BACKPACKING WESTERN EUROPE FOR 30 DAYS

By: Chelsea Brinkley + Save to a List

My first time traveling abroad was when I decided to backpack around Western Europe for a month. Yep, 30 days abroad. I was about to graduate college with a marketing and international business degree and realized I had yet to actually travel internationally (a study abroad semester wasn’t required then). That felt silly so I booked a trip.

My first time traveling abroad was when I decided to backpack around Western Europe for a month. Yep, 30 days abroad. I was about to graduate college with a marketing and international business degree and realized I had yet to actually travel internationally (a study abroad semester wasn’t required then). That felt silly so I booked a trip.

That month of trekking through 10 cities in 6 countries with just my backpack is what made me fall in love with traveling. The different cultures, foods, architecture, transportation, people… I loved it all and it all blew my mind.

That’s a lot of places to go in just one month! It was my first time in Europe so I wanted to see as much as I possibly could while I was there. I was really a tourist on that trip and it’s not the way I travel now nor would I recommend anyone try to fit that many stops into that time frame. I now travel like an explorer getting to know a location, talking to locals, and definitely prefer quality over quantity.

Here is what that trip looked like. Now, this was 7 years ago and I wasn’t a travel planner then, so grace my friends, because I don’t remember all the details.

Side note – most of the lodging were hostels, which get a bad rap, but you can get different types of rooms (private, shared, mixed) and there are some really great ones out there. Just make sure you do your research and read reviews. This is my trusted hostel source.

DAY 1-4:  LONDON, ENGLAND

Stayed hereLse Rosebery Hall 

Explored: Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Tower of London

Took the Chunnel to Paris.

Photo by Rob Bye

Photo by Hugo Sousa

DAY 5-7:  PARIS, FRANCE

Stayed hereSt. Christopher’s (I remember really liking this place)

Explored: Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, Pont Alexander III Bridge

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX

Photo by Arthur Yeti

DAY 8-9:  AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

Stayed hereIntersail (this hostel was on a boat!)

Explored: Canal tour, walked around a lot, the red light district, Heineken brewery tour, Ann Frank house

Something to know about Amsterdam… they bike everywhere!

Took the night train to Munich.

Photo by Ehud Neuhaus

Photo by Piotr Chrobot

DAY 10-12:  MUNICH, GERMANY

Stayed hereHostel Central

Explored: Marienplatz, Residenz Palace, Englischer Garten, Hofbräuhaus, Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau Castle

The beer in Germany is WAY better than here in the states and I promise you’ll come back a beer snob (at least I did).

Took the train to Venice.


DAY 13-15:  VENICE, ITALY

Stayed hereB&B in Venice, Flat Ca’Corte

Explored: Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, Doge’s Palace, Basilica of the Salute, walked around a bunch and went to markets, the Bridge of Sighs, Basilica San Marco

Venice isn’t built on a grid like most cities and is like a really beautiful maze that’s easy to get lost in.

Photo by Craig Philbrick

Photo by AussieActive

DAY 16-20: ROME, ITALY

Stayed here: Trastevere neighborhood with friends

Explored: Trastevere neighborhood, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II, Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Piazza Venezia, Castle Sant’Angelo, St. Peter’s Basilica (and went inside the dome), Piazza Navona, Vatican

There is SO MUCH to do and see in Rome! It blew my mind that you could just be casually walking around the city and stumble upon so many ruins. The place is full of history and wine in Italy is truly cheaper than water.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz

Photo by Mauricio Artieda

DAY 21-23:  FLORENCE, ITALY

Stayed hereSoggiorno Pitti

Explored: Duomo di Firenze, Michelangelo’s David, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens

Try the trofie pasta, aperol spritz, and of course indulge in all the gelato and tiramisu while you’re in Italy!

Photo by Domenico Loia

Photo by Domenico Loia

DAY 24:  NICE, FRANCE

Stayed hereHostel Smith 

This was just a quick stopover on the way to Spain so I didn’t do much other than walk around.

Photo by Nick Karvounis

DAY 25-27:  BARCELONA, SPAIN

Stayed hereSafestay Barcelona Sea

Explored: The beach, Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, La Rambla, Gothic Quarter, Casa Mila

I love Barcelona. After visiting, I realized I have a favorite architect… Antoni Gaudí who has so much of his gorgeous work around Barcelona.


DAY 28-29:  MADRID, SPAIN

Stayed here: Pop Hostel

Explored: Saw a flamenco show, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Toros, Mercado de San Miguel



DAY 30:  DEPART EUROPE AND BACK TO THE STATES

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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