What a trip!
I enjoyed it from the start to the end – did not feel any stress and had a lot of fun, seeing new things, talking to different people, visiting cities I have not been to before and most important for me – taking tons of trains on tracks I have not be riding on before.
Price-Value-Ratio of the 15 days continuous pass is absolutely great. I have paid Euro 478 for the Summer Special in First Class. Having a look at the normal prices you have to pay for, I had the pass reimbursed after the first two and a half days. To be very honest, it is such a great deal that I would pay even a bit more for it.
So I made it – 15 days, 15 cities. It is absolutely doable if you are interested rather in traveling than in seeing the cities you visit. I have done some monster trips during my travel, for example Berlin to Budapest in 11 hours. I would not plan that as such with my today’s knowledge – trips of six to eight hours are more than reasonable and acceptable to reach out into a complete new region – or country. It is also important to leave your last city between nine and ten in the morning to arrive then between four and six in the afternoon at you destination. This gives you – in Summer here in Europe – enough time to see the city sights in daylight and to have a good dinner of your choice after checking in in the hotel, pension or hostel of your choice. Some hotels also give you a travel card for the local city railways system for free – included in their budget price. This was definitely a bargain, how ever, I always did a lot of walking as well – at minimum 10000 steps in every city.
I made a plan prior to my trip – which was helpful – but you are less free, for sure. As I did the plan and even so I had loads of delays and schedule changes during my trip, it helps you to stick to a schedule of cities your would like to see.
Very helpful as well was the hotel booking portal of booking.com. I have booked all 14 one-night stays with them. I can’t say that it was cheap – but it was also partly me, like going to Amsterdam during Gay Pride, going to Freiburg during a sport event and The Kelly Family concert exactly that evening. Well, never mind, all fine.
Another two pieces of advice I take out of the travel planning and doing it afterwards as such:
- It is highly advisable not to travel on the main routes during weekends in Summer as all vacationists from Europe tend to travel on weekends by train. I have seen this especially during my trip to Binz auf Ruegen, towards Amsterdam in the afternoon and towards and from Kiel
- Do a seat reservation for the long distance trains you are traveling with. The prices are quite low and you will get a seat for sure.
So let us see the statistics of my travels:
Planned cities: 15
Seen cities :15
Not arrived in a city due to issues with the trains system: Zero
Planned total train distance: 10240 kilometres
Longest delay in a train: 85 minutes – Arrival in Budapest
Forced train changes due to break downs, stops before destination: Two
- Day Two: Berlin to Budapest – Complete train change in Dresden
- Day Four: Munich to Amsterdam – Train overload, Air Conditioning failure, Board electronics issues
And now some personal opinions:
Best hotel room: LINDNER DOM HOTEL in Cologne
Best hotel bar: DECK 8 in ATLANTIC HOTEL in Kiel
Best hotel pool: MARITIM HOTEL in Nuremberg
Best hotel breakfast: FALKENSTEINER HOTEL in Prague
Best evening restaurant: There is a tie… ALSTADTBEISL in Innsbruck and BANTER RUINE in Wilhelmshaven
Best train product: By far on top RAILJET of OEBB in Business Class – rated top value in comfort, personal on-board service, Internet access, food, space for luggage, accuracy of reservation, on board communication in multiple languages, on-board displays and on-time performance
Best tourist train option: PANORAMA coach of SBB in the Transalpin Intercity from Inssbruck to Graz
Summary of highly interesting places passed through by train:
- Elbsandsteingebirge in the Elbe valley between Dresden and Prague
- Mittelrheintal in the Rhine valley between Koblenz and Mainz
- Arlberg Pass between Bludenz and Oetztal – up to 1300m altitude
- Alps Passing from Innsbruck to Graz
- Semmering Pass between Graz and Vienna – up to 900m altitude – including the whole Suedbahn track, an UNESCO world heritage rail track construction
Best local transport options: INTERCITY HOTEL in Berlin and Freiburg
Best price/value ratio for one night: MARITIM HOTEL in Nuremberg
Fastest velocity: 300 km/h between Munich and Nuremberg in an ICE3 of Deutsche Bahn
- I will definitely do it again – applying the advice I found for myself
- I had a lot of fun, you cannot imagine
- I met loads of people
- I have seen really a lot – places I have not seen before, some even a discovery for me
- I have been to seven different European countries in 15 days
- I have used train products of five different countries
My dear readers – my INTERRAIL blog for 2018 comes to an end here. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask using the comments function. And remember – there are no stupid, crazy or irrelevant questions – I know of the existence of stupid, crazy or irrelevant answers, but I will for sure not give any of these types.
Thank you for your interest in my travel documentation 🙂