If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently returned to two of my favourite cities: Paris & Rotterdam via FlixBus! So after three overnight buses taking me from London to Paris, Paris to Rotterdam, and back from Rotterdam to London – here is my FlixBus review!
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ALERT NOW CLOSED – CONGRATULATIONS TO VLAD: The best thing about travelling with FlixBus?! They’ve offered a lucky winner the chance to win a pair of return tickets to a European destination of your choice! All you have to do is complete the entrance form at the end of this page and you could be heading off to your favourite European destination for free!!
FlixBus Review: London to Paris
Departure time: 23:30pm
Arrival time: 9:50am
Duration: 10 hours 20 minutes
Channel crossing method: Channel Tunnel Shuttle
Departure from: London Victoria Coach Station, 164 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 9TP
- Victoria Coach Station is a ten minute walk from Victoria Train Station
- My Flixbus departed from the first departure hall. But there are two so make sure to check the departure time boards either at the entrance or in the second hall opposite Starbucks
- By 23.00pm most of the shops and toilets are closed so make sure to stock up on food and water before you arrive. There is also a Sainburys (supermarket) nearby that closes at 23.00pm
Arriving at: Porte Maillot Coach Park, 16 – 24 Boulevard Pershing, Paris 75017
- My suggestion is to ignore all the taxi drivers who line up outside the coach park and find the entrance to the Metro
- Opposite the coach park is a shopping centre called Palais des Congrès de Paris. There you can follow signs for the metro and they also have great toilets to change in and brush your teeth!
- If you need to get to Gare du Nord then take the M1 towards Chateau de Vincennes and change at Charles de Gaulle (after 2 stops) for the M2 to Gare du Nord (in the direction of Nation). To see the metro map of Paris click here
My first trip with FlixBus didn’t get off to the best start as the bus was an hour late. Meaning it didn’t arrive until 00.30am, long after the toilets and shops were closed. Our driver also went first to the port of Dover, rather than the entrance to the Channel Tunnel shuttle as we were taking the shuttle and not the ferry that night.
My only other issue was the lack of communication between the driver and the those of us on board. When I noticed we had left the port and were driving back in the direction of London, I had to get up and go ask what was happening. There were also no instructions when arriving at passport control at the shuttle, which meant I was directing some of the other passengers from my own previous experience.
However, writing this FlixBus review in hindsight, it seems like these issues don’t best represent the normal service. As you’ll see in the rest of the review, the rest of my buses arrived and left on time. The other drivers were also really chatty and great at directing us all through passport control.
I also reached out to Flixbus about the delay and they told me: “We are consistently working on improving our services and informing our customers about their trip with FlixBus.”
As this was my first ever FlixBus, I was really pleasantly surprised with how comfortable the double-decker bus was.
I sat upstairs and was lucky enough to get two seats to myself, which meant I could definitely sleep better. But if you travel in pairs or only get one seat for yourself, the seats recline without taking up too much space for the person behind.
FlixBus Review: Paris to Rotterdam
Departure time: 22:15pm
Arrival time: 06:15am
Duration: 8 hours
Departure from: Porte Maillot Coach Park, 16 – 24 Boulevard Pershing, Paris 75017
- At this time of night, the metro exit to Palais des Congrès de Paris is closed so make sure to take one of the street exits and look for the coach park from there
- Port Maillot is on metro line 1
Arrival at: Rotterdam Centraal Station, Conradstraat, Rotterdam, 3013 AP
- This is by far one of the best coach stations of my trip, as the stop is directly behind Rotterdam Centraal station making easy access to trains, metros and trams in the city
- If you need the toilet when you get off, the station toilets open at 7.00am and cost €0.70. If you’re hungry, the Starbucks in the main hall opens at 6.00am and Albert Heijn (the local supermarket chain) opens and 5.00am Monday – Friday and 7.00am Saturday & Sunday
- Unfortunately, luggage storage facilities are located in the departure area of the station, which you can only access with a ticket for the trains. Luckily, the guys at Hostel ROOM are happy to store luggage if you arrive before check-in for free!
The only disadvantage on this trip was that I chose to sit on the seats in front of the toilet, the door of which wouldn’t stay shut when not locked from the inside. However, there were two drivers on board this bus and one of them quickly came to tape it up.
Realistically, apart from the tape there’s not a lot they could have done to fix it en route, and he was diligent in replacing the tape throughout the journey when it began to loose stickiness from passenger use.
Remember how I said how comfortable the FlixBus buses are? Well with no border crossing to worry about (there’s no need once you’re in Europe) I fell in to a deep sleep as soon as I left Paris. I woke up a few times en route to Rotterdam, but I was that comfortable that I missed my stop.
