- Eastern europe
- 3 Months Itinerary for Europe
Like most of us in the world, we can only stay in Europe (Schengen Zone) for the maximum time of 3 months (90 days) in a 6 months period and so who wouldn't want to make the best out of their limited time when they are visiting Europe, right?
Today, I have the ultimate travel guide and a complete 3 months itinerary for traveling and backpacking through Europe including spending most of the time in Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Poland, with a few brief visit to the Baltic States such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and the Nordic countries like Finland, Sweden and Denmark before ending your trip in the Netherlands.
It's everything you will ever need to travel through Europe for 3 months. Without further ado, let's begin with the basic information on traveling in Europe.Table of Contents
- 3 Months Europe Itinerary Map
- Europe Travel Videos
- When to Visit Europe
- Where to Stay in Europe
- How to Get to Europe
- How to Get Around Europe
- Internet in Europe
- Travel Insurance
- 3 Months Itinerary for Europe
- Madrid, Spain
- Seville, Spain
- Granada, Spain
- Barcelona, Spain
- Avignon, France
- Bordeaux, France
- Rennes , France
- Paris, France
- Chamonix, France
- Lyon, France
- Zermatt, Switzerland
- Lucerne, Switzerland
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Stuttgart, Germany
- Munich, Germany
- Nuremberg, Germany
- Cologne, Germany
- Hamburg, Germany
- Berlin, Germany
- Leipzig, Germany
- Dresden, Germany
- Wroclaw, Poland
- Poznan, Poland
- Torun, Poland
- Gdansk, Poland
- Malbork, Poland
- Warsaw, Poland
- Krakow, Poland
- Zakopane, Poland
- Krakow, Poland
- Vilnius, Lithuania
- Riga, Latvia
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Helsinki, Finland
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Further Reading for Europe
3 Months Europe Itinerary Map
Europe Travel Videos
When to Visit Europe
Europe is extremely crowded where ever you go in the summer so I would recommend visiting from April to May (Spring) and September to October (Autumn) instead.
During these periods, you will get the best of both worlds, with fewer tourists, cheaper prices for accommodations, good average temperature, and the colors of nature are in full swing. Plus, outdoor activities you can attend in cities like Berlin are still happening during these months so it will be fun nonetheless.
Where to Stay in Europe
Paris, France - Le Regent Montmartre Hostel - 34.36 USD/Night (Dorm) | 86.41/Night (Double Bed Private)
Lyon, France - Away Hostel & Coffee Shop - 29.61 USD/Night (Dorm) | 89.40/Night (Double Bed Private)
Chamonix, France - Chamonix Lodge - 34.70 USD/Night (Dorm) | 115.68/Night (Double Bed Private)
Lucerne, Switzerland - Bellpark Hostel - 34 USD/Night (Dorm) | 98 USD/Night (Double Bed Private)
Zurich, Switzerland - Youthhostel Zurich - 45 USD/Night (Dorm) | 135 USD/Night (Double Bed Private)
Berlin, Germany - Jetpak Alternative (Budget) - 33.39 USD/Night (Dorm) - Highly recommended! By far the best hostel in Germany. It is located in the stylish alternative zone of Kreuzberg. The best part is the hostel is catered to solo backpackers (no big groups) so you are sure to find friendly people here. Plus, the properly made free latte for breakfast is just the best! | Hotel Havel Lodge Berlin (Mid-Range) - 68 USD / Night (Double Room)
Warsaw, Poland - Dream Hostel Warsaw (Budget) - 14.78 USD/Night (Dorm) | 54 USD / Night (Private Room) - Great location right by the square, excellent free breakfast, clean facilities
Vilnius, Lithuania - Pogo Hostel - 13.77 USD/Night (Dorm) | 37 USD/Night (Double Room) - Excellent location in front of the Cathedral Square
Tallinn, Estonia - Tabinoya Travellers House & Family Apartment - 20.01 USD/Night (Dorm) | 57 USD/Night (Double Room) - Excellent location, lovely sleeping arrangement, beds with curtains for privacy.
