1972 saw the introduction of this new mode of train travel. The flexibility to travel in different countries was made possible by the extensive rail network across Europe. Those who have done it always look back at it as the EXPERIENCE of a lifetime. Undoubtedly, doing Interrail leaves its mark on a person. Here is a suggested itinerary for you, to give you some ideas and inspiration.
Let’s make the practical choice and go for the INTERRAIL GLOBAL PASS
. There are several pass options, with passes valid for 1 month, 2 months and even 3 months.
Why not go for the 1-month pass which lets you spend 7 days travelling by train to see the most attractive cities in Europe. Departure point: Paris
Leg 1 PARIS-BARCELONA
With Renfe-SNCF en Coopération trains, you can go from Paris to the coastal city of Barcelona in 6 hours and 36 minutes. The first leg will be on board a Renfe-SNCF en Coopération train. You can arrive in Barcelona from any of the six cities in France served by Renfe-SNCF trains.
5 days in Barcelona
Afford ample time to visit the main museums of the city: The MANC (National Art Museum of Catalonia), the Miró Foundation, the Picasso Museum and the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona). Take a ride on the Golondrinas, the boats that circulate the harbour. Discover its bohemian neighbourhoods such as Gracia, El Born and the Gothic Quarter
. Climb the Torre de les Glòries and enter the Sagrada Família. Walk down the main avenues such as Passeig de Gràcia and the Ramblas. Sit down to contemplate the city from Park Güell and enter the house where Gaudí lived.
Torre Glòries and Sagrada Família
Eat a paella with a view of the sea and have tapas for dinner. And if there’s enough time, you can spend a day in Sitges, the Blanca Subur, an example of a Mediterranean town where there is always something happening: the Fantastic Film Festival, the vintage car rally, the Corpus Christi flower tapestries and, of course, its famous Carnival.
Leg 2 BARCELONA-TARRAGONA
With regional trains, the journey takes just 1 hour.
3 days in Tarragona
No visit to Tarragona is complete without a trip to the Roman complex, starting with the aqueduct located in the outskirts of the city. The city walls are the ideal location for a cultural excursion, after which you can enter the city and marvel at the Font square and the Roman amphitheatre overlooking the sea. The circus has been very well preserved, its structure hidden beneath some buildings. This is the Costa Dorada, and the wide beaches of fine sand invite you to take a relaxing swim. Tarragona
also has its own Rambla that leads to the Mediterranean balcony. Be sure to enjoy an ice cream during your walk. Shifting era now and heading to the Middle Ages, the Tarragona Cathedral stands out for its large rose window and for the fact that it remains unfinished. Tarragona has a modernist route that includes several houses such as the Bofarull and the Salas house, among 19 other buildings such as the central market.
Photo of the balcony or the Roman Circus
Tarragona combines culture, tradition and leisure in a way that few other cities do. And let's not forget the main course; if by any chance you happen to visit during the colder months, don't miss out on a “calçotada,” a traditional Catalan dinner of flame-grilled spring onion (calçot) and meat. Groups of family and friends get together to eat calçots and dip them in the romesco sauce, a delight!
Leg 3 TARRAGONA-MADRID
High-speed trains can take you from Tarragona to Madrid in two and a half hours.
5 days in Madrid
Arriving at Madrid Puerta de Atocha station
means arriving at one of the most beautiful stations in Europe. Palm trees, plants, water features and even turtles in a large building create a relaxing atmosphere. You can start walking around the city as soon as we get off the train. Its grand avenues, such as the Paseo del Prado, showcase its Botanical Garden, the modern Caixaforum building and its vertical garden, while on your right is the famous Prado Museum. If you follow the avenue, you arrive at the Cibeles Fountain, where Real Madrid's triumphs are celebrated. If you continue to the right, you’ll already be able to glimpse the illustrious Puerta de Alcalá, one of the city’s icons. From the Puerta de Alcalá we invite you to enter the Parque del Retiro, Madrid’s central park. With a surface area of 118 hectares, it's a green bubble in the heart of Madrid. There is a pond with boats, the Palacio de Cristal and walks through the leafy grove, a must if you are in Madrid at any time of the year.
We have already mentioned the Prado Museum and the Caixaforum, so we recommend at least these three: The Reina Sofía Art Centre, the Thyssen Museum and the Sorolla Museum, located in the artist Joaquín Sorolla’s former home.
Madrid is synonymous with good food, and we recommend you start with the markets, which have been transformed into authentic tapas palaces. A pleasant and festive atmosphere that invites you to taste and indulge in flavours. Sitting in the Plaza Mayor
on one of its terraces is like being in a privileged vantage point, contemplating the comings and goings of the people. There are so many squares in Madrid, such as Santa Ana and Sol, to give just two examples, that we recommend a guide. In Madrid you will find the Royal Palace and its gardens, right next to the Almudena Cathedral.
But perhaps the best thing of all is to walk and enjoy its majestic façades, or lose yourself in the charming streets such as Huertas or Calle Cervantes. Soak up your surroundings.
Temple of Bo
We don't want you to leave without seeing the Egyptian Temple of Bo, and if you do so at sunset you are assured to witness one of the most memorable sights from your trip.
