Rail Pass Itinerary: The Best Of Northern Europe

Amsterdam  →  Hamburg  →  Gothenburg/Goteborg  →  Oslo  →  Stockholm  →  Copenhagen/Kobenhavn  →  Berlin  →  Warsaw/Warszawa  →  Prague/Praha  →  Vienna/Wien  → Amsterdam

WHY CHOOSE THIS TRIP OF A LIFETIME:

Along with some of the most beautiful journeys in Europe, this suggested routing enables you to visit the most spectacular cities of northern Europe, by taking as few trains as possible.


Taking the minimum number of trains means that additional reservation fees can’t be avoided, but despite that, using rail passes can be a good value for money on this itinerary - even compared to the hassle of tracking down the cheapest possible prices for each journey.
 

The itinerary is also a continuous loop, so you can follow this itinerary if you want the start and finish point of your entire trip, to be in any of the cities where each day concludes.

The required rail pass:

If you use a 10 days of travel within two months InterRail Global Pass OR a 10 days within 2 months Eurail  Global Pass you can take breaks between your days of train travel.

You can then spend some time in some fabulous destinations including Hamburg, Oslo, Stockholm, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague and Vienna.

From and to Amsterdam:

This rail pass itinerary starts and finishes in Amsterdam, which has three ticks in the box:

(1) Amsterdam is served by ICE trains from Germany, on which no rail pass reservations are required, and trains from Belgium and Paris.

So an easy option is to use purchase a rail pass valid for 15 days of travel, so that you can use these additional five days of travel to travel to and from Amsterdam by train.

(2) It’s also a budget airline destination - after all you don't have to take a train from/to Amsterdam

(3) Amsterdam has direct flights from destinations outside Europe - so ideal if you'll be flying into the continent, to use a Eurail Pass.
 

Schiphol Airport has easy train connections to Amsterdam city centre, but don't use your rail pass for these trains.

Managing Luggage:
 

The suggested routing also loops back through Hamburg on Day 6, so an option is to deposit some of your bags there and travel lighter through Scandinavia – and then pick them up on the way to Berlin.

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THE ROUTING:

Most of the journeys are clickable, so you can access more useful info about each individual train ride including:

(1) All you need to know about the stations where you will be joining and leaving the train.

(2) What to expect when on board each train, such as catering facilities and tips for how to manage your luggage.

(3) Insights for scenic journeys - what to look out for, which side of the train to sit on for the best of the views etc.

Plus if you click the station buttons on the journey guides, you will also usually* find:

(1) Lists of overnight accommodation with easy access to the station and with high user ratings;

(2) Links to destination guides to help you make the most of each location.

*Just the big cities, for now.

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Day One:

Train 1:
Depart: Amsterdam Centraal at 11:00 - the train will be heading to Berlin.
Arrive: Osnabruck at 14:06
 

Train 2:
Depart: Osnabruck at 14:25 - the train should be heading to Kiel.
Arrive: Hamburg Hbf at 16:14
How To Explore Nothern Europe With Eurail or InterRail
An option is to take the same combination of trains, but to depart Amsterdam at 09:00 and arrive in Hamburg around two hours earlier.


Don’t be too concerned about making the connection in Osnabruck, there will another train on to Hamburg an hour later, if the train from Amsterdam is delayed.

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Day Two:

Train 1:
Depart: Hamburg at 09:28
Arrive: Kobenhaven H at 14:26

Between 12 June and 4 September you must reserve on these trains: 1st class = €5.90; 2nd class = €4.50

Although we recommend reserving at any time of the year, these can be busy trains, so having a seat for the entire journey is not guaranteed.

These seat reservations can  be BOOKED on the DB (German Railways) website - more info is available here.

Train 2:
Depart: Kobenhaven H at 16:30
Arrive: Stockholm Central at 21:36.

This rail pass itinerary includes Berlin, Copenhagen, Prague, Oslo, Prague, Stockholm and Warsaw

Reservations = 1st class = €15.50; 2nd class = €7 (equivalent prices will be charged in Swedish krona)

Book these reservations on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website – booking at last a week ahead is highly recommended.

