Interrail Itinerary: 7 Countries, 21 Cities

Posted on 9/14/2013 29 comments

So many places to chose from! Europe boasts an incredible wealth of cultural riches, stunning scenery and flavors joined in marvelous combinations. Planning an Interrail trip can be at times an intimidating process.

We have just returned from such a trip. Many of you already know that for the whole month of August we explored Europe by train using the 1st class Interrail Global Pass. And we have to admit is was one of the most successful trips ever. Everything simply fell into place from start to finish.


Our itinerary was incredibly diverse and took us through 7 countries, two of which (Luxembourg and Liechtenstein) we've never set foot in before. We explored 21 cities, 16 of them being completely new to us. We had the chance to try an incredible array of new flavors and dishes, marvel at mighty cathedrals, and see the architecture changing in front of our eyes from one region to another. But the main theme of our Interrail itinerary was 'food' and we loved every minute of it.

This itinerary worked well for us, but feel free to throw in new ingredients when you plan your own Interrail adventure. And if you are in search for further inspiration, you can read our Interrail tips and our last year's Interrail itinerary. So here we go. A short summary of our trip.

Madrid (Spain)

- we joined the Madrid Food Tour and totally fell in love with the food scene of the Spanish capital
- we had dinner in the oldest restaurant in the world - Sobrino de Botin. An absolute must!
- and also went on a photo tour of Madrid


Burgos (Spain)

- we stopped there mainly for the cathedral, but discovered a beautiful city, small, yet with a strong personality


San Sebastian (Spain)

- pintxospintxos and more pintxos  You could easily gain pounds just by looking at the bars loaded with miniature food plates
- the Concha bay was incredible, especially at sunset, seen from Monte Igueldo


Hendaye (France)

- we stopped here for a few hours in between trains. The picturesque old fishing port was sooo pretty!


Bordeaux (France)

- the wine capital of the world had vineyards decorating even its avenues and terraces. Charming!
- our crêpes (French pancakes) based diet started here


Arcachon (France)

- the largest moving dune in Europe was sooo much fun! It was like Disneyland, but without the tears. We loved it so much that we ended up spending the whole day on the dune


Saint Emilion (France)

- the medieval village and the surrounding vineyards were incredibly pretty. We took a wine and chateaux tour and explored the area while also tasting some French wines.


Les Eyzies (France)

- this is the world capital of prehistory. We visited Font de Gaume, the last original cave with prehistoric polychrome cave painting still open to the public and Grotte du Grand Roc, a small cave with fabulous formations
- we tasted foie gras for the very first time and fell in love with it


Paris (France)

- oh, Paris, so monumental and lit up like a Christmas tree, why, oh, why you smell like pee?
- in spite of all its flaws, we still love Paris
- and since we were in the food capital of the world, we discovered quite a few incredible restaurants, like La Bauhinia, Brasserie Thoumieux and L'Atelier Maitre Albert (a Guy Savoy restaurant)
- the Pierre Herme macarons couldn't be left untasted either
- nor Mouline Rouge and Lido shows ignored
- and of course, a visit to the Constantin Brancusi Atelier and grave in Montparnasse Cemetery were a must since I recently learned that the father of modern sculpture is part of my family tree


Giverny (France)

- Monet's garden was absolutely wonderful. Crowded, but beautifully maintained and full of flowers. The village in itself was like inspired from a Monet painting 


Brussels (Belgium)

- waffles, chocolate and Belgian fries, of course!
- we witness a new festival being born - Floralientime. This is supposed to go on in the years between the Flower Carpet
- we went on a Art Nouveau architecture hunt
- and had dinner in La Fleur En Papier Dore Pub where the surrealists used to meet
- and lunch at La Truffe Noire, our first 1-star Michelin rated restaurant


Gent (Belgium)

- the gorgeous architecture of this city never seizes to amaze us


Arlon (Belgium)

- just a short but interesting stop on the way to Luxembourg


Luxembourg City (Luxembourg)

- the Elephant Parade was here
- and though the city in general didn't impress us that much, the Casemates were so cool!


Colmar (France)

- one of the most charming villages ever. We simply couldn't have enough of it
- the souvenir shops here were so cute that they almost left us broke


Strasbourg (France)

- perfect mixture between old and new, politics and romance
- tarte flambee, eclair, Alsacian wines...


Basel (Switzerland)

- this quiet place has the most fairy-tale like town hall we've ever seen


Lucerne (Switzerland)

- one of the most charming cities in Switzerland
- beautiful covered bridges, flowers, and painted buildings


Zurich (Switzerland)

- dinner in the Clouds. Situated at the 35th floor of Prime Tower, the tallest building in Switzerland, this bistro has some breathtaking views over Zurich, the Alps and the lake
- dinner at Garden Restaurant on top of Dolder


Konstanz (Germany)

- beautiful German architecture
- gorgeous lake


Vaduz (Liechtenstein)

- the perfect place to end our Interrail trip
- the castle looked cool in a spooky way. It felt like Dracula could have lived there
- the small capital barely has 5,000 inhabitants and after a short walk away from the city center we got lost on purpose among some astonishing vineyards


Many thanks to the guys from Interrail for providing us with 2 Global Passes.