Helsinki, Finland - The YARD Concept Hostel (Budget) - 44.56 USD/Night (Dorm) - Right at the center, comfy bed, amazing facilities and security through and through, super friendly staff, Netflix and games-equipped common area | CheapSleep Hostel Helsinki (Mid-Range) - 45 USD / Night (Twin Room)
Stockholm, Sweden - City Backpackers Hostel (Budget) - 44.00 USD/Night (Dorm) - Good location near the Drottninggatan shopping street where all the restaurants and cool cafes are, good facilities all around | Connect Hotel Stockholm (Mid-Range) - 49 USD / Night (Twin Room)
How to Get to Europe
The good things about traveling in a well-traveled area like Europe is that there are plenty of cheap flights that you can choose from.
Ideally, with this particular itinerary, I would recommend you flying into Madrid, Spain and flying out from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Both airports have plenty of flights going in and out every day such as Iberia Airline from the US to Spain and KLM for flying out from Amsterdam.
How to Get Around Europe
Europe is massive and since this itinerary covers over 10 countries, a well-planned route and mode of transportation are essential especially with the 90 days limits on our tourist visa. Here are a few ways you can get around Europe:
Low-Cost Airlines like RyanAir is a great option if you want to shorten your travel time significantly and travel far but it is expensive and with this itinerary, you will likely be traveling close by and making your way slowly around the continent so you won't be flying.
Buses are one of the best and cheapest ways to travel around Europe. Most of the locations covered in this itinerary can be traveled by bus (except Zermatt where you will have to take the train). FlixBus is a great option with affordable prices and a good network of buses that connect most of the places I listed here.
European trains are also a good option if you want to travel fast but it can get expensive real quick so I would recommend to only use it when there is no bus going on the day you want to travel.
Eurail Global Pass is recommended if you plan to travel by train a lot. Eurail pass gives you unlimited train travel for a period of time on the national rail networks of over 31 participating countries. You are qualified to get one as long as you don't hold European residency and you buy it before you arrive in Europe. If you are 27 or under, you are also eligible for a 23% discount as well.
For more information about Eurail Pass: How to use a Eurail Pass - A Guide to European Rail Passes.
If you want to save even more money, you can go with Blablacar, a car-pooling service popular in counties like Spain, France, and Poland.
This is a very expensive place to be traveling so I would suggest you plan your budget carefully. I spent around 55 - 80 USD per day per person including most essential things like food, accommodation and transportation.
Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my style of traveling, which is leaning more toward the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient way of transportation, which often times involves walking.
Internet in Europe
Given the new data roaming surcharge ban that went into effect in 2017, we can now have one local sim card bought in the EU and use it in most places in Europe without having to buy a new sim card for every new country you visit making our connected lives so much easier.
In theory, you can buy a sim card from Spain and access data throughout your trip with the same domestic rate no matter where you are, but there are some countries that have yet to comply with the change like Poland and the Nordic countries.
Thankfully, Wifi is plenty in these countries so you will have no trouble getting online while on the road, even without roaming sim cards.
One thing to note when you buy a local sim card is that make sure that it actually allows you to go roaming with your data. Go to a proper phone carrier shop, let them activate the roaming data and they should provide you with all the information you might need to stay connected while traveling for 3 months.
For more information on European Union sim card: European Union Prepaid Data SIM Card.
If you are looking for travel insurance to go along with your trip to Europe, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure.
3 Months Itinerary for Europe
Madrid, Spain (2 Nights)
Madrid is a great city to dip your feet into Spanish culture and there is no better way to do it then to go on a free walking tour on your first day in Europe.
MADRide provides a free walking tour every day at the famous meeting point, Puerta del Sol Square and the guide will take you to cool places like the Royal Palace of Madrid, Catedral de la Almudena, and Plaza Mayor while explaining the stories behind these places.
Madrid is also home to the oldest restaurant in the world, the Sobrino de Botín restaurant, a Castilian-style restaurant that has been operating for more than 250 years, so don't miss it. It's a bit pricy but hey, they earned it. 😊
Seville, Spain (2 Nights)
After Madrid, you can take a 6 hours bus to Seville, a place full of beautiful medieval architectures like Plaza Espana, Alcázar of Seville and Catedral de Sevilla.
