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Interrail Planner: Best Interrail stops around Europe

Whether you’re a student on a summer break, or a digital nomad travelling the world with your laptop, Interrailing is one of the best ways to experience Europe. With so many destinations to choose from, we’ve compiled a list of the must-visit cities for any Interrail itinerary.

Europe’s Interrailing Hotspots

Summer in Europe is one of the most beautiful times of the year, so it’s no wonder people travel from all over the world to soak up the summer sun. And it’s never been easier to experience this melting pot of cultures, as there’s a rail pass that allows you to travel on almost all trains across the continent.

The Interrail Pass (or Eurail Pass for non-EU residents) is your golden ticket to travel across 33 European countries. But, with so many fantastic locations, it can be tough to decide where to go – that’s why we’ve done the hard work for you! Plus if you are travelling solo be sure to check out our Guide to Solo Travel in Europe

We compared 40 of the best-rated European cities against a series of factors that are important when travelling – including the number of things to do in the city, how well-rated these activities are, how safe the city is, and the cost of coffee, meals out, and public transport.

But that’s not all – we’ve then taken the top 15 cities and mapped them out into an epic route, so you can focus on having the best time possible, without worrying too much about the planning.

Here are some key findings from the study:

  • Madrid is crowned the number one Interrailing hotspot in Europe, with 201 different things to do and a safety score of 72 out of 100
  • Rome has the highest-rated attractions of any European city, with a score of 4.64 out of five
  • Istanbul is the most affordable city for travellers, with public transport costing just €0.47 for a one-way ticket

Europe’s top cities for Interrailing

Whether you’re looking for a destination filled with lots of fun activities, or perhaps you’re more concerned about travelling on a budget, Europe has something to offer for everyone.

Take a look at which cities came out top in our research, to help you figure out the top spots to visit on your tour of Europe.

List of the top 15 cities for interrailing based on metrics such as Average cost of a meal out, safety score, average rating of top attractions, number of free walking tours and number of things do.

1. Madrid, Spain

Known as one of the cultural capitals of the world, Madrid ranks at the top of the list. Solo travellers won’t need to worry as the city has a safety score of 72 out of 100. And with 42 free walking tours and 201 different things to do, Madrid is sure to keep you busy no matter how long you plan on staying. Foodies will love spending their days sampling delicious tapas and Spanish wine, while art enthusiasts can spend hours wandering through the city’s many galleries.

The city is also relatively affordable, with coffees averaging €1.93 and public transport costing just €1.52 for a one-way ticket. You can expect to pay around €45.68 for a three-course meal for two people.

2. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague takes the second spot for best cities to visit while Interrailing. Home to impressive gothic architecture and plenty of museums, the city boasts 376 different things to do, and the top attractions have an average rating of 4.54 out of five on Google. So why not explore the famous Old Town Square, Prague Castle, or the Charles Bridge.

The city is a little pricier than Madrid, with a coffee costing €2.97 on average, and a meal out for two €51.61.

3. Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal’s coastal capital city ranks third on the list. At just €1.73 for a coffee, and €50.75 for a meal out for two, travellers won’t have to break the bank during their stay in the city.

Its top attractions, such as the Praça do Comércio, do have a slightly lower average rating of 4.49, though the city is deemed to be pretty safe with a safety score of 70.9. Lisbon also has some of the most beautiful streets in the world, so take advantage of one of the 34 free walking tours to take in everything the city has to offer.

4. Rome, Italy

Considering Rome is home to the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, and the Trevi Fountain, it’s no surprise that the city’s attractions are rated the highest out of all the cities analysed, with an average rating of 4.64. With a huge number of activities to choose from (361), travellers may need to spend a few days here to make the most of what Rome has to offer.

5. Budapest, Hungary

Nestled on the edge of the River Danube, Budapest is one of the most affordable cities on the list. Coffees average €1.99, meals for two are just €43.34, and a one-way ticket on public transport costs only €0.94.

While the number of activities and walking tours is slightly lower at 79 and 29 respectively, the attractions that are available in the city, do have an average rating of 4.5 out of five. You can explore one of the many beautiful buildings, such as the Hungarian Parliament Building or the St. Stephen’s Basilica, or why not visit one of the famous thermal baths?

