Every year Europe is filled with backpackers all cutting their teeth on new countries and adventures that they will always remember so surely they could help me with this. So I googled, and asked people and looked up guide book after guide book trying to answer what I thought was a simple question.
How much does it cost to backpack Europe?
Planning your backpacking trip to Europe is fraught with the usual dilemmas. Choosing your backpack, what places do you visit, will I make friends… and the list goes on. While those questions were easy enough to answer one major sticking point for me was just how much money I’d need to backpack Europe on my first solo trip abroad. I was as green as the grass when it came to travel and backpacking so I wanted to know EVERYTHING.
I knew everyone would travel differently so a basic idea on how much I would spend each day was all the over thinker in me needed to be happy. The answer never came however, and I set off for Europe praying I could afford it. I didn’t want that kind of unknown for people following in the same dreams as me so over my 2 month jaunt around Europe I took notes of my daily expenses and then blogged about them.
Some thirteen countries later I’d created the breakdown on just how much it cost me to backpack Europe over the summer of 2010. For detailed info on each city follow the links below.
- Warsaw & Krakow
To make life easier I’ve also put all the figures together and outlined my expenses for each city in the table below. Comparing each city here as I added up the figures was really interesting and you can see just how prices vary as you circle around Europe.
|City||Days Stay||Transport||Attractions||Accommodation||Food||Misc||Currency||Total||Total $AU||Total $AU Now|
Now that’s the costs for all of my expenses on the road out of the way. The final totals for my trip looks something like this:
|Global Eurail 10 Days over 2 Months||975|
|Global Eurail 10 Days over 2 Months Now||1010|
|Average Daily Cost||105.94|
|Average Daily Cost Now||103.92|
And there you have it. My trip around Europe (minus 5-6 days I spent going crazy along the Amalfi Coast) came in at a total of $5721.09 AUD. I’ve omitted the cost of flights in and out of Europe as that can change on a regular basis, everything else however is in there. To get more detailed breakdowns be sure to follow the city links further up because I document exactly what I spent the money on including entry fees to museums and other sites.
I’ve included today’s currency conversion (as of 17/11/2014) rates just to help people get an idea on what it may cost you to travel now. Prices will have changed in the countries since I left so don’t hold me to it please. I will however love it if you can update me on any or all pricing as you travel so I can keep this information as relevant as possible.
This post is the first time I’ve tallied up the total costs of the trip since finishing it this time last year and honestly I expected it to cost more for some reason. Considering the drinking and the fun I had while seeing so many major cities right across Europe I know now that you could do your trip cheaper and much more expensive. For me it was about enjoying myself so I made sure I never went without (except for the AK47 shooting tour in Riga) and will honestly say it was money well spent.
I can only hope that this information will help to serve others trying to plan for and take their own backpacking trip around Europe. I’ve tried to detail everything I wanted to know as a would be backpacker still planning my trip at home but if I have left something out feel free to ask I don’t bite.
Lastly just remember this information will only ever be a guide because you wont travel Europe like I did. It’s a starting point to base your travels and budget around. It is in no way the holy grail for of backpackers budget guides to Europe.
Estonia and Latvia now trades in Euro’s. From what I have heard the costs have increased slightly so my costs should still be roughly in-line with living costs.
Hi Aussie Nomad,
I was backpacking in Europe during the summer of 2010 too. In one month, I’ve been to 8 cities (Düsseldorf, Nice, Stuttgart, Valencia, Alicante, Madrid, Sevilla, Gibraltar), and I managed to spend only USD 1000 for everything. Of course I couchsurfed too.
Just wondering about your internal travel costs, are these included in your “transport collum”. Im a little torn over the options for internal travel, I have heard mixed reviews of eurail as I beleive you can get last minute train and flight prices cheaper. I was originally looking at the 10 day pass which gives you 10 days of travel for 500 odd dollars. me and 2 friends have booked 5 weeks in europe with a 10 day tour at the beginning that does paris, swiss alps, rhine valley and amsterdam where the tour ends. From there we are thinking berlin then down through eastern europe and do a bit of clockwise circle through italy, croatia and then finally spain.
