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The European continent is criss-crossed by several comprehensive overland networks including eurolines, a handful of Central European long distance bus companies and the international hop-on, hop-off coach service, Busabout.
For travellers who are less enthusiastic about jetting off from secondary airports and who prefer to travel long-distance with less changes or transfers, taking the coach offers a cheap alternative - often around the same price as flying by low cost airline - and allows city-centre to city-centre transport at far more affordable fares than taking the train. Coach passes also tend to be cheaper than rail passes, although they are less flexible in terms of frequency of departures and number of destinations.
Of course, any time you take the bus instead of flying, you'll be looking at a journey time which could be anything from half a day to several days... but it's all part of the adventure, right?
This page provides links and resources highlighting the long-distance overland options available across the continent of Europe.
At some point in early 2002 it became evident that low cost airlines such as easyJet and RyanAir had achieved the kind of popularity which wasn't going to vanish overnight. The pan-European eurolines network recently decided to play the no-frills carriers at their own game and invented a concept which it termed ultra low cost European travel.
No-frills airlines can be exceptionally cheap - but it's hard to imagine booking travel from the centre of London to the centre of Barcelona for £19, just two days before departure. The eurolines low cost tariff, the so-called Heart2Heart fare (similar to the NX FunFare tariff available on UK routes), allows you to do exactly that. [ Read more... ? ]
Not as flexible as European Railpasses, European bus network coach passes enable you to city-hop around Europe at a cheaper price than on the trains, albeit at a slightly slower pace. eurolines offers a choice of Explorer Passes covering different regions in Europe, while Busabout operates a continent-wide hop-on, hop-off service for backpackers. [ Read more... ? ]
Of course, eurolines isn't the only pan-European long-distance bus network. Rival networks include the German operations Berlinlinienbus and Gullivers Euro Bus Express, the French network InterCars and the Slovakian operation eurobus, based out of Kosice in eastern Slovakia. [ Read more... ? ]
A number of smaller, independent operators run trans-continental services which compete against the larger networks. Several coach companies connect London in the UK to countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Kings Court Express and Capital Express both run from London to Prague and other cities in the Czech Republic, Nord operates long-distance connections to Poland, while Balkan Horn connects the UK capital to Sofia and Varna in Bulgaria. [ Read more... ? ]