Interrail: Paris to Istanbul in 22 days

Rhys Davies @ 20-01-2009 19:40

Me and my friends are planning on interrailing this summer, starting from Paris and ending in Istanbul with enough time left to travel back to britain. We plan to hopefull go through Italy and greece, stopping at the major cities such as Rome, Venice, Athens among others. We will be probably buying the 10 days out of 22 ticket.

Bearing in mind only 10 days travelling time do you think this route is possible.
Many thanks for the replies.

downrangelikehull @ 20-01-2009 20:11

in my opinion this should be possible but it will involve some long journeys. if you adopt a relaxed approach you should be more than able to do it.
last summer i went from paris to rome and found it very easy. it will only get difficult once you start out after this.
my suggested route for you would be to go through Switzerland on your way from Paris. there are regular TGV connections from Paris to Basle and Bern (you will have to reserve the TGV, not difficult). once in switzerland it is very easy to get to Italy through Lugano in the south. Lugano is an extremely picturesque city well worth a night or two so I strongly recommend it. from there it is only a very short hop to Milano, where you can connect easily with any Italian city. getting from paris to rome is very easy if you take it at a leisurely pace and make several stop offs.
For getting to Greece a ferry is the best choice. either ancona or bari/brindisi are your options, all relatively easy to reach from rome. the ferry will drop you at Patras most likely which is connected by rail to Athens. I have been to Patras and Athens - Athens is unmissable, Patras is VERY, VERY missable, leave as soon as you get there!
and from there someone else will have to help you but I'm certain there are overnight trains to Istanbul. the overnight train is likely to be the worst part of your journey but an experience well worth undertaking. i took one from munich to zagreb and it was a LONG night but i look back on it now with pleasure.
i'd say this journey is very possible if you plan it right.

my suggested route would be.
paris > bern > Lugano > Italy (loads of options here i recommend siena and florence) > ferry Bari/Brindisi/Ancona to Patras > Athens > Istanbul

you could comfortably do this in 10 days travel time in my opinion, once you make sure you have at least two travel days left before you leave for greece

Pete @ 21-01-2009 10:47

... something to add ... 🙂
here is a list for night trains:
and there is a night train from Athens via Thesaloniki and Sofia - then to Istanbul ... but you have to change.
always take food and beer/water with you ... the cars are often old but romantic ... 🙂 you will meet a lot of travellers ...

for your way back by train I recommend you:
- Istanbul
- Sofia (Bulgaria)
- if you have the time go to Varna (Bulgaria) at the Black Sea - from there you have a direct night train via Sofia to Bucharest and connection to Vienna
- via either Buchares (Romania) or Beograd (Serbia) to Budapest
- Vienna
- Munich
- Paris

for train schedules, have a look here:


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