Hi, I’m planning to back pack through Europe next year for two months. I was just wondering because it’s a short visit do I need to get a visa for the Schengen area an the Uk? Also do you think the eurorail pass is worth it or just buy tickets at train stations and airports?
First time traveller: the visa requirement depends on your nationality, but for most of the countries you will not need a visa.
About the Eurail Pass (Eurorail is the company, Eurail Pass is the correct name of the pass for non european residents and Interrail Pass is the one for european residents), it will worth if you plan to travel more than 3 times. If not, just buy point-to-point train tickets or use airplanes (not recommended in Europe because you’ll miss unbelievable landscapes).
I’m just starting out my planning for a move to London next year, everytime I google ‘getting a UK visa in Australia’ or ‘how much to budget for a trip to Europe’ your blog comes up! I just wanted to say thanks for being an amazing resource for those who follow in your footsteps.
Thanks again x
Hi Gemma, thanks so much for taking the time to comment and let me know you’ve found my content useful. Makes all the work far more rewarding when I get comments like this. Also be sure to checkout the content I’ve got on moving to London as well, lots of tips for finding accommodation and so forth.
Thanks for putting this together!
Wow, THAT’S a backpacker’s budget?!!!! Jesus, that’s expensive!
If I ever go there, I’ll have to cut out all accommodation costs, minimize food costs by cooking, doing loads of free activities and not drink. Yikes!
That’s about my one year budget in 54 days, mate! Good on ya.
Lash its all very relative I think as your living in Asia yes? I went to europe to enjoy myself and not cut corners just to survive. I wanted to see and do everything I had planned to and not worry about over spending on something and having to miss out elsewhere.
Sure I could have drank less and opted for cheaper food or different activities but I wanted to see Europe my way. In the end its a guide for people to get an idea on what things might cost should they want to visit a certain spot or so on.
Hi, i was wondering whether i’d need to book accommodation in hostels in advance or just wing it? I was thinking if i would do a trip like this i’d probably aim to go start of April til end of May so not right in peak season, but would prefer not to have to plan out all my accommodation in advance? What would you recommend?
James I’m of the book it as I go approach. When I set off it allowed me the freedom to stay on longer at a hostel that I liked or leave one early that I didnt. There were times when the choice of hostels was limited to me but I liked the freedom of doing as I pleased.
By not having set dates to be in places I could travel with friends I met as well which can be a lot of fun. As long as your keeping an eye on accommodation 2-3 days before moving on etc then it always worked out ok for me.
Wow this is so great! Thank you so much for sharing this tips and for creating a summary expenses. Such a useful guide for traveling to Europe.
Great breakdown, especially as it is across so many currencies! While I didn’t tally it up exactly, that is in line with what I spent in Europe August – October 2012. I didn’t go to quite so many countries as I spent a large amount of time in Spain (Camino de Santiago), but I mixed it up with hostels, casa rurales and a few hotels. I debated the Eurail pass and in the end, didn’t get one. Just as well as the buses in Spain suited me better most of the time! Countries visited: Croatia, Italy, Spain, France and Germany (although Germany was only one night in to fly out!) I found Spain to bring down my per day cost substantially and took advantage by taking private rooms on a number of occasions! My budget wasn’t too restrictive – I wanted to keep the trip in around $5-6,000 (Canadian) (not including airfare to and from Canada) and didn’t want to compromise on my experiences! I did everything I wanted, ate good food and cooked for myself rarely! My biggest challenge was traveling alone – sometimes I had to pay a higher rate. Other times, I asked people I met along the way if they wanted to share a room, basically halving my cost, but giving me the advantages of a proper hotel room with private bathroom and more space.
It was such a great trip – didn’t want to compromise on the experiences by keeping my budget too tight – total time in Europe – 81 glorious days! It wasn’t long enough, but it was magical. Can’t wait to do it again!
