There are few issues as thrilling as embarking on a backpacking journey via Europe. The rush of pleasure as you step off the aircraft or prepare in a brand new nation is an unbelievable feeling.

As a traveller who spent eight months backpacking round Europe, It’s a sense I do know fairly properly. Starting in London, I spent the higher a part of a yr climbing via snowy Sweden, devouring pasta in Italy, making new hostel buddies in Budapest, and dancing the evening away in Spain.

In reality, this backpacking journey was presumably the very best expertise of my life — it’s one thing I might whole-heartedly advocate to anybody sooner or later.

If you’ve ever contemplated spending just a few weeks or months in Europe, then this text is for you. I’ll focus on the very best itineraries in Eastern and Western Europe, what to anticipate by way of security, and how one can get off the overwhelmed path to see among the world’s most unbelievable sights.

Highlights of Travel in Europe

*Note: As of 2021, residents from the USA, Canada, Australia (and different nations) who didn’t want to use for something with the intention to go backpacking within the Schengen visa countries of Europe, should now apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa waiver. Also, some nations that wanted to use for a Schengen Visa up to now could now solely have to get hold of an ETIAS waiver. Learn extra concerning the ETIAS requirements here.

Best Time To Go Backpacking in Europe

If you’re planning on backpacking via Europe, you’ll first have to resolve what time of the yr to go. This will rely on a number of elements, together with your price range and what nations you propose on visiting.

Many travellers suppose early fall and late spring are the very best occasions to go to Europe. Depending on the place you’re going, the climate will in all probability be extra bearable than summer time or winter.

Due to the college vacation schedule, summer time is taken into account the height season in Europe. The climate is heat, the solar units later, and the streets are stuffed with households, tour teams, and travellers usually.

If you propose on backpacking Europe in June, July, or August, you may also anticipate that costs for motels and flights shall be a lot greater. It’s not unusual to spend two or 3 times greater than you’d if you happen to went through the low season.

Speaking of the low season, the least busy time to journey is from late fall to winter. Although some individuals take additional time through the Christmas holidays, Europe is mostly the most affordable throughout these months. You may suppose that the chilly temperatures and quick days make backpacking more durable, however with out all of the vacationers, you’ll get to expertise a completely completely different facet of Europe.

During my backpacking journey, I made a decision to fly to Stockholm, Sweden for a number of days in the course of January. Because of the freezing temperatures and harsh snowfall, lots of my buddies thought I used to be loopy! However, my hostel was tremendous low cost, and I by no means needed to battle via crowds or wait in line for eating places. Not to say, I felt like I had the town all to myself.

The fact is, there’s actually no mistaken time to go backpacking in Europe. There are benefits and downsides to every season, so that you’ll simply have to resolve which era is best for you.

backpacking europe italy

How to Get Around While Backpacking Europe

It ought to come as no shock that elements of Europe are identified for his or her quick and environment friendly transportation system. While some nations make it straightforward to get round when backpacking Europe, different locations is perhaps tougher. When planning your itinerary, it is best to take the next strategies of transportation into consideration.


Zipping from nation to nation by high-speed prepare is a quintessential European backpacking expertise. They’re quick, normally on time, and customarily inexpensive in comparison with flights and automotive leases. In some nations, trains even have free wifi and eating vehicles.

If you propose on taking a number of trains via a number of nations, it’s price investing in a Eurail pass to economize.  


Taking a bus via Europe could also be time-consuming, but it surely’s one of many least expensive methods of backpacking Europe. FlixBus and BlaBlaBus are two respected corporations working in western Europe. You can discover tickets for as little as €5 every method — nonetheless, most journeys price between €20 – €40.  


If you’re quick on time or going long-distances, flying is perhaps the best choice. Although you’ll want to permit time for check-in and safety, it’s typically a lot quicker than driving or taking the bus. You may even rating a very good deal on tickets by reserving with a low-cost airline similar to RyanAir, EasyJet or WizzAir. 


Renting a automotive is a wonderful possibility if you wish to discover completely different cities and cities at your personal tempo. You’ll even have the possibility to go to locations which can be extra distant or not linked by prepare. However, leases are usually dearer. And relying on the place you’re travelling, you may want a global driving license and the inexperienced gentle from the rental firm to cross borders. 


