Europe The Best European Cities for Backpacking  

Ranker Travel
3.2k votes 400 voters 10.8k views 45 items

List Rules Upvote the best cities to backpack in Europe

Backpacking through Europe is a right of passage--and an adventure--that many young adults embark upon. When you're backpacking Europe, there are many different countries, cities, and cultures to explore. Going backpacking in Europe is a great way to burst out of your comfort zone and make important personal discoveries. One of the best ways to become more aware of the world around you is to backpack Europe. Too often, people get stuck in the comfort of their everyday lives. They become focused solely on what is immediately near them, and completely forget about the whole wide world, waiting for them just outside of their backyards.


The historically rich continent of Europe has so many great cities to see and learn from. You may wonder, where should I begin my travels? Visiting a variety of European cities can help give you a better idea of how the rest of the world lives. Each new place that you visit will give you a unique, intangible gift that you can carry with you for the rest of your life. 

 Be sure to vote for your favorite European city to backpack, and feel free to add any countries we may have left out! 

list ordered by

1
83 17
London is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
England - London is located in England, and was originally founded by Roman citizens looking to expand their territory. It is a leading global power house in arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research, development, tourism, and transport. Famous landmarks like the London Eye, Big Ben, the Tower of London, and St. Paul's Cathedral are fun, historic places to visit on your backpacking adventure. 

2
71 17
Berlin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Germany - Berlin is Germany's capital, as well as its largest city. It is known for being one of the leaders in LGBT-friendly culture, as well as for their cuisine, education, healthcare, and innovative technology. 

3
59 12
Barcelona is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Spain - Barcelona is the capital city of the Catalonian community in Spain. There are many amazing sites to see in Barcelona, including Antoni Gaudì's Sagrada Famìlia, and the Museu Picasso. 

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93 35
Amsterdam is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Netherlands - Amsterdam is the Dutch capital in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The city is known for their progressive thinking, their active bicycling culture, and their beautiful canals and architecture. 

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52 11
Madrid is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Spain - Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. Although Madrid is very modern, it has managed to preserve the original feel and look of its many historic neighborhoods and streets. It is known for the Bluen Retiro Park, the La Reigna Sofìa museum, the Prado museum, and the Cibeles Palace and Fountain. 

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46 8
Edinburgh is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Scotland - Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. It is best known for being the place where J.K. Rowling first sat down to pen Harry Potter in a little coffee shop called the Elephant House. 

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57 15
Munich is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Germany - Munich is the capital and largest city in the state of Bavaria, located in Germany. It is home to the Hofbräuhaus, the most famous beer hall in the world, as well as Oktoberfest. 

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49 10
Lisbon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Portugal - Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal, and the 11th most populated urban area in the European Union. It is considered to be a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education, and tourism. 

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51 12
Prague is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Czech Republic - Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic. It was founded during the Gothic and Renaissance eras, and was the seat for two Holy Roman Emperors. Because Prague suffered very little damage during WWII, the original architecture has been preserved in many of their most popular buildings. 

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52 13
Budapest is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Central Hungary - Budapest is the capital and largest city of Hungary. It was originally settled by the Celts in 1 A.D., and is now one of the top cities in the world for music, film, theatre, dance, and visual art. Budapest is known best by tourists for their Rain Pubs, which each have their own artistic ambience, and different interesting accommodations, like concerts, film screenings, and live performances. 

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50 12
Bratislava is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Slovakia - Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, and is home to around 500,000 people. It is the political, economical, and cultural centre of Slovakia. 

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52 14
Athens is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Greece - Athens, Greece, is one of the world's oldest cities, and is known as the birthplace of democracy. It is home to the original Olympic Games, and was the first place to employ a center for the arts, education, and philosophical study. Athens is one of the world's leaders in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, culture, education, and tourism.

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43 8
Ibiza Town is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Spain - Ibiza is an island off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. It has become famous for the increase of nightlife and electronic music associated with the island. 

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47 11
Hamburg is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Germany - Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany, and has a rich history that dates back to 2nd century C.E. 

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50 14
Naples is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Italy - Naples is the capital of the Campania region in Italy. It was originally ruled by Greece, but became Roman territory during the Punic Wars. For decades, Naples held on to their Greek language and history while expanding the city to include traditional Roman villas and baths. Today, Naples is a powerhouse of rich, historical culture. 

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47 12
Tallinn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Estonia - Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is one of the top 10 digital cities in the world. The Tallinn Passenger Port is one of the busiest cruise destinations in the Baltic Sea. 32% of Estonia's population lives in Tallinn.

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46 12
Riga is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Latvia - Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. It is well-known for its Art Nouveau / Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture. 

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46 12
Copenhagen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Denmark - Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, as well as the cultural, economical, and governmental centre of the country. 

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48 14
Dublin is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Ireland - Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Originally a Viking Settlement, Dublin is now home to many art museums, pubs, restaurants, and shops. 

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42 10
Vienna is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Austria - Vienna is known as the City of Music, and for good reason. Not only is it the capital of Austria, it is also the birthplace of Franz Schubert and Johann Strauss. Other famous musicians like Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn eventually settled here to create beautiful tunes. Vienna is also known for their cuisine, museums, architecture, charitable organiations. 

