Backpacking Europe changed my life. I first went in 2006, a trip that changed my life. The exhilarating experience opened my mind to all the possibilities the world held for me, and influenced my decision to travel full-time, and start this backpacking blog.
I fell in love with the remarkable sights, cities, and diverse cultures. I wanted to immerse myself in all of them. Over the years, I have backpacked through Europe multiple times and always come back a stronger and more rounded person.
Through all of this I have also learned the do’s and dont’s of backpacking through Europe – which you will find in my Europe travel tips below!
This is a complete Europe travel tips will give you everything from money saving tips to the best cities in Europe. This Backpacking Guide will help you have the trip of a lifetime. Let’s jump into helpful article all about Europe.
Europe Travel Tips
First let’s tackle a couple common questions for backpacking Europe.
Is backpacking through Europe safe? – Alot lot of people tell me that they would love to go backpacking across Europe, but they’re afraid or nervous of what can happen so far from home.
Don’t worry you will be fine.
I have never once felt threatened, scared, or nervous.
What do I need to pack when backpacking around Europe? – It varies on what time of year you are visiting. Winter you need heavy gear which cost a bit more. Luckily there are some great travel gifts you can ask for as presents. However, you can find Europe travel tips packing list here.
Ok, so once you have finally saved enough for your European Vacation and are ready to set out backpacking Europe.
Cost of Backpacking Through Europe
One of the most common questions I get asked is “How much does it cost to backpack Europe?”.
Europe Travel Tips for budgeting – Europe isn’t the cheapest place in the world, but if you know how to get more for your money, it isn’t too bad.
One of the biggest expenses (depending on where you live) is just getting there. Nomadic Matt has a great article that will give you tips for flying to Europe.
What do you have to worry about once you’re backpacking Europe
Well, let me help you by breaking down it down by exploring the cost of backpacking through Europe.
Before leaving home you need Travel Insurance.
I know a lot of people that have risked traveling without insurance and have regretted it.
Here are a few (of many reasons) you should always travel with insurance.
Travel insurance covers…..
Trip Cancellation – WorldNomads covers trip cancellation in case any unseen circumstances come up and you need to return home.
Theft – WorldNomads covers theft up to $500 for each item. Keep your valuables and electronics safe while traveling.
Health – Nothing is more annoying then getting ill without insurance while traveling through Europe.
Real life example – I once got sick in Ireland because i forgot to buy insurance I had a 400 Euro bill.
Never again will I go backpacking through Europe without insurance.
I always use WorldNomads. They are recommenced by prestigious travel companies like Lonely Planet and Nat Geo Adventure.
Hostels – I use hostelworld to book my hostels.
The average hostel dorm room cost between $25 -$45 a night.
One Europe travel tip you shouldn’t ignore is staying in hostels. It is a fantastic way to both save money, and meet people.
Location is a big part of this price difference.
For example, a hostel in Paris, France is almost double the price of a hostel in Nice, France.
When looking for the cheapest hostels, keep these travel tips in mind.
1-Dorm rooms are cheaper. Naturally, private rooms are more expensive.
2-Camping hostels usually give you more space and are also cheaper.
3-Compare prices! Hostel are a wonderful experience, and will only improve your backpacking Europe experience.
4- Hostel prices go up on the weekends.
Booking engines like Hostelworld give you multiple prices. One Europe Travel tips I recommended you follow is book your hostels early.
I have slept on the street a few times because I waited till the last minute.
Airbnb – Airbnb has taken the accommodation world by storm. It is a fantastic option when traveling through Europe.
Guess what use this link, sign up to Airbnb, and get $35 off your first stay for FREE)
Hotels – Sometimes hostels get old and you need your own space. For hotels I find great deals on tripadvisor.
Cost of Eating When Backpacking Europe.
The food section will be brief simply because that expense is totally up to you.
You can always grab fresh bread and cheese to save money and only spend $15 a day on food while backpacking through Europe.
The bread and cheese is actually an amazing meal.
If you are going to restaurants three times a day you can expect to spend $25-$40 a day on food.
However, I recommend a mixture, eat bread and cheese, and cook your own meals a lot, but also go out to eat a few times a week.
By doing this your average cost of food should be $15-$25 a day on food when you are backpacking Europe.
Budget for Nightlife
I won’t lie to you, partying in Europe is awesome, and Europe is massive on the backpacker’s party culture.
In almost every hostel you can find a bar, a group of people playing cards while drinking their own wine, or others going on a nightly pub crawl.
While I like my nights out, trust me, getting lost in the insane parties of Europe will drain your bank account faster than anything.
