30 countries in 30 days with Interrail | NS International
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Koen visited 30 countries in 30 days

Travelling with Interrail

“It was the ultimate adventure: 30 Interrail countries in 30 days.” Koen smiles when he thinks back to his remarkable train journey in 2016.

“No, not really a relaxing holiday, but I had set myself a goal, and I wanted to achieve it. I have always enjoyed travelling by train: by plane, you're tied to the airport's location, and you have to drive a car yourself.

Now I closed my eyes, and before I knew it, I was hundreds of kilometres on."

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Preparations

You can determine the route of an Interrail trip as you travel, but with no fewer than 30 countries in 30 days, Koen had to do a bit more praparational work. "It started with a watertight plan, mapped out weeks in advance," says Koen.

"After weeks of figuring it out and playing with all the travel apps, I finally had the ideal route: I would start in Scandinavia, then go to Eastern Europe, from Romania to Turkey, from Turkey to Greece and Croatia, and then through Southern Europe to England.

On paper, it seemed feasible, but, of course, the question remained whether I would actually make it …."

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Travelling alone

‘Such experiences are what I like best about Interrailing: the adventure, that you never know exactly where you'll end up, or at least can decide for yourself where you're going. But also, the people you meet on the train make it worthwhile. Whatever country you are in, whatever language the inhabitants speak, you always make connections.

“In Ankara, for example, they don't know many tourists, especially not those who come via Interrail. But still, people regularly come to the compartment to have a chat with me, even if it was with the help of sign language.

“I travelled alone a lot, but I never felt alone."

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Nearly stranded in Greece

‘I had several close calls. I was almost stranded in Greece, for example.

I had to go to Athens, but a train strike ruined it. There was just one bus to take the stranded passengers away, but nobody knew where it was going. Or I didn't understand, that's also possible, because nobody spoke English there. I felt like there were a hundred Greeks who wanted to get on the same bus, but somehow I managed to sneak in without knowing exactly where the bus would take me.

And guess what: seven hours later, I was in Athens. That's what I call being lucky."

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Made it

“Spoiler alert: I made it! After exactly thirty days, I once again stood on the platform in Amsterdam.

Interrailing taught me that there will always be obstacles, but that things usually work out. In the five years that followed, I made two more Interrail journeys, but both times I travelled more slowly. I wanted to take the time to revisit all the highlights that I whizzed past in 2016.

But don't get me wrong: after three times, I still haven't seen everything. Once everything is open again, a fourth Interrail ticket will be in my shopping cart."

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Want to go too?

Fancy such a beautiful European adventure? Then book an Interrail ticket too. If you want to be flexible, you can buy a mobile pass. The convenient thing is that you can buy the pass now and travel anytime between now and 11 months. You choose the starting date of your journey.
Read more about making a tour