My 5 Country European interrail Itinerary with kids



Our 3-week Interrail adventure across Europe was one of the best things we have done together as a family. I had Interrailed a few times before having kids so I was especially excited to jump back on the trains with my kids. May. people seem to have the impression that Interrailing is for gap-year youths but that simply isn't the case, it's suitable for every age and children under 12 years old receive their interrail pass for free with an adult. 

In an earlier Interrail post, I go into detail on how to plan, book and ensure you have the right reservations, which is really important. But in this post, I wanted to focus on the route we took and where we stayed and a short overview of what we saw. I will do individual destination posts soon where I will go into more depth on activities, where to eat, see and do. 

1. Newport - London

As we booked an early morning Eurostar from London St Pancras which meant we needed to be at St Pancras no later than 8:30am, we felt it would be best to stay the night before.

Where we stayed - Premier Inn London St Pancras although we have stayed in YHA London St Pancras previously & is a cheaper option although had sold out, hence why we opted for Premier Inn, both are only a few minutes walk from St Pancras Station.

Highlights - We decided to have a full day in London, on a budget, with packed lunches at the ready, so this is really where our adventure started. We enjoyed a wander through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, the kids played in Diana's memorial playground and visited The Army Museum and Natural History Museum, all free & all fantastic. 

Paddington station
Us arriving into London at the start of our big adventure

2. London - Turin via Paris

We took the 10:22am Eurostar from London to Paris Gare Du Nord - with any Eurostar journey you need to arrive at least 90mins prior to departure to go through security. We arrived in Paris at 1:47pm local time (France is 1hr ahead of us).

We had exactly 1hr to get from Gare Du Nord to Gare de Lyon,  I purchased metro tickets on the Eurostar which I'd recommend as it saves you time faffing around trying to work out the ticket machines. The transfer is fairly simple as Gare De Lyon is only 2 metro stops away, leaving us with enough time to refill our snack supplies.

We then boarded the 2:43pm TGV InOui to Turin, taking a planned 5hrs 39m. The train wasn't the most modern high-speed in their fleet but had decent facilities, charging points and wifi. 

We sped through the French Alps which were incredible and while we should have arrived into Turin at 8:22pm, the train in front of us broke down in a tunnel on the French/Italy border & with no way to go around we had to wait.  This caused a considerable delay - around 3hrs. However SNCF the French railway provided everyone with bottled water and food boxes, along with arranging accommodation for anyone who had missed a connection. This was the only delay we experiences in our travels & we arrived at Turin after 11pm but in high spirits. 

Where we stayed - Combo Turin Hostel - Private family room with breakfast under £100

Combo Turin was the perfect base, within easy walking distance of central Turin, close to trams, great facilities, spacious rooms, fast wifi and great breakfast. 

Highlights - We loved exploring Turin, enjoying the street food, focaccia and gelato and exploring the Roman ruins and public city art, along with the cool architecture & spotting filming locations of the Italian job. We also visited Museo Egizio, an Egyptian museum with a huge collection of artefacts.

Combo Torino
Our room at Combo Torino

Turin Italy
Standing in front of Roman Ruins in Turin

3. Turin to Levanto

We left from Torino Porta Nuova (Turin has 2 main stations) at 10:40am on the Intercity, arriving in Sestri Levante at 1:19pm where we had a quick change onto a local train to Levanto, which only took 20mins along the gorgeous coastline.

Where we stayed - Nel Cuore self-catering apartment

We stayed a couple of nights at this gorgeous and centrally located apartment at a budget-friendly price (under €100 per night) as it was off-peak. Only a few mins walk from the beach, plenty of space, in fact, more space than we needed and a hotel nearby oversees this apartment so if you need anything they are on hand. 

Highlights - Levanto was one of the highlights of the whole trip, such an amazing place, with a stunning Italian coastline and very close (literally 5 mins train) to the Cinque Terre. An interrail pass also covers the Cinque Terre rail line, so no need to buy the Cinque Terre pass.  We also loved hiring bikes and riding through old railway tunnels to the town of Bonassola and of course swimming in the sea and eating lots of pizza. 

Levanto Italy
Exploring the streets of Levanto

Ticking off the Cinque Terre on our bucket list

Levanto - Florence via Pisa

Our initial plans didn't actually include Pisa but when we realised we had to change trains in Pisa we couldn't miss the chance of seeing the Leaning Tower. We took the 9am train from Levanto and arrived in Pisa at 10:15am, the station has luggage storage & trains to Florence leave regularly, plus you don't need a reservation from Pisa to Florence so can jump on any train. We took the bus from the train station to the Leaning tower, spent a good hour or two exploring and then walked back to the station, which takes around 25mins but is a nice way to see more of Pisa. From Pisa to Florence it's around a 50min train journey.

