Interrailing: a beginners guide

There are many ways to travel around Europe one of the most interesting and fun ways to travel across Europe is by train with your friends or loved ones. There is nothing more exciting than getting up close and personal with each destination, freely hoping on and off trains, seeing the sights from city to city. Luckily, here in Europe we have a fantastic, convenient and exciting way of doing this in the form of the well know and famous interrail tickets and passes! Be wherever you want to be!

What is it?

The Interrail Pass is a handy paper rail pass which allows you to travel on almost all trains in Europe. It gives you access to travel by both train and ferry to over 33 countries and includes over 40,000 destinations. You can create your own journey, your own experience, and you get to decide when you travel and at times which are convenient to you. It is unlimited travel for a finite time period (i.e., a month), although some high-speed trains and night trains require a paid seat reservation.

There are a number of different types of passes, depending on whether you are a European or Non European resident. Types of passes include (at the time of writing); Interrail Global Pass, Interrail One Country Pass, and the Interrail Premium Pass. Each pass gives you slightly different coverage and benefits. For more info, click here.

Where can I travel to?

At the time of writing, the Interrail experience covers a huge number of European countries;

Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and Turkey.

The pass is also valid for one journey within your home country (outbound) and one journey in your home country on return, which makes travelling that but more convenient.

When can I travel and use the pass?

It is best to book in advance and plenty of time just to make sure there are no problems with receiving your pass in time for your initial journey. The passes themselves are pretty straight forward to use. Double check a day or two before you travel in case there are changes to train times, but essentially you can travel whenever you like (with the exception of some bookings for night time seats and high speed trains). Some trains in Europe require a seat reservation, and this is found most in France, Italy, and Spain. Reservation fees are charged by the railway carriers and are not included in your Interrail Pass so you will need to factor this in on occasions. Otherwise, you can pretty much hop on and off the trains and the interrail app is really handy at letting you check the train times. It’s incredibly freeing! Remember to fill in your paper pass before boarding though – this is a requirement and will be checked by the train inspector on some occasions (you don’t want to end up getting charged).

What’s the interrail experience like?

I can honestly tell you that this one of the greatest and most fun ways to travel around Europe. Having the flexibility to change plans, hop on and off trains, go from place to place made me feel like an intrepid explorer! There are hundreds of discounts available with your pass as well, which stretch all across Europe and include food, travel, hostels/hotels etc. The pass is easy to use, fun, and is a great way to share a journey with friends or for solo travel too. The website and app are both fantastic with suggestions for preferred destinations, off the beaten track, and budget trips/stays. It is one of the best ways of exploring Europe and there are plenty of adventures to be had. Enjoy and have fun!

Ill be writing about tips and things to do before your interrailing, our experience on sleeper train and ill publish our interrail itineraries too very soon -- so make sure to subscribe in my blog.

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