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A Beginner’s Guide to Interrailing Europe in 2024; prices, passes, planning, and Itineraries

inter rail trip

Interrailing is a unique way to explore Europe, and it’s an adventure that combines the romance of travel with the freedom of the railways. With an Interrail pass, you can visit multiple countries and cities by train while experiencing the diversity and culture of Europe in a way that’s impossible by any other means of transportation.

As you travel by train, you’ll have the opportunity to admire stunning landscapes, meet new people, and discover hidden gems along the way. You’ll have the freedom to go wherever your curiosity takes you, and you’ll be able to travel at your own pace without the stress of navigating unfamiliar roads or fighting traffic.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time Interrailer, there’s something remarkable about the experience of Interrailing. It’s a journey that will stay with you long after you’ve returned home, and it’ll create memories that you’ll treasure forever.

Page Contents

What is interrailing?

Interrailing is a way of traveling around Europe by train using an Interrail pass. This pass allows you to travel on the rail networks of the 33 countries, and it can be purchased by anyone who is a resident of Europe. 

Several types of Interrail passes are available, including global passes that allow you to travel to all 33 countries in the Interrail network. They also have one-country passes that allow you to travel within a single country. You can also choose between first-class and second-class passes, between passes that are valid for a certain number of days within a specific time period and those that are valid for a certain number of travel days within a specific time period.

The big difference of this Interrail pass is the fact that you can take as many trains as you like within the validity of your pass, except for some high-speed and overnight trains which require reservations and come with an additional cost.

Interrailing is a popular way to see Europe, especially for young people and students as it’s a flexible and convenient way to travel, and it allows you to see many different places quickly.

How does such an Interrail pass work?

As we explained, the Interrail pass is a train ticket that allows you to travel on the rail networks of the 33 European countries included in the Interrail network. 

As with all train tickets, you must validate an Interrail pass before your first journey. This involves writing the date and time of your first journey in the designated space on the pass. 

Once your pass is validated, you can start using it to travel by showing your pass to the conductor when you board the train. From there on, you’ll have the freedom to take as many trains as you like within the validity of your pass. You can travel on any train that is included in the Interrail network as long as you have a valid pass and, if necessary, a reservation.

If you rather use the mobile Interrail pass, you will need to have the Interrail app installed on your phone (and have an active internet connection during your trip).

To validation on the app is pretty straightforward; you will need to open the app and tap on the pass in your pass wallet. Then, tap on the “Validate Pass” button and enter the date and time of your first journey. Once your pass is validated, you can start using it to travel.

How much does interrailing cost?

As you can imagine, the cost of an Interrail pass depends on the type of pass you choose, as well as the class of travel (first or second) and the duration of your trip.

Global passes, which allow you to travel to all 33 countries in the Interrail network, start at around €441 for a second-class 5-day pass for adults, while it’s €619 for a first-class 5-day pass. One-country passes on the other hand – which allow you to travel within a single country – start at around €67 for a second-class 5-day pass.

There are also a few flexible passes available that are valid for a certain number of days within a certain time period and others that focus on the number of travel days. The number of travel days refers to the number of days you can actually take a train, while the number of days refers to the number of days the pass is valid, regardless of whether you take a train or not.

While the cost of an Interrail pass may seem high initially, it can be used as a cost-effective way to travel if you plan to take a lot of trains. It’s also a sustainable way to explore Europe, allowing you to r educe your carbon footprint and minimize your environmental impact . By traveling by train, you’ll be using a mode of transportation that is more energy-efficient and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than air or road travel.

Is an Interrail Pass worth the money?

This depends from person to person, but in general, an Interrail pass should be a good value for money if you plan to take a lot of trains and visit several countries during your trip. This is because the Interrail pass includes unlimited travel on the rail network in the countries covered by your pass, saving you a lot of money compared to buying individual tickets for each journey.

When traveling by interrail to big European cities, you’ll have to make use of additional public transport when you want to discover specific places, this is why theInterrail passes also include discounts on ferries, buses, and some local transportation, as well as discounts on attractions, hotels, and hostels. These discounts can add up over the course of the trip and help offset the cost of the pass.

Another reason why the passes are popular is because of the convenience of an Interrail pass; it gives you the freedom to take as many trains as you like within the validity of your pass, without having to worry about buying tickets each time you want to travel. This can be especially convenient if you’re visiting several cities or countries and don’t want to spend much time planning your itinerary beforehand.

Are interrail tickets refundable?

If you order your pass directly from the Interrail website, you can exchange it for another pass or get an 85% refund if your plans change.

You just need to make your refund request within six months of the pass’ last day of validity and have it endorsed as ‘Not Used’ by railway staff before or on the first day of validity.

Is Eurostar covered by Interrail?

The Eurostar is a high-speed train that operates between London and several European destinations. While the Eurostar is not part of the Interrail network, the Interrail Global Pass allows you to travel on the Eurostar high-speed train connecting London with France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

A seat reservation (which comes with an additional cost) is mandatory for this train and can be made up to 6 months in advance.

Is Thalys covered by Interrail?

Thalys is a high-speed train that operates in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. While the Thalys is not part of the Interrail network, the Interrail passes are valid on Thalys trains when reservations are made (which must be made at an additional cost) .

How to plan your interrail trip?

Planning a trip can be half the fun, especially when it comes to Interrailing. As you plan your trip, you’ll have the opportunity to research destinations, create an itinerary, and make any necessary reservations. This process can be exciting and rewarding, as you’ll be able to customize your trip to suit your interests and preferences.

Here are some handy tips to keep in mind when planning your interrail trip: 

  • Determine your budget . Before you start planning your trip, it’s a good idea to determine how much money you have available to spend. This will help you decide on the type of pass you need and help you plan your route and accommodation.
  • Choose your route . Decide which countries you want to visit and in what order. You can use the Interrail Planner to search for train schedules and make necessary reservations.
  • Book your accommodation . Decide where you want to stay in each city or town, and book your accommodation in advance. You can use websites like Booking.com or Airbnb to find hotels, hostels, and apartments.
  • Make any necessary reservations . Some high-speed and overnight trains require reservations, which can be made at an additional cost. You can make reservations online or at a train station.
  • Pack wisely . Make a packing list and only bring the essentials, as you’ll have to carry your backpack everywhere you go. Remember to pack your Interrail pass and any necessary documents, such as your passport or visa.
  • Be flexible . Try to be flexible and open to new experiences, as this will help you make the most of your trip. Don’t be afraid to change your plans if you come across something unexpected or interesting along the way.

When do you need to make reservations?

Reservations are required for some high-speed and overnight trains and can be booked up to 3 months in advance, especially during the peak travel season.

It’s worth noting that while reservations are required for some high-speed and overnight trains, they are not required for most local and regional trains. You can simply board these trains and show your Interrail pass to the conductor.

Where do you stay when you’re interrailing?

With an Interrail pass, you have the freedom to explore multiple countries and cities by train, and you can go wherever your curiosity takes you. This freedom is one of the things that makes it so romantic for many travelers, as it allows you to travel at your own pace and discover hidden gems along the way.

While the freedom is certainly romantic, it’s important to remember that you’ll still need to make some basic plans for a successful trip. One of the most important things to consider is your accommodation, as you’ll need a place to stay each night.

Many passangers are students or young travelers who are looking for affordable and convenient accommodation options. As such, it’s common for Interrailers to stay in hostels, hotels, or apartments, as these types of accommodation offer a range of amenities and price points to suit different budgets and preferences.

Does the Interrail have sleepers and couchettes?

Not all trains on the Interrail network have sleepers or couchettes, as these types of accommodations are generally only available on overnight trains, and availability may be limited. It’s a good idea to book as early as possible to ensure that you get a seat on the train you want.

Most trains containing sleepers and couchettes come with a supplementary cost. 

What to pack when you’re on an interrailing trip?

We already briefly mentioned it, but it’s important to pack wisely when you’re Interrailing, as you’ll be carrying your belongings with you as you travel. 

Here are some tips for what to pack:

  • Pack light . Only bring the essentials and try to pack everything in a carry-on size bag. This will make it easier to move around and will save you money on baggage fees.
  • Pack for the weather . Make sure to pack clothes and accessories that are appropriate for the weather in the places you’ll be visiting. Check the forecast for each destination and pack accordingly.
  • Bring a travel adapter . Traveling to different countries requires a travel adapter to charge your electronics. Make sure to bring one that is compatible with the outlets in the countries you’ll be visiting.
  • Bring copies of important documents . Make copies of your passport, Interrail pass, and any other important documents and bring them with you. Keep the originals in a safe place, and leave copies with a trusted friend or relative in case of an emergency.
  • Pack a first-aid kit. It’s a good idea to bring a small first-aid kit with you, including items like painkillers, band-aids, and any prescription medications you may need.

What are the most popular Interrailing routes in Europe?

One of the great things about Interrailing is that it’s 100% customizable, which means you can create your own itinerary and go wherever your curiosity takes you. To help spark your imagination, here are a few examples of European itineraries:

  • The classic mainland route : This route takes you through some of Europe’s most iconic cities, including Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Prague.
  • The Mediterranean route : This route takes you through some of the most beautiful and sunny cities in Europe, including Barcelona, Rome, and Athens.
  • The Scandinavian interrail route : This route takes you through the beautiful and unique countries of the Nordics, including Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway.
  • The Eastern Europe route : This route takes you through the vibrant and historic countries of Eastern Europe, including Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
  • The British Isles route : This route takes you to the picturesque and historical countries of the British Isles, including England, Scotland, and Ireland.

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Hey there! I'm Elliot Clennam, a passionate photographer based in Brussels, Belgium. My love for capturing the essence of my surroundings has led me on countless adventures, from exciting road trips to bustling city escapes.

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Jennie Wanders | Sustainable & Mindful Travel

21 Interrail Tips for First-Timers: Interrailing Europe (2023)

Some links in this post contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you use the links at no extra cost to you! Happy reading 😀

Looking for some insider interrail tips? You’re in the right place! This post details some of the best interrail tips for first time travellers using the pass.

If you’ve decided to interrail Europe this summer , you’ve made an amazing decision! Before I interrailed across Europe in 2015, I had no idea what to expect. And during my month-long interrailing trip, I learnt a thing or two about what I should have done (and what I shouldn’t). 

Since then, I have travelled Europe on countless occasions, picking up extra interrail tips and advice on every trip. Below I have listed my top interrailing tips, for anyone just starting or travelling around Europe this summer. 

As always, if you have anything to add or any questions, let me know over on Instagram or pop your comment in the box at the end of this post!

🚝 Need to buy your interrailing pass ? I recommend checking this website for the best discounts and deals!

Interrailing Europe? Check out my other Europe posts!

  • What To Pack Interrailing Europe: Packing List Essentials
  • Backpacking Europe: A Beginners Step-by-Step Guide
  • How to Interrail on a Budget: Interrail Europe CHEAP!

Want to see epic photos and videos from these experiences?

Follow me on Instagram! As we travel, I post everything live on Instagram, so check out my recent highlights and posts. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, drop me a DM!

How to interrail on a budget

What is an Interrail Pass?

Interrailing is a great way to see Europe on a budget . Interrail passes are available for people of all ages, and they allow you to travel on any day of the week. You can also travel on multiple trains per day, making it easy to explore different countries and cities all in one single trip.

Interrail passes are valid for a certain number of days, so you can tailor your trip to your own needs. Plus, if you’re under 27 years old or under, you can get a special Youth Interrail pass that’s even cheaper!

Global passes for interrailing are the best way to see Europe – and they’re not as complicated or expensive as you might think. With a global pass , you can hop on a train and explore up to 33 different countries in Europe. There are different types of global passes to choose from, so you can tailor your trip to exactly what you want.

Whether you’re looking to backpack Europe for a week or a month, interrailing is a great option. Just be sure to check the rules and regulations before you go so that you can make the most of your trip.

Not sure whether the interrailing pass is worth it? Check out my detailed guide on interrailing passes here.

