Planning Your Backpacking Trip through Europe - a Few Tips and Must-see Cities

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Planning Your Backpacking Trip through Europe - a Few Tips and Must-see Cities

Planning Your Backpacking Trip through Europe
- a Few Tips and Must-see Cities 

5 General Tips

If this is your first time planning a backpacking trip (through Europe or any other country, as well), these tips might help you. 

Plan Your Trip

When composing the itinerary, you will be tempted to include as many places as it is possible, but be sure to leave yourself enough time to really enjoy the city you are visiting. Choose quality over quantity. And do not underestimate the time you will spend in the transportation, too. Also, try to include a few peaceful destinations just to relax and get some good night’s sleep. Thanks to the best air mattress, which most backpackers carry with them, comfortable sleeping is guaranteed, but sometimes you'll need some peace and quiet, as well.


Pack Smart

Make a packing list and pack only the things you will really need. With the packing list, you will be sure not to forget anything, and you can use that list as a reminder so you can quickly check if everything is still there. Never pack valuable things - just think about how you’d feel if you lose any of them. Another important thing when it comes to packing your backpack is to pack light - heavy luggage will only slow you down and you might have to pay higher luggage fees during the transportation. And don’t forget to pack some snacks, too. 

Bring Your Own Air Mattress

As camping and backpacking become more and more popular, new, improved versions of air mattresses appear on the market. All you need to do is to find the best air mattress that fits your needs and the size of your backpack. Consider weight and packed size, as well as the comfort and warmth. The best air mattress for backpacking is the one that is light, comfortable and it is easy to roll up. Before choosing one, it might be smart to read some reviews, either by other backpackers or independent review sites like

Save Your Money

Do what the locals do, and go where the locals go. Places in the city center and near the tourist attractions usually overcharge their services, but you do not have to pay more than you opt to. In every destination, there are also many free activities and attractions you do not have to pay to see. Or try to find the ones that offer special deals for students and families or have discount days and hours.

Avoid Pickpockets and Scams

Although pickpocketing is most likely to happen in large cities full of tourists, be careful wherever you go, you definitely would not want that someone rips you off or scams you in any other way. Pickpockets are usually persons you would never suspect on - young girls and boys or well-dressed people. They work in groups and use the crowd in the popular tourist attractions, as well as in the transportation.

Pay attention to all your belongings when you are in places like the beach, restaurant or a bar. In such places, people usually let their guard down and leave their stuff unattended. There are a few tricks that might help you protect your stuff - use a zippered or a pickpocket-proof bag, wear a money-belt, split your money… And get to know a few most common scams before you leave anywhere. This guide on BemusedPackpacker might be useful to avoid common travel scams.

Five Must-see Cities in Europe

When traveling only with a backpack, you are free to go wherever you want, but it would be a good idea that before you go, you make at least some outline of the cities you want to visit, and that fit your travel style and budget. Here are a few suggestions.

Budapest, Hungary

With affordable prices and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Budapest is undoubtedly the city you should visit. The St. Stephen’s Basilica, City Park (with the Széchenyi Baths), House of Terror, Great Synagogue, Castle Hill... these are just some of the sights you must see.


You can see many of Budapest’s best sights from the Danube Promenade. Also, once you come to Hungary, do not forget to try some of the best traditional Hungarian dishes. And if you love nightlife and cheap alcohol, visit some of the 'ruin pubs' - pubs built in buildings destroyed during the WWII. But, if you are looking for a place to relax, visit thermal baths. There are many, and the two are most famous the Széchenyi Spa and the Gellért Spa.

On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find an opulent nightlife scene, especially when it comes to pubs. You can use this Budapest pub crawl to find your way around more easily.

Munich, Germany

Munich is not the cheapest place to visit, but it is also not that expensive as other major cities in Europe are. This city has everything - history, culture, cuisine, sport... and most importantly - huge beer mug. Find a place according to your taste, and enjoy with a cold beer and a soft pretzel.


But do not forget about real local specialties, especially if you are a meat lover. You will need a few days to visit all the sights - the Cathedral Church of Our Lady, St. Peter’s Church, Konigsplatz, Residenz, Marienplatz with the New Town Hall… Munich also has a numerous excellent museums (Deutsches Museum, Egyptian Museum, Nazi Documentation Center…).

This guide on LonelyPlanet might make things easier.

Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade is a pleasant city, with lots of cultural and historical sites to visit. Numerous museums offer you the opportunity to learn more about the culture and tradition of the people from this area. Among many churches, the one that stands out in its beauty and its size is the Church of St. Sava, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world as well as the picturesque Kalemegdan fortress.


Other sites you should visit are the Residence of Prince Miloš and Princess Ljubica's Residence, House of Flowers - the resting place of Marshal Josip Broz Tito and his wife, Jovanka Broz... When you come to the city center, walk along the Knez Mihailova Street and come to the Belgrade Fortress (Kalemegdan), where you can enjoy nature blended with the historic site.

Here’s a more detailed guide on must-see sites in Belgrade on TripAdvisor.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a city you always return to, no matter how many times you have visited it so far. With its breathtaking architecture, untouched during the WWII, it seems like a city from a fairy-tale. Walk around the Old Town and its square, visit St. Charles Bridge, Church of Our Lady before Týn, Astronomical Clock Tower and Old Town Hall


There are many other sights and attractions to see, such as the Wenceslas Square, St. Vitus Cathedral, Lobkowicz Palace, Old Jewish Cemetery and the Old-New Synagogue. Prague is well-known for its quality beer, which you can enjoy along with delicious local specialties at one of the restaurants. And since it has a large student population, the city offers an excellent nightlife.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna has always been a large city, and it was a home to many artists, especially composers including Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Haydn, Schubert and Johann Strauss II. When you come to Vienna, you will be amazed by the city’s architecture and the combination of various architectural styles. You must see the Schönbrunn Palace, with the Tiergarten Schönbrunn - the zoo in the palace gardens.


Other attractions to see are the St. Stephen's Cathedral, Danube Tower (Donauturm), The Giant Ferris Wheel and its Square, Albertina, Imperial Palace (Hofburg), Esterházy Palace… And if you love museums, there are about a hundred of them in Vienna.

In conclusion…

If you are an adventurous soul, you owe it to yourself to add the Europe experience to your memories. If you are from the USA, it will be discovering a whole new perspective on life.

That’s not an exaggeration; Europe is at that sweet spot between urban, busy life and history. The experience will change you. In a good way, too.

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  1. Very useful tips. If only I have been much younger. Have a wonderful day!

  2. OMG this is super interesting. I really would like to travel more. I love read city-guide and travel tips post.

    I want to visit Budapest and Prague!!!

    InstagramFacebook Official PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

  3. Great tips, babe- backpacking through Europe sounds like an amazing adventure!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  4. sounds super ! yes, Munich is lovely and expensive ^^


    Check out my ♥Instagram ,Bloglovin

    Stay Gold

  5. I love the details. Very beautiful.

  6. I have been to many of these places and these are all good tips. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wonderful post and each destination looks amazing to visit. That's a nice review that you have done. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks for the tips, very useful!
    Agnese & Elisa

  9. Sure would be grand to see. Very true, have to watch out for the scammers, they come in all shapes and sizes. Never was a fan of air mattresses, rather sleep on the ground.

  10. Hi, Lux!

    This was a very interesting piece. You gave excellent advice for those planning a backpacking tour of Europe. Mrs. Shady and I have never tried a backpacking trip but, when we travel, we like to avoid the cities and predictable tourist attractions, take less traveled scenic routes and experience the area as the locals do. I would be excited to visit every one of the European cities you described. They are beautiful and rich in history and culture and therefore offer the type of vacay experience Mrs. S and I like.

    Thank you, dear friend Lux!

  11. Air mattresses are an interesting tip - I've not tried them before!

  12. I have never been to Europe- but I would love to travel and see the sites you have mentioned. Looks like you included a lot of helpful tips too. Thanks! :)

  13. Your list makes me want to head out and travel to Europe especially to the must see cities to visit. I've seen some but would love to see so many more.

  14. ;D

    Adorei essas dicas!

    Ótimo domingo!

    Beijo! ^^

  15. Lux, I LOVE THIS! I would just love to do this someday... maybe when the kids are grown? Or WITH them when they are grown! :)

  16. Thanks for the tip ~ We are planning on taking a trip to Europe next year ~

  17. Ohhh, I loved Vienna at least in winter time, when they have the Christmas fair. It's amazing. I love traveling, the best thing you can do in life.

  18. Fun shoot!