Gone are the days when going on an international trip meant lugging around a big guidebook or printing out dozens of pages of information, maps, phrases, and directions. Nowadays, there’s a travel app for just about everything, from making restaurant reservations or booking last-minute museum tours to hiring taxis or checking train schedules. Many are free, and some can be used offline to avoid data charges.
Here we’ve collected a list of some of the best apps for European travel, including several that are useful on other continents, too.
Best Travel Apps for Transportation in Europe
The model for the ridesharing app Cabify is very similar to Lyft and Uber, though Cabify is only available in two European countries—Portugal and Spain. You can share details of your journey to let friends know when you’ll arrive, and even customize your ride by identifying musical and climate control preferences.
2. FREE NOW
The emphatically named FREE NOW (yes, it’s in all caps) was once known as mytaxi, which should give you an idea of what the app does. Calling itself “Europe’s largest taxi app,” FREE NOW offers taxi booking in nine European countries. It’s similar to a ridesharing app, except that this one is for taxis, allowing travelers the convenience of paying for rides through the app instead of cash.
With so many ways to get around Europe, it might be overwhelming to compare them. Omio (formerly GoEuro) makes it simple by showing you all your transportation options—trains, planes, and buses—so you can easily see which solution makes the most sense for you. Book your tickets right through the app, and then either print your tickets or save the mobile version on your smartphone.
Not only will Rome2rio give you your public transit options between any two destinations on earth, you’ll also get information on driving. From the main results page, where you see the approximate travel times, routes, and costs of each transportation option, you can then drill down and get more details on your favorite—and there’s a link to book tickets, too.
Trains may be one of the best ways to get around much of Europe, but plenty of destinations aren’t served by rail. That’s where coach buses come in. Flixbus connects cities in more than 25 countries throughout Europe with regular coach service, and passengers can book easily through the app. There’s free WiFi on board and the drivers even have snacks and drinks you can buy during the trip.
BlaBlaCar is basically what hitchhiking in the 21st century looks like—you’re not standing on a roadside hoping for a ride, you’re screening potential carpooling partners through an app and arranging a trip in advance. If someone else is already driving that way, you can join them, share expenses, and have some company. The network covers more than 15 European countries and now also includes a bus service called BlaBlaBus in five countries.
7. Bike Share Buddy
Exploring a new place on two wheels is both fun and efficient, and the proliferation of bike sharing definitely helps make it easier. Travelers don’t always know the ins and outs of a given city’s particular bike sharing program—but Bike Share Buddy solves that problem. The handy app shows you the locations of bike sharing stations in more than 45 countries (many of which are in Europe), even indicating how many bikes are available at each one.
The tried-and-true Eurail Pass now has a tech component. The Eurail/Interrail Rail Planner allows you to search train schedules throughout Europe to plan your rail travel itinerary. You can even filter to see only the trains that work with your pass. And because the Eurail Pass is the equivalent of a ticket, booking on the app is only for the additional reservations you’ll need on top of the pass you already have.
Gett makes it easy for travelers to book rides with London’s famous black taxis. The app is also available in Bristol, Coventry, and Manchester in England, and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. Using Gett means you don’t need to wait in taxi lines or hail a taxi on the street, and you can schedule a ride in advance.
Speedy Eurostar trains whisk you back and forth from the UK to mainland Europe via the Channel Tunnel, and the Eurostar app makes booking and storing train tickets easy and convenient. The app tracks purchases so frequent travelers can earn loyalty perks, and even features some TV programs through Amazon video to watch during the trip with free on-board WiFi.
11. DB Navigator
Germany’s national train service, Deutsche Bahn, is revered for its efficiency—so it’s not surprising that the app is, too. The DB Navigator app, like the website, includes not just real-time German train schedules but also train schedules all over Europe. You can book train tickets (for German trains only) through the app, check in for your trip, and even see where on the train platform you need to stand to be near the car where you’ve reserved a seat.
Despite what the name might make you think, this app is about more than just trains. Trainline is a booking app for trains and buses in Europe—including the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain—helping travelers secure the sometimes-sizeable discounts that come with advance bookings. The app even lets you search for route options that will specifically go through (or avoid) certain cities to better tailor your journey.
The powerful and popular Citymapper app, available in nearly 20 cities in Europe, combines public transit maps for buses, subways, and trams with real-time schedules, transit status updates, and even car and bike sharing information. You can also find out which exit to take from a subway station. It’s all in one handy place to make city navigation a piece of cake—for residents and travelers alike.
