Where to Visit while Backpacking Eastern Europe

Backpacking is the perfect way to enjoy the scenery, history, and people of Eastern Europe. With its many historical monuments and well preserved countryside, it’s one of the most amazing places to visit for a backpacking trip. From Turkey to Slovenia and Latvia to Albania, there are enough exciting places to explore here to keep you busy for months. Backpacking in Eastern Europe will allow you the opportunity to experience everything this unique region has to offer.

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Travel by Train While Backpacking Through Europe

The most popular method of transportation for backpackers in Europe is to travel by train. The railway system in Europe is one of the most well maintained, reliable,and affordable means of travel in the world. If you’re unfamiliar with train travel in Europe, figuring out if you need a rail pass, and if so which one will best fit your trip can be a challenge. Your best bet for ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience is careful planning. It’s important to purchase your rail pass before you depart as you won’t be able to once you’ve arrived. Not only will this help you save significantly, it will also give you time to plan properly and familiarize yourself with how train travel in Europe works.

So Is A Rail Pass Right For You?

Buying a rail pass will most definitely be your best option if you’re looking to make your vacation as affordable as possible. Point to point tickets will add up quickly, not to mention you’ll be forced to wait in line to get them. Not only will buying a pass save you money, it will also grant you a lot more flexibility and comfort on you trip. However, you will still be required to pay supplementals for high speed trains and seat reservations.

Which Rail Pass Should You Buy?

Choosing which rail pass will best suit your backpacking trip through Europe depends on your itinerary and length of stay. If you’re planning to visit many different countries, then your best option will definitely be a Eurail Global Pass.

If your taking a more focused trip and you’ll only be in 4 or 5 countries, then the Eurail Select Pass will be your best bet. Select passes allow for unlimited travel between a maximum of 5 bordering countries so it fits perfectly with a smaller itinerary.

Both options will provide you travel in the following countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria (Select Pass Only)
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Holland (Global Pass Only)
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Montenegro (Select Pass Only)
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

These are just 2 of many available rail passes for traveling around Europe. There are many more options worth exploring and no matter what your itinerary looks like, there’s probably a pass for you. Another benefit that you may not have considered is the difficulty buying point to point tickets if you don’t speak the native language. A rail pass will allow you to avoid the confusion that comes with communicating in a foreign country.

Do your research and look around before buying your pass and make sure whichever one you choose will fit your vacation well. For more information or to buy your rail pass, check out the following site:

RailEurope.com – Your train travel resource for visiting Europe

Eurail Global PassFirst class unlimited travel all over Europe.

Eurail Select Pass – Unlimited travel to up to 5 neighboring countries.

(Both of these options offer youth and senior prices)

Finding Cheap Flights Within Europe

With the recent emergence of budget airlines in Europe, flying from one destination to the next is more affordable than ever. 5 years ago it wouldn’t be anywhere near economical to fly point to point in Europe and taking the train was really your only option. However, that has all changed and now flying may be your best bet.

There are several advantages flying will give you over riding the rails, the most noticeable being the amount of time you can save. Besides time, you can also save money thanks to the competitive nature of Europe’s discount carriers. The last thing you want to do while backpacking Europe is waste your precious time and money. Today we’re going to look at your options for finding cheap flights within Europe.

Where And How To Book

The majority of Europe’s budget airlines offer user-friendly, interactive websites which include maps and a direct booking system. Your best bet for finding the cheapest airfare is to book your flight well in advance. The most affordable seats don’t last long and the longer you wait the more you’re going to pay. With enough advance notice, you can get tickets between major European cities for under a hundred dollars.

While budget airlines are a relatively new to the game, there are several carriers that have been around for awhile including Ryanair and easyJet which both offer very competitive prices. The best way to get cheap flights within Europe is to find an airline that has a hub in either your starting point or landing point. There are several places where you can find this information in one centralized place. Look at websites like Kayak, or Skyscanner to search routes among the majority of budget airlines as well as the major carriers.

What To Look Out For

There are several things you need to watch out for when taking advantage of budget airlines including nonrefundable tickets. If you’re going to fly with a budget carrier, it’s important to pay careful attention to all of their policies, restrictions, and other fine print. Below you will find a list of the most common pitfalls you may experience while taking cheap flights within Europe.

  • Most budget airlines require you to book your tickets online which can make it difficult to find a real live person to talk with if you run into problems.
  • Flights are tightly scheduled, so deadlines are heavily enforced. Be early for all of your flights or risk missing out on your plane and the cost of your ticket.
  • Pay close attention to baggage policies as many budget carriers have a variety of additional fees for heavy bags or extra luggage.
  • Some budget airlines use obscure air strips located far from the city center so be prepared to pay a little extra for transportation to and from the airport.

Besides these few pitfalls, budget airlines are an excellent option for people backpacking through Europe. Not only are they cost efficient but they are also a great place to meet fellow travelers and native Europeans.

For more information about flying cheap within Europe, check out the following budget airline booking and information sites:

  1. Skyscanner.com
  2. Europe By Air
  3. FlyCheapo
  4. CheapOair
  5. easyJet.com
  6. Kayak
  7. Mobissmo
  8. Wegolo

Travel Tips For Having A Successful Trip

Backpacking through Europe is one of the most exciting, rewarding, and memorable experiences many people will ever have. There is nothing more adventurous than setting off on a trip exploring whichever European destinations that you want. From the uncertainty of finding a hostel to deciding which countries you’d like to see most, it all may seem a bit overwhelming. To help you make the most of your trip, check out our our tips for having a successful trip backpacking Europe.

