Europe By Rail in 25 Days: Itinerary & Costs

Have you always wanted to do a tour of Europe but not quite sure where to start? Feeling overwhelmed by choices about where to stop, how long to stay and how much will it cost? Then this post is for you! And if you haven’t already worked it out, I like BIG action packed multi-destination trips – and this one is no different!

Europe Rail

Join me as I tour 10 major European cities by train on a budget of £50/$70USD/$90AUD per person per day.

Europe By Rail in 25 Days: Costs & Itinerary

First off, lets cover the cost of the rail travel. We used a rail pass that allowed 10 days of travel in 22 and if you don’t want the hassle of booking each train individually then you’ll want to pick yourself up one of these. But be warned – there are two websites which sell these Rail Passes and where you live will have a huge impact on the price you pay!

InterRail or EURail?

Interrail is by far the cheaper option – but is only available to European residents. A 10 day in 1 month travel pass will cost €374 (£295GBP/$420USD/$555AUD) (all prices correct @ March 2016 & not including discounts)

Alternatively, a EU Rail pass for the 10 days in 2 months (the nearest equivalent to the Interrail pass) would set you back €741 (£580GBP/$825USD/$1105AUD). I’m sure you can see the difference for yourselves! I personally think this is extortionate – and I’ll offer an alternative below, but first lets look at what the difference is between the two tickets (apart from the price).

So, what is different?  Well, not much really. The stand out for me is that an Interrail pass ‘only’ allows you to travel in 2nd class carriages – whereas the EU Rail Global pass is for 1st & 2nd class travel. (with no option for 2nd class only). Now, if you were travelling through Asia by train, 1st class (or even 2nd class!) would be a blessing – but in Europe? The rail network is more than adequate – in fact, it’s pretty good! Plus the fact that as countries in Europe are relatively small (in the grand scheme of things), any train journey you take is not likely to last for more than a few hours. Do you really need to spend all that extra money to sit in a ‘nicer’ seat?

I wouldn’t. But that’s just me. I’m happy to buy a pass and pay a premium where it offers good value and I’m feeling too time poor to check the prices for each journey individually – but I would be pricing this one very carefully and doing a full comparison before jumping in. It’s amazing how spending an extra 30 minutes to check each journey individually could end up saving you a couple of hundred dollars.

Alternative to EU Rail Europe rail

  1. Book Everything Separately Europe Rail

There are lots of sites to do this. Just type ‘book train journeys in Europe’ into Google and there are hundreds of options. One of the better ones in RailEurope – as this provides a selections of trains on any given day and it is easy for you to spot the cheapest time to travel. Obviously this kind of extra ‘work’ won’t sit well with some people who just don’t want the hassle of making 10 separate bookings – but I like to make sure my money goes as far as it can – and if I had to book separately to save a few hundred dollars, I would.

The Test Europe rail

Running my suggested route through this website and adding up the cost of each ticket proved my point, and showed that the cost of my tickets would be only €530(£415GBP/$595USD/$784AUD) – and this was without the early booking discounts that you can get for purchasing tickets a couple of months in advance. (Check the site for current offers). If you’re planning to explore Europe by rail – being a planner and booking your tickets in advance will save you money.

***TRAVEL HACK***

If you have a VPN service – and a friend in the UK (or other European Country), set your country re-route to the UK and you can buy the Interrail pass at the cheaper rate and get it delivered to your friend for pick up! #sneeky #travelhack #winning

I was able to book this way when I wrote this – but it is entirely up to you if you want to try it!

***TRAVEL HACK***

So, with that out of the way, lets go!

The Route Europe BY Rail

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Europe

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Amsterdam: 52.370216, 4.895168
Berlin: 52.520007, 13.404954
Prague: 50.075538, 14.437800
Krakow: 50.064650, 19.944980
Budapest: 47.497912, 19.040235
Vienna: 48.208174, 16.373819
Venice: 45.440847, 12.315515
Florence: 43.769560, 11.255814
Pisa: 43.722831, 10.401719
Rome: 41.902783, 12.496366
Bari: 41.117123, 16.871976
Dubrovnik: 42.650661, 18.094424

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Stop 1: Amsterdam

48 Hours Amsterdam

How Long to Stay: 3 days
What Not to Miss: Walking Round the Red Light District (Free); Ann Frank Haus (€8.50); House of Bols Cocktail Museum (€15 – best 15 Euros you will spend on a museum!); Sex Museum (€4); Go to the top of Nemo Building for the view over Amsterdam (Free); Casa Rosso (€35); Visit the IAmsterdam letters behind Reijsmuseum (Free); 1 hour Cruise of the Canals (€8)

