The Gorgeous And Wildly Underrated European Country Where Public Transportation Is Free

If you're planning European day trips that cross borders, you definitely won't want to skip a trip to Luxembourg. It's only a short trip from France, Belgium, or Germany, and as tiny as this little European nation may be, it has plenty to explore — and a lot of it is accessible by public transportation. Even better, all public transportation has been free for tourists and locals alike since 2020.


Luxembourg's attractions are often overlooked by travelers who have their sights focused on landmarks in other European nations. But from Luxembourg's quaint countryside to its vibrant Christmas markets, you'll find a lot to do and see whether you're staying for an afternoon or a week. For example, if you're planning to be in Germany to see Burg Eltz castle, you might want to include a journey to Luxembourg to see the beautiful fairytale-style Vianden Castle.

Or, if you're exploring the fascinating Catacombs of Paris or going deep into Palais du Coudenberg in Brussels, you'll love descending into the 17th-century tunnels called Bock Casemates. Best of all, you can probably get to your destination by train, tram, or bus — all of which are free.


Why Luxembourg's public transportation is free

It might seem surprising for a public transportation system to be entirely free, considering many world-renowned public transit systems like New York City's subway keep getting more expensive every year. However, according to Luxtoday, the Luxembourg transit system always costs more than it made, with fares only bringing in about 10% of the cost to operate and maintain it. Rather than considering that a problem, Luxembourg eliminated the price altogether in hopes of encouraging both locals and visitors to choose public transportation over driving.


On average, the people of Luxembourg are the richest in the world, and as such many families have multiple cars. Traffic can be a major annoyance for residents, and emissions are a serious concern. To try to offer an alternative, Luxembourg has made its many trains, buses, and trams free to use. If you like to travel in style, you can buy an upgrade to first class, but otherwise, you don't even need to reserve your spot.

What the public transit is like in Luxembourg

If you're taking a train into Luxembourg, you will have to pay a fee, but as soon as you enter the country, free transit starts. If you happen to be flying into Luxembourg (hopefully arriving in the afternoon or evening to beat jet lag), you should be able to take a free shuttle bus right from the airport. From there, you'll have access to an extensive public transit system you don't have to pay for — but what is it really like to ride on it every day?


While public transportation is known for being comfortable, clean, and easy to use, some locals complain that the trains are often late, so you may want to leave yourself some extra time if you're relying on them to get where you're going. On a Reddit post about the free transportation in June 2024, a few noted safety concerns as the easy accessibility has made it easier for anyone and everyone to use the trains and buses as often as they want. Still, the vast majority of Luxembourg locals were enthused about the quality of the public transit, with one expat lamenting: "You don't appreciate free transportation in Luxembourg until you travel elsewhere and have to pay for it."