Top Backpacker Destinations in Europe for 2019
It’s a new year and a new time to travel, but with so many places we need to tick off, where do we start?! Europe is packed full of some of the most exciting cities in the world, where you can find fascinating history, medieval architecture, wild nightlife and A LOT of the best beer on the planet. To make your decision on where to head next a little easier, we’ve put together a list of the best budget backpacker destinations in Europe that you simply can’t miss out on this year. It’s time to make 2019 the adventure of a lifetime!
If you’ve yet to tick off Amsterdam from your European bucket list, be sure to make it a priority! Amsterdam is one of the most exciting cities on the continent. Embrace your inner free spirit and explore the Netherlands’ most dynamic city in true backpacker style by getting your culture fix by day and unleashing your wild side by night. Countless museums naming the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum as just two, plus canal tours, the Red Light District and the tall, gabled buildings that line the canals all set the scene. Then the incredible street art, vintage havens, creative spaces and, of course, bars and coffeeshops all complete your Amsterdam experience. This is a city for any and every type of traveller, and the ideal place to kick off your travels of 2019.
One of the cool things about Amsterdam is that you can make the city one of your stops as part of a tour around the Netherlands. From the Dutch capital there are easy and fast links to other beautiful Dutch cities including Rotterdam, Den Haag, Haarlem, Gouda, Keukenhof Gardens and the stunning beach town Noordwijk.
St Christopher’s at the Winston is located right by the busy Red Light District, check it out
The urban metropolis Berlin is a backpacker’s playground. Steeped in history and culture with an insane party vibe every night of the week, Berlin is the ideal city break for any kind of backpacker, and it certainly won’t break the budget. Indulge in German beer and currywurst for cheap, visit the museums which delve into the city’s past and visit the different monuments that commemorate those who gave their lives to World War II. The city will leave you speechless and with a likely hangover, but it’s one that will steal your heart all the same.
Berlin is known as the student and party capital of Europe for a reason. That’s because it’s one of the most affordable cities in Western Europe where you can get a bed in a centrally located hostel for less than €20 and you can buy a tasty local lunch for less than €5. Doner kebabs are a city speciality! From the Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate, to the Holocaust Memorial and the Reichstag, there’s more than enough to get your culture fix. Then in the evening, you’ll be excited to experience what it’s like to party in one of best clubbing cities in Europe. And guess what? Even the clubs are affordable unlike other big cities in Europe.
Check out how you can do Berlin on Less Than €30 a Day
Need a hostel in Berlin? Check out St Christopher’s Inn
Whether you’re travelling with friends, a loved one or on your own, Barcelona is the ideal destination for 2019. The seaside capital has it all: all year sunshine, beautiful beaches, unbelievable food and some of the craziest architectural designs in Europe. A trip to Barcelona isn’t complete without a visit to Gaudi’s world-famous designs, the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Park Guell and more. La Boqueria market is also a must-visit, especially for the foodies amongst you. The rows and rows of colourful local fruits and vegetables, and the smell of delicious tapas cooking is good enough to draw you in from a mile off. Spend a hot summer’s day sunning yourself on Barceloneta beach, or take a day trip to another of the best beaches in and around Barcelona.
Whether you’re after a relaxing getaway with both city and sea at your fingertips, a jam-packed weekend of history and culture, or an indulgent break stuffed with sun, sangria and tapas, make Barcelona your first port of call for 2019.
Wondering where to stay in Barcelona? St Christopher’s Inns Barcelona hostel is perfectly located just off La Rambla
Munich has made our list because it’s an underrated city bursting with Bavarian charm. If you’ve already been to a lot of the capital cities in Europe and want to go somewhere smaller and more traditional that flaunts local flair, then Munich is for you. Explore the quaint yet colourful streets of Munich where you’ll find beautiful architecture that dates back centuries. This endearing city has a beautiful Old Town where you may stumble upon the Neo-Gothic town hall in the medieval square. If you’re a beer lover, Munich might just become your new favourite city. The birthplace of steins is Bavaria so where better to get your taste of it than in the city that created it?
