Please sign in to post.

Opinion on backpacking Europe the summer

Leaving U.S. May 31 Returning July 3 - three people ages 21-23 backpacking. Any thoughts? Entering Barcelona for concert and exit from England are set in stone, have flights, all the others are adjustable.

Barcelona May 21- June 4
Monaco June 4- June 6
Rome June 6-June 10
Florence June 10- June 12
Venice June 12- June 13
Prague June 13- June 16
Berlin June 16- June 20
Amsterdam June 20-June 23
Brussels June 23-June 25
Paris June 25-June 29
London June 29- July 3
Is this too aggressive. Any tips?

Posted by
27230 posts

You've posted this in the Germany forum, so not everyone is going to see it.

It would be helpful if you'd tell us what sort of things you're interested in seeing and doing during this trip. It's difficult to critique your timing without knowing your hopes and expectations for the trip.

With that caveat, I think you are really moving too fast and probably aren't taking adequate account of how much time you'll spend getting from city to city. I assume you're planning primarily trains. The Deutsche Bahn website is easy to use for schedule-checking. To the train times you need to add packing up, checking out, and getting to the station time on the front end of each trip. On the back end you'll have to navigate to your new lodgings and check in. In aggregate, that will probably take about 2 hours per trip. In addition, every city brings a new orientation period--talking to hotel/hostel staff about where to buy bus tickets, where to get food, etc.

Many of your destinations are very large cities, and you'll spend considerable time moving from one sight to the next. Most of them are considered great cities for a reason. I don't think you're giving yourself enough time to really experience them.

You arrive in Barcelona on June 1 (probably severely sleep-deprived and jetlagged after the red-eye flight) and leave on June 4, giving you just two real days in the city. Barcelona has lots of wonderful sights sprinkled around the city. (Note: Many have long lines if you don't pre-purchase your tickets.)

If you don't have a very strong reason for including Monte Carlo, I urge you to fly from Barcelona to Rome, avoiding two very, very long train rides. You can check out flight options on Skyscanner.

Although the Frecce trains will get you from Florence to Venice in a couple of hours, the Venice-Prague leg will take 12 hours or more, so you'll only have a few hours in Venice (on June 12). If the city holds that little interest for you, skip it. In any case, you should investigate flights to Prague.

I believe few people consider Brussels the most interesting place to visit in Belgium. I'd cut it from this itinerary to buy a little extra time for other cities.

Posted by
14580 posts


You're not visiting Munich, Frankfurt or Hamburg? You'll be over there the same as my trip. I would drop Brussels and Barcelona, which I don't care for

Posted by
5697 posts

How are you planning to get between these places ? Every move can take a half day to a full day (checking out, transit to airport/train station, actual transportation, transit to new hotel, checking in) Personally. I would drop Monaco and about a third of other locations, but I like slower paced travel.
Leaving U.S. on May 31 = arriving Europe June 1 .

Posted by
11507 posts

Yes it's too aggressive , a lovely tour of train stations however lol .

Monaco for two days ??? We spent a morning there the took bus back to eze sure mer for afternoon at beach , then went back to nice . I would not actually go to Monoco if not staying in area , and I can't imagine how one would fill two days ( unless you have money and like to shop) Monaco is mega pricey too , have you looked at prices of accommodations?

Two nights in one place only equals one full day of sightseeing .

Travel eats time and money .

I would pare it down to 6-7 places myself

Posted by
503 posts

Hi, I agree with others who have said that your itinerary seems a bit aggressive. You are short-changing yourself time in these cities and trying to travel great distances between some of them. For instance, that travel time between Venice and Prague is going to basically eat up that entire day of June 13 which only gives you two days in that wonderful city. Same with Paris and London, although they seem close enough and easy enough to travel between, those travel days are just that, travel days. I have to agree with the person who suggested skipping Brussels. I'm not sure why, but for all the places I have been to in Europe, that city was the biggest disappointment to me. If you are truly backpacking and have no hotel reservations, then you can revise your schedule as you go which is the beauty of backpacking. This is how I visited Europe for the first time, no reservations and a rough itinerary of places to visit and time frames, all of which changed as time went on. Have a wonderful time however you end up!!!

Posted by
12040 posts

This is how I visited Europe for the first time, no reservations and a rough itinerary of places to visit and time frames, all of which changed as time went on. Have a wonderful time however you end up!!!

Note, however, that in today's Europe, that kind of flexibility comes with maximal costs. The cheapest method for moving between cities now isn't the beloved rail pass of yesteryear, but discount airlines (which usually have all kinds of hidden fees and surprises) or advanced-purchase rail tickets. You can still hop from city to city on a whim, but these days, it will cost you dearly and you may find many of the cheaper lodging options filled when you arrive at your destination city.

Posted by
7911 posts

you can edit this post to say that you are 22 years old and want to party with babes in Europe like you state in the general europe entry you posted.
most people are a lot older than that and will say too aggressive absent that information

Posted by
11507 posts

Jazz I was 23 when I backpacked through Europe , I had more time then OP, but I still remember two days stops were too little time , and we ended up getting really run down and sick after 4-5 weeks .

Some places I don t even remember unless I look back in my journal , lol . Salzburg , hey I don't recall if it bored me to death or not , I was only there a day , same with a lot of places . So I stand firm that even a younger person should aim for two FULL days in a place ( unless just in transit) that's three nights . Otherswise you are just ticking off " been there " boxes . Two days ain't that long .

Posted by
14580 posts

I would recommend getting the Eurail Youth Pass since you qualify for that, stay in hostels in dorm rooms (everyone else does that at your age and older too), and drop Barcelona. Dorms are the cheapest, and you get used to them. You're a stranger to the room mates too, as they are to you. Staying in dorm rooms with 6-10 (yourself included) isn't that bad. If they can do it, so can you unless you want to pay more, which then becomes a matter of priority....privacy vs expense. Nowadays they are en suite.

Your itinerary is can be done with some good planning and drop a place or two. I don't see anywhere on you itinerary where you can get from A to B by night train, (if you drop Prague..yes), if that were the case, I would recommend considering that option too, unless you want to pay more. Take the night train, you'll save a night in the hostel esp in a hotel.

Posted by
14580 posts

It is not too aggressive if you decide to drop a place or two. I would suggest reserving a few hostels in different cities. Keep in mind aside from the HI hostels, there are lots of private independent hostels. Which is better? The private independent hostels have both their advantages and negatives, still I prefer them over the HI hostels. Their "negatives" don't bother me.

Posted by
12 posts

I agree with others that dropping Monaco would be advisable. I haven't yet been to all the places listed but I've lived in Italy for 5+ years. Rome, Florence, Venice are absolutely amazing...but sweltering and over run with tourists. It will be very demanding and if you hope to seen any of the major sites a lot of prepartion. You've got to add at least 1 more day to Rome and probably 1 more day to Florence. I'd recommend Venice as well but that's my personal favorite.