For the final word backpacking expertise, take into account renting a campervan to journey via Europe. Not solely will you lower your expenses on motels, however you’ll additionally be capable to get off the overwhelmed path to among the continent’s most hidden locations! 

Backpacking Western Europe

As probably the most iconic backpacking locations, Western Europe has all of it. It boasts the glitzy cities and larger-than-life monuments that most individuals envision once they consider Europe. There’s all the time a brand new metropolis to discover and new cultures to expertise, whether or not it’s your first, second, or one-hundredth time on the continent.

However, it could be arduous to resolve which locations to go to throughout your Western Europe journey. So, I put collectively this checklist of my prime nations for backpackers.

Backpacking Italy

Overflowing with historical past and tradition, Italy is a basic cease on any Western European itinerary. Whether you’re marvelling on the ruins in Rome or wine tasting in Tuscany, Italy is assured to have one thing that sparks your curiosity.

Bigger touristy cities are inclined to price way more than the outskirts. Fortunately, a few of Italy’s most lovely settings are the place you least anticipate finding them.

  • Budget: €50-€70/day
  • Average Dorm Bed Cost: €20-€40
  • Average Budget Hotel Cost: €60-€70
  • Average Budget Meal Cost: €10
  • Cost of Beer in Restaurant: €4
  • Cost of Transport by prepare: €1.50 a method

backpacking europe

Backpacking Germany

Many individuals journey to Germany for Oktoberfest, Carnival, or just to spend time within the nice open air. Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg are very best for many who need to expertise metropolis life.

On the opposite hand, there are many cute and charming medieval villages and castles to discover right here too. Best of all, Germany’s environment friendly prepare system makes backpacking via the nation a breeze!

  • Budget: €90-€100/day
  • Average Dorm Bed Cost: €30-€50
  • Average Budget Hotel Cost: €70-€80
  • Average Budget Meal Cost: €10
  • Cost of Beer in Restaurant: €3
  • Cost of Transport by Train: €2.50 a method

Backpacking France

Although it could be probably the most costly nations on this checklist, France remains to be a must-see vacation spot when backpacking via Europe. You can buy groceries in Paris, take cooking lessons in Provence, or calm down on the coast in Nice.

Not to say, the meals is out of this world! Its central location additionally makes it very best for travelling between different nations round Western Europe.

  • Budget: €100-€120/day
  • Average Dorm Bed Cost: €30-€50
  • Average Budget Hotel Cost: €90-€100
  • Average Budget Meal Cost: €12
  • Cost of Beer in Restaurant: €5
  • Cost of Transport by Train: €2 a method

Backpacking Spain

The laidback ambiance of Spain makes it one of many coolest locations to go to in Western Europe. Big cities like Barcelona and Madrid are stuffed with museums, parks, and wonderful structure.

For hotter climate, make your method down south to Seville or Malaga. Or, you’ll be able to all the time hop to the Canary Islands and Majora for the final word seaside getaway. Foodies and tradition addicts will take pleasure in spending the day museum hopping and tapas sampling via Spain.

  • Budget: €70-€80/day
  • Average Dorm Bed Cost: €20-€40
  • Average Budget Hotel Cost: €60-€70
  • Average Budget Meal Cost: €8
  • Cost of Beer in Restaurant: €3
  • Cost of Transport by Train: €2.20 a method

Backpacking the Netherlands (Holland)

Backpackers flock to Amsterdam for the gorgeous canals, world-class museums, and raging nightlife. However, there are lots of different picturesque cities and villages to go to within the Netherlands.

For occasion, you’ll be able to spend just a few days in among the Netherland’s different huge cities, like The Hague and Rotterdam. Or, make your option to Giethoorn, a fairy-tale-like metropolis with lush inexperienced foliage and dozens of picturesque canals.

