• Our booking engine at tickets.railforums.co.uk (powered by TrainSplit) helps support the running of the forum with every ticket purchase! Find out more and ask any questions/give us feedback in this thread!

Planning an Interrail trip?

Status
Not open for further replies.

philthetube

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Messages
3,766
I am Retiring this year and fancy buying a 3 month Interrail ticket either for the Autumn or next Spring, covid permitting, travelling on my own and trying not to spend too much so looking for cheap digs, although I would probably buy first class.

My thoughts are to travel to Eastern Europe and spend a month around there, then back home for a week followed by a week in Ireland and another month in Western Europe. However I am flexible on this.

I am into scenery rather than traction, though I do like old and quirky, I am looking to see places I visit and am not aiming to spend all day everyday travelling.

I am wondering if people think this is a good idea and for itinerary suggestions.

These would be appreciated.

Thanks in anticipation.
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

bspahh

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2017
Messages
1,756
You have 9 hours left before the InterRail sale ends

You save 20% when you buy now for travel starting any time in the next 11 months.

For example, a 3 month 1st class ticket if you are over 60 will be €1828 instead of €2284
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
18,235
Location
Airedale
Interrail have regular sales, so no need to rush - though if this one is fully refundable that's OK!

Some thoughts to add to Seat61's excellence advice:

1. My first reaction - three months seems rather a lot, but looking at the pricing it's a no-brainer. Just make sure you don't travel too intensively. Even without Covid I would be inclined to go for Spring as Autumn will take you into November with the nights drawing in....

2. In normal times at least, First Class gets you the freebies on your two days' permitted travel in the UK - your username suggests that may be more use to me in the North though than to you :( - and the Passholder rate in Standard Premier on Eurostar is hardly more than Standard. The Austrian lounges are worth it, too - German ones I think are barred :(

3. Italy, France and Spain are a bit of a pain with Interrail, because of compulsory reservations, but the only real rip-off fees IIRC are for the international TGVs.

4. My knowledge of Central Europe doesn't go further East than Slovakia, but thus far it is well worth it. Others will know better....

5. Unless you are planning on flying, I would be tempted to mix and match East Central and West.

Go for it!
 

philthetube

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Messages
3,766
You have 9 hours left before the InterRail sale ends

You save 20% when you buy now for travel starting any time in the next 11 months.

For example, a 3 month 1st class ticket if you are over 60 will be €1828 instead of €2284
Thanks for your help, however I think you have got your prices wrong, or they have changed, 3 months first class seniour is 1082euro full price, I bought and got 20% off that, I have not got the pass and so am confident that that is correct,

Thanks again.
 

bspahh

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2017
Messages
1,756
Thanks for your help, however I think you have got your prices wrong, or they have changed, 3 months first class seniour is 1082euro full price, I bought and got 20% off that, I have not got the pass and so am confident that that is correct,

Thanks again.

No problem. I read the figures off a the page from the URL, but that is now dead. Enjoy your trip!
 

philthetube

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Messages
3,766
Cheers.

Just been looking on the Interrail site and I think I will start by doing the 10 cities itinary suggested, planning to spend 2 nights in each, but flexible.
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
18,235
Location
Airedale
Cheers.

Just been looking on the Interrail site and I think I will start by doing the 10 cities itinary suggested, planning to spend 2 nights in each, but flexible.
Which 10?
I would definitely recommend 2-night minimum for stops, simply to reduce the number of days of schlepping baggage, repacking etc.
Treat yourself to a Nightjet 1st class sleeper, though, ideally a double deck one.
 

Vectron

Member
Joined
11 Dec 2017
Messages
32
Interrail planning can be a chore or an addiction, with a three month trip I hope it’s the latter!

When I did my first Interrail I was in a similar position to you - I’d decided to do it but didn’t know where I wanted to go (I was interested in old locomotives particularly where they were losing their passenger workings) so I simply made a list of what appeared to be the most interesting areas and started planning. This shaped my thinking as I began to understand the time needed to travel between places and the number of trains per day that take the route I wanted. Many revisions later I finally had an itinerary I was happy with!

For a more tourist focused trip plan to spend a few days in major cities and travel to destinations that can comfortably be reached in a day, e.g. Melk and Bratislava from Vienna. This allows you to sight-see without carrying a (presumably) large heavy rucksack or being dependent on left luggage lockers, it also means you don’t have to clock watch. Wikivoyage.org is a useful guide to determine how much time you may want to spend in a place.