Lose an afternoon in a 14th century beer hall in Munich, the Hofbrauhaus, with quality Bavarian beer in one hand and a pretzel in the other. Lederhosen are not necessary. But Munich isn’t all traditional; the city is the perfect mix between old and new. Find edgy art, high-tech cars and an awesome local cuisine that is more than just wurst and pork knuckles.
Experience true Bavarian culture and visit Munich when Oktoberfest is not on. While Oktoberfest is an amazing experience, don’t let it distract you from the real beauty of Munich and the proper Bavarian traditions. We recommend visiting in the off season or summer.
Check out Euro Youth hostel for your stay in Munich
One of our favourite cities on earth has to be Edinburgh. The Scottish capital has an undeniable magic that captures everybody who visits. While it may not be the warmest city in Europe, it excels in other areas including its medieval architecture, rich history, rolling hills and one heck of a drinking scene that attracts party goers from all over the world. The museums are also top-notch, check out some of the coolest contemporary art as well as local Scottish art at the National Galleries.
Get cosy in a traditional Scottish pub next to a fire, take part in some whiskey tasting or head to one of the underground cocktail bars that are hidden beneath the city’s streets. There’s a mysterious aura about Edinburgh that makes wandering around the streets of the city feel mystical. No wonder JK Rowling took a lot of her inspiration for the Harry Potter books from the Scottish capital. Explore the grounds of Edinburgh castle, walk down the bustling Royal Mile, get lost in the beautiful Old Town and get your first taste of haggis!
We recommend hiking up Arthur’s Seat before sunset and setting up a picnic to watch the sun go down.
Stay in the heart of the Old Town at St Christopher’s Inns’ Edinburgh hostel
Don’t let the quaint, Belgian city of Bruges pass you by on your trip around Europe in 2019. Explore between the cobbled streets to unveil charming, hidden pubs, indulge on some of the best Belgian waffles you’ve ever eaten and take a twilight tour by water on a river cruise. Bruges is a fairytale city full of character and lots (and we mean lots) of beer. The beer scene in Bruges is like no other, so if you’re a fan of the stuff then you’re in for a real treat. Visit the oldest pub in Bruges, sample the local favourites with some Belgian cheese, and take a tour around the Bruges Beer Experience. Check out the best beer spots in Bruges here. For a relaxing city break with quaint, historical architecture and a fairy tale atmosphere, Bruges is absolutely the city for you.
Looking for a place to stay in Bruges? Check out the Bauhaus
Venture off the beaten track at the lesser-explored Latvian capital of Riga; a UNESCO World Heritage City full of timeless charm. Get up high at St Peter’s Church for stunning city views over the Gothic spires in the Old Town before checking out the local produce at Riga’s Central Market. We think Riga is one of the most underrated cities in Europe so get there fast before the masses of tourists discover what it has to offer. Beautiful, colourful buildings paired with medieval spires and Art Nouveau facades create the charming air that makes Riga so special.
Enjoy a coffee in one of the quaint outdoor cafes on the cobbles, or embrace the Latvian culture and try Riga’s infamous Black Balsam - a very alcoholic herbal liqueur sold all over the city. There’s no doubt that Riga will soon become one very popular destination for backpackers for the cheap prices, strong liqueur and beautiful photo opportunities. So get there soon for a trip you will never forget!
Head to the Portuguese capital this year to get a taste of what Lisbon has to offer. This hilly coastal city is full of culture, cuisine and bustling bars and restaurants. Some of the best Portuguese food can be found in Lisbon: get all of your foodie delights at the Time Out market. For fresh ceviche, head to A Cevicheria where you can enjoy vibrant flavours, friendly staff and a glass of Pisco Sour while you wait in the queue to get in. Bask in the sunshine while exploring the indigo-tiled houses, take a 1930s tram ride and for the best Natas, head to Pastel de Belem for amazing views while you indulge in the original nata recipe created at this very place.
