This time last year, I was getting ready to go interrailing for the first time. I’d finished my internship, saved up the money, packed my rucksack to the Easyjet hand luggage maximum and I was ready to go. Because I remember how much I looked up about interrailing and how much research I did, I hope this mini series is interesting to those who are going, and it may encourage other people to think about it (whilst we have the chance!). So without further ado, I’ll jump straight in! First, some general information;
We decided to go for a 1 month ticket where we could travel on 10 days of that month – so that means 10 train journeys, which can be taken any time you choose. The cost of these tickets is currently £275, which is super cheap considering how much you’d pay for an overnight train. It was so easy to just be able to hop on any train at any time and to change our plans at the drop of a hat, so i’d definitely recommend it! You do still need to occasionally make reservations however, so do check before you travel.
We went to Nos Alive festival in Lisbon before starting interrailing, taking our total travelling time to just over 6 weeks. We started the interrail ticket in Berlin, which we flew to from Lisbon to avoid having to start it earlier – we decided we wanted to focus on mostly eastern Europe and places we’d never been before.
Before we left home all we’d booked was the flight to Berlin, a flight home from Venice (it’s super cheap to fly Venice – London!), and a hostel for Berlin. We had a vague plan of the countries and cities we wanted to see and we took it mostly a few days at a time, booking hostels on the train to a new city.
Berlin is one of my favourite European cities and i’m actually moving there in August (more on that soon!). There’s so much to do and see – the city is massive. My highlights were the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall, the free walking tour about Germany’s past, and all of the amazing vegan food that’s on offer!
One of the European stag/hen party capitals, but so much more! Yes, there’s a lot of cheap bars and we did sample the local beer and Aperol Spritz a few times, which was great! My highlights were Vltava River and the bridges, the John Lennon wall, the beautiful city centre and the incredible Karlovy Lazne- the pinnacle of tacky European clubs which claims to be the biggest in Europe with an ice pub, oxygen bar and light up dancefloors over the 5 floors.
Krakow was by far the unexpected gem of the trip! It had both a beautiful old square and a very hipster and Instagram friendly Jewish Quarter with loads of street art, cute cafes and eclectic shops. My highlights were the Street art, churches, cute cafe’s (Cytat and Legal cakes were favourites) and the vodka bar ‘Wodka’ where you get incredibly cheap shots in every flavour you could think of. Also surprisingly good for vegan food, Krowarzywa vegan burger and Vegab were both hidden gems. We also took the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, which was incredibly moving and humbling.
The most beautiful and richest place, you can see the money and power which was once here on every street. It is worth just going and looking at the palaces and beautiful gardens, as well as looking in all the fancy designer shops, and the Austrian National Library is beautiful.
Home of the amazing blue church and a surprisingly massive Tesco, Bratislava is a small capital with a lot going on. We stumbled across an open air cultural festival in the centre which to be frankly honest was baffling without knowing the history, with a lot of (I assume) traditional dancing and local musicians. It’s on every summer and definitely worth a look! There were also a lot of statues like the one above which you touch for luck/happiness/plentiful food – again the walking tours were so interesting as they told the stories behind them all!
My new favourite city! There’s so much going on here i’m desperate to go back and do it all again. There’s the amazing views on the Buda side from the castle and Gellert Hill, the thermal baths, the ruin bars and the beautiful boulevards. Personal highlights were Szimpla Kert, the largest ruin bar, and Szechenyi Thermal Bath, the largest baths and also where the spa parties are held.
Going off the beaten track a little, Belgrade is a lovely little city which is still recovering from the war. The national museum may have been closed for 15 years (it opened this year) and the suburbs a bit run down, but the city centre is pretty and Skardarlija Street has loads of cute bars which serve cheap Rakija and spill out onto the street at night along with live music and traditional dancing.
Slovakia’s beautiful capital, with cafe’s lining the banks of the river and a castle with a fantastic view. Everything in the cute gift shops has the city’s mascot and symbolic dragon on it, which is a story worth reading up on!
The perfect base for the beautiful beaches of Croatia, such as Verudela. The centre was pretty if a bit too tacky/touritsy in most shops, but the beaches were incredible with the clearest water and constant beautiful weather. Also Tom Jones was playing in the massive ampitheatre the first night we arrived!
Another place which surprised me, Zagreb has loads to do and see. There are beautiful gardens on the outskirts, a huge town square and amazing churches. The Museum of Broken Relationships was a nice change from the history museums we’d seen and the items in there ranged from hilarious to painfully sad.
Trieste was for us a useful stop between Zagreb and Venice, when we realised the straight journey was far too long. It’s a port city with sailors on every corner and a much more ‘authentic’ feeling Italian town, not set up for many tourists, though on the flipside there’s less to do because of this. We mostly sunbathed by the sea near our hostel with the locals and swam in the clear sea. There were a LOT of sailors here too.
A city which needs no explanation, Venice is every inch as beautiful as you imagine, and then some. Sticking to the backstreets lets you avoid the horrifically busy main streets and you can expect to pay a lot for food, so supermarkets are your friend!
I hope you enjoyed an overview of my interrailing journey and I will be adding more content in this series, so keep an eye out! I plan to do a city guide to every place we went.
Have you been interrailing or to any of these cities? Please leave a comment and say hi!