The New Year is well-and-truly upon us, meaning one thing and one thing only. It's time to sort out your travel plans for 2022! After another rollercoaster of a year that was 2021, we hope this new year brings about new happy memories that travel can play a part in.
We’ve rounded up what we think are the 22 best things to do in 2022 for backpackers travelling around Europe. From hiking up Arthur’s Seat in Scotland to eating in the world's oldest pizzeria in Italy, use this guide as your ultimate travel bucket list for 2022 and see how many you can tick off (you might've completed a few already).
Planning on staying in budget hostels during your travels? is a great option for centrally-located accommodation with a sociable party atmosphere.
1. Complete Scotland's North Coast 500
Driving the North Coast 500 is an activity that should be on every adventure-seeker's travel bucket list. The incredible route stretches 500 miles from the 'Highland Capital', Inverness, right around the edge of the northernmost Scotland, with hundreds of spectacular spots along the way. From world-famous natural sights like Loch Ness to hundreds of secret, hidden spots hardly anyone has visited before, book a few weeks to camp around the #NC500 and you're in for the trip of a lifetime.
2. Go to the Berlin Christmas Markets
Europe’s Christmas markets are the perfect excuse for a short city break in the winter. During the festive season, pay a trip to Berlin to enjoy the famous Christmas markets and magical atmosphere throughout the city. The most beautiful one in Berlin has to be Gendarmenmarkt which is known for its star-topped tents and fantastic location in the square. Sip on hot gluhwein, indulge in bratwurst and buy yourself a Christmas trinket or two.
Check out the
3. Attend a London Music Festival
It’s not summer unless you have a music festival lined up. London hosts some of the hottest music festivals in Europe where huge international musicians take to the stage as well as more up-and-coming acts. From Wireless, BST Hyde Park, All Points East, SW4 and the iconic Reading Festival (on the outskirts of London) keep an eye out for the line-up for London’s summer festivals and see which is most in-line with your interests…
4. Drink steins at Munich’s Oktoberfest
If you love beer and a party, then you need to add Oktoberfest to your bucket list for 2020. Held in Munich, this festival is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to embrace Bavarian culture (in the most boozy way possible). Taking place from 14th September to 4th October 2020, the event is free. You just need to sort out accommodation and remember to bring euros in cash to pay for some steins.
5. Check out the ceilings at the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City
Never visited the Vatican City? It’s simply stunning inside and out, so on a trip to Rome this year, make sure you fit in the Vatican’s magnificent Sistine Chapel (the official residence of the Pope). The ceilings and paintings inside the chapel are incredible, featuring art by Renaissance painters and Michelangelo’s iconic ceiling art. The Vatican is the headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church and it’s its own city-state surrounded by Rome, so well worth a visit.
6. Cycle to the windmills in Bruges
Pack some Belgian charm into your travels for 2020 and head to Bruges. One of the best things to do in the medieval old town is cycling past the old windmills. Not far from the city centre, the windmills to visit are Koeleweimill, Nieuwe Papegaai, Sint-Janshuismill (the only one which is open to the public) and Bonne Chiere. Belgium has a rich mill history but these are the only remaining ones in Bruges. The mills look like something out of a fairytale.
Check out the
7. Get views from the top of Sacre Coeur in Paris
Standing high in the heart of the Montmartre neighbourhood is one of Paris’ shining stars. You won’t be able to miss the Sacre Coeur on your trip a la Paris, however did you know you can climb to the dome at the top? Here, you’ll be at the 2nd highest point in Paris, after only the Eiffel Tower. Getting the views at the top of the Sacre Coeur will only set you back €5, but looking around the incredible, intricate interior is free.
8. Paddle boarding in Croatia
Croatia is one of the best countries in Europe for water sports. There are over 1000 islands in Croatia as well as some great seaside cities on the mainland to have a go at standing on water. Put paddle boarding on your list of things to do in Croatia - while it can be a real challenge, it’s one of our favourite ways to take in the nature around you and have a real laugh while doing so.
9. Have a beer at the top of Carmel Bunkers, Barcelona
It’s not so much a secret now as it was a few years ago, but the Carmel Bunkers are still a real hidden gem to most regular tourists in Barcelona. Either take the bus, or do the hike up to the top of the old anti-aircraft warfare base, where you’ll be rewarded with incredible views over Barcelona and the Balearic Sea. Be sure to grab a few beers on your way to get the real local experience, and at sunset, it’s even more amazing.
10. Eat natas at Lisbon’s first nata bakery
Lisbon’s oldest pastel de nata recipe dates back over 300 years, when the monks of Jeronimos Monastery were collecting money for support. Pasteis de Belem is the oldest and most famous nata bakery in Lisbon, set up by the family who bought the recipe off the monks in 1837. Now, queues of people waiting for the best natas in Lisbon go well out of the shop door on a daily basis. Prepare to wait for your delicious Portuguese custard tart, but just know that it’s totally worth it.
