THE ULTIMATE ONE MONTH EUROPE BACKPACKING ITINERARY- WHERE TO GO AND STAY

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Last summer, I backpacked Europe extensively for a month as a solo female traveler. In fact, I created this travel blog as a platform to share my experience and hopefully inspire other people to embark on their own solo travel. Backpacking Europe alone for a month taught me A LOT of invaluable skills such as budgeting, problem solving, and learning how to be content while solo. After my trip, I received A LOT of questions about how to travel Europe and how I made it happen. And when I say a lot of questions, I MEAN A LOT! Friends, ex-friends (lol), family members, and strangers seem puzzled how a twenty-one year old college student could make something like this work. WELL— I am determined to help YOU out. So I am going to share my one month extensive itinerary on EXACTLY how I did it. I am sharing the cities I visited, the accommodation I stayed in, and the transportation I used— tried, true, and tested! I am also gonna be giving my honest opinion on what I would have changed! Here we go:

DAYS 1-5

LOCATION 1: Barcelona, Spain

How I got there:

Since this was my first destination, I came from the USA by flying. This one is totally dependent on where you are located.

Where I stayed:

Yeah hostel! This was my first time staying at a hostel, since this was my first time solo traveling, I decided to go for the female only dorms. AND BOY I HAD A BLAST! I have raved about this hostel on an older blog post. I really cannot recommend it enough. They have incredible cheap dinners, a night tour option, as well as fun walking tours (and I am not a fan of walking tours).

Final thoughts:

I thought Barcelona was the perfect first destination. This urban and spicy city is a perfect place to meet people and to have fun. It definitely made me feel more at ease about the rest of my solo travels.

Days 5-10

LOCATION 2: Tuscany, Italy

How I got there:

I flew from Barcelona to Florence and then took a train from Florence to Tuscany. Barcelona to Florence is a fairly short and cheap plane ride!

Where I stayed:

At an AirBnb “renovated chicken shed”. This little independent bed and bath was perfect for a solo traveler like me. It was quite a hike to get to this from the main train station from the neighboring village. I originally stayed here to see Florence, but ended up loving little Pelago! Make sure to have your comfy tennis shoes!

Final thoughts:

If I really wanted to see Florence more, I would not have stayed here. I ended up loving exploring this little hidden gem. I got to see what real Italian life is like, which is something not many tourists can say. Since I was not in a tourist town, there was a little language barrier. I really actually loved this feeling of being lost. This is really dependent on how you feel about this, though. Florence is also a major tourist city and I felt like I was going to get pickpocketed, I would recommend any women to use a bra-stash if you can.

DAYS 10-14

LOCATION 3: Milan, Italy

How I got there:

I took a SHORT train ride from Florence to Milan! The Italian trains are incredible, and it was such a fun experience. I really recommend trying out this experience. You get to see real Italy this way— and it is BEAUTIFUL!

Where I stayed:

Ostello Bello Grande! This is where I met some incredible friends that I just met up with the other day (read my letter to the Swedes). This hostel really amps up that they have a lot of free things (free food and etc.). This hostel is fun and social— it also has air conditioning which is amazing since Italy can get quite hot during the summer.

Final thoughts:

Milan can be seen in two days. Since I was there while there wasn’t a fashion show or anything, I felt that wasn’t seeing the city to it’s fullest potential. I would have rather visited Bologna for two days and then Milan for two.

DAYS 15-16

LOCATION 4: Geneva, Switzerland

Where I stayed:

I stayed at Geneva Hostel. WARNING: I do NOT recommend this hostel for young, solo travelers like myself. This industrial styled hostel was meant more for families. I also had some unkind roommates, so I ended up leaving this hostel and Geneva altogether the next day (I was originally staying for two nights). It is PERFECT for the budget traveler though.

How I got there:

I got to Geneva by train from Italy, and WOW WAS THE VIEW CRAZY AMAZING! I got a scenic train ride around the Alps and I was BLOWN away by the beauty. I really cannot recommend this enough.

Final thoughts:

Not going to lie, I was a little underwhelmed by Geneva. It was expensive, hostels are limited, and there was not much to do. However, for me the scenic train ride there was worth it in my opinion. Don’t expect a lot to do in Geneva though.

Days 16-17

LOCATION 5: Berne, Switzerland

Where I stayed:

Bern Backpackers Hotel Glocke. This hotel has more backpacker vibes that I prefer. I stayed in a mixed dorm room and did not feel unsafe as a solo female traveler.

