Ryanair flies around all Europe, but not so much in eastern parts of Europé. Not yet at least. But in the western and the South of Europé you can fly almost every where inside Europé. Even to North Africa you can fly. Ryanair is one of the Company which improve the business and put invisible parts of Europé on the map for beginners and experienced travellers.
If you are using the car for 21 or more days (17 or more with Citroen), you should consider the buy-back (lease) program. We always do this and it is wonderful. You get the brand new car of your choice. We use the Peugeot 207 automatic for ourselves and also when we have one of our daughters with us. Four people would need the 307 or 407.
You have full insurance coverage, 24-hour roadside assistance and a new car. We always pick up and drop off in France so we don't have to pay extra charges but you can get the car nearly anyplace in Europe.
On our last trip someone managed to back into our parked car and put a huge dent in one side. We told the Peugeot folks when we returned the car and they said not to worry about it. We were impressed.
We have used Auto France the last few times but AutoEurope.com and Kemwel.com also have the Open Europe Lease Program with Peugeot.
Citroen Euro Pass
Renault has a similar program but we haven't used them. I have heard from others that it works the same way and is equally satisfactory. I can highly recommend the Peugeot program because we've used it so many times and love it.
If you live in the US, you can call 1 (800) 572-9655 toll free for an estimate. If you live elsewhere, you can visit the autofrance web site I gave above and get a phone number or e-mail them.
Update: Citroen now has a buy-back (lease) program. It only requires a 17-day stay so if you have a shorter trip, this might be worth exploring. I'm sure AutoFrance, AutoEurope and Kemwell also handle the Citroen program. For trips between 17 and 21 days it is worth a look. We have only used the Peugeot program and I highly recommend it.
Depending on where you live, you may fly to Europe. Once there, you have many choices. We usually lease a car unless we're only visiting cities. If you don't want to drive in Europe, there is a fabulous train system and although the prices differ from country to country, it is an excellent way to get around. Most train stations are in the historic centers of the towns so you can walk anyplace you want to go. If the train station (usually the newer TGV fast trains) is outside town, there will be a shuttle service. It's meant to be convenient.
Each country has its own train web site so I'll list several. If you only speak English, the German site at the top of the list is the easiest to use.
Germany Official German Rail site
France Official French Rail site (site in French only)
Italy Official Italian Rail site
Switzerland Official Swiss Rail site
Hungary and Europe in English Official Hungarian Rail site
Europe in general Rail Europe Agency site
On our second trip to Europe we wanted to expand our country list and since they were a bit farther apart then our first trip we added some local airline travel to our itinerary this time around. After asking a few questions on VT forums about various European based airlines and doing some of my own research I found that EasyJet had the best price and routes for our 3 flights.
I was a little tentative at first and could have gotten even better prices if I had booked sooner, but all in all I still got some really good prices for the flights.
Our first flight was from Paris Orly to Rome. We arrived in plenty of time from central Paris via the RER and OrlyVal trains. We first checked our 2 bags which combined were several kg under the limit. I had prepaid 11 Euros for each bag and the combined weight needed to be under I believe 44 kg. My wife's alone would have been over 22 kg, but I pack substantially lighter so we had no problem with the limit. Be careful here, because if you are over the limit extra fees apply and they are not inexpensive from what I remember. We then waited in the central area and waited for the gate to be announced. Once it was we walked at a good pace and arrived at the gate just as the 5 passengers who paid extra for early boarding were going through the jet bridge. For all the other passengers we waited in the normal line which was really quick and had the easiest boarding I've experienced in a long time. You can carry on one bag free of charge onto the plane as long as it fits in the overhead or under the seat. With this rule there was plenty of room in the overhead bins and since I had a nice daypack that expands nicely I was able to fit my iPad, camera, camcorder, coat and a couple of other things very easily.
The plane boarded in a matter of minutes and since we were ready 10 minutes early and all in our seats we took off. So word or warning be there on time and not last minute. If you miss your flight, too bad, no refunds and you will have to buy another ticket. You will get nothing for free on the plane. If you want water, you will get bottled water for a price, any other drinks or snacks, same thing. You can also buy other items on board like various passes, etc.
The few other things I really liked about the planes were you could pick your own seat and we had no problem on any of our flights getting seats next to each other. I always got my aisle seat in the middle of the plane. The seats don't recline which I really like. I'm tall enough that I hate being squished by someone leaning back into me and I don't recline as I don't like to inconvenience the person behind me. And they don't have those drink carts which clog up to aisles, so if you need to get up and go to the bathroom they won't be in your way.
Our two other flights were from Milan to Barcelona and from Barcelona to London Gatwick. EasyJet uses the smaller or lesser used terminals (at least in the 4 airports we were in) so getting around the airports was very easy also.
Bottom Line - One of my favorite airlines.
Eurolines is the bus company that services most of Western Europe.
2012 Update: A new bus company is active, especialin the UK, but also for trips across the Channel to several European cities; see magabus.
This is a wonderful way of seeing some of the most spectacular parts of the Rhine at small cost. I took a KD Ferry from Koblenz to St Goarshausen and it was one of the highlights of my entire European holiday.
The KD Ferries run between Mainz and Cologne and pass by countless villages and towns with castles in abundance. The countryside around the river is bedecked with vineyards and I could not help wondering how the vineyard workers managed to tend to the vines and pick the grapes standing at what looks to be perilously steep angles. To me it seemed as though they would need to have one leg shorter than the other!
The reaches of the Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen are often thought to be the very best as regards the very magnificence which is the mighty Rhine.
