Europe Travel Guides

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Planning your next solo trip to Europe? You’re in the right place with my Europe Travel Guides!

I first tasted the magic of European travel during my study abroad semester in Rome back in Spring of 2017. I know – I’m old. Four months and 10 countries later…you could say I was hooked. I finished up my degree in the U.S. and made it my mission to move back to Italy after graduation. In June of 2018, I landed a Product Management job with a student tour operator in Florence, booked a one-way ticket and off I went.

The truth is, Europe has something for everyone. During my time living in Europe, I…

In Europe, the possibilities are endless.

To date, I’ve been to 22 European countries and lived in Italy for two years! In August of 2023, I plan on moving back – this time to Lisbon! Stay tuned for more European travel guides coming your way (subscribe below).

    xx Madison

    Europe Travel Guides – QUICK LINKS
    Croatia / Czech Republic / France / Germany / Hungary / Ireland / Italy / Montenegro / Poland / Portugal / Spain / Switzerland

    France Travel Guides

    🏡 The Best Hostels in Europe

    Europe Travel Need-to-Knows:

    • Drinking is much more relaxed in Europe than it is in the U.S. You’ll rarely, if ever, get carded and many countries don’t have any open container laws. Nothing says vacation like carrying an open beer around a European city! Just be sure not to litter and pay attention to laws barring glass containers.
    • Public transportation is amazing in Europe – especially compared to the U.S. Most cities have a bus, subway and tram system that will allow you to get anywhere you need to go for a very low cost.
    • When solo traveling in Europe, hostels are the way to go! Hostel culture in Europe is unparalleled anywhere else. It’s the best way to both save money and make friends on the road.
    • The food is unbelievably delicious and insanely fresh. Many of the chemicals that are commonly used in food in the U.S. are illegal in Europe. I’ve met many travelers who were both gluten-intolerant and lactose-intolerant in the U.S. who could eat both gluten and dairy just fine in Europe!
    • Pickpockets are everywhere! Always be aware of your belongings, no matter which country or city you are visiting. I would recommend not using a backpack when walking around a city, unless you’re also using a backpack lock. I prefer using a crossbody bag with both a zipper and a flap and I carry it with the clasp turned inwards against my body. Shop my favorite secure travel crossbody bags here.
    • There is a zone in Europe, called the Schengen, that includes many countries in the EU like Italy, Germany, France, Spain, etc. Once you arrive in the Schengen Zone, you don’t technically need to show your passport when passing between other countries in the Schengen. Essentially – it works like a domestic flight. However, be sure to have your passport on your person since it is illegal to travel without it.
    • Dining in Europe is an experience. In many countries, it’s common not to eat dinner until 8 or 9PM at night. Meals often last multiple hours and include multiple courses.
    • Be on the lookout for tourist scams and pickpockets in large tourist areas. A few of the most notorious are the snap-bracelet scammers at Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris and pickpockets around Rome’s Trevi Fountain. Barcelona is a whole different level – 1/3 of the students I studied abroad with lost their phones in Barcelona.

    Europe Travel FAQs:

    How long can Americans stay in Europe?

    For countries in the EU, Americans can stay 90 days without a visa of any kind. In the U.K., Americans can stay up to 6 months visa-free. You are not permitted to work in either situation.
    If you are a digital nomad hoping to move to Europe long-term, many countries in Europe now offer a digital nomad visa. Portugal was one of the first countries to offer this, but many other countries have followed suit: like Spain, Croatia and Montenegro.

    Where should I go for the first time in Europe?

    That depends on what you’re looking for! If you want beautiful beaches, Greece, Spain, Croatia and Southern Italy should be on your radar. For cliffside towns, Italy and the French Riviera are the way to go. If you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for your next adventure, Interlaken, Switzerland should be #1 on your bucket list. For travelers on a budget in search of gothic architecture, a great party scene and fascinating history – consider the Czech Republic, Hungary or Poland. If castles are your end all be all, book your flights to Germany or the U.K.!

    What are the best places to visit in Europe?

