Travelling around Europe would be probably on everyone’s travel bucket list. My husband and I together with our friends went across few countries in Europe via Interrail. We organised this excellent adventure using the rail network of Europe for few months crafting our itinerary and destination research.
Using the Interrail pass to travel around Europe via the vast train network was indeed a great way of discovering the gems of each destination. I was impressed by the reliable train services and the convenience of the journey. We had the First Class tickets of the Interrail – Global Pass for this trip. You can visit the Interrail and Eurail website for more information.
Here is our detailed itinerary that we made for this Interrail trip. We’ve visited Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Our trip started in Naples (South of Italy), and we made our way north on to the succeeding stops and countries until we wrapped up our trip to Vienna.
Highlights of our Interrail trip:
First Stop – Italy
Second Stop- Switzerland
Bernina Express ( Swiss Alps)
Third Stop – Germany
During the walking tour around Munich
Fourth Stop – Austria
Schengen visa is typically required on travelling to the majority of countries in Europe. Certain countries are exempted of getting a visa prior to your travel with Europe e.g. USA and Canada etc.
Plan your route in advance. Determine which countries you would like to visit during your trip. On planning your journey, you need to consider the train schedules, bus, ferries etc. and travel time from point A to B. before you know it will consume majority of your day travelling.
Take advantage of the night trains on the long haul rail journey especially if you are crossing countries. The night trains will save you few pennies when it comes to your accommodation. Check all the local currencies on the places you would like to visit, not all countries in Europe is using Euros.
I have included other travel tips in the itinerary part of this article.
We were lucky to be accommodated by the grandeur Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni (Bellagio, Italy) and modern designed Sofitel Munich Bayerpost (Munich, Germany) on this trip.
Address: Via Roma, 1, 22021 Bellagio CO, Italy
Check out our hotel review of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.
Address: Sofitel Munich Bayerpost, Bayerstrasse 12, 80335 München, Germany
Day 1: Arrival in Campagnia Peninsula — Naples, Italy
We arrived in Naples, Italy around 10am and immediately took the coach to Sorrento in front of the airport. Around midday, we arrived at the town centre of Sorrento where the hotel’s transport was waiting for us. Our hotel was around 15-minute drive from the centre, tucked in the hills overlooking the Mount Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples.
After we had settled in our hotel, we went to catch the SITA bus in front of our hotel to Amalfi Coast. The bus was packed with locals and tourists. The winding road in the peninsula is very narrow with loads of turns and curves.
Travel tips: You can check the SITA bus timetables online. All bus tickets should be bought in advance for 2.50 Euros per way regardless the distance. The on our way to Amalfi the bus driver we had over charged us as we paid cash (5 Euros per person). The bus tickets can be bought from any shops or from the train/bus stations only.
Make sure you have some motion sickness tablets just in case you will feel sick because of the bus ride. I thought I’m well travelled enough to handle this, but I underestimate the road to Amalfi.
DAY 2: Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
We started out early to maximise our day. We headed to the centre of Sorrento using the hotel’s free transport. Using the local train of the Campania region called EAV (this is not included in your Interrail or Eurail pass), we headed to Pompeii Scavi station to visit the famous ruins of Pompeii.
We didn’t pre-book any tours in advance; however, we’ve decided to avail the local tourism office guided tour. The office was located on the second floor of the Pompeii Scavi ticket office. We also bought the Mount Vesuvius summit trip there.
After our trekking to the summit of Mount Vesuvius, we headed back to the Sorrento via EAV train again and had our dinner in the town centre before heading back to our hotel.
Travel tips: Start your day early so you can have plenty of time to roam around Pompeii. If you choose to do your own DIY tour of Pompeii you can just heads towards the gate where you can buy your tickets and map of the ancient ruined city. The last trip of the Mount Vesuvius trip is around 4pm, so make sure you will be at the meeting point near the Pompeii Scavi station as the bus departs on time.
Day 3: Sorrento to Florence
We head off and bid our goodbye to this charming Italian peninsula with a promise to come back again soon. We made our way to Naples using the EAV.