Leg 4 MADRID-PORTO
The Madrid-Vigo Alvia train takes 4 hours and 12 minutes, then take the Intercity train Vigo-Porto Campanha for 2 hours and 22 minutes, ending with a 19-minute journey by public transport to the city centre.
5 days in Porto
The city where the Douro ends its long journey to flow into the sea. The Dom Luís I iron bridge seems to crown the river. An icon of the city, we invite you to cross the bridge, where trams and pedestrians coexist with cars underneath, an experience to savour with exquisite views. On the other side of the bridge is Vila Nova da Gaia. There’s no avoiding a stop for lunch in one of its wineries. An evening stroll will bring out the romantic in you.
As you move away from the Douro to enter Porto’s narrow streets, you will find a mixture of elegant and humbler houses, all of which embellish their façades with Portugal’s famous tiles. You’ll want to photograph it all. The Porto-São Bento train station will startle you with its beautiful white and blue tiles. It looks more like the entrance to a mansion than the entrance to a train station. Don’t miss it!
Photo of the station and the tiles
Riding the tram is another unique experience the city offers, with its vintage aesthetics and the rhythm and sound as it passes through.
Be sure to check out the Lello bookshop, one of the most famous and beautiful in the world. There is always a queue to get in It boasts a dazzling majestic staircase, which makes you feel like you’re entering an enchanted world. Even from the outside, you can tell that this is no ordinary bookshop.
The red iron structure of the Ferreira Borges Market will catch your eye. It no longer functions as a market, and is instead used as a club and concert venue.
The journey to Porto Cathedral, via small uphill alleys combined with flights of stairs, is a delight in itself. Then you finally reach the summit overlooking the Cathedral. From here you can see the roofs, the city’s rooftops and terraces and the river, a real feast for the eyes.
You will have the opportunity to enjoy Porto’s gastronomy during your stay. From rice dishes to cod and a wide range of seafood. For dessert or a snack, you must try the delicious Belem pastries. Porto will leave a pleasant taste in your mouth, as will the friendliness of its people.
Leg 5 PORTO-ZARAGOZA
The Porto Campanha-Vigo Intercity train takes 2 hours and 22 minutes, then take the Alvia Vigo-Madrid train for 4 hours and 12 minutes, ending on the Madrid-Zaragoza high-speed train for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
3 days in Zaragoza
On the banks of the river Ebro, Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, conserves a rich monumental heritage in its streets from the influence of the Romans, Muslims, Jews and Christians who left their mark here. We recommend strolling through the oldest areas and contemplating the main jewels of the city such as the famous Pilar Cathedral, the Seo and the Aljafería Palace, for example. Zaragoza is a city of contrasts due to the legacy of the different cultures that each made their particular impact here.
The 2008 International Exposition “Water and Sustainable Development,” prompted a huge transformation of Zaragoza, leaving a valuable legacy with the construction of new and modern buildings.
Museums we recommend: the Goya Museum, the Tapestry Museum and the Origami Museum.
And of course, the best way to round off your trip is with tapas in the Tubo, in the city’s old quarter.
Leg 6 ZARAGOZA-GIRONA
A high-speed train will have you in Girona in 2 hours and 20 minutes.
3 days in Girona
Little Tuscany is the ideal place to see before returning home. Girona is a city of welcoming dimensions. You can walk everywhere, enjoying the colourful houses along the River Onyar
on the way. The Girona’s Rambla is a meeting point and a stroll down it is obligatory, stopping off for a relaxed aperitive or ice cream. You pass through the narrow streets as far as the Call Jueu (Jewish quarter) and your destination is ahead — the grandiose cathedral that looks down on us from the top of the stairs, the only one with a single nave.
The Cathedral and Gustave Eiffel's bridge
We cannot fail to mention the Basilica of Sant Feliu, with its slender tower and staircase. Not forgetting, of course, Sant Pere de Galligants and Sant Nicolau, a Benedictine monastery from the 12th century, built in a captivatingly understated style. Make sure you also have the opportunity to admire some of the exhibitions that take place inside. From here you can head to the Arab Baths, also dating from the 12th century and inspired by the Roman baths. Girona has preserved its wall, and a walk along it is highly recommended, the breath-taking view it affords makes walking the whole circumference of the wall worthwhile. Everything is relaxing in Girona. Before leaving for Paris, cross Gustave Eiffel's bridge over the River Onyar, so you can tell the story.
And finally the Cinema Museum, the Girona History Museum and the Masó House. You will want to return to Girona, to this charming city crossed by four rivers: the Ter, the Güell, the Galligants and the Onyar.
Leg 7 GIRONA-PARIS
The TGV train will have you in Paris in 5 hours and 55 minutes.
The Renfe-SNCF en Coopération train will take you to Paris in less than 6 hours, the city which was our starting point is now the final destination.
Place des Vosges
This suggested itinerary is just to give you an idea of what you can do with an INTERRAIL GLOBAL PASS. But you can plot any course you want to, safe in the knowledge that there is a wide range of formats to choose from, with varying travel days and months, to enjoy this way of travelling and discovering cities across diverse countries.
Photo from the window of a train
We can watch the different landscapes shifting before our attentive gaze through the train window. When you step off the train, you have the opportunity to start a new connection with the culture of the country you are visiting for a few days. Then you get on another train that will take you to a city totally different from the one you are leaving.