Jack MacHugh / February 04, 2016
How can I plan the perfect Interrail route?
An Interrail holiday is one that is usually an experience shared with friends. Therefore, there is no "perfect" route because everyone has different preferences and different ideas of what they want to do and see on their journey. Europe is a vast landscape with a huge variety in culture and lifestyle. Interrailing is a personal experience and you should tailor your route to the places you and your friends wish to explore. To optimise your route and the enjoyment of your Eurotrip adventure we suggest the following things.
Interrailing is tiring. No matter how young and keen you are for the trip you need to factor in relaxation in your schedule. You may want to reduce the distance you travel each travel-day by choosing cities that are relatively close together, or at least ensure that not every journey is an 8 hour slog - it can get boring! You should be realistic about how much time it will actually take for you to do what you want to do in a city, while also factoring in rest and relaxation time. A big city like Rome can take 3 or 4 days to do well.
Consider night trains but don't overuse them. Night trains are a great option if you want to travel between two fairly far apart cities -- for example, Berlin and Budapest. You can make night train reservations for seated, couchette, or sleeper carriages through Interrail Planner. But, be aware that night trains are usually no substitution for a good night of uninterrupted sleep and shower at a hostel.
Add some variety to your trip. Choose some locations that offer something different from the typical sightseeing. This could range from going to Split in Croatia to soak up the sun on the beach to a beer hall crawl in Munich, or swimming in Lake Bled in Slovenia. You may find these necessary, as no matter how good friends you are tensions will flare if you don't have a few relaxing breaks.
Consider flying to your first destination. You can now use your Interrail pass to get out of your home country by train but sometimes this can limit your route. Flying out to your starting point or flying home from your last city adds greater flexibility to your Interrail holiday and will allow you to go further afield.
While many people decide to do interrailing off the cuff and don't book any hostels prior to departure so they can keep their options open, we recommend that you do book ahead. This especially applies to groups and in the busy summer season. Hostels do fill up quickly and you'll miss out on some of the best ones if you don't think about it before you go. Oh, and it means you don't have to worry about whether you'll have a bed for the night -- just rock up at the hostel you booked and you're good to go!
And finally, we recommend using our website to plan your route and book your train reservations. Play around with potential destinations and visualise your route and see how long train journeys will take without having to get a map or train website up. We've done our best to take out the stress of planning an Interrail holiday so you can focus on designing the route that's right for you.