European bus companies and coaches provide an affordable and convenient way to explore Europe.

European bus network has the best reach and buses go to every small village in Europe. It's more pleasant to watch the scenery in a slower than a train bus.

However, with a great number of European bus companies, it can be challenging to choose the best one for your needs. There is an intercity travel, international long-distance bus companies, day buses, and night buses.

Bus operators in Europe are mostly private companies, but they function as public transport to cater to people's transportation needs. To learn about the various forms of transport, including public and private options, you can read my comprehensive guide, which uses Portugal as an example. 

This blog post offers an in-depth comparison of all major European bus companies and their pros and cons. It also explains which main bus companies in Europe were bought out by the competitors, so don't count on them being operational.

Comparison of European Bus Companies: Pros, Cons, and Cheapest Options

Last reviewed on January 1, 2024

Hello, I am Tatiana—historical architecture addict fascinated with beautiful old buildings and discovering the gems of Europe. Check out my travel tips on Alonga Travel and reviews of the best European destinations and city breaks. Let's connect on social media!

Major European Bus companies opearing in Europe

European bus companies and coaches are a major part of European travel. With so many European bus companies to choose from, it helps to learn what services these companies provide, where they operate and how much are the tickets.

Top European Bus Companies

Here is a list of currently operational bus companies in Europe for budget travelers and everyone else. They are usually international bus providers as well, serving international routes :

White bus & a custom sign: 'Major European bus companies'
White bus & a custom sign: 'Major European bus companies'

Major Bus Companies that have now merged:

Below is a well known European bus companies that no longer exist, but that are often listed by other websites:

  • - Eurolines. Many websites list this company as operational, which is confusing. Eurolines (Transdev Group) is no longer operating, it was sold to Flix in 2019, read more about FlixBus, Eurolines sale here.

  • - MeinFernbus Flixbus. Merged with FlixBus in 2015 and is FlixBus now. Read more about this Flixbus and MainFernbus merge here.

  • - IDBUS If you see references to iDBUS, just ignore them. iDBUS became OUIBUS, that is now called BlahBlahBus Car. I am just mentioning this to clear a confusing .

  • - Sindbad Bus is part of BlaBlaCar now, you can book a bus trip on their site.

  • - Student Agency Bus. Student Agency bus is part of RegioJet now.

  • - DeinBus. You can see references about this company DeinBus.de on Facebook, but they have filed for bankruptcy in 2015.

Bus companies in Portugal 

To find of everything about bus companies in Portugal, red my in-depth guide on all bus companies in Portugal.

Bus companies in the Balkans 

There are a few bus companies that serve the Balkan area of Europe. The usual apps, like Omio or Rome2Rio don't always have all info about them.

I am preparing a post where you can learn about what bus companies operate in the Balkans countries, like North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania. 

I just want to mention here that Eurobus company is the most reputable in the Balkans area. You can read more about it later in this post or by following the link.

Each European bus company has its own unique features and pricing, so it is essential to research and compare them before booking your trip.

Let's look at Pros and Cons of these popular European bus companies from the list.

Green FlixBus on Dubrovnik bus station & a custom sign: 'FlixBus'
Green FlixBus on Dubrovnik bus station & a custom sign: 'FlixBus'

FlixBus in Europe

FlixBus is a popular bus company in Europe that offers many benefits to budget travelers. One of the largest bus companies in Europe with the largest bus network, Flixbus offers over 2,500 destinations in Europe, North America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Below are some of the reasons why you might want to choose FlixBus for your next trip:

Advantages of using FlixBus:

- Low prices: FlixBus offers ticket prices starting from as low as €5 on their website or app. You can find great deals for early bookings or less popular routes, as well as reasonably priced tickets for high-demand routes and last-minute bookings.

- Generous luggage allowance: FlixBus allows you to bring one carry-on and one stowed luggage at no additional cost. You can bring many more, but you have to pay extra for that. I saw a woman on a Flix bus stop in Mestre, Italy, who brought 20 extra boxes to take with her, but paid online only for 10. The driver made her pay for each extra box.

