This year, the EU decided that all citizens that turn 18 will be gifted a free interrail ticket (known as Eurail outside of Europe). From a political side, it’s supposed to enhance the feeling of belonging to Europe rather than just *insert home country here*. As a European myself, I love the idea of educating young adults in this way! But enough of the hypothetical blabla, here’s some suggestions for a route for the sun- and sea-lovers among us from my trip, which I sadly had to pay for – wish I was younger.
I started in Venice, which is not the typical beach and sea city, though rumor has it, there is a (probably crowded) beach on one of the islands. Tthe city does have a bunch of water, which is a lovely atmosphere. Now you probably heard that Venice is crowded as hell, (which it is), but if you can manage to pull your butt out of bed early AF, you’ll see the city in the rising sun, without the crowds. Plus, you can take a nap in the midday heat with all the cruise-line-tourists roaming around.
From Venice I headed to Nice to get a smell of that fancy lifestyle the Côte d’Azur is famously known for. It has a beautiful park on top of a hill which overlooks the entire city. Take a stroll down the coast to the suburbs if you want a more authentic and less touristy feel of the beaches; you’ll see local kids cliff diving and significantly fewer sun chairs.
On my way to Marseille I took a pitstop in Cannes to soak in some of the film glamour that you can only find in Hollywood otherwise. They actually do have handprints on the ground, too, but it’s far less glamorous without stars.
It’s only a short train ride to Marseille, which has a beautiful national park where you can SUP or canoe through icy blue waters that look so fake they have to be photo-shopped. If you’re into soap, they’re kinda known for that…it at least makes a good present for your grandma or someone who has everything anyway.
The Camargue is just around the corner from Marseille and definitely worth a day trip (as there’s no hostels or other cheap accommodation). If you go to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, you can rent a bike for cheap and drive up and down the national park seeing wild flamingos, horses and cattle.
Final Thoughts on Interrail
Overall, I highly recommend you do interrail if it’s for free. If you have to pay for it…it’s not really worth it. A lot of trains need to be booked in advance, which sometimes costs quite a bit and most times can only be done in person at the train station, so you don’t actually have all the freedom that interrail promises you. This also means that sometimes you can’t take a train that is fully booked if you have to be anywhere; you will run into a problem and might need to fall back onto taking a coach instead, which you have to pay for. Also if you wanna go to Spain with interrail: DON’T. I love the country, but interrail there is a nightmare as train reservations are expensive and often booked out way in advance.
I don’t mean to scare you off, I just want you to have a more pleasant and cheaper interrail experience than I did. It was still a good experience; some train rides were really nice (of course not passing through Paris, hours after France won the world cup), but the ride from Milan to Monaco has great views of the coastline. Furthermore, it taught me to always be early for a train after literally missing my first train in Venice, whoops! Shout-out to the nice train station worker who saw my face close to tears, when the train drove off right in front of me for helping me figure out which one to take instead. If you have a reservation for a later train and you know you can’t use it coz you missed the first train already, they can just change your reservation for the later train to an even later one.