  • Budget: €90-€100/day
  • Average Dorm Bed Cost: €20-€40
  • Average Budget Hotel Cost: €70-€80
  • Average Budget Meal Cost: €10
  • Cost of Beer in Restaurant: €3
  • Cost of Transport by Train: €3.50 a method

Backpacking Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe is usually missed by travellers in favour of well-known nations like France, Germany, and Italy. But for the adventurous backpacker who’s searching for one thing a bit completely different, jap Europe packs a giant punch. To put it merely, nations in jap Europe are breathtaking. Not to say, it’s normally rather a lot cheaper than western Europe.

If you need to get off the overwhelmed path and make your greenback stretch additional, try my favorite locations in Eastern Europe.

Backpacking the Czech Republic (Czechia)

Teeming with gothic structure and cobblestoned cities, the Czech Republic is likely one of the best nations to succeed in from Western Europe. It’s only a quick prepare experience away from Germany, Poland, and Austria.

Architecture lovers should go to Prague, the nation’s capital metropolis — in any other case often known as the “City of a Hundred Spires”. Other cities, similar to Český Krumlov and Brno, are much less touristy however equally beautiful to go to.

  • Budget: €60-€70/day
  • Average Dorm Bed Cost: €20-€30
  • Average Budget Hotel Cost: €60-€70
  • Average Budget Meal Cost: €6
  • Cost of Beer in Restaurant: €1.50
  • Cost of Transport by Train: €1.50 a method

Backpacking Bulgaria

Located on the Black Sea, Bulgaria is a wonderful vacation spot for many who need each seaside and metropolis life. The capital of Sofia has 2,000 years price of historical past, which is mirrored by the town’s numerous and ornate structure. After just a few days within the metropolis, head to culture-rich Plovdiv, or Varna, a small resort city positioned on the Black Sea. This vacation spot is inexpensive and identified for its white-sand seashores and sunbathing.

  • Budget: €30-€40/day
  • Average Dorm Bed Cost: €10-€20
  • Average Budget Hotel Cost: €30-€40
  • Average Budget Meal Cost: €3
  • Cost of Beer in Restaurant: €2
  • Cost of Transport by Train: €.80 a method 

backpacking europe plovdiv

Backpacking Romania

From the forested area of Transylvania to the clifftop fortress of Bran Castle, Romania is dotted with otherworldly sights. City-goers can spend time exploring Bucharest and Brașov, whereas out of doors lovers will revel within the majestic marvel of the Carpathian Mountains.

Most travellers truly spend extra time within the open air right here than they do within the metropolis! Best of all, Romania is likely one of the cheapest places to visit in Eastern Europe.

  • Budget: €30-€40/day
  • Average Dorm Bed Cost: €10-€15
  • Average Budget Hotel Cost: €30-€40
  • Average Budget Meal Cost: €4
  • Cost of Beer in Restaurant: €2
  • Cost of Transport by Train: €1 a method

Backpacking Hungary

Ideal for everybody from price range backpackers to high-end travellers, Hungary is a rustic that attracts you in. In Budapest, you will have gritty hostels and avenue meals stalls standing subsequent to luxurious resorts and connoisseur eating places. It oozes class and royalty, nonetheless, nonetheless manages to pay homage to its numerous cultural heritage.

  • Budget: €40-€50/day
  • Average Dorm Bed Cost: €15-€30
  • Average Budget Hotel Cost: €30-€40
  • Average Budget Meal Cost: €7
  • Cost of Beer in Restaurant: €1.50
  • Cost of Transport by Train: €1.50 a method 

Backpacking Ukraine

Over the previous few years, Ukraine has change into more and more standard amongst backpackers and travellers. Ukraine is a sprawling nation, and many individuals simply have time to go to Kyiv or tour the deserted metropolis of Pripyat (Chernobyl).

Despite what some might imagine, Ukraine is a protected place to go to if you happen to keep inside sure areas. So, with an open thoughts, I’m certain you’ll have a beautiful time backpacking via Ukraine.

  • Budget: €30-€40/day
  • Average Dorm Bed Cost: €10-€20
  • Average Budget Hotel Cost: €20-€30
  • Average Budget Meal Cost: €5
  • Cost of Beer in Restaurant: €2.50
  • Cost of Transport by Train: €.50 a method

Recommended Itineraries for Backpacking Europe

There are 44 nations in Europe, which might make planning the precise backpacking itinerary a little bit of a problem. Unless you will have an infinite price range and trip time, you’ll should be strategic about the place you go to. If you want some inspiration, then check out a few of my pattern journey itineraries.

