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Eurolines Coach Passes: Are they right for your trip?

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Eurolines coach
A Eurolines coach crosses the French Alps. Photo: Lukas Vermeer

Okay, chances are you know quite a bit about the fabulous range of rail passes which are available for exploring Europe. From Eurail and InterRail to BritRail and a great range of locally sold passes within individual countries, those keen to roam the rails are spoilt for choice.

But for bus fiends, devotees of road transport who feel inclined to coach the highways of Europe, most rail passes are of little help (although some locally sold passes, such as the Explore Wales pass, do usefully combine road and rail transport).

Eurolines Victoria London

Euroline’s London Victoria Coach Station ticket counter. Photo: Vief C.

Easy connections by road

But if trains are not your thing, or you just fancy trying something different why not opt for a pass to explore the Eurolines coach network?

If you don’t know about Eurolines, check out our article earlier this month which gave a few key facts on why coach travel can be a credible alternative to taking the train on many European journeys.

From €175 for 15 days

Current pass prices start at €175 for 15 days of unlimited low-season travel between major cities in two dozen countries across the Eurolines network. That fare holds for anyone aged under 26. For older travelers, the fare for the same 15-day pass edges up to €205. 30-day passes are also available, with the current adult pass costing €310. All passes carry premium prices during high season.

Critics of the Eurolines pass have often argued that the scheme emphasizes larger cities at the expense of smaller places (although Eurolines’ dense network really does serve many out-of-the-way spots). The Eurolines consortium responded in 2011 by adding in a few secondary cities to the pass scheme. These newcomers include Rennes, Tours, Dijon, Nancy, Alicante and Kaunas.

From Ireland to the Baltic States

Once you have your pass, you can roam at will between cities included in the scheme. The geographical coverage is impressive, extending from Dublin and Edinburgh to Rome and Bucharest. Of course, you will need to change coaches on many long journeys.

Eurolines services are intended mainly for international journeys, but there are some domestic hops that can be booked by pass holders. Barcelona to Madrid is one, and Edinburgh to London another (though Catalonian and Scottish nationalists might well argue that both journeys are international in spirit).

Reserve seats in advance

Eurolines offers a hassle-free way of exploring principal cities across Europe in comfort, but a little advance planning pays off. All seats can be reserved, and on popular routes the coach can be full. So Eurolines strongly advise that travelers reserve each leg a few days in advance. Any specific sector can only be ridden twice during the validity of a pass.

You will find a wealth of further information, all very impressively ordered, at www.eurolines-pass.eu and www.eurolines.com/eurolines-pass/.

Rail pass options

Interested in seeing a full list of rail pass options? Visit our booking partner, Rail Europe, to compare rates, destinations covered and see their latest promotions.

About the author

hiddeneurope

About the authors: Nicky and Susanne manage a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine.

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4 thoughts on “Eurolines Coach Passes: Are they right for your trip?”

  1. Sounds like great stories at parties. I just hope I can get from Frankfurt to Madrid in time to catch my flight back to the USA.

    Reply
  2. I recently wanted to go from paris to london

    they had sold a lot of tickets and too many checked in for the bus

    no problem , they grabbed a spanish coach that was up from madrid and off we went …ok 20 minutes late but so what , the driver made it up

    Reply
  3. Think twice if you want to choose Eurolines. Last week, we bought two tickets from London to Belgium (Ghent). In return from Belgium, the Euroline bus didn’t come… We had to spend extra accomodation, food and another Euroline tickets. Still, we couldn’t get our refunds. Nobody helps, when we call they say “please call this number” we call that number they say “Please call this number” again we call and I feel we are being made fools…So THINK TWICE BEFORE EUROLINE COACHES… It may happen to you.

    Reply
    1. I second Umit’s comments above.

      In October, I booked a Eurolines bus ticket from Paris to Brussels. In Paris, there was an actual station and organization to be placed on the bus. However, even though my ticket said the bus stop in Brussels was at Gare du Midi, it took us to Gard du Nord, with the driver telling us (once we arrived!) that buses aren’t allowed to park at Gare du Midi. Not a major inconvenience, except for those who had people expecting them at Midi, as well as Midi being a major travel hub with connections as well as luggage storage. For those expecting to go to Midi, we first had to get on the tram from Nord. Again, not a major issue… however, to buy tram passes in a kiosk, none of my American credit cards were accepted due to the PIN vs magnetic strip. And the machine only took coins, not bills, and I didn’t have enough coins to get the multi-day pass as I had intended. Since it was a Sunday, there was NO ONE working in the Nord station to help. There was full staff at Midi with open info desks. Also, when we arrived in Brussels, the bus pulled over on the side of the road (we were not yet at the station), and the driver got off the bus. The passengers just assumed he’d be right back. HE WAS GONE FOR AN HOUR. Never any explanation as to why the bus was stopped. So already I was disliking Eurolines. But I had already purchased a ticket to go from Antwerp to The Hague in a few days so I did have to take another trip with them.

      I arrived at the bus stop in Antwerp 30 minutes early: 7:00pm for a 7:30pm departure. We were requested to arrive 15 minutes early to board. At 7:15pm, there was no bus yet. At 7:30pm, still no bus. Other people were also waited for even earlier buses (one woman was still waiting for her 6pm bus at 7:30 and soon people started telling me to expect this from Eurolines). 8:00pm came and went. Other Eurolines buses were arriving, but going to different destinations – none were The Hague buses, nor making a stop there – I asked the driver each time. I tried calling the Eurolines # but no one answered. I begged the various drivers to call for me as well (I had limited minutes on my international phone, plus I thought maybe they had a direct #) or use the radio to other drivers to see if they’re on their way. The first 3 drivers I asked told, “I can’t help you, I don’t work for Eurolines.” WHAT?! Eventually, a driver called for me and he told me no one answered the phone when he called either. It was a bit after 9:00pm when everyone I had been waiting with had boarded their buses and it did not feel safe at all to be on the street corner (in addition to the fact that it was cold and raining), so I walked back to Central Station and bought a train ticket that finally got me to The Hague around midnight. I contacted Eurolines by email to complain – never received a response. My next step is to contest my bus ticket with my credit card company, showing them proof that I bought a train ticket as well – which I would not have done had I taken the bus and already been out of Belgium. I don’t care if I don’t get my money back in the end – but I’ll be happy to know that credit card companies may look into this and either Eurolines will get their act together some time in the future, or be shut down. In the meantime, BEWARE! I chose them because they seemed cheaper than alternative methods of transit. In the end, it cost me even more.

      Reply

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