This is an important Europe Travel Tip: Drink less. I promise you will be able to travel longer, and enjoy your travels without having nasty hangovers.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Another question I get asked is ” What are you Europe travel tips for getting around?”.
I like companies like Busabout and Eurail. By purchasing these tickets, you pay the biggest part of your travel expenses before you even leave home. You’ll only need money for subways, trams, or day trips. Most big cities offer day passes on their public transportation.
Companies Backpacking Europe
Busabout: A Hop on hop off bus service popular with backpackers.
Eurail: Train passes that go all around Europe.
G Adventures: Open of the top travel tours company in the world.
Intrepid: Popular tour company, specializing in small group tours.
Contiki: Popular bus tour company around Europe.
Train: You can buy tickets as you go. Depending on how much ground you are covering while exploring the best cities in Europe it could be more expensive or cheaper.
While the prices vary from place to place, a good estimate is $15-$25 a day.
There are many cheap ways to save money backpacking through Europe. If you know the right companies.
How much does it cost to backpack Europe for a month, a week, a day?
Well, that decision rest with how far you want to do and if you are willing to be a budget backpacker.
Backpacking Europe is a must for everyone!
I always look forward to coming back to Europe, and I love every single moment I have spent there. It is worth the time and the money.
Backpacking Europe Travel Tips: Top Ten European Destinations
I am passionately in love with the eternal city. Rome has so many ruins, such good food, and the people are amazing. When it comes to cities one Europe travel tip I suggest you do is ‘go to Rome’.
I once met a backpacker who had just come from Barcelona In one sentence, he told me that he had gotten robbed while he was there.
In the next, he said it was still his favorite city. That immediately made the city soar to the top of my list of cities to visit while backpacking Europe, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Barcelona is a city that you need to check out while backpacking through Europe.
I have never met anyone who hates Budapest. It is clean, cheap, and has a fantastic nightlife. Budapest is on the border between eastern and western Europe and isn’t on the Euro.
Budapest is extremely cheap. I personally think Budapest is one of the best cities in Eastern Europe.
Basically, Budapest is a must when backpacking through Europe.
Eastern Europe Travel tips – Eastern Europe is much cheaper than western Europe. If you are looking to make your money last longer then head to Budapest.
Prague is a picturesque city in the Czech Republic. It has a charming city square and a larger than life castle.
For a main city in Europe, it is also cheap. Next to Venice, I think it is the perfect city to wander around and get lost in when backpacking Europe.
Amsterdam was nothing like I expected.
The city has a small town feel, is completely clean, and full of fun activities like riding bikes up and down the canals is a highlight anyone should have when backpacking Europe.
At night the city comes alive with parties and pub crawls. Amsterdam is amazing to explore in the day, before heading out for a big night. Amsterdam is a backpackers dream.
Ah, the city of lights. I have found that people either love or hate Paris. Honestly it took me a couple visits to warm up to the city, but now I have fallen in love with the city.
There are such amazing sights in Paris. Plus the outdoors cafes are tempting, plentiful, and overflowing with great food. Even on a cloudy day Paris is beautiful.
The first time I went to Istanbul was simply because I was running out of money and needed to duck out of the Euro Zone. When I arrived I couldn’t believe it took me so long to get here.
Istanbul is a clash of Europe and the Middle East. If you are curious and thinking about backpacking the Middle East, Istanbul is the perfect introduction.
Berlin is the whole package. It is a cheap city with a lot of history and fun quirky bars.
Also, you will find the best kebabs in the world in Berlin, and as backpackers, kebabs are your best friend.
Berlin is one of the best backpacking cities in Europe.
The best thing to do in Venice is wander around and get lost, and trust me, you will get lost. This is one main reason why it is in the top ten European destinations.
There isn’t much to see or do in Bruges; the fact is that Bruges is just a beautiful city, with good chocolate and french fries.
When looking to travel to the best European Cities, it would be a shame if you missed this city when backpacking through Europe.
Many of these cities are the Top 5 European Cities For the First Time Backpacker
Backpacking Europe Travel Tips: Top Ten Adventures When Backpacking Europe
Now you are aware of the top cities when backpacking through Europe, but what about all the adventures?
This list includes European adventures that will get your blood pumping, but also adventures that are a little more tame for the less crazy among us.
1-Running of the Bulls
Yea, this isn’t one of the tame adventures I was talking about. Running with the Bulls is an extremely intense adventure.
That being said, it is also one of my highlights of backpacking Europe. I would do it again in a heartbeat, and if you are looking to test your limits, this is the adventure for you.