Interrail Tips: Before You Leave

🎫 Explore a city’s attractions and save up to 50% with GoCity passes .

1) Decide on the duration of your interrailing trip in advance

Seems simple, but deciding on the duration of your backpacking trip will help you to plan your European adventure with ease. This will also give you an idea of how much you need to budget, what to pack and how many countries you can squeeze in (but more on that later). 

How long do you want to interrail for? If you’re travelling from a further distance (for example the USA) you’re going to want to have enough time to enjoy it.  When I interrailed the first time, I spent just over 4 weeks travelling to four different countries , travelling from the UK.

Decide on your duration, and then everything else will flow from there. 

Need to book train tickets to travel around Europe? If you’re NOT buying an interrailing pass, I recommend this company for the cheapest tickets. ➡ You can check out their availability and timetables here.

Want to start your digital nomad life?

Check out my ebook page (click here!) to see if there’s a guide that suits you. I’m here to help you leave the 9-5 and work remotely around the world! 💻 🌎

2) Check out local events before you begin interrailing Europe

Whether you want to attend local festivals or events or avoid them, it’s a good thing to check them out online beforehand. For example, if you’re interrailing through Spain and want to catch the Barcelona Beach Festival in July, or Hideout in Croatia, you can plan that into your trip!

Check dates and book tickets for events and festivals like this early.  This also helps to save money, as most European festivals sell tickets on a tier system. The earlier you book, the less you’ll pay!

3) Decide on a budget and start saving early

Interrailing Europe is not cheap, but it can be done on a backpacker’s budget if you’re smart about it.

Budget at least £80-100 ($100-150) per day to interrail/eurail Europe . This includes staying in hostels , cooking your own meals and pre-drinking in your hotel common room rather than the local cocktail bar! 

If you want to stay in Airbnbs and dine in restaurants for dinner, you’ll need to budget a whole lot more than that!

But I have you covered – just read my full detailed post on how to interrail on a budget first!

4) Decide on an interrail pass and purchase it beforehand 

Interrailing is an all-in-one pass that will allow you to enter 33 countries, but there are different types of passes to choose from. When you go to buy your pass, you will see there are different options to choose from, and you need to decide which one is best for you. 

NOTE: Each pass is counted in ‘days’. Each day will more than likely be 1 journey. So if your pass covers 5 days in one month, that essentially means 5 train journeys (5 countries) in one month. However, you can board multiple trains on the same day if you need to. 

There is also a one-country pass , which is only valid in one country. This means you can travel one specific country slower and deeper, really immersing yourself in the culture. 

Check out my post: Is the Interrail Pass Worth it? An Honest Review for more information about the passes.

5) Book at least your first hostel in advance

One of my best interrail tips is to at least book your first hostel in advance .  During the summer months, hostels in Europe will be fully booked. It will be tough finding a good hostel last minute.

Use Hostelworld to pre-book any hostels . They have excellent cancellation policies and you can usually get your money back right up until 24 hours before staying , so if you have any last-minute changes, you have that flexibility.

Whilst I can’t list every single hostel in Europe, these are some of the best, well-known hostels to stay in whilst interrailing. Simply click the link to check prices and availability!

  • 🇫🇷  Paris:  Generator Paris  or  The People
  • 🇭🇺  Budapest:   Maverick City Lodge
  • 🇳🇱  Amsterdam:  Ecomama
  • 🇩🇪  Berlin:  The Circus Hostel
  • 🇵🇹  Lisbon:   Home Lisbon
  • 🇦🇹  Vienna:   Hostel Ruthensteiner
  • 🇪🇸  Madrid:  Sungate One
  • 🇮🇪  Dublin:   Gardiner House

How to interrail on a budget

6) Book your seats for fast trains in advance

If you’re interrailing during peak times (i.e summer or Christmas), seat reservations fill up fast.  You must pre-book any night trains in advance!

The interrailing app makes this easy. It even allows you to see the different seat prices, as well as whether it’s direct or not.

7) Remember your interrailing pass cannot be used in your own country

One of the main interrailing rules is that your pass cannot be used in your own country of residence. So if you need to begin your journey in London, Paris or Amsterdam, make sure you plan and budget for your journey to your starting location. 

Booking hostels?

Choosing the right hostel as a backpacker is crucial to how successful your trip will be. Always use Hostelworld.com for the cheapest rates, widest availability and most importantly – honest reviews from other travellers! Click here to view the best hostels for your trip.

8) Download the interrail “Rail Planner” app

Luckily, there’s a way to keep everything in one place and well-organised. Download the Rail Planner app before you go, and you’ll be able to make seat reservations, change plans, find out which trains need a reservation and check out which trains you can use your pass on.

9) Take emergency cash

The majority of countries on your interrailing trip will use Euros. Whilst I’m a big fan of using Monzo whilst travelling, it’s always good to have emergency cash on you.

It’s also important to know that some countries do not use Euros. For example, Sweden uses SEK, Norway uses NOK and Turkey uses the Turkish Lira. It’s not hugely important to worry about, but just something to bear in mind. 

10) Know what to pack and be prepared

Europe is expensive! Forgetting something in your luggage is the last thing you need. Use my Interrailing Packing List to help pack your bag before you leave.

My biggest tip is to pack light. Lugging around big backpacks on long journeys and train stations is not ideal!

11) Be open to night/sleeper trains

I know this may sound daunting, but sleeper trains in Europe aren’t that bad. I prefer overnight trains, as you can save money on accommodation and won’t miss any days of exploring.

Only use night trains for longer journeys. If you use them for a 2-3 hour trip, you could end up arriving in a new city at 3/4am, and if you’re a solo traveller this isn’t ideal (although still manageable!). Don’t forget to pre-book your sleeper/night trains in advance. 

12) Make a rough itinerary and route plan

One of my best interrail tips is to make a rough itinerary or route for your interrail trip. This means you won’t miss out on anything you want to see. 

Decide on the countries, cities and areas you most definitely want to visit, and start from there. You can then look at each train journey. Look at a map of Europe. Use common sense and think – is it going to work travelling France one day, then Turkey the next?

You may want to plan your route to visit neighbouring countries to make it easier for yourself or plan less so you can soak in the culture. Get some paper and a pen, or open a new Google Doc, and get planning. And book your flights to your starting destination early. They’ll be cheaper!

How to interrail on a budget

Interrail Tips: During your European trip

13) be open to things going wrong .

And this isn’t just for interrailing! Things ARE going to go wrong . And that’s ok!

If you do change your plan or schedule, don’t panic. Reassess and re-evaluate what you can do next. Your interrail train journeys can be cancelled and altered easily. They can be changed at the click of a button, so don’t worry too much if you’ve changed your mind or want to alter your route. 

14) Make friends in hostels and free walking tours

If you’re solo travelling, or even travelling in a couple or with a friend, you might want to meet people along the way. Even when Tom and I travel together, one of our favourite things to do is meet like-minded travellers!

Staying in hostels is one of the best ways to make friends, or attend a free walking tour!

15) Stick to your daily budget as much as possible

Don’t spend all of your cash before the end of your trip, or you’re going to need to pick up work along the way. And picking up work in Europe isn’t easy (plus illegal on a tourist visa). Although if you need a quick online paying job, check out my ebook for making money online!

Hostels in Europe are usually around £15-30 a night, even in a shared dorm. If you want an Airbnb, you’re looking more at £80-100 a night. Make sure you’ve budgeted for this before you spend all of your money and run out.

For activities, food (fast or home-cooked), drink, socialising and everything in between, budget at least £30-50 a day.  Of course, you can have cheaper days, but it’s better to be on the safe side.

16) Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous

One of the best things about the interrail pass is the flexibility! The passes are designed to be used as ‘hop on, hop off’ tickets, so your trip can change as much as you desire. And trust me, spontaneity is what makes a good travel story!

17) Use Google’s ‘My Maps’ for offline directions

This is a great tool when you’re solo travelling and need to make sure you don’t get lost! My Maps has a function to download directions and maps that can be used with little or no signal. It’s also great to bookmark or ‘favourite’ what you want to do in each individual location.

18) Make sure your phone is unlocked

With the EU rules ever-changing, sometimes it can be easier and cheaper to just pick up new SIM cards in different countries. Most places in Europe do have Wifi, but if you need your data for work or something specific, SIM cards are easily available in shops all over Europe. 

Some UK networks are still available to use across Europe (as far as I know, O2 doesn’t charge any extra for travelling Europe), but some networks such as EE have added data roaming charges.

Alternatively, check out eSIMS in the country you’re visiting. I recently bought an eSIM in Mexico, and it was a lot easier than swapping physical SIM cards.

If you’d prefer to use eSIMs (like myself), I recommend pre-buying with this company. They have easy, downloadable eSIMs for countries all over the world. You can  check prices and availability here.

19) Use Google Translate for conversations and written text

One feature of the Google Translate app that I use almost everywhere is the written text translator. Simply hold it up to any foreign language (street signs, menus, shop windows), and it will instantly translate it for you!

20) Apply for a Worldpackers experience if you’re running out of money

If you’re flexible with time, I’d recommend checking out the opportunities on the Worldpackers volunteering platform. Here you can browse opportunities to swap volunteering work for accommodation. It’s perfect if you’re running out of money!

If you haven’t signed up to Worldpackers yet, you can get $10 off using my code JENNIEWANDERS.

21) Take snacks for your train journeys! 

It may be simple, but snacks always make a train journey more exciting.

How to interrail on a budget

Interrail tips: FAQs

1) how long should i interrail for.

This is down to you and how many countries you’d like to visit, how long you have off of work, and what you want to do on your interrail trip.  A standard interrail trip is 3-5 weeks, but you can purchase tickets to last up to 3 months. 

Work out where you want to go, what you want to do, and your budget. You’ll then be able to decide your duration easily. 

2) How much should I budget for interrailing?

Budget at least 70-90 Euros per day for interrailing. This includes accommodation, transport, food, drink, activities, socialising, and everything in between. However, this is for if you’re staying in shared dorms and hostels.  

If you are staying in Airbnbs or hotels, you will need to budget at least £150 a day. 

Interrailing CAN be done on a budget, but you just need to be smart. Read my detailed interrailing on a budget post here.

3) Can you sleep on the interrail trains?

Yes. There are designated sleeper trains or night trains for specific interrail journeys. These can all be viewed and booked on the interrailing app. You will need to prebook your sleeper train or night train seat reservation in advance. This will also help you to save money.

4) What time of year should you interrail Europe?

Ultimately, interrailing Europe at any time of year is going to be expensive. But if you’re sensible and travel during off-peak times, you may be able to save some money.

☀️ Avoid peak summer time (June – August) in Europe,  because this is when European schools break up, and locals will want to take their summer holidays. Big tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower or Oxford Street are 10 times busier, so you can expect to share your interrailing trip with hundreds of other people.

🍁  Travelling during spring or autumn (March-May/September – November) are a great   time to backpack and interrail Europe . They’re quieter and children in Europe are in school.

❄️  Winter can be pricier in Europe, as most places will get snow.  London at Christmas is one of the most magical times of year, but wow, it’s expensive!

5) Is interrailing Europe safe?

Yes, interrailing is safe. But like anywhere in the world, you have to be vigilant and use common sense. But on a whole, Europe is a safe place to travel for both solo travellers and solo female backpacker.

6) Do I need a SIM card to interrail Europe? 

Yes, it’s worth downloading an eSIM on your phone to ensure you can use it for directions and avoid roaming charges as soon as you arrive. 

ESIMs are easy to download and ready to use within a few minutes of purchasing! Plus, there are eSIMs available for the entire continent of Europe, so there’s no longer a need to hunt down free Wifi! ➡ You can check out the prices and packages for eSIMs here!

7) What tours should I do whilst interrailing Europe? 

Looking to book a tour whilst interrailing Europe? Tours are one of the best ways to see the hidden gems of the country you are visiting. If you’re travelling during peak season, I highly recommend pre-booking your tours to ensure you don’t miss out!

