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60,000 free Interrail passes are up for grabs - but you need to be quick

EU Interrail scheme returns for 18-20 year olds.
EU Interrail scheme returns for 18-20 year olds.   -   Copyright  Canva
By Nichola Daunton

Applications are now open for the EU’s free Interrail ticket scheme. 60,000 passes are available for young people aged 18-20 years old, with each allowing free train travel across Europe for up to a month.

EU Interrail scheme extended

The scheme is usually only open to 18-year-olds, but has been extended to 19 to 20-year-olds as the last two rounds were cancelled. This means that EU citizens born between 1 July 2001 and 31 December 2003 can apply.

Any young person that holds nationality in a EU member state is eligible, including UK citizens for the final time. This is because last year’s giveaway, when the UK was still eligible to take part, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants with a disability or health problem that may make their journey more challenging will receive support to help them take part.

How to apply for free Interrail tickets

To apply, young people must fill in an online application and take a short quiz on EU member states. Applications are open until Tuesday 26th October 2021.

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Participants can travel for up to 30 daysCanva

Winners will be able to travel for free for a maximum of 30 days between 1 March 2022 and 28th February 2023. Participants with a disability or health problem that may make their journey more challenging will receive support to help them take part.

Young people can also apply as a group of up to four people to the DiscoverEU scheme. Ticket holders can take ferries and buses to help them travel from place to place, and must visit at least one other EU member state than the one they live in.

The three countries with the most applicants are Italy, France and Spain.

European Year of Rail

Competition for the tickets is fierce though, with nearly 350,000 young people applying for the 2018-2019 round. The three countries with the most applicants are Italy, France and Spain.

2021 is the European Year of Rail, an initiative to encourage EU citizens to travel by train to help tackle climate change and achieve a carbon neutral EU by 2050.