Exploring Europe via Interrail
A train ticket valid in almost every European country- Interrail is probably the most popular way of traveling around Europe for backpackers
Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin- who doesn’t dream of exploring Europe’s historic capitals. With an interrail pass ( or eurail for non- European citizens) discovering not just them, but also Europe’s hidden gems is made easier and more accessible than ever before.
How does it work?
There are different types of interrail passes: global passes, which are available in almost every European country, one-country passes and passes with extras, such as the Greek Island pass which includes ferry travel. Prices range from 40€ to up to 500€ depending on how many travel days you need within 15, 22 days or a whole month.
Having an interrail pass gives you the freedom of traveling anywhere at any time: just fill your pass in every time you board a train to make it valid and Europe is yours! Sometimes you have to make reservations, but unless you have to and you absolutely don’t want to risk sleeping on top of your backpack in the aisle (which is definitely part of an authentic interrail experience though), you can save that money. Buying an interrail pass also comes with a rail map of Europe showing all train connections you can use and it comes with, app on which you can double check your departure times even without any internet connection, a wristband to recognise other travellers and lots of discounts on busses and ferries. Having a rough idea of where you want to go can help keeping costs down as prices of accommodation can vary from just 4€ in Eastern Europe to 50€ per night in capitals.
•Budapest, Hungary is probably one of Europe’s backpacker capitals. Accommodation, food and most importantly drinks are cheap, the historic city can be easily discovered by foot and a visit to the traditional baths is definitely a must!
•Prague, Czech Republic is similar to Budapest when it comes to money and therefore one of the most low-budget- friendly capitals in Europe. The city by the Vltava River impresses with Gothic churches and has the nickname ’Europe’s Hollywood’. Need I to say more?
•Ljubljana, Slovenia is a perfect starting point to discover more of this lesser known country and surrounding areas- Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj can be visited in a day trip, there are lots of forests and caves and if you’d like to taste some wine you can do so in one of the many vineyards in the far East or West of the country.
•Golden Sands, Bulgaria is not a common stop on a backpacker’s route and only a place for you if you want to go out and party a few days in a row as there’s absolutely nothing else to do. Drinks are cheaper than anywhere else and the beach invites for a nap during the afternoon to recover from the nights before.
•Corfu, Greece is a paradise for outdoor- lovers. The island can show off with crystal clear beaches, hikes and breathtaking views from the superior parts of the island
•Athens, Greece is not just a must for lovers of ancient history, even though there’s definitely something special about standing in front of all the temples, statues and the acropolis that you only knew from the photos in your history books. Big plus: it doesn’t feel quite as overcrowded by tourists as its Italian partner in crime, Rome.
•Berlin, Germany is maybe not a hidden gem but is definitely worth a visit. Especially in summer it’s great to just stroll around away from the beaten paths near the sights and enjoy the arty and alternative vibe of the city.
More: Traveling Europe
Why are ’Europe’s Classics’ London, Paris, Amsterdam and Milan missing? Interrail is a great way to get to see many places in Europe in a relatively short amount of time which is a perfect way of spending your semester holidays if you study abroad. As you can make up the route quite spontaneously and you don’t have to stick with major airports, Interrail is ideal for including smaller and less known places into your travel itinerary. And let’s be honest- do you really need me to tell you how pretty the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben are?