- Comfortable travel: FlixBus buses offer extra legroom, toilets (bathrooms), and electrical outlets to keep your devices charged throughout the bus trip.

- Largest bus network: FlixBus runs 200,000 daily connections to over 1,200 destinations in 24 European countries, making it easy to travel to many places across the continent.

- Eco-friendly: FlixBus is committed to sustainability and has initiatives for carbon offset, making it a responsible way to travel. Also, you don't need to print your ticker, mobile tickets are OK.

Flixbus seat map

Flixbus seat categories:

1. Classic: Choose any seat without additional benefits.

2. Panorama: Sit in the first row for a better view. Usually costs 4.99 euro for the distance of less than 310 miles, and 7.99 euro if >310 miles.

3. Table: Enjoy extra space and comfort with a table in front of your seat.

4. Comfort: Get more legroom for added comfort.

5. Extra: Reserve a seat and the adjacent one for additional space.

6. Single: Experience more comfort without a seat next to yours.

7. Semi-bed: Recline your seat for a semi-reclined position. Available on some routes.

8. Bed: Fully recline your seat for a flat sleeping position.

What are the cons of choosing Flixbus for a trip?

While FlixBus has many benefits for budget travelers, there are some drawbacks to consider before booking your trip:

  • - Limited luxury:

    • FlixBus prioritizes affordability over luxury, so you may not have as many amenities as you would with other, more expensive options.

    • Bus stations locations. Departure station for FlixBus is usually on the outskirts of cities, which may be less convenient for some travelers.

  • - General cons of bus travel: There are also some cons to consider when it comes to bus travel in general, such as potential delays causing uncertain departure time, and limited space for luggage. It's important to keep these factors in mind when planning your trip and to be prepared for any inconveniences that may arise.

Despite these drawbacks, FlixBus remains a popular choice for many travelers thanks to its affordability, extensive network, and commitment to sustainability. FlixBus is also a great option for budget-conscious travelers who want to explore Europe comfortably and affordably.

Did Flixbus buy Eurolines?

Yes, Flixbus has bought Eurolines and Isilines from Transdev Group. The negotiations about the sale began on March 4 and were finalized on April 30, 2019. The Eurolines/Isilines brands and businesses now officially belong to Flixbus.

How does Flixbus compare with other bus service providers like BlaBlaBus (OUIBUS)?

Flixbus and BlaBlaCar Bus, formerly known as OUIBUS (more about BlaBlaBus Car here), are two low-cost European bus companies that offer comfortable travel across the continent. Flixbus has a more extensive network, connecting over 2,500 destinations in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. BlaBlaBus, on the other hand, operates in over 600 destinations in Western and Central Europe.

Here are some points of comparison between the two companies:

- Comfort: Both companies have reclining seats, air conditioning, toilets, free Wi-Fi, and power outlets. Some Flixbus buses also have tables, snacks, drinks, and entertainment systems on some bus routes.

- Flexibility:

  • BlaBlaBus charges a fee of €8 along with the fare difference for any changes or cancellations.

  • Flixbus allows free cancelations or changes up to 15 minutes prior to departure. Passengers can also choose any other Flixbus route within the same country and receive a voucher if the new fare is lower.

- Quality:

  • BlaBlaCar Bus is a network of different bus companies that vary in quality and comfort

  • Flixbus has a more standardized quality and service across their fleet. All Flixbus buses are green with the Flixbus logo, drivers are trained and certified by Flixbus, and routes are planned and optimized by Flixbus.

Both Flixbus and BlaBlaBus offer cheaper bus tickets, starting from as low as €5 for some routes. Discounts are also available for advance bookings, group travel, and loyalty programs.

You can check their websites for more information on their routes and prices.

Read about Flixbus in more details and its most popular routes and bus stops in Portugal and Spain, in my other posts.