On our arrival in Naples, we headed to the TrenItalia’s customer service to have our Interrail pass validated. And we were off to catch now the Frecciorosa high-speed train to Florence. We arrived in Florence around mid-day and settled in our hotel for a bit before we head out again to roam around the town.
Travel tip: The highlight of Florence is the duomo. Ask for a town map from the hotel’s reception. It’s relatively easy to navigate walk around Florence. Shorts and sleeveless tops are not allowed if you intend to visit the Duomo, the staff won’t let you inside the cathedral. If you want to get a fantastic view of Florence, head towards the Piazzale Michel Angelo. The piazzale is on the the top of the hill just on the outskirt of the town with a perfect 180 degrees view of Florence.
Day 4: Florence to Venice
We left Florence around midday and spent our afternoon heading our way to Venice. By the time we reached our hotel, it was almost time for dinner. So we ate at the nearest restaurant in Lido Island and called it a day!
Travel Tip: We stayed on Lido Island in Venice because we found the cheapest hotel deal available during our visit to Venice. Depending on your itinerary, the Venezia travel card that will let give you an unlimited pass to all routes of the Vaporetto (water buses in Venice). We bought the three-day travel Venezia travel card.
Day 5: Venice
We spent our whole day exploring Venice. Gondula ride is pricey if not shared with a group. We went around to visit Basilica de San Marco, Piazza San Marco, Bridge of Sighs, Rialto, and the other famous spots in Venice. After our morning walk around Venice, we took the vaporetto to visit the island of Murano. Murano is the famous for their glassworks made by the local and expert glass masters of the island known for their exquisite works and designs. Burano is a charming and colourful island. One of the most visited islands in Veneto region.
Travel tip: We find Venice as an overly priced tourist destination but it has to be ticked off on our travel list in exploring Italy. Restaurants in Venice are super expensive. They will charge you for anything, even the standard condiments and supposedly comp bread/ breadsticks. Pretty much anything on your table whether you have it or not. It is a unique experience to witness their way of life and the charm of Venice. A visit to Murano and Burano islands is a must when you visit the islands of Venezia. Murano island is famous for their exquisite handcrafted Murano glass made by the local artisans. There are few free shows to watch the glassmaster while making his glass masterpiece. If you are planning to buy some Murano glass from the island, make sure to check the seal of authenticity and look for the seal VETRO DI MURANO and the engraved signature of the glassmaster on the actual glass piece.
Day 6: Venice to Lake Garda
We head out early to catch the vaporetto and the high speed train on our way to Lake Garda (Desenzano rail station), part of the lake district of Italy. We’ve decided that this will be our rest stop after our non- stop travelling and roaming around each destination. We rented an apartment near the lake and close to the high street.
Day 7: Verona
We’ve decided to visit the famous setting of the Shakespeare’s famous play, Romeo and Juliet — Verona. Verona is 20 minutes train ride from Lake Garda. From the train station, the house of Juliet ( Casa di Guilleta) is approximately 30 minutes walk.
The medieval town was buzzing with loads of tourists and market. Casa di Guilleta is the highlight of the visit in Verona. Inside the Casa di Guelleta, you will the iconic balcony from the Romeo and Juliet. Hundreds of visitors of the famous spot left different love notes on the arch way as you enter the Casa. As the popularity of this “tradition”, the Club di Guilleta is a known organisation who handles the million of love letters that they received around the globe about love.
Day 8: Lake Garda to Bellagio in Lake Como
We started our day early to head towards to another famous lake of Italy — Lake Como. After a bus, train, a car and few hours of running around, we finally arrived in the charming town of Bellagio. Overlooking right at the tip where the at the lake Como and lake Lecco meets. The town is considered as the pearl of Lake Como.
We stayed in the grandeur Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. The only 5-star luxury hotel in Bellagio, the real Bellagio!
