T Nation

Backpacking Europe...


#1

So, I've made my decision. I'm going to Europe in late September through late November.

I'll be backpackin' it, staying in hostels, and walking everywhere.

Any one here ever do the Europe thing? What did you budget? Any tips or tricks you learned?

Any interesting sexual side-effects from those hookers in Amsterdam?

Let me know!

-Nate


#2

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.


#3

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?


#4

Avoid the UK, its full of scumbags, thugs, chavs and assholes. That is all.


#5


Stop by. We will have a blast.
Land of beutiful women, cheep drinks and a no1. place to pary in summer.

http://www.adriatica.net/home/home_en.htm


#6

Nate,

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.


#7

Sudden and painful loss of girlfriend.
In rare cases, this is accompanied by the postage of highly embarassing photos in very public forum spaces.

Have a great time, Nate Green!

:slight_smile:


#8

Whoa, now. I was just...kidding.

I don't like hookers.

They like me.

:slightly_smiling:

-Nate


#9

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.


#10

thats twice today ive found myself agreeing with you.


#11

A Eurail Pass is a must. Spring for first class if you can afford it. It's worth it.

Don't pack too much stuff. Hauling around an oversized pack gets to be a real drag after awhile.

Don't forget Austria. The whole country is like one big national park.

Have a great time.


#12

Nate Green, I'm jealous ... have a great trip!


#13

A friend of mine went not to long ago. A few tips -

  1. Get some comfy running shoes to wear 24/7

  2. Keep your wallet in a pocket that buttons down.

  3. Try the absinthe in amsterdam :slightly_smiling:

  4. Hookers are fun.

  5. Take whatever budget of money you've calculated you need, then double that number, and thats the amount of money you'll need.


#14

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


#15

Ive been sitting thinking of reasons you should come to UK & Ireland.

I cant think of any decent reasons to be honest!!

A few days in London may be interesting but thats about it. Watch out for the chavs though.


#16

....I like your style.


#17

stratford upon avon, york, snowdonia national park, most of rural scotland is beautiful.


#18
  1. Learn how to use the train systems. You can get multi day passes in most cities.

  2. Only exchange money at banks. They will give you the best rate.

  3. Plan, but keep it broad and flexable. Towns in Germany have local fests that are alot of fun. Octoberfest was over rated compared to some of these.

  4. Try the local food. You can get a cheese burger at home.

  5. Get off the beaten path.

  6. Amsterdam, Berlin, Stuttgart, Mallorca (Spain), Prague, Capri- all cool. Mallorca great beaches and night life.

  7. Checkout the castles and military history sites.

  8. tour the vinards and breweries. Free samples and tastings.

  9. Don't drink alone!

  10. Shop in the local markets. Great food.

  11. Don't travel alone!

  12. Keep cash, ID and other documents in a safe and secure place. Keep spare money in a concealed location on your person (Jacket lining).

  13. Have a blast because when you may not get to do it again.

Me Solomon Grundy


#19

Barcelona is AWESOME no matter what you're there for!!!

If you've never heard of Gaudi, his architecture is all over Barcelona and it is amazing. This page has links to some photos.

http://www.greatbuildings.com/architects/Antonio_Gaudi.html

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.


#20

I haven't been to Barcelona, although I have been to Madrid (a long time ago. I hardly remember it). Barcelona is one of my main stops.

I'm also looking at:

Munich - Oktoberfest
Prague
Amsterdam
Madrid

Plus a bunch of other places. I'm not much for the tourist-y stuff. I'd rather explore on my own (I'm going with another fellow T-Nation-er), meet some locals, and have a good time.

Good luck on your travels, also.

-Nate