Where we stayed in Florence - Nuova Italia Hotel, we had planned to stay at The Social Hub, a cool hybrid hostel co-working space but due to a FIFA football match happening while we were there, it was sold out. However, we loved our stay at Nuova Italia Hotel, a family-run budget-friendly hotel within a short walk from the train station and the old part of the city. It was basic but the staff were friendly, it felt homely, had a fantastic location and the included breakfast was fantastic. Would certainly recommend this place. 

Highlights - Wandering through Piazza del Duomo, eating a lot of Gelato and having some amazing pasta, visiting the Di Vinci Museum, and indulging in all the amazing free street art and sculptures. 

Art in Florence
Checking out some of the free art in Florence 

Leaning Tower of Pisa
No shame, everyone needs a picture like this

Florence - Rome & The Vatican

We took the 9:15am high speed from Florence to Rome, arriving in the capital at 10:50am. We really enjoyed whizzing through the Tuscan countryside on the Frecciarossa train, which is their premium high speed and can hit a top speed of 300 km/h

Where we stayed - Meininger Roma Termini, a cool hybrid hostel hotel a short walk from the central station. While it may not be the best location it's perfect for those who are travelling via train as lugging heavy luggage across a city is no fun and it has easy access to the metro and buses. Of course, you can walk and we did but in general, Rome is a very large city so using public transport with kids is key. 

We had a family room which was large and spacious and at the time of booking Meininger was offering a 15% discount to family bookings so it came in at around £110 per night including breakfast and city tax for all of us. The breakfast had plenty of choices, the hostel was really clean, had a cool bar and chill-out area with pool and table football, the staff were helpful & there was also access to a communal kitchen. 

We also made sure to visit the smallest country in the world, The Vatican. Now there are lots of expensive tours you can take but you really don't have to. It's free to wander around  St Peter's Square and St Peters Basilica, although do arrive early to avoid the security queue for the Basilica and you can't wear shorts &. need full covering shoes. You do need to pay to go into the Vatican Museum and see the Sistine Chapel, we opted not to do this as it takes around 2hrs, long queues and while the kids loved exploring the Vatican and St Peters Square, I felt they would disengage on a tour that long, especially as we are not religious. 

Highlights - without a doubt, The Colosseum (we explored the inside without taking a tour - so much cheaper) and Roman Forum, more gelato, visiting The Vatican, Vespa museum and drinking Aperol spritz in the sunshine at a small cafe down a side alley. 

High Speed Train Italy
The high-speed train from Florence to Rome

Trevi Fountain
Visiting the Trevi Fountain in Rome

 Rome - Salzburg

We took the Nightjet train, having booked a private couchette, we left Roma Termini at 6:55pm and arrived in Salzburg at 6:49am, yes an early start for sure but night trains are such an adventure in themselves and doubled as a hotel on wheels. 

Where we stayed - A&O Hostel Salzburg Hauptbahnhof only a few minutes walk from the train station in a private family room. Such a fantastic and family-friendly hostel, with friendly staff, a kid's area, free wifi, work and chillout space, a communal kitchen, a cafe bar and an excellent breakfast (let's just say the pancake machine was a bit hit with the boys). 

Highlights - We really enjoyed exploring Salzburg, such a beautiful place. We had a blast reenacting the  Sound of Music in Mirabell Palace gardens, having in at the Toy Museum, taking in the incredible views from Fortress Hohensalzburg and eating way too much apple strudel. 

Salzburg Castle
The view from Hohensalzburg Fortress 

Salzburg Austria

Salzburg - Stuttgart 

We took a direct train from Salzburg to Stuggart in Germany, taking around 4hrs. We had initially planned to go to Munich but didn't realise we would be in Germany and France during their half term and there were no trains from Munich to Pairs (our final stop) so we headed to Stuttgart instead.

Where we stayed - Premier Inn Stuttgart City Europaviertel, did you know Germany has Premier Inn? We managed to get a family room in a brand new Premier Inn for £65 per night including breakfast and they gave us free drinks vouchers when we check in so fantastic value. The hotel was only a few minutes walk from the train station and close to the metro, buses and trams, in a central location.

Highlights - We loved using the super efficient public transport to whizz around the city, visiting the Natural History Museum, wandering around the most incredible library, exploring Bad Cannstatt (the oldest suburb in Stuttgart), taking in all the smells of the traditional food market and having one of the best meals of our trip. 


