Interrail virgin - basic questions

AlphaOmega @ 27-07-2007 21:53

Hello dear fellow interrailers 🙂

My name is Joris, I’m from the Netherlands and I am currently planning my first interrail tour. I am quite inexperienced when it comes to touring around, but the freedom of it really appeals to me. I will be traveling for one month, whether alone or with others, and whom with, I am yet unsure. – any comments on this also appreciated. I wanna come back with a few nice stories, wouldn’t mind much if I would’ve lost a few limbs along the way, but on the other hand if I plan to travel by train a lot instead of hiking around it might get a bit lonely.

Anyways I have a few more questions which I hope can be answered here 🙂 :

[list:2ols8web][*:2ols8web]The Route
I highlighted a route on a google map from major city to major city. I plan to go north from the Netherlands and complete the circle from there.
[img:2ols8web]http://www.worldplayers.net/alpha/europ.gif[/img:2ols8web]
Between Helsinki and Berlin, I like to visit Tallinn because Estonia seems like a great country and it’s a great way to get back from Scandinavia to mainland Europe. An easyjet ticket from Tallinn is between 20 and 40 € when booked well ahead… After looking on this forum and seeing that from Tallinn down to Lithuania is only about €20, I think I’ll add that to my trip and scrap the Berlin idea… I’ve seen Germany – I’ll jus go from Lithuania to Poland. – oh that brings me to another question – is Kaliningrad any fun to visit? And is it worth the effort to get a visa for such a small part of Russia? (I assume I need one – and well if I did I could visit St. Petersburg between Helsinki and Tallinn as well).
I’m wondering if anyone has any comments to this route. Maybe it’s too much for 30 days (I’m almost sure it is) – but I wouldn’t mind skipping anything after Italy, and I’m not too sure about Istanbul either. On the other hand, when I’m having a good time I wouldn’t mind extending my trip by 10, 22 or even 30 days either. I have a lot of friends living in Switzerland and after that every bit of the route was just an attempt to fill the circle in an interesting way. I don't plan on spending all my time in trains, just some of the nights would be good.
[/*:m:2ols8web]
[*:2ols8web]Night Trains
I don’t plan on spending a lot of money on accommodation but don’t much like the idea of carrying a tent around and having to set it up every day either. I’d prefer to sleep on the train, but as I got from this website, that can be quite tricky. Are night trains more expensive than hostels? Of course, it will depend on the country, but I’m sure some of you have more of an indication than I do 😉
[/*:m:2ols8web]
[*:2ols8web]The adventurous bit
Now I have travelled around some cities for a few days and I’ve visited some nice places, but reading those articles always makes me wonder where all those great stories come from. The friendly farmer who let you sleep in his hay shelter, the local bartender who gave you a round on the house, kind of cheesy examples but you get what I mean (I hope). Now I have already decided not to travel with a good friend of mine as doing so would probably stop me from making contact with the rest of the world, but I still wonder if all those stories are just random coincidences or pure fiction. Apart from visiting the major cities I’ll try to go through the countryside and smaller villages, but being an adventure-virgin I still wonder whether I am supposed to just walk into these things and whether visiting the countryside and small villages is all there is to it? I am quite open and spontaneous, so that’s nothing to worry about…[/*:m:2ols8web][/list:u:2ols8web]

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I’m looking forward to your replies. Any comments welcome 🙂

Cheers,

Joris

admin @ 02-08-2007 19:58

Hi

You certainly are being pretty ambitious in your itinery but maybe it's better to have a busy schedule than dither around. You can and will alter and skip things on your route, I reckon.

I just finished my third Interrail trip: As I knew exactly what I wanted this time, I took a month-long excursion with all accomodation planned in advance and train times researched and I stuck to it, except in southern Italy where the train proved to be unreliable.

I travelled alone but met new people every day on trains, in hostels and in parks etc. I think this is the better way to get more experiences and anecdotes to take home. I did see many groups of friends travelling and sticking together; missing a lot of available opportunities.

Best of luck to you

Andie @ 22-08-2007 15:27

Hey Joris!

I'm planning my first Interrail trip too, for the next summer 😉
I'll be traveling with my boyfriend and i had similar trip route as you have! Then we started to argue cause he said that it won't be possible in 1 month and definitely not in 22 days as we are taking! He claimed that i wont see nothing except railway stations and so we started to calculate in hours how long will it take us to come from one place to another! And guess what?! He had the point....we didn't even come to the half of my route and we already spent 22 days 😢 I planned to stay couple of nights in one place to have the chance to see everything (Paris, Nice, London etc...) So, at the moment i'm shortening my route and it's veeeeery difficult 😢 i simply don't know what to cut...and as he said, next year we can do it again cause this is our first time and i think it's safer to go step by step!

And i agree that it's more adventurous to go by yourself, but maybe you should go with a friend this first time...i'm totally sure you'll get to know lot of people going alone or with someone! :P

Have fun in planning! 😉

Ian @ 23-08-2007 16:37

Yep, that's a lot to fit in. I just got my ticket yesterday (am setting off on Saturday) and got some very useful info in the form of the small journey-times map on the back of the main map. I had previously estimated train times based on how long the same distance would take in Britain (which as I'm sure you know are not the fastest). However, it looks as though some Eastern European journeys are phenomenally slow. I was planning to go from Vienna to Belgrade in one day. That now looks a bit ambitious (especially if I want to spend even a few hours doing something else), so I may now take a night train from Vienna (assuming one is available in the right direction), even though I have free accommodation in Vienna. This will obviously slow some of your circuit down similarly.

