When To Go in a Car or on a Bike
For out-of-the way places or for an unusual travel schedule, a rental car or bicycle might work the best. In England on the Moors for example, it might be best to rent a car. The castles and moors sprinkled among the hills do have limited bus access, but a rental car would make it possible to see the sights without having to be on a timetable.
Information Kiosks Help Travelers Find Their Destination
Information centers located in various shops, restaurants, and even post offices make getting around even easier. Of course, train, bus, and metro stations always have an information booth staffed by multilingual experts in the local transportation and visitor information for the curious traveler. Look for the big blue “i.”
Getting Around by Bus or Metro Avoids Crowded Streets
In large cities such as London, Paris, or Madrid, it’s easy to get around on the bus or underground subway systems. When staying longer than a day or two and wanting to stop frequently to see various sights, a pass for three, four, five or more days might be more economical. In small towns, usually stopping at the centrally located rail station and walking saves gas and allows visitors to find unusual sights along the way that they might otherwise miss. For example, in Bristol, UK, on the walk from the train station to the Youth Hostel, one can visit the first US consulate in Britain established in 1792.
Tour on the Bus When the Weather is Stormy
Another option, especially on rainy days, is the city bus tour, offered in most major cities in Europe. A one or two-day pass allows visitors to see various sections of a city with dozens of on/off stops with one ticket. In Paris, the city is divided into four sections: the Paris Grand Tour including the Louvre, Notre-Dame, Saint-Michel, Eiffel Tower; Montparnasse – St. Germain including Luxembourg Palace, Montparnasse, and the Latin Quarter; Montmartre including the local hot spots; and Bastille including Notre-Dame, Ile Saint-Louis, Bastille-Opera and the National Library. Be sure to save Montmartre until last to enjoy the ambiance of the evening nightlife.
Train Passes Purchased in Advance Provide Economy and Flexibility
To go from city to city, a Eurail Pass (or BritRail pass in the UK) is a great way to travel. Purchasing a pass in advance eases the budget while traveling around Europe. To save hotel costs, reserving a couchette and sleeping while traveling allows more time to visit the sights by day. When ordering either the Eurail Pass or BritRail Pass from Rick Steves, he’ll include a free DVD explaining how to make the most of European travels in three easy sections: Travel Skills, Part I talks about how to handle red tape, exchanging money, and traveling by air or car; Part II talks about taking tours vs. traveling solo, planning an itinerary, communicating, and safety; Part III helps with finding accommodations, eating well, and surviving the big city.
Boat Rides Offer Comfort and a Relaxing Pace
Another way to travel in Europe is by boat. Many cities offer boat tours and sometimes they discount the price when shown a Eurail or BritRail Pass. There are harbor boat tours in Barcelona, Spain and Plymouth, England, river tours in London and Paris and along the Rhine River in Germany where the banks of the river are dotted with castles. Also to save a little money, crossing from England to France on a ferry is also discounted with a train pass.
Sometimes it’s more convenient to take a short trip by air. Prices in Europe are very reasonable and if saving outweighs the expense, it might just be worthwhile. But no matter what mode of transportation is taken, traveling in Europe is as easy as getting on and off.