Now, let’s continue with pros and cons of all other European bus companies and also let's summarize advantages of BlaBlaCar Bus. 

Yellow & green Flix bus & a blue bus below & sign: 'FlixBus vs other bus companies'
Yellow & green Flix bus & a blue bus below & sign: 'FlixBus vs other bus companies'

BlaBlaBus Car (formerly OUIBUS)

What is a blabla car bus?

BlaBlaBus was originally owned by the French national rail company SNCF and called OUIBUS, but was sold to BlaBlaCar in 2019. It connects over 600 destinations in Western and Central Europe. The company operates in many parts of Europe, including France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.


Advantages:

- Low ticket prices starting from €5. You don't need to print your ticker, mobile tickets are OK.
- Wide coverage of over 600 destinations in more than 25 countries
- Comfortable and convenient buses equipped with reclining seats, air conditioning, toilets, free Wi-Fi, and electrical outlets
- Disadvantages:
- Limited flexibility with no refunds for canceled or changed tickets
- Long travel time compared to other modes of transportation
- Variable quality depending on the country and operator

Website: https://www.blablabus.com/

Salmon colored BlahBlaCar bus on a street in Barcelona & a custom sign: 'BlaBlaCar'
Salmon colored BlahBlaCar bus on a street in Barcelona & a custom sign: 'BlaBlaCar'

National Express Coach

National Express is a UK-based bus company that connects over 900 destinations in the UK and Europe.
Advantages. It has a wide network of routes covering over 900 locations across the UK, including major cities, airports, seaside towns, and attractions.

National Express was founded in 1972 and operates in the UK and Europe, with connections to major cities, airports, and attractions. The company is owned by National Express Group.

Pros of National Express


- Great value fares starting from £2-5 one-way. The tickets are cheaper when booked directly on National Express website.

- No booking fees.
- Guaranteed seat with comfortable and modern coaches equipped with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, power sockets, air conditioning, reclining seats, and onboard toilets.


Cons of using National Express

- National Express charges a fee for any changes or cancelations
- Limited luggage allowance
- Possible delays or cancellations
- The usual lack of personal space, as on most buses. 

Inside the National Express bus in London with a view of another National Express bus
Inside the National Express bus in London with a view of another National Express bus

Alsa Bus

Alsa, or Automóviles Luarca, S.A., is the leading bus company in Spain and a subsidiary of the renowned National Express since 2005. ALSA connects over 300 destinations in Spain and Europe.

It's not just a bus service, but a lifeline for budget travel in and around Spain. Alsa could be a great option for your travel to neighboring countries like Andorra, France, or Portugal, or exploring cities within Spain.

Alsa bus pros:

- Exclusive money-saving offers for young travelers (ages 12-25)
- Affordable fares starting from €5. You don't need to print your ticker, mobile tickets are OK

- Allows free cancelations or changes up to 48 hours prior to departure
- Buses equipped with in-seat power outlets, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and onboard restrooms
- Frequent service with an extensive network of bus routes
- Disadvantages:
- Limited flexibility with no refunds for canceled or changed tickets
- Longer travel time compared to trains
- Variable quality depending on the bus company

Alsa was founded in 1923 and is now owned by National Express Group. The company operates in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, with connections to major cities and smaller towns.

Website: https://www.alsa.com/en/web/bus/home

MarinoBus

This Italian bus operator connects over 200 destinations in Italy and Europe. You can enjoy affordable fares, free WiFi, power outlets, and onboard entertainment. MarinoBus has a partnership with BlaBlaCar for even more connections.

Pros of MarinoBus

- Provides coach, bus, train, and airport transfer services to numerous destinations in Italy and Europe.
- Offers affordable fares starting at €1 for one-way trips, with special offers, discounts, and loyalty programs available.
- Has an extensive network of routes to more than 250 locations across Italy and Europe, including major cities, airports, seaside towns, and attractions.
- Provides flexible payment options, including Clearpay to split payment into four interest-free installments.

