InterRailing season is in full swing with carriages upon carriages being packed out with excited students and graduates exploring the very best that Europe has to offer.
The notion that you can travel around up to 30 countries in ONE HOLIDAY is a blissfully uplifting one but almost immediately, students will start counting the cost and for some (especially around Western & Northern Europe) their dream route starts getting expensive. The beauty of the InterRail network is that you can cultivate your very own adventure and find a way to see experience amazing sights and sounds of mainland Europe that won’t break the bank. Here’s a six-stop route we’ve put together from speaking to the hundreds of InterRailers we serve every year and it’ll cost you less than €1,200 all in!
Krakow is such an underrated city and we cannot understand why. It’s dirt cheap, the people are fantastically friendly and the nightlife is flat out insane! Not to mention the fact that the city was one of the only in Eastern Europe largely untouched during WWII, leaving most of the incredible gothic architecture still intact. Krakow also has the biggest square in Europe and it is always a hive of activity. So what about the costs?
Accommodation: Hostels are available from just €8 a night. Stay for 2 Nights.
Drinks: €1.40 for a beer, €1.50 for a G&T: €4 for a bottle of wine
Food: €12 for 3-course dinner with wine
Sightseeing: St. Mary’s Basilica €2.50; Bike Tour €20, Market Square Museum €4.50
Total Spending Money: approx. €70-90
Everyone, and I mean everyone who goes InterRailing in 2016 simply has to see Budapest. It’s practically the law. The districts of Buda and Pest are split by the humungous river Danube complete with the incredible floating island of Margit (where Sziget Festival is held each August). Budapest is another architect’s dream and is genuinely beautiful to stroll around. There’s also the legendary thermal baths which become rave parties at night and a host of seriously cool bars, converted from the ruins of the old city. Stay at least 3 nights and seeing as the hotels are so cheap, get yourself get a bit fancy for a day or too!
Accommodation: 3-Star Hotel €25 a night; hostels only €5 a night!
Drinks: Beer €1.20; Coffee at €1; Bottle of Wine €6
Food: Even cheaper than Krakow with pizzas only €4.50 & meat meals around €6
Sightseeing: Most are free! After that, Thermal Baths €15; National Art Gallery €6; Walking Tour Free (but tip the tour guides!)
Total Spending Money: €140 – 180
Ok, a 15-hour train journey probably doesn’t sound fantastic but one of the best InterRailing hacks is to save a night of accommodation and sleep on the night train all the way into Romania.
When you arrive into Bucharest you’ll find a city with a troubled past transformed into a young,vibrant and charming place whose inhabitants couldn’t be happier you came to visit! Bucharest has a massive student population and has seen its tourism industry begin to boom as a result.
For scenery, it’s not going to live to up your last two stops but Bucharest is home to the second-largest building in the world which is worth checking out. Finally, when we’re talking brass tax, it’s the 2nd Cheapest City in Europe.
Accommodation: Crammed with hostel options starting from only €4 a night. Budget €10 for the best craic!
Drinks: Bottle of beer (.33l) €1.50
Food: Getting fed is tremendously cheap! Lunch €2-3; Dinner €6.50 max
Sightseeing: Parliament Palace €3.50 for students; Village Museum €1.50
Total Spending Money: Stay for a couple of nights, approx €45-60
The Bulgarian capital is rich with history so if that’s your thing, the remnants of the Greek, Roman and Ottoman empires stretch back over 2,000 years and are still prevalent in Sofia. The domes of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral dominate the skyline and is a must as one of the world’s biggest Orthodox churches.
Feeling energetic after the 9-hour overnight train? One of the best ways to see Sofia is free – scaling Mt.Vitosha and it’s National Park is a formidable but very doable 2290m peak with views that speak for themselves.
It’s no wonder then that the Bulgarians are big on their sunshine, with the whole city full of gorgeous sun-trapped patios and deckings to enjoy the 25-degree summer weather.
Accommodation: There are nearly 40 hostel options in, around the city starting from just €10
Drinks: Pint of Beer €1.50; Bottle of Red/White Wine €5.10
Food: Italian food is everywhere with large, delicious slices from 60c, same with hot dogs. Higher end dining it still cheap, around €17 for a 3-course meal for two.
Sightseeing: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral €3.00, Walking & Bus Tours Free; Vitosha National Park Free
Total Spending Money: approx €50-60
Belgrade has had a very troubled and dark recent past during the early to mid 90’s but we’re happy to report that it’s hurtling in the right direction to a progressive and entertaining future. Belgrade has become a real gem for long weekends away thanks to its cost and lively nightlife. You’re guaranteed some great memories in the Opservatorijum nightclub (if you remember them!).
The route has been a metropolitan whirlwind so far but even though Serbia is landlocked, Belgrade has a top beach on the shore of the Danube to chill out and sip cocktails on. It’s worth taking the short trip out to Ada Ciganlija, a floating island similar to the one in Budapest where you can go kayaking, rafting, water skiing all for dirt cheap. If you need to get out of the sun, Belgrade has over 100 underground caves just begging to be explored!
Finally, you can’t spend 4 days in this amazing city without going to the Nikola Tesla Museum. Arguably Serbia’s most famous son, Tesla was an inventor on a par with Thomas Edison. It’s not a coincidence that Elon Musk’s clean fuel car company shares his surname…oh and there’s also two opera houses AND two Palaces in the city!
Accommodation: The most you’ll pay for a comfy hostel bed is €15
Drinks: Bottle of beer (.5l) is about €1.80 although the big nightclubs more expensive (€4)
Food: Similar to your other stops, just avoid the hotel restaurants which charge more
Sightseeing: Loads! Tesla Museum €7; Palace of Princess Ljubice €3; Watersports at Ada Ciganlija €25
Total Spending Money: Lots to do, stay 3 nights – approx €120 – 170
We absolutely love Croatia! It’s not something lost on our InterRailers with nearly every route passing through this beautiful, sun-soaked country that hugs the Adriatic Sea. So far, if you’ve stuck to our budget you’ve spent less than €700 ex your flights so it’s time to loosen the belt buckle a notch or two and do what a traditional holiday break is for – relaxing!
Rijeka is the easiest of the most popular Croatian destinations that are on the InterRail lines but Dubrovnik, Split & Zadar are accessible via bus and each one is spectacular to visit.
Having said that, Rijeka is now home to Europe’s only coastal zip line which has just opened and it looks amazing! There’s so much more to do and see in Rijeka than just chilling on the beach with Tsrat Castle offering epic views of the Adriatic and Risnjak National Park, a haven for nature lovers.
Accommodation: Go on, get a hotel you’ve earned it. 3 star and above from €36 a night
Drinks: Domestic beer (.5l) €2.00; Cocktails €4.50, Bottle of Wine €5.00
Food: Three Course Meal with wine €20-35 per person
Sightseeing: Tsrat Castle Free; Risnjak National Park Free; Natural History Museum €6
Total Spending Money: approx €200 – 250
There you go, an all in 3-week summer adventure around Europe for €1200! Ready to go? Head over to interrail.ie and get your pass or give us a call on (01) 602 1906 #RideThatRail!