Europe is a well-known hot-spot for travelers and tourists, and it’s not hard to guess why. But, deciding where to go and what to see can be daunting. Which countries should you visit? How are you going to get from place to place?
This depends on a myriad of factors, like the amount of time you have, your budget, and your destinations. But, to make this decision process a little bit easier, I have compiled a list of some of the best ways to travel around Europe. Enjoy!
Travel Around Europe by Bus
As a budget backpacker, buses are typically my preferred form of travel. Not only are they the cheapest option, but you can also take overnight buses, thus saving money on both transportation and accommodation.
However, there are numerous cons to using buses. For long bus rides, I tend to get pretty restless and bored; this makes it harder to enjoy the passing scenery. Furthermore, your experience will be dependent on whose sitting next to you (similar to long-haul flights).
The best bus company that travels around Europe is FlixBus. However, other bus companies include RegioJet and Eurolines.
Also, note that while some buses depart from easily-identifiable bus stations, others depart from parking lots, or the side of the road. I remember panicking in Seville, searching endlessly for my bus stop, only to realize at the time of departure that it was simply at the front of the train station.
- The Pros of Traveling by Bus: Cheap and affordable.
- The Cons of Traveling by Bus: More time-consuming, and can end up feeling restless and bored.
In summary, while taking a bus is cheaper, it does mean you have less time to explore. So, the choice to take a bus will depend on your budget, and the amount of time you have.
Travel Around Europe by Train
Secondly, the classic way to travel around Europe is by train. It’s also one of my favorite forms of travel: you get to lay back, relax, and gaze at the passing scenery. It’s a wonderful way to experience Europe.
However, it comes with the same drawbacks as traveling by bus: for long train rides, you can get restless and bored. However, this is less of an issue, as trains do typically travel faster than buses (but slower than planes).
Furthermore, the European rail system is extensive, making it an accessible form of travel. This is especially the case if you get a train pass. These passes include the Interrail Pass for European residents, and the Eurail Pass for non-European residents.
These passes allow you to travel by train for a certain number of days, for a certain period of time. For example, you can take the train for 7 days within 1 month, or for 10 days within 2 months, or for 3 months, etc.
However, there are some conditions to these passes. For instance, taking a high-speed train or night train typically requires a reservation at an additional cost. Additionally, you need to activate the pass within 11 months of the issue date.
Overall, trains are a great option if you’re not on a strict budget, and love admiring the European scenery. While it tends to be more expensive than buses, it is also less time-consuming.
Travel Around Europe by Plane
Traveling Europe by plane is typically the fastest mode of transportation. And, conveniently, it can also be pretty cheap. There are numerous budget airlines available, such as EasyJet, Ryanair, and Wizz Air. Thus, traveling by air can be more cost-effective than traveling by bus or train.
I would recommend using a website like Skyscanner, Momondo, or Google Flights, to find the best flight option for you.
That being said, there are a lot of things to consider when traveling around Europe by air, such as:
- Luggage Fees: While these budget airlines sell cheap plane tickets, they include various fees that jacks up the price significantly. One of these fees is the high cost of check-in bags. I would recommend reading the fine print carefully, so you can determine the true cost of your flight.
- Airport Locations: While some budget airlines bring you to the main airports, a lot of them fly to small, isolated ones. I would recommend factoring in the cost of commuting from these airports to your accommodations, as it can be quite costly.
- Environmental Impact: While traveling by air can be quite convenient, it typically creates more carbon emissions, thus contributing more to global warming.
In summary, while taking a plane may take less time and can sometimes be cheaper than a train or a bus, there are other fees to consider.
If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona and you’re wondering what to do, check out my 2-day Barcelona itinerary!
Travel Around Europe by Car
While renting a car is usually the most expensive way to travel, it also gives you the most freedom and flexibility to explore wherever you’d like.
Traveling by car is the best way to roam the more isolated and rural areas of Europe. There are so many incredible European destinations that are hard to reach through train, bus, or plane; renting a car allows you to access these remote locations.
Furthermore, traveling by car doesn’t have to be too expensive. If you’re traveling with a group, you can split the costs of car rental, insurance, and gas equally, consequentially decreasing personal costs.
However, there are many things to consider when traveling by car. For example:
- Do you need an international driver’s license for the countries you’re visiting?
- What are the road regulations for the countries you’re visiting?
- Most of the cars in Europe have manual transmissions. If you can’t drive manual, you’ll probably have to pay extra to rent a car with an automatic transmission.
Overall, traveling Europe by car gives you the most freedom to explore. However, it is more expensive, especially if you’re a solo traveler.
Two valuable resources I would recommend using are Omio and Rome2Rio.
By inputting destination A and destination B, and your date of departure, they provide you with various bus, train, and plane schedules that fit, along with the price. They’re easy to use, and they’re great tools in deciding which mode of transportation to take.
I also recommend checking out this article, for a list of 15 things to do before you depart on your trip.
- Travel by Bus: Cheap and affordable, but time-consuming, and can become monotonous.
- Travel by Train: More expensive than buses, but are affordable with a rail pass. They’re also convenient, scenic, and relaxing.
- Travel by Plane: Quick, can be cheap, but with hidden fees.
- Travel by Car: Most expensive, but with the most freedom to explore inaccessible destinations.
In conclusion, traveling Europe can be a dream, especially if you plan things right. Hopefully this resource will be useful in your planning process, making your trip a little less stressful!
Thanks for reading the article! If you have any questions, feel free to comment down below, and if you want to see more travel and hike-related content, make sure to check out my other articles.
Planning to drop by Spain on your trip around Europe? Check out my walking guide to Seville, Spain!
Or if you’re visiting Portugal, check out my list on the 10 best beaches in Lagos!
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