Only 34 kilometers as the crow flies from Malmö, but with far too many islands, ferries and bridges to be able to get there easily by car. Berlin is close, yet far away. Flying from Copenhagen to Berlin also didn't feel right for such a short distance. We therefore packed up the whole family - including the dog - and went to Berlin with Snälltåget. An incredibly fun trip that I would very much like to do again!
What is Snälltåget?
Snälltåget is a smaller train operator that has been around since 2007 and which mainly offers trips to/from Stockholm, Malmö, Berlin/Hamburg and Åre. During parts of the year, the trains also go to other destinations, such as skiing in the Alps and Oktoberfest in Munich.
Snälltåget has energy-efficient locomotives and runs the locomotives on renewable electricity, which makes the train an environmentally friendly alternative to flying. But how much difference is there really between the options? "Åka skidor" have compared the carbon dioxide emissions for train, plane and car, round trip, between Malmö and Zell am See.
Our journey with Snälltåget to Berlin
We went to Berlin for a long weekend in August, with departure Wednesday evening 22:10 from Malmö to Berlin (arrival Thursday morning 08:58) and return Saturday evening 20:58 from Berlin (arrival Sunday morning 07:25). Thanks to the night train, we got three full days in Berlin and lost no time for the actual journey.
We parked the car in a parking garage near the train station in Malmö and took the opportunity to take a slightly longer evening walk with Bettan (our dog) around Malmö before jumping on the train. Bettan usually sleeps from 22pm in the evening until we wake up in the morning, so she usually doesn't have to go out and pee at night. Makes it a lot easier when traveling by night train. Once on the platform, we had to check in with Snälltågets train attendants and show our passports before we boarded the train.
The sleeping compartments
The sleeping compartments have 6 beds, where the beds at the top can only be reached by climbing a ladder. Our cabin was set up for sleeping, with crisp white sheets and bedding and pillows and plenty of drinking water. You can make the beds yourself, which, however, is not easy for the beds that are at the top. It takes a little fiddling to be able to stretch the sheets.
On the night train to Berlin, it is possible to travel with pets if you book your own compartment - which we had done.
Service on board
There were both toilets and washrooms (rooms with only a sink) in each train car, which meant that there was never a queue for the toilet even if the train was fully booked. As it was a night train, there was no restaurant car, but there was a simpler service with coffee. The toilets were fresh and had toilet paper throughout the trip.
There was perfectly OK internet on board (although we had downloaded offline series on our streaming services just in case).
On board the train, you are allowed to carry a generous amount of luggage per person - 1 piece of luggage with a maximum size of 55x40x23 cm, 1 piece of luggage with a maximum size of 80x50x35 cm and 1 smaller bag (handbag type). If you have your own compartment, it is therefore no problem to bring a lot of luggage with you. In addition, you do not have to think about excess weight on the way back, as the luggage is not weighed.
Each compartment had free drinking water in tetrapacks.
The trip itself Malmö-Berlin
The train rolled out of Malmö train station according to the timetable and we began our journey towards Berlin via Hamburg. The journey went through all of Denmark via bridges and tunnels and not via any ferries.
It was a warm August evening and the temperature was close to 25 degrees when we left Malmö. Lovely heat wave, but it made the night on the train quite warm. We had to choose between having the window open and hearing all the sounds on the road, or having the window closed and being quite warm. Despite the heat, we slept very well, although I woke up a few times when the train stopped.
There was no stop for passport control on the way and we rolled into Berlin Hauptbahnhof – right in the center of Berlin – just in time for breakfast.
Our journey from Berlin to Malmö
The trip back to Malmö from Berlin was as smooth and comfortable as the trip to Berlin. There was really only one thing that differed. As the train rolled into Denmark, the train stopped and a bunch of gruff passport inspectors got on board and checked passports. Of course, it wouldn't have been so difficult if it weren't for the fact that it was the middle of the night. It wasn't hard to figure out when we needed to show the passports, the controllers knocked loudly and loudly on the compartment door.
It was a much better temperature in the passenger compartment when the temperature outside was around 20 degrees and we slept much better when we could have the window closed.
The train left Berlin on time and arrived in Malmö on time. Just as smooth as on the trip to Berlin, except for the wake-up call from passport control.
The bottom line
Well, what did we think of the trip to Berlin? I would have liked to go by train with the family to Germany more times, this trip gave more flavor! read more about Snälltåget and their destinations on Book trip | Snälltåget (snalltaget.se).
Please note! One thing that you must not forget when traveling with a dog is to make sure that the dog has its own passport, is vaccinated against rabies and meets the regulations of the destination you are traveling to!
- The train was on time and we lost no time in traveling
- From central Malmö to central Berlin directly. Convenient and easy!
- You save the cost of hotel nights, as you sleep on the train
- It was nice and cozy to have your own compartment and even cozier to be able to crawl into a bed in pajamas and watch movies on the iPad
- Nice to sleep to the sound of the rails
- Nice to not have to think about excess baggage
- The dog was very comfortable in the compartment. Much less stressful for a dog to travel by train than to fly.
- Environmentally friendly
- Snälltåget has a service where you can book a breakfast package, but it could not be added to our booking. I tried to do it by phone instead, but then got the answer that it was already fully booked - even though there was over a week until departure. How difficult can it be to add more breakfast packages, when you book so far before departure? Now we solved it by bringing our own breakfast on the train, which of course you can also do.
- The passport control in Denmark disturbed the beauty sleep. It's a shame that the staff couldn't check the passport on the way back to Sweden in the same way as they did in Malmö.
- The speaker in our compartment didn't work either on the way there or on the way home, so we probably missed a lot of information. Luckily, we managed to open the compartment door in time to hear about the Danish passport police. No idea if we missed something more important?
- If you have problems moving or difficulty climbing stairs, it may be difficult to book a shared sleeping compartment, as you need to climb up to your bed (which is quite cramped).
- Train stations at night are not so cozy and many shady individuals slithered around the platforms. Especially at the Hamburg station, where I looked out the window and then instinctively checked that we locked the compartment an extra time. Airports honestly feel both safer and nicer.
- It must be quite cramped sharing a sleeping compartment with other travelers you don't know?
Have you taken the train to Berlin or to Europe? What did you think? Was it as smooth as the train to Berlin?
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