Cons of MarinoBus

Has a luggage allowance limit and possible delays or cancelations.

MarinoBus website https://marinobus.it/en/

Megabus

MegaBus website https://www.megabus.com/

This UK-based bus company offers budget-friendly travel starting at £1, with 90+ destinations in the UK, Europe, and North America: the United States and Canada. Megabus also operates as Megatrain in the UK, offering inexpensive train tickets.

Pros of Megabus

- Offers affordable travel options like coaches, buses, trains, and airport transfers in the US, Canada, and Europe.
- Has affordable fares starting at $1 for one-way trips, with special deals and discounts available.

- You don't need to print your ticker, mobile tickets are OK.
- Provides guaranteed seating and comfortable coaches with modern amenities.
- Operates in many destinations.
- Offers easy payment options, including Clearpay to split payment into four interest-free installments.
- Cons: Has had safety issues and customer service complaints, with low ratings on review sites.

Regiojet

RegioJet website https://regiojet.com/

This Czech bus and train operator offers services in Central and Eastern Europe. It even offers air tickets.

Pros of RegioJet:

  • - Provides coach, bus, train, and airport transfer services to many destinations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Europe.
    - Offers low prices with special offers and discounts available.

  • - Free rebooking and cancelation up to 15 minutes before the departure.

  • - Has a loyalty program that rewards frequent travelers.
    - Provides guaranteed seating and comfortable coaches with amenities like free Wi-Fi, power sockets, electrical outlet, air conditioning, reclining seats, and onboard toilets.
    - Has a wide network of routes to over 250 locations across the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Europe, including major cities, airports, and attractions.
    - Provides flexible payment options, including Clearpay to split payment into four interest-free installments.


  • Cons:

Has a luggage allowance limit and possible delays and cancelations.

Ecolines

Ecolines website https://ecolines.net/international/en

This international bus operator connects to 200+ destinations in 21 countries in the Baltic region. On board, you can enjoy free WiFi, power outlets, air conditioning, and entertainment. Ecolines has a loyalty program with points and discounts.

Pros of riding with Ecolines

  • - Provides coach services to 20 countries and approximately 205 cities in Europe, operating in the Baltic States, Western, and Eastern Europe.
    - Has affordable fares and amenities like free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, reclining seats, and onboard toilets.
    - Cons: Has had safety issues in the past, resulting in accidents and legal actions. Also, customer service complaints are common, including issues with unhelpful staff, delays or cancelations, lost or damaged luggage, difficulties getting refunds or compensation, and low ratings on review sites.

So, while Ecolines may be a good choice for budget-conscious travelers seeking convenience and affordability, it is important to acknowledge the sacrifices in safety and service quality that may come with it.

To access their services and book tickets, visit their website or reach out to their customer service team at +420 222 222 222. or check their social media pages.

Irish Citylink

Irish Citylink website: https://www.citylink.ie/

This Irish coach service provides transportation services, including coach, bus, train, and airport transfers, to many destinations in Ireland and Europe. It offers express routes connecting major cities like Dublin, Galway, Cork, and Limerick.

Pros of Irish Citylink:

  • - Offers affordable fares starting at €5 for one-way trips, with special offers, discounts, and loyalty programs available.

  • - It has a loyalty program with free trips and discounts.
    - Has an extensive network of routes to over 250 locations across Ireland and Europe, including major cities, airports, seaside towns, and attractions.
    - Provides flexible payment options, including Clearpay to split payment into four interest-free installments.


Cons of Irish Citylink:

Has a luggage allowance limit and possible delays or cancellations.

Avanza Mobility

Avanza bus is part of Avanza Mobility group.

Avanza bus website: https://malaga.avanzagrupo.com/en

This Spanish bus provider operates over 197 daily departures from cities such as Estepona, La Línea, and Malaga, Madrid. They offer regular bus lines, suburban bus lines, and international destinations. It also specialized in routes in the Costa del Sol, Málaga.

