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).
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.
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.