Thé answer to all your Interrail questions. Planning, reservations, night-trains and more!
What is Interrail?
Discover Europe with Interrail! Interrail is a railway pass valid in 31 participating countries in Europe, which allows you to travel unlimited to any place you desire. There is no better way to explore Europe than by rail. You will experience a certain adventurous feeling when boarding a train to far-away destinations. Language and culture can be completely different than what you are used to. Interrail breathes adventure and excitement. With Interrail you can travel all the way to Eastern-Turkey, while enjoying the luxury of High-Speed Trains and the romance of the Night-Trains. All you need to do… travel.
In a nutshell the Interrail pass allows you to board any train within Europe, at any given moment, unlimited, without having to arrange anything in advance. Interrail is especially useful if you prefer flexibility or if you want to travel to multiple destinations. Every European citizen, or if you have residence within Europe, qualifies for an InterRail pass. For all other travelers the EURail pass applies, which is for the rest the same as the Interrail pass. There are two types of passes. The global pass is valid within all participating countries, while the one country pass is only valid in a single country – and sometimes a combination of countries. The passes also come in multiple ranges of validity; 3 days within a month, 4 days within a month, 5 days within a month, 7 days within 2 months, 10 days within 2 months, 15 days within 2 months, 15 days continueous, 22 days continueous, 1 month continueous, 2 months continueous and 3 months continueous. One of these combinations will suit your travel plans perfectly! Want to know more about the Interrail passes? Check out the Interrail website.
Train types – Introduction
Every single country in Europe is accessible by train. Usually there are various options of slow trains (“Regional“), faster trains (“InterCity“) and extremely fast trains (“High-Speed“). These different train types have 2nd-class and 1st-class seats. You can simply hop-on with your Interrail ticket without buying a train ticket in advance. As a simple rule of thumb: all luxurious InterCities and High-Speed Trains require an additional special ticket. This is not included with your Interrail pass! It is called a seat reservation or supplement. With this special ticket you will be assigned a seat. This seat will be yours during your journey. However, this special ticket needs to be bought in advance, either online or at a train station.
Train types – Reservations
A seat reservation or supplement is required or some trains. Usually this will cost you between 3 and 10 euro’s. This prevents luxurious trains of getting over-crowded and also allows railway operators to offer their passengers comfort and a certain assurance. Have a look at the train reservations section, where you can see an extremely detailed list of trains per country, whether those trains need an additional seat reservation and whether you can buy the seat reservation online.
Night-Trains – Introduction
Night-Trains are a special category of trains. These trains are build to cover large distances while you’re fast asleep… dreaming of the destination that lies ahead. Night-Trains offer sleeping accomodation, from simple seats to shared compartments and even private beds. All Night-Trains are applicable to a supplement. You do not want someone else in the middle of the night claiming your bed! The reservations for these trains are slightly more expensive than for regular trains. However, it saves you the costs of a ho(s)tel.
Night-Trains – Reservations
There’s a huge price difference between the more luxurious Night-Trains in Central Europe versus the somewhat older Night-Trains in Eastern Europe, but are both equally adventurous. Sleeping on Night-Trains has a certain charm to it. You slowly fall asleep.. while listening to the motions of the train.. and you wake up in a totally different part of Europe. Are you on a budget? Take your sleeping mask and earpluggs with you and you’re all set in a regular seat. Fancy some luxury? Enjoy your private compartment with washing & shower facilities! Have a look at the Night Trains section, where you can see an extremely detailed list of all Night-Trains per country, what the supplement costs are and whether you can buy those online.
Planning your journey – Introduction
Planning your journey is the most difficult part of the whole Interrail concept! Where do you want to go to; ancient Greece, sunny Portugal, snowy Finland, gorgeous Italy or perhaps even mysterious Turkey? To do it all in just a month is possible, but it’s better to focus to a particular region. Relax, take your time and enjoy. For all your travels thé go-to Interrail planner is the Deutsche Bahn. Their planner is the most accurate of all as Germany is linked to many European railways. There is also a great offline Interrail planner available; the official Interrail App. Simply download it and check it anytime before your travels.
Planning your journey – Advanced
If you travel within Central, Northern and Southern Europe the Interrail App and Deutsche Bahn work great, however both tools are heavily dependend on data provided by all railway operators. In some cases no connections can be made to your destination of interest. So you need to do quite some research to know all train connections for sure. Just remember: every single country in Europe is connected by rail – and is accessible! In any case the rail planner tools cannot help you out, simply drop me a line! Planning is cumbersome, takes a lot of time, but it’s fun. It can take hours of puzzling to find that particular connection of interest, whether that is the cheapest connection or the most convenient one. Completely puzzled? Do not hesitate to get in contact with me. Have a look at the train schedules section to learn more about the Interrail App and the Deutsche Bahn App.
Planning your journey – The 7 pm rule
If you have decided upon an Interail pass that has a certain amount of travel days within a certain period you can make use of the 7 pm rule. This rule is extremely difficult to understand. Travelers ánd train personnel often misinterpret this rule, but once you get the hang of it it’s a great way to save travel days – as you are allowed to travel over-night beyond the 24 hours that are in a day. Have a look at the 7 pm rule section if you want to know more about this super-handy rule.
Planning your journey – The travel diary
No matter what Interrail pass you have bought, or will buy, you will need to fill in every single train that you take in a so called travel diary. Upon purchase of the Interrail pass you will receive such a diary, but do not fill in the details of the trains in advance as you will loose your flexibility! Simply write down the required information minutes before you board the actual train. Your Interrail pass is not valid on that particular train if you have not included the train in your travel diary. Train personnel can then verify your travel diary. Furthermore it also helps Interrail to see where travelers go to and how often particular trains are being taken. Have a look at the travel diary section if you want to know more about how it works.