Pros of Avanza Mobility


- Low-cost fares
- Comfortable and modern vehicles
- Wide network of routes
- Flexible payment options

Cons:
- Limited luggage allowance. You can only bring one medium-sized suitcase (up to 20kg) and one small piece of hand luggage (up to 5kg) per person. If you have more or larger bags, you may have to pay extra or leave them behind.
- Possible delays or cancelations

To learn more about Avanza Mobility's services and book your tickets, you can visit their website or call their customer service team at 902 02 09 991.

Sindbad Bus

Sindbad Bus is part of BlahBlaCar now. You can still buy tickets on Sinbad Bus website, though. You can use BlaBlaCar loyalty points. This Polish bus operator connects to 300+ destinations in 22 countries.

Pros of Sindbad Bus

- Providing amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, power outlet, electrical sockets, air conditioning, reclining seats, and on-board toilets
- Offering seat reservation, luggage allowance, and flexible ticket changes
- Loyalty program called BlaBlaPoints

Cons of using Sindbad bus:


- Safety issues have arisen in the past, with Sindbad being involved in accidents that resulted in fatalities or injuries. Mechanical failures, driver errors, and adverse weather were some of the causes. The safety record of Sindbad has led to legal action and investigations.
-Customer service problems have been reported, including complaints about unhelpful or impolite staff. Also often mentioned delays or cancelations, lost or damaged luggage, and difficulties getting refunds or compensation. Sindbad has received low ratings on review sites such as Trustpilot.

Sindbad is a suitable choice for budget travelers. However, it's important to consider the drawbacks mentioned above, particularly in terms of safety and customer service. For more information about Sindbad's services and to book tickets, visit their website or contact their customer service team at +48 77 443 10 00

To book your Sindbad tickets and learn more about their services, you can visit their website or contact their customer service team at +48 77 443 10 00.

You can buy tickets with Sindbadbus on GetByBus app Sindbad Bus Timetables, Routes & Tickets Information - GetByBus. https://getbybus.com/en/sindbad-poland.

Lux Express

Lux Express bus website: https://luxexpress.eu/en/

This Baltic region express route coach operator connects to over 80 destinations in 10 countries.

Pros of Lux Express

- Offers comfort with largeer than normal legs room and other percs. WiFi, power outlets, screens, and comfortable seats, on-board toilets on their buses
- Has a loyalty program with discounts and perks

To book your Lux Express tickets and learn more about their services, you can visit their website.

Eurobus on the Balkans 

Eurobus is a popular intercountry bus company, that operates a number of full size buses and minivans in  Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and North Macedonia. It connects different cities around the Balkan area of Europe for €10-20 depending on distance.

In fact, it's the only major bus company, serving some connections like, for example, between Tirana Albania and Ohrid, Macedonia.  The ticket on this route coasts 18 euros and there is only one connection per day from Tirana to Ohrid, North Macedonia, leaving at 13:30 from Albania.  There are more connections from Ohrid by some smaller private companies as well.

Interbus Slovakia

Interbus Slovakie website: https://ft.interbus.sk/#/

This Slovakian bus operator connects to over 100 destinations in 9 countries. Their buses have free WiFi, air conditioning, and comfortable seats. Interbus also partners with FlixBus for additional connections.

Pros:


- Connects to over 100 destinations in 9 countries
- Offers free WiFi, air conditioning, and comfortable seats on their buses
- Partners with Eurolines for additional connections

To book your Interbus tickets and learn more about their services, you can visit their website.

There is also Interbus Italy for trips in Sicily. It is located in Enna, Italy. Below is their website:

https://www.interbus.it/

Leo Express

Leo Express website: https://www.leoexpress.com/en/book-ticket-online

This Czech bus and train operator connects to over 80 destinations in Central and Eastern Europe.

Pros of Leo Express:


- Connects to over 80 destinations in Central and Eastern Europe
- Provides comfortable rides with free WiFi, entertainment, refreshments, and leather seats on their buses
- Offers a loyalty program with discounts and benefits

To book your Leo Express tickets and learn more about their services, you can visit their website.

