Interrailing routes: Plan your trip

Hannah Conway
20.10.19
6 minute read

Interrailing is a great way to see Europe, and it’s become almost synonymous with one organisation: Interrail They offer train passes for travellers - making European rail travel simple & affordable.

This article will give you some tips on how to most effectively plan your trip and potential routes – including how to save money with the TransferWise debit Mastercard®.

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How does Interrail work?

Getting an Interrail Pass means that you can travel through 31 European countries by train, as much as you want, for a limited amount of time. It’s effectively a big bundle of open train tickets, giving you great flexibility during your trip.

What’s the difference between an Interrail and Eurail pass?

The main difference is that the Interrail pass is only available for European citizens or residents, whilst the Eurail pass is for non-European citizens or residents.¹

Interrail route ideas

One of the most appealing parts of Interrailing is that you can create your own route through Europe, taking in all the places you’ve always wanted to see. Here are some routes that are really well established – for good reason:

London to Istanbul

An amazing route across Europe to the historic city of Istanbul. A route, perhaps, made especially famous by Agatha Christie's novel Murder on the Orient Express - but that has appeal far-beyond the pages of this famous work.

Once you leave London, you'll begin a journey you'll never forget. Taking in Parisian architecture, to the Gothic and Neo-Renaissance styles of Zagreb - before your view transcends to Ottoman palaces in Istanbul. On the route, you'll cover:

  • London
  • Paris
  • Munich
  • Zagreb
  • Belgrade
  • Sofia
  • Istanbul

As well as its fame, this route also has the advantage of taking you to the farthest reaches of the Interrail map: with Turkey as far east as you can go.

istanbul-transferwise-travel-money-card

  • Currency in London: Pound sterling (GBP)
  • Currency in Paris & Munich: Euro (EUR)
  • Currency in Zagreb: Croatian Kuna (HRK or kn)
  • Currency in Belgrade: Serbian Dinar (RSD)
  • Currency in Sofia: Bulgarian Lev (LEV)
  • Currency in Turkey: Lira (TRY or TL)

Interrail Italy

A One Country Pass in Italy is another especially popular option. Italy has so much to offer from cultural hotspots and historic ruins to beautiful landscapes with soaring mountains and glistening lakes. And Italian food has long-held a high place in European food culture, so you can enjoy a delicious meal overlooking Lake Como or grab-a-slice of Florentine pizza as you see the sites.

Interrail recommends a trip from the capital into the north of the country, taking in:

  • Rome
  • Florence
  • Venice
  • Verona

Seasonal routes

Rain or shine, Europe is an amazing place to visit, but visting the right place, in the ideal season means that you'll be able to experience a place in all of it's glory. So you should consider which places are particularly appealing at the time of your trip. Here are a few pointers.

Autumn

  • France is great at any time, but in the autumn you can experience it all with a little less stress, as most of the tourists have gone home. Explore the galleries of Paris or the beaches of the south – or both – in the tranquility and crisp, cool air of September.
  • Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, are particularly beautiful when covered in autumn foliage, and filled with beautiful towns, historic castles and fascinating museums.
  • Germany is more than just Oktoberfest, but a trip in October to Munich is great fun all the same. Munich is in the south, so you can take in some more northern cities like Hamburg and Berlin en-route.

Winter

“Winterrail” is something that Interrail is keen to promote – and for good reason. Europe is full of gloriously cosy winter activities:

  • Portugal is the place to go for roasted chestnuts – entire festivals of them, even.
  • Switzerland boasts the Glacier Express - a stunning journey through the Alpine snow from St Moritz to Zermatt, where you can climb up to see the Matterhorn.
  • Finland is especially magical in the winter. Head up to Lapland and sleep in a glass igloo at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort.

Summer

  • Croatia is a superb summer destination, with its stunning beaches along the Dalmatian Coast.
  • Sweden may sound a little wintry, but it’s actually a great place to visit in the summer, thanks to its many festivals and bustling programme of exciting events – check out Stockholm in particular.
  • Italy is, of course, an amazing summer destination. Explore the beaches of Capri and take a dip in the beautiful waters.

Use an interrail map planner

But hold on. Don’t sign up for a pre-planned trip until you’ve indulged in a little virtual exploring and considered tailoring something specific to you. For this, you have two main options:

  • Interrail’s own trip planner, or
  • Interrail Planner – an independent site that specialises in making European travel planning extra easy. It could make finding a cost-effective option easier, and help with visualising your journey too.

Get a travel money card - up to 8x cheaper

Interrail can take you through 31 countries, both in the Eurozone and out of it, so you’ll need to make sure you don’t end up losing out when you pay in foreign currencies. And, you’ll probably want the convenience of a debit card, to spend as you go - but using your UK bank card abroad can get costly.

The TransferWise debit Mastercard® is different. It lets you send and spend money around the world at the real exchange rate. In fact, it’s up to 8x cheaper than high street debit and credit cards.

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Interrailing packages

There are several different types of Interrail Pass:

  • Global Pass:This is the “classic” offering valid travel across 31 countries in Europe. Prices vary according to the length of your trip and where you’re going.² Just one example: a week-long trip to France, Germany and Switzerland, with 3 travelling days, would cost at least €218.³
  • One Country Pass: Formerly called the “EuroDomino ticket”, this lets you travel in just one country. If you’re travelling around two countries, you can get two of them; for three or more, get a Global Pass. The price depends on the country: Italy, for instance, starts at €105, while Norway is from €148.⁴
  • Premium Pass: For travel in Spain or Italy, a Premium Pass gives you advance seat reservations for free. Prices are from €123 (Italy) or €172 (Spain).⁵

Pricing information accurate as of 16-October 2019. Full full, up-to-date pricing see the Interrail website.

Family rail ticket

There’s no Interrail family pass as such, but children up to the age of 11 can travel for free. They’ll need a Child Pass if they’re 4 or older, but they’re free to order alongside an Adult Pass. An adult can take up to 2 children.⁶

Youth discount

If you’re 27 or under, you get up to 23% off standard adult prices.⁷

Over 60s railcard

You can get 10% off if you’re aged 60 or over on your first day of travel via Interrail’s senior discount.⁸

interail-europe-transferwise-travel-money-card

Interrail reservations

Make sure you do everything through Interrail officially: the last thing you want is to find you’ve bought the wrong sort of ticket.

The same applies when you need to get seat reservations, which you may well need to do on some high-speed routes to supplement your Interrail Pass. You should do this via Interrail’s own reservations page to make sure it’s all legitimate.⁹

Don't forget to check out the TransferWise travel money card - sign-up and ordering takes minutes and it's free. And, at 8x cheaper than UK high street debit and credit cards - what's stopping you? Get your free card now.

Sources used:

  1. Difference between Eurail and Interrail
  2. Choose the right Interrail pass
  3. Find the right pass with Interrail
  4. Interrail: One-Country Pass
  5. Premium Interrail Pass
  6. Interrail: Free travel for kids
  7. Youth discounts with Interrail
  8. Interrail discounts for seniors
  9. Reservations with Interrail

All sources accessed 19-October 2019.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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