Interrailing is one of those things you have to do at least once in your life. It’s a unique experience where you get explore Europe in the best way possible: by train. With just one train ticket you can enjoy unlimited train rides to explore the most amazing little towns, modern cities, beaches and into the mountains. There are a few things, however, that are essential to know before you go. We will share the most important ones in this beginners guide!
First things first: Interrail/Eurail
It may sound a bit confusing to hear Interrail and Eurail mixed up, and if we’re really honest, it can be. To keep it simple, the Interrail Pass is for EU-citizens and the Eurail Pass is for non-EU citizens. If you’re not sure which Pass you should get, check the following article: “Do I need an Interrail or a Eurail Pass?”
Unlimited train rides, really?
With Interrail you get one rail pass that allows you to jump on and off as many train rides as you want. You can choose a specific pass for a region and a period of time and there you can make use of all the trains you’d like to take. Of course, as usual, there are a few exceptions but you probably won’t notice any of them.
You actually get more than just train rides
Most travellers don’t know that next to the train rides your rail pass also allows you to get some free ferry rides (for instance between Italy and Greece or even to the Greek islands). This is an amazing way to see more countries and explore the islands too. Oh and, there even is a train between Germany and Denmark that actually goes on the ferry (with you in it). We thought that’s a pretty cool train experience, don’t you think?
Choose the pass that fits you
Interrail offers various passes to choose from. These range from one-country passes (you can choose from all 30 participating countries) to the most famous Interrail Global Pass that allows you to travel all of Europe. With this pass you can visit over 40.000 destinations around the continent and it is definitely our favourite.
Check the deals you can get with your Interrail Pass
Apart from getting train rides there are more benefits you can enjoy with your Interrail Pass. The first, and most important, example can be found in the 10% discount you get on booking our Famous Hostels! Read more about this on this page. Next to this offer you can also get reduced prices on certain theme parks, theatres and even photo albums! Make sure to check the page of their partner deals to see which deal can be a money saver for you.
Download the Rail App
In case you think: “How am I ever going to find out which trains to take?”, don’t worry because Interrail designed an amazing app where you can find all your train times, destinations and whether you have to reserve a seat or can just jump on (see more about this in the next section). In this way you can already plan your trip in advance and see how long it will take you to travel from place to place.
Though you can enter most trains without reservation there are a few trains you have to book in advance. These are the busy, often high speed trains such as the famous Eurostar that connects Brussels, Paris and London. To check if there are any trains on your route that require reservations you can use the free Rail App. This app also gives you the option to only view the routes where you don’t have to book any trains in advance (for the true adventurers amongst us). In case you do have to make a reservation, Interrail can do this for you!
You can’t travel within your own country
In case you thought the rail pass is a good way to use the trains within your own country, this is unfortunately not possible. The rail pass is designed specifically for travellers to explore new places and therefore you’re only allowed to have one train journey out of your country of residence and one train journey back home.
Keep track of your train rides
Maybe this is more of a tip for when you’re actually on the road, but we thought it would be nice if you already have an idea how the rail pass works. It’s not as sophisticated as many things nowadays but it’s actually a really good way to keep track of the train rides you’ve taken. You simply have to write down the trains you’ll take before you enter them on the sheet that comes with your rail pass (beware: if you don’t do this you can get a fine). What you have to write down is the place of departure, your destination and the time the train departs! At the end of the journey you have an amazing overview of where you travelled and gives you something fun to talk about with the conductor when he comes to check your ticket.
One of the most important parts of a trip like this is that you enjoy every minute, meet people and simply let it all happen. Things will go wrong for sure; you’ll miss your train and forget to book seats in advance but who cares. Make sure you see it all as part of the adventure and then you’re guaranteed to have the time of your life.