Want to read all about it? Check out my posts on 48 Hours in Amsterdam: The Highlights and Amsterdams Best Museums for Sex, Drugs, Beer & Cocktails!
Europe By Rail

Cruise the Canals

Time to Next Stop: 6 hours 20 minutes

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Stop 2: Berlin

Europe By Rail

Brandenburg Tor

How Long to Stay: 3 days
What Not to Miss: Berlin Wall (Free); Reichstag (Admission is free but registration is required to secure entry); Brandenburg Tor (Free); Alexanderplatz & World Time Clock (Free); Holocaust Memorial (Free); Museumsinsel (Free to walk around or  €12 to enter site); Checkpoint Charlie (Free)

Click here for the full itinerary from my post 48 Hours in Berlin: The Highlights
Europe By Rail

Museumsinsel (Museum Island)

Time to Next Stop: 4 hours 30 minutes

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Stop 3: Prague

Europe By Rail

Charles Bridge

How Long to Stay: 2.5 days
What Not to Miss: Lennon Wall (Free); Prague Castle – including changing of the guard, gardens and cathedral (Free); Astronomical Clock (Free); Tyn Church (Free); Charles Bridge (Free); Communist Museum (€7)

Need more information? Read my post: 48 Hours in Prague: The Highlights
Europe By Rail

Astronomical Clock

Time to Next Stop: 9 hours (via overnight train)

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Stop 4: Krakow

Europe History

How Long to Stay: 2.5 days
What Not to Miss: Rynek Glowny – Market Square (Free); St Mary’s Basilica (Free); Wawel Church/Cathedral/Castle (Free); Wieliczka Salt Mine (€20); Auschwitz & Auschwitz-Birkenau (€30)

Want the full itinerary? Read my post 48 hours in Krakow: the highlights
Europe By Rail

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Time to Next Stop: 10 hours (via overnight train)

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Stop 5: Budapest

Europe By Rail

Hungarian Parliament

How Long to Stay: 2.5 days
What Not to Miss: Chain Bridge (Free); Parliament (Free); Fisherman’s Bastion (Free); Castle Hill/Buda Castle (Free – there is a funicular(€3.50) if you don’t want to walk up!); Széchenyi Thermal Baths (€15); Hosok Square (Free); Shoes on the Danube Bank Monument (Free); Gellert Hill & Freedom Monument (Free); St Stephen’s Basilica (Free)

need more info? Read the full post 48 hours in Budapest: the highlights
Europe By Rail

Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Time to Next Stop: 2 hours 25 minutes

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Stop 6: Vienna

Europe By Rail

Rathaus

How Long to Stay: 2.5 days
What Not to Miss: Stephansdom & St Stephens Cathedral (Free); Take the No1/2 tram (or follow the tram tracks) around Ringstrasse and take in the glorious buildings of the Rathaus, Parliament, Burgtheater & Postparkasse (Free); Take a day trip out to the Wachau Valley for a bike & wine tour – so much fun! (€65 inc bikes, lunch & wine).
Time to Next Stop: 7 hours 20 minutes

click here for the full itinerary: 48 HOURS IN VIENNA: TOP 10 THINGS TO DO

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Stop 7: Venice

Europe By Rail

The Grand Canal

How Long to Stay: 3 days
What Not to Miss: Piazza San Marco, Basilica & Campanile (Free); Gondola on the Grand Canal (this varies dramatically in price but we did this for €1!!); The Arsenal (from outside Free); Rialto Bridge (Free); Ponte dei Sospiri – Bridge of Sighs (Free); Vaparetto (public ferry system for getting around) (from €8 single trip; if requiring multiple journeys (if your staying on Lido for example) a Tourist card offers better value €20 for 1 day/€30 for 2 days etc).

click here for the full itinerary: 48 HOURS IN VENICE: TOP 10 THINGS TO DO
Europe By Rail

Piazza San Marco

Time to Next Stop: 2 hours

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Stop 8: Florence

Europe By Rail

Duomo, Florence

How Long to Stay: 1.5 day
What Not to Miss: Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (Duomo) (€15 – which includes Campanile de Grotto (climb to the top for that iconic Florence view); Piazza Michaelangelo (Free); Plaza della Signoria (Plaza where they Academia Museum and the famous State of David is located) (€15 without tour); Ponte Vecchio (Free); Florence Segway Tour (€75)
Time to Next Stop: 1 hour