Choosing The Right Season To Visit

Deciding which season you want to visit Europe is one of the most important decisions you will make. The summer is definitely the most busy time of year and with that traffic also comes longer lines and less hostel availability. However, the weather during the summer is fantastic and if you you don’t mind dealing with the crowds then the summer is the time for you. Winter time is also a great season to visit, however you may miss out on some attractions which are closed for the season. Both times of year have their pros and cons and choosing when to go just comes down to your own personal preference.

Managing Your Money

Budgeting is another very important part of ensuring an enjoyable backpacking trip. There are 4 primary costs that you want to focus on. Food, accommodation, transportation, and attractions. Make sure that you budget accordingly for these expenses, and whatever money you have left can be spent enjoying the nightlife, buying souvenirs, or put away for your next trip. Below you will find several tips for making the most of your money while backpacking Europe.

  • Look out for free walking tours. In most major European cities it is not uncommon to find students or other native citizens offering free walking tours. These are offered by people hoping to practice their English and taking a tour like this will allow you to find many places that you won’t see in any guidebook or travel brochure. Make sure to give them a few Euros at the end of the tour to show your appreciation.
  • Buy the Eurail Pass. Depending on your itinerary and length of stay, a Eurail pass will offer significant savings on transportation between countries. Another benefit to buying a Eurail pass is the flexibility it will provide in where you choose to go.
  • Drink tap water. If you’re planning to eat at a restaurant and you’re going to order water, make sure to specify that you want tap water. If you don’t, you can look forward to an expensive bottle of water.
  • When you can, eat at local markets. Besides being affordable, shopping where the locals shop will give you a unique insight into their culture and cuisine.
  • Make use of budget airlines. Cheap flights within Europe are a growing phenomenon and in some cases it may be cheaper to fly rather than taking the train.

Give Each Destination Enough Of Your Time

One mistake that I see many new backpackers make is not giving enough time to each place that they visit. Don’t try to rush through your trip or you run the risk on missing out on some great places and some great experiences. Give each destination at least a week and you’ll be thankful you did when it’s time to come home.

Make New Friends

Backpacking is about taking chances and being adventurous. In the spirit of that, put yourself out there and make friends with fellow travelers that you meet. There are some incredible people out there traveling the world and meeting new people is a big part of the backpacking experience.

Travel Off The Beaten Path

One of the best parts about backpacking through Europe is the opportunity to explore destinations off the beaten path. When you’re at your hostel for an evening, make friends, and spend some time learning from your fellow travelers. Your bunk-mates can be your best friend when it comes to finding new and unique places to visit, so be sure pick their brain whenever you get the chance.

Practice Common Sense & Routine Safety

No set of travel tips would be complete without a short warning to be careful wherever you may travel. Never take your eyes off your backpack, not even for a minute. If you get an uneasy feeling about someone or somewhere, go with your gut. The saying, ‘rather be safe than sorry’ definitely applies here, so make sure to follow your instincts and practice common sense.

The Top Places To Visit In Europe:

Rome: The capital city to one of the most powerful civilizations to ever walk the Earth, Rome is full of inspiring historical structures and an incredibly unique culture. Visiting Rome is one thing that every person should do at least once and exploring this amazing city will leave you with a lasting memory.

Cinque Terre: The five lands of the Cinque Terre are one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy and one of the country’s best kept secrets. Located in the Italian Riviera, and sitting right on the edge of the Mediterranean, these 5 towns make for an excellent place to stop during your trip.

Dubrovnik: Located on the coast of the Adriatic sea, Dubrovnik is world famous for its remarkable architecture, picturesque views, and impressive nightlife.

London: No trip to Europe would be complete without stopping in one of Europe’s most famous cities. London is the perfect destination for those who enjoy culture, history, and incredible architecture. There are tons of places to visit in London and no matter what you’re interested in, the city has something for you.

Paris: The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe are just 3 of many sights that await you in the city of lights. Paris is by far one of the most beautiful European destinations and the city definitely deserves a stop during your backpacking trip.

Barcelona: Spain’s second largest city and one of its most popular tourist destinations, Barcelona is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites as well as a variety of art galleries, museums, and restaurants.

Amsterdam: Besides the world famous Red Light District, Amsterdam is home to a wide array of other exciting places to see. Make sure to give the city a few days of your time to truly get the full experience.

Bruges: This quaint Belgian town is one of the most beautifully preserved medieval cities in Europe. Amazing architecture, captivating sights, and a vibrant student population make Bruges an excellent place to visit.

Budva: Known as the Montenegrin Miami, Budva features some of Europe’s most beautiful natural scenery, and a variety of activities for you to enjoy including scuba diving and hiking. For more information, check out our related article about backpacking in Montenegro.

Gimmelwald: Located in the mountains of Switzerland, Gimmelwald is a small yet impressive town only accessible by hiking or cable car. Making a stop here will allow you take a step back from modern technology and enjoy the more simple things in life.