Tips for Backpacking Through Europe

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re planning a trip to Europe. Congratulations! Travelling is one of the most enriching experiences a person can have. There’s nothing quite like exploring new cultures and seeing history come to life before your very eyes.

One of the best ways to see Europe is by backpacking. Backpacking allows you to travel cheaply and efficiently, without being tied down by luggage or hotels. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people and make lifetime friends. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your backpacking adventure through Europe.

Picking Your Destination

The first step in planning any trip is picking your destination. When it comes to backpacking through Europe, there are endless possibilities. Some people like to plan their first trip to English speaking countries such as the UK, Ireland or Scotland. Others focus on food, or specific interests, like visiting the most unusual bars in Europe. Do some research and figure out which countries and cities interest you the most. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, start planning your route. Keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to one country; many backpackers hop around from place to place as they please. The great thing about Europe is that everything is relatively close together, so it’s easy to change plans on the fly if you want to head in a different direction. Here is a detailed itinerary for two weeks in Europe.

Start by Choosing a Region

One of the first things you need to do when picking places to backpack through Europe is choose a region (or regions) to focus on. With so many countries and cities to choose from, it’s important to have some kind of strategy for narrowing things down. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done!

If you’re not sure where to start, why not focus on Western Europe? This region is home to some of the most popular travel destinations in the world, including Paris, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. And since most Western European countries are relatively small, it’s easy to hop around and see a lot of different places without feeling overwhelmed.

Enjoy some tapas in Spain

Another option is Eastern Europe. This region is often overlooked by first-time travelers, but there are plenty of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience, Eastern Europe is definitely worth considering. Just make sure you do your research before you go—a lot of these countries are still recovering from years of communism, so infrastructure and amenities aren’t always up to par with Western standards.

I really enjoyed going to Plzen in the Czech Republic, which is known for their Pilsner Urquell Brewery, specializing in bottom-fermented beer since 1842.

Mapping Out Your Route

Once you’ve chosen a region (or regions) to focus on, it’s time to start mapping out your route. If you’re not sure where to begin, there are tons of great resources online that can help (like this one!). When planning your route, make sure to leave some room for flexibility—you never know when you’re going to meet someone interesting or stumble upon a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

And speaking of opportunities, don’t forget to factor in some time for side trips! If there’s a place nearby that you really want to see but it doesn’t fit into your original plan, there’s nothing wrong with adding it in later on. The whole point of backpacking is that it’s supposed to be spontaneous and fun, so don’t spend too much time stressing over the details.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that public transportation in Europe can be very different from what you’re used to at home. In general, trains are more expensive than buses but they’re also faster and more comfortable. If you’re on a tight budget but still want to travel in style, consider taking the occasional night train—these can be booked relatively cheaply, and they’ll save you the cost of a hotel room for the night.


Packing Light

One of the best things about backpacking is that you don’t have to pack much. In fact, it’s best to travel light so that you can easily carry your belongings with you as you move from place to place. When packing, focus on items that are versatile and can be used for multiple purposes. For example, instead of packing a separate pair of shoes for every occasion, choose one pair of comfortable walking shoes that can be dressed up or down as needed. Similarly, pack clothes that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. And always remember: less is more! You can always buy anything you forget once you’re on the road. Here is a minimalist backpack travel packing list.

I always travel with only a carry on bag, even if my trip is long like two months. I’ve had my luggage lost by airlines too many times.

Traveling with Food Restrictions

Gluten-free travel tips

How do you backpack through Europe with celiac disease. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that affects millions of people around the world. If you have celiac disease, your body cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. This means that if you’re planning on backpacking through Europe, you’ll need to do some careful planning to make sure you can find safe, gluten-free food options. But don’t worry – with a little bit of preparation, you can still enjoy all the amazing cuisine Europe has to offer. Here are some gluten-free travel tips to help you out.

  1. Do your research before you go. Find out which restaurants in each city offer gluten-free options, and make a list of safe snacks and ingredients that you can buy at local supermarkets. That way, if you get hungry and can’t find a safe place to eat, you’ll at least have some emergency snacks on hand.
  2. Pack gluten-free snacks with you wherever you go. Things like nuts, seeds, dried fruit and popchips are all great options that will tide you over until you can find a meal.
  3. Be prepared to ask a lot of questions. When ordering food at restaurants, always inform your waiter or waitress about your celiac disease and ask if the dish contains any traces of gluten. It’s also a good idea to learn some key phrases in the local language that will help you communicate your needs (e.g., “I have celiac disease,” “I’m allergic to gluten,” etc.).
  4. Don’t be afraid to be assertive. If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not a food is safe for you to eat, err on the side of caution and don’t eat it. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to celiac disease.
  5. Enjoy yourself! Just because you have celiac disease doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all the amazing food Europe has to offer. With a little bit of planning, you can still have an incredible backpacking adventure – gluten-free diet or not.

