kamila

Can't live without travels! Wherever she goes she always looks for alternative spots or street art. A huge fan of Central Europe and off the beaten path places and a living proof that you can balance full time job and extensive travel!

Exploring Europe with Interrail tickets

As you might know trains are my huge passion! So huge that most of my childhood memories have something to do with trains, I wrote my master thesis about them and now I even work at the railway company (today is exactly 7 years since I started, I plan and organize trains’ schedules, how cool is that?). Ever since I remember I was always travelling by train and I grew up believing this is the best way to move around. Now, all these years later I still second that opinion. And so when I was planning my June trip to Romania and Bulgaria I figured out that Interrail tickets might be my best option.


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Budapest Keleti
What are the Interrail tickets?

Interrail is a pass that allows you unlimited travels around Europe by train. You choose the days and countries and you are free to take any train you like. It’s a perfect way to discover Europe as not only you’re easily getting from place A to place B but also you can admire incredible views on the way. It’s like sightseeing and relaxing at the same time! Just remember: Interrail tickets are only available for European citizens (and their are not valid in the country of your residence, all the others can use Eurail pass which basically works the same.

interrail tickets
What are the types of passes and prices?

Now here you have few options to choose the best Interrail tickets for you. As soon as you plan your railway trip around Europe you can see which pass would work the best for you. There are country passes, where you can travel freely around one country chosen by you and there is a global pass which allows you to use trains in 30 European countries.

Here’re some prices of the country pass (for adult, in the second class however you can get discounts and choose between first and second class travels):
Germany – 3 days within 1 month: 203€, 4 days: 223€, 6 days: 283€, 8 days: 313€
Spain – 3 days within 1 month: 173€, 4 days: 197€, 6 days: 256€, 8 days: 297€
Poland – 3 days within 1 month: 78€, 4 days: 95€, 6 days: 125€, 8 days: 148€
Switzerland – 3 days within 1 month: 118€, 4 days: 149€, 6 days: 199€, 8 days: 239€
The whole list of countries and prices can be found on Interrail website.

The global pass can be bought in 5 different combinations: 5 days of travels within 10 days – 264€, 10 days within 22 days – 374€, 15 days continuous – 414€, 22 days continuous – 484€, 1 month continuous – 626€.

So you see, the options are very wide and everyone can find something suitable for his/her trip!

Romanian train
Are there any extra costs when using Interrail tickets?

Yes, there might be some! In some countries ticket reservation is obligatory and can cost extra (like 3€ in international trains in Central Europe or around 10€ is high-speed domestic trains in Spain). But there are countries like Germany, Austria or Poland where you can use all the trains without spending more money. The best way to find if the supplement is required is the Rail Planner app – not only it works offline and allows you to look up the schedules anytime and any place you want to but it also shows you in which trains you’d need to pay extra! Of course you can always take slower trains at no costs – with Interrail tickets you’re flexible and it’s all up to you how you’d travel!

Hungarian trains
My experience with with Interrail Global Pass

The recent trip was my first one using Interrail tickets but at my work once a year I can apply for a pass that in 90% works the same as Interrail – I’ve been using that one for over 10 years now (before I started working I was getting it from my parents’ – they work at the railways too) and crossed Europe few times with it. My itinerary was as follow:

Warsaw, PolandBudapest, Hungary (night train, I bought a supplement for a couchette for 11.90€) -> Budapest – Arad, Romania (international day train, with a required supplement of 3€) -> Arad – Timisoara (a regional train) -> Timisoara – Bucharest (night train, I bought a supplement for a couchette for 8€) -> Bucharest – Gorna Orjahovica, Bulgaria (international day train, with a required supplement of 3€) -> Gorna Orjahovica – Veliko Tarnovo (regional train) -> Veliko Tarnovo – Gorna Orjahovica (regional train) -> Gorna Orjahovica – Sofia (fast train, no supplement required) -> Sofia – Budapest (overnight train that took 21 hours, I bought a supplement for a sleeping compartment for 18.20€) -> Budapest – Komarom (fast train that apparently I needed a supplement for but I didn’t have one and I talked myself out of the troubles) -> Komarno, Slovakia – Nove Zamky (regional train) -> Nove Zamky – Bratislava (international fast train, no supplement required) -> Bratislava – Warsaw (night train, I bought a supplement for a couchetter for 11.90€).

The whole trip took me 9 days out of which I spent 7 days traveling by train, I went through 5 countries. I used a global pass, 10 days within 22 days as it was the best one for such a journey. I spent 59€ on supplements but I could have done this trip for less, i.e. getting a seat reservation in the night trains (I took 4 of these). Still I think those were money well spent as you feel completely different after a night in a horizontal position and without worrying that someone might rob you any minute. I could have also taken only day trains but to be honest I really enjoy travelling overnight – not only I can save time that way, I also like the sound on the wheels clopping on the tracks.

