Vienna to Brussels

  • 16 September 2022
  • 5 replies

I am trying to book a nightjet on either the 1st Oct or 2nd Oct. We’re holding Eurail passes 1st class and wanting to book the 2person sleeper.


Oebb shows availability on the 2nd for the route via Cologne, but then after keying in payment says no seats anymore.

The only option I have now found is 1st Oct to Paris Est and then to take the Thalys to Bruxelles Midi(which by the way is showing no 1st class reservations on the 2nd Oct - but they sell 1st seats outright??)

Does anyone have a better option for us to look at for a sleeper? (My preference would be to travel on the 2nd, arriving on the 3rd October).


Best answer by BrendanDB 16 September 2022, 16:22

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Userlevel 7
Badge +7

The nightjets are extremely popular, and the proper bed places often sell out months in advance. The capacity is also limited, especially to Brussels (it’s only 2 sleeper cars, 1 couchette, 1 seating car). There’s a bit of a shortage of sleeping carriages.

If you really want to take the nighttrain the option via Paris seems the more viable.

If the 1st class seats of the Thalys are fully booked, you might want to reserve an ordinary TGV from Paris-Nord to Lille, and then take another TGV or Eurostar from Lille to Brussels. Or you can go via the hourly local trains from Lille to Courtrai/Kortrijk and then to Brussels (3 direct trains per hour to Brussels in Kortrijk on weekdays, 1 direct train every hour in the weekend). That option, without Thalys, will have cheaper reservations.

Interrail reservation on Thalys is a bit expensive, and Thalys often sells out too on sundays, since everybody returns from a weekend in France for the work week.

Please note that the night trains can be often delayed and you need plenty of time in Paris to switch stations. Please provide enough connection time in Paris.

If you’re not up for the Paris option, I’lld suggest the day trains. Normally you can access Brussels from Vienna in 10 hours, usually with 1 connection in Frankfurt.

Thanks @BrendanDB . Looks like my research so far has bought me as far as well. To cut down the “day” option, I’m also looking at maybe spending the day before in Salzburg. That means a ‘just’ 9hr+ day trip then.

Kortrjk option noted too. I guess what I’ll do if I stick to the NJ to Paris, is to leave the next segment open without any reservation and will then take whatever is possible from Paris-Nord. Thanks again.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

The Brussels nightjet does not run daily which doesn’t help.

There are sleepers listed as available to Amsterdam from Vienna departing on 1st but no availability on 2nd.


Amsterdam - Brussels is reservation free on NS Intercity or you can choose to be bilked by Thalys if they deign to allow interrailers on board.

In case you are unaware, Thalys enforce a small quota for passholders so often there is no availability even though there are plenty of seats still unsold, on top of this they charge a high reservation fee to the few passholders they allow on board.

The Brussels nightjet does not run daily which doesn’t help.

There are sleepers listed as available to Amsterdam from Vienna departing on 1st but no availability on 2nd.


Thanks @Al_G . Just had a look. No sleepers available. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

I would suggest you travel on the 2nd late afternoon from Vienna to Frankfurt and stay overnight in a reasonable station hotel, (try the Accor group for HBF hotels) then get the direct FRA - BRU ICE train - it runs every 2 hours via Koln - First class reservation advised as it is a very busy service (Only a few euro).

Sleepers are expensive and you miss the countryside. Even a budget hotel is bigger and breakfast is better - even if you have to eat in the station.

Ignore those knocking the FRA/BRU ICE - it was spot on for our recent run (except an external line problem caused a 1 hr delay/diversion)