Spend the next full-day and walk to Plaza Espana in the morning, cooled down at Maria Luisa Park and make your way back through Alcázar of Seville and their beautiful gardens inside and the Catedral de Sevilla, a giant gothic-style church, the third-largest in the world.
In the evening, go walk along the river and head over to Tirana and have a nice delicious dinner at the Las Golondrinas 2 tapas bar.
Granada, Spain (3 Nights)
From Seville, it's only 3 hours bus-ride away until you arrive in Granada. There are several notable things you can do in Granada such as hiking, visiting Alhambra and eating delicious tapas.
Before arriving in Granada, be sure to book a time slot and a ticket into Alhambra online in advance as they limit the number of people that can visit this beautiful fortress and it would be a shame if you miss it.
You can spend at least half a day inside, exploring all the intricate detail of the architecture and gardens inside the fortress wall.
There is also a free cave walking tour that starts at Plaza Nueva in the afternoon and will take you all the way up to Sacromonte viewpoint (best sunset spot in the city) and down to the caves behind the hill, dug up by the locals to shelter themselves.
The story behind the origin of these caves are quite interesting and I highly recommend you learn about it with the tour guide.
On your second day, take a local bus to Monachil and go on a waterfall hike (Los Cahorros de Monachil) through the mountains and caves of Granada. You will be hiking to a few waterfalls and through suspension bridges which is fun and an easy micro adventure you can do from Granada.
Barcelona, Spain (3 Nights)
After Granada, we travel to the capital city of Catalonia, Barcelona, home to the many beautiful alien-looking Gaudí's architectures like the forever-under-construction La Sagrada Familia, Gaudí's House Museum and all his creation around the city.
Park Güell is a great place to start your day with a hike up to the top of the hill to see Barcelona from above. This is also where the iconic Gaudí's House Museum is located.
The Gothic Quarter is also a must-visit when you are in Barcelona. Be sure to check out the Cathedral of Barcelona, its beautiful Roman-era buildings and all the antique narrow streets in the area.
Photos by Mike McBey
The next day, you can go on a day trip and visit the Montserrat Monastery, located at the top of a rocky mountain only 1.5 hours away from Barcelona by train.
Avignon, France (3 - 4 Nights)
I low-key love traveling in Avignon. It is a stunning city full of antiquity, medieval castles and old towns to explore. The most stunning one of all is the Palais des Papes fortress located at the heart of the city.
They also have an impressive light show explaining the history of Avignon that you can attend on a summer night.
You can also go on a day trip and explore the surrounding towns like Arles, home to the famous Arles Amphitheatre, go on a hike at the Fontaine de Vaucluse or shop at the L'Isle sur la Sorgue Sunday market.
Bordeaux, France (2 Nights)
One of my favorite pieces of architecture in France is the Miroir des Quais and Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux. The Miroir des Quais is the largest water mirror in the world, and it is located right by the 18th century Place de la Bourse.
With the thin layer of water from the Miroir des Quais and the beautiful architecture that it reflects, this place is one of the most photogenic locations in the city.
The Miroir des Quais is best seen both in the morning when the light isn't too strong, and at night when the sky turned purple and the artificial lights of the city illuminated the streets and its reflection.
Right near the Place de la Bourse is the 18th century Pont de Pierre stone bridge connecting the left bank of the Garonne River to the right bank Quartier de la Bastide, which is also worth a visit.
Rennes (Mont Saint Michel), France (2 Nights)
The only reason I put Rennes in this itinerary is that it is a cheap base to make a day-trip to Mont Saint Michel rather than staying nearby which can get quite pricey.
From Rennes, you can take the 9:45 AM train to Mont Saint Michel and get the return train at 02:45 PM which should give you 4 hours to spend at Mont Saint Michel.
Mont Saint Michel is quite a sight to behold. It is a fortified island located in Normandy with over 60 buildings in the commune. With its fairy-tale like architecture, unique location and the constructed commune inside, walking around makes you feel like you are in a fantasy novel or something.