When travelling, we use this company to book our tours . Tours include skip-the-line tickets to the world’s most iconic attractions, walking tours by top local experts, immersive food and beverage tours, cooking and craft classes, bucket list experiences, and niche offerings you won’t find anywhere else! 

➡ You can check out available tours in Europe with prices here!

8) Do I need a car to interrail Europe?

The whole point of interrailing is to travel Europe by train, so it’s unlikely you will need to hire a car. However, if you head to the Italian countryside, or want to take a day trip, you may want to hire a car ; especially if a group of you have got together in a hostel and want to travel together.  

If you’re looking to hire a car in Europe, we rent our cars from this company . They’re reliable, cheap and have car rentals all over the world!  ➡ You can check out the prices for car hire in Europe now!

Interrail Tips For First-Timers: In a Nutshell

So, there we have it. My best interrail tips, all in one place for you to refer to! Are you planning an interrailing trip for this summer? I’d love to hear about it! Let me know on Instagram or in the comments below, and let’s chat!

Got a question about interrailing? My DMs are always open. I hope you have the most wonderful trip, and hope this interrail tips post has been helpful!

Happy travelling!

Other interrailing posts:

  • Going Interrailing Alone: Interrailing Solo Tips
  • Best Backpack For Interrailing: Ultimate Europe Backpack Guide

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MEET THE AUTHOR!

Jennie Wanders Avatar

Hi! I'm Jennie! As a part-time travel blogger based in London, I'm using my 10+ years of travel expertise to encourage & inspire you to step out of your comfort zone through sustainable, mindful and purposeful travel.

If I'm not writing, I'm either reading, drinking coffee or taking a wild swim (all at the same time if I'm feeling impressive).

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Interrail Planner

Blog posts to help you plan the perfect Interrail trip.

How do I plan an Interrail trip?

If you’re looking for an exciting new adventure, then Interrailing might be just the ticket. The opportunity to explore new cultures, take in breath-taking scenery and indulge in tantalising cuisine, Interrailing around Europe offers something for everyone – regardless of their budget or tastes.

An experience that thousands of people enjoy every year, it’s suitable for younger people, couples, families and more. Giving people the opportunity to discover over 30 countries across the continent, the all-in-one pass offers flexibility. How? Well with an Interrail Pass, you can choose the time of train or ferry that you board so that you can decide exactly how long you can stay in each destination.

If this sounds tempting to you, then you’re probably wondering how you can plan an Interrail trip. Well, we’ve got you covered. We’ve created a list of top tips that you can use to plan your Interrail trip so that you can experience an unforgettable European adventure!

Top tips you can use to plan an Interrail trip

Do some research.

Booking an Interrail trip, whether you’re looking to travel around one country or a handful of countries requires thorough planning and research beforehand. From researching the tickets to the destinations themselves there’s so much to explore as part of the process.

You want to make sure that you’ve checked off everything on the to-do list, so that you feel as prepared as possible.

Work out your budget

Now, this might sound obvious. But one of the first steps you should take before booking your Interrail getaway is to work out your budget . Your budget will, of course, depend on your individual preferences.

But if you can determine how much you can realistically spend ahead of time, then you’ll feel a lot more at ease when it comes time to book not only your Interrail Pass itself but your accommodation. You’ll also be able to factor in other costs such as food; something that can be as expensive or cheap as you like.

And when you know what your ideal budget is for your Interrail trip, you’ll be able to start planning your route .

Use a route planner

Whether it’s your first Interrail trip or you’ve been on one before, it’s a great idea to use a route planner . By using a planning tool, you’ll be able to browse the various routes available, tickets and more useful information that’s crucial to booking your Interrail trip.

A simpler way to discover what’s on offer, your Interrail experience will be hassle-free from start to finish. Once your route is mapped out, then you can determine which Interrail ticket is right for your requirements – whether you want to travel for 7 days or up 3 months.

Book your Interrail trip ahead of time

Even though an Interrail Pass allows you to book any date that suits you, it’s always a good idea to book your Interrail trip ahead of time. With the ability to book it up to 11 months in advance, you can start to book accommodation, plan out where you’re going to eat and other important details once your ticket is sorted.

Look at which trains require a reservation

One thing to keep in mind is that some trains along the way will require you to reserve a seat at an extra cost. Although there are only a handful of countries in which train reservations are necessary, it’s still important to research into what these are before you travel within them on your Interrail trip. From there, you’ll be able to finalise your budget so that there aren’t any extra surprise expenses throughout your trip.

Find and book accommodation

Once you’ve sorted your tickets and reservations, it’s time to think about where you’ll stay along the way. Luckily, across Europe, there are plenty of accommodation options for you to choose from. Whether you’re wanting to stay in budget-friendly hostels or more extravagant hotels, Europe has an abundance of places to stay.

When looking at accommodation, it’s always worth reading reviews from past travellers, to ensure that you’re getting the best value for money. From researching, you’ll also be able to see the amenities that are available, guaranteeing everything you need is included.

So, there you go! Those are some top tips you can use when planning your Interrail trip! No matter where you’re planning on going or when you’re planning on travelling, those tips can help to ensure you’re organised and ready for an adventure of a lifetime.

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The historic city of Thun, in Bern, Switzerland

Five great Interrail itineraries across Europe

Interrailing is an easy way to see the continent. We plot itineraries that cover the Med, the Alps and an affordable version of the Orient Express

Lakes and mountains

Suggested duration 15 days Stops Lausanne, Annecy, Chamonix, Zermatt, Lucerne, St Anton, Zell am See, Innsbruck, Bern Shortcut Head straight to Zermatt to make it an 11-day trip Best Interrail pass 15 days within two months (£337 youth/£439 adult/£395 senior/under 12s free) or the tighter 10 days within two months (£274/£357/£321/free). Plus train reservations

The sight of a gleaming railway snaking over an Alpine pass or hugging a lake has long inspired travellers, and both are well served by rail routes. This itinerary weaves from France through Switzerland to Austria, with spectacular views that will glue you to the train windows.

At Lausanne, be sure to take an early morning dip at Plage de Pully , watching the sun rise over the Alps as you swim. Heading onwards, skirt Lake Geneva to the beautiful town of Annecy, and take the chance to paddle a canoe to La Cuillère à Omble , a restaurant at the lake’s southern end, serving local freshwater fish.

Eastwards, at Chamonix, take the cable car to the top of the Aiguille du Midi for lunch at the self-service cafeteria of Le 3842 Restaurant , named for its lofty altitude. The journey onwards to Zermatt takes in magnificent scenery as the train hugs the mountainside. The stylish Swiss resort has wonderful hiking terrain, overlooked by the Matterhorn.

At Lucerne, explore the cobbled alleys of the Kornmarkt and dine at the intimate, candlelit Grottino 1313 restaurant. From there, plunge onwards through the Arlberg valley to St Anton, home to some exhilarating ebike routes, after which you can take a deserved dip at the Arlberg Well spa. Continue east to lakeside Zell am See, where activities include paddleboarding, wakeboarding and waterskiing. Three times a week the free Magic Lake Show lights up the water.

The route home stops at Innsbruck, with its space-age funicular and gondola to the top of the Nordkette , at 2,256 metres, with a jaw-dropping view. Explore the historic old town and the Imperial Palace , with its opulence of the Habsburg dynasty.

Next, travel to Bern, whose old town was declared a Unesco world heritage site in 1983. The city is also home to the Einstein Museum . Thun makes for a scenic 20-minute side trip. Fast TGV and Eurostar trains will then speed you home.

Journey times for all five itineraries can vary depending on date and time of departure. These recommendations are for faster connections, though not necessarily the fastest possible, and generally leaving in the morning on weekdays. We have prioritised trains that: require no reservation; are known to be very comfortable (such as RailJet); or have good on-board services ( such as the ICE ).

London to Lausanne (Eurostar + TGV, 7 hrs 10 mins, stay one night); Lausanne to Annecy (regional + TER + TER, 3 hrs, stay two nights); Annecy to Chamonix (TER + TER + TER, 3 hrs, 10 mins, stay one night); Chamonix to Zermatt (TER + regional + InterRegio, 3 hrs 57 mins, stay two nights); Zermatt to Lucerne (regional + InterCity, 3 hrs 25 mins, stay one night); Lucerne to St Anton, (InterRegio + RailJet, 3 hrs 29 mins, stay two nights); St Anton to Zell am See (EuroCity, 3 hrs 15 mins, stay two nights); Zell am See to Innsbruck (Eurocity, 2 hrs, stay two nights); Innsbruck to Bern (RailJet + InterCity, 4 hrs 43 mins, stay one night); Bern to London (TGV + Eurostar, 8 hrs 22 mins).

South to the Med

Canal in Sete, Southern France

Suggested duration 14 days Stops Toulouse, Barcelona, Sète, Nice, Genoa, Rome, Stresa, Zurich, Cologne Shortcut Head straight to Nice to make it a 10-day trip Best Interrail pass Same as for the Lakes and Mountains itinerary.

Rail pilgrimages to the Côte d’Azur began many years ago, when affluent Brits would venture south on the Train Bleu . This itinerary widens the route, spanning Barcelona and on through scenic French and Italian Riviera coastline to Rome, and then home via Switzerland.

On your first evening, in Toulouse, admire the grand architecture of the Place du Capitole before drinking in the nightlife in the Carmes neighbourhood, starting at Chez Vincente bodega. From here there’s a choice of routes to Barcelona: a fast train via Perpignan or Narbonne, or the longer but much more scenic regional train via Latour-de-Carol with a change at the Spanish border (no reservations needed or available, three connecting trains each day). Between Latour-de-Carol and Toulouse, sit on the left to get the best views. Once in the Catalan capital, check out the Museu d’Història de Barcelona . Sète is a bustling port town crisscrossed by canals, close to eight miles of unsung beaches. Give your legs a workout in Nice on the climb up Colline du Château , past waterfalls to a panorama over the city.

The sumptuous eastward journey takes you to Genoa, where the Unesco-listed, cobbled Via Garibaldi is home to the stunning Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso . From there, a Frecciarossa train will speed you south along the Ligurian coast to Rome, where the atmospheric Palatine Hill combines towering pine trees, majestic ruins and impressive views. Unrivalled granita di caffè can be found nearby at the Tazza d’Oro cafe.

Travel north via Milan to the enchanting town of Stresa , above Lake Maggiore. The train route onward to Zurich runs through incredible landscapes, and the Swiss city is dotted with more than 30 river and lakeside badis – outdoor pools – for swimming by day and lounging at night. In Cologne, celebrate your endeavours with a visit to the Chocolate Museum , and its three-metre-high chocolate fountain, before catching a homebound ICE train.

Med interrail

London to Toulouse ( Eurostar + TGV , 8 hrs 10 mins, stay one night); Toulouse to Barcelona (TER + regional, 6 hrs 20 mins, stay two nights); Barcelona to Sète (TGV + TER, 3 hrs, 27 mins, stay one night); Sète to Nice (TER + TER, 5 hrs 25mins, stay two nights); Nice to Genoa (EuroCity, 4 hrs 4 mins, stay two nights); Genoa to Rome, (Frecciabianca, 5 hrs, stay two nights); Rome to Stresa (Frecciarossa + EuroCity, 4 hrs 22 mins, stay one night); Stresa to Zurich (EuroCity + InterCity, 3 hrs 37 mins, stay two nights); Zurich to Cologne (ICE + ICE, 5 hrs 5 mins, stay one night); Cologne to London (ICE + Eurostar, 5 hrs 17 mins).

Scandinavian adventure

Nyhavn, Copenhagen.

Suggested duration 17 days Stops: Amsterdam, Lübeck, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Oslo, Bergen, Lillehammer, Trondheim, Östersund, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Antwerp Shortcut Miss out Norway to make it an 11-day trip Best Interail pass 15 days within two months (see South to the Med itinerary) or the 22-day continuous pass (£354 youth/£461 adult/£415 senior/under 12s free). Plus train reservations

Scandinavia’s expanses just beg to be explored by train , and this route offers a ringside seat for some of its spectacular scenery. Before the fjords of Norway come the canals of Amsterdam, now linked easily by Eurostar from London. Hire a bike to explore highlights such as the masterpiece-filled Rijksmuseum and then lounge in the leafy Vondelpark, home to innovative cafes such as the saucer-shaped Blue Tea House (Blauwe Theehuis).