While the Scooterino app’s usefulness is limited (it’s only for Rome), it’s so well-suited to getting through the busy city’s notorious traffic just like an Italian that it’s worth mentioning. Scooterino is ridesharing via scooter, giving you a chance to zip through the Italian capital on the back of a scooter without needing to do any of the driving or knowing your way around. Find out the rough cost of a trip before you book and pay your driver through the app, just like other ridesharing services.
The Best Travel Apps for Translation and Conversion in Europe
15. Google Translate
Google’s handy online translation is available in an app, which helps you translate between 103 languages. There are several ways to enter the word or phrase you want to translate, from typing on the keyboard or handwriting to speaking into the microphone and even translating text in real-time using the phone’s camera. The number of languages supported by each method (aside from using the keyboard) varies, but it’s still overall a powerful tool. What’s more, Google Translate now works in any app with “Tap to Translate.”
The TripLingo app covers the basic translation needs most travelers have—through typing on the keyboard, speaking into the microphone, or using the phone’s camera—but it’s also got educational tools. The app includes a phrasebook as well as audio language lessons, as well as specific etiquette, safety, and culture tips to help travelers feel more comfortable in unfamiliar places. There’s even a built-in currency converter and tip calculator.
The minimalist GlobeConvert makes conversion easy, no matter what you’re trying to convert. Quickly switch currency, temperature, weight, distance, and much more into the unit of measurement you understand best. Save the conversions you use frequently, like US dollars to euros or fahrenheit to celsius, to make the process even more convenient. The app will even automatically fill in one of the currency fields based on your geotagged location. GlobeStudio, the makers of GlobeConvert, have other useful apps for travelers, too, including one that details tipping guidelines for the country you’re in.
The Best Travel Apps for Things to Do and See in Europe
No matter where you want to go in the world, or what you want to do, Viator probably has a tour (or seven) that will suit. To make it easier to find and book tours on the go, Viator’s app brings the catalog to your phone—even finding what’s near you based on your location. You can book same-day tours in some cases, find tours that help you avoid long entrance lines, and tickets booked through the app are saved on your phone.
SANDEMAN has been giving free tours in a growing list of cities for more than a decade, and now covers 17 European cities. Each basic city tour is free—the idea being that each traveler tips the guide based on how useful, entertaining, or educational they thought the experience was. There are also several other paid tour options in each place. So, if you enjoy the free tour, you can book another one right away with the app.
Any travel lover who is constantly accumulating recommendations for future (potential) adventures—from friends, TV shows, magazines, etc.—knows how annoying it is to finally take a trip and not remember where you put all those little notes. Enter TripDoc, a guide to any city in the world that you create by adding pinpoints to city maps. Save notes about each tip to help jog your memory (such as a specific recommended dish at a restaurant or who gave you the tip). Then, when you're visiting a city saved in your TripDoc library, the map will show you where those recommended spots are in comparison to where you are. No more substandard meals because you're hungry only to find out later that a restaurant your friend told you about was just around the corner.
Bring everyone’s favorite Euro-geek on your European trip with the Rick Steves Audio Europe app. Choose the destinations you’ll be visiting and the information you’ll want to have on hand—including plenty of travel tips and an excellent selection of free audio guided tours—and download them to your device when you have WiFi. Then, it’s all available offline so you don’t have to worry about data charges while traveling.
When you’re not fortunate enough to have friends all over the world, Spotted by Locals is a good alternative. Locals populate the database with personal tips for the city they live in and love, giving travelers a chance to explore beyond the usual list of sights and restaurants. The goal, besides helping travelers enjoy trips, is to ease the burden of overtourism on some places while promoting others that may not get their fair share of traveler love. The app’s maps and tips are all available offline, and new tips are constantly being added.
TripScout curates articles and videos from more than 1,200 publishers, local experts, bloggers, and influencers and puts them all in one place. Every recommendation is mapped to a point of interest—a shop, restaurant, monument, etc.—so when you find one you like, just click and add it to your itinerary.
The Best Travel Apps for Places to Eat in Europe
24. The Fork
What started as “La Fourchette” (French for “The Fork”) became TripAdvisor’s The Fork in 2014. Now, instead of focusing just on restaurants in a few European countries, The Fork allows diners to search for and book tables at thousands of restaurants across nine European countries. Filter your search based on dietary restrictions or average price per person, see your options by neighborhood, and—at some restaurants—take advantage of special offers if you book through The Fork.
25. Happy Cow
Finding vegetarian and vegan restaurants around the world is made easier with the Happy Cow app. The listings cover more than 180 countries, and after browsing the options and saving ideas to your trips, you can access the information offline when you’re out and about. Refine your searches to places that are vegetarian, completely vegan, or just have vegetarian options on the menu.
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