Five great Interrail itineraries across Europe

Interrailing is an easy way to see the continent. We storied tours that comprise the Med, the Alps and an economical account of the Orient Express

Lakes and mountains

Suggested duration 15 eras
Stops Lausanne, Annecy, Chamonix, Zermatt, Lucerne, St Anton, Zell am See, Innsbruck, Bern
Shortcut Head straight to Zermatt to make it an 11 -day trip
Best Interrail pass 15 periods within two months( PS337 youth/ PS439 adult/ PS395 senior/ under 12 s free) or the tighter 10 dates within two months( PS274/ PS357/ PS321/ free ). Plus train reservations

The sight of a sparkle railway snaking over an Alpine pass or hugging a lagoon has long stimulated travellers, and both are well served by rail street. This itinerary entwine from France through Switzerland to Austria, with remarkable views that will glue you to the train windows.

At Lausanne, be sure to take an early morning dip at Plage de Pully, watching the sun rise over the Alps as you swim. Heading onwards, hem Lake Geneva to the beautiful municipality of Annecy, and take the chance to paddle a canoe to La Cuillere a Omble, a eatery at the lake’s southern end, sufficing neighbourhood freshwater fish.

Eastwards, at Chamonix, take the cable car to the top of the Aiguille du Midi for lunch at the self-service cafeteria of Le 3842 Restaurant, referred for its lofty altitude. The expedition onwards to Zermatt takes in elegant vistum as the improve hugs the mountainside. The stylish Swiss resort has fantastic hiking field, forgot by the Matterhorn.

At Lucerne, explore the cobbled alleys of the Kornmarkt and dine at the intimate, candlelit Grottino 1313 restaurant. From there, propel onwards through the Arlberg valley to St Anton, dwelling to some exhilarating ebike superhighway, after which you can take a deserved trough at the Arlberg Well spa. Continue east to lakeside Zell am See, where activities include paddleboarding, wakeboarding and waterskiing. Three times per week the free Magic Lake Show light-headeds up the water.

Switzerland map

The route home stops at Innsbruck, with its space-age funicular and gondola to the top of the Nordkette, at 2,256 metres, with a jaw-dropping view. Explore the historic old town and the Imperial Palace, with its opulence of the Habsburg dynasty.

Next, travel to Bern, whose old-fashioned municipality was declared a Unesco world heritage site in 1983. The municipality is also home to the Einstein Museum. Thun utters for a breathtaking 20 -minute side trip. Fast TGV and Eurostar studies will then fast you home.


Journey duration for all five schedules can is dependent upon time and go of deviation. These recommendations are for faster connections, though not definitely the fastest probable, and generally leaving in the morning on weekdays. We have prioritised develops that: expect no territory; are known to be very comfortable( such as RailJet ); or have good on-board business (< em> such as the ICE ).

London to Lausanne( Eurostar+ TGV, 7 hrs 10 mins, stay one night ); Lausanne to Annecy( regional+ TER+ TER, 3 hrs, stand two nights ); Annecy to Chamonix( TER+ TER+ TER, 3 hrs, 10 mins, stay one night ); Chamonix to Zermatt( TER+ regional+ InterRegio, 3 hrs 57 mins, stay two nights ); Zermatt to Lucerne( regional+ InterCity, 3 hrs 25 mins, stay one night ); Lucerne to St Anton,( InterRegio+ RailJet, 3 hrs 29 mins, stay two nights ); St Anton to Zell am See( EuroCity, 3 hrs 15 mins, bide two nights ); Zell am See to Innsbruck( Eurocity, 2 hrs, bide two nights ); Innsbruck to Bern( RailJet+ InterCity, 4 hrs 43 mins, stay one night ); Bern to London( TGV+ Eurostar, 8 hrs 22 mins ).

South to the Med

Sete is perfectly arranged as a stop-over between Barcelona and Nice. Photograph: Getty Persona

Suggested duration 14 days
Stops Toulouse, Barcelona, Sete, Nice, Genoa, Rome, Stresa, Zurich, Cologne
Shortcut Head straight to Nice to make it a 10 -day trip
Best Interrail pass Same as for the Pool and Mountains itinerary.

Rail pilgrimages to the Cote d’Azur began several years ago, when affluent Brits would go south on the Train Bleu. This itinerary dilates the superhighway, spanning Barcelona and on through breathtaking French and Italian Riviera coastline to Rome, and then home via Switzerland.

