When we first heard about a direct train from Moscow to Milan, we were super excited and we told ourselves that we should have taken it once in our life. And we did it. We took it to come back home after having travelled overland around Asia for almost five months. In this short article you can find all details to live this unique experience: timetable, classes, costs, and needed documents.
How long does it take?
The train No. 17 runs from Moscow (Russia) to Nice (France) once a week and it leaves from Moskva Belorusskaia Railway Station every Thursday at 18:17 and gets to Nice on Saturdays at 18:30. It runs across Belaraus, Poland, Check Republic, Austria and Italy following a strict timetable that you can find here below. As you can see, it arrives at Milano Rogoredo on Saturdays at 12:10, so it takes about 42 hours. On the other way around, it leaves Nice on Sundays at 9.29 (Milan Rogoredo at 15:17) and gets to Moscow on Tuesdays at 11:44.
Two days on a train is a lot! How can you do that?
Well, this particular train is very comfortable and it looks like a hotel on rails. No 3rd class is available, so you can only get the 2nd class, the 1st class or the De Lux sleeping. They come as sleeping compartments – known as kupe (купe) in Russian – which you can lock and open only using a key-card. A 2-cl sleeping compt. has got four beds and we recommend you to choose one up and one down if your travelling in two people. Also, there are two toilets in each wagon which are always open and one of those has got a shower, too. For more details about the different sleeping compt., click here.
How much does it cost?
It costs from a minimum of ₽ 18,542 (about €260 for a 2-cl upper bed) to a maximum of ₽ 137,819 (about €2,000 for a De Lux). Official prices are in rubles so the equivalent in euros may change daily according to the exchange rate. It goes without saying that we took the cheapest one.
How can I buy the ticket?
You can check out prices and availability and purchase tickets on the official Russian Railway website http://eng.rzd.ru (click here to skip one step).
Is that everything?
No, it isn’t. You need the Belarus Transit Visa in order to enter or exit Russia via this particular train and it costs €60. We took it in Mongolia, which is a bit exceptional, and you can find details here; otherwise, you need to check the procedure out according to your own country. If you are leaving Russia, there is no passport control between Russia and Belarus and passports and visas are checked at the border between Belarus and Poland (Schengen area).
Finally, we should say that it is a really nice journey. Indeed, beds are very comfy and hot water is provided by the train staff, so you’ll never run out of tea or coffee. You should take with you some food, if you don’t want to eat at the restaurant wagon, and don’t forget a book and a dock of cards! The majority of travelers are Russian going to Warsaw or Verona, so you’ll probably end up alone after this latter stop. We shared the cabin with a very nice and friendly couple and everything went super smoothly.