Backpacking in Europe is near the top of most backpackers bucket list. One of the great rites of passage is a summer backpacking trip through the many countries that make up Europe. Every country is incredible in its own way and different from the other. With over 40 countries that make up Europe, you will find that you may need to make multiple trips there before you even scratch the surface. Europe is rich in culture, a blend of the old and new world and there is plenty to see and experience.
From the beautiful cities of Paris and Rome, to the smoked filled rustic coffee shops in Amsterdam, the amazing food and wine in Italy, tradition and pomp of Britain, the beaches of Greece, the French Alps, to the Oktoberfest in Germany. Just to name a few, there’s so much to see.
Backpacking in Europe
The most difficult decision will be where to begin your Euro trip from. But this will depend on your budget and the amount of time you have. Even though Europe is fairly compact and easy to get around, you should not try and “do Europe” all in one go, especially if you only have a short summer break.
It is better to see Europe in parts instead in just one trip which is a bit unrealistic, as many travelers have found and may make your trip less enjoyable. If it’s your first time, remember to savor the experience, prioritize and choose the things that interest you the most. Europe has more preserved history, culture, attraction and general fascinations packed into it than virtually anywhere else in the world.
One of the joys about traveling around Europe is you will have access to over 400 world heritage sites at your finger tips. Spend some time at the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Pantheon or Big Ben. Remember to not just follow the beaten track. There are a lot of treasures hidden away in small villages and parks across the European continent.
What to See in Europe
Europe full of historical attractions and was home to some of the worlds most advanced, for their time, and oldest civilizations, which has led to an astonishing cultural heritage today. If you are a bit of a history or art buff or looking for a bit of culture then Europe is the place for you.
A trip to Greece is a must for any backpacker to Europe. The Greek Islands are amazing and the food simply delicious. Ancient Greece has been credited with the foundation of Western culture, and has been immensely influential on the language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, and arts of the European continent. Ancient Greek structures are scattered over Greece and Turkey, including Delphi, Olympia, Sparta, Ephesus, Lycia and of course the Parthenon in Athens.
Once you have spent time in Greece, then I would recommend visiting Italy. After the Ancient Greece there was the Roman Empire, one of the greatest civilizations in the world that took hold of large swathes of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites of any country in the world, directly followed by Spain, just to get you started on your trip. This is but a small taste as to what Europe has on offer.
Each country has its own history, culture, festivals, religions, cities, wines, beers, sites, languages and unique food. The great thing is don’t have to travel vast distances to see it all. Europe is fairly contained and the infrastructure in most countries is world class. Making it pretty easy to travel from Western Europe to Eastern Europe, or if you prefer from the Scandinavian north to the Mediterranean south.
Hiking in Europe
Europe has some of the world’s best hiking trails, if you’re looking for some thrilling new heights, breathtaking scenery, challenging landscapes, then Europe has something for everyone. And there’s no better collection of trails than those that wend their way through Europe, tracing nearly every type of terrain imaginable, from the fjords of Scandinavia to the peaks of the Alps. While many trails on the Continent are worthy of considerations, this list contains only the most iconic, dramatic, and beautiful hikes. None of these routes are necessarily easy to tackle, but the challenge is part of the fun.
National Parks in Europe
Europe has quite a large number of national parks. In fact there are more than 360 national parks on the continent, which might not be a total surprise since Europe is the world’s second-most densely populated continent. Many parks are very small, some less than a single square kilometer, but there are also some expansive national parks to for the backpacker to explore. National parks like the Vatnajokull National Park in Iceland is the largest of the European parks, and the interesting national parks of the Arctic Svalbard are not far behind in size and beauty. The Yugyd Va National Park in the Russian Urals is largest on the mainland itself. In total the national parks of Europe encompass an area of around 98,000km² (37,000 square miles).
Schengen Visa Agreement
The great news if you are a backpacker from outside the European Union, you will most likely only need one visa in your passport to travel around Europe. This is because there are virtually no border controls in Europe between countries that have signed and implemented what is known as the Schengen Agreement, except under special circumstances during major events. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen Agreement signatory country is valid in all other countries that signed and implemented the treaty. A word of caution, not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen treaty countries are members of the European Union.