2 Weeks in Western Europe: First Time Travellers

If you’re coming over to Europe for the primary time, you’ll be desirous to see as a lot as you’ll be able to in only a quick period of time. Although it’s a whirlwind tour, this 2-week itinerary takes you to Western Europe’s most iconic cities.

While two weeks is rarely sufficient time in Europe, you’ll be able to nonetheless profit from your go to by tackling the largest highlights and sights.

Day 1-3: London, the UK
Day 3-6: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Day 6-8: Berlin, Germany
Day 8-11: Paris, France
Day 11-14: Barcelona, Spain

2 Weeks in Eastern Europe: First Time Travellers

If you’re trying to save a couple of bucks in your first backpacking journey, then take into account heading to Eastern Europe. Accommodation, meals, and leisure are less expensive there than in Western Europe, that means you’ll be able to really feel comfy shopping for your new hostel buddies an additional spherical of drinks.

Between the traditional cities and ornate structure, you’ll be capable to make your method via a few of Eastern Europe’s most beautiful locations.

Day 1-3: Prague, the Czech Republic
Day 3-5: Krakow, Poland
Day 5-7: Bratislava, Slovakia
Day 7-10: Budapest, Hungary
Day 10-12: Bucharest, Romania
Day 12-14: Sofia, Bulgaria

1 Month in Eastern and Western Europe: Highlights

With one month in Europe, you’ll be capable to get a really feel for the ambiance and tradition of every nation. Not solely are you able to spend time within the huge cities, however you’ll additionally get an opportunity to enterprise to smaller villages and cities. By escaping the vacationer traps, you’ll lower your expenses and see a extra genuine lifestyle.

Day 1-3: Paris, France
Day 3-5: Nice, France
Day 5-8: Barcelona, Spain
Day 8-10: Seville, Spain
Day 10-14: Rome, Italy
Day 14-16: Florence, Italy
Day 16-19: Munich, Germany
Day 19-21: Prague, the Czech Republic
Day 21-24: Budapest, Hungary
Day 24-26: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Day 26-28: Bucharest, Romania
Day 28-30: Sofia, Bulgaria

backpacking europe italy

1 Month in Western Europe: Slow Paced

Sometimes, it’s higher to soak within the metropolis reasonably than race via it. Slow-paced travellers can nonetheless backpack via Europe and benefit from the completely different websites many European nations have to supply. As a profit, you’ll additionally spend much less time (and cash) on the street.

Day 1-4: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Day 4-8: Berlin, Germany
Day 8-12: Munich, Germany
Day 12-14: Zurich, Switzerland
Day 14-17: Milan, Italy
Day 17-21: Barcelona, Spain
Day 21-25: Madrid, Spain
Day 25-28: Lisbon, Portugal
Day 28-30: Porto, Portugal

Is Backpacking Europe Safe?

When I advised individuals I used to be backpacking via Europe, their first thought was “Is Europe Safe?” After all, I used to be a solo feminine traveller staying in hostels, taking trains, and strolling alone for eight months. Their considerations had been wholly justified.

However, it’s arduous to reply point-blank if Europe is protected or not. Safety will rely on a wide range of elements, together with the place and how you journey. While each place world wide has its personal set of risks, there are just a few methods to be protected whereas backpacking Europe.

Take Care of Your Valuables

No matter if you happen to’re in a giant metropolis or small village, it’s all the time vital to keep watch over your private belongings. Pickpockets and thieves will be wherever.

Don’t carry round massive quantities of money, and take a look at to not put on something you don’t need to lose, like costly sun shades or effective jewelry. If you’re staying in a resort, preserve your passport and valuables locked within the resort protected. And if you happen to’re in a hostel, put money into a padlock to maintain your baggage safe all through the evening.

