's scheduled departure time. Check ferry times online before, because the schedule has a rather big gap around mid day. Attention: other ferry companies cross to Tangier Med, which is a new port about 50km from Tangier's city center. On board the ferry you need to fill out a travel card and get it and your passport stamped by a Moroccon border guard.

Congratulations, you have arrived in Morocco. Get some cash from the ATM in the ferry terminal and walk to the city center; ignore the taxi drivers and touts waiting outside the arrival point.

For travel within Morocco there are three main options: collective taxis collecting six passengers before departing and covering distances up a few hours drive ("grands taxis"), buses (CTM and Supratours can be booked online, local bus schedules instead should be known to hotels and can be booked at the bus stations), and ONCF trains between the main cities.

On the return trip, plan a significant safety margin in Algeciras as ferries may run a few hours late. We took the FRS ferry departing 8am from Tangier Ville, went for lunch at "LA CATA TAPAS" and then took a train departing 15:03 from Algeciras for Cordoba. We stayed overnight in Cordoba, continued the next day to Barcelona, where we stayed again overnight.

There are only two fast trains heading north from Barcelona per day (at least in Spring 2023). We took a TGV for Paris departing at 10:33 from Barcelona Sants. Book early, at it may sell out or at least get very expensive. (This TGV also offers a convenient connection to Milan, with changes in Valence TGV and Chambéry Challes-les-Eaux, check Trainline.)

If heading for Warsaw, continue on the same day with a German ICE train from Paris to Mannheim or Frankfurt. Stay overnight. Next day, travel to Warsaw with a single change in Berlin Gesundbrunnen. The Polish EC trains have an excellent restaurant car with freshly cooked meals at good prizes, a perfect lunch or dinner option. If you don't find a free seat in the restaurant car, use the mWARS app to order meals to your seat.

Warsaw to Vienna take an EC train (possibly with one change to a RailJet). From Vienna to Genoa, take the ÖBB Nightjet.

If your trip starts with a local train (e.g., S-Bahn), from DB you can book directly from the S-Bahn stop for the same prize. Then your passenger rights also cover the S-Bahn in case of any delay. The part on the S-Bahn is not bound to a particular departure, even if you book a "Sparpreis"!

Passenger rights: If you miss a connection or if your train is expected to arrive more than 20 minutes late, you have the right to use all other trains to reach your destination, at least if you have the entire trip on a ticket from one company! If you have different tickets, this may be more problematic. Swiss Railways tend to be very flexible, while Eurostar running the channel tunnel trains is known to be greedy. If you arrive more than one hour late you have the right to a compensation payment, which can be demanded, e.g., in the Deutsche-Bahn-app.