For many young Europeans, doing an Interrail journey is a rite of passage, especially during the summer after leaving school. With their Global Pass programme, travellers can choose how many days within a month they would like to travel and receive a voucher for your tickets. In this article, we compare passes, explore exciting journeys and weigh up the best options for different types of traveller.
What is Interrail?
Interrail (or interrailing as it is often called), is a European programme, working internationally to give young people (18-27) cheap multi-stop tickets to different European cities. It is designed specifically for those looking to do a ‘grand tour’, on average exploring around 5 different European cities over a month-long trip. There is plenty of variation to this structure, and those over 27 can still buy passes for a slightly higher rate. The pass is only open officially to European citizens and European residents, so proof of European address is needed.
5 days in a month
As said before, the most popular pass is to do 5 different countries in 30 days. This means that you are allowed 5 ‘travel days’ within the month period to get from one country to another. For example, you may decide to choose Amsterdam and Berlin as two of your stops, meaning on one of the 5 travel days, you must get between the two. Within the 24-period of this travel day, you may take as many trains as you need, often making the pass very cost-effective. Depending on whether you wish to begin your pass at your home city, or at the first destination on your list, you can generally see between 4-6 different places with this option. Cost: €212.
Unlike the other pass, this one simply allows you to take an unlimited number of trains within a 15-day period. This is great therefore for those that wish to cover a large amount within a short period of time. In order to get the most out of this pass, you may wish to be constantly on the move, perhaps taking sleeper trains or stopping at a different city overnight. Although this will constitute a whistle-stop tour, for those that are only in Europe for a short amount of time and are desperate to see the highlights, this may be the option for you. Cost: €332.
15 days within two months
As the time gets longer, the pass gets more and more cost effective. With this pass, travellers can do the same as the 5-day pass, but with 15 days and over two months. This pass therefore offers travellers much more freedom to see more in Europe and for longer periods of time. If you are planning an exciting two-month journey, this is the best pass for you. Cost: €370.
There are tonnes more passes and options, varying to match the needs of each traveller and their style. Another option for example, is the One Country pass, allowing travellers to explore the far corners of a particular country within a certain period for a cheaper rate than the international passes. Check out the website to explore more.
There are endless variations on routes and experiences to be had in Europe, and the best part about interrailing is coming up with a journey that most excites you. Some people choose to go as part of a group of friends, seeking out the best parties to be had across European capitals. Others decide to go solo, seeking out off-the-beaten-track villages and sites. Using the template of the 5 days in a month pass, here are a few examples of potential routes:
The Party Tour:
Just finished school and want a month of fun with your mates? Here is the ultimate itinerary for exploring Europe’s biggest parties. Word to the wise, however, it may be a year or even more before coronavirus allows normal schedules and clubs to re-open, so until then, tours such as this may have to be put on hold.
CITIES: AMSTERDAM – BERLIN – PRAGUE – KRAKOW – BUDAPEST
Begin your journey in Amsterdam, world-famous for its liberal laws and huge nightlife. Take a train on to Berlin, perhaps Europe’s clubbing capital (and famously strict door policies), before heading on to beautiful Prague. A slightly more unusual diversion is to then head on to Krakow, for the cheapest night out on the continent, before ending up in Budapest; known for its massive spa parties. Every country likes to party different, and this tour will certainly be an education, just make sure you pace yourself and not over do it on the first few cities, it’s a long month after all!
The Culture Tour:
Back in the day, wealthy English school pupils would be taken on a tour of Europe to complete their studies, allowing them to cement their education and see the rich cultural delights of Europe for themselves. From the churches and castles of history, to the birthplaces of some of the worlds biggest technological advances, there is so much to see across the continent, to inform and inspire.
CITIES: PARIS – VIENNA – ROME – ATHENS – ISTANBUL
Following from Western Europe all the way to Asia minor, begin your tour in Paris, taking in the fascinating Louvre and Pompidou Centre. From there, take an overnight sleeper to Vienna, to take in the spectacular architecture and an Austrian opera. From there, head to Rome, to get lost in the beautiful roman ruins that run through the inner city. Following the archaeological trail, the next stop is Athens, for the gleaming Acropolis, before ending your tour in the dazzling hustle of Istanbul and its beautiful Islamic mosques.
The Coastal Tour:
For those that want to stay close to the beach, whilst taking in some of Europe’s most beautiful southern coastal cities, this is a great route. With trains that follow all along the southern European coast, and journeys that never exceed 5 hours, you can be sure to maximise time spend soaking up the sun and sipping sangrias.
CITIES: VALENCIA – BARCELONA – MARSEILLE – NICE – GENOA –ROME
Begin your journey in Valencia, one of Spain’s most beautiful cities and home to incredible beaches. Then head up the coast to Barcelona, the Spanish capital and home to dazzling Gaudi architecture. From there, head into France for Marseille and Nice, two beautiful French port cities, before winding down into Italy for colourful Genoa and finally, Rome.
Be sure to check out tonnes more blogs and videos online for travel inspiration, and make sure to fully do your research before hand, in order to ensure you get the most from your tickets and have an incredible European adventure!
Starting from Skratch? Here’s a few tips to get Started: