Best Way To Travel Europe: Pros And Cons Of Each Transport Mode

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As small as Europe may seem compared to its other fellow continents, there is actually a really wide variety of cultures, architecture, cuisines and languages across countries.

Thanks to the EU travelling within Europe is easier than ever, and with the rise of budget airlines, Eurrail passes discounted travel offers, it’s becoming increasingly affordable.

For anyone wanting to explore Europe in a short period of time, wondering what the best ways to travel around Europe are, this is the post for you!

In this transportation in Europe guide I will be giving you a full breakdown of the best transport modes, with pros and cons for each, and examples from my own travels trips.

We will review planes, cars, buses, trains and cruise ships, to give you a complete overview and knowledge of the best ways to travel around Europe.

Piazza del Duomo in Milan, Italy

Piazza del Duomo in Milan, Italy

When I finished high school I went on a 3 week long trip around Europe with my friends, we referred to it as our “Post IB Exams Interrail EuroTrip”, often shorted to just EuroTrip. Yes that’s how cool I was at 17.

If this isn’t a huge #ThrowbackThursday post then I don’t know what ever will be. At the time I used to live in Milan, which was our starting point for the trip.

From there we went to Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels and Barcelona. How did we move between cities? A mixture between flights and trains.

We got flights from Milan to Vienna (find out how to spend 48 hours in Vienna), from Brussels to Barcelona, and then from Barcelona back to Milan.

Other than that, our main transport mode amongst the other cities was by train.

If you need help deciding where to go in Europe, check out this list of the most beautiful cities in Europe or this guide to help you decide the best European countries for your trip!

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, seen from outside

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

Different transport modes in Europe

Train – the best way to travel around Europe?

We got a “Youth Global Pass” from Interrail with the option of travelling on 5 days within a period of 15 days (206EUR). It’s been five years but the pass types and prices have staid pretty much the same.

There was also the option of travelling on 7 days within a period of 1 month (253EUR), however doing the whole trip by train would have been both cost and time inefficient.

We were gone for 3 weeks, and since the first and last leg of travel of our trips were by plane, we managed to squeeze in the train travel in the 15 days that the pass was available for.

Arriving in London by plane - one of the best ways to travel around Europe

Millennium Bridge, London

Depending on how much train travel you expect to do, you should check also the prices of individual train journeys before getting an Interrail pass.

If you’re only planning on getting one or two trains, it might work out cheaper to buy those individually.

Having a flexible pass however is handy if you’re a bit of a #yolo traveller and want to have the option of going off on random day trips by train at no extra cost.

While the flights we got were slightly more expensive than what it would have cost us to take trains with the 1-month pass, the journeys by train would have taken us 7+ hours.

In my opinion time is also money, and spending 10 hours on a train, when a flight would have cost you 20EUR more but saved you 8 hours, is a no brainer decision.

View over the rooftops of Dubrovnik from the Old Town walls

View over the rooftops of Dubrovnik from the Old Town walls

Plane – the fastest way to travel around Europe?

This leads us on to air travel within Europe. In recent years there has been the boom of low cost airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Yes you will need to pay for every extra on top of the actual flight (eg. Hold luggage, drinks and snacks on the plane, picking your seat etc) but if you’re good at packing carry-on only, and aren’t fussy about where to sit, you will love travelling Europe by plane.

Booked early in advance you can get flights for as little as 10EUR.

You don’t want to leave this last minute though, or you can end up paying 300EUR for a one-way flight (yes I did that once, but if I didn’t get to Italy in time for Christmas my family would have never forgiven me).

Prime sunset spot over Tower Bridge and the Thames

Prime sunset spot over Tower Bridge and the Thames

Most European cities are between 1 to 4 hours flight away from each other. If you’re going on a weekend away flying will be slightly more expensive than a train, but it will save you a lot of time better spent exploring your destination.

I do a lot of weekends away from London, for example I went to Seville and Rome this year, all destinations I travelled to by plane. However the time variable isn’t always in favour of planes.

Once you factor in journey time to the airport, the one or two spare hours prior to your flight that you need to be at the airport for, and then journey time from the arrival airport to the city centre, some destinations are actually quicker to reach by train.

For example, from you can take a train to Amsterdam from London and it would be quicker than it would be to fly there (around 3 hours by Eurostar vs. 4 hour by plane, including travel to and from airports and waiting time).

Trains are also more comfortable than planes, with more leg room and usually tables. Depending on where you’re headed, you’ll want to make sure to check both options before booking anything.

