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Explore Europe On A Budget: It's Cheaper Than Flying

If you're planning a European vacation and want to maximize your sightseeing without breaking the bank, you might be inclined to fly from one destination to the next. However, recent findings suggest that taking a ferry is not only more affordable but also offers a unique and enjoyable travel experience. Surprisingly, in many cases, ferry travel can even be quicker than flying.



A recent price analysis reveals that in 12 out of 14 comparisons, taking a ferry was significantly cheaper than flying within Europe, with some savings reaching up to 86%. Here’s why ferries might be the best choice for your European adventure:



Inter-Island Ferries

One of the most compelling examples of the benefits of ferry travel is inter-island routes. For instance, in the Canary Islands, the ferry from Fuerteventura to Lanzarote costs just 18 euros (about $19) per person each way and takes approximately 30 minutes. In comparison, flights between these islands start at 39 euros (about $41) and take about 35 minutes, not including the additional two hours typically spent on airport security and waiting.

Similarly, for those exploring the Scottish Islands, the cost of flying from Inverness to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis starts at £103 (about $129) for a one-way ticket. Meanwhile, the ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway costs just £9 (about $11) one-way. Although the ferry ride takes 2.5 hours compared to the 45-minute flight, the ferry journey offers the opportunity to enjoy a meal, relax on deck, and possibly spot dolphins, making it a more scenic and leisurely experience.



International Ferries

Ferries are also a fantastic option for international travel within Europe. One popular route is the Stena Line ferry from Harwich in the UK to Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands. This ferry service is particularly appealing for families due to its affordability and convenience. Onboard, you’ll find a range of amenities similar to those on a mini cruise ship, including various cabin options, restaurants, bars, a cinema, kids clubs, and even a casino. During the summer, additional entertainment is provided for children.

Stena Line also offers convenient "rail and sail" packages, which combine ferry travel with train tickets to your next destination, simplifying the logistics of your trip.

Another notable route is the ferry from Dover to Calais. While the Eurostar train is known for its speed and sustainability between the UK and France, the ferry is about 6% cheaper. Ferries on this route also feature restaurants, duty-free shopping, children’s play areas, and ample space to walk around, ensuring a comfortable journey.

For those looking to explore Scandinavia, the ferry from Frederikshavn in Denmark to Gothenburg in Sweden is another budget-friendly option compared to flying.



Additional Benefits of Ferry Travel

Beyond the cost savings, ferry travel offers several other advantages. It is significantly more environmentally friendly than flying, contributing to lower carbon emissions. Ferries also have no stringent luggage weight restrictions, so you can bring as much as you can carry without extra fees.



For travelers driving through Europe, ferries offer the convenience of bringing your vehicle along. Typically, charges are per vehicle rather than per person, making it a cost-effective option for families or groups. For example, a family of four can enjoy considerable savings by opting for ferry travel, particularly during the peak summer season when flight prices are usually higher.



Traveling by ferry across Europe is an excellent way to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and enjoy a more relaxed and scenic journey. Whether you’re island-hopping or traveling between countries, ferries provide a practical and enjoyable alternative to flying, allowing you to explore Europe in a whole new way.

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