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Eurolines: travel by coach to Ireland or Europe
  Buying your ticket
  Eurolines passes
  Journey breaks
  Customs checks
  Passport controls


Eurolines is the largest coach operator for services across Europe. In the UK its services are administered by National Express. This page gives a guide to buying a ticket and using this service.

Eurolines services from the UK to continental Europe either go through the Eurotunnel or use a ferry from Dover to Calais. Services to Ireland go by ferry. The cost of the ferry or Eurotunnel is included in your coach ticket.

Eurolines coach

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If possible you should buy your coach tickets in advance (services are often fully booked).
Click here to buy a Eurolines coach ticket online and to check times.
You can print your own ticket, or ask for a ticket to be sent to you if you prefer.
Check your ticket carefully before travelling and remember to take it with you.

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Eurolines passes are available for 15 or 30 days.
There is a Youth fare for people aged under 26 on the first date of travel.

The cost depends on the time of year, as follows:
Low season: 1 January - 31 March, and 1 November - 15 December 2007
Mid season: 1 April - 23 June, and 11 September - 31 October 2007
High season: 24 June - 10 September, and 16 - 31 December 2007

Ticket name
2007 fares
15 Day Eurolines Pass
30 Day Eurolines Pass

The passes allow you to travel between the following European countries (you can use the links to book cheap accommodation in each city):

Austria (Vienna [Wien]) ; Belgium (Brussels) ; Czech Republic (Prague [Praha]) ; Denmark (Copenhagen) ; England (London) ; Estonia (Tallinn) ; France (Lille, Lyons [Lyon], Marseilles [Marseille], Montpellier, Paris, Perpignan, Strasbourg [Strassbourg], Toulouse) ; Germany (Berlin, Cologne [Köln], Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich [München]) ; Hungary (Budapest) ; Ireland (Dublin) ; Italy (Florence [Firenze], Milan [Milano], Rome [Roma], Siena [Sienna], Venice [Venezia]) ; Latvia (Riga) ; Netherlands (Amsterdam) ; Norway (Oslo) ; Poland (Krakow, Warsaw [Warszawa]) ; Romania (Bucharest) ; Scotland (Edinburgh) ; Spain (Madrid, Barcelona) ; Sweden (Gothenburg, Stockholm) ; Switzerland (Geneva, Zurich)

New additions in 2007: Bordeaux, Bratislava, Brno, Gdansk, Nantes, Stuttgart, Vilnius

Normally each journey you take must start and end in different countries, because Eurolines is licensed to operate international routes. However, the following journeys within the same country are allowed: Paris-Lyon, Barcelona-Madrid, Vienna-Salzburg, Frankfurt-Munich, Milan-Rome via Siena. Note that, depending on the route you want to take, you may wish to fly to your first and/or last destination (for information about budget airlines flying to/from the UK, see: Travel/Transport/Air).

You are recommended to reserve your seats in advance (especially during the peak months of July and August). You can reserve your first journey (from London Victoria) when you buy your pass. When you arrive in a city you can make a free reservation for your next journey, but there is an administrative charge when you make a reservation for a journey which starts in another country (2006 charge: £3 or 5 euros).

Click here for further details and to buy a Eurolines Pass. You should buy your pass at least 7 days before you travel. You pick up your pass at the start of your journey.

To check timetables of the Eurolines services, click here.

Backpacking with a Eurolines pass

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You should try to arrive at the coach station at least 1 hour before travelling.

It is a good idea to take some food and drink with you for the journey (these are not available on the coach) - you can usually buy something at the coach station. Note that hot food is not allowed on board the coach.

Check the screens at the coach station to find the correct departure gate.
When the check-in desk has opened, take out your ticket and passport and join the correct queue.
For security reasons, do not leave your bags unattended at any time. If you are in a group, one person can queue up with all of the group's tickets and passports (put the correct ticket inside each passport), but each member of the group should go up to the desk when that person is at the front, so that identities can be checked.

The person at the check-in desk will check your ticket and return to you:
- a boarding pass
- luggage labels for each of your bags
- your ticket, with luggage label numbers for your bags attached (in case they are lost)
- an immigration form, if necessary (eg: you need to complete a landing card if you not have an EU passport and you are about to return to the UK: you should complete this card at the start of the journey to avoid causing delays later)

Place a luggage labels on each of your bags (you do not have to write your name on these).

