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Planes, Trains and Automobiles: The 22 Best Travel Apps for Europe

Before I head to the airport, I always triple check that my phone is working and fully charged.

But to be honest… I’m just as obsessive about my phone being charged before I go to the supermarket or walk my dogs.

My smartphones has become such an important part of my daily life that it’s impossible to imagine traveling to another continent without it. I have so many useful travel apps, each with their own specific purpose. They help me navigate on the city I’m in, translate signs, find good places to eat or drink and learn about my new city.

When I first started traveling the world, I found a handful of apps that I swore were absolutely mandatory to have wherever I went, such as Google Maps and Uber.

This list changed a little when I moved to Hungary. Then it changed a bit more when I moved to Thailand. Then it changed completely when I lived in Serbia. And again in Mexico.

Different countries require different apps to make the most of our time abroad. So which ones do we need in Europe?
 


 

Research Your Destinations Before You Download Apps

When I arrived in Belgrade, Serbia, I was surprised to find that Google Maps had very iffy information about public transportation. Even though Serbia isn’t part of the European Union, it’s still in Europe. I just assumed Google Maps had reliable information for the entire continent.

Turns out… it doesn’t.

Since then, I’ve started researching specific apps I should use in every single new city I visit. Various cities have different bike sharing services, train systems and attractions. You may even need a new app for finding the best slice of pizza!

In this post, I’ll cover all the apps I consistently use while traveling around Europe. Select the ones you find useful and prepare for your European adventure!

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: The 22 Best Travel Apps for Europe

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The Best Travel Apps for Experiencing European Culture

FluentU

Website | iOS | Android

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Do you want to learn how to talk to locals during your trip?

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

By watching authentic videos, you not only learn the language… you also learn about local culture! You’ll impress natives with your knowledge of recent news events and popular musicians.

You can download certain FluentU files so you can access them offline. This means you can take personalized quizzes and read video transcripts to pass the time on your train ride from France to Switzerland or while you wait for your stop on the London metro.

The best part? One FluentU account give you access to all nine of its languages. So if you plan to tour Barcelona, then eat your weight in pasta in Rome, then tour museums in Russia, you’re prepared to speak with locals wherever you go!

The first 15 days are free, so what’re you waiting for? Get downloading!

Spotted by Locals

Website | iOS | Android

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Spotted by Locals features exactly what you’d expect from the title: places spotted by locals. Is there a better way to sell this? This app has great guides for multiple European cities that include authentic spots no tourists are talking about.

Local writers and photographers are always updating their suggestions. If authentic travel is important to you, this is the app to download.

The app itself is free, but you pay $3.99 to download a guide for a specific city. If you’re not willing to purchase a guide, the website features articles about a lot of hidden gems that you can read for free.

Monument Tracker

Website | iOS | Android

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If you love to learn about attractions and history when you travel, Monument Tracker will be a lifesaver. Monuments, remarkable places and unusual sites are the company’s specialty, and you can even check out its recommendations for restaurants, concerts, museums, exhibitions and more.

You select the destination, choose the desired activity and start the search all in just one app.

Culture Trip

Website | iOS | Android

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If you’re heading to Paris, Rome or any other city with an endless list of activities, you might be overwhelmed by the number of places you “absolutely must visit,” according to all your friends who’ve already been there.

Culture Trip makes choosing activities easier. Enter your location and select your interests. Then the app will curate a list of attractions and events most suited to you.

The Best Travel Apps for Getting Around Europe by Train

Rail Planner Eurail/Interrail

Website | iOS | Android

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Searching for the most convenient way to travel around Europe? Get ready to hop on trains! The Rail Planner Eurail/Interrail app is great resource for planning trips in advance or even finding your connecting train in the railway station.

You can book last-minute train tickets to cities all over Europe, plan your trip ahead of time, reserve seats and use the offline services to make sure you’re getting off at the correct train station.

The app also delivers up-to-date timetables and informs you of possible delays. You can even access super specific information, such as whether you can carry your bike onto the train or if the train offers food and beverages aboard.

DB Navigator

Website | iOS | Android

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DB, or Deutsche Bahn, is the German railway company and the largest railway operator in Europe.

You can use this app to buy mobile tickets, receive real-time information and organize personal travel details on a user-friendly interface.

The best part about using DB Navigator is that you can access information about Intercity-Express (ICE) trains and city buses in just one app. It’s perfect if you need to store all your tickets in a single place.

