Here are all the ways you can travel around Europe on your next visit
Europe is an easy continent to explore thanks to its size, transportation links, and use of the Euro. There are lots of different ways to get around Europe if you’re making that trip of a lifetime, and want to visit more than one country while you’re here!
Here are four ways to travel around Europe and the pros and cons of each option. Which one is your favourite?
Travel Europe by Air
Flying from country to country is the quickest way to get around Europe. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that my second home is at the airport. So you want to see Rome, Paris, Berlin and Budapest in a week? Taking short flights in between each city will allow you to do this. If you do your research and watch the prices, it can be quite cheap to do – you can often catch last minute flights from country to country for less than €50 by using sites like Skyscanner.
The downside of air travel is that it’s definitely not the most eco-friendly way to travel, and isn’t ideal if you want to see more than just cities. If you want to get out into the countryside and live like a local in Europe, this will require other forms of transport. Read on!
Travel Europe by Road
Getting on the road can be one of the most scenic ways to see Europe, even if it the slowest. It’s ideal if you have a few weeks or months to explore. There are lots of different ways to explore Europe by road.
Rent a Car
The obvious way to travel Europe by road would be to hire a car. This gives you complete control over where you go, what you see, and how fast you travel. Hiring a vehicle that you can sleep in could even save you money on accommodation. I have a friend who rented a station wagon with a bed in the back and drove around Australia for 6 weeks. Sounds like the dream! Don’t forget that when you rent your own car, you’ll need to cover all the additional costs like fuel, additional insurance, parking and road tolls. Doing a bit of research on the rules of the road is always a good idea as these can vary from what you’re used to, but then also from country to country as you travel. I recently exchanged my Canadian license for an Irish one, and there’s no way I’m getting behind the wheel without reading through a list of the street signs and stop lights — some of them are very different from home!
Ride a Bike
Cycling is another option that’s certainly cheaper than driving, but that will still give you the freedom to explore the places you want. There are many designated cycle routes around Europe, and a lot of European cities are also very cycle-friendly (some so much so that it’s nearly easier to take a bike than it is to take a car!). That said, you’d need to decide where you’d base yourself, or if you’d try to keep moving, which can be tough for packing! It’s also more physically exertive than driving, obviously, so keep that in mind if you’re not used to cycling long distances.
Get on a Coach
Taking a coach is another great option if you don’t want the responsibility of navigating the roads, or learning what the road signs mean. FlixBus is a great coach company for those wanting to grab a bargain. There are also more luxury coaches at more expensive prices, where you’re guaranteed comfortable seats and air conditioning. Coaches are great places to meet other travellers and some even come with guides, so do your research. The downside here is that you’re at the mercy of their schedule. Don’t forget that a lot of coaches may require you to book in advance.
Travel Europe by Sea
You could also explore Europe by sea! This may stop you from seeing some of the sights more inland (unless you take a river cruise up the middle), but it could allow you to explore some of Europe’s beautiful islands and coastal cities. You also get to stay in the same cabin the whole time, saving you the hassle of packing and unpacking. The major disadvantage is that it’s often the most expensive form of travel.
Cruises are the most popular way to see Europe by sea. Modern cruise ships are essentially floating resorts with a range of bars and restaurants, as well as various entertainment options. You can book all sorts of cruises, whether you want something family friendly or singles-only. Companies like Bolsover Cruise Club have a great selection of European cruises, from Scandinavian cruises to Mediterranean cruises, and you can often pick and choose your excursions at each stop based on your interests.
Chartering a yacht is also an option for those that don’t want to share a boat with other muggles. This is definitely not as cheap, and unless you can steer the massive ship yourself, you’ll also need to hire a crew. If I were Beyonce, I would charter a yacht and plan out my perfect itinerary!
Travel Europe by Rail
Interrailing has become one of the most popular ways to see Europe on a budget. By buying an Interrail Pass, you can travel on the cheap across Europe by train, picking and choosing your own route. You’ll have to be comfortable taking everything you need in a backpack, which may not be up to your standards, or the strength of your shoulders. I know I wouldn’t be able to carry my life on my back! You’ll also need to keep an eye on train timetables as getting your head around the train networks aren’t always easy to figure out. Also, if you end up buying any one-off train tickets, remember they need to be validated in a little machine before you board the train!
If you’re willing to pay a premium price there are also luxury trains that can take you across Europe. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express offer cabins with beds and on-board dining. These likely need to be booked far enough in advance, and are better suited for those happy with taking a set route. This is definitely on my bucket list!
Looking for more as you plan your trip to Europe? Here are some of my favourite blogs.