If you didn’t know already, this summer Germans have been living an affordable public transport dream. For the past three months, it has cost just €9 (£7.80, $9) per month in Germany for anyone – both locals and visitors – to ride pretty much all the country’s trains, trams, buses and metros.
Germany’s glorious €9 travel pass sadly ended yesterday, reputedly having saved 1.8 million tons of CO2 emissions. (Going by the German average, that’s the equivalent of almost 20,000 people’s annual carbon footprints.)
But if you missed out, fear not. There are still plenty of places in Europe where you can travel either on the cheap or totally for free.
It’s worth mentioning that in certain places, if you’re a resident, you can already get free public transport. The Estonian capital Tallinn is one such place. From October 1 2022, Malta will be another.
If you’re a traveller, however, here’s where you can go and get around either for free or on the very, very cheap.
From today (September 1) until December 31, 2022, intercity trains in Spain will be totally free. The policy was designed to help Spaniards out in the cost of living crisis and covers Cercanías (commuter train), Rodalies (commuter routes in Catalonia) and Media Distancia routes (mid-distance regional lines, covering journeys of less than 300km) run by the national rail operator Renfe. For cheap travel this autumn, Spain is king. Find out all the deets about free train travel in Spain.
Austria also has annual travel passes covering buses, trams and trains that average out at €3 (£2.60, $3) per day, while the country’s capital Vienna boasts €1(£0.85, $1)-per-day public transport passes. With both of these, however, there’s a catch: you only get the discount if you pay for a year-long ticket. In other words, they’re probably only worth it if you’re planning a really long Austria trip.
Sure, Luxembourg probably isn’t top of many people’s travel bucket lists. But in 2020 it became the first country in the world to make public transport free. So long as you’re not travelling in first class, both visitors and residents can get buses, trains and trams without spending a cent.
So if you missed out on the German scheme, why not jet off to Spain, Austria or Luxembourg? Time to make the most of these seriously bumper transport schemes.