So it’s coming to that stage of the year where everyone is off on their summer travels. This time last year I was preparing to embark on a 23 day journey around Europe, interraling from Brussels and ending up in the beautiful Croatian city of Split. I travelled through 10 cities, Brussels > Amsterdam > Berlin > Prague > Krakow > Budapest > Vienna > Ljubjiana > Zagreb > Split. While travelling through all these cities, you really appreciate the different cultures.. and their beer. I mean why go to Napa to get sloshed for 7 nights when you can go interrailing and get mangled for a whole month while seeing paintings and shizz like that? So here’s my top tips for you all:
Go East. Its cheap.
When the hell are you ever going to go to Ljubjianna again? I haven’t even heard of the Slovenian capital and I do Geography at University. Eastern Europe is so awesome and so so so cheap. A beer in Prague cost me 90p and it was delivered to me on a train (Vytopna Bar). There are some amazing cities such as Prague and Budapest which host so many cool things like the Astronomical Clock Tower and the thermal baths respectively. Note: don’t wear a cap into the thermal baths, the locals will get rowdy.
Ignore my first paragraph, don’t get mangled every day.
It is literally impossible to go out everyday and drink all the time, which I learnt on the flight home. Yes, tonsillitis it was. When I booked to go interrailing, I did think it would be a massive piss up. But as you travel day-by-day, you realise its mentally and physically draining to drink a lot everyday – even if you’re the king of strawpeedo’ing like me. It’s important to use some cities as rest points, for example in Vienna we didn’t go out out so we just enjoyed the finer things in life like tea and biscuits. There’s more to interraling then alcohol. You have some amazing musuems and attractions in every city. My actual highlight of the trip was going to the Musuem of Broken Relationships in Zagreb and contemplating my love life. It got deep.
Eat bread. Everyday. All day.
A big money saver was going to the supermarket and buying a day’s worth of bread for 17p. Saves you a lot of money throughout the trip and will allow you to buy that one extra bev when needed. It’s high in fibre and fills you up. That’s why I only chundered once on my journey. It is important though that you have your occasional McDonalds but you really can’t go wrong with bread.
Go on the pub crawls.
The pub crawls are the best. You meet so many people from all over the world, get free drinks and get to go the cities’ best bars and clubs. Be careful of the Krakow pub crawl though; polish vodka is deadly.
Get private rooms in Hostels.
The prospect of sleeping in a mixed bed dorm of 12 people was potentially very saucy but the reality was waking up to bald Americans talking about how great their country is. You do need your own privacy and space at times as the days get tiring. Many people I know rented flats in the cities on AirBnB which apparently works out a bit cheaper then your average hostel (www.hostelworld.com). Also it’s important to get accommodation in the city center because it’s just long trekking it everyday to the main attractions, and also your drunk walks home are a lot easier. And it’s a lot better than sharing 1 toilet and shower with 12 people (Snooze n Booze Hostel, Split).
Don’t get a tattoo of a ‘Ü’ on your left ankle because Where Are Ü Now was your summer song.
Yeah just don’t.
Research and plan ahead
Our group planned the trip well in advance; booking hostels and deciding trains a month before we left. But loads of people who get the interrail pass choose to book everything on their travels because they’re undecided on what cities they want to travel to. We created a brief itinerary of what we wanted to see in each city and pretty much ticked them all off, except for the Amsterdam prostitutes. It’s important to know what trains you are getting and to always reserve the next train when you arrive at the city, otherwise you’ll be sitting on the floor for 4 hours like I did from Zagreb to Split. Speaking of trains, try and book a night train; saves money on accommodation and they’re banterous.
Don’t go in a big group.
I would say 6 max. Going to Napa with 15 people is fine because you either sleep or get pissed. But when interrailing, you need to go with people that want to see the sights and will make the most of the journey.
Top attractions to see:
Brussels – nothing. Maybe visit the EU HQ or the Atomiumfor a nice insta.
Amsterdam – Heineken Factory
Berlin – bike tour, the Reichstag and Matrix nightclub.
Prague – Astronomical Clock Tower, Vytopna Bar.
Krakow – visit Auschwitz.
Budapest – Danube River cruise, Szechenyi Baths and the ruin bars.
Vienna – the Vienna zoo.
Ljubjianna – cable car to the castle.
Zagreb – Musuem of Broken Relationships and Musuem of Illusions.
Split – Kayak tour and KRKA National Park.
Hope my top tips help you plan the most epic interrail around Europe… hopefully you won’t come back with tonsilitis!
Guest post by Kiran Mistry