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29 comments

  1. If you like sand dunes, I would definitely recommend Parnidis Dune on the Curonian Spit, Lithuania.

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    1. Looks wonderful! I so want to go there too now!!!

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  2. What a fabulous itinerary. I've only visited a few of these place, and would love to see the others, especially traveling around by train. What a great way to go. The pics area great, too. Never heard of the dune in Arcachon.

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    1. I think each and every one of these places are beautiful and special. I'm still pinching myself in disbelief. This was probably the best trip we've ever been on. Very balanced and smooth.

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  3. Nice pic of Arcachon! It is a favorite of us French people in the summer. And I love the comment on Paris..We always say "If it smells like pee, we must be in Paris.." Yeah, very regrettable but true. Good thing we make it up with cool places and things to see, and fantastic food to eat!
    Your itinerary was fun. So glad you went to Les Eyzies, one of my very favorite places in the world. I first went there with my parents as a young child, I love it. How did you get there by train? That is a place not easily reached by rail.. Keep on traveling!

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    1. We took the train from Bordeaux to Les Eyzies via Periguex. And from there we took the train to Paris the next day with changes in Periguex and Limoges. We loved the surrounding region of Saint Emilion and Les Eyzies so much, we can't wait to go back soon.
      So sad about Paris :( I don't remember it being so dirty and smelly when we visited 6 years ago, nor 8 years ago on our honeymoon.

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    2. How many days did you spend in each country and overall how many days was the whole trip? Will a similar itinerary be good even during April month?

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    3. Hi Nandini! The whole Interrail trip was 30 days. We roughly spent 4 days in Spain, 5 in Belgium, 5 in Switzerland and almost all the remaining time in France. We took day trips to Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Konstanz. April should be ok, as long as it's not raining.

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  4. Funny you mention weight loss or the lack of it while traveling thru northern Spain. I normally loose weight when I travel because of all the walking. However, this time I am in Burgos, Bilbao, and San Sebastian. All the Pintxos, Tapas, and Montaditos are not helping me loose weight at all.

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    1. Haha :) I think you are referring to my comment on Google+ the other day - 'happiness is going on a 1 month culinary tour of Europe and not gaining one single pound'. Well, I can totally see how the pintxos, tapas and montaditos are not helping :) Truth is, we walked an awful lot and while we went for the local food, we didn't always have a feast. Moderation and balance might be the key ;)

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  5. Train travel is always a blast - great photos and how did get such wonderful photos of the church interior? Those interiors never come out well for me.

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    1. Thank you! I think I just used a wide aperture. Also, there was lots of light in the church.

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  6. Wow! What a great trip - I'm (almost) afraid to show your post to David the Train Nut - he'll have us leaving tomorrow! -Veronica

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  7. What an amazing journey! Can't believe I live so close to Bordeaux and the dunes, and haven't made it there yet. Must do something about that!

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    1. For sure! Such a pretty part of the world... We loved it so much... Already thinking about going back to St Emilion and the Dordogne region.

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  8. Amazing pics.... I was just checking your site and trust me it was totally worth reading. You have maintained it really very well.

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    1. Thank you, Alina! Please stop by any time you like.

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  9. Magnificent trip! Thank you for posting such a beautifully documented and inspiring photo essay of your travels! I am in awe of the incredibly diversity of these cities and like you, am absolutely amazed by the whimsical town hall in Basel! Amazing!

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    1. Indeed, it was a very interesting trip and not for a moment boring.

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  10. Sounds like a perfect trip! I've been reading so many great things about Colmar and I'm wondering if we'll have time to squeeze it into our European itinerary scheduled for next March.

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    1. If you find the half timbered houses charming, than Colmar is a must. Strasbourg has a few as well, but Strasbourg is bigger and it has so much more than just that. In Colmar, the heart of the town are the houses and the canals. Loooved it so much!

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  11. What a fabulous Interrail itinerary. Europe by train is on my bucket list!

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    1. Our Interrail itinerary was indeed awesome and we greatly enjoyed Europe by train.

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  12. A great itinerary! Love the picture of Colmar...I truly love intimate, quaint towns

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    1. Colmar was one of my favorite places we included in this year's Interrail itinerary. Extremely charming!

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  13. Some known & not so well known places on this list, I like that. I need to get back to Europe sometime.

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    1. That was the whole idea, to make it an interesting itinerary and mostly cover places we haven't been to before :)

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  14. That's really good example of planning an optimised trip itinerary...Cool! I will be using this trip itinerary in the future.

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