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42 10
Crete is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Crete Greece - Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek Islands. It is a popular destination for honeymooners, holiday travelers, and vacationers alike due to its natural beauty. 

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49 15
Florence is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Italy - Florence is located in Tuscany, Italy, and is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance. It is ranked as one of the top 50 fashion capitals of the world, and is well-known for its beautiful art museums, galleries, and Renaissance monuments. 

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53 18
Rome is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Italy - Rome is the capital of Italy, located in the region of Lanzio. Legend has it that Rome was founded by two brothers, Romulus and Remus, who were suckled by a she-wolf and raised to build the city. Rome's history spans a time period of over 14,000 years, and continues to be one of the most culturally significant cities of all time. They are known for their achievements in sports, art, film, and, of course, pizza. The statues and architecture that fill the city are incredibly beautiful, and help shed light on what it was like to live in ancient Rome. 

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48 16
Sofia is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Bulgaria - Sofia is the largest city in Bulgaria with a population of about 1.3 million people. The performing arts, such as theater, music, and dance, are very popular in Sofia. 

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48 16
Venice is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Italy - Venice, Italy is made up of 118 small islands separated by canals. It is known for being one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. Venice is home to many great works of art, St. Mark's Basilica, and the Piazza San Marco. 

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51 19
Bucharest is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Romania - Bucharest is located in Romania, and is known for being the cultural, financial, and industrial centre of the country. It is home to the largest Parliament building in the world, as well as beautiful architecture, art museums, and visual and performing arts. 

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51 19
Istanbul is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Turkey - Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey. The most unique thing about Istanbul, is that it is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, with it's commercial and historical side in Europe, and about 1/3 of its population in Asia. The Mahmutpasha Bazaar is a sight to see--it's one of the largest open-air markets in the world, spanning between the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar. 

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41 12
Tuscany is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Tuscany Italy - Tuscany is a region in central Italy known for its landscapes, traditions, history, artistic legacy, and influence on high culture. 

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45 15
Bruges is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Brussels - The city of Bruges looks like something out of a fairytale. The combination of the beautiful architecture and the ever-flowing canals looks like it was born from a Hans Christian Anderson story. Located in Belgium, Bruges has many sights for backpackers to see, such as the Church of Our Lady, and Michelangelo's sculpture of the Madonna and Child.

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31 6
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Santa Cruz de Tenerife Spain

31
44 19
Moscow is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Europe - Moscow is the capital city and most populous federal subject of Russia. It is home to amazing architectural achievements, such as the Ostankino Tower (the tallest free-standing structure in Europe), Mercury City Tower (the tallest skyscraper in Europe) and the Moscow International Business Center. 

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45 21
St. Petersburg is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Russia - Located on the Neva River in Russia, St. Petersburg is lauded as the historical capital and second largest city. It is home to the Hermitage museum, the Mariinsky Theater, and many famous authors, such as Pushkin, Gogol, and Dostoyevsky. 

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44 23
Kiev is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Ukraine - Kiev is the capital and largest city of Ukraine. It is an important industrial, scientific, educational, and cultural centre of Eastern Europe.

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40 23
Ljubljana is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
stpavel added Slovenia

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55 36
Paris is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
France - Ah, Paris. The City of Love. Located in France, and well-known for it's art museums, macarons, and stinky, delicious cheeses, Paris is a must-visit for anyone backpacking in Europe. There are tons of amazing sights to see, like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Pont des Art bridge where lovers write their names on locks and throw the keys into the Seine River.

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43 35
Normandy is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Normandy France - Normandy is located in France, and is best-known as the site of D-Day during WWII. Many amazing cheeses and wines come out of this region, such as Camembert cheese and fermented cider. 

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58 52
Belgrade is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Serbia - Belgrade is the capital and largest city in Serbia. It's name translates to mean "White City," and is home to over 1.65 million people in its metro area. Belgrade hosts many festivals, including book festivals, music festivals, and Nobel Prize ceremonies. 

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Zagreb is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Croatia - Zagreb is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It lies 400 feet above sea level, and is home to approximately 800,000 people. It is considered a consolidated city-country in Croatia. 

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6 3
Santiago de Compostela is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
linoalvarezmartinez added Santiago de Compostela Galicia, Spain

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6 3
Coruña is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
linoalvarezmartinez added Coruña

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5 4
Coruña is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
linoalvarezmartinez added Coruña

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31 32
Split, Croatia is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Fanker added Europe

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Reykjavik is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Iceland - Reykjavik is the capital and largest city of Iceland. The city grew from a small trading town with no urban development to a center for commerce, population, and government. It is one of the cleanest, greenest cities in the world. 

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85 144
Kraków is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Poland - Kraków is the second largest city in Poland. It is known for its performing arts, music, tourism, and sports. 

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80 146
Warsaw is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best European Cities for Backpacking
Poland - Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is known for tourist attractions such as the Warsaw Old Town Quarter, the Royal Castle, Market Square, and the Barbican.