10 budget bus companies to check out on your next trip to Europe

 

The cheapest way to travel across Europe is definitely the bus. In terms of comfort and ease of travel, nothing beats interrailing across Europe but if you’re on a tight budget, then taking the bus in Europe can offer some amazing cost savings.

Whilst offering excellent fares some of these bus companies featured offering a very high quality service- you can expect reclining seats, extra hold luggage, free wifi, sometimes they offer you free tea or coffee and you also have charging points at each seat.  If you have any bus companies to add to this list, please leave a comment below as I will be constantly updating this page and will credit you. Cheers

 

1.Flixbus

Flixbus has 200,000 daily connections to over 1,200 destinations in 24 European countries. Besides a good frequency on all key routes, the buses also offer free wifi and generous luggage allowances.

For example, London to Paris route costs just £26 ( Dates from now till March 2022 ) which is lot cheaper compared to Eurostar where tickets cost upto £90. However, it does take almost 11 hours so if you have time to spare, then they are a good option. I use Flixbus on the Berlin to Hamburg route where I can buy tickets as cheap as £5 in advance which is much cheaper compared to the train which costs at least £20 one way. This journey takes rough 4 hours compared to 2 hours by the train but it drops you off right beside Hamburg’s main train station.

Flixbus has also expanded its presence in Scandinavia since I wrote this article. For example if you are going from Oslo to Stockholm, in March 2022, you can get fares as little as €29

Top Germany tips

In some cases the train can be cheaper than the bus in Germany plus faster- for example if you’re visiting Bavaria, do check out the Bayern Ticket which gives you unlimited travel any day, till 3am and covers between one and five people. It costs €23 for one person plus a further €4 each for up to four more people. The price for five people is just €39-really is one of the best deals in Europe.

2.Megabus

The starting fares used to be ridiculously cheap but with covid and intense competition, Megabus seemed to have downsized their network and seems to be focussing mainly on bus travel in UK and USA.

They still represent fantastic value on some route in the UK including the London to Edinburgh route-found this fare of £9.99 in March.

Then again there are also alternatives like the new low-cost Lumo train service between London and Edinburgh where you can get fares as little as £19.90 which is an incredible deal so keep an eye on their website when planning your trip.

3.National Express

Talking about travelling across UK on the cheap, National Express also has a very impressive network across UK with ‘funfares’ as cheap as £1 if booked in advance.

Plus if you are visiting London, Manchester, Bristol or Birmingham, your ticket gets you 2 for 1 tickets in some leading visitor attractions like Legoland in Manchester or Madame Tussaud’s / Tower of London in London.

4.Eurolines


London-Paris bus route is fiercely competitive so it’s definitely worth shopping around. Eurolines probably offers the best fares and journey times on the London to Paris route.

 

For example on 7th March 2022, I can see London to Paris for as little as €26.99 or just £22.50 one way. Eurolines allow 1 piece of carry on luggage and 1 hold luggage.

Other classic routes they offer

Vienna – Budapest : From €8.99

Zurich- Milan: From €20

Berlin – Prague: From €15

Here’s a sample of their fares at the moment

5. BlaBlaBus

Originally known as IDBUS and a subsidiary of SNCF in 2012, BlaBlaBus is a popular intercity bus service in Western Europe. 

Popular routes covered by BlaBlaBus include Amsterdam to Paris ( Journey time is 6 hours 23 minutes. It leaves Amsterdam at 23.55pm at night and reaches Paris Bercy at 6.18am in the morning. They also have a daytime service, Fares cost around £15 for dates I saw in March 2022 )

Other popular BlaBlaBus routes include Madrid-Paris, Munich- Berlin ( 8 hours, fares start from £10 ), Paris-Brussels ( 4 hours, £6) and Paris to Barcelona ( 15 hours, Starts from £15).

BlaBlaBus comes with free-wifi, plug point at each seat plus reclining seats.

6. Regiojet ( Formerly Student Agency Bus )

I am a huge fan of Regiojet from its humble routes when it operated as the Student Agency bus service. They serve the whole of the Czech Republic and also you can travel with them on routes like Prague to Vienna or Budapest or Vienna-Brno-Krakow ( Vienna to Krakow can be as little as €12 one way) and also long distance routes like London -Prague for as little as €40 one way ( Journey time a whopping 18 hours and 25 minutes )

Their buses are really comfortable- reclining seats, free Czech newspapers plus free refreshments like hot chocolate, coffee or tea.

7. Cheapest way to travel across the Baltics? Try Lux Express

If you’re looking to heading out to the Baltics , look no further than the excellent Lux Express which covers Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Seats have plenty of legroom, there’s free wifi, personal entertainment system. If you’re looking for a comfortable journey, there is also the ‘Lux Express Relax’ seats which allow you to recline and offer more space.

To give you an idea, their Riga to Vilnius service takes 4 hours with standard fares of just €11 oneway while the ‘Relax’ seats cost €28 one way.

 

8. Onnibus

Further north if you’re visiting Finland then do check out Onnibus.

