A Guide to Backpacking through Europe
Europe is without a doubt one of the most travelled places on the planet. With its amount of amazing landscapes, art and culture, together with open borders, backpacking through Europe, the smallest of continents, is second to none. Although planning your trip to Europe might seem scary, it couldn’t be easier thanks to modern technology and travel guides. To make it even easier, we are going to share with you a few tips that will help you plan your trip to the old continent.
When you plan your trip to Europe you must be very prepared for all types of weather. Europe’s climate is temperate, however, there are profound differences between the different regions: from the subtropical Mediterranean climate down South to subarctic around the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean as you move North.
Europe’s high tourist season is during the summer months as well as in December during the winter. Crowds are the main difficulty in the warmest months of June, July and particularly August. December is always busy in locations such as Paris, Prague and any Austrian or German city where incredible Christmas marketplaces pop-up. Easter is another busy time. Visiting popular summer destinations like Greece or Turkey during the cold winter months can be a great way to travel in Europe on a low budget, but be aware that public transportation might not run as often.
You need to be realistic, you cannot “do Europe”! Although it is true that Europe is a “compact” continent with efficient infrastructure, it is also home of more preserved history than any other continent on Earth. There are more than 400 world heritage sites on the continent, so, depending on your travel style, you might want to consider discarding the idea of taking the ritual “selfie” photo in front of every major tourist attraction in Europe.
You need to prioritize by choosing 2 or 3 places you really want to visit each week, and then starting planning your route map from that. You will most certainly discover amazing sights and attractions that you have never heard of before your trip as you travel between your “must-see” stops. Sometimes, those newly discovered places prove to be much more rewarding and interesting than simply following the typical tourist trail.
Europe boasts stunning national parks that make up some of the continent’s most revered tourist destinations. Filled with extraordinary stretches of terrain and singular scenes filled with flora and fauna, from remote white-sand coves to some of the world’s most incredible mountains and glaciers, the national parks of Europe are truly exciting places to visit. There are more than 360 national parks on the whole continent; many parks are small, some measure less than a single square mile, but there are also many large national reserves to explore.
In between the many options available, the Vatnajokull National Park in Iceland is the largest glacier in Europe. Lake District National Park in northeast England is the largest national park in the UK and is known for its beauty and for the country’s largest and deepest lake as well as it’s highest mountain. Plitvice Lakes National Park is a a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Croatia recognized for its natural beauty and unusual geology.
No matter where you travel in Europe, you’re never far from mouth-watering cuisine, flavourful beer, and rich wine too. The European history can be tasted in the food, specially since many dishes are thousands of years old. The culture of European countries is maintained in their dishes which are loved not only by Europeans but by citizens of the world.
If you are a music lover, whether you prefer classical music or more modern styles, Europe has plenty on offer. Despite the strong competition from all nations with new found wealth, Europe is still the home of classical and opera music, and many European cities are home to some amazing hundred-year-old opera houses.
If you prefer head-banging, Europe has more music festivals than you can possibly imagine. The most famous are the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, the Sziget Festival in Hungary, and Glastonbury Festival in England, the Tomorrowland Festival in Belgium and the Boom Festival in Portugal, but you will find many others around all of Europe, especially during the summer months. Many festivals are free, like the Woodstock revival in Poland which despite lacking a commercial line-up, attracted 700,000 music fans in 2014.
There is no doubt that a trip around Europe will change everything you thought you knew about the continent. You will forget about the lazy clichés of the countries you knew so little about. You will feel the excitement of seeing that piece of art you only saw in books or find yourself standing right in the middle of an important historic site you barely remember studying in history books as a child. Europe has a bit of everything for everyone. With so many amazing destinations that offer countless things to see and do, your only dilemma will be where to begin.