How I got there:

By a train! I booked a last minute train to this hostel after my not-so-fun night in Geneva. And it was well worth it!

Final thoughts:

You really only need 1-2 days to visit Swiss cities. They are typically small and easy to walk through. The hostel was nice, but very hot. Be prepared to sweat if you are visiting during the summer.

Days 17- 20

LOCATION 6: Strasbourg, France

Where I stayed:

This dainty and cute AirBNB! The host was incredibly sweet and comforting. I would recommend this AirBNB in a heartbeat.

How I got there:

I got there by train (surprise right).

Final thoughts:

I LOVED STRASBOURG! This German-French city is very cute and has amazing sights to explore. There is beautiful gothic architecture and this city is a booming tourist site for many Europeans.

DAYS 20-22

LOCATION 7: Paris, France

Where I stayed:

Hôtel Mercure Paris (nice hotel in the suburb of Paris, I got a good deal since it was just opening)

How I got there:

Of course by train!

Final thoughts:

PARIS WAS UNBELIEVABLE! I took a crepes making class, saw the beautiful city lit up at night, and drank a LOT of wine. I was very skeptical of this city since I knew it was a big tourist town. My decision to come to Paris was based solely off the fact that it would be easy to get to Ireland from there. However, I would’ve extended my stay in a heartbeat. This city left me awestruck.

Days 22-25

LOCATION 8: Dublin, Ireland

Where I stayed:

Generator and Gardiner and then Generator

How I got there: By a cheap Ryan Air ticket.

Side story: My flight actually got delayed and because of EU laws, I actually ended up making quite a bit of money off this ticket. Ha. I am not complaining.

Final thoughts:

I absolutely AH-DORED Dublin. I made so many friends that I still keep in contact with to this day. This city is beautiful and the people in Dublin are so warm and friendly. The hostel situation in Dublin ain’t the best. But the experiences you make there really make up for it.

I had an interesting experience in these hostels to say the least. To hear a bit more about my experience watch it here. But don’t let it freak you out too much.

DAYS 25-28

LOCATION 9: Galway, Ireland

Where I stayed:

AT THIS HOSPITABLE AIR BNB! This older couple really makes you feel right at home. They are charming, sweet, and very friendly. Anne’s cookies are the BEST! If you are lucky enough to get some.

How I got there:

I got there by bus from Dublin. The public transportation in Ireland is not the best, so you really have to be strategic getting from place to place.

Final thoughts:

Like I say about most of these locations— I LOVED GALWAY! Walking through this dainty city made me feel like I was in Ed Sheeran’s music video (basic, I get it). I loved it so much, I actually extended my stay here. It was well worth it. If you go, check out my favorite bar An Pucan. Best. Time. Ever.

DAYS 29-31

LOCATION 10: Kilkenny, Ireland

Where I stayed:

I stayed in an AirBNB above a pub! This was such a cool, authentic experience. And I absolutely adored this pub where older Irish people go to. I had quite a few lively conversations there accompanied by some whiskey.

How I got there:

IT WAS PAINFUL TO GET TO KILKENNY! There is no way to get from Galway to Kilkenny, so I had to take an extra long travel day and go from GALWAY to DUBLIN and then to KILKENNY! But I made quite a few memories from this, and those memories were PRICELESS so it was worth it.

Final thoughts:

Loved my experiences in Kilkenny. But the city is quite small and quiet. But I recommend to go there and do a little tour of it. People are very very friendly and conversational. I recommend doing the beer tour.

DAYS 31-33

LOCATION 11: Back to Dublin!

Where I stayed:

I gave another hostel a knack. This time I stayed at Isaac’s Hostel. I definitely recommend Isaac’s over Gardiner/Generator. It is a typical backpacker’s hostel, which I prefer. The staff is friendly and the hostel is social. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

How I got there:

On a bus, of course. Probably the best way in Ireland.

Final thoughts:

I adored Dublin. Like a lot. I met so many incredible people that really changed my life. Moral of the story: say yes to new experiences (only if it is safe, of course).

If you found this guide helpful and you use it at alllll, I would love to see your pictures! Please tag me in your adventures @kimcrossesborders on instagram. OR shoot me a good old fashioned email with some pictures.

Staying safe on your journey is so so so important! Here are my top tips!

For $40 off of your first AirBNB and $15 off of an Airbnb experience (such as the crepes making class I took in Paris click here.

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one month itinerary for Europe