Next stop, at the historic port of Lübeck, climb the 50-metre spire of Petrikirche to gaze over the Baltic, before lunch at Cafe Niederegger : it does good sandwiches but its speciality is marzipan, which it even puts in the cappuccinos.

On the journey north, the train runs on to a ferry for the 50-minute crossing to Rødbyhavn in Denmark. Then it’s on to design and foodie heaven in Copenhagen, home to Designmuseum Danmark , with cutting-edge art, furniture, ceramic and digital design inspiration. In the evening, visit magical, fairy-lit Tivoli Gardens.

Next day, in Gothenburg, the Museum of Art has a huge collection of Nordic paintings and sculpture and, south of the centre, Slottsskogen park has meadows and forests, and a cafe.

In Oslo, visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park , with its 212 bronze and granite sculptures documenting the human condition. En route to Bergen, on the west coast, the train climbs to over 1,200 metres: you cross a mountain plateau called Hardangervidda and see waterfalls, cliffs and chasms. A sleeper takes you to Lillehammer, a pleasant lakeside town, and then it’s on to compact, wonderful Trondheim, founded in 977 AD. Take a boat trip to the island of Munkholmen – formerly a fort, monastery and second world war anti-aircraft gun station.

Back into Sweden, pause for lakeside relaxation in Östersund and visit Jamtli , its historic open-air museum. A must-visit in Stockholm is the Vasa Museum , home of a ship salvaged in 1628 and majestically preserved. For hipster vibes, scoot over to Södermalm, an island within the city, and seek Bar Agrikultur in Nytorget.

Speed back to Copenhagen and then on to Hamburg. Get up early for Altona fish market , which sells everything from sea creatures to fifth-hand junk – it’s a wholesome recovery after a big night out in the Reeperbahn district, perhaps. Break your journey home in charming Antwerp, whose central railway station is often voted the most beautiful in the world.

Scandi map

London to Amsterdam (Eurostar, 3 hrs 55 mins, stay one night); Amsterdam to Lübeck (InterCity + Intercity + regional, 7 hrs 17 mins, stay one night); Lubeck to Copenhagen (EuroCity, 4 hrs, 58mins, stay one night); Copenhagen to Gothenburg (regional, 3 hrs 40 mins, stay two nights); Gothenburg to Oslo (regional, 4 hrs, stay one night); Oslo to Bergen (regional, 6 hrs 30 mins, stay two nights); Bergen to Lillehammer (sleeper train + InterCity, 9 hrs 40 mins, stay one night); Lillehammer to Trondheim (regional, 4 hrs 35 mins, stay two nights); Trondheim to Östersund (regional + regional, 3 hrs 44 mins, stay one night); Östersund to Stockholm (SJ, 4 hrs 42 mins, stay two nights); Stockholm to Copenhagen (SJ, 5 hrs 7 mins, stay one night); Copenhagen to Hamburg (InterCity + InterCity 6 hrs 10 mins, stay one night); Hamburg to Antwerp (Intercity + Thalys, 6 hrs 44 mins, stay one night); Antwerp to London (Thalys + Eurostar, 3 hrs 24 mins).

East to Istanbul

View of evening Istanbul from the Galata BridgeA flock of birds against the background of the Suleymaniye Mosque

Suggested duration 19 days Route stops Paris, Munich, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade, Niš, Plovdiv, Istanbul, Veliko Târnovo, Bucharest, Vienna, Venice, Milan Best Interrail pass Same as the Scandinavia adventure itinerary

The legendary Orient Express route, all the way to Istanbul, is the stuff rail dreams are made of – a journey peppered with some of Europe’s most interesting cities

The trip begins with a night in Paris – with time to visit the romantic Palais-Royal gardens – before speeding by ICE train to Munich, with its vibrant, open-air Victuals Market. European sleeper trains can cover vast distances overnight, so sleep to Ljubljana and wake up in a city whose grand central streets are beautifully car-free. Head up Ljubljana castle and then dine out at the Cankarjevo nabrežje, a riverside walkway lined with eateries.

Your next train eastward is to Zagreb, with its beautiful Gornji Grad quarter, and Museum of Broken Relationships . Then sleep your way to Belgrade, a city brimming with culture and pedestrianised districts. Once in Niš, in southern Serbia, be sure to spend time at Holy Trinity cathedral, a curious mix of Byzantine, Islamic, Renaissance and baroque styles, replete with intricate frescoes.

Onwards overnight into Bulgaria, via Sofia, you’ll alight at Plovdiv, the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe. Eight thousand years after being founded, the city is 2019 European capital of culture. Don’t miss one of the best-preserved amphitheatres in the world. Seven hours by sleeper later, you’ll arrive in Istanbul. The historic centre, Sultanahmet, is a fabulous stew of wonders, such as the glorious Blue Mosque, with its 260 stained-glass windows.

On the return journey westwards, Veliko Târnovo in northern Bulgaria makes a good stop, not least for its wonderful handicraft market, Samovodska Charshiya. The train then heads north to Bucharest, home of the vast Palace of Parliament, the world’s largest legislative building. From there, it’s a long sleeper train journey to stunning Vienna, epicentre of cafe culture. Explore museums such as Haus der Musik with rooms dedicated to the Viennese composers, including Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss, and the sumptuous Schönbrunn Palace , where Mozart performed aged six.

Travel overnight to Venice, and seek out Gelateria Nico in Dorsoduro, which has been serving homemade ice-cream and its famous gianduiotto sundae since 1935. Just over two hours west by rail is Milan, whose magnificent Gothic Duomo took 500 years to build. See Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, a fitting end before the EuroNight sleeper carries you home.

London to Istanbul map

Itinerary London to Paris (Eurostar, 2 hrs 26 mins, stay one night); Paris to Munich (ICE + ICE, 5 hrs 33 mins, stay one night); Munich to Ljubljana (Euronight train, 6 hrs, 37 mins, stay two nights); Ljubljana to Zagreb (Euronight train, 2 hrs 8 mins, stay one night); Zagreb to Belgrade (sleeper train, 6 hrs 19 mins, stay one night); Belgrade to Niš (4 hrs 27 mins, stay one night); Niš to Plovdiv via Sofia (sleeper train + regional, 9 hrs 56 mins, stay two nights); Plovdiv to Istanbul (sleeper train, 7 hrs 21 mins, stay three nights); Istanbul to Veliko Târnovo (sleeper train, 12 hrs 24 mins, stay one night); Veliko Târnovo to Bucharest (INT, 8 hrs 49 mins, stay one night); Bucharest to Vienna (Euronight sleeper train, 19 hrs 21 mins, stay two nights); Vienna to Venice, NightJet sleeper train, 10 hrs 57 min, stay two nights); Venice to Milan (Frecciarossa, 2 hrs 13 mins, stay one night); Milan to London (Euronight + Eurostar, 14 hrs 37 mins).

Great European cities

Old Town Square, Prague.

Suggested duration 20 days Stops Bordeaux, San Sebastián, Madrid, Barcelona, Lyon, Turin, Florence, Salzburg, Prague, Kraków, Warsaw, Berlin, Brussels Shortcut Head straight to Lyon to make it a 14-day trip Best Interrail pass Same as the Scandinavia adventure itinerary

A combination of high-speed daytime routes and sleeper trains makes a whirlwind rail tour of some of Europe’s finest cities eminently doable. This trip spans eight countries – a massive dollop of European culture in one tour. Set out to reach Bordeaux before the sun sets, to celebrate the start of your trip with a glass and some charcuterie at wine bar La Ligne Rouge, overlooking the Garonne river, before an evening stroll along the Pont de Pierre, which was commissioned by Napoleon.

Then it’s over the Spanish border to San Sebastián in the Basque country, for pintxos and the splendid seafront walk between La Concha and Ondarreta beaches. Next, venture south to Madrid, where restaurant Mercado de la Reina is the spot for generous portions of elaborate tapas. A fast AVE train will whisk you to Barcelona, to explore La Boqueria , the epic food market, and the architecture of the Gothic Quarter.

Travel back over the border to Lyon, to stroll around the fountained Place des Jacobins and visit the Musée Miniature et Cinéma , a must for film lovers.

In Turin, less than four hours away, cobbled Via Borga Dora has vintage clothes boutiques and a weekend flea market. Florence, spiritual – and physical – home of so much Renaissance art, needs no introduction. Tour wonders like the Duomo cathedral, and enjoy wine, pasta and other regional specialities at the Coquinarius restaurant.

The comfortable NightJet sleeper train network connects Florence with pretty Salzburg. A network of ice caves 50km away in Werfen is a worthwhile jaunt.

Prague, six hours’ ride to the north, is something of a Gothic fairytale. Check out picturesque park Petřínské Sady, Old Town Square and Prague Castle, which dates back to 870 AD.

Travel overnight to Kraków, a city that – as well as epic historical sites – has a buzzing bar scene and hip hangouts such as Forum Przestrzenie on the banks of the Vistula. Further north, in Warsaw, admire the view over the city from the 30th floor of the Palace of Culture and Science .

Time your overnight journey to Berlin to arrive on a Sunday, and head straight to Mauerpark for the bonkers outdoor karaoke – which attracts an audience of thousands from 3pm.

At your final stop, Brussels, try the mussels at family-owned Chez Leon, and a final night out at Café Delirium , with its 2,004 beers. Pop into the Chocolate Museum too, before being whisked back to London on the Eurostar.

great cities interrail map

Itinerary London to Bordeaux (Eurostar + TGV, 6 hrs 1 min, stay one night); Bordeaux to San Sebastián (TGV + HotelTrain 4 hrs 6 mins, stay one night); San Sebastián to Madrid (ARC, 5 hrs 31 mins, stay two nights); Madrid to Barcelona (AVE, 2 hrs 30 mins, stay two nights); Barcelona to Lyon (AVE, 4 hrs 55 mins, stay one night); Lyon to Turin (TGV, 3 hrs 52 mins stay one night); Turin to Florence (Frecciarossa, 2 hrs 50 mins, stay two nights); Florence to Salzburg (NightJet sleeper train, 8 hrs 20 mins, stay two nights); Salzburg to Prague (RailJet + regional, 5 hrs 55 mins, stay two nights); Prague to Kraków (EuroNight sleeper train, 8 hrs 1 min, stay one night); Kraków to Warsaw (InterCity, 2 hrs 22 mins, stay two nights); Warsaw to Berlin (EuroNight sleeper train, 7 hrs 8 mins, stay two nights); Berlin to Brussels (ICE + ICE, 6 hrs 45 mins, stay one night); Brussels to London (Eurostar, 2 hrs 1 min)

The latest Rail Map Europe costs £11.99 + p&p from europeanrailtimetable.eu , which also sells the European Rail Timetable Summer 2019 (£19.99 + p&p), and Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide for Independent Travellers by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries (£15.99 + p&p). Interrail passes and rail tickets are available from: interrail.eu , switzerlandtravelcentre.com , and ffestiniogtravel.com

Looking for a holiday with a difference? Browse Guardian Holidays to see a range of fantastic trips

  • Rail travel
  • Europe holidays
  • Backpacking holidays
  • Budget travel
  • Gap year travel
  • City breaks

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1. use a printed map:, 2. mix up the type of destination:, 3. minimise the number of overnight locations:, 4. reduce the luggage stress:, 5. have a reservation strategy:, 6. consider your international journeys:, 7. be smart about the overnight trains:, 8. pay special attention to your longer journeys which involve connections:, 9. try to avoid going long distances at weekends:, 10. consider the time of day at which you will be travelling:, 11. working out how to travel (pass or tickets):, 12. ideas for booking your accommodation:, the other rail pass guides:, relevant train travel guides:.

inter rail trip

InterRail and Eurail: 12 Itinerary Planning Tips and Ideas

Suggestions for how to plan your train journeys around Europe with Eurail or InterRail passes, so you can make most of your fabulous trip

Simon Harper

So you're thinking of heading off on an InterRail or Eurail adventure around Europe by train? You want to follow your own itinerary, or one of our suggestions and not that set by a holiday company.

