There are many places to see in Europe but very little time to visit them all. If you are planning a backpacking trip to Europe but don’t know where to go? Today I am going to help you choose the best places to backpack in Europe.
You might think it is expensive to visit most places in Europe, but it is completely different in reality. At the same time, some countries are costly, and others are surprisingly affordable.
So, what is your budget like? If you want to visit the most popular cities in Europe like London, Paris or Rome, you will need to spend more money to explore these cities.
But if you are traveling on a budget, take note that Eastern Europe is typically cheaper than visiting Western Europe.
And even if you are not traveling on a backpacking budget, keep in mind that prices for accommodation and travel will depend on what time of the year you are traveling how long your trip will be.
So, think about what time of the year you are going to be there, for example in winter prices are less compare to summer when everything is expensive.
No matter what time of the year you visit, Europe always offers a unique experience to every traveler.
Below I have created a list of the top 10 places to backpack in Europe, each offers its own special experience that you will certainly not forget.
But before that, check out a few important tips below, before you travel to Europe. And if you want to travel alone in the U.S check my post for some tips.
Budget Tips for backpacking in Europe
Summer is the peak season in Europe; if you can try to avoid traveling in summer, this is the season when prices are highest. Not only for flights but also for hotels, activities, and everything.
If you want to save money while traveling in Europe, travel in a low season or a shoulder season, and the cheapest time to fly in the whole year is 1st two weeks in January, right after Christmas.
So, if you can travel at that time, do it! The flights are unbelievably cheap.
The cheapest part of Europe is Eastern Europe, and if you go to the other side of Europe, it is usually pricy. Travel Eastern Europe if you want to travel on a budget.
The next thing is free walking tours, in most counties and most main cities you will have free tours which last around 1 – 2 hours.
After you get the walking tour of the whole main part of the city and get all the history, you will get the knowledge about the city before you start heading off on your own.
Lastly, go to budget destinations in Europe such as Portugal, Southern Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia.
And mostly if you stay on the beaten paths and go to the cities and small towns that aren’t the major tourist attractions you can do most things pretty cheap.
Another thing you must do is to travel by public transport like buses and trains instead of Taxi. It will beneficially help you, and it is a safer way to travel around.
Best Accommodation options for Backpackers in Europe
Most of the people traveling in Europe want to stay in fairly price hotels. It is smart to research any new place before visiting—for instance, their hotel prices, accommodations, transportation, and attractions.
And most importantly you have to research and decide which season is best to visit Europe in terms of coast saving on the above.
However, you can find a hostel decently cheap in Europe. It’s not as cheap as other parts of the world but to save some amount you should book ahead.
Because the best ones are going to sell out quickly, so try to book a week ahead.
You can also try Airbnb. There are many good deals on Airbnb because it is becoming more popular, and there is so much competition.
People are bringing their prices down a lot in order to get people to stay there because there are so many other options.
Most backpackers prefer to stay in hostels where you can meet new people, share some ideas, and save some bucks.
These Are the 10 Best Places to Backpack in Europe
1- Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is one of the most relaxing and chills cities to visit in all of Europe.
Not only is their culture super laid back, but there is so much to in this city, which actually kind of feels like a small town.
The city offers canals, the red-light district, and coffee shops, but there is much more to experience and discover.
Historically, geographically and culturally a huge significance, Amsterdam is one of those cities that rewards the traveler who puts down the guide book, bins the tours, and starts exploring by themselves.
Getting into the city from the airport is very easy. There is a train that runs every 10 minutes from the airport into central Amsterdam.
The journey only takes 20 minutes, and it is usually on those awesome double-decker trains.
Amsterdam’s public transport system is comprehensive cheap, and easy to use. With trams, trains, metros, buses, and boats, you have plenty of options to get around this great city.
Moreover, Amsterdam is known for its intense bike culture. If you want a great way to get around and go along with the crowds, the bike is the way to go. There are a lot of places you can rent bikes.
Don’t limit yourself to the main city center. Take a few trips out and explore Amsterdam’s most charming neighborhoods like the Jordaan.
The gorgeous old crooked building lying quiet, beautiful canals full of charming cafes, quiet streets, and quaint little alleys.
Ride your bike around or stroll the streets and take it all in.
The city is expensive, so if you are on a budget hostel might be your only option, and Amsterdam has great hostels.
2- Rome Italy
Rome is one of the oldest increasingly populating cities in Europe. It is nicknamed the eternal city because, during the Roman Empire, the poets predicted that Rome would last forever.
