Autumn can be perfect time to start your Interrail journey and discover Europe in beautiful colors. But shades of fall is not the only good reason to discover old continent. Places are less crowded, accommodation is cheaper then in summer months, temperatures are milder. On this Autumn Interrail I wanted to see a lot of different places, from medieval villages in Germany to the lakes of South Tirol, and from castles to modern metropolis. Yes, all of that is possible with Interrail. My first stop was Munich. I wanted to skip the crowds in Octoberfest, so I took the first regional train to Fussen, and headed to beautiful Neuschswanstein castle, symbol of Bavaria.
Even the most popular castle in Bavaria looks different in autumn, without hordes of tourists you can enjoy beautiful architecture and nature surrounding it. King Ludwig found perfect place for his fairy tale castle, between lakes and peaks of German highest mountains, just near the border with Austria. After Bavarian south, I wanted to discover norther parts of this German state. Next station is worldwide famous medieval village Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
The former imperial town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the perfect place to experience medieval and renaissance life in Germany as it was actually lived. Narrow towers and imposing ramparts; winding alleyways and picturesque oriels; half-timbered houses lovingly decorated with window boxes and hanging baskets; colorful gardens made for rest and relaxation; large churches that invite meditation and prayer – these are just some of the things that attract visitors from all over the world to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
After medieval experience in Rothenburg, I wanted to discover modern part of Germany, and I choose Duisburg, the city of water and fire. Capital of steal industry is maybe not typical tourist choice, but there are a lot of amazing sightseeing from modern architecture to best ZOO in Germany. I was impressed by popular modernist sculpture ,,Tiger and turtle,,
Tiger and Turtle – Magic Mountain is an art installation and landmark in Angerpark, just outside of Duisburg in western part of Germany. It was designed by Ulrich Genth and Heike Mutter. It resembles a roller coaster but is completely walkable, except for the loop. It is fun and popular sculpture with locals, but I have seen international tourists too, as it is one of the most famous modern sculpture of Europe, built in 2011. After ,,Tiger and Turtle,, sculpture, I wanted to see real animals in Duisburg ZOO, as I heard that is one of the best in Europe. And I was impressed with a number of animals they have and the variety of species.
They are famous for its Australian animals, from Koalas to Tasmanian devils. After modern and interesting Duisburg, I headed south with night train to South Tirol. From Duisburg I was traveling whole night until Innsbruck, and after that I took regional train to Bolzano, capital of South Tirol. Nature and beautiful Dolomiti mountains was my goal, and I wanted to see as much as possible. One of the best places to start with Sout Tirolean trip is lake high above the Alps, Lago di Carezza in Italian language or Karersee in German.
After north Italy, I wanted to visit my friend in Amalfi coast, but the weather prognose for south Italy was very bad, with high winds and rain for whole week. Instead of going south, I have changed my plan and I headed to Switzerland. That is the beauty of traveling with Interrail Global Pass, you can be very flexible and always change your plan. My first destination in Switzerland was Montreux, with medieval castle of Chillon just outside of the city.
Montreux is famous for its Jazz festival in summer, but even I was there in Autumn, it was really interesting to see promenade on the Lake Geneva full with the lines of Palm trees, that was very untipical for Switzerland. Mediterranean like flora in contrast with snow picked mountains was perfect image to start my Switzerland tour. After Lake Geneva, my next stop was Winterthur in north east of the country. I took scenic train from Montreux to Luzern and I was enjoying the ride with passing lakes, rivers and mountains of central Switzerland. From Luzern I took intercity train to beautiful Winterthur, just 20 km from Zurich.
Winterthur is city with amazing number of good museums, but for me the most interesting fact is that is surrounded with beautiful nature. Just couple of kilometers from city, there is medieval castle Kiburg, and it is one of the most preserved old structure in north east Switzerland.
North of the city of Winterthur I made one day excursion to Stein am Rhein, small town west of Lake Constance. It’s known for its preserved, half-timbered medieval houses with painted facades, clustered around Rathausplatz in the old town. On the banks of the Rhine River, St. George’s Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery complex with a museum. On a hilltop overlooking the town, Hohenklingen Castle dates back to the Middle Ages.
My last stop on this Autumn Interrail trip was World Heritage site – Hallstatt, in Salzkamergutt area in Austria. Train station of Hallstatt is on opposite part of the Lake. When you arrive to train station, there is boat waiting for the passengers, and just for a couple of Euros you will have opportunity to cross the lake with small boat overlooking high mountains of western Austria.
Nestled between the edge of Hallstätter See and the towering Dachstein mountains, Austria’s oldest and possibly most photographed village is something like a mirage in the Salzkammergut Lake Region.
I took the cable car and after couple of minutes, I was high above the Hallstatt village. I had opportunity to visit famous Heritage view, over the lake and the Dachstein mountains.
After this experience, I can really say that Autumn is the best time to explore Europe by train, with less crowded cities and trains, and lower costs of Hotels and restaurants. Interrail is one of a kind opportunity to visit interesting places, cross different countries, meet the local people and discover various cultures of Europe.