6. Istanbul, Turkey

Straddling both Europe and Asia, Istanbul comes in sixth on the list of Interrailing hotspots. The city is also crowned the most affordable destination for travellers, with meals out in the city costing just €30.73 for two people, and public transport is one of the cheapest of all cities analysed at just €0.47 for a one-way ticket.

Home to plenty of beautiful architecture, with stunning mosques, palaces, and parks dotted around the city, its top attractions have an average rating of 4.59 out of five. Those visiting Turkey’s capital should stay alert, however, as the city’s safety score is slightly lower at 52.3 (the 11th lowest out of all cities).

7. Paris, France

With a vast number of things to do and see in the city (634), Paris ranks next on the list. Whether venturing up the Eiffel Tower, exploring the Palace of Versailles, or getting cultural in the Louvre, travellers will never be bored in Paris.

While a cup of coffee is more expensive in Paris (€3.84), the city is famous for its Café terraces. So why not sit outside and soak up the city?

8. Venice, Italy

Spread over 118 small islands, the canals of Venice are a must-see for any traveller. Though it has only nine free walking tours on offer, this perhaps comes as no surprise given that the best way to see the city is by boat. So, why not hop on a gondola to take in the wonderful sights of the city, such as the Rialto Bridge or Doge’s Palace.

Overall, Venice boasts 253 different things to do, and its top attractions are rated highly at 4.53 out of five.

9. Barcelona, Spain

The second of Spain’s cities to feature in the top ten, Barcelona is another must-see destination for any traveller. The city has a huge range of activities to offer, with 390 to choose from, such as visiting the world-famous La Sagrada Familia or Park Güell.

Those wanting to stretch their legs can explore the city on foot with 39 free walking tours available. From beautiful beaches to world-famous tapas, there is something for everyone in Barcelona.

10. Warsaw, Poland

One of the safest cities in Europe is Warsaw, which has a safety score of 74.2.
The Polish capital boasts 122 activities and its attractions are highly rated with an average rating of 4.53 out of five. A capital steeped in history, travellers will find plenty of museums and post-war architecture dotted throughout the city.

Rounding off the top 15 cities for an Interrail trip are Vienna, Bratislava, Edinburgh, Naples, and Luxembourg. Whether you want to eat a famous Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna, sample a traditional Italian pizza in Naples, or try out a beer bike in Bratislava, there is so much to see in these exciting cities.

Your Interrail trip mapped out

Planning an Interrail trip is not only time-consuming, but it can be difficult to decide where to go. To help you plan the best trip possible, we’ve put together the ultimate Interrailing itinerary based on the top 15 cities from our research, ensuring you hit all of Europe’s top destinations. Depending on what pass you choose, you can decide how long you want to stay in each city.

Map with train route suggestion based on the top 15 interrailing hotspots

First, start your trip in Lisbon, often dubbed Europe’s ‘coolest city.’ From here, head across the border to Spain, where you’ll wind your way through Madrid, and then Barcelona, sampling some delicious food and warm temperatures along the way. One train will get you all the way from Spain to Paris, where you can delight in everything the French capital has to offer.

Although you will need to make a quick stop in London with the Eurostar, the next destination is Edinburgh, which is filled with cobbled streets and very old castles. From here, head back under the water to Luxembourg, which, despite being one of the world’s smallest countries, has a lot to offer in its laid-back capital.

Continuing east, the next stop is ‘The City of a Hundred Spires’ Prague, followed by Warsaw, where old meets new in its beautifully reconstructed Old Town. A change of direction sees you heading into the heart of Europe with a stop in Vienna, whose artistic legacy has been shaped by the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud. From here it’s just an hour’s train ride to Bratislava, one of Central Europe’s hidden gems.

Heading south now, the next stop is Budapest, famed for its ruin pubs and public baths. You’ll then cross a few borders on an overnight train to get to Istanbul, which oozes with the history of the many empires that once ruled here. You’ll finish your trip in Italy, having wound your way from the streets of Naples in the south, all the way to the canals of Venice in the north, stopping off to see the sights of Rome along the way.

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