Inter-railing is a fun and sustainable way to see more of Europe. Rather than flying from one destination to another, try travelling by train to make the most out of the journey and to reduce your carbon footprint. You could even combine your travel and accommodation by opting for night trains. If you’re feeling inspired to visit Europe by train here are seven essential stops to visit on your journey.
Norway’s second city is a seven-hour train ride from its capital, Oslo but the journey is said to be one of the most beautiful in the world. You’ll pass by mountains and fjords on your journey, before arriving in the picturesque city of Bergen. Nature lovers will love exploring the seven mountains that surround the city (accessible via a cable car and funicular) or taking a boat trip along one of the neighbouring fjords. There’s also theUNESCO World Heritage Site of Bryggen wharf and an exciting food and drink scene to discover.
While in Scandinavia, take a train to Copenhagen to discover one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities. The Danish capital is perfectly positioned to allow train travel onto the Nordic countries or Western mainland Europe, although you’ll want to spend several days exploring the city prior to moving on. Book a table at Noma, the best restaurant in the world, admire the local architecture, visit one of the many museums and galleries in and near the city, and don’t miss the chance to shop Copenhagen’s impressive array of boutiques.
Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s hotspots, thanks to its affordable prices, impressive architecture and the relaxing thermal spas that are situated around the city. Rail connections allow easy access to Eastern, Southern or Western Europe, making it the ideal starting point for an interrail trip. Don’t miss the views from Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side of the river, or the notorious Ruins Bars in Pest.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
One of Europe’s most magical destinations, Lake Bled is just a one-hour train ride from Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. Anyone who loves spending time outdoors will want to spend several days here, rowing out to the island in the middle of the lake and hiking in the hills and forest that surround it. In summer, visitors can swim in the icy waters to cool off from the midday heat.
Barcelona is easily accessible by train from destinations in both Spain and France, making it the perfect location for any interrailers seeking a city break. Culture-lovers will enjoy visiting the Gaudi attractions and admiring the architect’s impressive designs, such as Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. There are also plenty of interesting museums and galleries, as well as a thriving food and drink scene to discover.
No trip to Europe is complete without spending a couple of days exploring Berlin. A city of contrasts, visitors can choose to visit the many sites that commemorate World War II and the fall of the Berlin Wall, or they can get absorbed in East Berlin’s notorious all-night party scene. The city is surrounded by lakes and forests and also contains several city-centre swimming pools if you’re looking to cool down in the summer heat.
Did you know that several ferries in Southern Europe are included with an Interrail ticket? Take the ferry from Naples to Sicily to spend a week exploring this beautiful Italian island. Spend your days relaxing on the beach and swimming in crystal clear waters, opt to explore the island’s delicious food scene, or visit Mount Etna, one of Europe’s most active volcanoes.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.