Europe’s Best Tourist Public Transport

Skip pricey tours – instead, embrace the trams, buses and boats that give a more authentic (and cheaper) perspective of a city, with this extract from The Best Things in Life are Free.

Lisbon's yellow trams are a classic sight in this postcard-perfect city © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet Lisbon’s yellow trams are a classic sight in this postcard-perfect city © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet

Tram 28 – Lisbon, Portugal

Clatter into Lisbon’s steep, tight-packed Alfama aboard a classic yellow tram. The Remodelado streetcars (designed in the 1930s) that work route 28 are the best way to get into the district’s medieval alleys, although they can get packed so go early.

Single €2.85, day pass €6.

Skip the tour buses and see the English capital like a local © Brendan Kearns / EyeEm / Getty Images Skip the tour buses and see the English capital like a local © Brendan Kearns / EyeEm / Getty Images

Number 11 bus – London, England

Ride a regular bus for a squeezed-in-with-the-natives view of the metropolis. Route 11 runs from Fulham to Liverpool Street Station via Chelsea, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England.

Single £1.50, day pass £5.

The vaporetto may not have the same charm as a gondola, but the price might win you over...© Matteo Colombo / Getty Images The vaporetto may not have the same charm as a gondola, but the price might win you over… © Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

Vaporetto – Venice, Italy

You’ll have to forgo the crooning gondolier, but opting for a public vaporetto (water taxi) instead of a private punt will save big bucks, while still offering views of Venice from water level.

Single €7.50, day pass €20.

Take a tour along the Danube in Budapest's Tram number two© titoslack / Getty Images Take a tour along the Danube in Budapest’s Tram number two © titoslack / Getty Images

Tram number two – Budapest, Hungary

Trundle alongside the Danube, with views up to the spires and turrets of Castle Hill, the Jewish Memorial (sculpted shoes on the riverbank) and grandiose parliament.

Single 350Ft, day pass 1650HUF.

Sail between two continents on the Bosphorus ferry© Roberto A Sanchez / Getty Images Sail between two continents on the Bosphorus ferry © Roberto A Sanchez / Getty Images

Bosphorus ferry – İstanbul, Turkey

Travel between Europe and Asia for less than an English pound? Ferries crossing the Bosphorus strait do just that, linking both sides of this continent-straddling city. Sail at sunset to see the minaret-pierced skyline in silhouette.

Single 4TL.

So what if you don't have your own yacht? The views from the water are the same © Alan Copson / Getty Images So what if you don’t have your own yacht? The views from the water are the same © Alan Copson / Getty Images

Bateau bus – Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monte Carlo’s electric-powered ferry boats offer a smidgen of waterborne glitz in this razzmatazz Monaco harbour. They might not be billion-dollar yachts, but they offer the same views, and leave you with change to spunk at the casino.

Single €2. 

Trace the Belgian coastline from your seat on the Coast Tram © Emilie CHAIX / Getty Images Trace the Belgian coastline from your seat on the Coast Tram © Emilie CHAIX / Getty Images

Kusttram – Belgium

The ‘Coast Tram’ skirts Belgium’s North Sea shoreline – 68km, from De to Knokke-Heist. Some 68 stops dot the route, enabling a bargain Belgian beach adventure.

Single €3, day pass €5, week pass €20.

See the city for free with the Geneva Transport Card © Allan Baxter / Getty Images See the city for free with the Geneva Transport Card © Allan Baxter / Getty Images

Transport card – Geneva, Switzerland

Pretty but pricey Geneva can make the impecunious weep. To ease the blow, the city will do you a deal: stay overnight and get a free Geneva Transport Card, covering travel on buses, trams and taxi-boats.

Free.

Cross the mersey on Europe's oldest ferry service © Alasdair Thomson / Getty Images Cross the Mersey on Europe’s oldest ferry service © Alasdair Thomson / Getty Images