Trains have been the dominant mode of intra-Europe public transport for many years with an extensive rail network spanning the continent. Whilst travelling by train is certainly a relaxing way to get from A to B, it’s not always cheap so a couple of new bus options are worth knowing about.
Flixbus - low cost long distance coach network across Europe
I was interested to recently learn about Flixbus, a German bus company that offers a huge network of bus connections across many European countries. According to their website, they offer “over 100,000 daily connections to over 800 destinations in over 18 European countries” - that’s some network!
Founded in Munich in 2011, the company launched as Flixbus in 2013 and commenced expanding to other European countries in 2015. It now boasts around 1,000 employees and is Europe’s largest long distance bus provider.
With routes connecting Germany with Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia and more, it’s definitely worth comparing Flixbus timetables with rail timetables if you are planning a trip. From my research, it looks like routes within Germany or to bordering countries have the most convenient schedules, and journey times similar to rail services, but long distance routes often include a change of coach enroute and additional time at stopover locations.
Flixbus fares are, in many cases, considerably less than rail fares so if price is an issue but time isn’t, Flixbus might be the option for you even on long distance journeys.
A few examples of popular routes I compared are below:
Berlin to Prague
By Flixbus - 4h:45, €19 | By Train 4h:30, €38 (2nd class)
Munich to Zurich
By Flixbus - 3h:45, €15 | By Train 4h:20, €61 (2nd class)
Vienna to Ljubljana
By Flixbus - 6h, €29 | By Train 6 h, €81 (2nd class)
Paris to Nice
By Flixbus - 16h:05, €34 | By Train 5h:40, €65 (2nd class)
Rome to Milan
By Flixbus - 7h:25, €19 | By Train 3h, €30 (2nd class)
On all Flixbus coaches you’ll find free WiFi, power points to charge your devices, toilets, seats with adjustable backrests and extra legroom. A luggage allowance of three pieces per person applies and you can purchase low cost snacks and drinks onboard.
Flixbus tickets can be purchased on the company’s website (they don’t charge booking fees) and an app is also available for download.
All prices approximate based on travel in June 2016 and subject to change without notice. Photos courtesy Flixbus.
Another great bus option that I’ve recently come across is Loopy Slovenia which offers a couple of circular routes around Slovenia.
Started by three friends who realised that public transport options in Slovenia were limited, Loopy Slovenia gives travellers a comfortable way to visit the country’s main tourist destinations with ease.
The company offers two routes, both of which start and finish in the capital, Ljubljana.
West Loop MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, SATURDAY (April to October) visits Bled, the Brda wine region, Postojna and Predjama.
Fare: €79 per adult
East Loop FRIDAY, SUNDAY (April to October) visits Rogatec, Ptju and Maribor.
Fare: €79 per adult
As you can see from the timetables above, travel distances between each destination are mostly under 90 minutes and at least one hour is usually spent at each destination.
Day tour fares for both the West and East Loop routes offer a one day ticket for either Loop but if you would like to spend more than a couple of hours in a particular destination, you can purchase a Multi-day tour which allows you to do a hop on hop off version of either loop. And for just €1 more! Multi-day tours cost €80.
If a couple of hours in Bled isn’t enough for you (and I don’t blame you!), why not spend a night or two in the town and re-join your Loopy Slovenia tour a few days later? By staying a couple of nights at each destination on the route, you could enjoy the perfect ‘slow’ tour of Slovenia. In this article I share how I spent my time in Bled.
Fares include transport on a modern coach, a tour guide and free bottled water onboard.
Bookings can be made on Loopy Slovenia’s easy-to-use website and the company also offers optional sightseeing excursions at many of its destinations which you can purchase at the same time.
*Summer timetable. Refer to website for timetables for your travel dates.
Other European coach lines
Would you consider one of these bus services to travel around Europe? Which one would you be most likely to use - Flixbus or Loopy Slovenia? Please tell me in the comments below.
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