Embarking on a solo adventure is an exciting endeavour, and many people love exploring new horizons by themselves. Europe is the perfect continent to explore, with its rich history, vibrant cultures and stunning landscapes making it a popular item on many bucket lists. Best of all, the mainland is extremely well-connected by public transport, making it easy to visit multiple destinations on the same trip.
As with all successful solo adventures, good planning is key, and Interrailing is no different. Europe is a large continent offering a myriad of different paths to choose from, so it can easily become overwhelming if you haven’t narrowed down your choices in advance.
In this article, we provide our top tips on how to plan the perfect route through mainland Europe without compromising your options.
Deciding on a starting point
The first thing to consider is where you’d like to start your journey. It’s advisable to begin in a city or town with plenty of transport connections and amenities, allowing you to stock up on any essentials while also enjoying a more urban experience before you begin your journey off the beaten path. Due to its central location, Germany is an excellent place to start planning your adventure from, since you’ll have easy access to all different parts of the continent. Main cities like Berlin or Munich will offer you more options in terms of transport, and there is plenty to see before moving to your next stop.
For the more spontaneous travellers among you, choosing a central location like Berlin gives you more flexibility when deciding on your next destination last-minute. However, while there is lots to enjoy about a spontaneous adventure, it’s always advisable to have a rough idea of where you want to go and for how long, to give your trip some structure. In addition, some journeys may require you to reserve a seat in advance, so relying on your spirit of adventure to navigate through Europe isn’t always the best option.
Choosing the right destinations
Rather than opting to solely visit the standard tourist hotspots, consider your own interests and try to find interesting places that would be well suited to you. Often, the most memorable stops on your journey will be in the smaller towns that lie off the beaten track. There are many themes you can plan your trip around, such as historical sites, culinary delights and scenic landscapes.
It can be helpful to make a list of different sites or locations that you’d like to visit. This way, you can plot each location out on a map and visualise a train route that includes as many as possible without making travel too inconvenient. Remember, lots of journeys can be made on sleeper trains, which can help to optimise your travel time, while also helping you save on accommodation costs. Make sure to check the timetables in advance and make any reservations you need to.
Independent travel vs. escorted tours
If you’re someone looking for all of the excitement and adventure without the planning, escorted tours are a great option. Each tour is carefully planned out ahead of time, allowing you to see exactly where you’ll visit and when. There’s no need to worry about transport options or creating a schedule either – your experienced guide will sort all of that. While you will still need to find your own way to each destination, once there you can rest assured that everything will be taken care of as part of the tour experience.
What’s more, Interrailing alone can be daunting if it’s your first trip, so joining onto a few escorted tours along the way can be a great way to explore your interests while also meeting like-minded individuals. Travelling in a group can also provide a feeling of safety, particularly in unfamiliar cities where you don’t know your way around.
Europe is such a vibrant continent rich in cultural heritage, so wherever you end up, you’re bound to enjoy your adventure. Whichever route you plan, you’re sure to have a great time exploring the unique countries of Europe as a solo traveller.