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Backpacking Europe (3-4 Weeks)

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Hello, there! I am in the very early stages of planning a backpacking trip to Europe for September 2016. I've been to Europe before on 3 separate occasions (Germany, Spain, Italy), however, I've never planned a trip quite like this one in regard to backpacking and moving place-to-place. I developed the itinerary for this trip from my "wish-list", with the focus being picturesque cities that have old towns/altstadts and towns that have had their history well preserved. Falling in love with photos of the following cities inspired me to take this trip: Rothenburg-Cesky Krumlov-Salzburg-Hallstatt-Basel-Strasbourg-Colmar-Bruges.

Before I get to my itinerary, a little blurb about my travel style: I'm in my mid-20s, will be traveling with my good friend. What I love about travel is not so much the tourist sights (though of course those can be fun), but what really inspires me is to just take in the atmosphere, the food, the people, the language, the culture. Just being there, experiencing life around me in a place entirely new. With that being said, I'm going in with the understanding that I will not be in some of these places long enough to see everything, and I'm okay with that. I do have plans to return to Europe in the future, so I can always come back to places to do as an entirely separate trip if I find myself wishing I had more time.


Day 1: Arrive Frankfurt > Rothenburg ODT
Day 2: Rothenburg ODT
Day 3: Travel to Prague (6 hours via train)
Day 4: Prague
Day 5: Prague
Day 6: Travel to Cesky Krumlov (2 hours via shuttle)
Day 7: Cesky Krumlov
Day 8: Travel to Vienna (4 hours via shuttle)
Day 9: Vienna
Day 10: Vienna
Day 11: Travel to Salzburg (2 hours via train)
Day 12: Salzburg (Daytrip Hallstatt)
Day 13: Salzburg
Day 14: Travel to Zurich > Interlaken
Day 15: Interlaken
Day 16: Interlaken (Daytrip Lauterbrunnen/Wengen)
Day 17: Interlaken (Daytrip Lucerne)
Day 18: Travel to Basel (2 hours via train)
Day 19: Basel
Day 20: Basel
Day 21: Travel to Strasbourg (3 hours via train)
Day 22: Strasbourg (Daytrip to Colmar)
Day 23: Strasbourg (Daytrip Baden Baden)
Day 24: Travel to Paris (6 hours via train)
Day 25: Paris
Day 26: Paris
Day 27: Travel to Bruges (2.5 hours via train)
Day 28: Bruges
Day 29: Bruges
Day 30: Fly Brussels > Chicago


A Few Things...

(1) NOTE: Paris is just a "stopover" to leisurely explore as we would be stopping in Paris anyway to make a train connection on the way to Bruges Belgium, so I figured it would be worth it to stay a few nights. In the future I intend to return to Paris for a separate trip, so by no means am I expecting to cram all there is to see/do in Paris in just a couple days.

(2) I'm (reluctantly) considering cutting out Vienna and saving it for another time. I would love to see it, but I worry that I won't be there long enough to do it even just a little justice. Thoughts?

(3) Multiple currencies! What would be the best way to handle this? Normally when I've gone to Europe, I've exchanged my spending money to Euros in cash before leaving, with my debit and credit cards as backup. My mind is having a hard time figuring out how to handle changing currency (3 times!) throughout my trip.

(4) I realize going to Bruges really strays geographically from the rest of my itinerary... but I just have my heart set on going. If it really is completely not feasible to include it, I will certainly consider your advice in cutting it out, though with a very sad heart ;)

Sorry this was so lengthy and detailed, but I figured it would help if you knew upfront as much as possible. If you've taken the time to read this, I greatly appreciate any and all feedback you have. Like I said, I'm new to the backpacking thing, so I'm open to suggestions. Thank you so much!

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