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Backpacking Europe - 101 and Beyond


Backpacking Europe? You'll want to get an overview of the subcontinent, see some maps and country guides, learn a bit about what to do and where to stay in some fave European cities, make some hostel reservations, and -- best of all -- get some encouragement to make this the summer you backpack Europe, even with a declining dollar. Start with the Backpacking Europe 101 FAQ, and you're well on your way to a great trip.
  1. All the Frequently Asked Questions About Backpacking Europe
  2. European Overviews
  3. Getting to Europe
  4. Getting Around by Eurail Trains
  5. European Country Guides
  1. Getting Between European Countries
  2. Getting Around Within European Countries
  3. European City Guides and What to Do
  4. Where to Stay
  5. Getting Around Within Fave European Cities

All the Frequently Asked Questions About Backpacking Europe

Wombats Hostel Entrance

Welcome to the FAQ you need for travel on a hiking boot string, designed to answer key questions before you go backpacking in Europe -- what to pack, where to go, budgeting, how to get there, where to stay and how to backpack Europe on the cheap. No ramen noodles. Unless you want 'em.

European Overviews

Koln Train station picture

So where do you want to go? Eastern Europe's huge on the indie radar right now -- but old standbys like London, Paris and Rome will always be packed with backpackers. Sometimes it's easier to plan with a map -- can you really hit Prague, Paris and Madrid in two weeks?

Getting to Europe

Student Universe Go Deal

Airfares are (dare we say it) sky high this summer, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go -- in fact, Europe's less crowded this summer. And autumn will bring falling airfares. Start your research with some student airfares.

Getting Around by Eurail Trains

Talgo train, Europe - Rail Europe Image

Eurail is a consortium of European train companies, and Eurail passes can be used on most European trains. For decades, a Eurail train pass has been the most crucial thing in the backpack -- travelers under 26 years of age get a Eurail discount, usually up to 25 percent off. Learn all about Eurail passes and decide whether a Euail pass is right for your backpacking adventure.

European Country Guides

Neuschwanstein Castle - Germany - Student Travel

Good starting points for major overviews and minor details about most countries in Europe, including those not in the EU (European Union) -- basically, the following are most of (or most of these are) the countries you can visit using the big hoss Global Eurail train pass (though you'll have to get a flight, or take the Eurostar train under the English channel or a ferry over it, to reach the UK -- England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales aren't part of the Eurail consortium).

Getting Between European Countries

Slovenia Map Overview from Rail Europe - Where is Slovenia in Europe?

Eurail passes, hop on-hop off buses, cars, planes (especially budget European airlines), ferries and your thumb will all get you around Europe... get the overviews on inter-country European transportation.

Getting Around Within European Countries

Backpackers at Bus Stop Sign, Granada, Spain

Trains are often the easiest way to get around inside European countries (though buses are easier in Spain); hostels can usually be found near cities' main train stations, too, making for an easy first night in a new city -- hop off the train and you're at home in the happening city center. Know that your Eurail train pass may not be the best way to use European trains within a country -- you may do better with point-to-point train tickets and save your pass for inter-country travel. Budget airlines are a newish way to get around Europe, but baggage rules are bogus and they do land at off-the-beaten-path airports.

European City Guides and What to Do

Eiffel Tower at Night, Paris

Most European cities are intrinsically backpacker-friendly -- you can almost always find a hostel near the train station (and hostels abound in Europe, period) and the pub and club scene can be completely different than what you're used to at home, if you're from the US: for one thing, the drinking ages in Europe start at 16. And many of the main things to see and do are absolutely free! See some European city guides and ideas on what you'll be doing this summer.

Where to Stay

Centric Point Hostel, Barcelona, Spain

More so than anywhere in the world, hostels are the place for you to stay when in Europe. Find out what hostels are and get some reviews, links to the good hostel booking search engines, see some photos and find your homes away from home. (You'll find that as you move across Europe, you'll usually find your next hostel by asking around at your current hostel, but it's good to have at least the first stay lined out in advance.) Budget hotels and pensions in Europe are interesting options, as well -- do know that if it's just a private room you seek, you can get that at a hostel and get the hostel social life, too.

Getting Around Within Fave European Cities

London Underground Sign bl

Finding your way around within any European city is incredibly easy -- public transportation is seriously comprehensive and you may never need to take a cab. See some transportation maps and tips for an idea of how inner city transportation in the major European cities.

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