Booking in advance you can get fares from Helsinki to Tampere and Turku for as cheap as €1!

 

9. Alsa

Spain’s bus services are provided by a host of bus companies whose routes comprise an extensive network. The biggest of the Spanish bus companies is ALSA which operates an extensive network of bus routes throughout the country including international routes to Andorra, France and Portugal. Definitely for many routes in Spain alone, Alsa offers major cost savings when you compare the prices with trains. Plus they have a bunch of excellent money-saving offers for young people ( 12-25) where you can save upto 25 on popular routes from Madrid to Barcelona.

Alsa is also a good option if you are looking for the cheapest way to travel from Spain to Portugal- the Madrid to Lisbon bus costs as little as €15 ( Dates in March 2022, extra fee for seat reservation and also luggage )   

 

10. Busabout

Last but not least, if you’re looking for an alternative network to getting around Europe, do checkout Busabout.

Am a big fan of their service- great destinations, friendly guides and they drop you off at the hostel ( work with a great network of hostels )

They offer a range of options including their popular ‘Hop on and Hop off’ network which serves 9 countries and 34 destinations. Prices start from  €485. For more about Busabout, do checkout my earlier in-depth review of the Busabout experience.

Note:  As of January 2022 Busabout has suspended its 2022 season. Hopefully, if Covid situation improves, they will be able to restart their operations.

38 Comments

  • Sam says:

    I recently took a bus from Berlin to Nuremberg with Flixbus, a company I’d never heard of till a friend living in Germany told me about them. The journey took only a few minutes longer than the train but only cost €11 instead of €40+ (booked in advance) on the train, which would’ve been by go-to option had I not heard about it. I still definitely prefer to travel by train in Europe where possible, but when it’s so cheap, it’s hard to resist a bus like that!

    • Hey Sam!

      Thanks for this feedback. Flixbus- another bus to add to the list of German bus companies. €11 is a great deal indeed and hard to resist. I love Deutsche Bahn but when you have prices like that….you have to be smart. I’ll add this and update the post soon. Thanks!

    • Seah huili says:

      Oh yeah we recently traveled with flixbus and it has toilet, room for big luggages, reclining seats with enough room space! All well worth for the price! We took from Munich to Salzburg and the experience was great for less than 20 euros per pax! Peaceful scenery of greeneries on the way too!

  • Aggy says:

    Loved my experience travelling with Mein Fernbus and Polskibus – so comfortable with wifi and super cheap!

  • Kerwin says:

    Hiya Kash,
    Good wrap up; thanks. I love taking buses in Europe; despite the time it saves a ton of money :-).

    I’ve used IDBUS twice and have a review on it. Let me know if you’d like me to share it here.

  • kami says:

    just the other day Simple Express announced the opening of Vilnius – Warsaw – Wroclaw – Prague route, they will start operating it on 29th May. I’m a big SE fan, had taken them few times to Vilnius and Berlin and each time it was a really good and comfortable service!

  • Jasper says:

    Good stuff dude, with the WiFi and sockets to charge our many devices the bus has definitely become more attractive as a means of transportation.

  • Steve says:

    The opportunity to travel by bus through germany is relatively new as lang-haul transportation was exclusive to the Deutsche Bahn before 2013 – therefore many companies are competing at the moment on the german market which results in very low fares. The Bahn might be more comfortable but is way to expensive with their normal fares.
    As an example: I drive from Thuringia to Berlin on Friday for around 60€ (special offer), afterwards I fly with BulgariaAir to Sofia for less than 50€.

    FlixBus is a great bus company, now they also offer connections to Sweden from Germany. Unfortunately their website is in german, exactly 3 days ago I wrote this little guide to help you through the booking process:
    http://bit.ly/1hktXQS

    Cheers!!

    • I can see that you have a lot of fantastic choice in Germany: competition is a healthy thing and good to see the range of services on offer. I’ll add the Flixbus guide to the post. Thanks Steve 🙂

  • Victoria says:

    Hi Kash, great meeting you the other night! I would just like to put in another favourable word for FlixBus as I used them in January to get from Berlin to Osnabrück and it was only about €5.00! The ride was comfortable, the seats were clean and had working seatbelts, you could buy beer and water on the bus, and what did it for me was that there was free WIFI. Brilliant!

  • Nikola says:

    Hello!

    You can lokk Orangeways-Hungarian company, connects Hungarian, Slovenia, Romania, Germany, Slovakia, the Czech…
    Volanbusz- again Hungarian company

  • George Ssozi says:

    I am planning a visit to Sweden and Germany in May. Kindly avail me with possible routes and costs between these cities – Gotenborg to Tubingen or Stuttgart, Stuttgart to Cologne, Stuttgart to Kempten, Stuttgart to Rostock, Cologne to Amsterdam, or Rostock to Amsterdam – all are return trips and I can pay in advance.
    Thank you.

    George.

    • Hi George

      I am not a booking website for buses. Just here to give you the spark and some inspiration. I would recommend you use a tool called GoEuro.co.uk for planning the trip.