Bulgarian railways
During my whole trip I didn’t have any problems but one minor issue in Hungary. Before boarding the train from Budapest to Komarom I checked on the printed schedule at the platform if my ride requires a supplement – it didn’t. To my big surprise, a young guy checking the tickets asked me for the supplement of around 2€. When it turned out I don’t have one, I don’t have any Hungarian money on me and I can’t pay with a card I explained I had no idea about the supplement and he just let me go, telling me to remember about it next time. He even came back just before Komarom to tell me we’re approaching my stop. I still don’t know if I really needed the supplement or not.

Twice, during the whole trip, my trains got delayed so much I was about to miss my connection, both times in Gorna Orjahovica, Bulgaria. Fortunately, since you have to write down on the ticket the trains you’re taking, the conductor could see my plans and I didn’t have to explain where I want to go. Before I even asked she explained, in a poor English, my train will be waiting and I shouldn’t worry. And it was indeed there when I arrived!

Bulgarian countryside

Should you get Interrail tickets for your next European trip?

In general: YES! However, in some Central and Eastern European countries, where the train connections aren’t that well developed, it’s good to do some research before, to compare schedules and count prices to see if this is really the best option for you (most likely it will be). When it comes to Western and Northern Europe I wouldn’t think twice, you can’t get any better deal! For example in Germany high-speed train from Berlin to Munich takes 6.5 hours and costs (the regular price) 130€ while 8 days of travels within a month is 313€…

But the best things about Interrail tickets are the flexibility and the freedom! You can choose and then change your route whenever and however you want, you are the only person deciding where and when to go! If you feel like suddenly going to the seaside or visiting a nearby city the only thing you need to do is catching the next train! And if your train happen to be delayed for whatever reason (or without any reason at all) you can just modify your journey without paying extra! Seriously, I can’t imagine a better way to travel around Europe, I’m already looking forward to my next train journey and I can recommend Interrail tickets to everyone! And if you’re looking for some inspiration be sure to check out my posts where I asked fellow travel bloggers about their favourite railway journeys!

Arad train station
Do you like traveling by train? Have you ever used Interrail tickets? What would be your perfect railway trip in Europe?


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Note: I got a complimentary Global Pass from Interrail however I did a significant amount of train travels around Europe in past 10 years and all the opinions are 100% mine!

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1 Lip '15

There are 35 Comments.

  1. Franca
    14:30 02/07/2015

    Perfect timing Kami! We are thinking at maybe doing a similar trip in Eastern Europe by train and this info are incredibly useful and will help us planning it better if we end up doing it. Thanks! :)
    Franca latest post…8 Vegan Restaurants in Barcelona We Think You’ll LoveMy Profile

    • kami
      20:53 28/07/2015

      you’re very welcome! if you need any help with planning let me know! I’m a master of train travels in Europe ;)

  2. Dzięki, wkrótce zamierzamy po raz pierwszy spróbować, więc taki poradnik bardzo się przyda.

  3. Wypytam kiedyś Cię o szczegóły na osobności, bo chodzi mi to po głowie od kilku lat ;)

  4. Podobnie uwielbiam podrozowac pociagami, to ma jakis szczegolny smaczek (szczegolnie dlatego, ze w samolotach nie czuje sie bezpiecznie), a podroz pociagiem to fajna przygoda, i po drodze wiele mozna zobaczyc. Pozdrawiam serdecznie Beata

    • kami
      20:54 28/07/2015

      zgadzam się w 100%, chociaż do samolotów już się przyzwyczaiłam!

  5. czytałam już częściowe relację, przeczytam i tą i będzie komplet

  6. O właśnie, czy warto, zastanawiałam się już od jakiegoś czasu. Dziękuję za podpowiedzi! ;)

  7. Jak pisałam na FB zdecydowanie wybieram samochód, choć przejechałam właśnie ponad 500 km, padam na paszczę, to jednak mam nadal nie odbyłabym takiej odważnej podróży :)
    Nie jestem też obiektywna, bo na europejską podróż się nie decyduję :)
    Dolnośląski Podróżnik latest post…Instagram w czerwcuMy Profile

    • kami
      20:55 28/07/2015

      co kto lubi, ile osób tyle opinii, i to w sumie jest fajne :)

  8. kiedyś o tym myślałem, biorę się za czytanie..

