So, who likes to travel by plane? Probably pretty much everyone – it’s cheap, fast and you get to be above the clouds! What’s not great? Well, unless you’re afraid of heights :) However, flying can involve a number of inconveniences: baggage is limited, lines on security check and boarding can drive you crazy, and of course you need to also get to the nearest airport fiкst if you don’t live in a big city… So every now and then you might opt for not leaving good olde Earth and travel by bus or by train. And such trips can be really enjoyable too, given they are properly organized. Which basically means finding a combination of good price, comfortable seat and a route with minimal changes. To make the planning as easy as possible for you, we have compiled a list of European transport companies that satisfy these criteria. Enjoy!
Travel by Train
Trains are an amazing way to travel, even somebody who’s not Sheldon Cooper will agree to that! You can admire the landscape and have plenty of space to stretch your legs and walk around if you’re tired of sitting. And don’t forget about food trolleys and eating carriages! Sounds amazing, right? Every country in Europe has its own national railway lines, and it’s best to check them out if you need not cross any borders. However, not all of these companies run direct and affordable trains to other countries. Here are the ones that do:
ÖBB – Austrian railways
Long story short – ÖBB is amazing. It runs trains in Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, France, and Austria, of course. They offer a lot of interesting opportunities for travelling – day trains, night trains, bargain tickets (Sparschiene) for a lot of routes. Onboard facilities are always good, including a restaurant carriage and hot coffee sold from a trolley. A little advice – try booking a ticket one month in advance to get a Sparschiene price, which is twice lower than a regular one.
DB – Deutsche Bahn
More or less the same applies to Deutsche Bahn. Their special offers also include free rides for kids from 6 to 14 years old and a possibility to exchange your ticket before the day of the ride (not possible with ÖBB).
Interrail is the name of the pass that one can buy to travel across all of Europe – from the north to the south of it. The price depends heavily on your age – for example, if you are 25 or under, you get to pay from 200 to 479 euros, depending on a number of days you want your pass to last. If you’re in a “serious adult” category already or want to travel first class, you’ll have to pay more, of course.
Little advice: if you are not a European citizen, you can use the second version of Interrail pass – Eurail. However, if you have a residence permit in Europe, Interrail pass will work for you.
Travel by Bus
Buses have one big advantage over trains – price! If you feel like saving some money, plan a bus trip. It probably won’t be as comfortable as travelling by train, but you will save loads of money. The choice of a bus company usually depends heavily on the region, so consider looking at local bus services, as usual. And here are some good ones to choose from:
RegioJet (ex. Student Agency)
RegioJet is a major company running buses in Eastern Europe. Their two main countries are the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but you can book a trip with them also in Poland, Austria, Italy and a couple of other countries. Main bonuses? Price, comfortable seats, hot beverages and wifi on board! The latter is available only on the territory of Czech Republic, but the onboard movie collection can keep you occupied while traversing other countries.
FlixBus (including meinfernbus)
FlixBus has recently merged with meinfernbus and covers even more destinations now! With FlixBus you can basically go anywhere inside Europe. They are particularly good with routes in Germany and Italy. Besides, FlixBus has brilliant promotions if you can catch them. Fancy going from Northern Italy to Southern for 11 euros? It was possible this summer! We recommend subscribing to their newsletter to keep up with their special offers (1 euro tickets, wow!)
Eurolines has been on the bus travel market for ages. They basically cover the whole Europe, including the UK and Ireland. What’s interesting about it? Eurolines offer a special pass for bus travels. It’s pretty much like Interrail pass, but for bus trips. The price depends, as usual, on the length of the trips and your age, but is always quite accessible.
Ecolines shares the coverage zone with Eurolines with a couple of differences – they don’t cover the UK and Ireland, but cover Russia and Ukraine instead. Ecolines has a lot of interesting offers every now and then, especially when it comes to Baltic states and Eastern Europe. So if you plan to go there, have a look!
Eastern Europe bus companies
There is also a number of smaller companies running buses to and from countries of Eastern Europe. With Tourbus, for example, you can travel to the Czech Republic from neighboring countries. With Arda Tur you can go to Bulgaria, Greece and other countries of this region. And Arriva will bring you to Slovenia.