That is why the name is Eternal City. Rome has more historic landmarks and iconic treasures than anywhere else on earth. But don’t let Rome fool you into thinking that’s all it has to experience.
Rome is the largest city in the Lazio region of Italy. It can be accessed from the two airports. Leonardo da Vinci International Airport and Roma Urbe Airport.
It is pretty easy to make your way from the airport to central Rome. I would suggest you take the public transportation bus or train (train is easy and fast).
For 15 Euros you can take the train directly to the Termini Station, which is the main station in Rome.
Once you are in the city, you can get a Roma Pass, which gives you access for 48 hours 72 hours depending on which one you buy.
There are plenty of accommodation options in Rome, there are both expensive and cheap places to stay. And there are plenty of hostels to stay in if you are on a backpacking budget.
But if you are really interested in history and want to see as many of the sites as possible. You should stay near the central historic part of the city but not right in the middle of the city.
When in Rome, be open to getting lost, wandering around, put your phone away. Ask for directions from locals, and learning a couple of little phrases will go a long way.
Rome is essentially a giant open-air museum, but there is a lot more to see than just the Coliseum, Forum, and The Palatine Hill.
3- Athens, Greece
Athens is the capital and largest city in Greece. The beautiful city is also called the world’s ancient capital, and there is so much to see and do in Athens.
The city is a bustling, vibrant metropolis of more than 3.7 million people and is a center for arts, history, and culture.
Whether you decide to visit the historical places, relax in nation gardens, or explore the hidden places, there is so much for everything.
Athens airport is located about 20 kilometers outside of the city, and there are many different ways to get to the center of Athens.
But the most affordable way to get to the city center from the airport is by Metro. Which will cost you 10 EUR however a direct taxi to the city center costs about 38 EUR which takes about 30 minutes.
Also, there is plenty of accommodation options to stay in Athens. If you visit Athens for a short trip, the best area to stay is anywhere surrounding the Acropolis, which is the center of the city.
You can rent an apartment on Airbnb, stay in a hostel, or book a hotel. In my opinion, staying in a hostel will not cost you that much as it is the best choice for backpackers.
When you visit Athens, one of the top things to do is to visit the Acropolis.
You can go to the top of the Acropolis that is where the Parthenon is located as well as several other temples and other ancient remains.
Athens is certainly one of the best places to backpack in Europe. Don’t forget to visit the places like the Temple of Zeus, Agora of Athens, Acropolis Museum, Roman Agora & Syntagma Square. All these attractions are close to each other.
4- Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is an astonishing coastal city with a mix of beaches, sunny lifestyle, architecture, landscapes, and culture.
This Catalonian capital is also home to Antoni Gaudi’s architecture, Picasso’s art, and a thriving international business community.
It is a year-round destination with a rich history, culture, diversity, and natural landscapes. There are many things to see and do in Barcelona.
Park Güell is the most famous tourist attraction. It is located on Carmel Hill, full of gardens and architectural elements.
Its map was prepared by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, and the construction was started from 1900 to 1914. Which was later opened as a public park in 1926 and became a UNESCO world heritage site.
Barcelona’s main airport is El Prat, which is 12 kilometers from the center of the city, and there are multiple ways to get from the airport into the city.
What are the cheapest, fastest, and the best ways to get from the airport to the city?
The Suburban train takes 25 minutes and only cost 4.90 Euros, a taxi for about 20 minutes for around 30 Euros.
The best option is Aerobus 5 Euros 30 minutes with air-condition and free Wi-Fi, and they leave every 10 minutes, unlike the train which leaves every 30 minutes from the airport.
Once you are in the city, getting around is actually very easy. It is a very walkable place.
You can also rent a bike to move around in the city, and the bike system is designed for short trips.
Also, the Metro in Barcelona is good. Every location is signed post in the stations. You won’t get lost.
For accommodation, the best area to stay is the center of the city. Close to the main attractions, walking distance from everywhere, surrounded by restaurants and bars, etc.
5- Berlin, Germany
When it comes to culture, history, and art Berlin has got it all, it is the largest city in Germany, home to 3.7 million people, and tons of forests, parks, and lakes.
Berlin is among the best backpacker cities in Europe. The city may have a dark past, but spend any amount of time here, and you will easily find that its future is bright.
It is also one of the top destinations for young travelers, backpackers, and solo travelers searching for a free life with interesting job opportunities. The city is so diverse that you will not find anywhere else in Europe.