When the coach is ready for boarding (usually about 15 minutes before departure), place your bags in the storage hold of the coach. You can normally take a small item of hand luggage with you on the coach. Make sure that you keep your passport with you at all times - do not keep it in the storage hold. It is also a good idea to carry a pen with you if you need to complete a landing card. When the driver is ready, queue up by the front entrance door and hand your boarding pass to the driver. Find a seat (places are not reserved). Remain on the coach until it is ready to leave.

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You will find it more comfortable to use the toilet at the coach station or during breaks at service stations. However, Eurolines coaches have their own small toilet on board, either in the middle or at the far end of the vehicle. If there is no toilet paper or some other problem, inform the driver during one of the breaks.

There are short journey breaks every few hours, usually at a service station. European law states that drivers must have a break of at least 20 minutes after every 4 hours of driving.

Listen carefully to the driver when he/she announces what time you should return to the coach. If you are unsure, check with the other passengers, ask the driver, or stay near the coach. Often the break will be a short one of 15 or 20 minutes.

If you need to use the toilet it is a good idea to do this first in case there is a long queue. Remember the route back to the coach so that you can find it quickly when you return. Aim to be back at the coach 5 minutes early. Do not go shopping unless you are sure that you have enough time to pay and to return to the coach. Do not take any hot food back onto the coach (because of the smell it is not allowed). If you are late, either the coach will leave without you, or you will cause a delay for everybody (if the journey includes a sea crossing through Eurotunnel or on a ferry, you may cause the coach to miss the connection).

If you are taking a ferry, you must leave the coach during the journey (this is for safety reasons). Remember the deck number and colour of the staircase which is nearest to the coach. The crossing between Dover (England) and Calais (France) normally takes about 1 hour 30 minutes. If you want a meal in one of the restaurants it may be a good idea to go there first. There are shops, toilets and money change facilities on the ferries. When there is an announcement telling you to return to your vehicle, go to the correct staircase and go down to your deck number. It is important to return to the coach on time: it has to leave the ferry as soon as the vehicle in front of it moves.

If you use the Eurotunnel to cross from England to France, the coach will drive onto a train and then turn off its engine. You are allowed to get off the vehicle during the crossing, which lasts about 35 minutes once the train has started moving. There are toilets at either end, but no food or other facilities. To walk between carriages you need to press a button, wait for a couple of seconds and then push the door. It may get quite hot on the coach, because the air conditioning cannot be used during the crossing.

Eurotunnel train

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Customs officers may decide to carry out luggage checks on a coach. If this happens, you will be asked to get off the coach and to take all of your bags with you (both your hand luggage and any bags you have put in the storage hold). You need to queue and show your passport. Your bags will be passed through security machines, and you may be asked to open your bags and answer some questions. While this process is continuing, the coach is checked (sometimes dogs are used to check for any drugs). Once you have been checked, go back to the coach, put your bags back in the storage hold and wait for checks on the other passengers to be completed.

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Your passport will be checked before you leave the UK and before you leave France or Ireland to return to the UK. There will also be checks if you cross any border outside the Schengen area. Make sure that you have obtained a visa if you need one to enter the Schengen area or any other countries on your journey. If you do not have a valid passport or visa you will not be allowed to leave the country: in this case you would need to get off the coach.

Sometimes all of the passports are collected and checked outside the vehicle. If the immigration officers have any questions, you may be asked to go to their office to answer these. The passports are sometimes returned to the driver, who may drive to the queue for the ferry or Eurotunnel before returning them to you (this helps to save time).

Alternatively, you may be asked to leave the coach for the passport checks. This is normally the case when you are about to return to the UK. Queue up and wait until an immigration officer is free (before you are called, please stay behind the line marked on the ground). You may be asked some questions, for example about what you are doing, where you are staying and how long you are staying. If you have evidence to support what you say (for example, a letter from your school or university if you are a student), you may wish to carry this with you. Return to the coach once you have been checked and wait for the other passengers.

Non-EU citizens will need to hand in their completed landing cards before returning to the UK. This card should be completed using capital letters. Note that the "place of birth" is the city where you were born (as shown in your passport), and your "occupation" is your main job (if you are a tourist in the UK, this is what you were doing in your own country before you came; if you don't have a visitor/tourist visa then your occupation usually relates to the type of visa you have, for example you may be a "student", "working holidaymaker" or an "au pair"). Do not write on the back of the card: this is for official use only. If you make a mistake you will need to obtain a new landing card and fill it in again.

Landing card

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Coach travel: Travel/Transport/Coach
National Express: Shop/Company/NationalExpress

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