Each year I go on a city trip with some friends, within Europe. We go around five days, and in recent years we've started visiting several cities in that time.

We have a new idea: to cut down on the time lost travelling in between cities, we could use night boats. They add something special and move us while we would otherwise be asleep in a hotel.

Example: in 2015, the current idea is to fly to Napoli, stay around there a bit, then take the night boat to Palermo and later fly back from there. The boat leaves around 8pm and takes 10 hours, so we have to get up early but otherwise it's a pretty OK night.

Between which other European cities could we do this? Both sides would need an airport in the region, the boat has to leave in the evening, take all night and then arrive in the other city.

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    I suggest looking along the Danube - I know there's multi day cruises taking in Passau (Germany), Melk, Dunstein, Vienna (all Austria), Bratislava (Slovakia) and Budapest (Hungary). I'd be surprised if there were no overnight connections between some of these at least. (If not, an alternative might be the hydrofoil from Budapest to Vienna in six hours during the daytime)
    – greyshade
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 12:25
  • 1
    @greyshade Maybe I didn't look in the right places but I remember that I couldn't find anything like that along the Rhine river. The markets for multi-day all-inclusive cruises and regular transportation seem to be entirely separate. Interesting question in any case (+1)
    – Relaxed
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 12:36
  • 4
    You'll have a lot more options if you include night trains as well in your planning. See further eurail.com/trains-europe/night-trains
    – Kris
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 14:08
  • 4
    Could someone please explain their close votes? Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 20:52
  • 1
    @RemcoGerlich It seems people think the question is too broad (not my opinion but there was a brief discussion about it on the chat).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 21:45

13 Answers 13


One popular overnight ferry close to where I live is a DFDS ferry from Newcastle to IJmuiden (Amsterdam).

Both cities have plenty to offer for short trips and the fare is quite cheap if you get an off season deal and are a foot passenger travelling in a group.

Last time I got it, it took around 14 hours overnight.

Alternatively here is a map of some of the major European ferries. Simply Google the route and you will find the operator. Unfortunately, there wont be many overnight ferries because of the short distances between land.

enter image description here

  • 1
    This map appears incomplete, perhaps it lists only international ferries?
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 18:01
  • 7
    Short distances don't prevent overnight ferries. For example, there is an overnight ferry between Tallinn and Helsinki (less than 100km distance), or Stockholm and Turku (~250 km). The ferry leaves in the evening; anchors in a reasonable spot for much of the night; and arrives in early morning - functioning as something like a floating hotel.
    – Peteris
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 18:01
  • 2
    Do you have the original source for the image? Seems like it has been resized and i cant read any of the yellow labels. Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 23:54
  • 1
    @iHaveacomputer I have added a link to the original source in the my answer.
    – medina
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 9:00
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    @davidb The map at rome2rio.com aims to be complete and up-to-date.
    – gerrit
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 15:45

There is a night train between Copenhagen (actually, Malmö) and Berlin, arriving between 6 and 8 am. The whole train gets inside a ferry to cross the water, and you can freely go to deck. Booking well in advance, the tickets are cheap.

  • 6
    @RemcoGerlich But that's a train on a ferry ;-)
    – Relaxed
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 21:46
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    @RemcoGerlich if you are for the experience, I definitely recomnend it. Combines the best of both worlds.
    – Davidmh
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 14:11
  • You're right, I didn't read you correctly. We'll keep this in mind :-) Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 14:17
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    I wasn't sure that I had understood this answer correctly but video of it here Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 19:36
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    This answer is out of date.
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 7:17

DavidB has perhaps the most comprehensive answer (= the Google Answer)... but here's some bits that we've done over the years.

If you are in the Med, there are a lot that go to/from Marseille as well as Barcelona. Obviously Corsica/Sardinia/Sicily are paired up there. There are a lot of different operators (Corsica Ferries, for example); start looking in Marseille and then take it from there.

I've done the Stockholm-Åland-Turku journey on VikingLines before and it's quite convenient, especially since you can choose to have a few days stopover in Åland without any additional charge (usually).

Some of the overnight ferries get (in my opinion) stupidly expensive. The Rostock-Helsinki ferry, for example, really makes one do the fuel cost comparison for driving via Sweden or the Baltics… There's more competition over the English Channel, so the Hoek van Holland-Harwich ferries always have some kind of deal going on.

  • There also are night ferries between Genova or Livorno to north Sardinia (Porto Torress usually).
    – o0'.
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 19:25

The night ferry Harwich/Hook of Holland (Hoek van Holland) is a great way to get to/from the UK. The ferry is really comfortable and good value. The only downside is that you can't quite get a full night of sleep - more like 7 hours maximum (realistically more like six). It is not too hard to get to Harwich from London and you can get anywhere in the Netherlands from Hoek van Holland; it is a small country with an efficient railway network and English is widely spoken.

The ferry is mostly used by truckers and people with cars, but I have had no problem using it as a pedestrian. I've done it twice.

  • Similarly there’s the Hull–Rotterdam overnight ferry. Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 12:29
  • The Harwich/Hoek van Holland ferry is a lot more convenient for passengers without a car than the Hull-Rotterdam ferry, because there are train stations on both sides. For Hull-Rotterdam you need taxis on both sides.
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 15:24
  • There are buses/coaches connecting the Hull-Rotterdam ferry to the cities, and as far as I remember also Amsterdam. Maybe with 5 a taxi is cheaper but for one your best bet is that coach.
    – Willeke
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 16:26

Ferry from Helsinki, Finland to St. Petersburg, Russia where you get 72 hour visa-free access to Russia via the St. Peter Line. I spent ~50 euros one way where I got a 4 bed windowless cabin. We departed around dinner time in Finland and arrived in Russia the following morning. The ferry has bars, restaurants, sauna/pool, and shows. A great way to begin a trip to Russia especially if you don't want to deal with the onerous visa process.