That romantic notion of spontaneously deciding where you want to go next after you have arrived somewhere, isn’t over, but some planning of your trip will ultimate save you time, money and stress.

Hopefully these tips and suggestions will be a good starting point and you can either use the content menu to jump direct to the nuggets of info most pertinent to your travels, OR relax with a coffee etc and browse through all the advice.

The majority of these tips and suggestions only became apparent having travelled more than 30,000 kilometers around Europe with a rail pass, so you can trust this advice to help you have the trip of a lifetime!

Choosing Your Destinations:

These three suggestions aren't so much to do with where you should go, you'll have your own must-see lists, but they can help make the managing of that wish list easier.

inter rail trip

It may seem a tad 'old-school' but opening up a printed map of Europe, is always our preferred starting point for planning a European rail adventure - it's still the best means of getting a sense of what's where in one hit. The European Rail Timetable publishes the definitive railway map of Europe and what makes it unique is that it shows the scenic routes and the high speed lines. It also doesn’t plot the distances between locations as straight lines; which is useful as planes follow straight lines, but trains don’t.

Getting your hands on an old map is fine, as the cities and other locations on your wish-list haven't upped and moved.

It can be tempting to plan a trip which visits your must-see locations in order of preference, partially because Europe doesn't look that big in comparison to other continents. But to make the most of a rail pass adventure it's more than likely that you'll want to minimise the time you'll be spending on trains, while maximising the time you'll have in your chosen locations, so a map can help with planning the most logical route.

Something else that can help with that are our suggested rail pass itineraries - even if you don't want to follow them exactly, they'll give you an idea of how to spend as little time as possible on the trains.

Stringing together a series of consecutive big city breaks can be exhausting, so spending time in destinations based around relaxation, such as beach and lake resorts can enhance a rail pass itinerary in more ways than one. Leaving the must do list blank on a couple of days, can also provide the energy to complete the wish-list in your final series of destinations.

Trains travelling between big cities also call at these locations which are ideal for winding down; Albenga, Baden-Baden, Badgastein, Beziers, Bamberg, Heidelberg, Klagenfurt (for the Worthersee), Lesce-Bled, Lindau, Lugano, Monterosso (for the Cinque Terre) and Stresa. Some areas famed for the natural wonder, which also benefit from comparatively easy train connections, include The Black Forest, The French Alps, The Swiss Alps, Lake Balaton, Liguria, The Cote D’Azur and Tuscany.

Other ideas for taking the maximum pleasure and minimum stress from your trip, once you have embarked on your adventures, are available HERE .

Or you can use the Concierge Service and it will plan your ultimate itinerary.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the key negative of following your own itinerary, when exploring Europe by train, is the need to take responsibility for how to make the transfer between the stations and your overnight accommodation. But you don’t have to move on to some distant location every other night, in order to extract value for money from a rail pass.

Making a day trip by train that involves a two hour (+) journey each way, probably isn’t something you’d probably usually consider, but with a rail pass they can be a good idea for multiple reasons:

  • You’ll be travelling far enough that day for your pass to be worthwhile,
  • You’ll arrive in a city centre
  • Take a late evening train on your return trip and you’ll have a full day to explore your chosen location.
  • You won’t need to have your luggage with you on those trains.

And you can up the ante by setting off on multi-destination day trips, which loop back to where you are staying. For example, head off from Munich to have brunch in Innsbruck, have an early dinner in Salzburg and then head back to Munich late in the evening.

This multi-destination per day approach can be a particularly good option if you want to explore smaller countries such as Switzerland ...

.... Belgium or The Netherlands where you can just hop and off the trains.

Cities that are particularly good bases for multiple day trips by train, include - Basel , Bern, Bologna , Brussels , Florence , Gent, Glasgow , Innsbruck , Leeds , Lyon , Manchester , Marseille , Milan , Munich , Paris , Reading, Rotterdam , Salzburg , Verona and Zurich .

Though if a day trip destination is less than 90 mins from a city by local or regional trains, then using a rail pass for that type of journey is less likely to be value for money. If you'll have the type of Eurail or InterRail pass that's valid for a set number of travel days, the better option may be to book last minute tickets at the station for those types of journey - saving your rail pass travel dates for when you will be going long distance.

Planning Your Journeys:

Don't panic, you won't need to keep all of these things in mind, when deciding which trains to take on your adventure.

inter rail trip

The other plus of spending an extended period of time in one location, is you’ll also be reducing the number of occasions on which you'll have to find somewhere to stow your bags on the train and then carry them off to where you'll be spending the night. But another means of reducing the stress of managing your luggage is to see if there any opportunities on your chosen route, to leave some of your bags in a left-luggage facility; and then loop back later on in your itinerary, to collect them, when on route to another destination.

Split your luggage into a medium sized bag on wheels or back-pack and a smaller hand luggage sized bag or pack. You'd do this when taking a flight, but being able to only travel with one large bag on trains may not be such an advantage over flying, because the bigger the bag the more awkward it will be to stow it on the train.

However, if you divide your luggage, you can work out where you can leave your main, heavier bag behind, so that you can then travel lighter on some of your trip. You don't need to spend the night in the same location as your bags, but it can be worth adjusting an itinerary, so that later on, you can then collect a bag or two that you won't have had to bother about for a few days.

Stations that you're comparatively likely to be passing through more than once include - Barcelona Sants , Basel SBB , Frankfurt (Main) Hbf , Innsbruck Hbf , Milano Centrale , Salzburg hbf , Verona Porta Nuova and Zurich HB .

As to what you need to pack and the type of luggage you should use, TripSavvy has some great advice here

First you need to be aware of how seat reservations could impact your trip, because European DAY train services fall into one of three categories.

(1) Those with mandatory reservations - ticket purchasers have seats assigned as a complimentary booking benefit, but rail pass users need to pay a rail pass reservation fee prior to boarding. (2) Those with optional reservations - both ticket purchasers and rail pass users can choose to pay a reservation fee, so that they have an assigned seat for their journey. Meaning that rail pass users don't have to incur any additional charges on these trains because you can opt not to reserve and then search for available seats when boarding. (3) Those on which reservations aren't available

And reservations are always required for overnight trains , regardless of which type of accommodation you wish to travel by. Rail passes don't cover the comparatively expensive reservation fees for travelling in a bed in a sleeping cabin , or in a bunk in a couchette .

So when planning your itinerary, be aware of whether you will have to, or want to make reservations for your journeys. These reservations fees can tip the balance over whether booking tickets is a a better option than using a rail pass. And if you want to avoid the mandatory charges, or paying any reservation fees at all , it's best to have an idea of your alternative journey options before you commence your trip.

Although try not book multiple reservations before you set off, because if you do, you'll then be committed to making those specific journeys, which will reduce your opportunities to be spontaneous.

inter rail trip

There will be multiple opportunities to book reservations while on your trip, without paying booking fees or going online.

At Reisezentrum travel desks in the haupthanhofs (main stations) in Germany , you can arrange reservations for most European day and night trains.

In Italy you can book reservations for domestic journeys at Trenitalia ticket machines (paper passes users will need to use the mobile pass number generators) for journeys within Italy; and you can also book reservations at Trenitalia ticket offices; and at the ticket offices you can also arrange reservations for international journeys.

You also won't be charged booking fees if you arrange reservations at stations in Austria, Great Britain*, Denmark, France, Ireland, Spain, Norway, Czechia, Hungary, Poland and other countries in eastern Europe.

Though if you won't be taking a frequent daytime service it's a good idea to book reservations when you first arrive at a station; if you leave it until you're back at the station just prior to boarding, your first choice of departure may be sold out. *In Britain some reservations often need to be made a minimum of 4 hours prior to departure; so it's best to book them when you first arrive at a station.

Managing journeys with mandatory reservations:

Booking SOME of these before you set off on your trip can be a time and stress-saver.

Reservations rarely sell out days or more in advance, but it isn't unknown, particularly on:

(1) French TGV trains over summer weekends; you can often save money by booking reservations for any TGV service in advance - and on these Intercités services. (2) Spanish train routes on which the service isn’t particularly frequent and on the RENFE-SNCF high speed trains in either direction when travelling between France and Spain (3) Trains to and from Sweden in the summer. (4) Overnight trains to and from Italy, particularly in the summer. (5) If you want to travel in a specific type of accommodation on an overnight train such as single berth sleeping cabin, or booking an entire couchette berth, it's best to book these at least couple of weeks ahead, no matter which overnight train service you'll be taking. (5) Eurostar and Thalys trains, particularly on Fridays and Sundays. (6) Trains between Rome and destinations south of Napoli , particularly in the summer.

How you can book any mandatory reservation in advance is explained HERE Although it’s best to take the hint and avoid using a rail pass on the trains with particularly expensive fees such as the TGV France-Italy and Lyria services. On these trains, the cheapest discounted tickets can cost less than the rail pass reservation fees; once you have also factored in the cost per day of using the rail pass.

But there’s no need avoid these journeys/routes completely, after all a train journey between Paris and Italy or Switzerland, is likely to be on the must do list of many itineraries. The trick is to put these journeys with high reservation fees at the beginning or end of an itinerary and then book separate tickets for them a minimum of couple of weeks in advance. Or opt for the type of pass with a set number of travel days, but don't use one of the pass days to travel on these trains.

OR avoid the fees, by following these alternative routes .

inter rail trip

Suggestions for when to make optional reservations:

Reducing the number of trips on which you should ideally reserve a seat will make pursuing a multi-destination itinerary more carefree; particularly because a negative of booking a seat, is a commitment to travel on a specific train departure. On scenic routes you can also choose a seat(s) on the side of the train, which has the best views.

The rule that ShowMeTheJourney follows, is to only make optional reservations, if TWO or more of these criteria apply:

  • the journey is longer than 90 minutes
  • the frequency of train service is 1 x train every OTHER hour, or less
  • will be joining a train at an intermediate station
  • will be boarding at any station between: 08:30 and 10:30 on Mon– Sat 16:30 and 18:30 on Mon- Thurs 12:30 and 19:30 on Friday 08:00 and 12:00 on summer Saturdays 14:30 and 19:30 on Sundays

inter rail trip

It's worth paying special attention to your international journeys. Only a tiny percentage of European daytime express trains are international , some routes only have 1 x train per day. Also a large percentage of the international daytime services have mandatory reservations - the only high speed international services which don't are the ICE trains from and to Germany. On some routes the only direct train service option is to take an overnight train .

If you want to use an InterRail or Eurail pass and avoid these rail pass reservation fees, it's worth planning an international journey with care because you'll need to change trains, normally more than once and the cross border local trains often operate to sparse timetables. The comparatively fairly frequent cross-border services that can be useful money-savers for rail pass users are:

  • Basel ↔ Mulhouse and Strasbourg
  • Chiasso ↔ Bellinzona
  • Geneve ↔ Bellegarde and Lyon
  • Innsbruck ↔ Brennero
  • Nice ↔ Ventimiglia
  • Port Bou ↔ Cerbere
  • Strasbourg ↔ Offenburg

ShowMeTheJourney has also compiled summaries of all the international train services from and to these countries:

Austria l Belgium l Czechia

Denmark l France l Germany

Hungary l Italy l Norway

Poland l Spain l Sweden

Switzerland l The Netherlands l The UK

At face value taking a night train can seem a good option for multiple reasons, more time at a destination, less overnight room rates to pay for; and now taking a night train only uses one up one day of a rail pass travel day allocation, instead of two.