Stuttgart Library

Stuttgart - Paris

We had an early start with a very tight changeover in Karlsruhe (a 45min journey on a local train) before jumping onto the high-speed to Paris, a 2hr30min trip, we arrived in the French Capital at around 10:30am, leaving us with plenty of time to explore as we only booked 1 night in Paris but have almost 2 full days to take in the sights. 

Where we stayed - Generator Paris Hostel, this hostel has a good location near Gare Du Nord and a very hip and cool interior plus an incredible rooftop bar with views of Sacre Coeur. It is also welcoming to families although out of all the hostels, this is probably the only one we wouldn't stay at again, not for any major reasons but they charged for every possible extra (which other hostels on our trip didn't do), the breakfast was terrible (we paid for breakfast but ended up having to eat elsewhere) and it was a bit noisier than the others, saying that I still slept very well, as did the kids.

I'm would be very keen to try out MIJE Marais hostel and The People hostel in Paris, I've heard really good things about both of these and they don't overcharge for extras, have great locations and budget-friendly cafes on site

Highlights - cycling along the Seine, enjoying a patisserie next to St Martin's canal, watching dogs in a cute canalside dog park and of course walking up the Eiffel tower. We actually had a pretty budget-friendly time in Paris, mainly walking around, eating street food, and enjoying the family-friendly gardens and outdoor spaces. 

French Hotel Chocolate
Enjoying some hot chocolate at The Generator Hostel

The Louvre Paris

Paris - London

We had the whole day in Paris before boarding our Eurostar at 7:15pm, it was a very smooth ride back into London St Pancras, arriving in the UK capital at 8:30pm. As we used our "out" part of our Interrail, it also included travel within our home country for this day (you can only travel in your home country on your leaving travel day and return day). So we hoped on a Great Western Railway back to Newport in Wales, feeling so full and grateful for an amazing trip. 

Looking for more Inspiration

Our Globetrotters share their fantastic European Eurail Itinerary of travelling to 7 countries with kids, their post is really informative and worth checking out. 

On the Luce has some fantastic one-week European Itineraries on their blog, breaking down ideas and trips into bite-size plans and offering tons of inspiration and options for those looking to plan a European Train adventure. 

Moneky and Mouse have a fantastic post about their Interrail trip from Scotland to Sciliy with their two kids, it's a trip I would love to do in the future. 

Interrail Europe

*Disclaimer - Interrail provided us with passes (children under 11 go free) and our hostel in Salzburg provided a press stay -  however all rail supplements, food, activities, public transport and accommodation were paid for by myself. 



  1. This is a great itinerary to do with kids on Interrail. You all managed to see a lot of places, I've been to all in Italy apart from Cinque Terre. I also never been yet to Stuggart but I have to Vienna and it's a beautiful city. This is a trip the kids will remember!

  2. Wow, so many good places to visit. And so easy to do by train with kiddos! We loved Rome when we took our kiddo a few years ago. Hoping to explore Europe a little bit more soon. Saving this post as a guide. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow, so many good places to visit. And so easy to do by train with kiddos! We loved Rome when we took our kiddo a few years ago. Hoping to explore Europe a little bit more soon. Saving this post as a guide. Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a wonderful collection of destinations, I've been considering a travel around Europe and this has given me some ideas of where to go! Fabulous post, thank you!

  5. That sounds like a pocket friendly trip with children. And the locations are so good. The railway network in India is vast, but I have not bothered to plan a holiday like this. I am really inspired to do this now.

  6. Great travel with the kids! The Stuttgart City Library caught my attention. The design and architecture is a perfect destination. The form and symmetry is so perfect. Truly a must visit in Germany. Also, great photo captures!

  7. Thank you for sharing your amazing 3-week Interrail adventure across Europe with your family. It is great to hear that interrailing is not just for gap-year youths, but is suitable for every age and even children under 12 years old receive their interrail pass for free with an adult. Your detailed itinerary of the route you took and where you stayed is really helpful for those who want to plan their own Interrail adventure.

  8. Thank you for sharing your amazing 3-week Interrail adventure across Europe with your family. It is great to hear that interrailing is not just for gap-year youths, but is suitable for every age and even children under 12 years old receive their interrail pass for free with an adult. Your detailed itinerary of the route you took and where you stayed is really helpful for those who want to plan their own Interrail adventure.

  9. Your European Interrail trip sounds like an absolute dream. Your vivid descriptions and stunning photos have me itching to pack my bags and hit the rails myself.

  10. This sounds like a wonderful trip and experience to do together as a family. It looks like you were able to visit a lot of awesome spots.

  11. Oh wow! What an adventure, this is something I would totally love to do. What a great way to see Europe.

  12. So many fabulous places to visit...looks like you had a great trip! The hotel in London looks so nice with the balcony.