Travel tip: You can also reach Bellagio via train from Milan to Varena- Esino and catch the ferry to Bellagio. Bus are also available from Como and will take you to Bellagio for around 1.5- 2 hours. Public and private ferries are also available from Como if you wish to cruise on the lake to access Bellagio.
Day 9: Bellagio
We walked around the town of Bellagio. The picturesque landscape of Lake Como and its snow-capped Swiss Alps mountains are just perfect! We’ve decided to stay and explore the afternoon in the hotel’s swimming pool while the glorious sun was out.
Another lazy day for us while basking ourselves under the lovely Italian sunshine with the charming landscape of Lake Como and the Swiss Alps.
Day 10: Bellagio to Chur, Switzerland via Tirano (Bernina Express)
We set off early from Bellagio to catch our train to Tirano, Italy right at the border of Switzerland. We reached Tirano around mid-day and ready to board Bernina Express, a panoramic train to Chur, Switzerland. Bernina Express is one of the most popular train journey in Europe because of its magnificent natural landscape as you cruise along the valleys of Switzerland.
Travel tip: The Bernina Express is included in your Interrail and Eurail pass. However, the panoramic train journey requires a booking reservation fee. We booked our reservations directly through the Bernina Express website to ensure we will get the panoramic train to Chur.
Day 11: Chur, Switzerland to Munich, Germany
Switzerland is very expensive, so we’ve decided just to stay there for a night. It was a flying visit to Switzerland, and we were off to Munich, Germany. It’s a 4-hour train journey Munich from Chur.
On our arrival in Munich, we checked-in in Sofitel Munich Bayerpost. Located just at the doorstep of the Munich central station. After we’ve settled in the hotel, we went to around near the New Town hall to grab some bites.
Travel Tip: Tram, metro and bus system in Munich is not included on your Interrail / Eurail pass.
Day 12: Fussen, Germany ( Neuschwanstein Castle)
I went for a solo day trip to visit one of my childhood travel goal, The Neuschwanstein castle in the heart of Bavarian region of Germany. It was the inspiration for the Disney Castle that you can find in every Disneyland and films.
Fuessen is a 2-hour train ride from Munich. I took the early train to Fussen just enough time for me to get there around mid-day. I pre-booked my tour of the castle via Viator and collected it to the travel agent near the fuessen train station. In front of the station, you can find the bus that will take you to the town of Schwangau right at the foot of the hill where the castle is located. There’s a ticket centre as well in town of Schwangau where you can buy your castle tickets. You also have three options to go to the castle either have a gentle 30-40 minutes stroll/hike into the woods, take the horse drawn carriage or the service bus to the doorstep of the castle.
Travel tips: Allow plenty of time before your allotted tour schedule of the castle. You need to be at the main gate of the castle at least 10 minutes before your scheduled time. It would be advisable to pre-booked your castle tour ticket in advance. Pictures are not allowed during the tour. The bus from Fuessen to Schwangau is not included in your Interrail / Eurail pass.
Day 13: Munich, Germany to Vienna, Austria
We are now on the last destination of our Interrail adventure. Our final stop is Vienna, Austria. We took another 4-hour high speed train from Munich to Vienna. After we settled in our hotel, we went out again to walk around Vienna. We went to see some of the historical monuments and landmarks of the city that includes St. Stephen Cathedral, the house of Mozart, Schönbrunn Palace and many more.
Travel tip: we bought a Vienna travel card to access the metro system of the city.
Day 14: Vienna
On our last day in Vienna, we went to see the Museum of Military History. After our visit to the museum, we prep our bags and head to the airport to catch our evening flight back to the UK.
Complimentary Interrail passes were provided by Interrail for us to experience this fantastic adventure of exploring Europe via trains. Opinions, experience and photos on this article are my own.
About the Writer
Ryazan Tristram is named after a Russian city near Moscow. The Miss Zan-shine of Everything Zany – A Photography, Lifestyle and Dual Citizen Travel Blog. She likes to travel, history, meet people & try exotic foods! Planning to explore more countries with her D.I.Y trips as a Dual Citizen (British – Filipina). Follow her travels on Facebook and Instagram.
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