Heading off an a grand European adventure this summer? We’re sharing a few tried and true ways to navigate, translate, and see the world as you sip, savor, and stroll through Europe like a local. Make your trip a breeze with these 10 easy-to-use and helpful apps.
Because it’s convenient to not need a car to get around most European vacation destinations, there are a few more logistical steps to figure out in terms of transportation. Going anywhere near the water and needing to take a ferry from one place to another? FerryHopper is the must-have app! Whether you’re taking a day trip from one greek island to the next or trying to get from Capri or Positano, you can find ferry timetables and buy tickets within the Ferryhopper app or website.
Speaking of not needing cars, the easiest way to travel through Europe is by train. As Ferryhopper can get you almost anywhere by boat, you can purchase train tickets quickly and easily through the Trainline app. You can track train times, buy tickets, and select seats within the app. As a bonus, you never have to worry about validating paper tickets in countries like Italy, as the ticket and QR code are right on your phone.
3. GOOGLE TRANSLATE
Need to convey a message to someone who doesn’t speak your language? Download the Google Translate app, type your message, and the app will read the translation allowed in the selected language. Can’t read anything on the menu? Take a photo through the app, which will translate the text on the screen to your language! It’s nearly flawless and so helpful.
4. RIDEMOVI OR LIME
Want to get around the city a little faster than walking without missing the views in a metro? Many European cities such as Madrid, Rome, and Paris have Lime and RideMovi electric bikes and scooters to get you around the city quickly and easily. Download the apps beforehand, and you’ll be ready to ride!
Certainly the most robust hotel booking site for European stays, you need to have quick access to your Booking.com reservations and can do so on their handy app. Booking.com offers more than just hotels though! We’ve found the best rates with fewer fees than Airbnb. You’ll want the app on your phone to be able to quickly answer questions about where you’re staying when either going through customs lines or filling out official forms.
While not commonly used by Americans, the rest of the world uses Whatsapp all the time. As a messaging and phone app, Whatsapp allows you to communicate with Airbnb or tour hosts, call restaurants to make reservations, meet up with friends, or keep in touch even after your trip. When we say everyone else uses it, we mean EVERYONE else uses it, so download it soon and start getting used to it!
7. FREENOW OR UBER
There are many Rideshare apps across the continent, but FreeNow is the one app we’ve found that works in most European countries. Uber and Bolt are common, but FreeNow is the rideshare app of choice in most places. It works almost identically to Uber or Lyft.
8. GOOGLE MAPS
Google Maps is the perfect app for planning and taking trips to Europe. Save places such as restaurant recommendations or must-visit attractions to your list in advance, and use the map for directions and location scouting while you’re on vacation. We’ve found that Google Maps typically works better than Apple maps in Europe, but we use both frequently.
9. GET YOUR GUIDE
Want to skip the long ticket line for the museum on your vacation itinerary? Download Get Your Guide app before your trip, and purchase your attraction tickets in advance! It offers ticket variations from skip-the-line access to audio tours to guided tours. When you get to the attraction’s main gate, all you need is the ticket that conveniently lives on your phone, and you’re in!
For every other cultural experience that can’t be found on the Tiqets or Get Your Guide apps, there are Airbnb Experiences. Download the Airbnb app well before your trip and find the coolest local-lead opportunities, from boat rides in the Mediterranean to cooking classes with local grandmas and everything in between.