Green Line Bus

This UK bus operator connects to over 40 destinations in the UK and Europe. Their buses provide free WiFi, air conditioning, and comfortable seating. Green Line also partners with National Express for additional connections.

Pros of using Green Line Bus:


- Connects to over 40 destinations in the UK and Europe
- Provides free WiFi, air conditioning, and comfortable seating on their buses
- Partners with National Express for additional connections

To book your Green Line tickets and learn more about their services, you can visit their website.

Bus Booking apps

You can bus all bus ticket either directly on the companies web sites (listed above), or through booking sites like Omio , Checkmybus, Getbybus, ComparaBUS.com, Trainline, Busradar.com, Busbud and others.

I, personally, advise to always check bus booking apps first. You might find surprises, like the train in cheaper on the route, from checking a booking app first. See example below.

For the complete list and description of all best booking apps and websites, visit my post on how to travel in Europe on a cheap.

White bus with a blue and red sign InterBus
White bus with a blue and red sign InterBus

Train vs Bus

Train or bus? To decide where travel by train or bus, keep the following in mind:

  • Train travel is usually more convenient and faster than taking a bus. Train stations are located the city center in Europe.

  • Trains usually only go to popular cities, while buses go everywhere.

  • Train tickets. while usually more expensive, can be of a similar price to bus tickets, and sometimes even cheaper.

Here is an example of a train ticket being cheaper than the bus ticket when traveling from Mostar to Sarajevo. Notice that train price is $5-7, while bus price for the same route is $15-20. And it takes 40 minutes longer to travel by bus.  Quite surprising, isn't it?

A divided screen with a picture of a train & a bus & a custom sign: 'Train vs Bus'
A divided screen with a picture of a train & a bus & a custom sign: 'Train vs Bus'
Screenshot from RomTo Rio with a price of train shown cheaper than the same route on a bus
Screenshot from RomTo Rio with a price of train shown cheaper than the same route on a bus

Bus travel is usually less convenient, but cheaper and better for sightseeing. Buses travel slower and you can see more.

Bus stations can be in the center of town, but also can be on the outskirts, depending on the bus company.

If you like sightseeing while traveling as much as I do, opt for bus. But there are many cases to opt for the train instead.

I am working on a video of my bus trips to show you how fun it is to ride on buses. Many do not know that.

Another option to travel within Europe is to fly. You can use budget airlines and fly to hub cities. You can read what cities in Europe are the cheapest to fly to from my other guide. It is mostly about flying from the US, but it also mentions when the airport is the cheapest to fly to from Europe or other countries as well.

You can take the train or bus from that hub to continue your trip.

FAQ

How much does it cost to travel by bus in Europe?

The cost of traveling by bus in Europe varies depending on the distance and the bus company. Here are some examples, and it's hard to explain why some bus routes are very cheap, but others with the same distance are more expensive.

However, it is generally cheaper than traveling by train or plane. For example, FlixBus offers bus tickets starting at €4.99. If you’re looking for cheap bus tickets online, you can compare prices and book through websites like Omio.

Cheapest bus in Europe

The cheapest bus in Europe is FlixBus and BlaBlaBus, or National express in the UK. They offer cheapest bus tickets, starting from 5 Euro. But others also offer a very comparable prices. Here is a list of all bus companies in Europe, offering affordable prices.

The best way to find the cheapest bus in Europe is to check booking apps, like Omio. You will get the best price comparison. You might discover that the cheapest way to travel would be by train. Because bus is not always the cheapest way to travel in Europe. See example above that proves this. 

But sometimes, the cheapest ticket for the cheapest price could be found on the provider's website, like it could be the case for National Express. Read my post above about that. 

In conclusion, there are many European bus companies out there, reaching the smallest villages. They make European travel affordable and convenient.

I hope this article helped you with your quest. Let's connect on social media; the links are below.