  • Sami says:

    Hello!!
    I was wondering if you could help me find a bus from Strasbourg * France( to Holland?
    many thanks

    • Hi Sami! Thanks for dropping by at the blog.

      Use a website called GoEuro.co.uk Had a quick look and see that Eurolines has a direct bus from Strasbourg to Amsterdam for £40 and it takes 11 hours. There is also the Thalys train that takes 7 hours but it is almost treble the price.

  • Mike C says:

    A bus I paid for with Meinfernbus / Flixt bus simply did not arrive to pick up about 15 passengers today (June 30): ‎I had a ticket booked from Brussels Central station to Paris.  I was waiting on rue Cardinal Mercier as the map on the ticket instructed, along with approximately another 15 passengers. We waited for more than an hour after the appointed time, when we finally learned from a local bus worker the international bus departures have been moved to Brussels Gare du Nord.  This was NOT indicated on the e-mail ticket Meinfernbus sent me, or any of the other passengers. 
    Meinfernbus responded to my complaint with and e-mail saying: “you have no right to the reimbursement of your ticket cost since on your PDF ticket there is a square with a map and below the map there is written about this changed stop”
    Well, the map showed Brussels Central and what was written below the square was this: “Please note that all departures will be relocated to bus stop Gare du Nord (Rue du Progrès 123, 1030, Brüssel). From 06.07.2015 all buses start in Boulevard de Berlaimont”
    That sure reads to me (and obviously did to the l5 other passengers) that the bus stop WILL BE CHANGED on July 6, not HAS BEEN CHANGED. Let alone the fact the t-cket said it was from Brussels Central Station. Hoping this bad publicity gets some action out of Meinfernbus, and hoping it prevents more people from missing their bus from Brussels Central.

  • Aljonka says:

    I have taken Mein Fernbus Amsterdam – Berlin – Amsterdam two times and both times it was late 2 hours, nobody from company was informing passengers how long we will need to wait.

    • Alina says:

      Flixbus? NEVER. Unless you keep all your belongings at hand and never leave it. Nobody cares for the suitcase you put in trunk and if you go to the toilet at the stop, you may find yourself in the middle of nowhere, alone and without any help. For more details join fb flixbus never again.

  • Bobdog808 says:

    Oh ya and we also took ck shuttle twice from Salzburg to cesky krumkov, few days later from cesky to Prague! It’s like a minibus with back room for luggages, reclining seats with enough room space! All well worth for the price with friendly service! The experience was great for about 600czk & 800czk per pax respectively! Beautiful scenery of hills on the way and there would usually be toilet breaks along the way!

  • Kirstyn says:

    My friend and I missed our original bus due to a change in the pickup location which wasn’t pointed out very well on the ticket. We had shown up at the original pickup location (asked staff around if we were in the right spot) and no bus showed up. Our ticket had two portions as there was a small layover in a town. We decided to take a train to catch up to the next stop to reconnect with our bus. The train set us back 100 EURO! We showed up at the next stop. The bus was 15-20min late and then the bus driver would not let us board. We had a ticket for the first portion and second. However, their check in system would not allow the driver to check us in on his phone even though we could clearly see our names on his phone. We spoke with him and he laughed and did not allow us to board. We needed to get to our final location so had to pay 59 EURO to board a bus we had already paid for. I have spent 3 months now emailing (back in my home country now) Flixbus with only an offer to provide credit towards a new trip. I don’t think I want to ever ride with them again. I want the Money back that was wrongfully taken from me as I already had a valid ticket for the journey. On top of that both the customer service agents and bus driver were very rude through the process and they just don’t seem to care. Went three-four weeks without responses. The day that was meant to be fun and only cost us 45 Euro turned into a terrible experience and set us back the original cost plus 159 EURO. Could have flown to our destination for that! I’ll try another provider next time before I have spend another penny on them. Also WIFI does not work!

  • missy says:

    Hi, thank you for your article, very useful. I just have one doubt: does IDBUS really exist? I can’t find an official website and when I google it I just see the website of OUIBUS… did the company change name? Thanks
    p.s. I used Ouibus twice from London-Uk to Lille- France and return and I had a very good experience, by the way…
    p.s.2 I read in the comments someone talking about Flixbus, I used that company from Dresden to Hannover in Germany and I had a nice experience. The seat didn’t have much leg room but other than that minor detail I had no problems at all, it was a pleasant experience and surely cheaper than train…

  • Silviu says:

    Hi,

    If you’re planning to visit the Baltic countries check out Lux Express. Vilnius – Tallinn, about 9 hours for €10, great seats with plenty of legroom (I’m 1.94), 220 sockets, USB plugs, tablets with loads of content on the backrest of the seat in front of you, free wi-fi, free bottle of water (trips over 4 or 5 hours, can’t remember exactly), free tea and coffee, toilet on board, seatbelts, reclining seats. And I think there’s more, that’s all I can think of right now.

    Cheers

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