When coming to Berling as an international visitor, the chances are that you will arrive at one of the city’s two airports Berlin Tegel or Berling Schonefeld.
Both of the airports are quite far from the city, and the Taxi might cost you around 30 – 40 Euro when public transport (train) only cost you around 3 Euro.
If you visit Berling during the spring, summer, or autumn, renting a bike is the best transportation mode for getting around in the city.
But if you come in winter or you are not comfortable with bikes, you will have to depend on the public transport system uber or taxi.
For staying in Berling, choose your hotel’s location wisely. Not only to save time while exploring but also to have good food choices right in your neighborhood.
Berlin has many famous attractions to see. To start your visit in Berling’s head into the middle of the city Brandenburg Gate. One of the most well-known landmarks in all of Germany.
In front of the Brandenburg Gate is the Reichstag Building, which hosts the German National Government.
Moreover, one of the most visited spots in all of Berlin is the Public square Alexander Platz. A popular square throughout Berlin’s history.
6- Krakow, Poland
Krakow is known as the cheapest destination in Europe. It offers crazy nightlife, winter magic, and beautiful nature.
It is the perfect destination for all those who want to experience everything they can in one country. And it is known as one of the best places to backpack in Europe.
Unlike many other cities, you can completely relax and not think about money at all hotels and hostels are relatively small but very affordable, the food is great and cheap.
Even transportation is quite affordable, regardless of whether you travel by bus, train, or taxi.
Many tourists go to Krakow in winter because the city is known for its beautiful winters. But it is also wonderful in the summer.
Wawel Castle is one of the famous attractions in Krakow known as the crowning jewel, and for centuries it was the residence of the kings of Poland.
The cool thing about this place is that you can see a mix of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture all in one place.
Another place worth visiting is the Vistula River, where you can enjoy strolling the river banks around sunset.
While you are here, you can also hop abroad on one of the many boats for a river cruise, which is the best way to see the city.
Krakow is a modern and developing city. And visiting such an interesting city definitely requires the best and affordable place to sleep. Find out below budget hostels and hotels in Krakow.
7- Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is heaven for travelers because it has so much to offer, from the grand Prague Castle to the intriguing chapels from some delicious local beers to fine wines from striking buildings to flowing rivers.
But more importantly, Prague works out to be the very budget-friendly city in Europe.
Because there is plenty of affordable accommodation, backpackers’ hostels, roadside eateries, and low-cost walking tours available.
Prague is very cheap, almost half the cost of Rome, Milan, Paris, London, and many European cities.
And if you are traveling locally, the best mode of transport is trams and metros where you can buy tickets as per the duration and not a destination.
The best time to visit Prague is in the spring or the fall when the weather is cozy and feels perfect, and the summer tourist crowds are gone, so that the prices will be much lower.
One cannot come to Prague without being stunned by its charming cobblestone streets and historical sites.
Scattered around the city are medieval castles like the Tyn Church, Namesti Miru, and Vyshrad, but nothing is more eye-opening than Prague Castle. One of the oldest castles in the world, dating back to the 9th century.
If this is your first time in Prague, choose to stay in the old town. Where you will have many of the best sights, bars, and restaurants just minutes away.
So, whether you are looking for big city life, small rural vibes, or just a place to take in the magic, Prague is the place for you.
8- Porto, Portugal
Compare the prices in Porto and Lisbon, and you will be shocked at the difference. It may be Portugal’s second city, but it won’t blow a hole in your savings.
For being not very expensive, it is one of the best places to backpack in Europe.
There are plenty of cozy cafes offering affordable bites and wine that is almost as cheap as water.
This historic city is divided into two areas and joined together by the Dome Lewis bridge, which is great to walk or drive across and is a pretty place.
The city is so pretty and has so many sights to offer. It can be overwhelming and confounding where to start for a city that is quite small. In fact, it has been voted the best European destinations for three years in this decade.
Porto is a cosmopolitan city with tourism growing, new bars and restaurants open every week. The city has a dynamic intellectual and artistic scene.
The cityscape transitions from medieval construction in the charming historical center to the 19th-century homes.
The hidden jewel is slowly being revealed to the world that still offers competitive prices for those that want to live or invest here.
Once you arrived at Porto airport, the best way to get into the city center is the metro. The Porto Metro system is excellent and easy to use, taking you to all parts of the city, so be sure to take advantage of the metro next time you visit Porto.