  • Is the visa-free access only for Finns, though?
    – gerrit
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 15:36
  • @gerrit I don't think so, I did not find any limitations to visitors' nationality. You will need to have Schengen visa or EU citizenship obviously to board it in Finland. Keep in mind that if weather becomes bad, SPb sea gate will close and you'll be stuck in the city :) Since the only way you can leave is by ferry.
    – alamar
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 6:20
  • There's also mention that you can visit Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg) that way but I don't know if there are ferries that go there.
    – alamar
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 6:21
  • Stuck in the city overstaying the 72-hour visa-free access? That sounds like a bad idea?
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 10:52
  • I don't think this is still running?
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 7:18


In the past I would use Ferrylines (see below), but this website has been down for a while now, promising to come back online soon. Until that happens, I use Openstreetmap:

  • Browse to Openstreetmap Turbo to search for ferry routes
  • Navigate the map to the area of interest
  • Click "Run"
  • When warned for "Large amounts of data", click "Run anyway"

The result might look something like this:

Ferries in the med
Openstreetmap rendering of ferry routes.

It does not discriminate between overnight ferries and short ferries, but typically, longer routes run overnight and shorter routes run during the day. You can check out details by clicking on a route. With some luck, there is enough information there such that you can use a web search engine to get additional details.

As per this comment by asdfex, the difference between blue and violet lines is not relevant (route represented as a single way or a collection of ways).

Like with other web sources, information may be out of date or incomplete. On the plus side, when information is out of date or incomplete, you could go and edit Openstreetmap yourself to remove or complement it.

It should be possible to run more advanced queries and select ferries based on particular characteristics (as long as those characteristics are included in the Openstreetmap database). This is technical and works via the Overpass API query language. Related questions can be asked at the GIS Stack Exchange.


Update March 2023: The ferrylines.com website is currently down, apparently for maintenance, but is supposed to come back "in short time".

Original answer from 2017

In my experience, the most up-to-date source for ferries in Europe and in fact around the world is ferrylines.com. They have a reasonable good interface.

Although you cannot specifically search for overnight ferries, a good hint for “overnight’ is that the crossing lasts at least 6–8 hours and that it operates at most 1–2 times per day. Also, (almost?) all overnight ferries are primarily ferries for cars and trucks, but do also permit passengers (some roll-on roll-of (RORO) ferries accept only trucks, but you'll find those mostly on freight ferry websites). Even the Cunard Line passenger liner from Southampton (or Hamburg) to New York is listed, as are, for some reason I don't quite understand, Eurostar trains.

snapshot ferrylines Snapshot from Ferrylines.com. My apologies for the low resolution image; I could not get it under 2 MiB otherwise.

  • 1
    Hi Gerrit, could you help me a tiny bit with how that Openstreet Map turbo works? For instance if I want to find only ferries on the result that are at least 1 hour long ( to skip all the little ones) and/or only ferries that accept a car? How do I need to modify the query to reach that? Thanks though for this answer, really helped me!
    – Jochem
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 7:27
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    @Jochem That should be possible, but I don't know the syntax myself. You can check out this guide. You can ask specific questions at GIS SE. This one has a comparison in it, for example.
    – gerrit
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 11:26
  • If you find out, let us know :-)
    – gerrit
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 11:32
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    @Jochem There appears to be a length macro, so it would seem that it should also be possible to filter the longest routes (by distance, not by time).
    – gerrit
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 11:46
  • "I have not yet figured out the difference between blue and violet lines." Nothing that matters here. It's whether the route is represented as a single way or a collection of ways (relation).
    – asdfex
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 13:17

There's also a overnight ferry route between Tallinn and Stockholm.


There are some ferries between the Scandinavian countries and Germany, e.g. Oslo-Frederikshavn, Oslo-Kiel (takes more than a night), Gothenburg-Kiel and Trelleborg-Rostock (don't know how long this one takes). There was a ferry from Esbjerg (DK) to Harwich (UK), but it shut down.

  • indeed, from southern sweden people overnight ferry to Rostock.
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 15:15
  • I'm pretty sure Trelleborg-Rostock is overnight.
    – user
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 12:03

Condor Ferries run Jersey (St Helier) to Portsmouth departing 21:10, duration 9h 20m (about £30 per head, single).

  • Portsmouth—St Malo is also overnight. In general, Portsmouth has enough distance from non-UK coastlines to make overnight journeys practical. (There would be no point sleeping on a Dover—Calais ferry because the journey is so short.) Similarly, Cherbourg—Poole or Newcastle—Amsterdam.
    – tobyink
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 17:45

One other option which accomplishes the goal of traveling by night while sleeping and arriving at your destination well rested is City Night Line by Deutsche Bahn and their European partners. http://www.citynightline.de/citynightline/view/en/info/infomaterial_en.shtml For example, there is a daily connection starting 8pm from Berlin/10pm from Hanover and arriving 9am in Paris.

  • I know about night trains, but this question isn't about them. I think the experience is very different. Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 20:54
  • Unfortunately, most CityNightLine connections shut down in recent years and the remaining ones will shut down this year.
    – gerrit
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 15:36

Not exactly between cities, but there is an overnight ferry in Scotland, sailing from Aberdeen to Lerwick, in Shetland. This is operated by NorthLink Ferries, and takes about 12 hours, or 14 hours if it is going via Kirkwall in Orkney. You can book a cabin, or cheaper just to sleep in a reclining chair.


I have to mention the Norwegian "Hurtigrute", which runs between Bergen, Trondheim and even further up north (it stops at a lot of places in between).


DFDS Seaways operate overnight ferries between Copenhagen and Oslo.

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