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.