A Guide to Getting Around in Europe

16 May

One of the best things about traveling through Europe is how easy it is to get around – more often than not, it’s cheap, extremely efficient, and FAST! And if you have a preferred way of traveling, chances are you’ll find it in Europe.

Viator’s Dream Travel Job duo Ryan and Asha spent 60 days making their way all over the continent, by plane, train, bus, or car (and everything in between). If you’re planning your own European trip, here are a few options for you to consider!

By train

Austria train ride

You can’t beat the views from a train!

We believe that train travel is one of the best ways to discover new places and faces. Who doesn’t want to chug their way through rolling green fields, ancient towns, and dreamy landscapes? In Europe, Eurail is one of the dominating companies offering great train travel experiences, with access to 23 countries!

Unlike many other rail companies around the world, Eurail offers flexible travel passes for those who are backpacking or traveling long-term. A Global Pass will let you wander between 23 countries, while a Select Pass gives you access to 3-5 countries, etc. They even offer great trip planning tools to help make the whole process easier.

InterRail is another company that allows for flexible train travel, with access to a whopping 30 countries. Figuring out which one you’d prefer to travel with really all comes down to personal choice. Check out reviews beforehand, or partake on a short train journey first to see how you like the service.

Keep in mind, however, that if you’re traveling through Great Britain you’ll have to use BritRail. Not a bad way to see the Scottish Highlands, right?

By budget airline


Green Ireland from a plane window

You can find remarkably cheap flights via certain airlines in Europe – but know that you won’t be seated in the lap of luxury. Seats can get cramped and you’re often only allowed to bring a carry-on. If you’re on a tight budget, however, this shouldn’t matter. Besides, depending on where you’re going, your flight may only be an hour or two.

Ryanair is a great, affordable airline flying between Great Britain and Europe for as cheap as 12GBP/one way flight. (Prices are listed in Euros if you’re flying between Europe only.)

A similar airline is Easyjet, with no frills but incredible deals. It also has the added bonus of flying between Iceland and London.

Finally, there’s Vueling which mostly specializes in Mediterranean destinations (although other European locations are listed as well). Looking for an excuse to get to Crete? How does 79 Euros sound?

By bus

Malta bus

A bus in Malta. Photo credit: Adam Burt via Flickr.

Taking a bus is most definitely the slowest option of them all, but is often extremely affordable and hassle-free. Nowadays, many bus lines even come with a few additional luxuries, like free WiFi or additional luggage allowances.

One of Europe’s most popular bus lines is Eurolines. Like the rail systems, Eurolines offers access to 29 countries and gives you the option of purchasing multiple city passes. Plus the company often has outrageous sales (e.g., travel from London to Brussels, Amsterdam, or Paris for 9GBP one way!).

But if you’re considering traveling by bus, make sure you shop around a little first. If you’re traveling within the same country, for example, you might find MUCH cheaper options from various lines.

By rideshare

If you haven’t already heard of Carpooling, a car sharing platform within the United Kingdom and Europe, you should definitely add it to your list of options. Offer or search for vacant seats on any journey – the deal is that you pitch in for gas/your passenger forks over gas money, and you ride together. It’s budget friendly, AND environmentally responsible!

The website’s simple journey planner lets you scout out all the best options, and with over 3 million users, you shouldn’t have to look far!

If safety is a concern for you, do your research accordingly. Like Couchsurfing, Carpooling works on an honor system – users give feedback via a rating system, so be sure to peruse recommendations first. According to the website, “the booking system is only available to be used by registered users who have verified their mobile phone numbers and email addresses.” If you still have your doubts, ask to arrange a meet-up before you climb into the car.

By car rental

Rome Vespa ride

Rent a car or a Vespa in Rome!

If you’re not afraid of driving in a foreign country, renting a car might be the best option for you. This way you get to work at your own pace – if you want to pause on the side of the road to take photos of the Alps, you can!

Before doing so, however, check into getting an International Driving Permit. You should also find out the regulations of what you need to carry with you in your vehicle (i.e. drivers’ license and vehicle registration).

Before settling on a car rental, shop around and check web reviews. Make sure you figure out the details of your insurance, as often a car rental’s insurance will be limited to the legal minimum in the area.

A Guide to Getting Around in Europe


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