The Best Travel Apps for Finding Last Minute Flight Deals Around Europe

Kiwi.com

Website | iOS | Android

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In my opinion, Kiwi.com is one of the best platforms to find cheap flights all over the world, especially if you’re flexible with your dates. The company uses special technology to scan flights from more than 700 airlines around the globe and get the absolute cheapest prices. And if you’re willing to play around with your dates, you’ll score an even better deal!

Select your origin and destination, the dates you’re willing to travel or even just the general region of the world you want to visit. You’ll see options and connections organized by the cheapest, shortest or recommended flights.

You can choose for Kiwi.com to send you alerts about any price drops in case you’re on the lookout for a good deal. I personally love Kiwi.com and the new features it implements regularly.

Skyscanner

Website | iOS | Android

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Skyscanner is another flight booking app that helps you determine the absolute best days to book a flight or to hop on a plane to your dream European city.

Skyscanner is a great app to have, because it shows so much cool information about airlines and airports. It also helps you book different types of accommodation and cars.

The best part is that Skyscanner always compares prices between various websites, so you’ll find the best results out there.

If you want to travel somewhere but have no idea where to go, you’ll probably find the “Everywhere” feature quite useful. It shows you the quickest and most affordable flights to various cities from your region. Great for flexible travelers like myself!

Momondo

Website | iOS | Android

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Momondo is another great tool if you’re traveling around Europe with a flexible schedule. 

Momondo has a price calendar feature that shows you how much money you can save if you’re flexible on dates. Regardless of how I book my flights, I always double-check my flights on Momondo before buying the ticket because it sometimes ends up showing even better deals than my other apps.

You can also book your accommodation through the app using their “Draw on Map” feature, which allows you to choose which region of a city you want to stay in by painting the map.

It even has a feature called “Near Me Tonight” that’s useful if you want to book a bed at the last minute. It’s perfect for those who love to wander around an area and see where they’ll end up before booking anything for the night!

Rome2rio

Website | iOS | Android

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Rome2rio has one of the most unique concepts for navigating transportation when you travel. The app combines all the different modes of transportation you can take to get from point A to point B, be it on the same continent or not.

It aggregates flights, trains, buses, ferries, driving options and even services such as BlaBlaCar, a carpooling app. It calculates travel times and prices so you’re ready to book everything.

I love to play around with Rome2rio in Europe just so I can understand how much time I might need to go from a country to another. Check it out!

The Best Travel Apps for Getting Around European Cities

Taxi and ridesharing apps can vary dramatically depending on where you are in Europe. Here I’ll list a few of the most popular ones, but make sure you research services that are located in the countries and cities you’ll be visiting.

Just an example: In Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, they have their own startup called CAR:GO that’s basically their version of Uber, because Uber isn’t allowed in Serbia. Who knew? Research first!

Uber

Website | iOS | Android

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Uber is probably the first app that comes to mind when you think about going from point A to point B by car. Even though there are some concerns about Uber in certain points of the world, I’ve had only positive experiences with the service so far.

Since Uber became the main app for ridesharing services, some cities around the world ended up creating unique rules for Uber drivers to pick up and drop off their clients, while some other cities have chosen to forbid the service completely.

However, Uber is still one of the first apps I open when I arrive in a new country, because there’s usually someone who can give me a ride from the airport. I love that the process is smooth, that you can pay through the app and that you know exactly how much you’re going to pay.

mytaxi

Website | iOS | Android

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The days of waving to taxis driving by you on the street are basically over. (At least for us millennials!) Mytaxi is Europe’s largest taxi app. It has more than 100,000 taxi drivers and operates in more than 50 European cities in nine countries.

Taxi apps are amazing because you can order a taxi from the comfort of your home, schedule pick-ups when needed and pay for everything directly through the app.

I personally prefer ridesharing services to taxi apps, but if I can’t get one, then mytaxi is definitely the best taxi app out there.

Mobike

Website | iOS | Android

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The Chinese company Mobike operates in more than 200 cities across the globe. As the bikes don’t have stations, you can find Mobike bicycles standing in various places around European cities. Super convenient!

Just download the app, create your account, add some credit and rent your bike for the day. Easy as that!

car2go

Website | iOS | Android

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Car2go is a pay-per-minute service that allows you to rent one of its cars, unlock it using your phone and just drive around the city as you go. It’s a lifesaver on rainy days or when you’re just in a driving mood. The service operates in dozens of European cities, and it has lots of different cars to choose from.