However, even if you opt for a couchette or sleeping cabin , taking too many night trains on one itinerary can be exhausting if you’re not an early riser. It’s not unusual for night trains to arrive in a city before 07:30, perfect if you were heading to a 09:00 business meeting, but perhaps not so ideal if a day’s sightseeing is on the agenda, or if your accommodation check-in time is after midday. Also pack an eye mask, ear plugs and an extra pillow, because without them you will be fortunate indeed to get more than five or six hours sleep per journey.

But taking the night train can be a particularly good idea when it provides the only DIRECT service between two cities, as is the case on these routes:

  • Munchen/Munich ↔ Firenze/Florence - Roma by Nightjet
  • Zurich ↔ Ljubljana – Zagreb by EuroNight
  • Zurich ↔ Berlin by Nightjet
  • Zurich ↔ Prague
  • Wien/Vienna - Budapest ↔ Kiev
  • Wien/Vienna ↔ Buccuresti/Bucharest by EuroNight
  • Sofia ↔ Istanbul

Certain nights of the week only / Seasonal services:

  • Beograd/Belgrade ↔ Ljubljana
  • Beograd/Belgrade ↔ Thessaloniki
  • Buccuresti/Bucharest ↔ Istanbul
  • Buccuresti/Bucharest ↔ Sofia
  • Buccuresti/Bucharest – Sofia ↔ Thessaloniki

Opting for the seats on the overnight trains:

You will need to pay a reservation fee, normally around €5, for a seat on most overnight trains Although, unless you regularly drift off to sleep on daytime trains, paying the much cheaper reservation fees for these seats on multiple journeys can be a false economy.

If you’re lucky the seats on the overnight train will be in compartments and you can pull the seats flat to make a bed. But there will be 6 seats in the compartment and only 3 people can fit on the bed, so on busy trains this won’t be an option.

Being willing to make connections between trains can enhance an itinerary, you can increase your opportunities to take scenic journeys, or to visit must-see locations off the beaten track. And being able to pick and choose how you make the connections between trains is a big tick in the box for using rail passes instead of tickets.

Ticket agents tend to assume that travellers will want to reach their final destinations in the fastest possible time, but because the connections between trains they package together aren't guaranteed, that approach can result in a stressful trip - for those that have opted to purchase tickets.

However, keeping these FOUR tips front of mind should help ensure that your more complicated journeys with a rail pass are comparatively stress free.

(1) Check whether a DIRECT day or night train will in fact be available; don’t assume that it won’t be an option.

(2) Try to avoid being dependent on making the final connection of the day that will get to your destination, it probably won't wait too long for a delayed preceding train to arrive, before it sets off. If you have no choice except to connect into the only or final train of the day, taking the PRECEDING train from your starting point to what a route planner suggests, is highly recommended.

(3) Maximise the connecting time you’ll have between trains at large stations, spend time in a café or bar between trains, or stock up on travel essentials, or leave your bags in the left luggage and head off for a couple hours or more of exploring.

Stations at which you'll be likely to be changing trains, which also happen to have great city centre locations include: Edinburgh Waverley ; Firenze S.M. Novella , Hamburg Hbf , Koln Hbf , Kobenhavn H , Leeds , Lille Flandres , Luzern ,and Zurich HB .

When making connections at large stations anywhere but Belgium, Switzerland or the Netherlands, our golden rule is to allow at least 30 mins to make the transfer. That 30 minutes is split between a 15-20 mins contingency for the train arriving late and the time required to transfer to your next train.

(4) If you are connecting into a train service, which requires a mandatory reservation , then extending the connecting time between trains is definitely a good idea. In the event of a preceding train being delayed, you can’t just hop on to the next departure by the same type of train; you'll have to stop by a travel desk to have any reservations re-issued, and because you will be travelling with a rail pass and not a ticket, you may have to pay the reservation fee again. The connections between trains, which can be found on journey planners, are usually NOT guaranteed.

In our experience you can expect at least 10% of long distance European trains to arrive more than 15 mins late and 3% to be more than 30 mins late. EC , ICE , TGV , Frecce , Snabbtag trains and the Intercity trains in France , Germany , Italy and The UK seem to be particularly susceptible to lateness; the further a train travels, the greater the opportunity for delays to occur.

Work to maintain and improve railway lines tends to take place at weekends, particularly on Sundays. When this work is occurring, trains on mainland Europe tend to be diverted from their usual route and as a result can skip stations that they usually call at. Having to get a bus to complete a journey is rare, but you may need to make additional connections, which aren't required when the service is operating normally.

These tips particularly apply if you are trying to avoid paying for optional reservations .

  • Avoid travelling long distance on Fridays and Sundays after midday and departing on summer Saturdays between 09:00 and 12:00.
  • Avoid travelling at business hours 07:00 – 10:00 and 16:00 – 18:00 on Monday to Friday. Though in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Switzerland and The Netherlands, if you avoid heading INTO cities in rush hours, you can find seats on virtually any train; this also applies in France if you take the TER trains .

By planning at least some of your journeys ( the Concierge Service can help with this), you'll now have a better idea of whether booking tickets or using rail passes will be your best option, because in order to make an informed choice, ShowMeTheJourney recommends having a good idea of:

  • How far apart from each other, the destinations you wish to visit are located.
  • How many long-distance (5 hours +) end-to-end daytime journeys you will be taking?
  • How many of those journeys will be on trains on which ticket-holders have complimentary seat reservations?
  • How many night trains you will be taking?

Then with those things in mind you can apply these TWO key criteria:

(1) A 'Global' multi country rail pass is LESS likely to save you money if one or more of these apply to your trip because you:

  • will be taking less than around six long distance (5 hours +) train journeys,
  • are happy to book discounted tickets months in advance and then be committed to taking the trains you are then booked on to,
  • will be mainly travelling in eastern Europe,
  • will be mainly travelling on trains on which the mandatory reservation fee for rail pass users is more than €10 (only likely to be a factor if your trip pivots around France),
  • will be making most of your long distance journeys by night trains.

(2) A 'Global' multi country rail pass is MORE likely to save you money if one or more of these apply to your trip, because you:

  • want to travel 1st class,
  • want to travel on the Swiss Mountain Railways ,
  • will be travelling for 8 days or more,
  • will be travelling between June – September, or either side of Christmas, or during the Easter holiday,
  • will be planning a trip less than a month ahead,
  • want take advantage of the discounts etc that are available to rail pass users.

Note the very deliberate use of the word ‘likely, because so many variables need to factored into the ‘will a rail pass save me money’ equation, there are no absolutes.

In SMTJ's experience, if you will be travelling for 10 days or less, the only means of being certain whether a rail pass will be money saver, is to look up the prices of the journeys you wish to take, or you can ask the Concierge Service to do this for you. The fee you will pay for using the service is likely to be less than the money you will save by opting for a pass or tickets (or vice versa).

Though if you are planning on taking more than 10 long-distance journeys, it’s almost certain that a rail pass will be a money saver.

Having stayed in more than 50 locations when on a rail pass adventure, there's so many tips to share about this that it's been spun off into a separate GUIDE .

But the top 5 nuggets of advice are: (1) Book so that you cancel without incurring any charges, once your on your itinerary, it can be tempting to head off in an entirely unexpected direction. (2) Book any train reservations etc before you book your accommodation. (3) Also if you'll be travelling long distance to a destination, double-check that the train will be operating as normal on your travel date; what both of these two tips are echoing is that it's best to be sure of your train travel, before booking your accommodation. (4) A plus of using a rail pass is that you don't have to stay in a city centre, because your pass will be valid on local trains (but not the metros). So you can easily access accommodation in a suburb, which will likely be a much cheaper option. (5) You don't have to stay in the big cities on your must-see list. It can be much cheaper to check which nearby locations the trains you will be travelling by will call at; and then stay in those instead.

Using Eurail and InterRail Passes - A starting point

Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.

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This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney , which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.

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How to Plan a Stress-Free Interrail or Eurail Train Trip Around Europe

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The best way to travel Europe is by train. It may not be the cheapest (flight prices can be ridiculously low), but it’s the most comfortable, relaxing, and easiest. There’s no need for the endless queuing like in airports, and most train stations are in the heart of the city. And you can enjoy the views along the way.

In September we did our third trip with an Interrail pass, which allows you to hop on trains all over the continent. We travelled from London to southern Spain via France, Switzerland, and Italy.

Our first Interrail trip was when we were newbie backpackers aged 19 and visited 10 countries in a month, and the second was three years ago when we travelled from London to Sicily via France, Germany, Slovenia and Italy.

We loved each of our Interrail experiences, and despite travelling at a faster pace than we usually do these days, we find train travel much less tiring than flying.

Below you’ll find our Interrail planner with tips to help you plan the perfect train trip in Europe. If you are wondering how to plan interrailing then this is the post for you. 

What is an Interrail/ Eurail Pass?

How to buy an interrail/ eurail pass, is an interrail pass worth it, planning your interrail route, how to make interrail seat reservations, using your interrail pass, accommodation while interrailing , more interrail tips.

Mountain views on the TGV from Milan to Paris

An Interrail Global Pass is a rail pass that allows you to travel on most trains in 30 countries in Europe. Although you need seat reservations for some trains (I’ll cover that below), you can hop on and off many trains without having to buy a ticket. It makes European train travel easy and often saves you money.

You can buy passes for various time periods, such as seven days of travel within one month, 15 days continuous, or one month continuous, which is the pass we’ve always used. The longest pass is three months continuous. 

Interrail also has one country passes for individual countries, but the Global Pass is the most popular and best value.

Interrail passes are for European residents. Everyone else can travel with a Eurail pass instead which are basically the same.

Back to Contents

Interrail trip finished in Lubrin, Spain

You can buy passes online from Interrail.eu or Eurail.com and get them delivered to your home. You must buy them before you start your trip. There are often discounts if you buy them in the winter or early spring. 

Prices vary depending on the length of the pass and your age. It’s cheaper if you are aged 27 or under and choose 2nd class.

If you are on a budget, 2nd class is totally fine. We love travelling first class, but mostly that’s because we work as we travel and first class carriages are quieter and more likely to have tables and power points. In many cases (especially on slower regional trains) the difference between first and second class isn’t huge.

Sample prices are £448 / €515 for a one month continuous Interrail Global Pass for under 27-year-olds or £583/ €670 for the same pass if you are 28+.

See all the price options on the Interrail or Eurail websites. 

You can order a pass up to 11 months before your trip starts. For Interrail passes, your start date will be printed on your pass. For Eurail passes, you don’t need to choose a start date, but you must activate the pass before your trip starts at a European train station or online.

Working with a view on the TGV from Nice to Marseille

Whether a rail pass is worth it depends on the trip you want to take. If you’ll only be taking a few trains within one or two countries, it probably won’t be good value. If you want to cover a lot of ground, it could well save you money, especially in expensive Western European and Scandinavian countries.

I recommend coming up with a rough itinerary and using a site like Rail Europe  to calculate how much it would cost to buy tickets individually, then compare that to the price of the pass. If the cost is roughly the same, go with the pass as it’s so much easier not having to buy tickets for every trip.

Note that European train tickets are usually a lot cheaper if you buy a few months in advance rather than last minute. If you don’t want to commit to plans in advance, then a pass will give you the most flexibility.

Bear in mind that some countries are better for Interrailing than others. France, Spain and Italy require the most seat reservations (which you have to pay extra for), so a trip entirely to those countries might not work out good value.

The easiest countries for Interrailing are Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Great Britain, and Ireland as most trains don’t require reservations, even high-speed ones.

St Pancras train station, London

The first step to Interrail planning is ask yourself: “Where have I always wanted to visit in Europe?”

I keep a wish list of places I want to visit, so I consulted that to plan my Interrail trip. I added the places I most wanted to go to a custom Google map, which allowed me to see which places could easily be combined and the best route to take.

A paper map comes with your pass or you can download the Europe train map to start mapping out routes. 

For Interrail route ideas, you could look at destinations on Pinterest , read travel blogs, or see these suggested itineraries . 