  9. Słyszałam od wielu znajomych z Anglii, że to świetny sposób na podróż po Europie, więc kiedyś się temu przyjrzę. I zgadzam się, że pociągi są wspaniałe! :)

  10. I love traveling by train! It isn’t as much of an option in Canada/USA as it is in Europe. Sounds like this pass is a great deal!
    Lauren @ Justin Plus Lauren latest post…Bruce Trail Hike #4 – Canals and Golf CoursesMy Profile

    • kami
      20:56 28/07/2015

      I took few trains in Canada (Toronto-Kingston-Montreal-Quebec City and back) and I really enjoyed the journey! And the pass is pretty good indeed :)

  11. Kiedyś myślałam o Interail, ale po przekroczeniu 25 roku życia nie obowiązuje mnie już zniżka i wydaje mi się, że te 600 euro to już trochę za drogo. Co o tym myślisz, Kamila?

    • kami
      20:57 28/07/2015

      zależy dokąd byś chciała jechać i jak dużo podróżowac tymi pociagami. tak jak pisałam, w niektórych krajach to naprawdę niezły deal, ale im dalej na wschód tym bardziej różnie z tym bywa. a i 600€ to chyba już taki najbardziej na wypasie, opcji jest sporo różnych, żeby to dobrze rozegrać :)

  12. Czytasz w moich myślach …. po okresie wakacyjnym akurat mam w planach wyjazd do Portugalii no i pociągiem do Madrytu i Barcelony muszę się w tym bardziej rozeznać… porównać co wyjdzie mi na lepsze. Bardzo ciekawy wpis!!! Masz u mnie 5+

    • kami
      21:08 28/07/2015

      cieszę się bardzo, że wpis się podobał i mam nadzieję, że się przyda :) a Portugalia fantastyczna, polecam bardzo!

  13. I don’t travel by train but still I find it very useful :) I didn’t even know that Interrail system exists…
    sekulada.com latest post…Niezniszczalny – Zamek MarksburgMy Profile

  14. Laura
    22:38 06/07/2015

    Hmm… I used to like travelling by train, but since I now commute for about 2 1/2 hours a day on a really unreliable and busy commuter train it’s put me off. I do like travelling by train on new routes though. I would like to take the Eurostar to Avignon at some point…

    • kami
      21:11 28/07/2015

      yeah, commuting really can change the perspective, been there done that ;) I’m actually thinking of traveling by train in France next year and Avignon really seems like a place I’d like to visit!

  15. Dzięki za ten post… to tylko motywuje mnie do tego, żeby w końcu obadać temat, który mnie interesuje od jakichś pięciu lat! ;) Mam jakiś mega sentyment do pociągów, choć psioczę na nie czasami niesamowicie!
    Marcin Wesołowski latest post…Jad Waszem. Instytut Pamięci Męczenników i Bohaterów Holokaustu w JerozolimieMy Profile

    • kami
      21:12 28/07/2015

      a ja wtedy psiocze na Ciebie, że na nie psioczysz ;) jedź koniecznie na interraila jakiegoś jak się nadarzy okazja, naprawde warto!! a i pociągi nie sa takie straszne jak Ci sie zdaje! ;)

  16. Mirøslav
    17:57 08/07/2015

    I’m not surprised that your only delay was in Bulgaria :D So typical
    Mirøslav latest post…Observe the rulesMy Profile

  17. rozumiem zachwyt pociągami, ale jednak co roadtrip to roadtrip ;)

  18. Ja tak podróżowałam po Finlandii, fajna sprawa.

  19. You know what, I never knew that Interrail is only for European citizens and not valid in your residence country. So it’s obvious, I should definitely travel by train more often … will definitely keep this in mind for next travels, although we usually carry a lot (camping equipment and such) so it might not be wise. But then again, it would probably be easy to take our bikes. Should look into this!
    antonette – we12travel latest post…Video: Sweden outdoor weekendMy Profile

    • kami
      21:15 28/07/2015

      you definitely should take a look into this and plan a small interrail trip around! and from the Netherlands you have so many great possibilities!!

  20. Great post! I’ve never used an interrail ticket but am looking at them for a Christmas market trip through Germany and Austria this year!
    Hannah latest post…Ottawa’s Can’t Miss Summer Food FestivalsMy Profile

    • kami
      21:16 28/07/2015

      they are really the best for train travels around Europe so you might want to try it :)

  21. You went to Romania as well, how cool! I hope you enjoyed your stay there! :) I’ve been planing an Interail trip for over 4 years now, I can’t believe how long I’ve been postponing it. It has to happen this year!!
    Dorothea latest post…10 Things Your Portuguese Teacher Won’t Tell You About LisbonMy Profile

    • kami
      21:16 28/07/2015

      4 years is way too much, you should definitely do that!!! And Romania was amazing, it’s one of the most interesting yet so underrated countries in Europe!

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