It’s important to research car2go’s rules before signing up for its services, because different countries have different requirements for car2go drivers. For example, in Belgium, you can’t drive with car2go if your driver’s license less than two years old. Plan accordingly!

Moovit

Website | iOS | Android

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Moovit was a pleasant surprise when I started traveling around Eastern Europe. It’s basically an enhanced Google Maps, with extremely detailed information about buses and public transportation all over the world.

You can actually receive information about possible delays on your trip based on accidents or problems with the bus line.

Moovit maps can also be downloaded to be used offline.

The Best Travel Apps for European Food and Restaurants

Foursquare

Website | iOS | Android

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I’ve lost count of how many amazing restaurants, food stands and cool bars I’ve found using Foursquare.

The app helps you find the best places to eat, drink, shop or visit in cities around the world. Users leave the recommendations, so the app is more useful in cities where there are tons of users. But I’ve always been able to use Foursquare to find amazing spots!

The reviews are the best part. I always check Foursquare before ordering a new dish in a restaurant to ensure I get the best thing on the menu. If you’re shelling out money at a fancy Parisian restaurant, you want to know you’ll enjoy your meal!

For my fellow vegetarians out there, this app highlights places vegetarians have left positive reviews for. This makes it easier for us to choose our next dinner location.

Swarm

Website | iOS | Android

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Swarm is an app owned by Foursquare that I absolutely love to use. You can check in everywhere you go and keep track of your whole trip using Swarm. I love to check in everywhere I go, then look over all the places I’ve been when my trip is over.

Swarm is especially useful if you want to remember the name of those tiny restaurants you went to in Florence so you can recommend them to your friends and family later.

HappyCow

Website | iOS | Android

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Calling all my fellow vegetarians and vegans out there! Downloading HappyCow to your phone will change your life. In certain cities, it’s difficult to find restaurants that offer vegetarian or vegan meals. HappyCow wants to solve that problem.

HappyCow is crowdsourced, so fellow users help you find vegetarian, vegan and veggie-friendly places to eat all over the world. Before I go to a new city, I like to check HappyCow just to know if I’ll have a hard time finding places to eat. If it looks especially dicey, I’ll just book a place with Airbnb that has a kitchen so I can cook for myself.

The Best Travel Apps for European Accommodation

Airbnb

Website | iOS | Android

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I absolutely love Airbnb, and you probably do, too! I love that you can actually live like a local in cities around the world, use a native’s kitchen, hang out in your own living room in Copenhagen, Amsterdam or Edinburgh.

Airbnb is an amazing tool to book accommodation, whether you’re looking for an entire flat or house to yourself or just a room in a shared space. Make sure you double-check your host’s rules and what’s included in the price before booking, then enjoy your home away from home for a few days.

Hostelworld

Website | iOS | Android

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Are you backpacking around Europe? I absolutely recommend Hostelworld for finding beds all over the continent. You can book a bed in a shared or private room. You can even choose from bed and breakfasts that are featured exclusively on Hostelworld.

The best thing about the Hostelworld app? It’s extremely thorough. You can easily do everything on the app, from reading hostel reviews to learning about details of the region, because the hostels listed provide tons of information.

Couchsurfing

Website | iOS | Android

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Want to save a lot of money on accommodation while traveling around Europe? When you use Couchsurfing, you’re able to connect with people who have a spare room or just a sofa in their living room where you can crash. For free!

It’s like having a friend in another city who lets you stop by, hang out with them and save some big bucks.

Couchsurfing is also a great tool if you want to meet fellow travelers, as people are always arranging meetups through the app. You can also use the app to inform people nearby that you want to grab a beer or coffee.

HotelTonight

Website | iOS | Android

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With HotelTonight, you can find great last-minute deals in nice hotels all over the world.

Book your place for the same night or for the next seven nights using the app and get unique deals you can’t find anywhere else. Sometimes finding a good last-minute deal feels like a scavenger hunt, especially in heavily touristed cities. And HotelTonight makes that scavenger hunt a lot easier!

 

Europe is an amazing destination full of unique experiences in every single city. Select your favorite apps from this list and prepare to enjoy your European adventure.

There’s nothing better than arriving at a place feeling completely prepared and excited. And with these best travel apps for Europe, you can’t go wrong.

Happy travels!

 


Debbie Corrano is a digital strategist and writer. She works remotely while traveling the world full-time with her two dogs. Over the past few years, Debbie has lived in more than 10 countries, learned a few languages and worked with dozens of agencies and brands.

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.

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