I have wanted to go interrailing for years, and I’m so happy to say that I went in June! It is on my 2023 bucket list. I’ve decided to do a interrail series on my blog – tips, coping with a chronic illness & being eco-friendly realistically. In today’s post, I’m going to do an overview of where I went etc. I went interrailing around Europe with my best friend and it was the best experience of my life. I miss it so much!
What is Interrailing?
First things first, what is interrailing?
Interrail is where you travel around Europe with a train pass that allows you to go to most countries. There are different pass lengths depending on how many travel days you want. The cheapest is 4 travel days in 1 month for €194 (if you are a youth – 12-27 years old). We went with the pass for 10 travel days in 2 months which was €316 and works out at £269.
One thing that I didn’t realise when I first bought the pass was that you have to pay for the seat reservations on the train. Some trains require a seat reservation and so if you don’t have one, you can’t get on the train.
Where did I go interrailing around Europe?
As the title says, we went to 8 cities in 16 days so we had a brief overview of each city. Before we went, I thought that maybe we wouldn’t have enough time and that we should stay longer. But this was what we had the money for. For me, it was actually the perfect length. I think if we went for any less time, we wouldn’t have done what we wanted. And any longer would have been too long for me, as I was absolutely exhausted at the end!
The countries we went interrailing around Europe were Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice, Milan, Zurich and Paris. Obviously, we started and ended the route in London, but I haven’t included that because we didn’t explore!
So first we had to get to London to get the Eurostar. We got the coach from Bournemouth to London at 6am which meant we woke up at 4:30am! We arrived in London and then got the Eurostar to Amsterdam. We arrived at about 4:20 and found our way to the hostel. When we were checking into the hostel, they gave us a mini stroopwafel which was the cutest. We stayed at Dutchies Hostel – if you are ever in Amsterdam, I would definitely recommend it.
After doing a bit of unpacking, we went to the local supermarket to grab some food for dinner. Something that surprised me was how cheap bottles of water were. One bottle of water was 25 cents which is crazy because they are at least a pound in the UK! Anyway, we got some ingredients for making pizza as well as a baguette and bits for making lunch.
This is where the fun really began! We had quite a packed day, starting off at Tony’s Chocolonely shop. We both recently watched the Tony’s Chocolonely documentary, and love the chocolate so that was a must for us. To be honest, it wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be as the shop was very small. You could make your own chocolate bar and design the packaging which was pretty cool. We did buy a flavour which I don’t think you can get in the UK or at least not now. It was raspberry and biscuit white chocolate with hundreds & thousand sprinkles. Delicious.
After that, we had some lunch and went to the sex museum. It was interesting, to say the least! We had a browse of the shops and then decided to go on one of the hour-long canal boat tours. This was really good and I would definitely recommend it. It was quite hot, and I was exhausted so I was struggling to keep my eyes open though. The tour cost €13 euros for 1 hour which was the cheapest.
We walked around the red light district, though because it was in the day it was very quiet. I’m sure it would have been much more exciting at night. For dinner, we went to a chip place which said it was the best. I didn’t know that chips were a big thing in Amsterdam/The Netherlands but they had lots of chip shops and the queues were long.
Lastly, we went to the Instagram-famous stroopwafel place – Van Stroopenwafel. These were so delicious and were freshly cooked there and then. They were a bit pricey, but it was worth it. I got mine with crushed Oreo on one side, I would have happily had it plain as it was so yummy.
This was our final morning in Amsterdam so we got our stuff together and made some lunch. We went and sat in a garden for lunch, and went back to the centre to have some mini Dutch pancakes. The Dutch definitely know how to make good sweet treats! On the table, they had powdered sugar and maple syrup which I thought was fun.
Day 3 cont.
We arrived in Berlin at around 10pm so checked into the hostel. Luckily the train station was right next to the hostel so we didn’t have to traipse across the city. We had a bit of dinner and went to bed.
We only stayed in Berlin for 1 day, it was more of a pit stop for Prague. Annoyingly, I woke up with awful cramps and felt so ill all day. It was 31 degrees and we were carrying our backpacks around with us so it was less than ideal.
First, we went to the Berlin Wall Memorial which was very interesting. I did have to keep sitting down because the pain was unbearable :(. Afterwards, we went to Berlin Cathedral which was very beautiful, and it had a water fountain in front. We also went to Checkpoint Charlie, which was I think in the centre so went into some souvenir shops.
We ended up going to the train station a couple of hours early because it was so hot! So, we didn’t really spend a lot of time in Berlin. I think that Berlin is great if you are really into history, but we aren’t so we didn’t enjoy it as much. Also because I was in so much pain, I really just needed to rest and sit down.
Day 4 cont.
