A Guide to Interrailing in Europe
Planning a much needed summer holiday? Looking at what to do in your gap year? Why not give interrailing a go? It’s a great way to travel across Europe without having the faff of getting through airports, or feeling like you’re tied to visiting just one city.
A big reason why we love the idea of interrailing Europe as a brilliant way to discover more of Europe is because it’s super cheap!
What is an Interrail Pass?
Interrailing has become a rite of passage for students looking for a super flexible, affordable way to travel through Europe by train. It gives travellers the opportunity to jump on and off as many trains as they like, fueled by spontaneous adventures across 33 countries in Europe.
An Interrail Pass, or Eurail Pass for Non-Europeans, gives travellers the chance to roam Europe by train and even ferry, for a set number of days or months, depending on the length of your rail pass.
Key Interrail Pass Info
European Citizens: An Interrail Pass can be used by European citizens. If you’re not a European citizen, but a resident of Europe, you can also use an Interrail Pass. The great news is UK citizens can still use the same European Interrail Pass, Brexit hasn’t changed these terms of travel.
Non-European citizens: Non-European citizens need to get themselves a Eurail Pass instead, available from Eurail.com. This one is the same price as an Interrail Pass, and works more or less the same.
Remember to bring the correct documentation for your trip. Click Here to find out exactly what you need for your next Interrail adventure.
Which Interrail Pass Should I Choose?
There are different types of passes you can choose from, which will either give you access to explore a single country in depth, or travel to as many different countries as possible. Interrail’s Trip Planner Tools can help give you an idea of which pass is best for you.
Interrail Global Pass
The Interrail Global Pass is the most flexible way to travel across Europe. You simply choose the length of time you want to travel for, and it gives you access to over 33 different countries in Europe.
Prices vary depending on the number of days you want to travel each month, but the most popular and the best value is the 7 days travel within 1 month pass. For 7 days of train travel, it will cost you £219. A perfect option for those of you wanting to explore 6-8 destinations. If you fancy getting to more locations there are plenty more options to choose from to give yourself more travel days a month. Have a look through the options at Interrail and find what will best fit your adventure plans.
Interrail One Country Pass
The single country pass, or a One Country Pass, allows you to travel around one European Country. So if you want a deep dive into a single countries culture, go for this one. Prices will vary depending on the country. Click here to find out more.
Where To Buy Your Interrailing Tickets
There are all sorts of places you can get your Interrail pass from. We recommend getting your pass from a company you recognise and are used to. It makes things easier as you start your adventure. You can get your pass from MyInterrail.co.uk, which is Britain’s official Interrail pass provider, offered by National Rail. You can also get your pass from Trainline.
How To Plan Your Interrail Trip
Interrail’s Rail Planner App is the first point of call when you’re thinking about planning your trip. It will help you find and plan your rail trips. Whether you are one of those people who likes to plan in advance, or a last minute decide on the day kind of person, you can save your journeys, and put together travel itineraries for you to follow.
Choose Your Route
Before you start looking at trains, you’ll want to figure out a rough idea of the route you want to take. From there, you can start thinking about how long you want to stay in each place. The good thing about interrailing is that you have way more flexibility in travelling about and organising your tickets than if you were flying.
Popular Interrailing Destinations
Although you can plan your own route, and decide where abouts you want to go, here are some classic routes that you can look at for inspiration and tailor them to what you want to do on your interrailing holiday.
- Mediterranean Route: Visit Spain, France and Italy. Why visit just one sunny country when you can visit three? Interrail Pass needed: Global Pass.
- West to East: From London to Istanbul, consider stopping off in France, Germany, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria to explore beautiful parts of Europe. Interrail Pass needed: Global Pass.
- Italy: See the beautiful sites across the country of Italy with your Interrail Pass. Ciao! Interrail Pass needed: One Country Pass: Italy.
- Spain and Portugal: with the two countries next door to each other, it makes it super easy to travel around the two, without spending too much of your hols sat on a train. Experience everything these cultures have to offer with ease! Interrail Pass needed: Global Pass.
Research Train TimeTables
When planning your trip, make sure you look at the Train TimeTables for the cities that you are travelling to. We know this sounds obvious, but keep an eye on train times through the Rail Planner app, as you don’t want to get surprised with unexpected changes or delays. Definitely do this before you set off towards the station, and minimise the stress of getting from A to B.
Budget by City
When travelling you want to make sure you stick to a budget. The best way to do this is to think about setting a budget for each city you’re visiting, so you don’t blow all your money on the first couple of cities.
Consider getting a Starling Card, so you can separate your travel budget out, and know where you are at all times. A big bonus of using Starling when you’re travelling is that they do not charge any fees for using your Debit Card overseas, it’s even free to withdraw cash from ATMs abroad too! It’s wise to keep a bit of extra money aside in your budget just in case of any emergencies.
Free Travel in Spain – InterCity Rail
Did you know you can travel across Spain free of charge! Which makes city hopping even easier. This free travel discount covers any return rail trip less than 300km with the Spanish National rail company, Renfe. There are some ticket types that are not included in this, such as single fares and multi tickets. Find out more about this and other discounts on Renfe.com.
Things To Remember When Interrailing
- Documentation: Make sure you bring your official residency card or document along with you during your travels. This should match your country of residence, which will appear on your Interrail Pass. Click Here to confirm exactly which documents you need to bring with you when interrailing.
- Passport/ID: make sure to bring your passport with you and your ID. It is also worth bringing a photocopy of your passport, just in case you lose it and need some form of a backup. It’s better to be prepared for something like this.
- Cash: Some will prefer to take just a card away with them, and avoid carrying huge amounts of cash with you. But we still do recommend carrying some cash just incase where you travel doesn’t have card machines like you’re used to, or you lose your card. Consider keeping this in a safe place, or even in a separate bag, so in the unfortunate event that your purse is stolen, you have some back up money at hand.
- Don’t overpack: Bringing every item of clothing you’ve ever bought is overkill. Why’s it so easy to overpack?! The last thing you want to do is cart a heavy bag or case from across Europe.
- Who you travel with: interrailing can be a little stressy at times. You have to be relatively organised, so if you are travelling with friends, maybe keep your group small-ish. And make sure your travel companions are people who you aren’t likely to get aggy with.
- Stay Safe: when travelling to a different country, whether you’re travelling alone or in a group, take the proper precautions to make sure you’re keeping safe. Share your location with family back home, or give them a brief idea of where you will be on what dates and the places you’ll be staying in. If you’re in a group, stick together. Letting someone disappear by themselves is a recipe for disaster.
More Advice on Student Life
Now you know how to interrail, where to get your tickets, and how much everything will cost. If you’re considering any other ways of saving money on your travel, check out our Budget Friendly Travel Guide, and also our guide on How To Find Cheap Flights.