Which country is best for backpackers in 2023?

Whether you're looking for stunning natural scenery, rich cultural experiences, or just a budget-friendly adventure, Europe has plenty to offer.
Which country is best for backpackers in 2023?

Backpacking is a great way to see the world on a budget, and Europe has some of the best destinations for budget travelers.

Whether you’re looking for stunning scenery, rich cultural experiences, or thrilling adventures, Europe has it all.

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Here are the top Seven countries in Europe for backpackers


Spain is known for its warm weather, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine, making it a popular destination for backpackers.

Barcelona and Madrid are the two most popular cities in Spain, but there are also many smaller cities and towns worth exploring.

Why backpackers love it: Spain offers a great mix of culture, history, and relaxation. The beaches and nightlife are legendary, and there are many cultural landmarks to visit, including the Alhambra, the Sagrada Familia, and the Park Guell.

Must-do activities:

  • Visit La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous street, which is full of shops, cafes, and street performers.
  • Take a tapas tour to try the many delicious Spanish small plates, such as tortilla española, patatas bravas, and croquetas.
  • Visit the Alhambra, a Moorish palace and fortress in Granada, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Go to a flamenco show to experience the passion and energy of this traditional Spanish dance.
  • Visit the beach towns of Costa Brava or Costa del Sol, which offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Approximate cost: €50-€70 per day

Beware of: Pickpocketing and theft is a common problem in major tourist areas, so keep your belongings safe and be aware of your surroundings.

Also Read: What insurance should I get for backpacking?


Portugal is a country with a long Atlantic coastline, a warm climate, and a rich cultural heritage. Backpackers flock to Portugal for its stunning beaches, affordable prices, and amazing food.

The country is also home to some of the world’s best surfing spots, including Nazaré, where you can find some of the biggest waves on the planet.

Must-do things for backpackers:

  • Explore the vibrant city of Lisbon, with its charming alleys, colorful buildings, and amazing street art.
  • Visit Porto, a city famous for its wine, and take a boat trip along the Douro River.
  • Relax on the beaches of the Algarve, a region with some of the most stunning coastline in Europe.
  • Hike the Rota Vicentina, a network of trails that span the entire southwest coast of Portugal.
  • Take a day trip to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and visit the Pena Palace and Castle of the Moors.

Approximate cost of the destination from Ireland: €60-70 per day.

Beware of pickpockets in touristy areas, especially in Lisbon and Porto.

Germany – History, Culture, and Scenic Beauty

Germany has something to offer for every type of backpacker. From vibrant cities with a rich cultural history to stunning natural landscapes, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Germany.

Why Germany is Best for Backpackers:

Germany is a backpacker’s dream destination, offering a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. The country is filled with picturesque towns and cities, medieval castles, and stunning natural landscapes.

Visitors can explore famous landmarks such as the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Neuschwanstein Castle, as well as visit world-renowned museums and art galleries.

5 Must-Do Things for Backpackers:

  1. Visit the Berlin Wall – a symbol of the Cold War that divided the city for nearly 30 years. Today, visitors can explore sections of the wall and learn about its history.
  2. Explore the Bavarian Alps – this stunning mountain range in southern Germany is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. Visitors can hike through the mountains, visit picturesque towns, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
  3. Visit the Oktoberfest – this famous beer festival takes place annually in Munich and attracts millions of visitors from around the world. Visitors can enjoy traditional German food and drink, as well as live music and carnival rides.
  4. Visit the Romantic Road – a scenic route that stretches through southern Germany, passing through charming towns and medieval castles. The route is perfect for a road trip, and offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.
  5. Visit the Reichstag Building – the seat of the German parliament, this historic building in Berlin offers panoramic views of the city from its glass dome.

Approximate Cost from Ireland:

  • Flights: €50-€100
  • Accommodation: €15-€30 per night
  • Food and drink: €20-€30 per day
  • Total Cost: €600-€1000 for a 10-day trip

Beware: German culture can be quite different from what backpackers may be used to, particularly when it comes to things like tipping and drinking alcohol. Be sure to do some research before arriving.

Also Read: Does backpacker insurance cover multiple countries?


Switzerland is known for its stunning scenery, including the Swiss Alps and crystal-clear lakes. It’s also famous for its chocolate, cheese, and watches.

Why backpackers love it:

Switzerland offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in Europe, with the Swiss Alps providing a stunning backdrop to many of the country’s cities and towns. It’s also a great destination for outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, and paragliding.

Must-do activities:

  • Take a scenic train ride on the Bernina Express, which travels through the Swiss Alps and offers stunning views of the landscape.
  • Visit the Matterhorn, one of the most famous mountains in Switzerland, and take a cable car to the top for amazing views.
  • Explore the charming Old Town of Bern, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is full of historic buildings and museums.
  • Go skiing or snowboarding in one of Switzerland’s many ski resorts, such as Verbier, Zermatt, or Davos.
  • Take a boat ride on Lake Geneva, which offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps and the surrounding countryside.

Approximate cost: €80-€100 per day

Beware of: Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in Europe, so be prepared for high prices for food and accommodations.


Croatia is a small country located on the Adriatic Sea, known for its stunning coastline, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque medieval towns. The country is also home to eight national parks, making it an ideal destination for backpackers who love outdoor activities.

