10 European Cities to Discover via Public Transport

Image by Joao via flickr

Image by Joao via flickr

When traveling to a new city one of the biggest concerns you might have is what means of transport to use in order to properly discover the city (apart from walking that is!). Hopefully, you already know that hop-on hop-off buses should probably be left off your list; if experiencing the city as a local is what you are going for.

Naturally, every city has different types of public transport and it is worth mentioning that the “best” type probably depends on what exactly you want to see in the city. Partially, it also depends on the geographical location and surroundings of a city when it comes to the diversity that a city offers in terms of public transport services.

However, in the list below we tried to collect the most convenient and non-touristy (and to some extent alternative) ways of getting around in some of our European cities while using public transport.

Busline 5A (Copenhagen)

Image by Pernille Gronnegaard-Moller

Image by Pernille Gronnegaard-Moller

Basically, this bus can be used to go anywhere in Copenhagen. And this bus is not only used by locals for their daily commute but the route has also become really beloved by travelers. This is mainly because, as already mentioned, it takes you to all the different parts of Copenhagen thus showing how much diversity there is in the city when going from one neighborhood to the other. So while you are in the Danish capital don’t pay attention to the bus almost always being packed and definitely take a ride on it for seeing, well, the whole of Copenhagen.

Oslo Mini Cruise

Image by Andrea Chirulescu

Image by Andrea Chirulescu

As previously mentioned, you should try to avoid taking the hop-on bus if you can but a hop-on hop-off boat is a different story. Well, first of all since you are in Oslo you should probably take advantage of the fact the city is surrounded by water and opt for water public transport instead of choosing the wheels. Moreover, what makes this Oslo mini cruise one of the best ways of seeing the city is the route that it takes. In other words, you can hop on the boat right from the city centre and, after seeing the islands of the harbor, hop off at the final destination Bigdøy to visit museums and discover the cultural side of the city.

The S45 line (Vienna)

Image by David Titcumb

Image by David Titcumb

This train station in Vienna is a representation of Art Nouveau architecture that has survived and is operational even today. In order to know about all the functioning stations it is very helpful to have a look at the guide by Horst Prillinger. Depending on what kind of ride (a short or a long one) you want through the city you can take different trains. And if you happen to be in Vienna in summertime, then you are lucky because some trains also pass through additional nice neighborhoods, like ‘Wienerwald’, of the city.

Lavra Funicular (Lisbon)

Image by Claudio Carneiro

Image by Claudio Carneiro

As Lisbon is a city surrounded by hills it had to come up with different variations of public transport in order to make getting around feasible and convenient for its residents and travelers. One of the most widespread ways is taking the cute yellow tram, of course, when you’re in Lisbon.

However, when you need to go up some hills then there’s no better way to do it than using some of the lifts or funiculars of the city. Lavra Funicular, which is around 12o years old, will take you to a beautiful garden on the top of the hill. Moreover, what makes it an even more charming way of transport is that even though it is public you will usually find all the wooden benches at your own disposal because it is almost never full.

Tram n19 (Rome)

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

Being the longest tram line of Rome, N19 goes through the most diverse parts of the city. It shows the true soul of Rome and its contrasts when entering a new quarter. This means that while stopping at some well known places like Vatican or San Lorenzo, this tram also takes you to some working class neighborhoods so you can see the city from all sides. Hence, the route of this tram gives you the opportunity to experience a different Rome, get away from the main hotspots and see how locals live in various parts of the city.

Eléctrico (Porto)

Image by Tiago Mogadouro

Image by Tiago Mogadouro

Want to see which trams your grandparents’ generation were using to get around Porto? Then this vintage tram is the right public transport to take. There are a few active lines but you should probably avoid taking the touristic one and go for one of the 3 lines that will take you on a slow ride to enjoy the city and dive into the local lifestyle of Porto.

Porto is such a vibrant city with a lot to offer that it was difficult to include only 1 type of public transport as the best one for travelers. Flor de Gas is a boat taxi with the sole purpose of getting people from A to B. However, while having riding on it, it gives you the opportunity to  enjoy a view of the Arrábida bridge as well as see the meeting point where the river pours into the ocean. So hop on this boat while you’re in Porto and see that just because transport isn’t meant for sightseeing it doesn’t mean it can’t be used as such.

Bus 218 (Berlin)

Image by Luiza Skrzypczynska

Image by Luiza Skrzypczynska

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some time in the nature then this is the perfect means of public transport for you. It takes you through the biggest and isolate forest of Berlin. Thus, this bus takes you to a completely different Berlin that you would never discover had you opted for a touristic hop-on hop-off bus.

Tram #16 (Saint Petersburg)

Image by Elena Kozlova

Image by Elena Kozlova

The route of this tram line is pretty unique as it takes you from the well-built city centre neighborhoods to quarters that are a huge contrast to the previous ones it took you through. Most of the parts that this trams travels through are quite hidden and hence they might have escaped your attention if you only relied on discovering the city on foot or going for other public transport. And since these are really rare in Saint Petersburg and are becoming fewer and fewer every year you definitely do not want to miss the chance to take a ride on it while you can.

Tramway to the Woods

Image by Alex Bykov

Image by Alex Bykov

Talking about strange tram routes, this one in Kiev takes you to a forest in just a few minutes after you hop on at the city centre. You will feel as if you are miles away from any urban place and will completely forget that the tram you took is public transport. And should you feel like organizing a celebration on your way to have a picnic you can book a party train going on the same route.

Waterbus (Rotterdam)

Image by Jose van der Plaat

Image by Jose van der Plaat

Since you are in the biggest port of Europe it is a must to take water public transport to see the city and the surroundings. You can either take this bus and visit Dordrecht- one of the oldest cities of the Netherlands or you can head to Kinderdijk and see the typical cute Dutch windmills. So make sure you take this water bus from Erasmus bridge and whatever your final stop is it will be worth it.

The means of public transport mentioned above are only a few of the many choices that you have when discovering a new city. But whatever you choose, try to not go for the hop-on buses in order to have the best local experience in the city.

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)