One tip for visiting Mont Saint Michel is that, if you can plan ahead, align your trip during the high-tide period where the water will cover most of the muddy area around the island creating a beautiful reflection of the Mont Saint Michel making it even more magical.
Paris, France (4 Nights)
Ah... Paris, the crown jewel of France. No matter what people say about Paris, I still love the city a lot but maybe because I didn't care too much about doing all the touristy stuff in the city.
There are the usual places to visit like Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre, and even though there will be a lot of tourists in these places, there are ways to avoid the crowds and enjoy these places in unique ways.
First, if you want to get a nice view of Paris, do not go up the Eiffel tower. Go up the Arc de Triomphe instead. It's less crowded, no need to line up and best of all, you get the view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower in it.
There are other secrets too like visiting Louvre on a Tuesday (when it's closed) so you can have the whole place to yourself if you don't mind not seeing the Mona Lisa or go down a dark path and explore the Catacomb of Paris.
You can also spend another day cafe-hopping as there are countless cafes, book stores and parks that are super unique and void of tourists like the Le Pure Cafe, Strada Cafe, Honor cafe, San Francisco Book Co., and the Coulee Verte Rene Dumont park.
Chamonix, France (3 Nights)
After visiting so many cities in France, I'm sure you are already itching for adventure so let's go and explore the French Alps.
Chamonix is a beautiful mountain town located in the French Alps area near the famous Mont Blanc and other beautiful peaks we can explore on a hiking trail. It's only 6 hours away by train from Paris and 13 hours away by bus.
Since we will have 2 full days here, I would recommend you go and hike a combination of the Grand Balcon Sud trail and Lac Blanc trail which should take you around 8 - 12 hours to complete.
This trail is just breathtaking through and through with the view of Mont Blanc and the surrounding mountain range parallel throughout the trail and at the end, you are rewarded with a beautiful Lac Blanc (white lake) reflecting all the peaks you just hiked passed.
The next day, you can go up a cable car to the top of Aiguille du Midi. The view from up there is just mind-blowing and totally different from what you saw the day before. In fact, you can even see the whole trail you did the day before from up here.
Lyon, France (3 Nights)
From Chamonix, you can take the train down to Lyon and spend a few days exploring this beautiful alternative city of France. Lyon is home to many creative sectors and it shows in the things you can do here.
Zermatt, Switzerland (3 Nights)
Now we come to Switzerland, crowned as the most beautiful country in the world so much that everyone is trying to replicate its reputation and become the Switzerland of Southeast Asia or the Switzerland of South America, etc.
We start off with the big one, a visit to the iconic Matterhorn peak in Zermatt. From Lyon, you can get a train to Geneva and from there to Lisp and to Zermatt in 7 hours at around 130 USD. Buses might be a bit cheaper but it's 9 hours and can be quite hectic switching buses.
For Zermatt, I would recommend you go on another one-day epic hike that will take you to Hörnli Hut, the highest point you can get without a mountaineering gear via trail #27 and #28 and hike down via the glacier trail (trail #26) and trail #25. That way, you will get to experience the Matterhorn as close as one can.
This hike will take you an entire day (10 hours) and so prepare accordingly. After that kind of hike, you will need another day to rest, which makes it a good time to exploring Zermatt itself.
Lucerne, Switzerland (2 Nights)
Lucerne is one of the few places I visited as a kid that I fondly remember. Places like the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) and its fiery history, the unique location of the Lion Monument, and the history of Museggmauer, Lucerne’s Old Town somehow ignite my memory of my time there when I was young. It's a great place to visit for a day before you move on to Zurich.
Zurich, Switzerland (2 Nights)
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland that is both beautiful as well as expensive. Places like the Altstadt (The Old Town) is a great place to get a glimpse of what Zurich is like in the Medieval time.
Across the Limmat river, there is a historic site called Lindenhof, an elevated platform that a Roman castle once stood. It sure is a place of great historical significance but it also makes a great viewpoint for us tourists to see Zurich, the Limmat and the cathedral from above.
You can also go on a boat and explore Zurich via the Limmat river, a great way to have a different perspective on a city like Zurich. You can find more information about the schedule of the Limmat cruise here.