More info on how to this is available here.

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Day Three:

Depart: Stockholm Central at 09:10
Arrive: Oslo S at 15:09

This 10 day rail pass itinerary includes Norway, Sweden and Denmark

Reservations = 1st class = €15.50; 2nd class = €7 (equivalent prices will be charged in Swedish krona)

Book these reservations on the SJ (Swedish Railways) website – booking at last a week ahead is highly recommended, so you may as well book, when reserving the Copenhagen/Kobenhavn to Stockholm train.

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Day Four:

An epic day trip by train from Olso to the Norwegian fjords including the majestic Flamsbana railway is entirely feasible if you will be travelling with a rail pass.

Train 1:
Depart: Olso S at 08:25
Arrive: Myrdal at 12:58

See fabulous Norway by train on our Best of Northern Europe rail pass itinerary
This view above can be seen on the right, but the pick of the best views on this journey are on the left - particularly towards journeys end.

But if you'll be travelling in good weather in the summer when the daylight hours will be longer, the best option will be sit on the right when heading north from Oslo - and then see the views from the other side of the train on the return journey from Myrdal.

Train 2:
Depart: Myrdal at 13:05
Arrive: Flam at 13:55

Sit on the left when you board the Flamsbana train.
Taking the Flamsbana on an InterRail itinerary
Train 3:
Depart: Flam at 16:50
Arrive: Myrdal at 17:40

Rail pass users also qualify for a 30% discount on the Flamsbana trains, you won't have time to book tickets on arrival at Myrdal station, so board the train and seek out the conductor.

Train 4:
Depart: Myrdal at 17:53
Arrive: Oslo S at 22:27
The stunning journey from Myrdal to Oslo is included on our Best of Northern Europe itinerary
Reservations are required on the Oslo - Myrdal train and return, but they're free if you will be travelling with a 1st class pass - 2nd class reservations cost the equivalent of around €6.

But on these Regiontog trains, 2nd class pass users can pay an additional fee and travel in 'Komfort' class - the equivalent of 1st class.

Though avoid waiting until you're at Oslo S station to book these reservations - window seats can sell out weeks in advance

The seat reservations can be arranged by calling the NSB international booking service on +4761051910 - make it clear if you have a 1st class pass to avoid being charged a fee.

But before calling to book these reservations, look up the journey on the NSB (Norwegian Railways) website.

Then you can access the seating plans and check what window seats are available, and on what side of the train they are - and then request those specific seats when booking your reservations.

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Day Five:

Train 1:
Depart: Olso S at 07:01 (not Sundays) or 13:01
Arrive: Goteborg C at 10:40 or 16:50
Leaving Oslo behind on our Best of Northern Europe rail pass itinerary

Train 2:
Depart: Goteborg C at 10:55 or or 16:55* or 17:55
Arrive: Kobenhavn H at  14:28 or 20:28* or 21:28
 

*If you can make a 5 min connection in Goteborg C station.

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Day Six:

Train 1:
Depart: Kobenhaven H at 11:35
Arrive: Hamburg Hbf 1t 16:16

This suggested Eurail and InterRail itinerary enables you to see the best of northern Europe by train

Why have we included an image of a ferry? The train will be rather thrillingly loaded on to a boat for the sea crossing from Denmark to Germany with the passengers still on board!

Once the train is on the ferry, you leave it to enjoy the same facilities on the ferry which are available to the other travellers
 

Between 12 June and 4 September you must reserve on these trains: 1st class = €5.90; 2nd class = €4.50.

Although we recommend reserving at any time of the year, these can be busy trains, so having a seat for the entire journey  is not guaranteed.

These seat reservations can  be BOOKED on the DB (German Railways) website - more info is available here.

Train 2:
Depart: Hamburg Hbf at 16:36 (the ICE train will be heading to Munchen)
Arrive: Berlin Hbf at 18:19

OR
Train 2:
Depart: Hamburg Hbf at 16:51 (the ICE train will be heading to Berlin Sudkreuz )
Arrive: Berlin Hbf at 18:55

Or drop your bags in a left luggage locker in Hamburg hbf and see something of the city between trains.

