Do you love travelling with a sustainable twist? Good news, because in many European cities the sustainable trend of making public transport free of charge is continuing. Curious about which cities they are? We take you on a trip through Europe.
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
We have to open this list with Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a pioneer in free mobility: it was the first country in the world to set up a national free public transport network. With this brand new initiative, the government wants to encourage its population not to use their cars. The capital, Luxembourg City, receives more expats than it has inhabitants, and as a result has to deal with a lot of traffic jams.
In the Estonian capital, public transport was already free in 2013. In a referendum, the inhabitants voted overwhelmingly in favour of free public transportation. The problem in Tallinn can be compared to the problem in Luxembourg City: thousands of commuters travel to the city centre every day.
In this southern French city, public transport has been free since 2009. Started as a simple test, the initiative turned out to be a great success. After three years, there were 5,000 fewer cars driving around the city every day, a decrease of 10 per cent. The popularity of public transport also rose by 235 per cent.
This northern French city, on the border with Belgium, has been making its public transport network available free of charge since 2018. After a few months, a quarter of the city's parking spaces remained empty, where previously there had been a shortage of parking. On Saturdays, bus occupancy doubled and on Sundays it even increased by 140 per cent.
Samokov is a mountain town in beautiful Bulgaria and has about 27,000 inhabitants. The initiative was initially intended for residents only, but two years after its launch, public transport was offered free of charge to everyone.
Frýdek-Místek, Czech Republic
Strakonice, Czech Republic
Anyone who knows this place is probably an avid skier. This village in the Italian Alps offers its public transport free of charge from half past seven in the morning until eight in the evening. The town is very clear to its visitors: nobody needs a car to discover Livigno.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
In Amsterdam, not all public transport is free, unfortunately, but the ferries are. At least: for pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders. You take the ferry at the back of the Amsterdam-Central station to go to Amsterdam-Noord, for example. There you will find tourist attractions such as the Eye Film Museum and the Tolhuistuin. The connection is very smooth and you only have to wait a few minutes.
On this beautiful Danish island, you can ride the bus for free. It is known as the sunniest place in the whole country. If you want to get to Ærø from mainland Denmark, the ferry takes you to the charming town of Ærøskøbing. The small colourful houses, the beautiful cycle paths and the modesty of the locals make it a fairytale setting.
Akureyri is one of the largest cities in Iceland and offers free buses to its residents and visitors. This magical place in northern Iceland is surrounded by beautiful natural scenes. Don't miss the iconic Christmas house and The Lord of the Rings-style church. The town is also the ideal base for going to natural baths, visiting waterfalls or spotting whales.
Velenje is the sixth largest city in Slovenia and has a network of free yellow buses that transport you around the city. What makes this city so special, besides its sustainable character, is Lake Velenje, the deepest lake in the entire country. Next to the city, you will find a green oasis, which you can reach for free by bus.
Switzerland is one of the European pioneers when it comes to sustainability, and it shows in its free public transportation network. Apart from the iconic city of Geneva, visitors (who pay a tourist tax) can also use public transport for free in Lausanne, Basel and Bern.
We shall end with a European trendsetter, namely Żory. If you look at the complete list of Polish cities offering free public transport, you will notice that it is considerably longer than that of other European countries. So why is this not a longer list of Polish destinations? Because those towns and cities mainly offer their public transport for free to their own residents. In Żory, on the other hand, tourists also enjoy free mobility. With numerous other sustainable initiatives, Żory aims to become Poland's most ambitious city in terms of free and sustainable mobility.