For variety, I suggest mixing beaches with cities and countryside. Combine famous destinations like Paris and Barcelona with less well known smaller towns like Colmar , Finale Ligure , Spello , Ljubljana , and Ghent .

Getting off the beaten track will help you avoid the crowds, save money on accommodation, and have a unique experience. You can also avoid seat reservations by doing shorter journeys on regional trains rather than long trips between big cities.

Once I had chosen some possible destinations, I used the online Interrail Train Timetable or Rail Planner app to see how long the train trips would be. At this point, I realised that I was trying to fit too much into a month, so I removed some countries and came up with a more realistic schedule.

The Interrail Train Timetable was really useful throughout our trip for looking up train times. You can choose to search for trains that don’t require reservations (just tick the box). This was especially helpful for us in Italy, and we managed to avoid paying for seat reservations for all but one train we took there. The app is free and works offline.

Rail passes do now include the Eurostar train for travel between London and Paris or Brussels (this is a recent change), which is fantastic if you are starting your trip in the UK or want to visit during your trip. Seat reservations are essential and should be made at least three months in advance, so it’s a good idea to plan your Interrail trip as far ahead as possible. 

The Eurostar is definitely the best way to travel between England and mainland Europe—it’s comfortable and only takes a few hours.  

Pass holders also receive discounts on some ferry routes such as between Italy and Greece.

Note that Interrail Global Passes are only valid for one outbound and one inbound train in your home country.

Italy to London by train: Perugia to Florence

Seat reservations are necessary on some high-speed trains and can be quite pricey. You can avoid them by using the Interrail Train Timetable or app to find trains that don’t require reservations.

We only needed five seat reservations out of the 23 journeys we took using our last rail pass, despite the fact that our trip was in the countries that require the most reservations—France, Italy and Spain.

Sometimes you want to take the quickest and most convenient train, though, especially for long journeys. Sleeper trains always require reservations.

Reservations can be made up to three months in advance. Seats for pass holders are limited on certain trains like the French TGVs, so it’s best to book as far in advance as possible in the summer. In late August/September, we booked a week or two in advance and had no problems.

How to make Interrail reservations depends on the country. You can book in person at train stations around Europe, but we couldn’t be bothered to do that during our trip, and as we were travelling in high season, we wanted to book in advance.

In France, we booked online at en.voyages-sncf.com . Just search for the train you want to take and choose Pass Interrail (Global Pass or One Country France) from the drop down list of discount cards. You can then print the e-ticket or save it on your mobile with their app (which is what we did).

In Italy, you can book online at trenitalia.com . Use the journey planner as normal (make sure you use Italian place names—Firenze not Florence, etc.) and click on the train you want to book.

You’ll be given a list of price options and you need to click on the grey box below them that says “View other options”.

On the next page choose Global Pass from the Offer drop down list. You can then go ahead and book. You don’t need to print an e-ticket, just show the PNR number on the train.

Interrail Reservations Service

Some countries, like Spain, don’t allow you to book seat reservations online, so we used the Interrail Reservations Service ( Eurail also has this service). You do have to pay a €8 booking fee (total cost per train no matter how many seats you book) in addition to the reservation fee, but it was worth it for us.

The service was easy to use. We filled in the details online, and they confirmed our reservations within 24 hours and posted the tickets to our hotel in Italy within a week. They deliver anywhere in Europe for free.

Some trains (like Spanish domestic trains) have e-tickets so they don’t need to be posted (and the booking fee is only €6). 

Seat Reservation Costs

The Interrail site lists seat reservation fees . Most of our seat reservations were €9–10 each and cost the same for first or second class.

Our most expensive trip was the eight-hour journey from Marseille, France to Madrid, Spain. The seat reservation was €48 each in first class (€34 in second), plus the €8 booking fee for using the Reservations Service as we couldn’t book that train online.

Although this seems very expensive, the same train in second class would cost over €200 without a rail pass. If we had had more time, we could have avoided reservation fees by breaking up the journey in Barcelona and taking slower trains.

The Interrail timetable suggests this route to avoid reservation fees.

I recommend making seat reservations for a few major routes near the beginning of your trip, and keeping the rest of your trip flexible so you can hop on and off as you please.

An Interrail pass is easy to use. Before boarding a train, just record the trip details in the Travel Diary that is provided with your ticket.

If you have a flexi pass (such as 10 days of travel within one month), fill in the date of each travel day in the travel calendar, which is printed on your pass.

You can save travel days by taking night trains. If your train leaves after 7pm and arrives after 4am the next day, you only have to fill in the arrival day in the travel calendar.

In high season (mainly the summer) you’ll need to book accommodation at least a few days in advance. We preferred booking in advance so that we didn’t have to look around for a place once we arrived.

If you are only spending a night in a city, choose accommodation near the train station to save time and hassle.

We use Booking.com for hostels, guesthouses, and hotels and Airbnb for rooms and apartments. Airbnb is often excellent value in Europe and you can save money by cooking for yourself. If you haven’t used it before, sign up here for $35 off your first stay.

Las Tetes apartment, Colmar

  • The Man in Seat 61 is a really useful site for everything train travel.
  • Don’t forget travel insurance in case anything goes wrong. For UK and EU citizens the best and cheapest option we’ve found is with True Traveller . Read our detailed True Traveller review for more details. For everyone else, Heymondo is a company that we’ve used in the past.
  • A SIM card with data plan for your phone comes in handy for looking up directions. We got a free  Three pay as you go SIM in the UK. Their data packages can be used for no additional charge in many countries in Europe, which was so much easier than buying a local SIM card for each country we visited. If you do need to do that, see our guide to buying SIM cards around the world .
  • Packing light will make it easier to navigate train stations and cities. Read my book, The Carry-On Traveller: The Ultimate Guide to Packing Light , or see our carry-on packing list for tips.

Buy your rail pass now from Interrail.eu (European residents) or Eurail.com (everyone else).

If you enjoyed this post, pin it!

Train is the best way to travel Europe. These tips will help you plan the perfect Interrail or Eurail trip including the different train passes available, how to plan your route, book seat reservations and more.

Our latest Interrail pass was provided by Interrail.eu, but the first pass we used we paid for ourselves. We receive a small commission if you buy the passes through the links in this post (at no extra cost to you). If you want to visit a lot of countries in Europe, we think Interrail or Eurail passes are the easiest and best value way to get around.

18 Comments

Only decided to go interrailing yesterday and found this really helpful, especially the information on the night trains. This will be our 1st interrail trip and are intending to do German to Norway. Will now put much more time into planning this.

Reply ↓

hi im going to around 5 different countries in europe, but my question is where can you start your journey from as i was thinking of flying to berlin and stopping for 3 days there first. can i actualy start my interail pass from there?

Yes you can start your pass from anywhere in Europe.

We’re very excited to be using Interrail for the first time and back-packing around Europe in our 70s. We have a 3-month pass and intend to visit as many Southern European countries as we can as it will be February when we leave, ending up in Turkey. Your article is really useful to get us started on our planning. Thank you.

We flying to Barcelona in September for. Cruise and want to go to Paris and Rome after the cruise. We would have to go back to Barcelona to fly out. (The tickets are a lit cheaper flying in and out if same airport) We planned on taking the Eurail to the countries, is that feasible?

I’m planning my very first interrail trip this May all by myself and your post helped me a lot to get some stuff pre planned! Thank you very much! Regards, Jules, 20y, Austria

Good luck and enjoy!

This sounds really amazing and I’m thinking about doing it this summer, but what about getting around in a big city? Are extra subway/bus tickets etc necessary? How did you manage that?

The pass doesn’t include city transport so you do need to buy local bus or subway tickets.

This was super helpful! My friend and I really want to travel Europe after we graduate. What were your favorite countries? Suggestions on routes and countries to go to in a certain order? We were thinking 2-4 weeks, do you think thats enough to see a lot?

I’ve considering getting a Eurail ticket in the past, just for the convenience of the whole thing. And while the convenience of Eurail really can’t be beat, I can also recommend simply taking the bus, as its probably the cheapest way to travel across the continent (although it takes on average probably 2x as long as the train). Every country has numerous bus companies that all have a very extensive network from city to city :)

Well written guys thanks. do you think we should buy normal ticket for short term travel ? it doesn’t make any sense if you get eurail for short term travel right ? . i guess eurail is better for long travel (Like 8 hours travel and maybe more ).

I think the Eurail pass can still make sense for shorter trips. It really depends how many trips you are doing in what time frame. Use a site like Loco2 to calculate how much it would cost you with normal tickets then compare.

This is a great article, as inter railing is definitely something I’d love to do.Interrailing in Europe is a great way to see this fabulous continent and is great value for money. You’ll fly through as many countries as you please during your time in relative safety and ease. You’ll meet plenty of interesting people and see the landscape that you would otherwise miss by plane. It may be one of the oldest and most traditional forms of backpacking, but it’s still one of the best. Being prepared seems a must.Your preparation may vary depending on the sort of backpacker you are. I, for one, adore planning trips, trying to fit everything in, looking at train schedules and working out complicated arrangements to make sure I get to as many countries as possible.

My 5 friends and I are planning an interrail trip for summer 2017, I found this very useful thank you!

Glad you found it useful Lydia and have a wonderful trip!

My cousin has done the interrail and loved it! I never thought about it but I think I will do this somewhere in the future. Thanks for all the tips!

We definitely recommend it! It’s such a liberating, easy and comfortable way to travel. So much nicer than flying on cramped budget airlines.

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Trans-Siberian Railway Prices

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Home » Prices and Trans-Siberian Tickets » Trans-Siberian Railway Prices

Ticket prices for the Trans-Siberian Railway also depend on the current ruble exchange rate.

Is the Trans-Siberian Railway expensive?

Before starting on your Trans-Siberian Railway adventure you naturally want to know what the entire trip will cost. Although this sounds like a simple question, it is pretty difficult to answer. The Trans-Siberian Railway price of travel depends on the following factors:

  • Which travel class do I want to use? The price for a first class ticket is about three times the price of a 3rd class ticket
  • Am I willing to buy the tickets myself and assume responsibility for the organisation of the trip?
  • How many stopovers do I want to make? The more breaks, the higher the total price.
  • What sort of accommodation do I want? Will it be a luxury hotel or will a hostel dormitory be sufficient?
  • What tours and excursions would I like to go on?
  • What is the current exchange rate for rubles?

Basically, everything from a luxury to a budget holiday is available. If you buy yourself a 3rd Class nonstop ticket at the counter, a few hundred Euros will cover the price. All you will experience is a week on the Trans-Siberian train and will see nothing of the cities on the way. There is, however, any amount of room for upward expansion. Everyone makes different choices about which aspects they are willing to spend money on. I personally prefer to save money on accommodation and railcar class, visit as many cities and do as many trips as possible. To enable better classification of your travel expenses I have contrasted two typical traveler types. In the third column you can calculate the total cost of your own journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Please keep in mind that these are only rough estimations and not exact prices.

The all-in costs seem fairly high at first. However, they cover everything and it is quite a long journey taking four weeks. Many people forget to consider that when looking at the list. We should also deduct the running costs for food and leisure at home. I think most visitors to this page will classify themselves somewhere between the two categories, that is around the € 2,000 – € 2,500 range. When comparing these prices with other travel packages, you get the impression that it is hardly worthwhile travelling individually on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Please keep in mind that most packages last no more than 14 days and you are herded like cattle through the most beautiful locations.

If you spend less time on the Trans-Siberian Railway you will, of course, pay less. I chose this particular travel length because I prefer not to do things by halves. If you fulfill your dream of travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, enjoy it and don’t rush things. But it’s up to you, of course. Try playing around with the form a bit to find the appropriate price for your trip.

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Moscow to Elektrostal by train

Travel from Moscow (Russia) to Elektrostal (Russia) by train (52km): schedule and information to the train connection. Compare fares and buy your ticket.

To travel from Moscow to Elektrostal by train, read the following information. You can find the timetable and ticket prices online via our booking links.