    After living in Italy for two years I might be a bit biased. Italy is my favorite country to visit in Europe! The people, the food, the scenery, the history – everything in Italy is wonderful and fascinating.
    There are many other popular countries to visit in Europe, like Germany, Spain, Greece and France. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the most popular parts of these countries are not always the best places to visit. My favorite days in Europe were days spent exploring off the beaten path!

    What month is best to visit Europe?

    Summer is high-season across Europe. High-season brings the most crowds, the highest prices and the lowest availability. Unless you are visiting Scandinavia, and have no desire to freeze your ass off in the winter months, I would not recommend planning your Europe trip in the middle of the summer. Shoulder season (April, May, June and September) tends to be the best time to visit Europe.
    However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you’re visiting Prague – which has no beaches and not many famous summer activities – you may consider going in February, March, October or November for even lower prices and less crowds.

    What should I pack for a trip to Europe?

    Do yourself a favor and pack light for your Europe trip. Visit my blog post for a list of my favorite things to pack when visiting Europe.

    What apps should I download for my Europe trip?

    There are certain apps that will make your Europe trip a hell of a lot easier! Especially if you’re a first-time visitor. Visit this blog post for the best apps for European travel.

    Can I travel Europe on a budget?

    Yes! Because of Europe’s famous hostel-culture and world-renowned public transportation systems, it’s relatively easy to travel around Europe on a budget. Keep in mind, certain countries are much more budget-friendly than others. For example, your budget will go a lot further in the Czech Republic than it will in Norway.
    My favorite European cities for travelers on a budget are Kraków, Prague, Budapest, Lisbon, Rome, Split and the Bay of Kotor.

    What is the currency in Europe and how do I get it?

    Many countries in the EU take the Euro. As of March 2023, the conversion rate is 1 EUR to 1.06 USD. However, there are many countries in the EU that don’t take the Euro. Some examples are the Swedish Krona, the Croatian Kuna, the Polish Zloty, the Hungarian Forint and the Czech Koruna.
    I would recommend taking a debit card with you and pulling out cash from a reliable ATM once you arrive. I’ve never gotten a good exchange rate at any currency exchange shop in Europe and, to my knowledge, no European countries accepts USD. There is no need to bring US dollars with you on your next Europe trip. Follow basic rules when taking money out of a foreign ATM:
    –Make sure your bank knows you’ll be traveling (and where) so your card isn’t declined
    –Hide your PIN number when you type it in
    –Only use ATM machines attached to a bank or another reputable establishment

    How do I get a SIM card for My Europe trip?

    The easiest way to get a SIM card for your trip is by purchasing an Airalo eSIM online. They offer eSIMS for 200+ countries and regions around the world – available at the click of a button. Simply download the app and activate the SIM for instant connectivity anywhere in the world!
    Tip: If you’ve never used a foreign SIM, you’ll need to call your provider and make sure your phone is unlocked before leaving the U.S. If it isn’t, you can request that it be unlocked before you leave.

    What are European hostels like?

    If you’re solo traveling through Europe and interested in making friends during your trip – there’s no better solution than a hostel stay. If you’re wary of sharing a dorm room with other travelers, consider booking a private room at a hostel or staying at a hotel but participating in hostel activities! Below are some helpful tips for staying in European hostels:
    –Always make sure the hostel has in-room lockers to lock up your valuables and remember to pack your own lock
    –Search for hostels that are located nearby large tourist attractions, have good reviews from other solo female travelers and offer free wifi to guests
    –Always pack a microfiber towel and flip flops for your hostel stay. Trust me – no one wants to go barefoot in a hostel shower, and many don’t provide towels for free
    –If you’re a light sleeper, it’s not a bad idea to pack ear plugs and an eye mask
    –If you’re a woman traveling solo and are uncomfortable staying in a mixed-gender dorm room, be sure the hostel you book offers female-only dorms

    How many days are ideal for a Europe trip?

    I would budget at least four days (absolute minimum) per European country. I’m a huge fan of slow travel, so personally I would never spend less than a week in a new country. However, if you have limited time off of work I understand that timeline is not always possible.
    My best advice is to think about it logically. I’ve met travelers with six days to spend in Italy trying to visit Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast. I’m sorry…but that sounds miserable. If you try to jam too much into your itinerary you’ll be constantly exhausted and you’ll start touring places out of obligation – not genuine interest.