Have a great trip!

Jorick @ 11-01-2008 19:53

hey joris,

I can talk to ya in dutch but I don't because it's an english forum . any way. I think your route can't be realized in 31 days. I had 36 days(extra days spend somewhere without using the ticket) and I've seen france, italia,tsjechie and germany. But how many days do you want to stay in a city just one? because you have more cities than I have days. And I agree with andie. it's to much to do in 31 days. So as in 22.

I'm going on my second interrail trip this year. starting in paris ending in paris. want to see spain,portugal and southcoast of france.. in 6 or 7 weeks. If you have more time and money maybe you can do the same. visit the countries you want to see the most. and after that with some money left.. buy a one country ticket and find a way with that. it's just a suggestion. and if you decide to do it this way. I wish you the best trip!

Met vriendelijke groet ( my regards)

Jorick

Miro @ 12-01-2008 16:10

Hi,

Next thing is that your trip is (far) too much i think, split it up in 2 or 3 (maybe 4) parts, choose one part and do the other parts another time.

I haven't done a InterRailtrip before, but i have done some other travelling. This year i want to do my first interrail going to København, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, another thing in Norway (Lofoten?), Northern Sweden, Kuopio, Turku-Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, (maybe Warsaw, Brn🧐 ending in Budapest at Sziget-festival and I will be glad if I can make this in a month...

I hope this little part helped you and you will get a really nice InterRailexperience.

Jorick @ 13-01-2008 13:43

hehe, And also from dieren miro. so do I 😲 But I agree that he has to split it in 4 parts, I'm starting on my second trip in july doing spain and portugal and southern france.

Your route miro will work in a month, and maybe you can just spend 31 days travelling and after that go to the festival and fly back.

Miro @ 13-01-2008 15:21

Yeah, well now I'm living in Delft, studying there.

About my route, I want to take a 22 days pass and go in 22 days to helsinki, after that i will go through the Baltic States by buss and buy single tickets in Poland and Slovakia. So that's about 31 days and after that the festival will be... 🙂 I hope I'll be rich enough in the summer..

Jorick @ 13-01-2008 15:34

pour student life😉

AlphaOmega @ 21-02-2008 11:56

hey all, thanks for all the replies but the topic is quite outdated. i've been on my trip, visited 18 countries and had a hell of a time. i stayed in scandinavia longer than i anticipated (seen a lot of the north) and skipped some of eastern europe (especially FY countrys). i haven't been to the uk, france, spain or portugal either. I have been through the baltic states though, and i would recommend tallinn definitely! Riga stinks, and Vilnius is ok; i was only there for one day and it was a sunday.

i'm goinig on a trip again this summer, with a friend, travelling through southern europe and then north through eastern europe. i'm not really planning much for the trip, like last year (last year i bought my ticket and backpack and left 4 days after).

i slept in the train most of the time so long distances weren't a problem and i visited small towns everywhere. it was great.

i'm considering making a (small) trip soon as well, especially through norway and sweden - just love it.

i live in the hague btw, used to study here.

Miro @ 23-02-2008 00:20

Ah that sounds very nice, what was your exact route last year? What cities in the north are mustsees and what are dontgo's? Also for the Baltic States. Thanks in advance and happy studying in dûh haaggr.

AlphaOmega @ 24-02-2008 23:47

something along the lines of this:

odense, svendborg, kopenhagen, malmö, storlien, trondheim, östersund, ånge, luleå, kemi, rovaniemi, helsinki, stockholm, oslo, bergen, back to helsinki, tallinn, riga, vilnius, warsaw, wroclaw, cracow, prague, breclav, brno, bratislava, split, zagreb, ljubljana, budapest, venice, interlaken (used to live there), firenze, rome

do's:
-the track between oslo and bergen is very beautiful. i liked bergen as well
-the land border between sweden and finland (luleå-kemi) is fucking amazing. the bus is free
-helsinki is a nice town, it's got everything yet is still compact and cozy
-tallinn is very nice, maybe just a little touristic
-split, was so great to take a break from travelling and just lie by the beach for two days. it's kind of away from city life, the inner town is very nice
-venice, all the little islets are great if you discover them and dont just follow the main crowd to the rialto.
-rome, a must see

don'ts:
-riga: people were sleeping by the side of the road, it smelt like piss everywhere, the main shopping street consisted mostly of dirty looking whore-houses, and the people were unfriendly
-poland generally, but that's probably because i was toasted when i got there and only went to the major cities. wroclaw is nice though.

and people i'm definitely going on an interrail tour through scandinavia in a week or two. let me know if you have any tips. i might go to nordkapp by car with a friend of mine who lives in bodo. ^^ otherwise i'll have to go by PT. any hints on whats cheap? i read that its 90e one way from rovaniemi...


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