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Advice on the nIght train from Munich to Florence...

City Night line offers a night train leaving Munich at 9pm arriving Florence at 6am. We plan to get a Double sleeping compartment. I have read mixed reviews about night trains... from what I can tell, there are no stops on this route, therefore no switching trains in the night. Please advise! Thanks travelers...

Posted by
2768 posts

That is a real night train, not a "fake" one like the Berlin to Munich one that you read about being so bad. I call that other one fake because it goes slow and makes lots of stops to turn a 6 hour journey into overnight.
Not good. But between Munich and Florence they operate a real night train. We took it in the other direction a while back and it was fine. Had a first class private compartment and got a good night sleep. But I can sleep on planes too.

Posted by
8700 posts

The CNL train goes directly from Munich to Florence so you don't have to change trains, but it does make several stops.

Posted by
427 posts

Check out the web site "The Man in Seat 61" its a very informative view from a Brit's perspective about traveling by train in Europe. Night trains are not a bad way to go and better than the horror stories that can come up for any form of travel.

Posted by
4359 posts

I had to take this train last fall... First, it was late - like 1 1/2 hours late - arriving into Munich. I was already not thrilled about taking a NT that departed as late as 21:00, because actual 'lights out' is much later than that - getting settled, the 'howdy' welcome by train staff, the 'give us your passports' by train staff, etc. I'm never 'asleep' until at least 1 1/2 - 2 hours after pulling out of the station. There's often excited noise in the halls or in the cabin next to yours, especially young adults and little kiddoes. Then, there are several stops on this route...the above scenario can repeat itself. IF you manage to sleep through the night, you'll be awakened by 5:00 or 5:30 at the latest for breakfast. You've got to have your cabin packed up so that you can get your table out for breakfast, and when your train pulls up into Florence, be ready to hop off because next stop - Rome! (OK - technically, a couple of small towns in between, and you get 12 minutes in Florence, but I think you hear what I'm saying) If you are a freak of nature, that's at most 7 hours of sleep. I've yet to meet this freak. OK - Sasha's close ;-) Most drift in and out of sleep for a few hours, then either end up motion sick, or just give up...my thing is always being afraid of missing the wake-up call, so I awaken around 3am and That's All, Folks! Then, the hotel is probably not ready to receive you, so after you drop off your luggage, you wander around like a zombie and feel like you've missed that day of sight-seeing you were trying to keep by taking the night train ;-) (cont.)

Posted by
4359 posts

(cont.) IF there had been some other way of making another day appear out of nowhere on our trip, I would have found it. We knew what we were getting ourselves into, but there were no flights that would work (they all went to ENGLAND first, or Lufthansa would have relieved us of around €1000 each), so we bit the bullet. This was the trip that made us swear off all night trains. It would take some spectacular set of circumstances to get us on another NT. IF there is a way to split your trip into 2 days, I suggest doing that. If, on the other hand you're a freak (!), then go for it. There are a couple of beautiful places to break up the journey - Bologna, Verona, Padova; find one that suits you and your interests.

Posted by
389 posts

Try to be good and tired by that evening. If you lounge in a cafe all day before boarding the train, you will have more trouble sleeping. Bring ear plugs to decrease the likelihood of being awoken by ambient train noise. This departure time gives you time to enjoy a meal or drink before bed. Nobody does dining cars better than the Deutsche Bahn. Especially pleasant if this is a summertime trip and you can enjoy the last evening light on the passing countryside. Is this your first time in Florence? If so, the exhilaration of it all will help keep you going after the early arrival. That and a good cappuccino.

Posted by
4359 posts

Eek! I'm not going to a dining car at 9:30-10:00 for dinner, then getting up at 5:00am...but that's me. And being slightly tired, or all the way to exhausted, doesn't help me sleep on a train - esp. when I'm afraid of sleeping through a 5:00am wake-up...but that's me.

Posted by
389 posts

I stand corrected, there is no dining car on this particular route. The train information states "snacks and drinks available from sleeping car attendant."

Posted by
12195 posts

Hi, The CNL is the best night train around, especially if you are booking a sleeper and with no need to transfer. I've taken the CNL a few times but just with a reserved seat in a six person compartment or a reserved armchair seat, the sleeperette. I much prefer the armchair option, the more to the rear of the coach the better, and arriving between 0600 to 0730 is best...just in time for breakfast at the station. A lot of people take the CNL trains, they do get booked up, more so on week-ends, but on that CNL coach to Munich with the armchairs, I don't think I heard any American accents, mostly Germans or other Europeans.