A guide for Interrailing around Europe

It was the summer of 2018 after my first year of college and a 30 day interrailing trip around Europe was finally materializing after weeks of planning, saving and organisation.

This was a trip that was truly the time of my life where adventure knew no bounds, and each day brought new excitement, laughter and memories that will last a lifetime, this was interrailing 18’.

The journey began on the 25th July in Berlin which was first up on our long list of European cities my friends and I had ahead of us. We bought the 7 days of travel in one month inter rail pass, which cost about €251 to use for the duration of our holiday which worked out perfectly.

Berlin is a unique city in that it flourishes with both history and culture whilst also capturing individuality and a distinctive artsy vibe. This was evident from the moment we arrived from its variety of attractions to the abundance of both contemporary architecture and deep-rooted historic buildings.

We stayed in the One80 Hostel in the central and buzzy area of Alexander Platz which meant we were near both tourist attractions and the highly anticipated nightlife in Berlin. We stayed for three nights at around €22 a night in an 8-bed dorm.

We of course, got the classic Instagram at the East Side Gallery as well as visiting tourist attractions such as Brandenburg Castle, Check-point Charlie, the memorial of the murdered Jews of Europe and the Berlin Wall Memorial.

Berlin is renowned for its nightlife with countless bars and clubs which sure lived up to expectation. Over the three days  we went to the famous club Suicide Circus, did a pub crawl and had a nice meal in Alexander Platz whilst watching street performers.

The following day we made our first train journey from Berlin to Prague which took about four and a half hours. Again, the hostel, hostel One in Prague was ideal and really supported our spending budget of around €30 per day as they provided dinner. We booked and paid for all our hostels before we travelled.

Prague had beautifully hot summer temperatures ideal for wandering around stunning architecture covering the city. I remember being in awe at the amount of magnificent ancient buildings, each one being more beautiful than the next.

We visited the John Lennon wall, Prague Castle, Petrin tower, had lunch on a boat in the scorching sun, a day at the pool and my highlight, which was renting pedal boats down the Vltava river.

Karlovy Lazne is one of the most famous clubs in Europe and is 5 stories with each story playing a different genre of music. I would highly recommend it as well as the club Chapeau Rouge. Prague had a wonderful vibe and feel to it and is somewhere I would consider living in my youth.

After 3 nights and 4 days in Prague it was time to experience our first night train to Krakow and let’s just say I do not want to experience this again. There was 6 people cramped up in a tiny cabin on 2 bunk beds with 3 mattresses on top of each other. The train was so loud as it travelled at speed and there was no chance of sleeping, however we were certainly on the budget end of the train so I’m sure you could pay more to be in a nicer cabin.

We arrived in Krakow at 7am and went to the Greg and Tom hostel to check in and nap. We booked the Auschwitz tour for that day, which was a very upsetting and a harrowing experience, but I’m glad I visited it.

Over the few days, we discovered beautiful  streets and parks, visited The Wawel Royal Castle and even went to a scary Panic Room. Mr. Pancake provided the best pancakes I’ve ever had and night life wise, I would recommend the Krakow bar crawl and Prozak 2.0.

Next up on our list was Vienna, which we called our “break city,” simply because it seemed so sophisticated and above our budget. Instead of going to nightclubs there, we stumbled upon a film festival one evening and went to an opera screening the other.

It was all part of the Viennese experience, the street markets, Schönbrunn Palace, the museum quarter and the imperial sights. This city seemed full of life with stunning buildings at every corner, but thankfully we were only there for 2 days, as it was a little above our budget.

A fast train journey of about 2 and a half hours brought us to the lively and magical Budapest. The sparkling atmosphere and vibrant culture were evident from the moment we arrived. We stay at Retox Party Hostel which was certainly lively and perfect if you wanted to be shown the best nights out in Buda.

We checked out the Ruin Bars and spent a day at the Szechenyi Thermal baths, as well as an evening for the infamous “bath parties.” A walking tour, sunbathing in parks, a boat party, Szimpla Kert a renowned ruin bar and Instant nightclub were all on the agenda and lived up to expectation.

We had planned our trip, so we were in Budapest during Sziget, one of the largest music festivals in Europe. After four idyllic days in the sun and the dazzling city, we moved to the “Sziget Hostel” which was right beside the festival grounds, about an half an hour away from the city centre.

Three nights at Sziget consisted of a lot of singing, dancing and glitter seeing acts such as Mo, Shawn Mendes, Lewis Capaldi, Zara Larson, Milky Chance and Don Diablo. It was certainly one of the highlights of the trip.

What was supposed to be a day of travelling from Budapest to Lake Bled, from nearly missing our train in the morning after getting  2 hours of sleep to a broken-down train at 6pm, meant we didn’t arrive to Hostel Bled till midnight.

Friends of ours stayed in Ace of Spades at the same time and would highly recommend, if Hostel Bled is booked out. Bled was certainly an adventure from kayaking, renting a rowboat, hiking up to the viewpoint to cycling around the lake and midnight swims, make sure to try all of the above!

The buzzy bars, lively locals, the fun in the sun and of course the array of activities on the lake were astounding. I will remember the breath-taking sunsets and the brilliantly blue freshwater in Lake Bled forever.

Our interrail pass worked perfectly until Croatia, where we got buses from then instead. We took a train from Bled to  Zagreb and from there a bus to Split followed by a boat out to the Croatian Island, Pag, where we stayed in a villa by the beach for 4 nights. Pag was on the agenda as we arrived in time for Sonus Music Festival, which we went to for 2 days.

This was different to any festival I’d been to before as it was on the beach and boasted a really exciting and crazy atmosphere. This festival was more techno music with DJs rather than the more pop style acts at Sziget, both festivals being out of this world. The boat party with Peggy Gou was certainly a highlight of the trip.

After a wild few days of partying on the beach, we made our way on a ferry to the stunning Island of Hvar, which was the most picturesque and magical destination on our trip.

Hula Hula Beach bar and Carpe Diem were hit up after long, luxurious days on the different beaches, all within walking distance from the Youth Hostel Villa Marija where we stayed.

The hostel had a pool and free sangria each evening along with a buzzy and exciting atmosphere making it my favourite hostel throughout the trip. We also rented small motorboats to sail to the other islands, tried snorkelling in the deep glistening sea and took in the breath-taking sunsets each evening.

Hvar is a truly idyllic destination with a gorgeous little old town, buzzy bars and eateries and most importantly glorious coves and beaches like no other.

We loved Hvar so much that we extended our stay, ending up only staying in Split for 3 days. We stayed in Hostel Split, relaxed on the beach day, went on a pub crawl, hiked to viewpoints and had a lovely final evening by the port in a gorgeous restaurant.

The highlight from Split was our day trip out to the untouched Krka National park where we swam in the magical waterfalls and basked in the wonderful wild landscape.

It was now time to fly home on a late flight from Split Airport and head straight to Electric Picnic the following day! I travelled to so many incredible destinations and met some amazing people from all over the world, what a trip!

Katie Lowry 

Image Credit: Gap Year Website