11. Hike up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh
While there’s so much to see and do in Edinburgh, on a trip to the Scottish capital in 2020, be sure to prioritise some time to hike up Arthur’s Seat. It’s one of the absolute highlights of being in the city - breathing in fresh country air while only being a stone’s throw away from the centre AND getting the best view over the entire place. There are a few different routes of different difficulties but one thing is certain, whichever path you choose you’ll have no regrets once you reach the pinnacle viewpoint.
Check out the
12. Go on the oldest wooden roller coaster in Europe
Tivoli Gardens is the second oldest working amusement park in the entire world, and it’s smack bang in the heart of Copenhagen. Here, you can ride the world’s oldest operating wooden roller coaster, Rutschebanen, where an operator still controls the ride with a brake! Head to the park at night when it’s all lit up and makes for the perfect Insta-opportunity. You can grab some dinner, drinks and ride roller coasters to your heart’s content!
13. Try the best pistachio escargot in Paris
If you’re at all into French cuisine, you’ll know that ‘escargot’ is the local speciality - snails. At Du Pain et des Idées, escargot refers to a pinwheel pastry layered with pistachio and chocolate, and it’s become legendary. Paris is a must-see European city with some of the world’s most famous landmarks, but when you’re there you simply can’t miss this gem of a Parisian pastry at Du Pain et des Idées.
14. Drink a Beer at Strahov Monastery in Prague
The real beer lovers will know that of all the beer-obsessed cities in Europe, Prague is one of those that are right at the top. Sit back and sip on the famous St Norbert brews at one of the quirkiest bars in the city - within the compound of a monastery built in 1143. The Strahov Monastery Brewery is just a stone’s throw from Prague Castle, perched on Petrin Hill so even the views are beautiful.
Check out the
15. Visit the Roman Baths in Bath
You may not be able to soak in it, but the Roman Baths are one of the most historic sights in England and definitely deserving of a spot on your 2020 list. See the steam rising off the over 1 million litres of water that flow into the incredibly preserved bath remains, thought to have been constructed way back in 70AD.
16. Have afternoon tea in London
Is there anything more quintessentially British than afternoon tea in London? Indulge like the Queen herself in a high tea complete with finger sandwiches, pastries, scones with jam & cream and a pot of delicious English breakfast tea. Check out the best affordable afternoon tea spots in London that are all less than £30.
17. Get lost exploring Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter
Arguably the most charming area in Barcelona, you could quite easily spend a whole day exploring the labyrinth-like Gothic Quarter. The medieval neighbourhood dates back to over 2,000 years ago, so while it’s beautiful to look at and it’s full of great bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes, there is a dark history embedded in its walls. Get lost between the small, open squares, stumble across some of the city’s highlights like Placa Reial and Barcelona Cathedral, and enjoy some of the best tapas in Barcelona in a quaint, little tapas bar (El Xampanyet hits the spot every time).
Check out the
18. Go inside Edinburgh Castle
A castle sitting on top of a rock in the centre of the Scottish capital, this one is for every history buff’s bucket list. Yes, it looks pretty spectacular from the outside - especially looking up at it from Princes Street Gardens - however to get the true Edinburgh Castle experience you simply have to go inside. From the Great Hall to the Royal Apartments to the Crown Jewels to Prisoners of War living quarters, everywhere you turn there’s more fascinating Scottish history to learn.
Watch our video on How to Spend 48 Hours in Edinburgh
19. Island hop around Greece
A massive 6,000 islands make up the Greek Archipelago (although only a minor 227 are actually inhabited). Tick off a few different islands in one trip and spend your summer in Greece, hopping from one to the other. Dance on the beach at Greece’s top party islands, and bask in the heat in the country’s more laid-back, relaxing sandy shores.
20. Head to Naples to eat at one of the world’s oldest pizzerias
If you’re a true lover of Italian cuisine, paying a visit to the birthplace and capital of pizza, Naples, should be high on your priority list for 2020. There are a few pizzerias in Naples which claim to be the oldest in the city, but L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele has a Michelin star! For pizza which costs just €5! You can’t say no to that.
21. Take in views over Tallinn's Old Town
Estonia's capital city is without doubt one of Europe's most underrated destinations. The people, the food, the medieval architecture and the views... It really should be on every traveller's bucket list. Walk up the winding cobbled streets in the Old Town until you reach one of the city's many viewpoints, overlooking Tallinn's green and terracotta rooftops and medieval spires.
22. Book a New Year's Eve getaway
Have you ever bit the bullet and booked a trip over New Year's Eve? Why not see in 2023 from a whole other country? Think of it as an extra special Christmas present to yourself - to see how other countries celebrate the global occurrence of welcoming a new year into our lives. From fireworks and parties to charming local traditions and food, spending New Year's Eve abroad is guaranteed to be unforgettable.
Looking for hostels in Europe? Check out in Paris, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Bath, Bruges, Amsterdam, Newquay & Edinburgh