Make Reliable Friends

Take it from me, backpacking alone is a improbable expertise. You get the possibility to fulfill new individuals in hostels and even pleasant locals within the cafe. In my opinion, it’s essential to make reliable buddies through the journey. Not solely will you will have somebody to hang around with, however they’ll be there that can assist you in case something goes awry.

Tell Family and Friends Your Itinerary

Before you allow in your journey, give your loved ones and buddies your detailed itinerary. Write down the tackle of your hostels, particulars of your prepare journey, and another info that can be utilized to succeed in you. Don’t overlook additionally to inform them in case your plans change!

Get Travel Insurance

One of crucial issues you’ll be able to take in your journey is international travel insurance. Travel insurance coverage protects you towards a wide range of travel-related incidents and may prevent 1000’s of {dollars} in payments and bills.

Good journey insurance coverage ought to present protection for emergency medical therapies, emergency evacuation, and journey cancellation and interruption. It may also embrace safety for misplaced and stolen baggage, in addition to missed or delayed flights.

Know Where the Nearest Embassy or Consulate Is

If one thing had been to go mistaken in your journey, it’s essential which you can flip to your property nation embassy for assist. Most nations in Europe have one embassy and a number of consulate workplaces in your house nation. From misplaced passports to medical emergencies, the embassy ought to be capable to help you in dire occasions of want.

renting a car in europe

Backpacking Europe Off the Beaten Path

If it’s your first time in Europe, you’ll in all probability need to go to the massive cities and standard landmarks. Who can blame you – the Eiffel Tower at evening is spectacular! However, among the greatest reminiscences shall be made if you happen to get off the overwhelmed path.

Sure, touristy cities are standard for a motive. On the opposite hand, you’ll be shoulder to shoulder with different vacationers reasonably than immersing your self with locals. If you’re searching for an genuine expertise in your nation, I like to recommend trying outdoors the information books and discovering just a few hidden gems by yourself.

Become Friends with Locals

Locals have the very best tips on what to see and do of their house nation. They know the place all the very best eating places are, the place you’ll be able to rating good offers on garments and souvenirs, and most significantly, the place you need to be spending your time throughout your journey.

Facebook, MeetUp, and Couchsurfing are three glorious websites for assembly different travellers and locals. Or if you happen to’re feeling pleasant, you’ll be able to all the time ask your waitress, bartender, or resort workers to level you in the precise path.

Rent a Car or Scooter

If you solely depend on trains and buses, you’re restricted to the place you’ll be able to go within the nation. Most public transport programs take you the place the touristy websites are within the metropolis centre or to the residential suburbs. By renting a automotive or scooter, you’ll be capable to enterprise wherever your coronary heart needs.

Additionally, you’ll be able to go at your personal tempo. Since you’re not tethered to a good prepare schedule, you’ll be able to discover all the space at your leisure.

Do Your Research – But Not Too Much!

Instead of studying a information e book for the very best locations to go to, I like to recommend scouring the web for recommendation. You’ll discover a whole lot of websites and journey blogs (with photos) about completely different locations different individuals have stumbled upon. And likelihood is, the places shall be method much less touristy than what your information e book recommends.

Although it’s good to do your homework, attempt to not persist with a strict itinerary. Feel free to be open-minded and take just a few dangers! Some of the very best experiences are those that occur whenever you least anticipate them.

The Best Off the Beaten Path Destinations in Europe

By now, it is best to have an thought of the place you’d like to go to whereas backpacking in Europe. But for extra inspiration, check out my favorite secret and tucked away locations all through the continent.

  • Cavtat, Croatia: This portside village is only a stone’s throw away from the guts of Dubrovnik, Croatia’s most well-known walled metropolis. Along the water, you’ll discover out of doors cafes, boutique outlets, and sun-soaked seashores.
  • Reims, France: If you’re trying so as to add a little bit of luxurious to your backpacking journey, head to French champagne nation. Reims is surrounded by dozens of champagne caves and tasting rooms the place you’ll be able to pattern this bubbly favorite.
  • Orvieto, Italy: Nestled on the cliffside of a volcano, Orvieto is an aesthetic, charming village in the course of Umbria. Come for the breathtaking views or pattern among the most scrumptious handmade pasta from a family-run restaurant.
  • Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Germany: Ripped proper from the pages of a fairy-tale, Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber is a picturesque medieval city. This walled metropolis will be visited only for a day journey. However, I like to recommend staying just a few days round Christmas for the well-known Christmas market!