So I woke up in Delft. I know the Netherlands quite well, but I’ve never been to Delft so I stayed on board until The Hague. The funniest part was quickly power-walking past the driver who was unloading another passenger’s luggage, with a quick wave and a thank you. I didn’t want him to think I had grabbed a cheeky free half hour ride when in fact it cost me another €6.00 and half an hour to get back to Rotterdam!
Note: The driver on this bus was really communicative and was loudly announcing all the stops en route. I was just literally that tired!
FlixBus Review: Rotterdam to London
Departure time: 22:15pm
Arrival time: 07:30am
Duration: 9 hours 15 minutes
Channel crossing method: Ferry from Calais to Dover
Departure from: Rotterdam Centraal Station, Conradstraat, Rotterdam, 3013 AP
- The FlixBus stop is right at the end of the coach park (at the opposite end of the station entrance)
- Luckily, the Albert Heijn is again open until midnight so you can grab a large bottle of water (always reccommended on bus journeys!) and some snacks
Arrival at: London Victoria Coach Station, 164 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 9TP
- By this time in the morning, the shops and toilets at the coach station are all open, and the toilets cost £0.50 – you will find these in the departure hall which will mean leaving the arrivals hall and crossing the road infront of Caffè Nero
- For morning coffee lovers, the staff at Caffè Nero are always awesome and they open at 6.00am
- To get to the tube, follow the signs for Victoria Train Station – the walk is approximately ten minutes or less depending on how much luggage you have
At the end of June, FlixBus acquired operations of the Megabus services in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Benelux, as well as cross-border services to London. Whilst this isn’t much of a disadvantage, as I already use Megabus frequently, it meant that I instantly noticed the change in comfort between the previous two FlixBus services and my Megabus from Rotterdam to London. FlixBus buses are definitely more comfortable!
Also, on this crossing we took the overnight ferry. Basically, when you travel to or from London to the European continent you have the option either of taking the tunnel train or the ferry, and when you take the ferry you have to get off the bus and sit in the ferry lounges for safety reasons. However, it’s impossible to know when you book in advance what channel crossing method the bus will use so this is just a chance we all have to take!
Of all three buses I took, the driver who picked us up in Rotterdam was by far my favourite! He was super friendly and helpful with luggage (I had picked up an extra bag in Rotterdam that would have to stay in the luggage hold rather than with me on board). He was also great at communicating with everyone about the ferry crossing and just generally a really nice guy.
Also, like my previous ride from Paris to Rotterdam, the bus arrived and left bang on time. Which is a huge bonus!
Pros & Cons of Travelling With FlixBus
Despite a dodgy start on my trip from London to Paris, the majority of the 27 hours and 35 minutes that I spent travelling overnight with FlixBus this August were fantastic. A few reasons why:
- The wifi worked consistently. I have a Spotify subscription but had forgotten to download a few playlists and podcasts for the trips but I was able to do this so easily on board
- The toilets were clean and worked perfectly (apart from the one door). Also as someone who spent one journey sat directly in front of the toilet – there was no smell…hallelujah!
- Each pair of seats had a working plug socket. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken budget buses where the plug sockets don’t work, so this was a huge plus!
- The bus drivers offered low cost food and drinks when they stopped for a fifteen minute break! That’s a completely new service I’ve never experienced on board other bus companies and I was so grateful of it when I ran out of water
- I tweeted about missing my stop in Rotterdam (because I thought it was funny and showed just how comfortable the journey was!) and the service team were quick to respond and tell me to get in touch if I was stuck! I told them not to worry as it was entirely my fault but still – great customer service!
- I used the app to show my booking confirmation, find bus stops and book the tickets and it was so simple to use! If you’re travelling with FlixBus, definitely download their app as it’s the best I’ve seen for any budget bus company in Europe!
And overall I have only one complaint:
- When my bus was delayed in London, I didn’t receive a message from the app or by text until 5 minutes before the bus showed up… 55 minutes after the scheduled departure
- However, a friend of mine was taking a FlixBus from Port Maillot at 22.00pm on the same day as me but to London (what a coincidence!) and he received a text earlier in the day to inform him of the delay. So I assume my late notification wasn’t the norm
Map of my route:
WIN: A free trip to any European Flixbus destination!
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER – VLAD!
As you can tell from my pros and cons conclusion above, my overall experience with FlixBus was hugely positive and because they make it so easy to get between destinations across Europe we’ve teamed up to host a giveaway!
FlixBus has a network of over 900 destinations(!) and we want to send you and a friend on your next European getaway completely for free!
Dreaming of Paris, Rome, Amsterdam? Make the dream a reality by entering the giveaway below and we will pick one lucky winner and send them a pair of return tickets to use for any FlixBus destination in Europe!
This post and giveaway was written in partnership with FlixBus who provided the tickets for this mini Euro trip. However, and as always all opinions are honest and my own and I hope you find this FlisBus Review helpful when planning your next Euro trip!.
Lots of love,