  13. One of the best childhood memories I had is traveling with my parents, and I wanna do the same to my kids. Great destinations here!

  14. These are awesome destinations. Im sure the kids will have a wonderful experience too if we follow these.

  15. Awesome destinations here. I have only been to Asia but now I also want to explore Europe with the kids.

  16. That is quite a trip. I have done a lot of these and I too, started from London. But we ended up going by road in most cases. While I loved Florence and Italy in general, my favorite in your itinerary would be Salzburg. It is such a gorgeous city. I definitely would want to spend more time in Austria the next time I am there. Pretty useful tips on where to stay and the key insights to the place.

  17. This is a great Interrail itinerary for families with children. It includes many fantastic cities with great history and plenty of sites to see. Also, as someone who has visited Italy a lot, I know how convenient travelling by train there is. I have Interrailed myself around Europe a few times when I was in my 20s and it's such a great experience, it opens you up to the world, especially when you are young. And Europe is very easy to travel through.

  18. What a wonderful itinerary in 5 countries. Interrail passes (or Eurail passes for non-Europeans) are one the most convenient way to travel across continental Europe. I am reminded of our 100 days travel in Europe a few years back when covered Germany, Austria and most of Eastern Europe.

  19. This sounds like a great trip and a wonderful way to get around. My teen is going to Europe this summer and I am really wanting to go now!

  20. We do love to travel by train when we are in Europe. So it was great to read about some rail routes we had not heard of. I liked the idea of taking a train from London to Turin but not sure about having to change train stations in Paris. Good idea to get the metro tickets. I had not heard of Levanto before so I made note of that as one of your highlights of this trip. You sure covered a lot of ground and some great stops on your trip.

  21. It's always a pleasure to travel with our family. The train experience appears to be very enjoyable for the kids. Your travel destinations are all wonderful, and the accommodations are great. Because this itinerary is excellent, I'm going to bookmark this page.

  22. I like your itinerary with the European Interrail. You got to see so many famous places. It's even included the trail to Cinque Terre. How cool is that! I definitely steal your itinerary for when we go to Europe.

  23. It is so amazing to be able to take your whole family traveling - but I do find it daunting. Reading what you were able to do all through europe is so inspiring and helpful, thank you for sharing and it looks like you had a great time.

  24. Thanks for your post, I am planning a summer interrailing trip with my kids Amsterdam - Lake Garda. Its good to hear others have done it and enjoyed it. Can I ask how did you manage packing? Our two are too little to carry their own bags and we can't work out the logistics of stuffing it all into two back packs

    1. So we went back and forth as what to do with luggage - in the end we went for a larger suitcase on wheels, well made and robust and easy to pull - this carried all the clothes (we packed as light as we could) I then had a medium day backpack for water bottles, food, one spare change of clothes, camera etc. How old are yours? My youngest who was 7 at the time had a small day pack for his mini water bottle, card game, paper & pencil etc - as did my eldest, they never complained about carrying them as they were really light. The one large suitcase was heavy but the stations are all well equipped for the most part with lifts and it was very easy to pull - for me being small it was easier than a large backpack. We also kept this in mind when booking hotels and hostels in terms of ease to get the luggage there & tried to go for places that was within a short walking distance of the station - for most part this works and in budget too. Our main priority was getting to the stations as easy as possible and dropping our large bag off as soon as we arrived in a new place - most allow drop offs before you check in and this freed us up for having to lug it around. I hope that helps x

    2. I would also say my biggest tip is - don't pack anything you dont need! Dont be tempted - so pack and then take stuff out and repack again to get it to the most minimal amount you require - we only had one pair of shoes each and one pair of light sandals - we did laundry half way through the trip. We only packed around 5 t-shirt each for a 3 week trip & a small first aid kit. Most family friendly hostels have laundry rooms - it's far less stressful carrying as light as you can and making do along the way.

    3. Hello - this looks like such a fabulous trip! What time of year did you travel? We are looking at doing a very similar trip in August, but are wondering if it may be too hot then

    4. Hello - this looks like a fabulous trip! What time of year did you travel? We are looking at doing a similar trip in August, but are wondering if it may be too hot then...

    5. Hi, we travelled in October - so we left at the start of Oct and got back home late October and it was still hot - in fact Rome was nearly 30 degrees but apparently that's hotter than normal. Levanto was lovely, just the right temperature to still swim and enjoy the coastline - but yes you do take the rest of it being very hot and extremely busy in August as it's also the height of the school holidays both in the UK and Europe so it's also likely to be more pricey too - if you can go early September or late August into September and taking the kids out of school for a week or two (I know I shouldn't recommend that but a trip like this is certainly educational)


Lovely comments

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