Stuttgart, Germany (2 Nights)
Coming from Zurich, you can take 3 hours bus to Stuttgart which should cost you no more than 11 EUR. Stuttgart is a city not many talk about in travel guides but I had a chance to stay there for a week with a local and was able to see some of the unique creative side of the city I didn't see anywhere else in Germany.
The first place you should visit in Stuttgart is the Schlossplatz, one of the largest and most impressive squares in the city. Around the area, you will find several historical buildings, restaurants, and cafes that you can indulge yourself in.
If you are looking for a nice lookout point, make sure that you make it all the way up to Stuttgart TV Tower (Fernsehturm Stuttgart), or the Killesberg Tower where you will be able to capture a panoramic view of Stuttgart from above.
Looking to buy something? Be sure to drop by the Markthalle (market hall) or walk along the Königstraße (King Street), a shopping street where you can buy all sorts of snacks or souvenirs for people back home.
Munich, Germany (3 Nights)
Munich is the capital city of Bavaria, home to centuries-old buildings and its unique Bavarian heritage where the cliche culture you see portrayed in movies are from.
Most of the cool places to visit are concentrated in the Marienplatz area so spend a day exploring that district. Go up the St. Peter’s Church to get a nice view of Munich from above, or visit Nymphenburg Palace for half a day.
After exploring Munich thoroughly, you can spend another day visiting Neuschwanstein castle located only an hour away from Munich.
Nuremberg, Germany (2 Nights)
From Munich, you can take a bus to Nuremberg, a place where you can experience German history up close. The Imperial Castle is the highlight of Nuremberg and a must-visit when you are there.
The castle was built hundreds of years ago and the surrounding area is concentrated with historical buildings some of which are converted into a museum where you can learn the medieval history of Germany.
Be sure to get up the Sinwell Tower so that you can get a 360° panoramic view of Nuremberg from above.
Cologne, Germany (2 Nights)
Cologne is a cultural capital located on the Rhine river. Home to one of the oldest university in Germany, Cologne is considered to be a university city, which in turn brings out a lively vibe you usually get from a creative and young population.
One of the most famous landmarks that define the city is the giant Cologne Cathedral. Despite the size and the interior, you can also climb up to the top of one of the tower and get a 360° view of the city from above.
I'm not a big fan of Cologne too much (because I got my bag stolen there) but I gotta give credit to the beauty of the cathedral. Don't make the same mistake as I do though and you will enjoy Cologne more than I did. 😅
Hamburg, Germany (2 Nights)
Hamburg is a city located by the river Elbe and home to the second largest port in Europe so the best place to visit is the Warehouse District (Speicherstadt) located there.
Speicherstad stretches over 1.6 km along a canal and with its unique red-brick building crisscrossing the canals along the side, it makes the area the perfect place to walk around and admire the architecture.
Berlin, Germany (4 Nights)
Oh Berlin, if only I could stay there forever, but we can't as we have only 90 days here so let's make the best out of it. 4 nights in Berlin will allow you to see most of the awesome places like the East Side Gallery, Charlie's Checkpoint, The Brandenburg Gate, and the Berlin Cathedral.
If you are interested to learn about Germany and its dark past, I highly recommend you visit The Topography of Terror museum and DDR museum. These museums will give you a detail look into Germany under the Nazi reign and the Soviet occupation that followed respectively.
If you are looking to go out at night, check out Urban Spree and align your visit with their event schedule for a nice night out. Located by the Spree river, this artistic space is dedicated to urban cultures through exhibitions, art, DIY workshops, and concerts.
Leipzig, Germany (2 Nights)
Leipzig is one of the lesser known city that usually goes under the radar for most tourists but the city offers many unique experiences for travelers who seek to get away from the usual tourist traps and see Germany from a different perspective.
First, you should visit the Monument to the Battle of the Nations (Völkerschlachtdenkmal), a monument commemorating Napoleon's defeat at Leipzig, a crucial step towards the end of the war. The monument is among the highest of its kind in Europe.
You can spend the rest of the day exploring the Altes Rathaus area, a historical old town of Leipzig where you will be able to find some interesting architecture and monument along the walking path.
