3 Week Backpacking Europe Route

This is the perfect 3 week backpacking Europe route for first timers! You’ll be surprised by how much you can see in just a few short weeks. From the Tower of London to the Eiffel Tower to the Colosseum in Rome, you’ll get a very good taste of what Europe is all about. And chances are, you’ll be dying to come back!

Below, I’ve put together a 3 week backpacking route around Europe, that hits all the top European cities that should be visited on a first trip to Europe.

3 Week Backpacking Europe Route:

(Starting & ending in London)
Day 1-4: London – 4 days
Day 5-8: Paris – 4 days
Day 9-11: Barcelona – 3 days
Day 12-14: Rome – 3 days
Day 15-16: Venice: 2 days
Day 17: 1 full day of train travel
Day 17-19: Munich – 2.5 days
Day 20-21: Amsterdam – 2 days
Day 22: In the morning, fly back to London, and then fly home

Getting TO and FROM Each City:

LONDON – PARIS:

  • Via EuroStar (train): $94-212 USD (Check prices at EuroStar)
  • Duration: 2.5 hrs
  • Via plane: around $100 USD on EasyJet
  • Duration: 1.5 hrs

PARIS – BARCELONA:

  • Via plane: $70-$100 USD on RyainAir and EasyJet
  • Duration: 1hr 45 mins
  • Note: RyanAir is usually the cheapest for this route, but it flies out of BVA, which is over an hour outside of Paris, and the flights either depart very early, or late.
    • Via Overnight Train: $265 USD
    • Duration: 10:16pm – 9:43am (Check prices and departures at RailEurope)
    • Note: You’ll save 1 night of hostel cost

BARCELONA – ROME:

  • Via plane: $70-100 USD on RyanAir
  • Duration: About 2 hrs

ROME – VENICE:

  • Via train: $65-78 USD
  • Duration: 3 hrs 45 min.
  • There are hourly trains

Note: The train station in Venice you want is called Venezia S. Lucia. I accidentally purchased a train ticket that left from the wrong station. I was waiting and waiting for my train to show up at the Venezia S. Lucia station in Venice, and it never did. I finally went to the ticket counter to ask where the train was, since it’s very unusual for a train to be late, only to find out that the ticket I bought was actually for the train station that was right outside Venice, on mainland Italy! The guy at the ticket counter just looked at me like I was a stupid, blonde American. And I totally felt like it. Oh well. You live, you learn!

VENICE – MUNICH:

  • Via train: $50-78 USD
  • Duration: 6.5 – 8.5 hrs
  • Trains depart hourly. Almost all trains on this route have 1 stop.

Note: This would basically be a full day of traveling, which can actually be one of the most memorable experiences of your trip. Chances all, you’ll be exhausted from all the traveling, and/or partying that you’ve done up to this point of the trip. So take a day off. Grab a bottle of wine before you depart, and relax on the train while watching the scenery pass you by. You might even meet other travelers on the train, which can be a great way to pass the time.

MUNICH – AMSTERDAM:

  • Via Overnight Train: around $115
  • Duration: 10:50pm-9:49am
  • Note: You’ll save the cost of a hostel for 1 night.

AMSTERDAM – LONDON

  • Via plane: $40-60 USD on EasyJet
  • Duration: about 1 hr
  • Note: Take a flight to London, the morning your flight home leaves, to save time. If you can arrive at the same airport that your flight home leaves from, even better!
  • Keep in mind: LTN is 30 mins away from central London by rail. SEN is about an hr away from central London by rail. STN is about 45 mins away from central London by rail.
  • Other option: You can also get to London from Amsterdam by EuroStar, but that tends be a lot more expensive than the cheap EasyJet airfares.

Keep in Mind:

  • The cheap flights on RyanAir and EasyJet sometimes depart and arrive at airports an hour outside of the main city you’re visiting. They also tend to have early flights, say 6am, or later flights, say 10pm. Factor in that you need to be there at least an hour before the flight leaves, plus the time it takes to get there. Don’t be surprised if you need to leave your hostel at 3:30 in the morning to catch your 6am flight!
  • Feel free to change the route above to suite your needs! You want more time in Rome? Just tweek the days spent in the other cities. No interest in visiting Munich? Well, take it off the list then, and add a city that really does interest you. This trip is all about where you want to go, so make it your own!

In 3 weeks, you’ll have visited 6 European countries, and 7 cities!

I hope this 3 week backpacking route helps you in planning your trip! Good luck in planning.

Check out other helpful Europe Backpacking posts:

Best Backpack for Traveling Europe!

3 Week Backpacking Route for First Time in Europe!

My 2 Months Backpacking Europe Route!

How to Plan Your Ideal Backpacking Route in 6 Simple Steps!

How to Use Airline Miles to Get Practically a Free Trip Abroad!

About Devon Nicole

Hey! My name is Devon. I'm a 20-something girl from the sunny state of Florida, USA. In 2012, I made the scary decision to backpack Europe SOLO. Now it's 3 years later and I've traveled to over 30 countries in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia! I created this blog to inspire other young women to travel abroad solo too. There's a whole world out there just waiting to be explored!

14 Comments

  1. Hi , I will be travelling next year to Europe on July or August. When I saw your post this is what almost exactly would be my route, though I am thinking of visiting Romania. May I ask how much it had cost you the 3 week trip including the hostels,food etc. ?

  2. Hi, Your post is very interesting. I am planning a trip to Europe next year and its good to have information like what you shared in the post.

    I am just wondering, would it be possible to have the specific places you visit?

    Appreciate much.

