Travelling Europe by bus may not be the most glamorous way to backpack the continent compared to flying or taking that epic road trip.
But it is a lot cheaper and, in my opinion, a lot more straightforward. You also don’t have to pay extra for luggage which is a big plus if you’re having to pay for that backpack to go in the hold every time you visit a new destination.
If you’re unsure of whether you want to travel Europe by bus, click on any of the guides below to find out more! If you’re ready to book buses across Europe, keep reading!
To read more in the Travelling Europe by Bus series click here!
How to Book Buses Across Europe
1. Bus Comparison Sites
But did you know that similar sites exist for budget bus travel in Europe?
Honestly, since it’s launch over a year ago Busbud has made my whole bus booking process so much easier than it used to be! I completely rely on it’s advanced search features that enable me to arrive in a destination at the best time for me, and it’s great for comparing prices and reviews.
The search results page can easily be filtered by time (morning, afternoon, night), your departure or arrival stop of choice (as these differ by company) and amenities (hello…wifi!). Even better, you can sort results by duration and quality (as well as time or price) which is great if you’re looking for the shortest most comfiest option!
P.s. Busbud also offer a newsletter service and Twitter feed to alert followers of $1 bus tickets in the US and Europe, as well this great web-based app that enables you to compare the price and duration of bus and plane rides across the globe!
↓ Exclusive discount code for cheap bus tickets from Busbud.com! ↓
As I personally love the website, I reached out to Busbud.com before publishing this article and they’ve offered you guys an exclusive discount code so that you can get even cheaper bus tickets in Europe!
Just enter “thehostelgirl” in the Discount Code box highlighted below for a 10% discount off bus journeys from OUiBUS, National Express, ALSA and Baltour. Unfortunately the code won’t apply to other bus companies booked through the site, but it’s a great start!
GoEuro is a comparison and search site for air and train travel, as well as bus travel and the most useful thing about this sight is at the top of each search results page they clearly show a comparison of costs and journey length in a simple graph.
2. Book Direct
For years friends of mine in France have been telling me to try OUiBus, and since my first trip with them last year I have to agree that of all the bus companies in Europe I find them the most comfortable.
A big reason for my opinion on this is that even when I took a full bus from Paris to London with them on my last trip to Paris, the aisle seats are able to slide out further from the window seat, giving you a little more space than in another budget bus had it been full.
However, OUiBus is a little pricer than other options listed below so if you’re really on a budget the extra €10 can be a pain.
When it comes to price, Megabus is usually my ‘go to’ budget bus option in Europe. It’s often the cheapest and I’ve actually never been on a full Megabus which really has it’s benefits when you want to stretch out on a ten-hour bus ride.
As for wifi and power sockets, these tend to be hit and miss as to whether or not they work. It’s a huge annoyance, but again – they’re really cheap.
In my opinion, Eurolines are in a similar league to Megabus when it comes to unreliability of wifi and power sockets but they are still cheaper than OUiBus.
Also, when it comes to UK travel I actually travel exclusively by National Express, which is part of the Eurolines brand. I live in the south of England and to travel to London costs between £9 and £15 by National Express coach – less than half the price of the train fare!
I haven’t personally travelled with Meinfernbus Flixbus, but many friends of mine have and they seem to be the best budget bus transport on offer in Germany and the surrounding countries.
Edit 26-06-2017: Since originally writing this post I have taken plenty of trips with Flixbus. Almost all of my trips with them have been more than positive, with the negative aspects arising only from a few short delays here and there.
If you’re interested in reading more about my experience with Flixbus, I have written a full review here: Travelling Europe By Bus: FlixBus Review (London to Paris to Rotterdam!).
3. Buy a Bus Pass
I remember buying my weekly bus pass for school and never would have thought that you could buy multi-country bus passes. But in Europe it is possible to get multi-country bus passes that work on certain networks.
Offering a wide variety of bus passes that loop around different countries in Europe and Morocco, the Busabout Hop-on-Hop-off Pass gives you the flexibility to book a number of travel days without specifying dates or locations until you’re ready to do so.
The way in which Busabout differs from other bus passes below is that their pass also comes with guides who pick you up and drop you off from your hostel. Prices start from £325.
The Eurolines Pass works in a similar hop-on-hop-off function as Busabout but without the added benefits of guides in each location. There are two options: the 15-day pass (from £155) and the 30-day pass (from £210).
National Express Brit Xplorer Card
If you’re looking for a budget friendly way to explore the United Kingdom, then I recently discovered the Brit Xplorer Card that you can buy for 7-days (£79), 14-days (£139), or 28-days (£219) travel to any destinations on the extensive National Express network.
So there you have my tips for getting cheap bus travel in Europe! As I’ve mentioned, I use Busbud as my first choice when researching tickets and then either book through them (which you can do with the 10% discount code “thehostelgirl” on certain routes) or directly with the coach company!
Let me know how you get on and if you have any questions 🙂