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Day Seven:
 

Depart: Berlin Hbf at 09:40
Arrive: Warsawa Centralna at 16:15

Take the stress away of planning your Eurail and InterRail itineraries by following our easy as can be suggestions

Reservations = 1st class and 2nd class = €4

These reservations can be booked on the DB (German Railways) website or at the Reisezentrum desk at Hamburg Hbf, when you arrive there on Day One.

An option is to use this travel desk at Hamburg Hbf to book all your reservations - EXCEPT for the Snabbtag trains to and from Stockholm and the Regiontog trains to/from Myrdal - we recommend booking those in advance.

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Day Eight:
Depart: Warsawa Centralna at 13:30
Arrive: Praha hl.n. at 21:39

From Warszaw to Prague on our Best of Northern Europe rail pass itinerary
Reservations = 1st class and 2nd class = €4 (the equivalent price in Polish zloty)

You can book these reservations when you arrive in Warszawa Centralna station the previous evening - doing that is now cheaper than booking them at the Reisezentrum desk back in Hamburg Hbf.

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Day Nine:

Depart: Praha Hln at 08:51 or 10:51
Arrive: Wien Hbf at 12:49 or 14:49


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Day Ten:

Train 1:
Depart: Wien Hbf at 09:15
Arrive: Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 15:36

Our suggested Eurail and InterRail itineraries save the stress of planning your trip
Reservations are optional, but highly recommended for this journey, particularly if you want to remain in the same seat all the way to Frankfurt.
 

If you do want to reserve then they can be booked online on the DB (German Railways) website, or if you’ll be booking other reservations at the Reisezentrum desk at Hamburg Hbf, you may as well as book this train there too.
More info is available here.

Train 2:

Depart: Frankfurt (Main) Hbf at 16:29
Arrive: Amsterdam Central at 20:28

This Eurail and InterRail Pass itinerary starts and finishes in Amsterdam

Reservations are recommended on this train on Mon-Friday and Sunday.


On some dates the train will arrive in Amsterdam around 30 – 60 mins later

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APPROXIMATE TOTAL TRAIN TRAVEL COST: 

The total costs are based on standard* InterRail and Eurail prices + the costs of the reservation fees on the trains that have been included on this itinerary + a discounted ticket for the journey on the Flamsbana Railway

*Both of these passes are frequently discounted during 'sales' periods.

InterRail 1st Class Adult = €624
InterRail 2nd Class Adult = €483

InterRail 1st Class Youth = €501
InterRail 2nd Class Youth = €390

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Eurail 1st Class Adult = €621
Eurail 2nd Class Adult = €481

Eurail 1st Class Youth = €499
Eurail 2nd Class Youth = €389

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APPROXIMATE* cost comparison with purchasing tickets:

Cheapest 1st class tickets = €749
Cheapest 2nd class tickets = €465

1st class tickets when booked a few days ahead of the travel date = €1190
2nd class tickets when booked a few days ahead of the travel date = €839

The costs estimates based on one Adult aged 18+ travelling solo.

*We looked through 100s of departure times/dates to assess these costs and used the most 'typical' prices we could find.

However, the prices of train tickets can fluctuate, so these cost estimates do not take into sporadic promotions and other offers - nor do they include exponentially high prices at holiday times etc.

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THE ALTERNATIVE ITINERARIES: 

POPULAR CITIES

SCENIC JOURNEYS

NO ADDITIONAL FEES

DIRECT TRAINS ONLY


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Tips to ensure your trip will be stress-free: 

These EXTRA TIPS can help you:

(1) Save money when booking overnight accommodation.

(2) Know what the 'rules' are

(3) Have more comfortable journeys.

(4) Avoid last minute panics at the station etc etc.

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Our other guides and info likely to be of use to rail pass users: 

Our General guide for Eurail and InterRail Pass Users

Using stations in Germany

Europe's Daytime Trains

Europe's Overnight Trains

Europe's International Rail Routes

24 Tips for European Rail Travel

Europe's Most Fantastic Journeys by Express Trains

Travelling With Children on European Trains