If you want a nice panoramic view of the city, head over to Panorama Tower near the old town, pay 3 EUR and you will be able to access its rooftop platform and get a nice photo of Leipzig from above.
Dresden, Germany (3 Nights)
Dresden has just the right amount of interesting culture, architecture, and nature to make me put it among the top 3 cities in Germany, second only to Berlin.
Spend your first day visiting the old town area, where you can find Baroque architectures from the beautiful Gate of Georgenbau to the stunning Dresden Cathedral, all located within walking distance from one another.
The second day, go on a hike the Bastei bridge in the Saxony Switzerland National Park. It's a fun nature hike that will let you see Germany in a different light. It's the type of place that you don't expect to see in the hyper-modernized cities of Germany.
Wroclaw, Poland (2 Nights)
Only 3 hours drive away, there is Wroclaw, a fun city in Poland with plenty of things to do ranging from hunting down the gnomes in the market square to the learning about the Battle of Raclawice through a panoramic painting.
The Market Square around Wroclaw Town Hall is the main square where all the stunning Gothic-style architecture and colorful buildings are but my favorite area is Ostrów Tumski, a quiet old district landmarked by the beautiful Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The peaceful vibe of the area drew me in right away, and I highly recommend you stay here as long as you can.
Poznan, Poland (2 Nights)
Poznan makes a great stop between Wroclaw and Torun. The city has quite a few things to offer from the most colorful old square to the reddish pink colored Catholic church, the Fara Poznanska.
Spend a day walking around the square and check out the Poznan Town Hall and its colorful construction houses of Poznan (Domki Budnicze). Other than that, there's not much else to do then to slow down a bit and treat yourself as we have been traveling through 4 countries already, and you will appreciate how cheap it is in Poland compared to other places we have been.
Torun, Poland (2 Nights)
Torun, one of my favorite cities in Poland, have that fairy-tale vibe you do not get in many cities.
With its medieval architecture, baroque-style church and its history involving knighthood, walking around Torun were like walking through one of the The Witcher novel written by the Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski.
While in Torun, be sure to visit Cathedral Basilica of St. John, the leaning tower of Torun and or if you want to learn about the Teutonic Knights, be sure to drop by the District Museum.
If you are visiting the District museum, you can also pay a bit more to have access to the tower where you will be able to see Torun from above which is just breathtaking
Gdansk, Poland (2 Nights)
Gdansk is one of the most important port in Poland and it is the location where the first World War 2 crashes happened during the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany.
Gdansk is also famous for its colorful architecture around its Long Market district, now home to Accidental-Wes-Anderson-style houses and shops.
If you want to learn about the Polish experience during World War 2, visit Westerplatte, an open-air museum dedicated to the battle of Westerplatte, which was the first clash between Polish and German forces during the invasion of Poland and thus the first battle of the European World War II.
Malbork, Poland (Half-Day)
From Gdansk, you can take a train directly to Malbork in the early morning and spend half a day there. Malbork and its castle are one of the most majestic places you will see in Poland.
This Gothic fortress is the largest in the world by land area and there is no place quite like it. The beautiful red brick fortress located by the river Nogat is a wonderful piece of history built during the Teutonic knight time in the 13th century.
Within the castle, there are several buildings you can enter and discover on your own. Places like the old church of St. Mary, the tower, and the Great Refectory are not to be missed.
Be sure to walk across the river and see the castle from the other side. It is best seen during the evening when the sun is about to set and the water in the river calm and still.
Warsaw, Poland (3 Nights)
Warsaw, the capital city of Poland is one of the country's most vibrant cities and you will be spending 2 full days here.
The Old Town Square is the landmark of the city with a spacious walking area, towers, colorful traditional architecture, and churches all connected through roads leading to the Old town marketplace. While there, be sure to check out the Sigismund's Column, the Royal Castle, and the St. John's Archcathedral.
Be sure to go up the Taras Widokowy tower for a fee and you will have a 360 view of the city. The best time to go up is right before the sun sets.