Celiac disease can make backpacking through Europe tricky – but it’s not impossible! With a little bit of research and planning, you can still enjoy all the amazing sights and sounds (and food!) that Europe has to offer – gluten-free diet be damned. So get out there and start exploring!

Vegan Travel Tips

Traveling can be difficult for vegans, especially in places where veganism is not as common. I live in Portland where there are many vegans, but in Europe, I may not be as lucky. It can be hard to find food options, and even when you do find something that looks vegan, you can’t be sure that it actually is. Here are some tips for vegan backpackers in Europe to help make your trip a little easier.

  1. Do your research before you go. Look up vegan-friendly restaurants and cafes in the places you’ll be visiting, and check to see if they have any vegan-specific menu items. This will make it easier to find something to eat when you’re there.
  2. Bring snacks with you. Pack some snacks that are easy to carry with you, like granola bars or trail mix. That way, if you can’t find anything to eat, you’ll at least have something to tide you over until you can find something more substantial.
  3. Learn some basic phrases in the local language. Knowing how to say “I’m vegan” in the local language will make it easier to communicate with people and explain your dietary restrictions. You can also learn the phrases “No meat”, “No milk”, and “No cheese”. It will also help you avoid accidentally ordering something that contains meat or dairy.
Pas de lait (no milk in French)

Making Friends

One of the best parts about backpacking through Europe is the people you’ll meet along the way. You’ll meet people from all over the world, each with their own unique stories and backgrounds. To make friends, put yourself out there and be open to talking to new people. A great way to strike up a conversation is by asking for recommendations on where to go and what to see in each destination. You never know; you might just make some lifelong friends in the process.

I love staying in hostels because there are other solo travelers and it’s easy to invite people to hang out and have a beer or go sightseeing.

Do your research

One of the best things you can do before traveling is to educate yourself on the countries you’ll be visiting. Read up on the history, culture, and customs so that you can be respectful and understand what you’re seeing as you travel. It’s also a good idea to learn some key phrases in the local language (or languages) so that you can get by in a pinch. Knowing how to say things like “Please,” “Thank you,” “Where is the bathroom?,” etc. will go a long way.

Learn some key phrases

Even if you don’t know how to speak the language fluently, learning some key phrases will go a long way in helping you get by during your travels. Download a language app such as Duolingo or Babbel and commit to spending at least 15 minutes per day practicing. It doesn’t take long to learn how to say basic phrases like “hello,” “please,” and “thank you,” but they will make a big difference in your interactions with locals.

Embrace new experiences

One of the best parts about travelling solo is that you have the freedom to do whatever you want, without having to compromise with anyone else. If there’s an activity that interests you, don’t be afraid to go for it – even if it means doing it alone. You may find that some of the best memories from your trip come from experiences that were outside of your comfort zone.

Be flexible

One of the best things about traveling solo is that you can change your plans on a whim without having to consult with anyone else first. If you meet someone interesting or stumble upon an amazing restaurant, go for it! Being open to new experiences will help you make the most of your trip.

Stay safe

When traveling solo, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut instinct if something feels off. Stick to well-lit areas at night, don’t flash all of your cash around, and keep an eye on your belongings while out and about. Also, make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance in case of any emergencies while abroad.

Don’t go down dark alleyways by yourself. Always walk with a friend at night.

Keep valuables safe

When travelling solo, it’s important to keep your valuables close to you at all times – especially your passport and money. One way to do this is by wearing a money belt or using a hidden pocket in your clothing to store these items. That way, even if your bag gets lost or stolen, you won’t have to worry about losing everything.


Backpacking through Europe is one of the best ways to see the continent—and it doesn’t have break the bank! With a little bit of planning and some helpful tips, anyone can have an amazing backpacking adventure through Europe. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

For more travel ideas, here are 40 best vacation destinations for nature lovers.

Have you backpacked through Europe before? Where did you go?

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  1. Great tips!

    I totally agree about travelling light – it is so much easier when you’re not dragging a massive bag with you. I love that you included GF and vegan food tips too. 🙂

  2. We are past the point of backpacking in Europe but many of your tips are valuable for travel in general. And there are some great pointers here for travelling solo or with food challenges. I think there are great ways to save some money on some things. So you can spend on things that are more important to you. Travel safety is something that is always a consideration for many of the big European cities. Good to remind people. Good tips for all!

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