Ferries can be boarded at many towns along the way and are not very expensive to ride. They are well equipped and beautifully maintained vessels and I was very fortunate to have the luck of the draw and to travel on a paddle wheeler with quite a bit of history attached.
Full details of times and costs are available in many languages on the KD website. It is not necessary to book and there is a good selection of food and drinks on board. Travelling downstream is much quicker than travelling upstream and of course if you want to do a day trip, you can always get the frequent trains in the other direction.
If you choose to do the golden tour to Pilatus please be warned about the gondolas. When coming down from the mountain you will board a cable car which really affords the most magnificent views over the Alps and Lake Lucerne and of course the lush green mountainsides and valleys.
When you alight from the cable car you will then be routed to the gondolas to take you on your next leg of the journey. If like me, you have limited mobility of any sort such as arthritic knees you may very well have a difficult time getting on and off the gondolas. They don't stop moving at all and so you have to board very quickly and get off very quickly. I found this very frightening and compounded an already scary situation by not realising that the gondola stops twice on the way down. If you are heading back to Lucerne you need to stay on the gondola till the second stop at Kriens and then hope against hope that there will be an attendant to help you alight quickly and safely. I struggled off at the first stop only to find that I had to get on and off again if I was to get back to Lucerne any time that day. I was not happy.
The solution to the problem is quite simple. You just need to go down the same way you went up and that is by the cog wheel railway.
Thurso Train Station is the end of the line – quite literally. It is the northernmost Rail Station in Great Britain. Located on Princes Street, this small station is they way to travel south to Inverness where you can then access the entire British rail network. The station was opened on 28 July 1874. It was actually selected for closure in the 1960s, but survives to this day so you can travel to the very top of the UK mainland.
The station itself is open Monday-Saturday 09:50-16:54. For some reason some websites show them opening 1 hour late on Saturday. I base the times on the sign on the wall inside that station. There is a side gate to get to the single platform (of course!) outside of opening hours. You can buy a ticket on the train without any problem.
During opening hours you have:
• Rail staff for any questions, tickets, assistance
• Accessible unisex toilet
• Induction loop at ticket office window (for hearing impaired passengers)
• Luggage trolleys
• Post Box
• Car park (3 spaces, 1 is handicapped) – 24 hour
• Taxi rank
• Public (pay) phone
• 3 cycle racks. (not covered)
They also have Left Luggage Lockers for £3 a day. They are accessible Monday - Saturday 10:00-16:30, closed Sundays!
Thurso station is on the Far North Line and is 154 miles (248 km) north of Inverness.
After arriving at Thurso the trains often go back to Georgemas Junction and then on to Inverness in around 3 ½ hours. The journey follows the coast line for most of your journey and is arguably the most scenic rail journey in the UK.
Address: Princes Street, Thurso, Highland, KW14 7DL
It is about a 5-7 minute walk to shops and accommodation (300m/1000ft). You may want to just walk to most places rather then asking for a taxi.
For details of onward bus services, visit www.travelinescotland.com or call +44 (0) 871 200 22 33 (24 hours).
For full details of train times and calling points (stations), please have a look at the National Rail Enquiries Website
If, like me, you are getting on in years and your old knees and feet seem to tire more quickly than they used to, don't be afraid to jump on the little street train/bus transports that are available in many of the smaller cities in Europe. I used to laugh at people using these in years gone by, but now I see them in a whole different light. I usually hop on one and do the quick trip (usually about 30 mins) around the major sites and then I find I have my bearings. I can now decide which of the places I want to return to and see at close range and which I feel would be a waste of time and energy. I can highly recommend this form of transport.
Places where I have used or seen these:
Monte Carlo, MONACO
Just a few that spring to mind, but there are many many more.
USEFUL EUROPEAN TRAIN LINKS:
European Railways Network map
Russian Railway map
European Train Timetables
Europen Train Planner (Dutch)
Multiple Links to more Train links
European Railway Server, more links
Backpackers Ultimate Guide - Train section
Multiple Dutch Links
Interrail Forum & Info site (Dutch)
High Speed Train booking
European Train Websites:
The official site for finding your way around Andorra. I have done it twice driving thru from France and Spain.
the site is for information sources only
some private info on buses from France and Spain here
and the official tourist office on getting there
Like most European countries,make sure you are fully covered on your car insurance for everything and make sure you check the excess amount.
Some rental firms may seem cheaper but if you scratch the car or someone else does it can be costly on excess,its best to pay a bit extra and get excess waiver so it does not cost you anything should anything go wrong.
you can then relax .
Please also check these following companies in order to be "on top of things" regarding train connections.
Note with Thalys that prices(and offers) are lower a few weeks in advance.
If you live in Europe you can travel pretty cheap if you plan ahead.
Here are some budget airlines that will take to your desired destination without paying alot of money.
www.ryanair.com Irish airline that flys within Europe and to North Africa Morroco.
www.easyjet.com that flys to North africa Egypt,Morrco to Middle-east Amman and to Tel-Aviv and to Turkey as well.
www.wizzair.com Hungarian airline
www.norwegian.com Norwagian airline
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/219965/#ixzz1gtLHtyVU
[Best European Airports](http://blog.1800flyeurope.com/2011/12/top-5-european-airports-for-2011)
Are you planning a trip to Europe in the near or distant future? Perhaps you are considering visiting several countries, or in searching for flight rates you are given the option of various airport locations for connecting to another flight? Before you reserve that ticket, take a little extra time to research the airports you will be flying in and out of. After you have read about the following award winning European airline hubs, you may want to consider giving yourself a couple extra hours to see why Skytrax has ranked these as the best of the best for 2011.
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More Countries in Europe
see all Europe member meetings