Thanks for the detailed comment Anita, it’s always good to get other feedback to balance out my expenditure. And I completely agree about travelling how you want and spending/saving money on what you decided as you go. My thoughts on the value of an eurail pass aren’t great either as like you said buses and ad-hoc trains can work out much cheaper.
This is just the kind of article that I needed to read in preparation for my first Euro-Trip!
Hey chris, what a great breakdown! I have to agree with your findings.. having lived in Madrid the last two years, I can certainly say that I’ve found some deals here that blow my mind– of course, there are some things in Europe that one must simply pay more for… usually worth it 😉
let me know when you’re headed back this way!
I’m planning my first backpacking trip to Europe I was just wondering when’s the best time to go. its my first time backpacking ever I was wondering how good it is to go by yourself
HELP!!! My husband and I are planning a trip in July/Aug and all we have set in stone is our flights to Europe. We land in France and then leave from Parlemo in Italy… We are struggling to plan the trip in between France and Parlemo. Does anyone have suggestions on where we should visit within two weeks? All the help we could get would be greatly appreciated! Brilliant blog by the way.
Hi Val, first you might want to let us know a bit more about what kind of travelers your hubby and you are, what your interests lie in, and of course the budget 🙂 I’m sure everyone would be happy to help!
Hi Val, as Brandy has said if you can give us an idea on what kind of travel you like (luxury, budget, dont care) and your budget level we can help point you in the right direction.
2 weeks is a relatively short time to get from France to Italy but I’d at least stop off at Florence and Rome on your way to Parlemo in Italy and I’m guessing you’ll be arriving in Paris to start your France leg.
I recently did a Euro trip also and loved it of course just as you would have, although I road tripped by car with some mates (a cheap and fun option for other readers if they are thinking about Europe), but was thinking of coming back because there is so much to see that can’t be done in that 3 month Schengen Zone. What was it like traveling via Euro-rail, I am also trying to convince my sister to do this instead of the ‘Contiki Tours’ which I personally don’t agree with. I loved the Bask region through Spain and into France, also Krakow’s city center, what was your favourite city and why?
Cheers for the blog too, love it!
Your blog is awesome. Totally rad. Hopefully I can run into you somewhere and buy you a beer as a thanks for sharing your knowledge 🙂
Hope you are getting through the cold over there at the moment and keeping toastie warm!
I have 7 weeks to go till I leave for a 12month backpack around Europe and I am stupidly excited.
Thanks again, top effort – best travel blog ever!
I spent 6 weeks in Europe last April/May and during my research throughout 2011 I found a lot of people generally advised that you should view 50 euros per day as a bare minimum – that is a dorm bed, cheap food (supermarket type food), one or two bus/train tickets and one cheaper tourist attraction. That doesn’t include your transport between cities, eating out, partying/drinking, more expensive tourist attractions etc.
My husband and I found we spent, on average, 145 euros a day (so effectively 72 euros each per day) and this does include train travel between destinations. We travelled with my sister so often got triple rooms which makes a private room basically the same cost as a dorm bed, and sometimes cheaper (per bed). My sister and I are not big eaters so were sometimes able to share a meal. We often stayed at self-catering places so bought supermarket food although we ate out nearly every day as well. We did not get a rail pass, as we moved at a slower rate than most backpackers do, and the amount you need to move in your given time frame with eurail passes meant it was not economical for us to get one. We didn’t skimp on tourist attractions either. However, I was really thorough on researching accommodation and we scored some really cheap accommodation (thanks to triple rooms!) which often included breakfast.
And this was not in budget Eastern European countries – we spent 5 nights in London, 5 nights in Paris, 3 skiing in the french alps, 3 in the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland, 5 in Rome, 3 in Florence, 3 in Venice, 4 in Salzburg, 3 in Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic), 4 in Munich, 3 in Bacharach (Rhine Valley) and 4 in Brugge. Europe was much cheaper than I expected. Then again, coming from Australia, I suspect everywhere feels cheap.
We loved Europe so much we are planning on going back – living in London for a year or two, and that’s how I found this blog! So much awesome info!