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From one metropolis to another in four hours

From russia with snow, an overnight journey in the russian grand express, travel in less than four hours between the two russian metropolises, with the rzd night trains, travel in style with russian railways, need a cheap place to sleep we recommend booking.com, find a cheap flight compare prices on kiwi.com.

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Minister Rodriguez advances Canada’s supply chain agenda at the G7 Transport Ministers’ Meeting in Italy

From: Transport Canada

News release

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, wrapped up a successful trip at the G7 Transport Ministers’ Meeting in Milan, Italy, from April 11 to 13, 2024.

April 13, 2024               Milan, Italy               Transport Canada

Minister Rodriguez highlighted the importance that Canada places on increasing supply chain resiliency to build a stronger middle class in Canada and building a cleaner economy. He also took the opportunity to share Canada’s best practices and hear from other G7 countries on innovation, supply chain crisis management, and the energy transition.

As part of the G7 discussions, Canada proposed the creation of a new G7 Working Group on Transport Supply Chains to coordinate efforts of G7 countries. This will increase collaboration, share best practices and explore areas for cooperation to strengthen transportation resiliency and sustainability. Today, Ministers agreed to launch the Working Group.

During his visit, Minister Rodriguez met bilaterally with his counterparts from France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union, during which he discussed areas of cooperation between Canada and our allies to build resilient, secure, and sustainable supply chains for future generations across the G7, as well as the greening of the marine, air, and rail sectors.

Ministers concluded their meetings by issuing a joint declaration to reiterate the G7’s shared goal of ensuring safety across all modes of transportation as well as to reaffirm the importance of:

  • improving supply chain resilience and sustainability;
  • improving accessibility;
  • dealing with artificial intelligence and improving cyber security; 
  • recognizing the role of strategic infrastructure investments;
  • mitigating the impacts of global crises on maritime connectivity; and
  • engaging with emerging markets and developing countries.   

Additionally, Minister Rodriguez highlighted the fourth-year anniversary of the downing of flight PS752 and reiterated the need to ensure the continued safety and security of international civil aviation passengers and crew with the Safer Skies Initiative, to enhance the level of safety and security for travellers in or near conflict zones, and to prevent future tragedies.

At a dedicated session on Ukraine with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration and Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine, Oleksandr Kubrakov, G7 Ministers expressed their concerns about the global impacts of Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war of aggression, and discussed G7 coordination on reconstruction of transportation infrastructure to help the Ukrainian people. Minister Rodriguez reiterated Canada’s unwavering support for Ukraine. Canada unequivocally condemns Russia’s ongoing war of aggression and is committed to Ukraine’s recovery. As a founding member of the Common Interest Group for Ukraine (CIG4U), facilitated by the International Transport Forum (ITF), Canada helps co-ordinate support for Ukraine’s immediate transport-related needs and long-term transport infrastructure plans.

This is also why Minister Rodriguez announced a new investment of $300,000 to the ITF, under the Clean Transportation System program, to help Ukraine’s greener reconstruction of passenger road and rail transportation systems. This funding is a natural expansion of Phase 1 announced in March 2023. Phase 2 will focus on passenger road and rail inter-city and international travel. This important work will speed up recovery, giving the people of Ukraine the modern, well-connected, and sustainable rail and road infrastructure they need to secure a prosperous future.

This G7 meeting also gave Minister Rodriguez the opportunity to lay the groundwork for Canada’s G7 presidency in 2025. 

“The G7 Transport Ministers’ Meeting gives us an important opportunity to exchange ideas on increasing supply chain resiliency to build a stronger middle class and cleaner economy. Having a seat at these meetings is an opportunity to develop and strengthen these relationships, and to promote Canadian priorities to advance a strong transportation sector.” The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez Minister of Transport

Quick facts

The G7 members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

Canada will assume the Presidency of the G7 in 2025.

Associated links

  • G7 Ministers of Transport’s joint declaration
  • Canada and the G7
  • Minister of Transport announces funding for research to support the rebuilding of more sustainable transport
  • Safer Skies Initiative

Laura Scaffidi Director of Communications Office of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez Minister of Transport, Ottawa [email protected]

Media Relations Transport Canada, Ottawa 613-993-0055 [email protected]

Page details

IMAGES

  1. Train Travel in Europe with Interrail: How and Where to Travel

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  2. Interrail, qué aventura en tren!

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  3. Interrailing Europe Routes: 6 best interrail routes

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  4. Interrailing 1 Month in Europe

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  5. Everything you need to know about Interrail passes in Europe

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  6. How to plan an Interrail/Eurail trip: 10 steps

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COMMENTS

  1. Plan Your Interrail Trip

    Plan your Europe trip with our ultimate trip planner and guide. Get inspired, find the right Interrail Pass, and have the time of your life! honeypot link ... Plan your Interrail trip Want to discover Europe? With Interrail, you can plan your own rail route, choosing from 30,000+ destinations in 33 countries. ...

  2. Travel through Europe by Train

    Follow your curiosity around up to 33 countries, travelling at your own pace by train. Find your Pass. Tour Europe by train. with 1 Pass. Create the itinerary. for your perfect trip. Travel flexibly on trains. that don't need reservations. Stay conscious.

  3. Trip ideas

    Plan your trip in the Interrail app. Create a whole itinerary for your trip easily in the Interrail Rail Planner app. Search train times in the planner, save journeys to My Trip and view your whole route on the map or as a day-by-day itinerary. Get the Rail Planner app →.

  4. A Beginner's Guide to Interrailing Europe in 2024; prices, passes

    How much does interrailing cost? As you can imagine, the cost of an Interrail pass depends on the type of pass you choose, as well as the class of travel (first or second) and the duration of your trip.. Global passes, which allow you to travel to all 33 countries in the Interrail network, start at around €441 for a second-class 5-day pass for adults, while it's €619 for a first-class 5 ...

  5. Interrail Planner

    You can use Interrail Planner for free! Your trip will cost the same as it always would. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Interrail adventure! Plan your Trip! Interrail Planner is the free trip planning app. Use our interactive map to plan your journey and book accommodation for your chosen route.

  6. 21 Interrail Tips for First-Timers: Interrailing Europe (2023)

    5) Book at least your first hostel in advance. One of my best interrail tips is to at least book your first hostel in advance . During the summer months, hostels in Europe will be fully booked. It will be tough finding a good hostel last minute. Use Hostelworld to pre-book any hostels.

  7. Interrail Planner

    Interrail Planner is the free trip planning app. Use our interactive map to plan your journey and book accommodation for your chosen route. Interrail Planner - the free Interrail planning tool Toggle navigation

  8. How to Plan an Interrail Trip

    You can also book a single/double sleeper with reservation fees usually around €70-100. Find out which trains require reservations using the Interrail Rail Planner app. You can book reservations at the stations or in some countries through the app and Interrail website (€2 booking fee).

  9. 10 Tips for your First Interrail Trip

    Read our top tips here. 10. Have the time of your life! We hope that your first Interrail trip will be the first of many, but we know that it will be an extraordinary experience. Take the time to appreciate every moment, embracing the freedom, adventure and different cultural experiences available to you in each destination.

  10. All you need to know about Interrail

    The Interrail Pass is a train ticket that allows you to travel on almost all trains in Europe. With it, you get access to 35 railway and ferry companies in 33 countries. Most trains can be boarded by simply showing staff your Interrail Pass on your phone. Some train companies require you to purchase an additional seat reservation.

  11. How do I plan an Interrail trip?

    Book your Interrail trip ahead of time. Even though an Interrail Pass allows you to book any date that suits you, it's always a good idea to book your Interrail trip ahead of time. With the ability to book it up to 11 months in advance, you can start to book accommodation, plan out where you're going to eat and other important details once ...

  12. Five great Interrail itineraries across Europe

    Stops Toulouse, Barcelona, Sète, Nice, Genoa, Rome, Stresa, Zurich, Cologne. Shortcut Head straight to Nice to make it a 10-day trip. Best Interrail pass Same as for the Lakes and Mountains ...

  13. Interrail Guide: Explore Europe With Interrail and Eurail!

    The 'InterRail around Europe' trend has taken off massively all over the world since its inception, with over 300,000 people enjoying the InterRail experience last year alone. It is now a popular go-to option for all sorts of people who wish to travel in and around Europe. From recent university graduates, to thirty-somethings, to people ...

  14. How to Plan Interrail Trip: Your Ultimate Guide

    By Nikita February 24, 2024February 24, 2024. Planning your Interrail trip can be an exciting adventure. It offers a unique way to explore the diverse tapestry of Europe by rail. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time explorer, the flexibility of hopping on and off trains across 33 countries provides an unparalleled sense of freedom.

  15. InterRail and Eurail: 12 Itinerary Planning Tips and Ideas

    08:00 and 12:00 on summer Saturdays. 14:30 and 19:30 on Sundays. 6. Consider your international journeys: It's worth paying special attention to your international journeys. Only a tiny percentage of European daytime express trains are international, some routes only have 1 x train per day.

  16. Interrail Planner: How to Plan a Stress-Free Interrail or Eurail Trip

    Sample prices are £448 / €515 for a one month continuous Interrail Global Pass for under 27-year-olds or £583/ €670 for the same pass if you are 28+. See all the price options on the Interrail or Eurail websites. You can order a pass up to 11 months before your trip starts.

  17. Interrailing guide for beginners 2024

    The Interrail Pass comes in more varieties than Skittles, and while that's great for choice, it means we can't pin down just one fare. Prices for travellers aged 27 or under range from £47 for certain One Country passes to £778 for the bumper three-month-long first-class Global Pass.

  18. How to book Eurail/Interrail seat reservation on the Eurail website

    The only way to make reservations for domestic and long-distance trains is directly at the ticket offices of local Long Distance stations (not commuter stations). You can make reservations on the day of travel or up to 3 months in advance. It is also possible to pre-reserve a seat by phone, by calling +34 91 232 03 20 (Renfe phone sales).

  19. 14 days Interrail trip in the Balkans

    Here's a draft of a 14 days Interrail trip for August (17th to 30th) we're planning with my friend! Budapest - 3 days Zagreb - 3 days Sarajevo - 3 days Belgrade - 3 days Sofia - 3 days We have a few questions: We are both departing from France, and we've already visited our neighboring countries, is it smart to fly from Paris to Budapest ...

  20. Trans-Siberian Railway Prices Calculation

    Before starting on your Trans-Siberian Railway adventure you naturally want to know what the entire trip will cost. Although this sounds like a simple question, it is pretty difficult to answer. The Trans-Siberian Railway price of travel depends on the following factors: Which travel class do I want to use?

  21. Recommended routes

    Recommended routes. These routes come tried and tested by us and our community of travellers. Follow in their footsteps, or just use them as a starting point for your own itinerary - remember, your next stop is up to you!

  22. From Moscow to Elektrostal by Train from €3.00

    night train: Night trains that might be suitable for this trip. 32A Moscow - Helsinki / 020 Moscow - Beijing / EN 17B/409 Moscow - Nice / EN 23J/452 Moscow - Paris / EN 21E/404 Moscow - Prague / EN 9S Moscow - Warsaw. bus: Bus connections that might be helpful. Saint Petersburg - Tallinn. train company: RZD Российские железные ...

  23. Elektrostal to Moscow

    Find all the transport options for your trip from Elektrostal to Moscow right here. Rome2Rio displays up to date schedules, route maps, journey times and estimated fares from relevant transport operators, ensuring you can make an informed decision about which option will suit you best. Rome2Rio also offers online bookings for selected operators ...

  24. The Top 7 Most Beautiful Moscow's Metro Stations

    The trip around Moscow metro - The most beautiful metro in the world. Subway stations were used as air-raid shelters during the WWII. It was also meant to se...

  25. Minister Rodriguez advances Canada's supply chain agenda at the G7

    The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, wrapped up a successful trip at the G7 Transport Ministers' Meeting in Milan, Italy, from April 11 to 13, 2024. Minister Rodriguez highlighted the importance that Canada places on increasing supply chain resiliency to build a stronger middle class in Canada and building a cleaner economy.