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backpacking Europe: our guide to travel cheap in Europe
Backpacking Europe is clearly one of the things we like the most! Living in Switzerland, we are almost at the heart of Europe and it is simply the ideal starting point to explore a little the various faces of this magnificent continent! Because yes, Europe's main asset is really the diversity of landscapes and cultures you will find!
In just a few hours of travel you can find yourself in the sun, on the beach, in the mountains, in a beautiful historic city, or in huge wilderness like Lapland! That's what it's like to backpack through Europe
Best destinations to backpack in Europe
We haven't traveled all the countries in Europe (or at least not yet), but we have been backpacking around Europe quite a lot ;) . At the end of this page you will find all our articles written about Europe and the places we visited in chronological order (from the most recent to the oldest). If you prefer to look by country, we invite you to discover our destination pages by clicking below on the image of your choice:
Welcome to our home! :) Switzerland is our country of origin and heart! On the blog we wrote many articles about "our home" with a particular focus on the beautiful hikes to do in the swiss Alps... Yes, we love and adore the mountains, so we recommend obviously hiking them! ;) And by the way, it is clearly the cheapest way to visit our small country (which is otherwise quite expensive to visit).
France is definitely a magnificent country with an incredible diversity that we have enjoyed exploring in recent years! In 2018 we did a 5-month road trip across the country and saw some of its most beautiful facets: the Alps, the coastal landscapes, the extraordinary cities and the country's rich terroir and heritage! In short, we love France and we have shared many of our favorite places on the blog in recent months!
We made several trips to Spain, including a great weekend getaway to Barcelona. You will also find on our blog many articles about the island of Menorca where we lived for 2 months in 2017 and Tenerife where we spent the winter of 2018-2019.
Norway is a country well known for its crazy landscapes and nature! For the moment we only know a tiny part of it, but after our roadtrip to the Lofoten Islands in September-October 2018 we fell for this country's charm! We will certainly come back to it to discover more landscapes. In the meantime, if you want to see what our roadtrip looked like, it's this way.
Lithuania and more generally the Baltic countries were a big highlight of our 2018 year! We did a wonderful roadtrip between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania during the winter months. You can find our report (with our budget and infos) of this trip in this article.
Estonia is a really amazing country in which we traveled for 1 month during the winter of 2018. We particularly liked the capital Tallinn and the surrounding nature. On the other hand, it freezes in winter and we would very much like to visit it again in spring or autumn at some point.
Like Norway, Sweden is also the country of nature with a big N. We mainly explored the northern part of the country by doing part of the Kungsleden (a magnificent trek in northern Sweden). You can see reindeer everywhere, northern lights and many other magnificent things! Honestly, we loved it and we hope to be able to go back soon.
Turkey was our highlight of 2019! Landscapes of incredible diversity with the magnificent turquoise coast, the mountains but also the geological curiosities of Cappadocia. But Turkey is also super warm and welcoming people who will make you experience an unforgettable stay.
Can't find what you're looking for above? Then do not hesitate to go to the "Country" menu item above. You will find links to additional European destinations. You can also easily search by clicking on the loupe at the top left of the screen
Travel in Europe with a local agency?
If you want to go on holiday in Europe with a local agency, we recommend that you take a look at the Evaneos website. Evaneos is a french company that will put you in touch with local travel agencies all over the world which will allow you to organize 100% tailor-made trips at a reasonable price.
How to travel Europe cheap: our best tips
There are many ways to get around and travel cheaply in Europe. Below are some ideas and tips that should help you save some money for your future backpacking trips in Europe.
Backpacking Europe by bus
The bus is an excellent way to travel in Europe. The possibilities are endless, it's super cheap and more ecological than flying (especially for short distances in Europe). Moreover, it is clearly the means of transport that we have used most recently in Europe (to go to Bulgaria, the Baltic States, Budapest, Zagreb...).
The largest long-distance bus company in Europe is Flixbus. They offer buses that go all over Europe (day and night) for very attractive prices. They also have a great Interflix offer that allows you to take 5 direct bus trips for only 99€ over a 3-month period. Perfect for a short trip to Europe.
Backpacking Europe by train
Trains are clearly the most environmentally friendly way to travel in Europe... but they are not always the most practical or economical way. We are always looking at the possibility of travelling by train because it is comfortable and we enjoy the journey more than by bus... but unfortunately we often found ourselves taking the bus because the schedules, changes between stations were not very easy.
For all information about train travel in Europe, we recommend the excellent website of a train enthusiast seat61 who references all trains in Europe (and in the world)
Backpacking Europe by plane
It is not the most environmentally friendly way to travel in Europe and you only try to fly in Europe if you really have no choice. Obviously, from the point of view of travel time and budget, flying is often the fastest and cheapest means of transport (paradoxical as it may seem).
To find cheap airline tickets in Europe, we invite you to follow our method described here to buy cheap airline tickets.
But to summarize, it is first of all a matter of finding the average price of a flight on the Algofly website and then looking for airline tickets with the most attractive prices on the best flight comparators that are available:
Backpacking Europe with car sharing
One thing that works quite well in some European countries and is also very green for the moment is car sharing (if you have a car it allows you to save a little money by taking people in your vehicle. And on the other hand, it can also allow you to find trips that are not necessarily available by bus or train for very attractive prices in general). And to find car-sharing routes, there is only one site you need to remember, it's blablacar which is clearly the leader in Europe.
Hitchhiking in Europe
It is obviously the cheapest means of transport and honestly, if you are flexible and have time, hitchhiking works quite well in Europe. And it will certainly allow you to meet some very nice people.
