When planning your next big backpacking trip take a moment to consider Northern Europe. Not the most tropical place, this region has some of the best cities, most breathtaking sights, and some of the best people in the world. From the glaciers of Denmark to the nature walks in Norway; Bar hoping in Dublin and the Royal Palace in London. There is a little something for everyone. Whether or not you are a nature lover you will surely appreciate the beauty of Northern Europe. There is so much for a backpacker to do and great places to stay over. The railways makes getting around easy and stress-free. If you are interested in taking a break from the crowded cities and spend some time with some great people head up here and enjoy a few weeks of relaxation and exhilaration.
Places to go in Northern Europe
Even though it is not fun to make a set-in-stone plan for backpacking, the best idea really is to get a feel for where you want to spend your time. If you had unlimited resources and a few months, then travel all over the place. Unfortunately most people do not and that’s fine as long as you pick a few countries to focus your time. If you are really excited to see London then make a trip of the U.K. and Ireland. There is so much to see and do you could spend a few weeks just in these two countries. It’s also pretty nice that they speak English. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark is another great and easy trip. Once you get to one country the others are so close by. If you are just looking for a “top spots” trip then hit up London, Stockholm in Sweden, and Brussels in Belgium. This is more than enough to keep you and friends busy on your backpacking adventure. It will also give you a good taste of Northern Europe and the different cultures. To look up individual cities within these countries see the city guides at studentuniverse.com. This is such a good tool to help plan any trip and will give detailed descriptions of the best things to see, places to eat, and practical advice.
What to see in Northern Europe
London, England is an awesome city. The history, culture, and arts here is incredible. From the Royal Family and their architectural beauties to Parliament and the home of Shakespeare, which is just outside of London, there is so much to see. You will want to spend a week here to get it all in. Between the museums, galleries, palaces, and gardens, there really is just too much to go on. From here jet over to Dublin, Ireland for another great time. Beer begins pouring from taps around noon and doesn’t stop ’til early the next morning. Temple Bar and Temple Bar district is where the party is at every day of the year. There is also the famous Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Whiskey Distillery. Trinity College and Dublin Castle are fun to tour. This city takes about a couple days to really see the bulk of attractions. In Brussels the Grand’ Place-Grote Market is a site to see. It is the trademark building in this city as well as a large market place. There are often light shows and musical shows here. Atomium is another large structure that is iconic to the city. When staying in Brussels hit up some of the museums like Bourse-Beurs. But also just enjoy the outdoors. There is a lot to take in. There are ferry trips to Robinson’s Island where you can enjoy the scenery and great view on this short trip. Heading to Scandinavia, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden will give you a good taste of some of the best Northern Europe has to offer. These counties are extremely backpacker and college student friendly. Unlike London there are many hostels for the choosing. In Denmark see the Little Mermaid, Tivoli Gardens, and the Queen’s Palace Amalienborg in Copenhagen. There are some very beautiful castles in the countryside that rival any other country in Europe. Norway is a natural gem. For those who love the outdoors, get some hiking gear and come on over. Some of the most beautiful sites can be found here from tops of cliffs and bottoms of rivers you will fall in love with this country. Next take a small hop over to Sweden. Sweden has some of the happiest people in the world. And why not? They have one of the loveliest countries in the world. Explore the countryside, stop in a city for a cafe and shopping, then hit the road again for an outdoor adventure. There is a lot to see and do. Backpackers will love Northern Europe for all it has to offer and how easy it is to get around this place.
How to get there
The eurail system is really the best way to get around. It connects Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. From there you can easily take an overnight train to Germany and Austria. The best way to get over to the U.K. is probably on a small airline flight. Companies like RyanAir and EasyJet make flying from country to country cheap and accessible. Plus you get to mix and match you departures and arrivals. So get ready to explore all of Northern Europe. Make sure when packing for your backpacking adventure to check the weight and dimension specifications for these airlines. They tend to be smaller than larger airlines that you may have flown over to Europe in. The last thing you will want on your trip is paying extra fees for overweight luggage. From Ireland to the U.K. there are also ferries. Some are overnight so you won’t have to pay for a hostel. There are also some ferries from the U.K. to Denmark and Norway. Just make sure to check timetables as these do not leave as frequently. It is so easy to get around Northern Europe. It is great to have so many options and not have to worry about making a rigid plan. What fun would backpacking be then?
Northern Europe travel tips
- Wear comfortable shoes. This isn’t a fashion contest.
- Pack layers as the weather changes substantially in the different climates.
- If heading to London, pack an umbrella!