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.
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.