    Cheers,
    Felice

  3. I am planning a trip in mid june or july for 15-20 days with my sister. Where in London did you fly to? we will fly out of NY. Thank you! (I loved your site!)

  4. Pingback: Female Packing List for Backpacking Europe

  5. hey, i’ve been reading most of your posts on europe. you’ve done a commendable job. they are really helpful for a first timer like me.I’ve been planning a europe trip for this year end and thought of taking your views on my rough itinerary. i m planning a 20-30 days at max trip and here’s the itinerary – fly into london to amsterdam to paris to barcelona to ibiza to valencia to boudeaux/cannes to cinque terre to milan to greece (1/2 islands) and back home.

    the stay in each city can be planned depending on the things to do. i plan a mix of air travel and train travel between countries. what do you think of this route and if you have any suggestions on whether i should get a rail pass or not?

  6. I love the break down that you give for the 3 week tour. I am planning on visiting the same cities plus adding switzerland and Brussels in there. Totalling 4 weeks of travel. Can you help me with the best route to add these 2 countries?

  7. Bobby Castillo

    Hi,

    I stumbled upon your website while searching for tips for first time backpackers. Glad I found your site because this is pretty much the route that I’m interested in traveling.

    I’m 28 years old and have been in the corporate world since I was 18. I’m beginning to share your same thought which I’ve quoted below. I’m just wondering, how do you go about making this sort of commiment to travel? Do you still work? I work full-time and make a decent living, however, I find it difficult just to be able to afford the flights to where I want to travel. It would be a dream come true for me to leave everything I have behind and go see what the world has to offer. I’m sure you probably get asked this plenty, but any info or tips you can provide me would be greatly appreciated.

    “I hate being tied down, committed, and essentially trapped by a job, which is why I plan to travel long term.”

  8. Hey Devon, I am also 20 and studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark for Spring 2015 and after I am done with my courses, my sister is planning on coming over to Europe and we want to backpack just like you did! My question is how did you know what to do in each city when you got there? Did you pre-research things to do there/make a plan of events and things to see while in the city or do you suggest just going and going with the flow without any plans or directions?? Very excited but very nervous!

    • That sounds amazing! I absolutely loved Copenhagen. It really is a great city to live in. The biking system is incredible.
      When I first started traveling, I researched a lot about the places I was going to visit before I arrived. That got to be time consuming, and it took a little of the fun out of the experience. Now I’ll just do a little research beforehand, usually on Trip Advisor. Most of the time I won’t do any research, and I’ll just show up in the cities and let the knowledgeable receptionists at the hostels tell me the best places to go. There are usually a ton of brochures lying around at reception too. Almost all the main cities in Europe have free walking tours, so that’s a good way to get oriented. If you’re short on time, I would have a plan on what you absolutely want to see or do, but it’s okay to keep things flexible! If you don’t have a plan before you arrive, it is easier to waste time, so a combination of both is probably the best way to go!
      I know what you mean about the nerves, but those will fade once you arrive! Have a great trip!
      – Devon

  9. Hi, My family, boyfriend and I will all be travelling to London and touring Scotland as well. MY boyfriend and I will then be heading out on our own to visit Germany, Austria, Italy, and Greece starting in September for a total of 6 weeks!

    Literally so excited !!

    Your blog has answered SO many of our questions.

    My biggest concern is learning how to plan to get to each destination and knowing how many days we should spend in each place. From your experience what is the best way to go about planning all of this?

    Look forward to hearing back,

    Skylar

    • Hey Skylar,
      Thanks! Your trip sounds exciting!
      First, I would say to decide which cities you’re going to, if you haven’t already.
      Then pull out a map, circle them and you should be able to get somewhat of an idea of which route is the best. Germany, Austria, and Italy are pretty close together that’d i’d recommend train travel, which is more convenient and flexible. You can probably get a cheap flight from London/Scotland to Germany, or if you’re on a tight budget I took a 9 hour bus ride from London to Cologne, Germany for $50 USD. (Sometimes the flights can be that cheap.) Then travel to Austria, then to Italy, then take a flight from Italy to Greece. (You can usually find cheap flights from Italy to Greece.) I use skyscanner.com to find flights.

      To figure out how many days to spend, I’d say average 3 days in each city in those countries you listed. If you travel by train, you can be somewhat flexible. If you decide you need more time, you can stay longer, but if you feel like you’re ready to move on to the next city, you can do that too. If you’re planning on going to the Greek Islands, I’d say to spend at least a week there if you have the time.

      Good luck planning!

      -Devon

  10. Hi Devon!

    I love the breakdown you’ve given of a three week backpacking tour! My brother and I are planning a trip this summer and we wanted to know what the visa/entry situation was in each country for you. Were you able to enter each country with just a passport? Please let us know!

    • Hi Shivani!

      Yes, I was able to enter each country with just a passport! As a U.S. citizen I’m allowed to stay in the U.K. for 6 months, and the majority of Europe for a total of 3 months. Some of the Eastern European countries have different rules, so make search to double check if you’re going there. Best of luck with your travels! – Devon

  11. Hey Devon,

    A girlfriend and I are traveling to Europe at the end of April. I have never been anywhere outside of the US and your advice has been very helpful! We plan on going for 3 weeks and are thinking we want to start near Greece and end near Spain. I was hoping you had some advice for sleeping arrangements! We plan on “winging in” mostly, booking a round trip flights but everything in between we will plan as we go. I am just worried about finding places to stay each night. We will be bringing just a backpack each. Any advice on where to sleep or anything at all actually will be extremely helpful :) Thank you!

    Stephanie

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