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Stop 9: Pisa

Europe By Rail

Leaning Tower of Pisa

How Long to Stay: 0.5 day
What Not to Miss: Piazza del Miracoli (Free) including The Leaning Tower, Cathedral & Baptistry (tickets to go inside start at €49 – we were happy to view everything from outside!)
Time to Next Stop: 2 hours 30 minutes

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Stop 10: Rome (inc. Vatican City)

Europe By Rail

Colosseum

How Long to Stay: 4 days
What Not to Miss: Colosseum (Free – we didn’t go inside); Pantheon (Free); Piaza di Spagna & Spanish Steps (Free); Trevi Fountain (Free); Circus Maximus (Free); Capitol Hill (Free); Piazza Venizia & Victor Emmaneul Monument (Free); Piazza Navona inc Fountania dei Quattro Fumi (Free); Vatican City inc – Piazza di San Petro (Free) St Peters Basilica & Dome (€5); Vatican Museum inc Sistine Chapel (€16)

Europe By Rail

Capitol Hill

Europe By Rail

Vatican City

So there you have it – 10 major European cities in 25 days! Talk about an adventure! But how would you feel if I added an extra stop? When we did this trip we took a train from Rome down to Bari on the Italian coast (4 hours – Stop 11) and caught an overnight ferry to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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The Europe By Rail Add On

Time to Next Stop: 10 hours (overnight Ferry) (€80 pp)

Stop 12: Dubrovnik

Europe By Rail

The view from the Old Walls over Dubrovnik

How Long to Stay: 1-2 weeks.. or forever.. it’s just so beautiful..
What Not to Miss: The Old City (Free); Walking the Walls of the Old City (€16); Day Cruise to the Elapiti Islands (Lopud/Kolocep/Sipan) (€45 inc lunch); Day Trip to Montenegro – because why not add an extra country whilst you’re in the area?! (€50); Ferry to Lokrum Island (€6.50); Cable Car to the top of Mount Srd (€16) Sit on the (any) beach (Free).

Europe By Rail

Dubrovnik Old Walled City

And that’s it! My Europe by Rail 25 day+ Odyssey! And if you want to know more about each of the destinations listed – stay tuned as I’m currently putting together in dept guides on all of them!

In the meantime – Have you traveled Europe by train? Or is it something you have always wanted to do? Tell me all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

And if you liked this article, why not tweet, pin or share it? I’d really appreciate it 🙂

Europe By Rail

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  MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld

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55 thoughts on “Europe By Rail in 25 Days: Itinerary & Costs

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Jeff! It’s a shame that there is such a price discrepancy between EU residents and non-EU residents for the passes, but at least if you know your route/plan you can book everything separately and get it much cheaper!

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  1. Joy @MyTravelingJoys says:

    Wow! What a fantastic itinerary and tips! We’ve done short train trips in Europe so far…London to Paris, Prague to Vienna and some inter-rail in Germany and Poland itself. Would love to do some more.

    I’m curious how was the ferry ride from Bari to Dubrovnik? We spent 5 days in Split 2 years ago, but would love to explore more of Croatia! 🙂
    Joy @MyTravelingJoys recently posted…Crossing the Clear Blue Cook Straight by Ferry in New ZealandMy Profile

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    • Vicki says:

      Hi Joy – the ferry ride was basic, but functional – we embarked at 10pm at night and arrived around 7am. We stayed in a 2 berth cabin (bunk-beds) with a sink in the room on the inside of the boat and managed to get an OK night sleep. We were woken around 5.30-6am so people had time to collect their things (and buy breakfast too I imagine!) and watched the sun rise as we sailed into the harbor. It wasn’t a trip in the lap of luxury but it did the job for a relatively low price!

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  2. Anda says:

    Great advice, Vicki! I love traveling by train and I took a great train trip through Switzerland last year. The time flies when you are on a train that goes through beautiful places, as opposed to flying. It’s only that you need more time when you travel by train.

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  3. Ruth says:

    Oh! You are giving me a lot of great ideas in here. Train travel is my favorite kind of travel and I will love to do a trip like the one you have described in here. Last fall I went to Spain and booked the cheapest train option between cities. Even though it was the cheapest, the seats were nice, there were plugs to charge your phone and there were TVs with music and movies. I couldn’t have asked for something nicer.

