Lonely Planet Writer

Europe to hand out free Interrail train tickets to 18-year-olds

Plans to give 18-year-olds living in the European Union a free Interrail train ticket have been given the green light by the European Parliament with a pilot scheme is set to start in 2018. Brussels have announced that 20,000 teenagers will be given the travel passes on their 18th birthday with the hope that the giveaway will be rolled out across the EU in 2020.

18 year-old Europeans to get free Interrail passes. Image by Mike Kemp/Getty Images

The Interrail tickets will allow the holders to enjoy unlimited travel across Europe’s rail network for a defined period of time. Other modes of transport will be made available in member state countries that aren’t covered by Interrail, such as Latvia, Cyprus and Malta. German MEP Manfred Weber, one of the politicians who spearheaded the proposal, told the European Parliament that the idea behind the scheme was to allow youngsters ‘to discover the beauty and diversity of Europe over three weeks within a two-year period.’

The scheme will be rolled out next year. Image by Leo Patrizi/Getty Images

Currently, an Interrail pass allows holders to travel between 30 different countries, including Switzerland, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and France. Prices for 12 to 27 year olds start at  €283 (£249 ) for a pass that allows holders to travel every day for 15 days across the network.

Only 18-year-old EU citizens or those legally residing within the European Union will be able to be part of the ticket giveaway. Europe’s rail network is generally quick, clean, affordable and punctual, which makes getting around the continent a breeze. It also allows for some memorable overnight trains, including Paris to Venice or Amsterdam to Copenhagen, as well as some incredibly scenic rail routes.