On your first night, in Toulouse, revere the stately building of the Place du Capitole before imbibing in the nightlife in the Carmes neighbourhood, starting at Chez Vincente bodega. From here there’s a selection of roads to Barcelona: a quick qualify via Perpignan or Narbonne, or the longer but so much better breathtaking regional instruct via Latour-de-Carol with a modification at the Spanish border( no reservations necessary and accessible, three connecting studies each day ). Between Latour-de-Carol and Toulouse, sit on the left to get the best goals. Formerly in the Catalan capital, check out the Museu d’Historia de Barcelona. Sete is a bustling port town crisscrossed by canals, close to eight miles of unsung coasts. Give your legs a exercising in Nice on the climb up Colline du Chateau, past waterfalls to a panorama over the city.

The extravagant eastward wander makes you to Genoa, where the Unesco-listed, cobbled Via Garibaldi is home to the stunning Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso. From there, a Frecciarossa train will race you south along the Ligurian coast to Rome, where the atmospheric Palatine Hill integrates towering pine trees, magnificent ruins and affecting attitudes. Unrivalled granita di caffe “il find” nearby at the Tazza d’Oro cafe.

Travel north via Milan to the enchanting town of Stresa, above Lake Maggiore. The improve road onward to Zurich fees through incredible sceneries, and the Swiss city is dotted with more than 30 river and lakeside badis – outdoor consortia- for dive by day and lounging at night. In Cologne, celebrate your attempts with a call to the Chocolate Museum, and its three-metre-high chocolate fountain, before catching a homebound ICE train.



London to Toulouse( Eurostar+ TGV, 8 hrs 10 mins, stay one night ); Toulouse to Barcelona( TER+ regional, 6 hrs 20 mins, stay two nights ); Barcelona to Sete( TGV+ TER, 3 hrs, 27 mins, stay one night ); Sete to Nice( TER+ TER, 5 hrs 25 mins, stand two nights ); Nice to Genoa( EuroCity, 4 hrs 4 mins, abide two nights ); Genoa to Rome,( Frecciabianca, 5 hrs, stand two nights ); Rome to Stresa( Frecciarossa+ EuroCity, 4 hrs 22 mins, stay one night ); Stresa to Zurich( EuroCity+ InterCity, 3 hrs 37 mins, stand two nights ); Zurich to Cologne( ICE+ ICE, 5 hrs 5mins, stay one night ); Cologne to London( ICE+ Eurostar, 5 hrs 17 mins ).

Scandinavian adventure

Nyhavn, Copenhagen.

Suggested span 17 periods
Stops: Amsterdam, Lubeck, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Oslo, Bergen, Lillehammer, Trondheim, Ostersund, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Antwerp
Shortcut Miss out Norway to make it an 11 -day trip
Best Interail pass 15 dates within two months( interpret South to the Med itinerary) or the 22 -day ongoing pass( PS354 youth/ PS461 adult/ PS415 major/ under 12 s free ). Plus train reservations

Scandinavia’s plains simply request to be explored by teach, and this road offerings a ringside accommodate for some of its dazzling scenery. Before the fjords of Norway come the canals of Amsterdam , now linked readily by Eurostar from London. Hire a motorcycle to explore foregrounds such as the masterpiece-filled Rijksmuseum and then lounge in the leafy Vondelpark, residence to innovative cafes such as the saucer-shaped Blue Tea House( Blauwe Theehuis ).

Next stop, at the historic port of Lubeck, climbing the 50 -metre spire of Petrikirche to gaze over the Baltic, before lunch at Cafe Niederegger: it does good sandwiches but its speciality is marzipan, which it even places in the cappuccinos.

On the pilgrimage north, the civilize fees on to a boat for the 50 -minute crossing to Rodbyhavn in Denmark. Then it’s on to design and foodie heaven in Copenhagen, residence to Designmuseum Danmark, with cutting-edge art, furniture, ceramic and digital design inspiration. In the night, trip supernatural, fairy-lit Tivoli Gardens.

Next day, in Gothenburg, the Museum of Art has a huge collection of Nordic paintings and sculpture and, south of the centre, Slottsskogen park has meadows and forests, and a cafe.

In Oslo, tour the Vigeland Sculpture Park, with its 212 bronze and granite effigies documenting the human condition. On the way to Bergen, on the west coast, the set climbings to over 1,200 metres: you spans a elevation plateau called Hardangervidda and envision waterfalls, cliffs and ravines. A sleeper makes you to Lillehammer, a pleasant lakeside city, and then it’s on to compact, remarkable Trondheim, founded in 977 AD. Take a boat junket to the island of Munkholmen- formerly a castle, monastery and second world war anti-aircraft shoot station.