Travel Tip- Make sure to read my running with the bull’s tips before you go.
When I think of my 5 days I spent at Oktoberfest when I was backpacking Europe, three words come to mind: wild, crazy, and hazy.
This is the world’s largest beer festival, and it is one hell of a time. This is a double whammy.
Not only do you get to visit Munich, another one of my top European Cities, but you also get to have a beer adventure at the same time. I mean Munich can get messy during Oktoberfest, even the best drinkers might need a Oktoberfest Guide.
3- Road Trip
One of my favorite ways to get around Europe is by driving. I did this a lot on the Mongol Rally, even without a clutch.
The roads are nice and in some places you don’t even have speed limits. Driving, hitchhiking, or ride shares are all ways you can backpack through Europe. Plus, it is easy to rent a car in Europe.
Another one of my travel highlights and a exceptional place to relax. You can spend a week sailing up and the down the stunning Dalmatian coast with a group of other backpackers. You can read my full Sail Croatia Review Here.
Croatia Sailing was one of my favorite tours in Europe. It was full of good people, stunning destinations, and adventure. The Datamation Coast is most beautiful coast I have seen while backpacking Europe.
One of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world, the Alps border France, Italy, and Switzerland. They are worth visiting for the view alone when traveling across Europe. Of course, there are many adventures to be had here as well and they range from ultra mild to extreme.
6-The Greek Islands
Relax on the beach, rent a quad bike and explore, or jump on a sail boat. The Greek islands are beautiful and have something for everyone. Don’t miss them when backpacking through Europe.
Europe Travel Tip– My favorite Islands are Santorini, Ios, and Crete.
One of the top adventure festivals in Europe, La Tomatina, might be the biggest food fight in the world. The whole city turns into a mess as thousands of people spend the day throwing tomatoes at one another.
Sadly, I have never been to a music festival in Europe, but I hear nothing but great things about them. This website will give you more guidance than I can.
9-Climb Mt Olympus
This two day climb is easy enough that you only have to be moderately in good shape to make the ascent. The landscape is beautiful, and you can’t help but imagine Greek mythological gods coming to life and walking out of the wood as you climb. Travel Tip – There is a hostel halfway up the mountain, so you don’t need a tent or camping gear.
10-Raft Pub Crawl
A lot of travelers go on pub crawls, but not a lot of them do it by rafting down a river and stopping at pubs along the way.
This can be done in Cesky Krumlov in the Czech republic and is an adventure that shouldn’t be missed. Hand Gliding in Switzerland Imagine riding on a huge kite while viewing beautiful Switzerland below. Can life get better? I think not.
Honestly any pub crawl is a right of passage for anyone packing through Europe.
Backpacking Europe Travel Tips for Safety
Overall there are a lot more dangerous places in the world than Europe. I’ve need had one problem (knock on wood), and I have spent over a year of my life traveling through Europe.
Why? Am I just lucky?
Not at all. I’ve just learned how to protect, and care for my valuables, in such a way that I do it naturally, and stress free.
Let’s talk about some of the Europe safety tips I have learned over the year that let me travel the world stress free without stressing out ever 2 seconds about if my passport it safe.
BOOK HOSTELS EARLY
Book you hostels ahead of time. I have met a lot of people (myself included) that struggle with this at first.
I felt I would lose some excitement and spontaneity by knowing exactly where and when I would arrive somewhere.
However, you’re feeling of safety plummets to zero after getting to your destination to find every hostel full and you have to spend the night outside in the cold, sleeping on a bench or at an airport. You learn quickly that it’s not a bad idea to book your hostel at least two nights in advance.
In major cities you might want to book at least a week in advance.
Booking your hostels in advance is just smart.
You need a money belt! Money belts are extremely good at three things.
1-Your important documents are safe.
2-Your documents are nice, neat, and organized.
3-Your documents are easily retrievable.
I was once traveling with someone who didn’t have a money belt.
A few days into their travels, they had dropped their debt card and I.D into the crowd of thousands at a summer solstice party at Stonehenge (they were never seen again).
That hurts! Not only is it a huge hassle to replace these items and cancel out the lost ones, but it also takes away from your precious travel time.
Honestly. I hardly wear my money belt anymore. I just have it in my daypack that never leaves my side. Money Belts are good to keep your documents organized, and if you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable situation you can always put it on.
COPY YOUR IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Always have backup copies of your bank/credit cards and other important documents. I suggest making three.
1-Keep one set hidden in your backpack.
2-Give one set to a family member at home.
