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4 ways to see Europe without flying

4 ways to see Europe without flying

Looking to reduce your carbon footprint? Musement shares four ways you can travel around Europe without flying.

There are plenty of alternatives to flying around Europe on your holidays, and even websites dedicated to one-upping the low-cost airlines via alternative means of transport. Though in recent years budget flight options have made a weekend away in Europe more accessible, we have also become more conscious of our carbon footprints. So we thought we would highlight some of the most interesting ways to travel around Europe on trains, boats and coaches. The below options not only reduce your carbon footprint but offer a much more engaging experience than waiting in airport queues. Why would anyone choose to wait in an airport lounge when you can pass through mountains or over the midnight-blue Baltic sea? If you have any other ideas, feel free to let us know in the comments.

1. Ferries

Ferries make it easy to travel between many cities and countries, even just for a day trip, like Venice, Italy and Pula, Croatia. They also connect the various Greek islands with each other and the Italian mainland with some outlying islands like Sardinia, Elba and Corsica as well as the U.K. and Ireland.

One of our favorites is the journey between Tallinn or Helsinki — For the price of a nice meal out, you get a seat on an enormous ferry that makes the journey in just a few hours. The route passes the once closed island of Prangli Saar, where Soviet soldiers stood guard against smugglers from the West, and takes you through some of Finlands smaller islands and rock formations.

2. Trains

Trains are the way to go. The Eurostar connects London to Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lille; TGV trains ferry passengers between Milan and Paris in just over seven hours; while overnight routes, such as that between Berlin or Moscow and Vienna help preserve some valuable travel time. Thello trains are also an efficient way to travel between France and Italy.
The U.K. is also a wonderful country to explore by train and a nifty way to shuttle yourself between two of its major capitals, London and Edinburgh. The 84-mile journey from Fort William to Mallaig on the Jacobite Steam Train appeared in the Harry Potter films — the shot of the Hogwarts Express passing over the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct has since turned the route into a tourist attraction.

3. The marshrutka

The word “marshrutka” means “route” in Russian and refers to small passenger vans that take locals around cities such as Riga, Moscow, Tbilisi, and Kiev. Originally produced in Latvia the vehicles are now a staple of post-Soviet life.

The most inexpensive and interesting way to get between Tbilisi to Yerevan, the capitals of Georgia and Armenia respectively, is by marshrutka. You will pass through the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region and see military vehicles, and go through fascinating Armenian villages. If you are fortunate enough to take a trip into the mountains, the driver will stop at natural springs and all passengers are free to get off and replenish their water.

4. Seat 61

The Man in Seat 61 is a website that was founded in 2001 by Mark Smith. As a former manager in the British rail network, he saw the difficulties with booking low-cost fares around Europe. He has since quit his job and now works on the website full-time, providing readers with tips on how to find the lowest and most convenient fares around Europe. The site boasts a million visitors a month and mainstream publications have cited it as an exemplary source of alternatives to flying. Passionate about trains and travel, Mark has taken many of the routes on the site himself. It is this rich experience that keeps readers returning to the site.

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