Back into Sweden, pause for lakeside relaxation in Ostersund and stay Jamtli, its historic open-air museum. A must-visit in Stockholm is the Vasa Museum, dwelling of a ship repaired in 1628 and majestically retained. For hipster vibes, scamper over to Sodermalm, an island within the city, and search Bar Agrikultur in Nytorget.

Speed back to Copenhagen and then on to Hamburg. Get up early for Altona fish market, which sells everything from ocean people to fifth-hand junk – it’s a nutritiou recuperation after a big night out in the Reeperbahn district, perhaps. Break your travel home in charming Antwerp, whose central railway station is often voted the most beautiful in the world.

Photograph: graphics


London to Amsterdam( Eurostar, 3 hrs 55 mins, stay one night ); Amsterdam to Lubeck( InterCity+ Intercity+ regional, 7 hrs 17 mins, stay one night ); Lubeck to Copenhagen( EuroCity, 4 hrs, 58 mins, stay one night ); Copenhagen to Gothenburg( regional, 3 hrs 40 mins, stay two nights ); Gothenburg to Oslo( regional, 4 hrs, stay one night ); Oslo to Bergen( regional, 6 hrs 30 mins, stay two nights ); Bergen to Lillehammer( sleeper study+ InterCity, 9 hrs 40 mins, stay one night ); Lillehammer to Trondheim( regional, 4 hrs 35 mins, bide two nights ); Trondheim to Ostersund( regional+ regional, 3 hrs 44 mins, stay one night ); Ostersund to Stockholm( SJ, 4 hrs 42 mins, keep two nights ); Stockholm to Copenhagen( SJ, 5 hrs 7 mins, stay one night ); Copenhagen to Hamburg( InterCity+ InterCity 6 hrs 10 mins, stay one night ); Hamburg to Antwerp( Intercity+ Thalys, 6 hrs 44 mins, stay one night ); Antwerp to London( Thalys+ Eurostar, 3 hrs 24 mins ).

East to Istanbul

The Bosporus and Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul. Photograph: Anton Petrus/ Getty Images

Suggested period 19 dates
Route stops Paris, Munich, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade, Nis, Plovdiv, Istanbul, Veliko Tarnovo, Bucharest, Vienna, Venice, Milan
Best Interrail pass Same as the Scandinavia escapade itinerary

The legendary Orient Express route, all the way to Istanbul, is the stuff rail illusions are made of- a pilgrimage peppered with some of Europe’s very interesting cities

The trip begins with a night in Paris- with time to visit the romantic Palais-Royal garden-varieties– before hasten by ICE train to Munich, with its vibrant, open-air Victuals Market. European sleeper teaches can deal massive lengths overnight, so sleep to Ljubljana and wake up in a town whose stately central streets are beautifully car-free. Head up Ljubljana castle and then dine out at the Cankarjevo nabrezje, a riverside walkway strung with eateries.

Your next train eastward is to Zagreb, with its beautiful Gornji Grad quarter, and Museum of Broken Relationships. Then sleep your channel to Belgrade, a city brimming with culture and pedestrianised territories. Once in Nis, in southern Serbia, be sure to spend time at Holy Trinity cathedral, a curious mixture of Byzantine, Islamic, Renaissance and baroque vogues, replete with intricate frescoes.

Onwards overnight into Bulgaria, via Sofia, you’ll alight at Plovdiv, the oldest repeatedly colonized metropoli in Europe. Eight thousand years after being founded, the city is 2019 European capital of culture. Don’t miss one of the best-preserved amphitheatres in the world. Seven hours by sleeper last-minute, you’ll arrive in Istanbul. The historic core, Sultanahmet, is a marvelous mixture of wonders, such as the majestic Blue Mosque, with its 260 stained-glass windows.

On the return passage wests, Veliko Tarnovo in north Bulgaria makes a good stop , not least for its excellent handicraft market, Samovodska Charshiya. The improve then manager north to Bucharest, residence of the massive Palace of Parliament, the world’s largest parliamentary house. From there, it’s a long sleeper learn jaunt to stunning Vienna, epicentre of cafe culture. Explore museums such as Haus der Musik with rooms dedicated to the Viennese composers, including Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss, and the sumptuous Schonbrunn Palace, where Mozart play-act aged six.

