Categories
Transportation

Public Transit

In Europe you may find that public transportation will be your most valuable asset for travel. Europe relies on public transportation for mobility more than we do in the US. You’ll especially want to use public transportation while staying in major cities so you’ll not have need for a rental car.  Larger metropolitan cities, like London, Paris and Berlin, have major commuter traffic in morning and late afternoon hours like in the USA, so avoid using a car ,especially at these times. Remember, European cities are old and have morphed into a pattern of small streets long before the creation of the automobile. Driving in these cities can be confusing, congested and dangerous when you do not know the layout. Finding a place to park can be difficult and costly so don’t turn your trip into frustration when you can move about easily on their transit systems.

The public transportation systems are excellent and you’ll find them highly efficient, easy to use and will take you almost anywhere within a large radius of their cities. You will even find good transit services when traveling outside the city to main attractions. Even in what maybe consider smaller cities, you will find light rail, bus and boat transportation available. 

 Types of Public Transportation…
  • Rail – Also called Rapid or Suburban Rail and in some instances light rail. These trains operate on the regular tracks of trains that travel from city to city in Europe. They make stops at many neighborhood stations throughout the cities and suburbs. Some will go out as far as 100 km to towns where a major tourist attraction is located. Transit passes will be valid on these longer routes but, you must upgrade to a pass that covers the zones furthest away from the city.
  • Metro / UBahn – Subways in Europe these are more commonly called Metro’s. They typically travel underground and are usually only used in the largest cities. While they are highly efficient there is no scenery to see as a visitor. However, several can emerge from underground and run for a distance on an elevated track.
  • Trams / Trolleys – The vehicles run on their own tracks, usually in the middle of a street and do not share them with regular trains. Sometimes they can also be called light rail systems. They are a great way to get around a city and see it’s neighborhoods. Many cities use trams for their city transportation and these are always covered by transit passes.
  • Buses – If a train, metro or tram doesn’t get you close enough to your destination, a bus will. Most cities trains and trams are quite extensive but, when not, the bus line will provide coverage. Buses routes run quite regularly and most stops have electronic signs indicating when the next bus and numbered route will arrive.
  • Bicycles – Many European cities offer bicycles rentals for you to pick up at one location and drop off at another. Please go to our » Bicycling Page for more detailed information.
  • Others – In some areas the elevation can present challenges for walking or regular vehicles. In mountainous or hilly areas the best way to get up or down may be to use funiculars or cable systems. Transportation on these may be valid on some transit passes but, make sure you check first.

While all cities below have major train stations with services to other European cities, the rail category designates suburban and light rail lines with service within the metro area only. Subway lines in some cities become elevated rail lines in certain areas.

City Transit . . .
The Paris Metro

The table below list available transportation types available when visiting these cities. Suburban rail services run frequently daily to and from the city center to outlying suburban areas. There may also be choices to ride inter-city long haul trains to these same destinations.
Metro are primarily subway systems all though some sections may travel above ground. In London it’s called the Underground and in Germany U-Bahn.
All bus lines totals include Night lines.
In addition to passes listed many travel cards include free transit rides along with free museum access or discounts.

CityCountryTrainMetroTrams
Light Rail
City
Bus
BoatTransit
Authority
Passes
Amsterdam651616YesGVBGVB Card
Athens433300OASAStasy
Barcelona1283100TMBBCN Card
Berlin151022329BVGBerlin Welcome Card
Brussels124350STIB-MIVBBrussels Card
Budapest5430264BKVTickets
Copenhagen6215MOVIACopenhagenCard
Dublin62110LUASLeapCard
Edinburgh137TfE
Florence270ATAFFirenzecard
Frankfurt am Main999RMVFrankfurt Card
Helsinki14211120HSLHSL Travel Card
Istanbul162500YesUlasimIstanbulkart
Kiev13682KyivpastransKyiv Smart Card
Kraków27132MPK SAKraków Tourists Card
Lisbon446146MetroLisboaVia Viagem Card
London52115700YesTfLOyster Car
Madrid9124200Metro MadridMadrid Tourist Pass
Milan1241871ATMATM Card
Moscow101445680MMMetro Smart Card
Munich88138MVVCity Tour Card
Nice3130Lignes d'Azur
Oslo85653RuterRuter Card
Pairs1614764YesRATPVisite Pass
Porto6383STCPPorto Card
Prague30331130DPPOpenCard
Rome836338ATAC RomaRoma Pass
St.Petersburg541Metro SPBPodorozhnik Card
Stockholm117517YesSLVisitor Tickets
Venice115ACTVACTV Tickets
Vienna10427127YesWiener LinienWiener Tickets
Warsaw8225288ZMTZMT Tickets
Zürich251560VBZ

Some cities have separate transit authorities or companies that operate the rail and bus services. 

