Leaving Denmark

We’ve just spent 10 days in northern Italy, taking one of the last City Night Line trains out of Copenhagen and travelling via Munich to Venice, Trieste and Udine, with a sidestep to Slovenia.

We boarded in Copenhagen at 18:46, arriving in Venice Mestre at 17:58 the next day. Sadly Deutsche Bahn is winding down the City Night Line service, and despite the best efforts of Save the Copenhagen Night Train and a petition 13 December will mark the end of night trains out of Copenhagen.


boarding the 18:46 from Copenhagen to Basel

On Hogmanay we took the Aurora the whole way to Basel, treating ourselves to a two berth sleeper. This time sleeper berths were not available – either sold out or simply phased out early, like the dining car – but as we were only travelling as far as Mannheim this was OK. We were joined in Odense by a couple, visiting a friend living in Munich. For them the night train barely took longer than travelling to Copenhagen airport, going through the bus in the air hassle and then travelling into Munich from its airport.

On the return journey we took a sleeper from Udine to Munich, leaving at 22:47 and arriving in Munich at 6 the next morning. The train merged with several other night trains at Tarvisio Boscoverde and split again in Salzburg, with the majority of coaches bound for Vienna, arriving at 08:40. In Munich we hopped on a train doing the six hour slog up to Hamburg, and then onto the toy train which goes onto a ferry at Puttgarden, always a delight, resurfacing at Rødby to chug up to Copenhagen, where we arrived at 18:14.

This journey is slightly shorter than the Flensburg route, and will become a tad shorter again when the Fehmarnbelt tunnel opens (due in 2021). Scant recompense though for the increasingly limited non-plane options. (The Esbjerg to Harwich ferry has recently sailed its last voyage.)

Note: slow travel? Maybe it’s not just transport choices which need a rethink. See also Ian Jack on the Caledonian Sleeper, and Empty Pipes’ CPH map with travel times to any point in Europe by train.


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