We arrived in Prague very late at night and got lost more times than I can count. Eventually, we found the hostel but it wasn’t the best. My friend and I were in a tiny room with only 1 single bed which the manager assumed we could both sleep in. We may have been able to but the ceiling was slanted so half was unusable. Instead, we ended up swapping who slept on the bed and the floor. There was a bit of a nightmare with the wifi – it didn’t reach our room and there was no signal. There were only 3 showers, but 2 of them were in one bathroom with no divider. This hostel was certainly a hostel I won’t forget!
After a disruptive night’s sleep, we got ready and went to the Old Town Square. This was absolutely stunning and had so many beautiful buildings and unique shops. The Astronomical Clock Tower was much more magnificent than I imagined. After a bit of walking around, we went to the Gallery of Steel Figures which was cool. There were well-known characters made out of recycled steel.
We walked around the Royal Garden which was pretty and it was on the way to Prague Castle. Prague Castle has been on my bucket list for a while after reading a blog post. It reminded me a bit of Hogwarts, and one day I would love to go back and see it in the snow. Prague Cathedral was nearby so we went inside and saw the beautiful stained glass windows.
Later we went to a place which made Chimney Cake (Trdelník is the Czech word). It’s a bit hard to explain, so probably best to look at the picture below! Basically, it’s like a cylindrical doughnut/cake filled with ice cream and some chocolate melted around the top. It was very yummy, and of course, I got it all over my face haha.
We walked to Charles Bridge to watch the sunset which felt so peaceful over the water.
So we decided to wake up early to watch the sunrise. But once the alarm went off, we kept going back to sleep! We did walk there, but only really caught the end of it. Because we got up so early, we had to wait outside the hostel for an hour before someone was awake to let us in.
Later that morning we got the train to Vienna.
Day 6 cont.
We arrived in Vienna on a Sunday which meant that there weren’t any supermarkets or restaurants open. We didn’t have any food, so had to go to McDonald’s for dinner! I was so tired so went to sleep at 9:30pm (8:30pm British time).
I was absolutely knackered and woke up at 11am, meaning I slept almost 14 hours! We had 2 full days in Vienna so could take a slow start to the day. First, we went to the butterfly house which was something that I had been really looking forward to. It cost €9 euros for students (I think). The butterflies were so beautiful, it was crazy how big the Blue Morpho was!
After lunch, we went to Rasselpark which I really loved. It was a really beautiful church with water in front. I had the most delicious raspberry ice cream from a nearby ice cream van. We went inside the church and walked to the top which had an amazing view of the city. I would 10/10 recommend going there. You have to pay to go inside the church, I can’t remember how much but wasn’t too bad.
We had seen a recommendation on TikTok to go to Prater Park so headed there. Annoyingly, I had an awful dull ache in my tummy so I was really not the best company! Prater Park was basically an amusement park with rides, games and food. We ended up getting some candyfloss which was very tasty.
The next day we went to Schonbrunn Palace (free) which was very grand with massive beautiful gardens. I spotted a few butterflies and dragonflies whizzing past me, but they didn’t slow down enough for me to identify them. There was also a big water fountain with a few ducks swimming about. One of my favourite things about the gardens was the lovely rose bushes and a rose tunnel. The toilets were free at Schonbrunn Palace which was amazing because everywhere else in Europe you have to pay 50 cents or €1.
We met someone in Amsterdam who lives in Prague so they gave us some recommendations. They said that we should go to Demel which is a cafe and they sell a sweet treat called Kaiser Schmarrn which tastes like a pancake. The service was very slow, so I wouldn’t go back but it was nice to try a local delicacy.
Next, we went to Hundertwasser House which is a building that was built by an architect to be different. He felt that nature needed to be linked more, and this is where sustainable building started. You can view the house from the outside, and then near is a mini village where you can explore the architecture a bit more. I would definitely recommend it if you ever go to Vienna.
We walked by the Danube River and then caught the bus to Belvedere Palace. The palace also had botanical gardens but they aren’t open past 7pm which is when we were there. We headed back to the hostel to collect our bags. It was then that we realised we had got the time of our train wrong, and so quickly went to the train station. We weren’t able to get the train until 6am the next morning.
I managed to find a hostel on the Hostel World app. It was very stuffy in the hostel dorm because it was so hot outside, but at least we had a place to stay!
We woke up very early and caught the train to Venice!
Day 9 cont.
Our hostel was very near the train station which was good because I didn’t realise that you have to get a train to get to Venice island. Luckily it is only a 10-minute train ride. Venice was absolutely stunning, I know everyone says that but it is so much better when you are there! We went to a lovely restaurant for dinner (our first meal out!) and I ordered the spaghetti bolognese. It was so good, I’d forgotten how delicious proper Italian food is.
Since we got to Venice in the afternoon, we were mainly exploring and finding our bearings. There were lots of bakeries, pizza & pasta places, ice cream shops – so much to visit. I bought a tasty lemon gelato, and we watched the sun go down. We also saw the water come in, and there were some areas that you couldn’t walk through.
