I’ve been scowled at for using the informal ”tu” to an older Parisian woman I asked directions from, laughed at for carrying a 24-roll pack of toilet paper on Milan’s metro (I still don’t get what was wrong with this), and raised eyebrows by absent-mindedly addressing a ticket inspector on a Krakow tram as “Mummy.”
These sorts of gaffes seem to be amplified on public transit. Push your way onto a subway train in Copenhagen and you blend in – according to Danish friends it’s the one place in Denmark where mild social aggression is tolerated. Try the same thing in Glasgow and … well, just try it and see. In London, dumped newspapers on trains are a form of courtesy. In Vienna, they are treated like something dead that the cat’s dragged in.
In other words, it always helps to know the local rules. Talking to friends around Europe, I’ve compiled this summer travel season guide of specifically local subway do’s and don’ts in some of the continent’s major capitals.