Countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland
Explore Western Europe via train and experience the delights that this exciting continent has to offer. Travel to the top of the Eiffel Tower and gaze across the city of romance; enjoy the buzzing nightlife in Berlin, soak up the historic atmosphere in Rome and indulge in Italian cuisine.
You could easily spend a whole month exploring any one of the countries of western Europe — by which we mean Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and the UK. But loads of people do much more and take in several countries while InterRailing. You can move easily from country to country and English is widely spoken. Most pre-university and university students from the UK choose a west European route, as do many continental Europeans.
There's plenty to do. You can taste the delights of Belgian chocolate, travel to the top of the Eiffel Tower, enjoy a beer in one of Germany's many Bavarian beer houses, sit in a underground pub sipping on a pint of Guinness in Ireland, enjoy the landscapes in Luxemburg, walk along the canals in Amsterdam, and see all the sights of London.
There are so many options for getting around western Europe it’s difficult to know where to start.
Brussels, Antwerp, Paris, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Berlin, Munich, Dublin, Luxemburg, Amsterdam, London, Manchester – they’re all great places to begin a tour and all are easily accessible by cheap flights.
But our advice is to go either for Berlin or Paris. Both are amazing rail hubs from which to set out.
From Paris, we recommend:
Paris >> Brussels (Belgium) >> Amsterdam (Netherlands) >> Cologne (Germany) >> Berlin >> Munich >> Zurich (Switzerland) >> Milan (Italy) >> Marseilles (France) >> Paris
Despite its small size, the Netherlands punches well above its weight. Even though it's overlooked by bigger and more powerful neighbours, the Netherlands has a lot to say for itself.
The landscape is as flat as a pancake, interrupted by canals, tulip fields and windmills. In spring, the Netherlands is one on the most colourful countries in the world, with field after field of bright yellows, purples and reds.
The Netherlands is a tightly-packed country with the highest population density in Europe. The Dutch have grown up side-by-side, which could explain why they're so liberal as a nation: they don't come more chilled than the Dutch …
Amsterdam is a hedonistic city, one of the party capitals of Europe. It's as famous for its cannabis cafés as its sex museums, but it also has lots of little non-cannabis cafes, coffeeshops, museums and canals to explore. Amsterdam is so easy-going it's easy to lose track of time in the city, particulary if you've visited one of their specialist cafés; days can turn into weeks and the time flies by on technicolour wings. Where else can you wake up in a strange place with a new tattoo and some new friends?
Other cities such as Rotterdam and Utrecht have almost as much going for them as Amsterdam, and one of the best ways to explore this is by bicycle. Cycling around the country isn't only possible, it's easy … but it's best to discover this for yourself …
What we recommend …
We recommend that you visit the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps in Switzerland. The views of one of the most recognisable mountains in the world are breathtaking, and it can be seen from any coffee shop or café in the quaint little mountain town of Zermatt.
The town is a gorgeous little destination and the skiing is great, too. We recommend skiing the Swiss Alps for a day or two, if not a full week. The Matterhorn certainly isn't something to miss …
Western Europe may be one of the most expensive areas to travel through by InterRail, but few can boast such a rich vein of history, sites and activities.
France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK often feature in lists of the world's most liveable countries and cities. They're there for a reason.
Western Europe has gorgeous weather, stunning art and architecture, exceptional natural beauty, delicious cuisine and fabulous shopping.
It's worth planning a specific trip and seeing as much as you can. It'll be a decision you won't regret …
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We’re the UK’s leading specialist in tickets and passes for European rail travel. As the UK representative of the French National Railways (the SNCF) we’ve helped millions of travellers book train travel for the best part of a century. Great news if you’re planning a trip to - or around - the Continent by rail. Trust us to give you expert advice and provide the best ticket or pass options for your travel needs.