How To: Public Transportation in Europe

1. London:

Invest in the Oyster Card:

The Oyster Card will save you time and money when getting around London. This card can be used on the tubes (subways), above ground trains, and busses around London. You can buy passes based on how long you’re staying and traveling around. I recommend using the top-up feature by putting in maybe 15 pounds first and then adding more once you start to run low. This worked best for me since I was only staying for a few days and it seemed like a better option. Also it is much cheaper than buying the single fare ticket for each trip.

Bus Tour

If you’re in London only for a few days and want to see the best of London in a fast and convenient way, then the bus tours may be the best option for you. These bus tours allow you to hop on and off at whatever points that interest you and once you’re done, you can get on another bus to take you onto another location. These are found everywhere in London (and every major city in Europe) and the bus stops are found with the normal busses too. So they essentially stop everywhere.

2. Brugge:

Bus Pass or No Bus Pass?

DO NOT INVEST IN A BUS PASS. I was dumb and bought a 3 day pass for 12 Euros and I only used it the day I arrived and the day I left. Brugge is literally a fortress, everything that you need and are going to be doing is within the fort. I actually never left nor walked outside of the center since there was nothing that interested me out there. Also, everything within the center is walkable and within a close distance. So just pay the fare to get to and from the train station, it will still cost less than paying for the 1 or 3 day passes.

3. Brussels:

Invest in a pass:

I was only in Brussels for 24 hours, but I definitely got my 7.50 Euros worth that day. I traveled through so many parts of Brussels, got lost way too many times, traveled way too far to find a mussels and fries restaurant, and saw so many beautiful sites. If I were to pay for each single trip, it cost about 1.50-2.00 Euros per trip. I probably would have paid about 13-20 Euros since I saw so many things (and got lost quite a bit) that day. Brussels offers a variety of passes depending on your stay so make sure to check it out and do not lose it.

4. Amsterdam:

Not necessary since everything is walkable.

I was only in Amsterdam for about a day. While I was exploring I paid about 7.50 Euros for a 24 hour pass, it got a semi-amount of use. Amsterdam is really easy to get around by walking, but the trams are also pretty convenient to get from the train station to the city center. But if you really want to explore Amsterdam or not really interested in walking, then get the pass. It is fairly cheap and convenient.

Also, this doesn’t really apply to the 24 hour pass, but if you get the top-up version of the pass. Make sure you check-in and out when you get on and leave the tram. The trams have a scanner by the doors, this is where you will check-in and check-out. If you do not they will just assume you rode the trams all day without paying and take out a certain amount of money from your card.

5. Outside of Amsterdam

Have to buy tickets in person (unless you’re a Netherlands citizen/student):

If you’re trying to get from one city to another in the Netherlands, you’re most likely taking the InterCity Rail. I tried to purchase tickets online rather than at the kiosk, but I do not have a Netherlands’ credit card (ie: no MasterCard or Visa). But you can use MasterCard and Visa at the ticket desk! A person may come by and make sure you are on the right train and that you paid for your ticket. Also make sure to check-in and check-out, but I do not think they can really do anything if you bought a single/round-trip ticket. So I think it is okay if you do not check-in and check-out, because I always forgot to.

6. Cologne

Not entirely sure…:

To be honest, I am not sure if you really need a pass or not. It is not like other cities where there is a turnstile controlling whether or not you can enter or a person punching your card. I am sure the most honest way to get around Cologne is to get a pass (like me), but I am really curious to see if other people made the same observation as I did. Overall, not entirely sure if you need a pass or not since it pretty easy to just jump in and out of the trains.

7. Paris

Invest and pre-order an unlimited pass:

Paris is absolutely gorgeous and there are so many things to see! Many of these places are very close to one another like the Louvre and Notre Dame. Others, can be far. I strongly recommend pre-ordering a pass from Paris Viste Pass before leaving your home country. If you do not, you will have to buy individual T-tickets.

This is NOT a T-ticket, but it looks exactly like this. 

T-tickets are usually in packages of 10 but they can only be used twice in 1 hour for things like connections. After that, you will have to use a new one each time you decide to get onto a train or subway. These are a little pricey considering you only have 10. Theoretically, you will use at least 2 a day, 1 for leaving the hostel area and 1 to come back. So if you end up staying about 4 days, you have already used about 8 T-tickets.

Overall, it is NOT worth getting the T-tickets to explore Paris. Just invest in buying the unlimited Paris pass to experience an incredible adventure in Paris.

8. Dublin

Not necessary:

Most places and sites in Dublin was within walking distance like Trinity College. Most places like Dublin Castle and Guinness Storehouse are a little far, but you can easily buy a cheap roundtrip ticket to these destination.

Overall, just buy the tickets when you need it and walk around Dublin.



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