The European Parliament will hand out 15,000 free Interrail tickets to EU citizens who are 18 as part of a trial. Applications opened this week and will close on 26 June.

The passes will be released to selected 18-year-olds under the pilot DiscoverEU scheme, allowing the teens to travel on nearly all trains around Europe for up to a month this summer. Interrail passes let holders travel on the national railways – and some ferry lines – of 30 European countries. The freebies will save travellers an average of €255 (£225).

Women travel on the Intercity-Express in Germany. Image: Eurail Group G.I.E

To be eligible, applicants must be 18 on 1 July and a national of one of the 28 EU member states. They must also respond to a quiz, which poses questions on EU youth initiatives and the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.

The scheme was pioneered by German MEP Manfred Weber, who wants every EU citizen to receive a free Interrail pass when they turn 18, claiming it would allow them “to discover the beauty and diversity of Europe”.

On my travels, I came across people who were not so different to me. I also felt my mind broaden in ways I could not have imagined

“When I was a young student, I just couldn’t wait to visit the European places I had read so much about but never seen,” he said.

“On my travels, I came across people who were not so different to me. I also learned to appreciate the little quirks that made them British, Italian, Spanish. I felt my mind broaden in ways I could not have imagined. I felt European.”

This article was originally sourced from here.