Our first stop of the day was to a restaurant to share a pizza! Afterwards, we went to Liberia Acqua Alta which is a unique bookstore. There are steps made out of old damaged books which everyone wants to get a photo with. They seem to have a thing for cats in Venice, which I loved of course. I got a cute postcard and magnet from there. It does get very busy, and they do try to rush you through a bit – but overall, a good experience.
We went to St.Marks Square to see St.Mark’s Basilica which was so stunning – a must-see. If you want to go inside, you have to be very covered up which we weren’t as it was so hot. The last place we visited was the Bridge of Sighs, before getting the water taxi back to the train station.
I also managed to get a baby octopus made from Murano glass which was very cool.
Day 10 cont.
We arrived in Milan, and I could almost instantly tell that this wasn’t going to be a city I enjoyed. People were driving their cars so recklessly, not following traffic lights and crossings. I also didn’t like the hostel that we were staying in, the kitchen was dirty and it just seemed a bit off.
We decided to get the train to Lake Como so that we could be away from the busyness of the city. It was a bit hard finding our way, and we did get lost a few times before eventually arriving in Lake Como. The view of the lake with the mountains was breathtakingly beautiful. We had some pizza in front of the view. One of the great things about Italy is how cheap their pizza is! It was only like €8 for a margarita pizza (which we shared).
It was so hot that we just sat on the edge of the pavement and dipped our legs in the water. We couldn’t find somewhere to get in and swim which was a bit disappointing. I got a nice strawberry ice cream from a parlour, and we saw some ducks taking a nap under the shade of boats.
There were a few hours left to explore Milan before getting the train to Zurich. We just had a bit of a wander around as it was so hot and we were both exhausted. For lunch, we went to a pasta place where you choose the sauce and whichever pasta shape which I thought was very cool. I got tomato and mozzarella sauce with tagliatelle which was delicious, and very filling.
As we were both very tired, we went and had a nap in the park which was so lovely.
Day 12 cont.
The train to Zurich had gorgeous scenery! We were so full from lunch that we didn’t get anything for dinner apart from snacks. The hostel that we were staying in was more like a hotel, which was quite nice because we could use a fresh towel!
We made the same mistake of forgetting it was Sunday and so none of the shops were open. So we had to go to McDonald’s again which was much more expensive here. Lake Zurich had the clearest water I have ever seen, and there were so many swans and ducks swimming about which I loved.
Our train ticket to the centre let us get on a boat tour for free which we were very happy about. And they had air conditioning! After the boat trip, we sat looking at the swans, I bought a delicious strawberry/raspberry mixed sorbet.
Day 13 cont.
The train to Paris was stressful as our first train skipped a stop and our second had to stop due to a fire on the tracks! Once we were in Paris, we realised that our Airbnb had no details of how to get in. It was quite scary as we sat on the curb of a foreign country. Luckily a lovely French man helped us find a hotel and Airbnb refunded the flat.
We woke up and had to change hotels again which was annoying. Eventually, we were settled, but I was completely knackered. I definitely could have done with a long nap, but we wanted to get out and explore the city.
Of course, we went to the Eiffel Tower first and walked around to take photos from lots of different angles. We had an early dinner and went to a Creperie. This was the first proper meal we had in what felt like days! There was a salad to start, then I got a mushroom & cheese galette and a Nutella crepe to finish. We were stuffed.
We walked to the Louvre which was a 40-minute walk, stopping on the way to look at the River Seine.
As we had a bit of a slow start to the day before, we had a pretty jam-packed day. Up first was getting a pain au chocolat, and it was surprisingly difficult to find a boulangerie. My friend and I both enjoyed watching Emily In Paris so couldn’t resist finding some of the filming spots. We found Terra Nera which is Gabriel’s restaurant, next to a boulangerie where Emily had her first croissant.
Afterwards, we walked to Notre Dame and sat to admire the view. We went to McDonald’s to see if the McBaguette was on the menu from Emily In Paris. It wasn’t, but we had a look around some shops. As we were coming out of one, I fell asleep walking up the stairs so fell. I still can’t believe it 🙈 but I was incredibly tired!
It was safe to say I needed a nap, so we went to a grassy area with a view of the Eiffel Tower and I had a nap. I felt much more refreshed. We briefly saw the Arc de Triomph, but you have to go to see properly inside. We went and sat down by the River Seine and waited until 11pm for the Eiffel Tower to sparkle. It actually did it at 11:07, so some people had left because they thought it wouldn’t happen. When it did sparkle, everyone cheered which was such a wholesome moment to be a part of.
Our Eurostar back to London wasn’t until the afternoon, but we just decided to go to the station straight away. We didn’t really fancy carrying our bags all over Paris, so just got some lunch and chilled. I ended up staying at my sister’s for the night in London which was a nice way to end the trip.
Congratulations if you read the whole post! I hope you enjoyed it, I actually missed a lot of unnecessary details. This is the short version…
The next posts in my interrailing series are going to be shorter, I just wanted to write an overview post first.
Have you been interrailing around Europe before? Which countries did you go to?