If you are looking for cheapish accommodation use booking.com or similar to see where these are as it’s unlikely to be in the town centre near the main station with a 24 hour reception! Factor in time for getting to/from them each day and also give yourself start and end of day times. For late arrivals I find somewhere to eat on tripadvisor.com before arriving.

A first class ticket is definitely worth the investment. I would also recommend making seat reservations for longer journeys.

A final word on planning. The DB/Austrian/Swiss railway planning tools include most European timetables but if you are traveling to some of the more far flung places in eastern Europe or the former Yugoslavia countries you may need to check the local timetables if only international trains appear to be shown. Most of these have an English option. At the moment some countries (France and Italy spring to mind but there will be others) haven’t issued a timetable for the full year so if there are no fast train options on a route you expected use January/February 2020 dates which are available on the DB site as a guide.

Happy planning!!
 
Last edited:

Vectron

Member
Joined
11 Dec 2017
Messages
32
A starter-for-ten itinerary for the east:

Day1 London-Cologne
o/n Cologne (1 night)
Day 2 Cologne-Salzburg (via Rhine Valley)
o/n Salzburg (2 nights)
Day 3 Salzburg
Day 4 Salzburg-Vienna (via Klagenfurt or Selzthal)
o/n Vienna (4 nights)
Day 5-7 Vienna
half day trip to Melk
day trip to Bratislava
Day 8 Vienna-Budapest (am)
Budapest Children’s Railway (this is a proper railway!)
o/n Budapest (3 nights)
Day 9-10 Budapest
Day 11 Budapest--Starý Smokovec (Tatra Mountains)
o/n Starý Smokovec (2 nights)
Day 12 Tatra Mountains
Day 13 Starý Smokovec-Krakow
o/n Krakow (2 nights)
Day 14 Krakow
Day 15 Krakow-Wrocław
o/n Wrocław 2 nights
Day 16 Wrocław-Prague
o/n Prague (3 nights)
Day 17-18 Prague
Day 19 Prague-Dresden (via Elbe Valley)
o/n Dresden (3 nights)
Day 20-21 Dresden
Day trip to Zittau steam lines
Day 22 Dresden-Berlin
o/n Berlin 3 nights
Day 23-24 Berlin
Day 25 Back to UK
 
Last edited:

Vectron

Member
Joined
11 Dec 2017
Messages
32
Some notes from the above itinerary:

- 30907’s suggestion to break-up the journey east is a very good one.
- I have assumed that you haven’t visited too much of eastern Europe and so have focused on the big tourist centres (they’re popular for a reason!)
- I have tried to leave spare time in the itinerary so you can add in more scenic journeys traveling between destinations
- Salzburg to Vienna via Selzthal is probably more picturesque than the Klangenfurt route but both go through the Semmering gorge.
- Ljubljana could be fitted in between Salzburg and Vienna but would probably need two days including the additional travel time.
- Vienna Hbf is well worth a visit for a couple of hours - I was there in the afternoon rush hour when all sorts of trains and locos were there.
- The Budapest Children’s Railway is a real 760mm gauge line with proper diesels driven by adults.
- I haven’t visited the Tatra Mountains but it appears to be a very interesting network. Starý Smokovec is a tourist destination and has plenty of restaurants etc.
-If you can be in Prague at the weekend (April to October) there are eight diesel hauled departures between about 08.30 and 09.15. The station is very busy with double length platforms with the majority of trains loco hauled.
- You could do day trip to Colditz from Dresden although it’s probably easier from Leipzig. I visited on a Wednesday afternoon when there was a two hour English tour that goes to parts of the castle not otherwise visited.
- There two steam railways 30 minutes from Dresden and either can be reached for an afternoon trip.
- If you like a beer or three then a detour to Bamberg is essential, maybe on the way back from Berlin. Bamberg is well worth a visit in it’s own right.
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
18,235
Location
Airedale
Some notes from the above itinerary:

- 30907’s suggestion to break-up the journey east is a very good one.
I was rather assuming the OP was thinking of heading further East than Budapest, and suggesting "mixing and matching" the more "exotic" with the "established"
- I haven’t visited the Tatra Mountains but it appears to be a very interesting network. Starý Smokovec is a tourist destination and has plenty of restaurants etc.
I have, and it's definitely worth it, as are several other lines in central SK, as several forum regulars will confirm - however, unless you have some German you may struggle in less touristy areas.
There's even a back route to Krakow summer weekends IIRC.
-If you can be in Prague at the weekend (April to October) there are eight diesel hauled departures between about 08.30 and 09.15.
Absolutely! Not all of them are covered by IR, but those that aren't are cheap.
 

