A Guide to Interrailing in Italy

Rome skyline | © Bert Kauffman/Flickr
Rome skyline | © Bert Kauffman/Flickr
Photo of Richard Franks
Freelance Travel & Music Writer3 September 2017

Italy is one of the most breathtaking parts of Europe and can be incredibly easy to travel around by rail. From the historical sites of Rome and Pompeii to the beautiful rolling Tuscan hills of Florence and the famous Venetian canals, this country has it all. Whatever the length of your trip, our interrailing guide is perfect should you be planning on visiting multiple cities in Italy!

What is interrailing?

Interrailing is travelling across Europe by train or ferry, whether in a single country or across multiple. Purchasing an Interrail Pass allows unlimited travel in Europe over a number of days, based on the pass you purchased – making this method of travelling perfect for those looking to explore with less restrictions than flights.

Train at Roma Termini station | © Rob Dammers/Flickr

How do I book tickets?

Firstly, you will need to purchase an Interrail pass based on your travel plans, from interrail.eu. Note: The pass is only valid once you reach the first destination that isn’t your home country. You can then use Interrail’s train timetable to find out times of trains to and from your desired destinations.

Some trains will require reservations at a cost (mostly high-speed trains within the same country or those crossing borders), but you can avoid reservation fees by taking slower regional trains. On some routes, you can’t avoid reservations, but at least you are guaranteed a seat! There is a more in-depth guide to Italy train routes and reservations here.

Tip: avoid Interrail.eu’s €6 fee per train reservation by booking through italiarail.com instead. Simply select the class of your Interrail pass from the drop-down menu on the home page.

Florence, Italy | © PapaPiper/Flickr

Where in Italy should I visit?

Where to visit really does depend on what you are looking to do. If you are looking to visit the main cities and hit the top tourist attractions, then we’d recommend checking out places like Rome, Pompeii, Naples, Florence, Milan, Bologna, Verona and Venice.

For a more ‘peaceful’ Interrailing trip across Italy, you should look at the likes of Amalfi Coast, Bari, Sorrento, Genoa, Lake Como, Lake Garda and Trieste – but travelling this route in full would take significantly longer.

Venice, Italy | © Pedro Szekely/Flickr

Suggested interrailing route

Tourist Trail

Naples – Pompeii – RomeFlorence – Pisa – Bologna – Milan – Lake Como – Verona – Lake Garda – Venice

By spending two to three nights in each of the cities in bold, you will not only be able to explore those cities themselves, but you can use it as a base for nearby places. Example: three nights in Florence will allow you to visit Pisa, take an excursion in to the Tuscan hills (wine tour) and see enough of Florence.

This route should take between 14 to 21 nights. By planning your longest journeys in advance you can utilise a six-day Interrail pass.

Lake Garda | © Allie_Caulfield/Flickr


Low budget: Hostels are your friend! We’ve seen prices as little as €9/10 a night if you book in advance. For those looking to meet new people or simply party, this option is for you.

Mid budget: Airbnb offers a fantastic solution for those who don’t like the idea of a hostel but can’t quite afford a hotel. Most Airbnb owners will know the local area too and can often give you tips on where to go if you’re unsure. This is a massive benefit when travelling in a new country.

High budget: All Italian cities offer a fantastic choice of hotels, but be aware that you’re often paying for the location more than the quality of hotel. In instances where you only have one night in a city, you may have to compromise location over quality to maximise your stay. For three-night stays, you might want to splash out a little on somewhere better.

Pompeii | © Cristiano Medeiros Dalbem/Flickr

To conclude, Italy is a fantastic country to Interrail across, whatever route you decide to take. You can make things easier for yourself by booking your longest train journeys in advance and buying tickets online for the bigger tourist attractions – like the Rome Colosseum and pretty much any gallery or museum in Florence!

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