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Exploring the rooftop of the Duomo cathedral in Milan, Italy

Exploring the rooftop of the Duomo cathedral in Milan, Italy

Coach – the cheapest way to travel around Europe?

Depending on where in Europe you are, buses and coaches are also a popular travel option. Within the UK there are bus companies like MegaBus that offer really cheap deals, considerably cheaper than trains from London.

I used it myself for weekends away when we went to Bath or York, and paid as little as 30GBP return trips (these were also considered expensive, if you book it early enough they do also 5GBP bargain deals).

When I was in Croatia we took a bus from Dubrovnik to Split for approximately 15EUR. Buses are one of the cheapest and easiest way to travel around this part of Europe.

Coaches are usually one of the cheapest ways to travel, however the downsides to them are the usual inconvenience of potentially being stuck in traffic and the additional time they can take compared to trains.

Doing a traditional gondola cruise in Venice, Italy

Doing a traditional gondola cruise in Venice, Italy

Car – the most independent way to travel around Europe?

I never really recommend driving as one of the best ways to travel around Europe, or any country really, primarily because I am a terrible driver and don’t enjoy being in cars.

I do recognise that in a place like Europe, where you can easily cross borders and go on an epic road trip across multiple countries in a short period of time, it is very tempting to drive.

I prefer travelling by train or plane since instead of spending unspecified amounts of time just staring at a road driving, I can spend it reading, writing, admiring the view, and many other activities.

While driving you can also be slowed down by things such as accidents, traffic or border controls, whilst you are less likely to be delayed by train.

Reflections of St Paul

Reflections of St Paul’s Cathedral at One New Change in London, UK

Renting cars is obviously expensive, since you have to factor in also insurance and petrol, especially if you are picking up the car in one country and dropping it off in a different one.

We had originally planned to drive in Croatia, but renting a car for two days to go from Dubrovnik to Split including petrol and insurance would have cost around 250EUR.

Compare that to the 15EUR coach and again, in my opinion that’s a no brainer decision. Driving does give you the freedom and flexibility to travel wherever and whenever you want, without being restricted by public transport.

However you will save so much money travelling by coach or train, that you will then have plenty to spend on excursions to see all the areas you can’t reach by public transport.

Enjoying the beauty of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Enjoying the beauty of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Cruise – the most luxurious way to travel around Europe?

Cruises aren’t usually one of the first things people think of when they think of the best ways to travel around Europe, as they’re often seen as expensive.

However some cruise companies like MSC and Costa often offer incredible deals like Mediterranean cruises for a few hundred dollars, and children under 18 often travel free bringing costs down loads for families.

Considering that in the same bill you include transport, accommodation and food (since cruises usually include all meals) you actually end up saving a lot of money and visiting a lot of different destinations in one trip.

On the downside however cruises have very strict schedules and often don’t spend more than 8 hours in a harbour, meaning that if you find a city you really love you won’t have that much time to visit it properly.

Also, anything you purchase on board (be it alcohol, souvenirs or excursions) is very expensive, so while the base cost of the cruise itself is usually accessible, be wary of all the extras you will be charged onboard.

The colourful umbrella street in front of Pizza Colosseum in Bucharest, Romania

The famous umbrella street in Bucharest, Romania

Final thoughts on the pros and cons of different travel modes in Europe

There are lots of different transport modes you can take to travel around Europe, each with their own pros and cons to each.

While my personal favourite for weekends away is usually flying, if you’re planning a longer term backpacking trip I would highly recommend travelling by train with an Interrail pass.

Have you been travelling around Europe? What is your favourite transportation mode in Europe? Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re looking for more Europe advice, make sure to check out this list of 100 things to know about visiting Europe.

The Best Ways to Travel Around Europe

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 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.

busabout europe

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.

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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

Insider Note:

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.

Budget Airlines

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.

airplane flights travel

Euroline Buses

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.

bus europe

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.

Cruise ships

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!

The Best Ways to Travel Around Europe

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 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.

Read Post  PCR & COVID testing to travel to Europe: latest updates

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.

busabout europe

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

Insider Note:

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.

Budget Airlines

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.

airplane flights travel

Euroline Buses

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.

bus europe

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.

Cruise ships

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!

Source https://gretastravels.com/how-to-travel-europe/

Source https://www.adventureinyou.com/travel-tips/best-ways-to-travel-around-europe/

Source https://www.adventureinyou.com/travel-tips/best-ways-to-travel-around-europe/

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