Head to the stunning Sintra mountains for a day trip you won’t forget. The Pena Palace is a Romanticist castle that can be found right at the top of Sintra Mountains where you’ll find incredible views. Lisbon is such an amazing city where you’ll find fun on every corner (and a new amazing restaurant to try). For foodies, Lisbon should be your top choice.
Check out Oasis Backpacker Hostel in Lisbon
London is a bucket list city that every budding traveller simply has to visit. The metropolis is packed with history and culture, as well as incredible nightlife and an electric atmosphere that’ll leave you craving a return trip as soon as possible! Stay in the heart of London and immerse yourself in the busy London way, or take a step back and make the historic borough of Greenwich your base, the perfect opportunity to get to know the ‘home of time’. While the city is known to be expensive, it can definitely be explored on a budget. Get yourself a nice hostel, make the most of all the free things to do (there are so many free museums, sights and attractions) and head to the city’s best cheap eats.
London’s countless markets, museums, restaurants from around the world, unbelievable views and of course local pubs are just a few of the endless things you can do to fill your itinerary. You’ll never get bored of walking the streets of the English capital and partying amongst some of the best nightlife in the world. It’ll be a jam-packed trip but the trip of a lifetime.
Check out St Christopher’s Inns hostels in London located all over the city
If the city of Copenhagen isn’t on your radar yet, you better make sure it is for your European trip of 2019. Get lost cycling around the quirky Danish city, making sure to pit stop at the best coffee shops in Copenhagen along the way for a caffeine refuel and a tasty Danish pastry. Don’t believe the rumours about Copenhagen being ‘too expensive’ to travel on a budget, as if you’re money savvy you can do it on the cheap easily. Check out the colourful houses of Nyhavn on the river, climb to the top of the spire of the Church of Our Saviour, take in the strangeness of Freetown Christiania and get your thrills on the oldest operating wooden rollercoaster of Tivoli Gardens at night. The photo opportunities in Copenhagen are something special and the best part is that none of these things are going to cost you the earth!
The food scene in Copenhagen is also a winner. Of course, the Danish pastries and coffee is some of the best in Europe, however you can’t stop at Copenhagen without a hot dog from a street vendor - smothered in mustard, crispy onion and pickles, there’s nothing better!
Heading to Copenhagen in 2019? Check out the Copenhagen Downtown hostel
Head to one of the coolest cities to visit right now. In the South of Poland, you’ll find Krakow, a beautiful town that lies just above the border of the Czech Republic. Known for its medieval Old Town and vibrant Jewish Quarter, there are plenty of authentic places to explore to get a dose of Polish history. The main square in Krakow dates back to the 13th century and it’s one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe. There’s a reason this interesting city has become a popular place for backpackers to visit in recent years; not to mention it’s super cheap so perfect for those on a budget.
Visit the Wawel Castle in the centre of Krakow for a taste of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Indulge in heart warming Polish cuisine from tasty soups, sausages, pierogies, kielbasa and sauerkraut. The Polish vodka is also brilliant (and cheap!). Even the fine dining is affordable! Make sure to take epic photos inside the magnificent St Francis’ Basilica Cathedral.
The magical air that flows throughout Prague is enough to make anyone fall in love with the city. During rain or shine, summer or winter, Prague will still be one of the most stunning capitals you can visit in Europe. Lose yourself amongst the incredible, medieval architecture, get your camera out at Charles Bridge and sample some of the best beer in Europe on a hop between the local beer bars. Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world and the most standout feature in Prague’s skyline that plays a major part in the medieval look and feel of the city.
If you’re looking for a great place to party, Prague is the place for you. Boasting the biggest club in central Europe, Karlovy Lazne, with 5 floors each playing different styles of music, as well as some of the best beer in Europe and plenty of other places to dance, it’s fair to say Prague’s nightlife is a hit amongst everyone.
Check out the Czech Inn for your next trip to Prague
Need a hostel in Europe? Check out St Christopher’s Inns
Article by Darcy King and Shereen Sagoo
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