Cluj-Napoca, Romania: In the guts of Transylvania sits Cluj-Napoca, a vibrant, vibrant metropolis identified for its vigorous scholar inhabitants. After trying out their cobblestoned previous city, sit in an out of doors cafe and luxuriate in a pleasant, low cost cup of espresso.

Travelling in Europe: Highlights From Two Months On The Road

Backpacking Europe: The Best Hikes

Of course, the massive cities in Europe are fantastic on their very own. However, it’s the pure fantastic thing about the outside that deliver these nations to life. For a breath of recent air, take into account embarking on an out of doors journey with considered one of these wonderful back-country hikes in Europe.

You’ll discover trails and hikes wherever there are mountains, however listed below are among the hottest journies in Europe.

Camino de Santiago, Spain

Attracting religious and leisure hikers alike, the Camino de Santiago has 300 years of custom. This hottest route takes roughly a month and leads you from the Camino Frances from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Be ready to fulfill tons of different like-minded people who’re additionally on a self-discovery journey. Click here to study extra.

Eastern Dolomites, Italy

Many individuals flock to the Dolomites within the winter for picture-perfect snowboarding and snowboarding situations. However, Eastern Dolomites can be a fantastic place for climbing within the spring or summer time.

Consider making the trek from Dobbiaco to Belluno on this 10-day climbing tour of Italy. The highest level of the journey is sort of 3,000-meters above sea stage, the place you’ll get to take pleasure in marvellous views of neighbouring Tofana and Lagazuoi.

Slovenian Mountain Trail, Slovenia

Crossing over 5 completely different mountains, the Slovenian Mountain Trail is likely one of the greatest Eastern European backpacking trails. In simply 28 days, you’ll get to discover Slovenia’s most interesting – Pohorje Hills, Kamnik and Savinja Alps, the Karavanke Alps, and the Julian Alps. It’s not a visit for the faint of coronary heart, but it surely’s a must-do for any nature lover!

Eagle’s Walk, Austria

With over 33 completely different trails, Austria’s Eagle’s Walk is ideal for each day journeys and long-distance hikes. Beginners will benefit from the flat, leisurely tempo alongside Lake Zireiner See, whereas consultants can take all the 24-day problem to see as a lot of South Tirol as they’ll.

There are dozens of huts and motels alongside the best way, the place you’ll be able to eat and spend the evening. Since they’ll e book out prematurely, I like to recommend reserving a mattress forward of time.

Samaria Gorge, Greece

If you end up in Crete, then take into account taking the journey throughout the beautiful Samaria Gorge. This 16 kilometer hike is right for intermediate or skilled travellers, because the trek to the highest will be steep and rocky. However, the dramatic views from the 100-metre peak make it price it.

Bohemian Switzerland, the Czech Republic

Despite its title, Bohemian Switzerland truly runs from Germany into the Czech Republic! Located just a few hours from Prague, this quick, leisurely hike boasts among the coolest karst formations in all the nation. The spotlight of the hike is Pravčická Gate, a novel rock bridge that was used within the Chronicles of Narnia movie.

Ready to Go Backpacking Europe?

Now that you’ve an thought of what backpacking Europe is like, it’s time to begin planning your very best vacation. Spend just a few weeks train-hopping via Germany, sunbathing within the south of Spain, or driving down the coast from Romania to Bulgaria. No matter if you happen to select Eastern Europe, Western Europe, or each, your choices for journey are limitless.

Even when you have only one week, you’ll be able to nonetheless take pleasure in many cities and sights on this once-in-a-lifetime journey. But with extra time, you’ll actually get to immerse your self in your environment.

And bear in mind, it’s all the time vital to journey with an open thoughts. As a backpacker, you’ll inevitably expertise new cultures and have the chance to fulfill individuals from world wide. As lengthy as you’re open to new experiences, I’m certain you’re going to have an unforgettable backpacking journey.


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