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Last day to buy half price Interrail tickets, plus the best rail passes around Europe

Interrail has slashed the cost of its unlimited travel passes in half.
Interrail has slashed the cost of its unlimited travel passes in half.   -   Copyright  Canva/ Janoka82
By Charlotte Elton

All aboard! Interrail has slashed the cost of its unlimited travel passes in half.

The special flash sale - launched to celebrate Interrail’s 50 year anniversary - runs until 11.59pm on Tuesday 10 May.

The deal opens up thousands of kilometres of the European rail network, from northern Sweden to the sunny Greek Islands.

“A big celebration calls for a big adventure,” Interrail says.

How much will the new passes cost?

The massive discount applies to “global passes,” which allow unlimited travel for one, two or three months on the national railways of 33 European countries.

Passes purchased during the sale can be activated at any point over the next 11 months.

The one-month pass costs €335 with the offer - less than €13 per day.

A two-month ticket is €366, while three months costs €451, which is less than €7 per day.

Tickets cost even less for those aged 12 to 27. One month costs €252, while two and three months cost €274 and €339 respectively.

Mark Smith, the writer behind popular rail-travel blog ‘The Man in Seat 61’ has described the offer as “too good to miss.”

What’s the appeal of long distance train travel?

Generations of travellers have used the Interrail pass to explore Europe.

As consumers call for more sustainable travel, rail is an increasingly attractive option. Between 2005 and 2018, sales of interrail passes tripled.

This is great news for the planet.

According to the European Environment Agency, rail travel accounts for 14 grams of CO2 emissions per passenger mile. Air travel generates 285 grams per passenger mile.

What are the best national rail passes?

If you’re sticking to one country on your European adventure, it’s worth checking out national passes.

Interrail offers “one country passes.” Passengers on this ticket can book 3, 4, 6 or 8 days of travel around a nation of choice.

But national rail companies have their own passes, which can cut out the costly seat-reservation fees (up to €20) that train providers sometimes levy on Interrail pass holders.

Unfortunately France doesn’t have a whole country pass alternative to the Interrail pass. But other major European destinations do, so read on for all the details.

National rail pass in Italy

Canva / Xantana
Rome is one of the many cities you can visit with a rail passCanva / Xantana

Craving a glass of vino under the Mediterranean sun?

Italy’s national rail provider offers their own railpass - the “Trenitalia pass” - for anyone resident outside Italy.

Unlike Interrail, it only covers Trenitalia high-speed, Intercity and sleeper trains. Regional trains are excluded, but costly seat-reservation fees are lifted.

Passengers buy a specific number of journeys (3, 4, 7 or 10 trips) in a set period of time. Prices start at €129.

Senior and youth versions are available and up to two children under 12 can be added to an adult pass for free.

National rail pass in Germany

Go from partying in Berlin to hiking in the Bavarian mountains with a German Rail Pass.

Non-German residents can purchase various consecutive or any-day passes, allowing unlimited travel on Deutsche Bahn trains for set periods within a month. Seat reservation fees are optional on most German trains.

Prices range from €182 to €470, and 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, and 15 day passes are available.

National rail pass in Spain

Canva/ Mario Guti
Spain's national rail provider Renfe offers its own passCanva/ Mario Guti

Non-Spanish residents can purchase the Renfe Spain pass. Travellers can buy either 4, 6, 8 or 10 individual one-way train journeys of any length in a one-month period. These journeys are valid on all of Renfe's long-distance and medium-distance trains. The cost of the pass covers all booking fees.

Unlike the Interrail pass, it does not offer unlimited travel over the course of a day - if you change trains, that will count as two journeys. On the interrail pass, if you book a day of travel, you can take as many trains as you want.

Renfe pass prices range from €180 to €210.

Travel passes in Switzerland

Tourists in Switzerland can buy a Swiss Travel pass. This gives unlimited travel on the Swiss rail network over a continuous period of 3 days, 4 days, 8 days or 15 days.

A Swiss Flexi pass offers unlimited travel across the Swiss rail system for either 3, 4, 8 or 15 travel days with an overall period of a month.

Prices range from €232 to €439 for a second class ticket.