Lonely Planet Writer

How to get a free Interrail pass to travel around Europe this summer

Travel can be a life-changing experience for a young adult, but it’s also a period of life when many people lack the money for an epic adventure. But now, 15,000 lucky European 18-year-olds will get a free Interrail pass so they can spend their summer travelling the continent by train.

Thousands of Europeans can get a free Interrail pass. Image by Westend61/Getty Images

The free ticket will let the lucky winners travel for up to a month this summer on nearly all trains around Europe. With access to 37 railway and ferry companies in 30 countries, an Interrail pass is a pretty incredible way to see a lot of Europe, and the free ticket with save the travellers an average of €255 (£225).

Two teenage girls sitting on bridge holding city map in front of them. Copenhagen city center. Image by ©Muriel de Seze/Getty Images

If this sounds like the perfect opportunity to make your travel dreams come true, online applications will be open from 12 to 26 of June. The winners will be selected by a jury of European Commission officials. To be eligible, you must be 18-years-old as of 1 July and a national of one of the 28 European Union member states. You must have the desire to visit at least one European Cultural Heritage site and respond to a quiz with questions on EU youth initiatives and the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage. You must also want to become a DiscoverEU Ambassador, which means that you will report on the travels on social media and make their images available for a European Parliament photo exhibition.

Cyclist riding on cobbled street with Notre Dame cathedral in background. Image by ©Matt Munro/Lonely Planet

If you are selected, you will start your travels between 9 July and 20 September, and you must plan to travel up to 30 days and plan to visit at least one and up to four foreign country destinations. While only 15,000 are available at this period, there may be another round later in the year, and the DiscoverEU proposal aims to someday grant every young European a pass for their 18th birthday. Find out more about the program here.

If you don’t meet the requirements but are still intrigued by the prospect of travelling Europe by rail, you can still grab an Interrail pass and get travelling. Interrail passes are available to European citizens and official residents. If you are a non-European citizen, you can purchase a Eurail Pass from Eurail.com.