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  4. Lyndall says:

    We did Italy by train and we were pleasantly surprised with how easy it was. After receiving some advice, we did book our tickets in advance and saved quite a bit that way – it helps to know these things! Next time we visit Italy, we’ll be taking the train again, for sure.

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  5. dannielle says:

    All of my friends went inter railing while we were at uni and I really regret not going. I’m still trying to decide between doing this or doing lots of weekend breaks in Europe when I move back to uk next year. I’d skip Amsterdam and Berlin as I’ve already been, but aside from that – this itinerary might just be perfect for me!

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    • Vicki says:

      Oh tough call – to do it in one hit or over weekend breaks – I suppose it all depends on how much leave you can get in one hit – we were lucky in that we had a 6 week break and could do it one, but Europe is so accessible that weekends could be fun too!

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  6. LeAnna says:

    That is A LOT of places in a short amount of time! I’d probably stay longer in a few and cut out a few, but I know, it is SO hard to choose when planning! Another tip is that in some places, it is actually MUCH cheaper (and faster) to do other types of transport (for ex: taking the trains in the CZ can take double to triple the time as a bus- they have cheap (and very good!) “private” buses that get you anywhere a train would)
    LeAnna recently posted…Ilha Do FarolMy Profile

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    • Vicki says:

      Thanks for the tip LeAnna – we stuck to the tarins because they were paid for within our pass – but if you were booking separately – these private buses could be the way to go!

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    • Vicki says:

      Yes Carla, that’s the travel time to next destination (sorry if I wasn’t very clear!) But shoot me an email if your planning your itinerary – I’d love to help! 🙂

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    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Chrysoula! I’m a Brit so I’m very lucky to have been able to travel freely and cheaply when I lived in the UK. You’ll love Italy – it’s just beautiful – and the pasta, YUM!

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    • Vicki says:

      Hi Trisha – it a big adventure but it was such an amazing experience. I will be in Europe for a little bit of July – but then I’m heading to Africa on an overland Safari for 5-6 weeks – it’s going to be epic!!

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  7. noel says:

    Fantastic itinerary, I love all the destinations you posted on except probably Pisa, all those cities are amazing to me and the add on to Dubrovnik is the perfect way to end your European travels.

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  8. mark wyld says:

    We have been to Europe 5 times and to be honest i have only sparingly used trains to cover distances. I have traveled Porto to Lisbon and thats about it. I usually find flying van sometimes be just as cheap and way quicker. But in saying this its pretty sneaky that they sell the cheaper ticket to Europeans only. Like you if i was to use this i would get my friends in Germany to buy the tickets for me

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    • Vicki says:

      It’s great that cheap air travel can make Europe so accessible – and would probably be a much better option with your children – but I am always conscious of our carbon footprint. Every little helps right?!

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  9. Elaine Masters says:

    I’d do this itinerary if I had to but hitting that many places would be brutal in such a short period of time. I just returned from 8 days on Swiss Rail with a first class pass and it still wore thin by the end of the trip. My antidote? Spend at least two nights in one place to recharge. Unfortunately I couldn’t this time.

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    • Vicki says:

      Hi Elaine – Big multi-stop trips like this are not for everyone, but I agree, try and spend a few nights in each place. It really helped us (with the exception of Pisa as it wouldn’t have been worth staying for any longer) and we deserved our week of relaxing in Croatia at the end!

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  10. Edgar says:

    Some good tips. We bought our global passes recently and thought we got a good deal considering they were having a sale and on top of that we saved with having two travelers riding at the same time. Looking forward to it. Any advice on booking reservations and how much they can run especially on overnight trains or the railway within Italy? Thanks.

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  11. neha says:

    Very informative post. we are currently planing a Europe trip covering Paris, Amsterdam, Switzerland (Zurich,Lucerne, Bern, Interlaken). We are also trying to figure out whether a eurorail pass would be better or individual tickets. If you have any suggestions, do let us know Vicki.

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  12. Maratha Goodmann says:

    Hello Buddy!!

    Your article is very informative as you briefly describe each and every thing. The rail network is more than adequate, in fact, it’s pretty good!

    I am very fond of traveling and I rush out many places but europe is the best place to visit. I usually find flying van sometimes be just as cheap and way quicker.

    Thanks and Regards
    Maratha Goodmann

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