Richard Scott

Established Member
Joined
13 Dec 2018
Messages
3,706
I'd start in Romania, the scenery from Bucharest to Sibiu is quite spectacular and also the train from Bucharest to Sofia (Bulgaria) is worth doing as scenery quite spectacular in Bulgaria especially after Levski. From Sofia can head into Serbia and this is surprisingly scenic on the run to Nis, less so from Nis to Belgrade. Can then head into Croatia and onwards through Slovenia. If it's scenery you're after then run up to Maribor is good as is Jesenice down towards Nova Gorica. Can get into Austria via either route (Maribor or Jesenice). If stay in Vienna got loads of options for day trips, Hungary and Lake Balaton easy in a day as is Zilina or Zvolen in Slovakia, Prague also possible as is Bolzano in Italy with a trip over Brenner pass. A few ideas, hopefully of some use? Some of these trains only run in summer e.g. Sofia to Belgrade.
 

philthetube

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Messages
3,766
Thanks for the advice guys, I think I might go for Vectron's trip, when conditions allow, sounds great.
 

Techniquest

Veteran Member
Joined
19 Jun 2005
Messages
21,674
Location
Nowhere Heath
My hotel recommendation for Kraków would be the one I stayed in in January 2020, Corner Hotel.

Really nice modern place, with decent beds, excellent showers (honestly you'd be amazed how much variety you get around the world with showers), induction hob cooker, mini kitchen, fridge (certainly in the apartment, not now 100% on the individual rooms), excellent WiFi and the breakfast buffet was worth paying for :D Oh and there's a kettle in the room, something I rarely see in a European hotel :D

Quite close to Kraków's historic city centre too, with buses and trams a couple of minutes' walk away. Couple of convenience stores within a few minutes too, and the railway station is not that far either. I loved my stay, both in the apartment and in one of the regular rooms, and I honestly would not hesitate to book it again, as well as of course recommending it to everyone :D

Depending what you want to do in Kraków and the surrounding area, you might only need one night there. It's not a huge city, so the best bits are all easily walkable. I didn't want to do the salt mines, and Auschwitz was so far off my list of things to do I'd rather re-hire an old boss and work with them than go to that place...

As for an InterRail trip, I have considered one myself. I had hoped, in 2020, that I would get to do it in 2021 but that looks unlikely :(

I'm a bit late to the party with this thread, but I would recommend two days in Budapest. It's another easily walkable city, although I would say it's a bit more spread out than Kraków so it takes longer to walk between highlights. If pushed for time, a long day of exploring with the aid of trams would be doable but less fun.

I completely fail to recall, without digging out my trip report, which station was the most impressive now. I want to say Nyugati, but that name suggests the station I couldn't get out of fast enough. Keleti is a name with better memories, although out of the 3 main terminus stations I cannot immediately recall which was which. I do remember some of the trains have/had a particular charm to them, and I did wonder what they were like to travel on.

Also, when I suggest Budapest by foot takes some doing I am not kidding. I love exploring a city by foot whenever possible, and in the two full days I was there I did something like 41-42 miles. They were long days mind, and it is not necessary to do that much walking. A few miles on the trip were credited to hunting down verified venues on Untappd at the time (this was autumn 2019, way before I went teetotal in January 2020) in all fairness!

There's so many wonderful parts of Europe to explore by rail, I've got my eye on Slovenia for example. I was reminded of it when watching one of Non Stop Euro Trip's videos yesterday on YouTube, certainly a country not talked about as much as it deserves to be!
 

philthetube

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Messages
3,766
Thanks for this, all advice is welcome, I am not going to fix an itinerary, if I arrive somewhere and I like it I will stay an extra day or two, I have no plans to travel high season anyway, so accommodation should be doable.
 

Techniquest

Veteran Member
Joined
19 Jun 2005
Messages
21,674
Location
Nowhere Heath
Thanks for this, all advice is welcome, I am not going to fix an itinerary, if I arrive somewhere and I like it I will stay an extra day or two, I have no plans to travel high season anyway, so accommodation should be doable.

A good idea that, it'll take full advantage of the fleixibility of the ticket which is a nice bonus.

I'm hoping to one day do an InterRail myself, or at least a tour of Europe, however I'd do the opposite and plan well in advance with multiple backup plans. So I'll probably be more likely to book lots of tickets in advance rather than use an InterRail, to be honest. I guess it will depend on what I settle on doing, it looks like a lot of high-speed running on TGVs, ICEs and the like will feature for me. Not that I'm complaining mind! :D
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top