You will find more information about European transit services at;
» Urbanrail.net

City Transit & Visitor Passes…

Transit passes are available for purchase in several different forms. These can be purchased online or at airports and stations when you arrive into a city. Other than a permanent travel pass you will need to validate your pass prior to its first use. When inserting your pass into a validation machine it will stamp the date and time. Once you do that you will have 24 hours to use up your first day. So if you validate it at 8:00pm a day use will expire at 8:00pm the next day not at 12:00 midnight.

  • Single Trip Pass – This allows you to use a from of transit once, usually good for two hours and transfers.
  • Multiple Trip Pass – can be purchased for multiple trips on any transit vehicle. Each time you use the card you will need to have it stamped and validated and may be good for up to two hours.
  • Hourly Pass – These may be purchased for unlimited travel for 1, 3 or more hours.
  • Day Pass – typically good for unlimited travel on any transit vehicles for an entire 24 hours from the initial validation.
  • Multiple Day Pass – 2, 3 or 5 day passes are good for unlimited travel on any transit vehicle for each 24 hour day starting from the validation time. Weekly, monthly & yearly passes are available but, are only practical for local residents.
  • Permanent Pass – These will only be of a value if you frequently visit a city. They are permanent cards you load money onto and swipe as you enter a station or vehicle money is withdrawn off the card for the cost of the trip. You can scan these cards at kiosks, read your balance and deposit more money onto them with a credit card or debit card.
London’s Oyster Card..works like a charm
Combination Travel and Visitor Passes…

Some cities have visitor and tourists passes that provide a combination of free or discounted services with your transportation pass, eliminating the need to buy additional tickets while saving you money. These passes can have free or discounted entry to museums, attractions and discounts on various local products or services. In some cities these are the only passes offered to tourist, other than a one day, monthly or annual transportation pass available to regular commuters. However, if you plan to spend several days in one city, these passes can save you money depending on how much you plan to use the transportation and how many attractions you’ll see.  Passes below are available for purchase on line at web sites or transit desks or kiosks in airports and train stations, local tourist offices and tobacco shops after you arrive in your city of destination. If you want a combination visitor and transportation pass please check below or go to our ➾ Tourism Card & City Pass section under the ➾ Shopping Online Page, to view available travel and visitor passes.

If you find that one of these visitor or tourists cards do not fit your needs or save you money, you may always purchase various tickets for transportation only as described above.

Many of the major metropolitan cities offer multiple forms of transportation. If the subway doesn’t get you close to your destination a bus, tram or train may. When you want to get form one point to another, subways are fast and efficient but,  you won’t see much of the city. If you have the time find a bus route that travels through the main parts of the city. With a pass you can ride them to the end of their route and turn around and return back from where you started. You will capture more of the city’s sights and the ambience of its neighborhoods.

Most city passes listed below give you the freedom to use any of these forms of transportation. Listed below are links to the transit authorities that run transit systems throughout many of the cities and areas in European countries. We list passes that combined transit and visitor access to transportation, attractions and discounts. If you do not want a combination pass, go to the transit authority web site and click on tickets where you will find tickets for just transportation. If no bundled passes are available, just click on tickets, next to the appropriate authority to view or purchase transit tickets. You can always easily purchase tickets or passes once you arrive at your destination.

Transit Maps for Major European Cities….

Many of the links below are PDF files that you can download, some are just a link to the map at the transit company’s web page. 

🇦🇹 Austria
🇧🇾 Belarus
🇧🇪 Belgium
🇨🇿 Czechia
🇩🇰 Denmark
🇪🇪 Estonia
🇫🇮 Finland
🇫🇷 FRANCE
🇩🇪 Germany
🇬🇷 Greece
🇭🇺 Hungary
🇮🇪 Ireland
🇮🇹 Italy
🇱🇻 Latvia
🇱🇹 Lithuania
🇱🇺 Luxembourg
🇳🇱 Netherlands
🇳🇴 Norway
🇵🇱 Poland
🇵🇹 Portugal
🇷🇴 Romania
🇷🇺 Russia
🇷🇸 Serbia
🇸🇰 Slovakia
🇪🇸 Spain
🇸🇪 Sweden
🇨🇭 Switzerland
🇹🇷Turkey
🇬🇧 United Kingdom