Is it Cheaper to Fly, Drive or Train Around Europe?

If you are looking to traverse Europe on your own- outside of a package trip, then you are probably aware of the nuances of travelling and saving money during the trip. A trip handled on your own will come sans booked coaches and pre-ordered taxis. Without that privilege, you’re left with a mighty large question looming in the air- if you’re covering more cities than one and doing more than just drifting aimlessly around, is it wiser to train, drive or fly around Europe? Well, each mode has a case to make for itself.

Fly Through Europe

Easyjet Squadron

While flying through Europe sounds like a terribly expensive affair, it need not always be so. With ticket discounts and promotional offers up for taking, one might often find flight tickets cheaper than expected (check out cheap airline deals on for instance). However, while the ticket price in itself might be cheap, the thing to be kept in mind is the surrounding expenses that include landing fee, departure fee, the commutation expense for going to and from the airport. In addition, a discount or cheap airlines might not go to all the destinations that you desire and some flight hopping would be called for. All in all, the airfare- all inclusive- might cost anything from £30 to £60. Also to be factored in is the hotel you’ll be staying in so as to not have to travel to far from the airport to get there.

Drive through Europe

Somme driving

Driving through any place can be the most fun experience of a lifetime- the scenery to enjoy, the little details of the country to take in. From a practical perspective, however, hiring and using a rental car can be quite tedious a process if one goes into it blind. For one, driving in any country requires you to be aware of the ins and outs of said country’s driving norms- be able to read signposts and know the general traffic rule. It is also essential to find a car that suits your need and comfort. Know the difference between a diesel car and a gas car- while a diesel car in Europe will save you money, not knowing which one to opt for might end in an embarrassing and expensive accident, if you get a diesel car filled with gas instead. Once you are down with the basics, know the approximate distance you plan to cover and calculate your estimated expense from there. Also be aware of the city speed limits for all the areas you plan to cover.

A Train in Europe


Without the personal Endeavour and efforts of driving around, a train journey afford you the comforts of a road trip with the sights and views, much the same as a drive would have. Rail Europe offers city-to-city booking and rail passes for high speed trains, and the Eurostar from London and Paris to the “chunnel.” The train experience in Europe is perfect whether you are the plan ahead type or one who sees things through as they come. You can choose, with a Eurail pass, where you want to go and when according to your needs. With a £435 pass, Eurail offers unlimited travel within a certain time period while with a Select Pass, you can get a specified number of days of unlimited travel at around £310-£375.

Whether it is cheaper to fly, drive or take a train through Europe, then, is not a straight question to answer. It largely depends on your kind of travel factoring in all your needs. Each mode of transport has its own set of benefits and based on your itinerary, one can turn out relatively cheaper than the other.

5 thoughts on “Is it Cheaper to Fly, Drive or Train Around Europe?

  • I think the cheapest way would be to go cycling across Europe. I cycled the full length of Vietnam this summer and I had so much fun, spent an amazing time with locals and also saved some money. I would recommend everyone to cycling across at least one European country:). You should try it.

  • There are several major factors that influence the cost of a trip, including how fuel efficient your car is, how far you’re traveling, how many people are traveling with you, and whether or not there is a low-cost airline that flies to your destination.

    In general, the more people that are traveling with you, the more cost-efficient driving will be because you’re not purchasing airline tickets for each individual. Obviously, the more gas efficient your car is the cheaper it will be to drive.

  • This is quite a fascinating article. My preferred method of transportation would be to take the trains but I have a feeling given my travel preferences flying would be cheaper.

  • We are going around 23 of Europe’s capital cities, and the arctic circle, and right over the alps, and Venice, and Barcelona, inside 17 days flat, and it’s costing £1,100 for all trains, 5 off train sleeps, 2 buses and an arctic plane ride. (i.e. everything bar the food, though there’s 3 breakfasts included in that bill)
    There’s simply no way you can do that in a car or a bus in that time, and while you can just about do if on planes, you’d see far less and pay a heck of a sight more.
    My vote :- “Let the train take the strain”

  • I quite agree with your feedback on these transportation means and I must say that sight seeing is by far worth more your money that simply having to ride a plane and miss the journey. Personally, roaming around my barge would give me the chance to travel while enjoying the comforts of river side view as well as docking once in a while to visit a place.

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