The Adventures of Django and Arya

Pet Friendly Sleeper Trains in Europe 2024

pet friendly sleeper trains Europe cats dogs trains EU pets on trains Europe UK rules laws

With an increased demand for environmentally friendly travel options in 2024, you’ll be happy to hear that pet travel in the EU and UK is becoming more readily available due to pet friendly sleeper trains. Many companies are regularly adding to their pet friendly sleeper train routes, with destinations including Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Holland, France and Italy. So, for your next European pet travel adventure, you may wish to consider a pet friendly sleeper train service. Not only is it better for the environment than air travel, but it’s also a stress free way to make a long journey with your pet in 2024. Read on for details of the myriad options available across Europe.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

pet friendly sleeper trains Europe cats dogs trains EU pets on trains Europe UK rules laws

What is a Pet Friendly Sleeper Train?

No doubt that you’ll already know that a sleeper train is an overnight service taking you from one destination to another. Normally, sleeper trains are cross country, and make a very limited number of stops on the way.

While sleeper trains have carriages like standard trains, when you’re travelling with your cat or dog, most rail companies require that you purchase a private carriage. In many cases, you don’t have to purchase an additional ticket for your pet, you just have to pay for the private sleeping compartment.

You’re then free to snooze the night away and wake up refreshed the following morning with a new location to explore. No airport queues, or pets travelling in the hold in sight!

Pet Sleeper Train Experiences in Europe

When we decided to relocate from Glasgow to the Algarve permanently, we had limited options for flying back to the UK from Portugal with our dog Django. What could have easily been a three hour flight with Django in the cabin, as he had done on the outbound journey, turned into a mammoth 24 hour trip! While pets can fly out of the UK in the passenger cabin with many airlines, they are unable to enter the UK in the cabin. You can fly into Ireland with a pet in the cabin, but not to the UK (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland).

So, we flew from Faro to Paris with Transavia Airlines, then took a train from Paris to Calais. From there, Folkestone Taxis collected us to take us on the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle across The Channel, then dropped us off at London Euston Station to catch the Caledonian Sleeper Train to Glasgow.

While the overall journey was pretty exhausting, we were able to sleep in our private compartment and finally arrive at our final destination after a good night’s rest. Pet friendly sleeper trains are definitely an option we would use in the future when travelling in Europe, and are much less stressful for cats and dogs than flying.

But, if you prefer to fly with your pet, check out these pet friendly airlines in the EU.

European Sleeper Trains with a No Pet Policy

Despite the popularity of Eurostar trains, particularly when travelling from London, England to Paris, France, Eurostar doesn’t allow any pets on any of their trains. This includes Eurostar routes within continental Europe. Of course, registered Assistance and Service Dogs are allowed to travel, but only four are permitted on each train so be sure to book early.

In addition, the Simplon Orient Express from London to Venice doesn’t allow pets, as they state that they cannot ensure your dog’s comfort during the trip due to the limited number of stops. The no pet rule applies to all Orient Express train routes, and also the vast majority of their hotels.

Choice of Pet Friendly Sleepers in EU 2024

Fear not, as there’s still plenty of pet friendly sleeper train services in the EU, covering many destinations. The following are just some of the cat and dog friendly sleeper services available in mainland Europe.

1. European Sleeper Trains

European Sleeper Trains have expanded their services for 2024, and the good news is that they allow cats and dogs. This year, they’ve also introduced a new service from London to Berlin.

Up to two pets can join you on board the European Sleeper Train, and there’s no charge for their travel, though you have to book a private sleeping compartment for the journey. If your cat or dog doesn’t cause any mess in the room, no cleaning fee is applied, however you will be charged a cleaning fee if your pet is naughty! Dogs and cats are allowed in the sleeper, couchette and seating compartment, but you must book a private sleeping compartment.

European Sleeper trains run between Berlin and Brussels, stopping in Amsterdam and Rotterdam en route, so this is a convenient and stress free way to travel in Europe with your beloved pet. Check out their latest timetable for your next pet trip.

Be sure to keep an eye out as European Sleeper is planning more exciting pet friendly train routes for 2024!

2. ÖBB Nightjet Sleeper

You can take your dog with you on the pet friendly ÖBB Nightjet sleeper train if you book an entire compartment, and will also have to pay for your dog’s ticket on the train by telephone by calling ÖBB customer service on 0043 5 1717, or by visiting an ÖBB ticket office.

Assistance dogs travel free of charge and do not require a muzzle. ÖBB fare conditions apply for journeys within Austria.

Dogs are not allowed in the couchette or sleeping cars on EuroNight services run by PKP (Polish State Railways), ČD (Czech Railways) and MÁV-START (Hungarian Railways).

Small animals in a closed and secure container can travel with you free of charge, provided that the container does not exceed the maximum dimensions of L 90 cm x W 60 cm x H 40 cm and is stowed in the luggage rack. This applies only if you book an entire compartment.

With Nightjet, you can travel with your pet to the following cities, among others, in an environmentally friendly way. Remember to check out the applicable pet travel laws for each destination.

  • Austria: Vienna, Salzburg, Linz, Graz, Innsbruck
  • Switzerland: Zurich, Basel
  • Germany: Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Munich, Stuttgart
  • Italy: Florence, Rome, Verona, Lake Garda, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Genua, La Spezia & Cinque Terre
  • Belgium: Brussels
  • Netherlands: Amsterdam, Utrecht
  • France:  Paris, Strasbourg
  • Croatia: Zagreb, Split

The ÖBB Nightjet sleeper trains services are most definitely a stress free way to travel in Europe with your beloved pet. This handy map provided by Nightjet will help you plan your journey.

3. SJ EuroNights Sleeper Train

SJ EuroNight pet friendly sleeper trains are an overnight gateway between Sweden and Germany. Cats and dogs are very welcome to travel in your private room, or in the second class carriage. As the name suggests, the great thing about the SJ EuroNights trains is that it’s an overnight service, therefore you can snooze away the journey with your dog, and arrive at your destination feeling refreshed! Trains travel year round between Stockholm, Sweden and Hamburg, Germany. Depending on the time of year, the SJ EuroNights will embark from two different stations in Hamburg. Over the summer months (April to September), you can also travel between Stockholm and Berlin.

A limited number of pet friendly couchettes are available on the SJ EuroNights sleeper train service between Stockholm and Hamburg or Berlin. You may bring two pets, and must book the entire private compartment regardless of the number of human travellers. A fixed price is payable for the compartment. Pets are not allowed on the seats or on the beds and need to stay on the floor during the entire journey.

Unlike many other sleeper train services, the same rules apply to the SJ EuroNights Sleeper as do for the company’s day trains. This means that if you don’t want to travel in a couchette, you may take two pets when travelling in second class, but you must reserve a seat in the Pets Allowed section of the train. In this case, your pet is not allowed on the seats and needs to stay on the floor during the entire journey. If your pet is not able to fit on the floor space in front of your seat, you need to purchase an extra seat by adding a youth ticket to your booking, however, your pet must still remain on the floor.

For smaller pets in cages, such as birds, rabbits or guinea pigs, each cage is counted as a pet. The cage may not be larger than regular carry-on luggage and must remain closed at all times. Cages may be places on unoccupied seats if you place some sort of protection between the seat and the cage. Pets that are not travelling in a cage must always stay on the floor, even if you have purchased an additional seat.

Check out the latest pet friendly offerings from the SJ Euronights sleeper train services.

Whichever train service you choose, remember to leave a pet travel review on our site, and have a wonderful adventure making memories with your furry companion!

The Adventures of Django and Arya
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