Forget flying! The best way to see Europe is via bus and rail. Oh, and it’s usually cheaper and often faster than taking to the skies. The Local rounds up some top tips for planning your next European adventure.
“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” mused the American scholar Ralph Wado Emerson back in the 19th century. While travelling has changed beyond all recognition since Emerson’s day, his message still rings true for eager explorers of all ages.
Investigate all options
It’s doubtful Emerson would have suggested that going through all the airport rigmarole was a part of travelling to be savoured. But did you know that numerous European routes are quicker to navigate by bus or rail than by plane? London – Paris and Munich – Frankfurt being just two compiled in a list by search and booking platform Omio.
Omio (formerly GoEuro) was founded back in 2012 by a former backpacker who was determined to make life easier for wannabe travellers.
Other routes that are quicker by train than by plane are Brussels – Paris (2hr 39min faster) giving you plenty of extra time to explore the Louvre, and Madrid – Valencia (1hr 28min faster), which is almost enough time saved to watch a football match at Real Madrid’s famous Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
So spend some time investigating all your travel options to grant yourself some added time in your destination of choice.
Look out the window
Experiencing Europe by rail and bus opens up the path for routes through the Swiss Alps, criss-crossing between Spain and France down to the Italian Riviera and trekking across Scandinavia to name but a few.
With eye-watering scenery often on display, put down your paperback or tablet and glance out the window. Rail and bus travel offers the chance to see a great deal more of a country’s natural landscape and to also become au fait with new-fangled words such as couchette and hauptbahnhof.
Have cash, will travel
Back in the old days, travelling across Europe involved changing currencies with every new country you visited. And while there was a certain charm in collecting new notes and coins, figuring out how much things cost compared to your own money was a nightmare; 1,500 Italian lira for an espresso anyone?
Let’s face it, queuing at the currency exchange for Deutsch Marks and pesetas was a hassle. Now with a single European currency, card payments and mobile banking apps, you can spend your hard earned money with ease.
But that’s not to say there still isn’t a place for old fashioned notes and coins…in certain places. In Sweden, for example, cash is practically dead but in Switzerland it reigns supreme. Buy yourself some time by having some cash in your wallet as it will come in handy for paying for luggage lockers and even to use the toilet in some bus and train stations.