living in the UK i have been round Europe a few times on walking holidays.
if you are going in september the weather will be pretty mixed. in spain, italy, greece and the south of france the weather will be great. but any further north than france and it will be cold and wet for the large part of your trip!
im not sure where abouts your thinking of going but ive found people in greece to be 'take you in off the street and feed you' friendly. france is fantastic (though i thought paris was over rated)- especially the loirre region and further south. germany and belgium also get a big thumbs up from me- especially if you like good beer. i found holland to be a really nice place although amsterdam is full of drunk and abusive british on the weekend!
on my travels i have found the big cities to be the most disapointing. all have something to offer i admit, but to get the most of your travels you have to head off the beaten track and away from the universal metropolism that inhabits ever city in the world.
let me know if you are coming across to the UK as i can be of more help as i know it like the back of my hand and could recomend some great places.
Dude, have a blast, bring twice as much money as you think you'll need, crash at as many of your friends/families houses as possible. What are your overall goals for the trip? Party? Clubs? Museums? Culture? Nature? Family? Romantic getaway? Sports?
I did some backpacking shortly after graduating in 2000. I actually went around the same time of year as you and had an amazing trip.
Since you're leaving in September you might even be able to catch Oktoberfest in Munich (Sept 16 - Oct 1). For the record, Oktoberfest is in September. Weird? Yes. Great party? Also yes.
When I went the entire trip cost just over 2000 CDN, but now it'd probably be a little more expensive since they're using Euro.
One tip I can give is to not get a really extensive rail pass. Mine allowed me to travel to 16 countries with an unlimited number of trips. Since you'll probably stay in places for a week or more you don't need to move that often. I only went to 7 different countries. Also, be forewarned that your rail pass doesn't cover the cost of reserving your seat on the train. Most require reservations and they are ON TOP of what you've already paid. If you want a sleeping car with beds (to travel at night) you have to pay more. Or you can do what I did and find a car with an empty bed and hop in until someone boots you out.
I can tell you more if you'd like. More specifically, I can tell you how not to get robbed like I did and lots of cool places not to miss. Just send me a PM.
I have to agree with knewsom. Bring twice as much money as you think you need. Trust me, I understand the whole romanticism of the idea of backpacking Europe with next to no money....but I tried it. You WILL need more money than you think if you really want to enjoy yourself to the fullest possible extent.
I'm also quite interested in this thread and the information that people have about backpacking as I am also going this year (in May). Magister Ludi, is first class on the train really worth the extra money? Has anyone tried a bus pass as opposed to the Eurail (I know that it's much cheaper)? Also, anyone enjoy Barcelona? I plan on heading there but it is one of the places I have heard least about. I look forward to any more information in this thread and I want to say good luck to Nate Green on his European travels this summer. -tblifter
Of course, the photos don't nearly do them justice. I never visited Park Guell, but I wish I had. There is also a Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres that you could do on a day trip. It's worth the effort. Keep in mind that most museums are closed on Mondays in Europe.
Food is available on La Rambla which is a busy street where there are plenty of people, street acts, and stuff to buy. You can look it up on Google. There are tons of tourists also so beware of pick pockets. They tend to hang out around signs that say "beware of pick pockets" because people immediately touch the pocket with thier wallet. DO NOT PUT YOUR STUFF ON THE GROUND!!!
If you're looking for nightlife ask the locals. They'll direct you to the non-touristy spots where they party until 6-7AM. It's pretty safe, but I wouldn't go out alone late at night. The people at the clubs are generally very friendly (if you're Canadian at least).
The beaches are nice, but I'd consider visiting Valencia for a few days if you're planning to soak up the sun. There's a great hostel right on the beach there for about $10 a night.
And save your $ on the first class rail. This is backpacking dammit! If you want to go first class stay at the Hilton.