Book your city break by train early this year

12 January 2023

  • Substantially more international train journeys booked in 2022
  • Trend city trips by train continues this year
  • NS advises passengers to book early
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Last year, a record number of passengers booked an international train journey with NS International. NS International achieved 20 per cent more sales than 2019 even. The number of tickets sold increased by 6 per cent compared to 2019. Especially city trips were popular, including trips with a sleeper train. International train bookings at NS thus picked up strongly after the release of corona measures. The trend is expected to continue this year. As seats become even scarcer as a result, prices rise rapidly as the travel date approaches. So, as in previous years, it pays to make plans concrete and book early.

More options

Research by Trends & Tourism in October 2022 shows that London and Barcelona are the most popular European city break destinations, followed by Paris and Berlin. With London being the favourite, plans are already being forged to run a fifth direct Eurostar between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and London starting December 2023. More travel options to other destinations have also been introduced to meet the growing demand. Since the beginning of December, you can take Thalys and TGV to Barcelona via Paris. And there is an extra train to and from Frankfurt on weekends.

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The night train

A growing number of passengers are opting for the relatively new overnight train offer with the Nightjet formula. The night train already runs to Vienna and, since December 2021, also to Zurich. In the first year after the launch of Nightjet to Zurich, more than 100,000 people have travelled in 11.5 hours to Switzerland at nighttime. Early bookers also pay less for Nightjet. Prices start from €38 for a seat, from €50 for a couchette and from €90 for a bed.


Director NS International, Heike Luiten: "As early as May 2022, we saw higher sales figures than in the same month in 2019. We are happy that the international traveller is back and is now choosing trains in abundance. We also see this trend at fellow European carriers. We see that the train's charm, comfort and luggage space are increasingly deciding factors to opt for the train. Especially for destinations 700 to 1,500 km away. The desire to travel more sustainably than by plane gives an additional impulse. Of course, long check-in times and baggage handling problems at airports have also contributed to this trend."