Must-do things for backpackers:

  • Visit the city of Dubrovnik, known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” and explore its medieval old town and city walls.
  • Take a ferry to the island of Hvar and enjoy its beaches, nightlife, and laid-back atmosphere.
  • Explore the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a stunning network of waterfalls, lakes, and forests.
  • Go sea kayaking in the Elafiti Islands, a group of 13 islands located off the coast of Dubrovnik.
  • Visit the town of Split and its famous Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Approximate cost of the destination from Ireland: €70-80 per day.

Beware of crowds in Dubrovnik during the peak season (July-August), and be mindful of sea urchins in the Adriatic Sea.

Also Read: What is the difference between multitrip and backpacker insurance?

Italy: Art, Architecture, and Adventure

Italy is a backpacker’s paradise, offering the perfect blend of art, architecture, and adventure. The country has a rich history and culture, which is reflected in its iconic landmarks, museums, and art galleries. Its stunning natural landscapes, from the Tuscan countryside to the Amalfi coast, make it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Why Italy is perfect for backpackers

Italy is a great destination for backpackers due to its affordability, diverse range of experiences, and cultural significance. Whether you want to immerse yourself in Italian art and history, explore picturesque towns and cities, or hike through scenic countryside, Italy has something for everyone.

Top 5 things to do in Italy

  1. Visit Rome: No trip to Italy is complete without visiting the Eternal City. Marvel at the Colosseum, visit the Vatican City, and toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain.
  2. Explore the Cinque Terre: This string of five picturesque villages on the Italian Riviera is a popular destination for hikers and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
  3. Experience the Amalfi coast: Take a ferry to this rugged and beautiful stretch of coastline, known for its colorful cliffside villages, secluded beaches, and crystal-clear waters.
  4. Go skiing in the Dolomites: Italy’s northern mountains offer some of Europe’s best skiing and snowboarding, with resorts like Cortina d’Ampezzo and Val Gardena attracting visitors from around the world.
  5. Indulge in Italian cuisine: From pizza and pasta to gelato and espresso, Italy’s food and drink scene is a major draw for visitors.

Approximate cost from Ireland

Italy is relatively affordable for backpackers, with plenty of budget-friendly hostels, restaurants, and attractions. A daily budget of €50-€70 should cover accommodation, food, and transportation.

  • Rome: €50-€70 per day
  • Cinque Terre: €50-€70 per day
  • Amalfi coast: €60-€80 per day
  • Dolomites: €70-€100 per day

Beware of

Be aware of pickpockets in crowded tourist areas, especially in major cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice. Keep an eye on your belongings and use a money belt or secure backpack to keep your valuables safe. Additionally, be mindful of dress codes when visiting religious sites such as the Vatican, and be prepared for hot temperatures in the summer months.

Also Read: 20 Best Holiday Destinations for Young Couples in 2023

Greece: Sun, Sea, and History

Greece is a dream destination for backpackers seeking sun, sea, and history. The country is known for its idyllic islands, ancient ruins, and vibrant culture.

With its warm climate, gorgeous beaches, and stunning landscapes, Greece offers an ideal mix of relaxation and adventure.

Why Greece is perfect for backpackers

Greece is an excellent destination for backpackers due to its affordability, warm climate, and rich cultural heritage. From the buzzing streets of Athens to the peaceful island getaways of the Cyclades, Greece has plenty to offer budget-conscious travelers.

Top 5 things to do in Greece

Explore Athens: Visit the ancient Acropolis and the Parthenon, marvel at the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and wander through the charming streets of the Plaka neighborhood.

Sail the Cyclades: Take a ferry to the Cyclades islands, including Mykonos, Santorini, and Naxos, and soak up the sun, sea, and laid-back island vibes.

Hike the Samaria Gorge: This spectacular national park on the island of Crete offers an unforgettable hiking experience, with stunning scenery and a challenging 16km trail.

Visit Meteora: These remarkable monasteries, perched atop towering rock formations in central Greece, are a must-see for any backpacker interested in history and culture.

Enjoy Greek cuisine: From moussaka and souvlaki to feta cheese and Greek wine, Greece’s culinary scene is a treat for the senses.

Approximate cost from Ireland

Greece is an affordable destination for backpackers, with plenty of budget accommodation, food, and transportation options available. A daily budget of €40-€60 should cover accommodation, food, and transportation.

Athens: €40-€60 per day

Cyclades: €40-€80 per day

Samaria Gorge: €40-€50 per day

Meteora: €40-€60 per day

Beware of

Be aware of petty theft and pickpocketing in crowded tourist areas, particularly in Athens and on the islands.

Keep your valuables safe and secure, and be vigilant when using ATMs or carrying cash.

Additionally, be respectful of local customs and traditions, such as dress codes for religious sites, and avoid taking photographs of people without their permission.

Book: Backpackers Travel Insurance 

Choosing a destination for backpacking can be overwhelming, but hopefully, this guide has helped you narrow down your options.

Whether you’re looking for stunning natural scenery, rich cultural experiences, or just a budget-friendly adventure, Europe has plenty to offer.

Remember to plan ahead, do your research, and always stay safe while traveling.

Happy backpacking!

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