3-Store an electronic set on the cloud or email.
Copies of your important documents will make life easier in the event that they become lost or stolen, and these copies will also help verify your identity when trying to replace them. Another good idea is to store important phone numbers.
Also email them to yourself, and a trusted family member of friend. You can also save copies to your phone but I suggest have a lock on your phone that will wipe if clean if to many attempts are made. This is added security in case your phone is stolen.
CARRY EMERGENCY CASH
Always have enough cash tucked safely away so that if necessary, you could live for a couple of days. This has saved me more than once when I have had problems with my debit and credit cards.
Extra cash always gives you relief that if something happens you will be ok.
KNOW WHAT AREAS TO AVOID
I was in Athens, Greece when they were having the bad forest fires that crept up to the city.
I was also in London during the riots of 2010, and in Egypt during the protest.
Was I nervous? No, not really. Why?
Because I knew exactly what areas to avoid.
If I am nervous about being in a country talk to people who live there.
People who work at hostels are great for this. They will let you know what areas to avoid.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Don’t always be looking over your shoulder wondering if you are about to get robbed. I personally have never had a close encounter or even a scare, however, you should always be aware of your surroundings, grasshopper!
The most important thing is to trust your gut, if your gut is telling you that you are headed toward a mishap, listen to it.
We live in a world of apps.
I bet I could find an app to scratch my back if I wanted to.
There are some good travel apps.
You can find apps that let you plan your itinerary, like Trip it, to apps that translate languages for you like Google Translate.
These great tools for new and veteran travelers alike.
WATCH OUT FOR SCAMMERS
Beware of scammers around tourist spots. Scammers flock to main tourist attractions especially in big cities. Scammers are persistent and while they don’t mean you any physical harm, they do want to hurt your bank account.
If someone is trying to lure you into making a deal that’s too good to be true, guess what? It is!
Also, never sign a petition that gives any personal information including your personal email. Don’t entertain strangers that are trying to sell jewelry they just found or relics of old.
These are a few of the scams I have seen in Europe.
The best way to deal with scammers is just to say, “No, thank you”, and if they persist ignore them.
It is not rude to ignore someone who is trying to take advantage of you.
It is important to remember that not everyone wants to scam you, but it your gut is telling you not to do something, don’t.
Instead of carrying everything with you, leave anything you don’t need, safely locked in your hostel.
I always carry one credit/debit card and a photo ID (never carry your passport if you plan on drinking) in my money belt and leave the rest in the hostel.
Likewise, when going out at night, take enough cash out with you so that you don’t have to go to an ATM unless it’s an emergency.
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR BANK AND CREDIT CARD COMPANIES
Let your bank and credit card company know you are leaving. I have seen banks and credit card companies shut down people’s spending power after a couple of weeks because they are unsure about all the foreign transactions.
It is much easier to let your companies know that you are leaving the country and how long you will be gone. This ensures that you will have nothing to worry about.
ARRIVE DURING DAYLIGHT
No matter what method of travel you are using, picking an arrival time during the day will make you feel a lot safer.
While I have never felt unsafe traveling at night, it is intimidating to arrive in a strange city at an ungodly hour.
I also try to take long journeys on buses or trains at night to save on accommodations with the added bonus that you also usually arrive sometimes in the morning.
Beware: train and bus stations are not as safe as airports, so you want to keep an eye open for pickpockets and scammers.
GO ON A TOUR
Backpacking Europe on a Tour have their pros and cons. Pros
1-Tours offer security in numbers.
2-Detailed itinerary about where you’re going and doing.
3-Great way to make friends.
4-Easy way to get to know a country.
1-Having a company take care of everything, there is a lack of freedom and adventure. ( 2 of my favorite things about travelling)
2-You have to read the fine print. Make sure the tour fits your personality. The last thing you want it to be stuck travelling in a style you hate for the next month.
3-Lack of time They choose how long you have to stay in an area.
4-Tours are generally more expensive than traveling on your own.
If you are nervous about travelling then tours are a great starting point, and will get you into the travel mode before you embark out on your own.
Traveling Europe is wonderful and one of the most life changing experience I’ve ever had and most of these tips will become second nature after a while.
Follow them and you will travel in Europe with confidence, and can relax that all your valuables are safe.
No one is perfect and when you add in language barriers, train and plane schedules sometimes things will go wrong. However, a part of traveling is making mistakes and figuring out what works best for you.
From Travel tips, top adventures, and best backpacking cities in Europe we have cracked the nutshell of this wonderful continent. What did you think of these backpacking Europe tips?