Crossing the border by train, plane or car is cheap, easy and scenic but buses offer the most bang for your buck.
Seattle and Vancouver are two of the North American continent’s most impressive cities and no tour of the Pacific Northwest would be complete without a stop at both. You could take the train, but with prices as low as $5 and a journey time of as little as 3 hours 30 minutes, coaches are the cheapest and easiest way to travel. Currently, three coach companies make the 143-mile journey daily, serving everyone from business travellers to tourists. If you’re considering making this well-trodden journey but don’t know which company to use, we’ve compared the best bus services based on price, duration, customer reviews, onboard facilities and ease of booking to help make your decision a little easier.
FlixBus is one of the best-known bus companies in Europe and North America thanks to its rock-bottom prices and reliability. The company offers six services a day, ranging from 3 hours 30 minutes to 7 hours 15 minutes depending on the route and time of day. Prices are cheaper than its competitors, making it the best option for those travelling on a budget. It’s also a good option for cyclists, as passengers can book a dedicated bike slot for an additional fee. Onboard there’s free WiFi, power outlets at each seat and a toilet. Services depart from Vancouver Pacific Central Station and arrive at the University of Washington or the International District.
Greyhound is North America’s most iconic bus service, though FlixBus acquired the company in 2021. It still operates its own fleet of buses and a separate schedule with two services per day. Tickets are slightly more expensive than FlixBus, but it is the only company that offers a service during the night, making it the best option for travellers looking to maximize their time in both cities. Journeys take between 4 hours 5 minutes and 4 hours 20 minutes and arrive into the Greyhound Station in Seattle in the early morning. Most buses have free WiFi, power outlets and cup holders at each seat.
Amtrak is best known for its train services, but the company also offers a convenient ‘thruway connecting service’ between Vancouver and Seattle. There are six services from central Vancouver per day to choose from, with an additional three services from Richmond. It is the only bus provider that offers an early morning service, which departs at 05:30 a.m. and arrives into Seattle King Street Station at 09:00 a.m., just in time for breakfast. Prices are slightly steeper than both FlixBus and Greyhound, but several services make the journey in just 3 hours and 15 minutes – the fastest of any company.