Thanks for the detailed comment thats some great information you’ve managed to gather together. Enjoy London and Europe I find it impossible to get away from this part of the world.
Sorry, just realised I put my comment in the wrong “reply” section – I accidentally replied to Chris’s comment, totally didn’t mean to! If you’re able to add it as just a normal comment that would be great 😉
Great help! thanks!
I am planning to visit Nice, France and Barcelona Spain in addition to Paris in Oct.
Any idea how much I should budget for those places?
Hi Roma, I’ve not been to either city but imagine Nice will be on par with Paris I believe. As for Barcelona I’m not sure. I have travelled Madrid and other parts of Spain but failed to keep detailed reports to build on my content here. On average thought if you budget around 80-100 a day including your accommodation (providing you are staying in hostels) then things should be ok.
This might be a stupid question, but looking at your budget I see you visited 16 cities in Europe, however you only purchased a 10 day rail pass?
How did you get around between cities? My partner and I are planning our own trip around continental Europe and are still trying to decide the most cost effective / efficient way of getting around.
Hi L, not all of the cities I visited had connections via rail. From Sweden to Finland I caught an overnight ferry and then another ferry to Estonia from there. Estonia right down to Poland was by bus as no trains connect between the countries in that part of Europe. The best way to work out your mode of transport is work out where you want to go first. Once you’ve narrowed down a route see what will be the best way to get from city to city.
Also check out this post I’ve written on travelling around Europe, it should be helpful I hope.
i see this article was written in 2011, do you believe it is still around the same cost or more cheaper/expensive?
Hi Dave, I think price wise its still fairly accurate. There might be a shift in costs here and there for entrance to a museum or so but I don’t believe the overall numbers would be that different. I’ve been back and forth between Europe a since then and haven’t noticed a big change.
What sort of accomodation we’re you staying at? and would you say you seen all the attractions on your budget?
Hi Natasha, I stayed in hostels for my entire trip. Was a great way to socialise with others and its far cheaper than hotels. In terms of seeing everything I wanted to, yes I certainly did. I really saw more than I planned to in the end as you learn of things to see or do from others while travelling around.
Thanks a lot for sharing the cost info for various European cities, it has been of great help!
I know I am tagging on this blog a little late, however, I was wondering if you carried all of your foreign currency with you (i.e. money belt/bag) or did you use other means of getting currency while in a foreign country?
I have learnt that there are pick pocketers preying on travellers, was wondering how did you deal with it?
Hi Irfan, I never carried money with me and always got it as needed from a cash point. I travelled with a couple of debit cards that allowed access to money abroad while being fee free at the time. I’d never carry large amounts of cash on me for fear of losing it.
Thanks for writing such a great resource! This makes me feel better about my travels- I’m heading off solo to Europe for 3 months in June and it couldn’t get here faster!
I just wondered, did you book all your accomodation in advance? I have booked some, but since I am doing a few busabout tours, and they take you round everywhere, I figured I could get away with booking a lot of it while I’m there, before I arrive in each city. How much did you book before you left?
Hi Tara, I’d booked 3 nights at my first hostel before I left and after that just booked a few days before I moved on. You’ll be travelling during the high season so just be sure to keep an eye on availability and you should be fine to do the same. There will always be a bed just not always at the place closest or where you want it to be.
This post is so great and helping me budget for my trip in a month’s time. Thankyou so much for meticulously accounting expenses. I hope to account my spending when there for my blog also. Fingers crossed my money goes far!
Just wanted to say a big thanks, this has really helped me out with my winter’15 trip & has helped put my mind at ease with your easy to follow budgets and breakdowns!!
Hi Sarah, glad I could help ease some of that stress 🙂
Chris! What a champ you are! I’ve bookmarked this site for future reference, your info has really helped my planning out. Thanks a bunch.
Great post, so helpful! Out of interest, how did you actually keep track of all your costs whilst travelling ? Did you use an app on your phone or just keep a note or write it down as you went by each day?
Hi Marcus, I wrote everything down in a notepad at the end of each day.