Travel overnight to Venice, and seek out Gelateria Nico in Dorsoduro, which has been serving homemade ice-cream and its notorious gianduiotto sundae since 1935. Just over two hours west by runway is Milan, whose stately Gothic Duomo took 500 years to build. See Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, a fitting objective before the EuroNight sleeper carries you home.


London to Paris( Eurostar, 2 hrs 26 mins, stay one night ); Paris to Munich( ICE+ ICE, 5 hrs 33 mins, stay one night ); Munich to Ljubljana( Euronight teach, 6 hrs, 37 mins, remain two nights ); Ljubljana to Zagreb( Euronight set, 2 hrs 8 mins, stay one night ); Zagreb to Belgrade( sleeper develop, 6 hrs 19 mins, stay one night ); Belgrade to Nis( 4 hrs 27 mins, stay one night ); Nis to Plovdiv via Sofia( sleeper improve+ regional, 9 hrs 56 mins, bide two nights ); Plovdiv to Istanbul( sleeper qualify, 7 hrs 21 mins, bide three darkness ); Istanbul to Veliko Tarnovo( sleeper set, 12 hrs 24 mins, stay one night ); Veliko Tarnovo to Bucharest( INT, 8 hrs 49 mins, stay one night ); Bucharest to Vienna( Euronight sleeper drill, 19 hrs 21 mins, bide two nights ); Vienna to Venice, NightJet sleeper train, 10 hrs 57 min, remain two nights ); Venice to Milan( Frecciarossa, 2 hrs 13 mins, stay one night ); Milan to London( Euronight+ Eurostar, 14 hrs 37 mins ).

Great European municipals

Old Town Square, Prague. Photograph: Pauline Lewis/ Getty Images

Suggested span 20 days
Stops Bordeaux, San Sebastian, Madrid, Barcelona, Lyon, Turin, Florence, Salzburg, Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, Berlin, Brussels
Shortcut Head straight to Lyon to make it a 14 -day trip
Best Interrail pass Same as the Scandinavia undertaking itinerary

A combination of high-speed daytime routes and sleeper trains makes a whirlwind rail tour of some of Europe’s finest cities eminently doable. This excursion spans eight countries- a massive gob of European culture in one expedition. Set out to reach Bordeaux before the sunbathe adjusts, to celebrate the start of your expedition with a glass and some charcuterie at wine-colored disallow La Ligne Rouge, neglecting the Garonne river, before an night stroll along the Pont de Pierre, which was commissioned by Napoleon.

Then it’s over the Spanish border to San Sebastian in the Basque country, for pintxos and the sumptuou seafront amble between La Concha and Ondarreta seas. Next, crusade south to Madrid, where restaurant Mercado de la Reina is the smudge for magnanimous portions of elaborate tapas. A swiftly AVE train will wipe you to Barcelona, to explore La Boqueria, the epic food market, and the structure of the Gothic Quarter.

Travel back over the border to Lyon, to stroll around the fountained Place des Jacobins and trip the Musee Miniature et Cinema, a must for cinema lovers.

In Turin, less than four hours away, cobbled Via Borga Dora has antique drapes outlets and a weekend flea market. Florence, spiritual- and physical- dwelling of so much Renaissance art, needs no opening. Tour wonders like the Duomo cathedral, and experience wine-colored, pasta and other regional specialities at the Coquinarius restaurant.

The cozy NightJet sleeper train network connects Florence with quite Salzburg. A network of ice caves 50 miles away in Werfen is a profitable jaunt.

Prague, six hours’ ride to the north, is something of a Gothic fairytale. Check out picturesque common Petrinske Sady, Old Town Square and Prague Castle, which dates back to 870 AD.

Travel overnight to Krakow, a town that- as well as epic historical sites- has a buzzing bar scene and trendy hangouts such as Forum Przestrzenie on the banks of the Vistula. Further north, in Warsaw, revere the view over the city from the 30 th storey of the Palace of Culture and Science.

Time your overnight excursion to Berlin to arrive on a Sunday, and heading straight-from-the-shoulder to Mauerpark for the bonkers outdoor karaoke– which attracts an public of thousands from 3pm.

At your final stop, Brussels, try the mussels at family-owned Chez Leon, and a final nighttime out at Cafe Delirium, with its 2,004 brews. Pop into the Chocolate Museum too, prior to being wiped back to London on the Eurostar.

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