For a place to stay, you will want a hotel in the center of the city to cut transportation costs and the time spent on traveling to reach city attractions.
But find an inexpensive place to stay in Porto can be tough for new travelers. Most of all, a decent, clean, comfortable, and budget-friendly without going luxury.
9- Budapest, Hungary
The capital city of Hungary, sitting majestic on the banks of the river Danube, is one of Europe’s tourist hotspots.
The Hungarian bath is definitely a sight to be held, but what makes Budapest, so pocket-friendly is its extensive and extremely value for money public transport system.
You can take a day-long or week-long pass and explore the city to your heart’s content.
Budapest is divided into two parts, Buda and Pest, located on opposite banks of the Danube river. The two areas are connected by several impressive bridges.
The Danube river promenade and its surrounding area are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And is home to significant buildings such as the Hungarian Parliament, the most prominent and iconic building in Budapest.
If this is your first time in Budapest, choose to stay in District-1, on Buda side of the Danube. Or District-5 or inner city, where you will have many of the best sights just a minute away.
For nightlife, stay in District-7. If you are on a budget, you will find various affordable hotels and hostels in the District-6. And for a cool place to stay, head to District-8.
Hostels are cheap in Budapest; you can get a hostel bed for around 14 – 15 USD per night. Alternatively, you can rent an Airbnb apartment. The average cost per night for a small apartment that sleeps four people around 70 – 80 USD.
These are just average prices, and the ranges for different hotel categories are quite wide in the summer, or during the weekends. The accommodation can be more expensive due to the lack of rooms.
Getting from the airport to the city is very easy, you can use buses, trains, airport shuttle, taxis, and car rentals.
Furthermore, Budapest’s sights are mostly close-by, so it is easy to get around on foot. But if you don’t feel like walking, you can use the metro, tram, bus or electric scooters.
10- Istanbul, Turkey
Backpacking Europe alone? Well, Istanbul should be your next destination. This incredible city is rich in culture and history because of its unique strategic position between Europe and Asia.
Istanbul is the main economic center and the biggest city in Turkey, with more than 15 million people, and it is considered the biggest city in Europe.
The city’s biggest attraction is its historic city center listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its cultural and entertainment hub.
Sultan Ahmed Square is where most of the primary tourist attractions are located. Including Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Galata Tower, and Grand Bazar.
Istanbul is huge, but there are two major areas where you should look for your room when it comes to paying a tourist visit.
The first area is in the historic city center, known as the Fatih District or specific the Sultan Ahmed area. This area is on a peninsula that used to be the old city of Constantinople.
This means it gets trendy and crowded because almost all the important site seeing places are within walking distance.
The second area is known as Taksim or new Istanbul. This area lies on the other side of the old harbor opposite the historic Fatih district.
This is a more lively area full of street food places, local shops, and famous nightlife.
Moreover offers budget-friendly accommodations and has more stylish and trendy places.
Public transport comprises buses, metros, trams, ferry boats and funicular and straightforward to use. All means of transport are modern and clean, and vehicles are in good shape.
These 10 best places to backpack in Europe will help you fit a Euro trip into your budget. I would also like to share that booking ticket in well advance helps with bagging much cheaper tickets.
If you keep your dates flexible, you can save a few thousand bucks. Avoid flying out on the weekends and public holidays.
Moreover, if time is not restricted, taking a flight with a long layover can save you up to a hundred Euros.
I hope you enjoyed reading this guide. Let us know if you have visited or lived in any of these destinations by commenting and sharing your experience.
What to Pack?
One of the most popular travel backpacks for serious travelers, it is durable and well made. It has a ton of space and nice organizational options and gives more mobility.
Everyone prefers a neatly organized system that is easy to navigate. The packing cubes are used to organize the contents of your bag. There are hundreds of different packing cubes in all different shapes and sizes.
Using a TSA approved luggage lock will help you keep your stuff safe while traveling.
Toiletry bags are designed to keep you organize, and they are an easy way to travel light. It can fit everything that you want to bring.
The travel adapter helps charge your devices on the go, whether you are taking a short trip in the country or hopping on a worldwide adventure.
Power banks have become an essential travel gear that can help you recharge your mobile devices several times during a long day out.
Whether you are going on a backpacking trip, going to the beach, or adventure travel, a quick-dry travel towel is a must to minimize the hassle, and it dries up quickly.
Buying a good quality travel umbrella can help you stay dry while you are out exploring a new city.
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