Another option available to the backpacker is traveling by bus. Buses will often be a major part of getting around town once you’ve arrived at your destination, but the thrifty traveler can also find buses that go between major cities in Europe.
Taking a bus is generally slightly less comfortable than a train, but can be considerably cheaper.
Unless you’re looking for a bus tour, your best bet is ask the staff at your hostel about local and regional buses. Many cities have both local/regional bus stations, as well as long-distance bus lines.
Similar to a rail pass, a couple companies offer unlimited ride bus passes. A Bus Pass can be a useful addition, or even a substitute for a rail pass.
Busabout is the biggest backpacker-targeted bus pass operator. They offer a hop-on hop-off travel network around Europe covering 30 destinations and 10 countries. Designed with backpackers and independent travelers in mind, the bus network runs daily from May until October and offers multiple pass options. In addition to the bus network, Busabout offers a number of adventure-travel and European festival oriented packages.
Eurolines also offers a number of bus passes that allow use of their extensive bus network, operating in 29 European countries. Once you pre-book your first destination city, you’re free to use their network to travel between 51 European cities for 15 or 30 days.
Bus Tickets and Bus Tours
Eurolines additionally offers point-to-point tickets for as little as €9.
Megabus, the same bus company that US college students are well-acquainted with, offers discount bus tickets throughout the United Kingdom and to select international cities. As an example fair, a ticket from London to Amsterdam cost £12.
Hostelworld Tour offers a number of tours across Europe. While many are for walking tours, there are some bus tours as well. Search by country to see what they have available. Be sure to do your research before you book any of these tours to make sure you know what exactly you’re buying.