Getting Around in Europe
As I travel a lot around Europe, I still prefer public transport. Whether it is a bus or local metro system, you can expect a one-way ticket to be under 3 EUR in countries like the Netherlands or Germany, and under 2 EUR in Greece or Spain. Intercity trains (IC) can be expensive if you are tight on time and pick a high-speed train. Trains are really popular in Europe, so if you prefer the monotonous sound of the train wheels, your best bet is Eurail pass that covers the bulk of slow trains and allows to travel through several countries with a reduced ticket price. If you are under 27, than the Eurail Youthpass should fit your needs. You can get these tickets in the United States or Australia before you depart because they will be somehow cheaper than if you buy in Europe.
Buses are another reliable way of getting around in most European countries. While they are generally cheaper than trains, you shouldn’t expect them to be fast either. Buses are good when you need to reach remote areas and villages that don’t have railways. You can find various companies providing bus services, however, Eurolines and Ecolines are two main bus carriers in Europe. Eurolines offer pass that allows you to visit 50 major European cities over a 15- or 30-day period.
If you are planning to visit some outlying regions that are only accessible by sea, then ferry might come in handy. Islands of Greece and Scotland, the Balearic Islands and Sicily are best reached by boat to save extra money on airfare.
Accommodation in Europe
With a broad range of accommodation in Europe, there is always an option that should fit your needs. Hotels can be a quite reasonable accommodation type sometimes. Depending on the season and country, you can expect prices start from 30 EUR per night for two. Even low end hotels usually provide amenities like breakfast, private bathrooms, and Wi-Fi. If you’re an avid traveler then you have probably booked a hotel before. They can be easily found, compared and booked online. As I often stay in hotels (well, actually in hostels, too!), I need to know what to expect. Be sure to check the reviews, convenient location and hidden fees in order to get a positive experience.
Prices for dorm rooms in hostels fluctuate between 15-45 EUR. Southern and Eastern Europe tend to provide cheaper prices, thus attracting backpackers from around the world. Hostels in Paris and Amsterdam are among the most expensive in Europe. Campsites are great, you can find a lot of serene places with spectacular views for 10-18 EUR per night p/p. Airbnb provide great options for those on a tight budget. Shared rooms start from 15 EUR per night and go up from there. Renting an entire apartment will set you back around 25 EUR in countries like Greece and Spain. The further north you go, the more expensive it gets. B&B is an option if you find yourself in rural areas. Not necessarily having a convenient location and tend to be few and far between in most cities, they are good for short stays.
Food In Europe
Supermarkets and small shops offer a wide range of pre-made food for 3-8 EUR. With excellent quality of items in stock, you can hardly have an upset stomach. Several large chains like Nordsee in Germany, Auchan in France and Lidl throughout Western Europe, keep prices generally lower than in smaller shops. However, small shops are almost always at hand so you can find them near train stations and pedestrian zones, they also tend to provide fresh regional produce and more personal service.
Local open-air markets are well-renowned for their fresh and cheap food. In Italy you can find at least one market a week. Daily markets are held in large cities. In France there is a number of regional specialties that can be bought outside their area of origin. Going on an eating spree is easy in Central France and Provence, famous for cured meats, Roquefort cheese, pates and olive oil. Most alcoholic beverages in France are associated with particular regions. While visiting Germany, Wochenmarkt is the place to buy vegetables, cheeses, fresh fruits and some everyday items. This kind of weekly market is held in many German towns. Some will only set up stalls in the market square, while larger cities have a designated squares in different neighborhoods. While restaurant meals can be expensive, cheap eateries like osteria, tavola calda or rosticceria in Italy will keep you full and won’t break the bank.