First time Interrail
Information for Interrail beginners. Get help to plan your route, train types, night trains and how to avoid expensive reservation fees.
Where do you want to go? Whether you are going to visit the famous and popular big cities or want to criss-cross Europe looking for hidden gems, with Interrail you have almost endless possibilities. To start planning it is a good idea to come up with a list of places and cities you want to visit. If you are travelling together with friends, each one of you could come up with an own list. You might not have the time to visit all the cities on these list but try to select cities which all of you can agree on. Of course such a list is not necessarily set in stone and you can change your route spontaneously while travelling but it is always good to know at least where you want to start and finish your trip before leaving.
If you have come up with a list of destinations you want to go with, start to think about how long you are going to travel and what kind of Interrail pass you are going to use. The Interrail Global passes are the best choice if you are going to visit two or more countries. If you are going to explore a single country go for the Interrail One Country passes. Most passes are valid one full month, leaving you with enough time for your trip. If you want to travel longer than one month, you can of course also combine two or even more Interrail passes. However, it often comes cheaper to combine a Interrail pass with advance fare tickets at the beginning and/or end of your trip and use Interrail in the middle.
Now you can start planning your exact route. Of course you don't have to pre-plan every journey in detail, after all Interrail gives you the freedom of travelling spontaneously, but it helps to have a least a rough plan to avoid unnecessary detours and losing time. To get an overview of the European railway network, have a look at the comprehensive rail map of Europe. Then, check out our tailor made route suggestions between the most important cities in Europe including timetables, scenic routes and tips to avoid trains with compulsory reservation. Often with additional blog posts with a lot of photos and background information. To search for detailed schedules all across Europe, use a schedule planner, for instance plan.rail.cc. To look for schedules during your travels, we recommend the Interrail Rail Planner App.
When go you go about planning train journey you will notice that many trains, mainly high speed trains, have compulsory reservation. This means that you need to buy a seat reservation in addition to your Interrail pass (your ticket). If you use lots of these trains during your trip the reservation fares can add up to a considerable amount. We recommend to avoid these trains if possible and use alternative connections without compulsory reservation instead. If you are going to use high speed trains do it on routes where they are much faster than regular trains. You will find detailed information about all train categories and reservation fees for each country here. In our route recommendations we always try to offer alternative connections without additional reservations fees.
Night trains are a great option to travel from one city to another overnight and save time and even money. Most night trains offer regular seats as well as beds in couchette and sleeper cars. The latter always require a reservation, while you can often use regular seats on night trains without extra reservations. By using night trains you can conveniently cover long distances and gain extra time for exploring new cities. We have compiled all available night trains in each country including schedules and reservation fees. Have a look at the list here.
After you have set out your route and have an idea about what trains you are going to take, it is time to think about accommodation. Where do you want to sleep? Are you going to take a tent with you, are you staying in hostel dorms or do you want to get a glimpse of the real life in another city and do couchsurfing? We recommend to book at least your accommodation in the first city of your trip in advance. Check out our recommendations in the accommodation section, book directly on booking.com and Hostelworld or look for hosts in our city hosts section.
To look for tips where to go, what to do in each city, have a look at our country section where you find recommendations for accommodation, restaurants, sightseeing etc. If you want, you can also add new locations there so that other travellers can benefit from your experiences.
Still looking for travel partners? Or do you need a local expert to show you around a city? Have a look at our social section where you can look for travel partners, city guides and city hosts. Why not register yourself as a city guide or city host and meet with travellers from all over Europe and the World? It is free of course and comes with no commitments at all.
We have also provided information about what to pack, money on your trip,...and if there are any questions left don't hesitate to ask in our forum. Better safe than sorry. 🙂
We want you to have the best Interrail trip and are happy to provide you with all the help you need. In return, don't forget to purchase your Interrail tickets directly in our shop. That way you enable us to provide all information and help for free. Thank you!
Interrail Global Pass
You can travel the following countries with an Interrail Global Pass: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom
how to Interrail
Important tips on how to Interrail. What is Interrail. What is a travel day. How to buy reservations for night trains. Which trains are included. Where to buy.
Interrail One Country Pass
The Interrail One Country Pass for unlimited train travel in one country of Europe: help in the forum, timetable and night train information.
Interrail train reservations
What trains require an Interrail reservation. How to avoid expensive reservations and save money. Here you get free help and a list of all trains.
Interrail night trains
Interrail night train travel. We list all connections, fares and categories: seat, couchette, sleeper. How and where to buy night train reservations.
Do you have further questions and need assistance? Do not hesitate to ask in our friendly forum where you always get detailed help.