I’m so excited for today’s post! I’ve literally been dying to finalize my summer travel plans and to tell you all about it. Last week I finally did it and made all the arrangements for one of my most daring trips yet. The reason why it’s daring is because a) I’ll be by myself (which isn’t a new thing for me, but still exciting) b) I will be hitting up 9 different places in a little over 3 weeks time c) I’ll be going to places where I don’t actually speak the language d) I’m making a trip most people make on their gap year, yet I decided to make it to celebrate my 30th (yikes!) birthday. Now you’re probably wondering: what are you going on about? Well my dear friends, I’ll be going on an Interrail trip across Europe.
I will be going to 9 different cities across the continent using a special Interrail ticket to go from city to city. You can book these tickets when you’re a European citizen only and it allows you to go to multiple places in a short amount of time. I chose the 10 travel days in 22 days ticket as that would allow me to cover everything I wanted. You also have tickets that allow you to explore one country, or allow you to hop on and off a train every day for a month. Since I knew I wanted to spend some time in each city to explore and take my time, I went with the 10 in 22 days ticket as that would allow me to do just that. The ticket costs 400 euros for people aged 26 and over. If you’re younger you pay less for the train ticket, hence why this is usually something people do when they are strapped-for-cash students. But when I was a student, I was a little preoccupied by my obsession for the USA and with gaps in my schedule at uni, I was able to travel at low costs at all times. So at that time, I wasn’t interested in going on a trip across Europe.
My idea for this trip came about because there were two cities I have been dying to see: Barcelona and Kopenhagen. Barcelona because I read The Shadows of the Wind by Zafon and because I heard great things about it. Kopenhagen because everyone I meet loves it so much and I recently also watched Danish TV Series Borgen, which only made me want to go more. But Spain and Denmark are a little far apart. I could have combined them in a joined city trip and taking a plane from once place to the next, but getting the flights organized in the middle of summer would make it a bit expensive. On the other hand I also had a wish to revisit some cities that I have either been to before but never really browsed around, or that I have been to but it’s been a while. When I read about this all-in-one train ticket, I decided that would not only allow me to see my two major spots, but it would also allow me to be in a few cities I already know and which I want to go back to, plus go to cities that I would like to visit anyway but which I wouldn’t spend a 5 day city trip on.
The cities I will be visiting:
- Brussels (visited before, but never explored)
- Paris (visited before on several occasions)
- Barcelona (new)
- Milan (new)
- Venice (new)
- Vienna (new)
- Prague (visited before, but was a school trip in 2001)
- Berlin (visited before in 2010)
- Kopenhagen (new)
In total I will be visiting 9 different cities in 8 different countries and encounter 7 different languages. I speak a bit of basic German and minor French, but my Italian, Spanish, Danish and Czech are non-existent. So if you have any tips for a good phrasebook app for Android: let me know! In each city I’ll spend at least one full day. In other cities I already arrive a little earlier on my travel day, making it closer to 1.5 days to almost 2 full days. For Barcelona and Kopenhagen I have 3 full days in each of those cities. I will be taking trains during the day and my longest time for traveling will be Barcelona to Milan and Kopenhagen to going home. Both times I will spend around 10 hours traveling.
By now, I have everything planned out. I know which route I’m taking and thanks to Treinreiswinkel I have also arranged all of the reservations for the highspeed trains I’m taking. Treinreiswinkel not only booked my Interrail ticket, but also gave me tips on my route and made all the reservations beforehand. The only downside of an Interrail ticket is that many trains (especially highspeed trains in France and Italy) require reservations and only a certain amount of those reservations can be made on an Interrail ticket. If you are traveling during summer time aka the busiest time of the year, chances are that you may not get on the train you want. So I decided to not take any chances and have everything set straight away. Also keep in mind that you will be charged extra for making any reservations.
Additionally I have also sorted out my places to stay. Since I will be away for 21 nights I didn’t want to spend too much money on it, but still be comfortable in my own room. With that much traveling I don’t think I’d like sleeping in a hostel dorm and besides, I will be 30 afterall, so I went with single rooms in guest houses or basic hotels for the majority of my trip. For each place I booked I mostly kept an eye on their score on Booking.com, their price range and the distance from the train station to the hotel. All hotels I booked are within a 30 minute walk from the train station (in Paris and Kopenhagen it’s only 3 minutes away!). The most expensive places to stay are Paris and Venice. Berlin was the cheapest, making my total tally come down to around 55 euros a night, which is not too bad to be honest.
All in all, I am super excited for this trip. I don’t have any plans what to do or see while I am in any of these cities and I plan on not having any plans. So please, DON’T post any suggestions below, as I want to take the trip as is. The only plan I have is to stick to my itinerary and just browse each city to my heart’s content. This is my first trip where my only companion will be a backpack, so I will be traveling light. The plan is to plan blogs ahead of time so this space will not go unused while I’m away. Due to privacy reasons I will not post my exact travel dates on this space either. Blogs regarding this trip will go up once I get back. Now all I need is a nice travel journal or notebook to write down my adventures so I can blog them later on.
What are your plans for summer?