For many college students, traveling isn't so easy due to monetary restrictions; however, that doesn't mean you have to give up the dream of traveling throughout the world. There are many great cities you can visit on a backpacking trip where you can travel for less. Check out these top 7 destinations for a backpacking trip where we included top site-seeing locations and ways to get around the city.
1. Rome, Italy
Known for its gorgeous old buildings and amazing Italian food, Rome is definitely a place you don't want to miss. Top site-seeing locations include the Vatican city, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and St. Peters Basillica just to name a few. Wondering the best way to get around the city? Try out these options:
- Bus: Most convenient and economic way to get around is the Public Transit Bus Service. Buses run 24 hours a day and cover the entire city. Make sure you get a map with bus routes upon your arrival in the city and always remember to validate your ticket once on the bus! (You could be stopped by transportation police and owe a € 50 fine for not validating a ticket.)
- Underground/metro system: You'll find two metro lines, Line A red line and Line B blue line. They also offer trains to and from the Airport.
- Trams: There are 7 tram lines.
2. London, United Kingdom
In London there are so many fun things to do and see. The city is filled with hot spots ranging from historic features such as Westminster Abbey to fun activities such as kayaking in the Thames River! You’ll never be bored in a city like this. Places you don’t wanna miss include The London eye, The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, St. Paul’s cathedral and the London Dungeon--watch out for ghosts! The best ways to get around the city include:
- The Subway, also known as "the tube" - The fastest way to get around the city.
- Taxis, Red Buses, Walking
3. Paris, France
Aside from being stereotyped as a city with artists walking around wearing beret’s and eating croissants, Paris has a lot more to offer you. You definitely don't want to miss the hotspots that include The Louvre, the Notre Dame Cathedral, The Arc de Triomphe, The Sun Palace and of course the Eiffel Tower. But did you know that Paris is also home to their own Disneyland?! Disneyland Paris is a definite must see. Typical forms of transportation include the following:
- The metro: runs from 5am to 12:30 am.
- Buses: most busses run from 6:30am to 8:30 pm with few buses running until 12:30am.
- Taxis: taxi stands are located all around the city.
- Boat: The Boat bus runs up and down the Seine River. Making many stops, one being the Eiffel Tower, Running from mid-April to mid-October.
*A car is unnecessary in the city, with most people choosing to bike or walk. Bikes can be rented with maps of typical bike routes. Velib are bicycles that can be rented anywhere around the city. You can pick up a bike at one station and drop it off at another! How easy?!
4. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona has its own language known as Catalan, and is home to the football team FC Barcelona, one of the most famous sports clubs. Barcelona is known for its architecture but most importantly its beaches! There is so much to do in Barcelona you’ll never run out of things to do! Or, you could lie on the beautiful beaches all week long. Typically attractions include The Sagrada Familia, The Picasso Museum, The Barcelona Zoo, Las Ramblas and a La pedrera-casa mila. Transportation includes:
- Metro: There are 5 color coded and numbered lines, with stations signified by a red diamond shaped sign, with an M in the middle deeming them easy to locate.
- Buses/trams: Bus Turístic is the most convenient way to see Barcelona. This is a Double-Decker bus that travels to all the major sights.
- Bike: Biking around the city is a growing form of transportation in the city.
5. Athens, Greece
Known for Greek Gods and Goddess as well as ancient Greek myths the city of Athens has a lot of historic monuments you don’t want to miss! They include the Acropolis, the Temple of Poseidon, The Parthenon, Mount Lycabettus, Athena’s Temple, Cape of Sounion, Temple of Hephaestus, and the Agora-Athens Central Market. Looking for ways to get around? Check out the following:
- Metro: The metro runs from 5:30am till midnight Sunday-Thursday and runs until 2am on Friday and Saturday.
- Bus/trolley bus: Definitely a cheap mode of travel but it takes a long time to figure out which bus to take as well as a long wait time for busses to arrive. It is important to make sure you always hold onto your ticket so you are not fined, if stopped by a transportation officer.
- Tram: The tram connects the downtown to the coast. It takes a scenic route that is not necessarily the fastest. It runs on a 24-hour schedule Friday and Saturday, and 5 am-midnight Sunday through Thursday. Always remember to validate your tickets at the platforms or inside the tram to avoid fines!
- Taxi: Taxis are generally inexpensive in Athens. However, some taxi drivers picking up at airports and tourist attractions etc, can overcharge foreigners so be careful not to get taken advantage of!
6. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is a great city to visit on a college budget. It is a city that will not burn a hole in your wallet but will still offer great entertainment. Some of the "must-sees" include Old Town, Lobkowicz Palace, St. Charles Bridge, and St. Vitus Cathedral. Easy transportation includes the following:
- Metro: The metro is made up of Three lines, A(green), B(yellow) and C(red)
- Trams: There are many trams that run throughout the city that are great for a cheap tour of the city. Daytime trams run from 4:30 am until midnight with night trams running from 00:30 am till 4:30 am. Tram 22 follows the most scenic route and goes directly to the Prague Castle as well as making a stop near the Charles Bridge. The Nostalgic tram no. 91 runs on weekends and holidays from April- mid November. It starts at the Public Transport Museum and ends at Stromovka Park. It also makes stops at Prague Castle and Wenceslas Square. It is definitely a unique experience. *Note: Tickets cannot be purchased on the trams or the buses, so you need to purchase them at the major tram stops.
- Buses Buses as in most cities cover areas that the trams or metro do not run. The buses are reliable but can be very crowded at certain times.
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Aside from being known for its many “coffee shops” Amsterdam is very diverse and has a lot of culture to offer. Amsterdam is even home to the most museums in the world! Typical tourist attractions include: Anne Frank’s house, the Red Light District, Van Gough museum, The Heineken Brewery, Canal boat tours and Rijksmuseum- the museum of the Netherlands. Things you should know about transportation in the Netherlands:
- Bikes are huge! There are more than 1 million bikes in Amsterdam, which is greater than the number of inhabitants. There are many bike lanes, seeing as there are two times as many bikes than cars. Riding a bike around will definitely help you to fit into the culture and get a true feel for the city.
- Trains: These are used for longer journeys, to other towns or cities.
- Trams: ideal for short trips around the city and other districts.
- Metro: fast and efficient
- Bus, taxi or ferry: other alternatives that are definitely used in the city.