Seven ways to travel around Europe

Many people visiting Europe for the first time want to see as much of it as they can in one journey. Fortunately, getting around Europe is easy and there are many different ways of doing it.

It really depends on the type of experience you are after as to which form of travel you choose. Are you willing to splash the cash and travel in luxury? Or would you prefer to travel on a shoestring? This post provides an array of different solutions for all types of traveler. 

1) Take a cruise

A cruise could be one of the most glamorous ways of exploring Europe. You only have to pack and unpack once, and you get to stop in lots of different ports in lots of different countries. You also get access to multiple restaurants, bars, pools and other amenities on board the ship.

There are an array of different cruise routes to consider in Europe. You can take a cruise around the coast of Scandinavia. You can stop at various ports around the Mediterranean. You can sail around the British Isles. Or you can even take a river cruise up the Danube. 

2) Go interrailing

Interrailing is a cheaper and more flexible way to explore Europe. Using trailines, you get to create your own journey. This is a popular way to see a variety of different cities. An interrail pass will give you unlimited free train travel, however you may prefer to pay for individual tickets if you’re not planning on doing too many train journeys.

Trains vary in quality across Europe. Some are very fast and others are very slow. Some allow you to sleep on them, while others are purely for riding. While most people traveling by train prefer to keep it basic, there is the option of traveling via luxury trains like The Orient Express, but be prepared to pay a lot more for these transport options and book way ahead. 

3) Hire a car

Some car hire companies around Europe allow you to rent a car and take it out of the country, allowing you to explore the whole continent. This can be a way to create your very own route, while following your very own schedule. It can also give you the experience of driving in different countries.

You can drive in most European countries on a US or Canadian driver’s license. Just be wary that driving laws can vary across the continent and it’s worth doing your research before driving into each new country. Some countries charge road tolls, while others require you to apply for a vignette before legally driving in them (these vignettes generally only cost a few dollars and can be applied for online). 

4) Get on your bike

Cycling around Europe is also possible – albeit a much slower form of travel. It’s a good option for those who want a physical challenge as well as an adventure. There are several Europe tours that you can take in which a guide will lead you on a cycling route. Such routes are often scenic and the guide can offer tips on how to prepare for each leg of the journey. Alternatively, you can hire a bicycle and plan out your own routes across Europe. Just make sure to research which roads bicycles are legally allowed on.

Cycling is popular along coastlines and around mountainous areas where you can take in breathtaking views. Popular cycling hotspots in Europe include The Algarve in Portugal, The Dolomites in Italy, Northern Scotland in the UK, Provence in France and The Dalmation Coast in Croatia. You can find recommended routes online. 

5) Catch a bus

Buses are another popular alternative. Like trains, buses only go on specific routes and only go at certain times. However, buses can take you to places where trains don’t go, and it is generally cheaper taking a bus (it’s certainly a lot cheaper than renting a car).

There are many cheap long-distance coaches that you can jump on around Europe. You will usually have to book these in advance, however some are possible to book tickets for there and then. Many of these coaches are very basic, but there are some that are a bit more luxurious. Coach tours are also an option worth exploring – these follow specific routes and are led by guides, often stopping at various attractions. Most coach tours will follow some kind of theme such as exploring the battlefields of WW1, or stopping at various vineyards. 

6) Fly around Europe

Jetting around Europe is also an option. You can often book short-haul flights at a cheap price, allowing you to hop from city to city. It’s certainly not the greenest method of transport, and you will have to go through the entire airport rigmarole each time. However, it could still be quicker and easier than taking trains or buses. 

There are flight booking companies that specialize in booking multiple flight journeys – these companies may be able to help you find the best deal by looking for flights at the best times. Alternatively, you may prefer to book your own flights. Airline quality across Europe can vary depending on how much you are willing to spend. There are lots of budget airlines that are ideal for cheap travel – but they are very basic and you can get caught out by extras. 

7) Hitchhike 

Hitchhiking is the most daring and unpredictable way to travel around Europe. However, it is also the cheapest method. This makes it a popular form of travel for many young people.

While hitchhiking is allowed and practiced in many countries around Europe, it is more commonly done in some places than others. It’s important to be realistic about where you are likely to get picked up and where you’re most likely to not get a lift.

There are many guides to hitchhiking online that can be worth reading before you attempt to hitchhike. Hitchhiking with somebody else is safer if you’re a woman, however hitchhiking solo is generally easier, as fewer drivers are willing to pick up two people.