Top European capitals or cities to discover
Europe has many beautiful cities and we are of course far from having visited them all.... But if we had to give you our own favorites then the list would probably look like this:
Tallinn: the medieval capital of EstoniaWe came to Tallinn for the first time in January 2018 and we immediately fell in love! The centre is not huge, but it's absolutely adorable! The prices are very reasonable (both for accommodation and food), so it is really a great destination for a short weekend or a few days getaway! Want to see more pictures or learn more about Tallinn? Then come and discover our article.
Vienna, the magical capital of Austria
Okay.... Vienna we are probably not the most objective! :) We lived in the Austrian capital for 2 years and therefore have a very special link with this city. We still have many friends there but above all we keep many wonderful memories... BUT, if we are totally honest, Vienna is really a city worth a visit! The architecture of the city centre, the Austrian cuisine, the absolutely immense cultural offer and the Viennese people make it one of the most important cities in Europe.
Note: I have a special love for Vienna in winter... As the holidays approach it is certainly quite cold, but the city is so beautiful with its decorations and the Christmas spirit in the streets! In short, I recommend it at 1000%! You can find all our articles about Vienna here
Bordeaux: the French city with its crazy charmYes yes yes, I know... A French city in my top is not very exotic... But I must admit, however, that we fell in love with this city and it is, in my opinion, one of those cities that you must have seen at least once! We particularly liked the contrasts between the very classical architecture and the very arty and street art scene that developed there! Well and we also eat VERY well there :) Want to know more about Bordeaux? Our article is this way ;)
Prague... an unmissable city in Europe!Prague was on "my list" of cities I absolutely wanted to see... We finally went there in 2018 and the least we can say is that I wasn't disappointed! The city is simply spectacular! On the other hand, a little warning anyway... The city is VERY touristy, so I really recommend that you try to go there in low season. We were there in March 2018 and it was not bad! It was quite cold there, but on the other hand we were able to take advantage of some magnificent sunny days to visit the city while being relatively "quiet" in terms of crowds! Our article about Prague
Locarno: a feeling of the south in SwitzerlandOkay... I was obliged to put you at least one Swiss city in our top ;) (still as objective as ever hahaha). No seriously, I really believe that Switzerland has many wonderful assets and that it really deserves a little attention! I could have mentioned the cities of Lausanne (the one I come from) or Zurich (the city where we lived for 4 years) but instead I chose Locarno... So let's say it right away Locarno is "pretty", but more than the city itself, it's really the location that is worth a visit! You want proof? Take a look at this article
Budapest: the pearl of the DanubeBudapest is regularly cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and it is easier for us to understand why now (we still waited until 2019 to visit this city). We spent 5 whole days there and we didn't have time to discover everything because there are so many things to see. And if you are a fan of photography, we promise you that Budapest by night is worth a visit. Take a look at our article to discover some of our most beautiful photos
Carte de nos voyages en Europe
Find below all our blog articles in Europe. Click on the button to display the map:
Hiking in Europe: our best hikes
If you are used to read our blog you will probably have already noticed that hiking is something we love! So the good news about this is that in Europe we have plenty of hikes to keep us busy (even if we still love South America really much for hiking ) ;) . And hiking is still one of the best way to backpack in Europe on a budget
Well then?? What are the most beautiful hikes in Europe we have ever done?
It's hard to make a choice... but if we only had to name 5, we'd tell you:
The tour of the Crozon peninsula on the GR34Brittany is a region that we particularly like! We have returned to it several times in recent years and we simply do not get tired of its landscapes! We did a lot of hiking there, which was very beautiful, but I think that if we only had to remember one, then it would definitely be the tour of the Crozon peninsula along the GR34 path. We've been so lucky with the weather (apparently this is not always the case hahaha) but anyway we strongly recommend this trail! More info in our article.
The swiss Via Alpina
This was probably our biggest physical challenge to date! In the summer of 2017 we covered 380km in the Swiss Alps to reach Montreux from Sargans. A crossing of the Alps that we are not about to forget!
Switzerland is a beautiful country and walking through it is definitely the most economical (and scenic) way to go ;) You will find all our articles about the Via Alpina here.
The tour of dents blanches
We wouldn't want to be accused of being too chauvinistic and only talking about Swiss hikes... so we'll compromise with this Franco-Swiss tour :) Indeed, half of this 5-days itinerary is done on French soil, while the other half is in Swiss soil.
This alpine hike is relatively difficult in terms of physical condition, but as it is possible to do it while sleeping in a refuge and thus enjoy some comfort in the evening. However, we recommend this hike only to people who are already a little used to the mountains and have a safe foot (some passages can be impressive). Here is our article about the Dents blanches tour
The Verdon gorges en 5 days
A sublime hike that we did a few years ago in an almost "accidental" way.... We had taken a week's holiday in June and were supposed to go to the Alps. The day before our departure there was a cold snap and the snow had covered the peaks... In short, we urgently looked for a backup plan and found a cheap flight to Nice using the the technique mentioned above ;) Well, great idea... We spent 5 crazy days hiking in the Verdon Gorges! See our first article (there are 3 in total) here
The Kungsleden trail in swedish Lapland
In the autumn of 2018 we headed for Swedish Lapland with Marine, Fabienne's best friend and Sabine, Benoit's sister, to follow the Kings trail for about a hundred kilometers. We have decided to follow the route between Nikkaluokta and Abisko, and frankly this will remain one of our most beautiful hikes forever! Reindeer around the tent when we wake up, northern lights in the sky to keep us awake and simply crazy landscapes! Our trekking summary article is here
The Lycian way
Another long hike that we did in May 2019 during our trip to Turkey. This trek between turquoise waters, mountains and lycian ruins was a real treat for us, even if we also suffered a little from the heat. If you are interested in this hike, all our informations are here.