When you find yourself dreaming of traveling around the land of wine and cheese, naturally one question comes to mind. What is the best way to travel around Europe? Should you travel by booking multiple budget flights? Perhaps joining a busabout? Should you invest in train passes to help you zoom through different countries? How about going on a cruise to hit major destinations? Really, the possibilities are endless. To make things simpler for everyone, we’ve created this article on the best ways to travel around Europe so you can choose which suits your travel style most.
Best Ways to Travel Europe
Busabout is a great way to travel Europe as you use their series of networks to hop on and hop off buses, depending on where you want to go. Often used by backpackers, this is a really convenient way to travel. You can select passes based on certain regions or choose the flex trip which allows you to choose where to stop as you go along. Unlike regular buses, busabout gives you a more party atmosphere as a lot of young backpackers tend to do it.
What We Think: We love the idea of busabouts because you will meet a ton of great people and will be essentially seeing the same people in all the stops. The price is a bit on the steep side and would almost equate to Youth rail passes, depending on which pass you select. Apart from that, they have many pre-planned routes to help you choose which places to go to. The only downside is if you want to visit certain towns which aren’t part of their set route, getting there is up to you which overall, limits the flexibility of your travel plans.
Related: How to Plan your Dream EuroTrip
Eurorail Pass from Eurail.com
Now we’re a bit biased as we think traveling around by train is the best way to see Europe. You get to see all the major sights but get to stop in go through little quaint villages if you want to. Getting a train pass from Eurail is ideal if you’re covering big distances, and despite the price tag, it will still save you money in most cases. Unlike busabouts which have fixed locations to stop in, with train passes, you can literally go anywhere. There are options to choose between regional passes, global passes, (every country) or even select passes where you create your itinerary. If you have limited time and you want to move rather quickly from one place to the next, train passes make it very easy and convenient.
What We Think: Well, apart from the fact that you can stare out the window and enjoy the most beautiful views while in transit, the Eurorail provides you with the ultimate flexibility when it comes to traveling. No need to book in advance, the train schedules are relatively easy to understand, and they go almost everywhere around Europe. Although some trains require a reservation fee (overnight trains also charge extra), you can get around this if you have time by taking the local provincial nonreservation trains. Although this may take longer, the small little towns along the way will be worth it!
Love trains? Check out these scenic train rides in Europe for more inspiration on where to go
To put things to a test, we decided to see if train rides are indeed the best way to travel around Europe which is why we decided to avail of the month long train pass from Eurail. Coming from personal experience, I have to say that train travel in Europe is so easy and convenient. While it definitely takes more time, the landscapes in between rides are just phenomenal. We did a step-by-step review honest review of our Eurail experience and if we think it was worth the money.
Read: Traveling Europe: 5 Countries, 5 Meals, 1 Day
Nowadays, you can survive traveling around Europe just by flying as budget airlines have changed the game. We personally use Google flights or Skyscanner to help you find the best deals online. When booked in advance, you can find many cheap and affordable deals to take you from one place to the next. Airlines such as Easyjet, Vueling, Transavia, and Ryanair, especially when booked early give you pretty awesome value for your money. To give you an idea on how ridiculous it can get, just last week we saw flights from Milan to London for $17!! I know right. However, having said this, booking flights all over Europe take out the spontaneity of backpacking. Reading the fine print is also an important part as often, they make up for their cheap prices through hidden fees.
Flying around Europe makes a convincing case for us as if you don’t have a lot of time, this is the most cost and time effective method. As long as you book early enough, you can score great deals! Insider tip, if you find a cheap flight, don’t hesitate and book it right away! The prices of flights fluctuate quickly so be sure to score your deals early on. Also, factor in that checked in baggage often costs extra.
Given that Euroline is the most well-known company in Europe, buses are often the cheapest way to travel around. They even have bus travel passes which can help save you even more money. However, traveling by bus can be time-consuming so this is not a good option for those that are a bit short on time. With over 53 cities to choose from, you can hop from one place to the next. Although this is a cheaper alternative, we still prefer trains as they offer a more scenic way to travel. Other companies which are quite good in Europe is Megabus and National Express.
What We Think: Euroline makes it easy to bus around, as all you have to do is book your first destination, then you can book as you go along. All the buses have reclining seats and toilets inside. Although after coming from South East Asia where buses are your primary lifeline to getting around, train travel still wins it for us due to the fact that like the bus about, the stops are still limited to major cities causing you to miss out on lovely small towns.
I would bet you all a giant plate of pizza (my unhealthy obsession) that most of us have all dreamed of traveling around Europe on a cruise ship. Although this type of travel is definitely not for budget travelers as cruise ships often come with a hefty price tag. There are however loads of cruise ship deals that have good value for money as they come in all-inclusive packages including round trip flights, food, and beverages.
What We Think: Although floating down the Mediterranean in a large cruise ship sounds too good to be true, it would be presenting a different kind of travel which we are not normally used to. Naturally, cruising around Europe would limit you to countries around the Mediterranean, therefore, would stop you from really exploring the countries more inland.
Apart from the list above, there are other options such as driving a rental car, car sharing platforms (check out bla bla car), hitchhiking, or even riding motorbikes (Tom’s dream!) – literally, your possibilities are endless. Just remember, your travel style, budget and the time you have on hands will help determine which transport system is best when traveling around Europe. So au revoir, arrivederci, adiós- you may now go forth and begin planning the most epic European getaway!