Europe consists of fifty sovereign states with 738,200,000 people from varied cultures in its soil of 10,180,000 sq. km of diverse terrain and attractions. The colorful Dutch tulips and windmills. The Eiffel Tower in Paris. The St. Peter’s Basilica and Colosseum of Rome. The romantic gondola ride in Venice’ Grand Canal. The architecture, history, arts, culture and cuisine in each country. There are so many reasons to be fascinated with Europe; that makes it a wonderful destination for anyone who has the itch to travel.
For backpackers, Europe is a dream destination because it offers a wide range of options even when you are on a budget. You can travel almost anywhere by train. And What’s so great about train travel in Europe? Rail Europe explains:
In Europe, trains are considered a primary form of transportation and it’s how most Europeans travel. So they’re modern, dependable and in some cases state-of-the-art… European rail is an extensive network of high speed trains, with travel times that can occasionally rival the airlines. … the wonder of the train is that it instantly surrounds you with the very landscape you came to visit. You’re immediately immersed in European life, while traveling amongst friendly locals and fellow adventurers like yourself. … the train takes you from the center of one fabulous city or town to the center of another. … Even the most basic second class train accommodation is roomier and more comfortable than any coach seat on a plane. And most trains are air-conditioned and non-smoking, with plenty of space to store your luggage (and, hallelujah, no baggage fees).
Students and those who keep a tight rein on their budget who would like to backpack their way through this continent this spring can find valuable tips in this blog posted in Traveler’s Digest – Europe’s Top 10 Backpacking Destinations.
- Head to the sun and sand of Ios
Ios, one of the sun-drenched isles of the Cyclades group just off the south coast of Greece, has all the stunning scenery that you’d expect: rugged cliffs, rolling green hills, white-hued villages, and a fringe of sandy beaches, all encircled by the blue-green Mediterranean.
It is a backpackers’ haven for the young and fun crowd with its low-cost and superb food and booze in the “party island” in the main town of Hora. There are campsites when the when the weather is fine and some economy hotels in the area.
- Move through the cheap bars and turbulent history of Berlin
Sometimes a tumultuous history can make for an exceptionally vibrant cultural scene, and this has definitely been the case with Berlin.
Since reunification, Berlin has been a foremost destination for budget-conscious backpackers. For rock-bottom rates/prices of hotels and foods, head to the south-east of the city center, across Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Neukölln. For a glimpse of history, check out its museums: Museum at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Wall Monument, Berlin-Karlshorst Museum, Topography of Terror, Jüdisches Museum, and Wannsee Conference Center.
- Bury your head in Budapest
… there’s hilly, wooded Buda, dominated by Castle Hill… the Royal Palace… National Gallery… Beside the Royal Palace… there’s a series of gardens, squares and terraces, bedecked with plants, fountains and cafes, which together form a lovely place to while away an afternoon during the warmer months.
On the opposite bank, you can delve into an amazingly sprightly city. There are restaurants, bars, restaurants that are cozy, friendly and easy-on-the-pocket offerings. The city is also thick with low-cost hostels.
- Enjoy culture, history and hedonism in Amsterdam
Amsterdam packs a diversity of attractions into its compact center, threaded through by lamplit canalways. Fans of expressionist art could lose themselves for days …at the Rijksmuseum… while … current art scene can be felt at the Nieuw Dakota contemporary art gallery.
Amsterdam also offers Anne Frank’s hometown, the Heineken Brewery and more. You can cut your cost by buying an “I Amsterdam” card or take the bike or walk around the city.
- Sightsee in fairytale Prague
… the crossroads of Europe, Prague is a beautiful city…. At its heart… is the historic Charles Bridge… With its stunning gothic bridge tower and its decorative series of baroque statues, it’s a fabulous introduction to Prague’s fairytale architecture… continued in the Old Town itself, with its fabled Astronomical Clock and the sharp black spikes of the dramatically Gothic Tyn Church.
Enjoy this Czech capital, a perfect urban fairy tale scene with its hilltop castles, churches, statue-lined bridges and narrow streets, with its cheerful, yet cheap hostels such as the Clown and Bard. Take advantage of the complimentary breakfasts that most hostels around Prague offer.
Five more European destinations that are suggested too backpackers are:
- Athens: The city that spawned western civilization. It offers travelers a wealth of classical Greek architecture – temple to Athena, Parthenon, and Odeon of Herodes Atticus, as well as Roman Ruins, Neoclassical homes, and a plethora of small cafes and restaurants. Backpackers, check out hostels such as Athens Backpacker and AthenStyle.
- Barcelona: The right mix for the artistic and dissolute. This is the city where appeals abound even for those on a tight budget. It has an inspiring architecture and a lot of other attractions – La Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, and Parc Güell. Later –the nightlife in Las Ramblas.
- Paris: the city of sophistication par excellence. Louvre, Eiffel tower, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe – these are just a few of the reasons to visit Paris. It will be fun to experience the Parisian glam, but you can pleasurably sightsee in this City of Lights eve when you’re short on cash. “… Plenty of penniless writers, artists and travelers have carved out some kind of life here over the past century…”
- London: Europe’s biggest city is multicultural. London is a every traveler’s dream destination with its multitude of attractions. While hotels, foods and drinks are pricey, there are art galleries and museums and art galleries that are free. If you’ll do your research before heading to London, you can unearth some cut-rate and inexpensive accommodations.
- Rome: back to where it all began. There are a lot the city can offer for free or cheaply from attractions to great and affordable little eateries.
Are you backpacking this spring? Don’t be afraid of Europe, if it’s in your bucket list (like every avid globetrotter). Envision weaving these 10 destinations together into one, lone season of backpacking trip – you’ll be too eager to go. It can be expensive and fun or it can be adventuresome, cheap and fun! Choose the way you want to go, eat and sleep; it’s your call.