For the second day, we will take it a little slow and take a bus heading towards Wilanow from the old square and get off at the end of the line where the Wilanow Palace is located.
Krakow, Poland (4 Nights)
Krakow is where I based myself of when I was living in Poland for 3 months and it is by far the best place to travel to as a traveler with the balance between the medieval vibe of the city center, chilled vibe of Kazimierz (the Jewish quarter) and the many things you can as day trips.
Spend your first day in the city center and check out the stunning interior of the St. Mary's Basilica and all the attractions surrounding the square such as the Town Hall Tower and Krakow Barbican and walk a little bit south to Wawel castle.
Kazimierz (the Jewish Quarter) is a great place to end your first day in Krakow with delicious street foods like Zapiekanka (a must try) and have a nice glass of wine outside while listening to the Jewish live music.
The next 2 days, you can make day trips to Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mine respectively to learn more about the history of Krakow. Be sure to book these tickets in advance especially during peak season.
Zakopane, Poland (3 Nights)
Zakopane, a town located under the shadow of the Tatra mountain range at the border of Poland and Slovakia which makes it a great place to go hiking, cozy up in a mountain hut and enjoy a nice glass of mulled wine with delicious smoked cheese with jam (oscypek).
Photos by Aneta Pawska.
You can spend one full day hiking the Morskie Oko trail which should take you around 5 - 6 hours total and you will have a grand view of the Morskie Oko lake. Start early in the morning (no later than 8 AM) to avoid crowds and make your way to the Kościuszki bus station. Take the bus to Palenica Białczańska and walk up to the lake along an 8km road and walk back the same way.
The next day, you can go up the cable car to the Kasprowy Wierch where you will be able to see the mountain range from the top. Be sure to check the weather and book the ticket from there website before arriving to avoid disappointment and long lines.
Krakow, Poland (1 Night)
From Zakopane, you can get a bus back to Krakow and spend one night before starting early and get yourself to the Baltic state of Lithuania. To get to Vilnius, you will have to get a train to Bialystok via Warsaw and from there, you can get a bus to Vilnius in one day. Be sure to check the schedule of the train and the bus, book them in advance and start early.
Vilnius, Lithuania (2 Nights)
Vilnius is unlike most European cities with its tourist attractions scattered all over instead of concentrated around the main square. This allows us to explore the city on foot and see the city and how the people live first hand.
Vilnius has quite a lot to offer and places like the Gediminas Castle, St. Peter and St. Paul's church, Vilnius Cathedral, and the independent republic of Uzupis are a great place to get the feel of Vilnius and its people.
After spending half a day exploring the city center, spend another half and explore Trakai, a beautiful castle located on an island and learn about the medieval history of Lithuania and how the Trakai came to be.
Riga, Latvia (3 Nights)
Riga, a stunning medieval capital city of Latvia is our next destination as we make our way across the Baltic countries. The city is easily navigable and quite rewarding to explore on foot.
The most notable landmarks in the city are the Riga Cathedral and that is a good place to begin your journey. From there, you can branch out to the Freedom Square, St. Peter's church (be sure to go up the tower), House of the Blackheads, and Museum of the Occupation of Latvia.
Don't forget to walk along the Akmens Tilts stone bridge and see the city from the opposite side of the Daugava river. It's quite a sight to see.
For the second day, Cesis makes a great day trip from the capital which is only 2 hours bus ride away. Cesis is a beautiful old town known for its medieval castle featuring wall paintings, dungeons, towers, romantic castle park and the old crumbling Lutheran church of Saint John the Baptist, a great place to learn a little bit about Latvia during medieval time.
Tallinn, Estonia (2 Nights)
Tallinn is one of the most fairy-tale-like medieval city of all the Baltic States. Every touristic attraction is all located in the center so the city is easily covered on foot in a day.
The most popular place to visit in Tallinn is the Old Town Square where you will find several beautiful architectures like Tallinn Town Hall surrounding the area.
St. Nicholas church, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Toompea castle and the St Mary's Cathedral are definitely worth seeing but my favorite place has got to be the Kohtuotsa and Patkuli viewing platforms.
Why is it my favorite place? From both these viewpoints, I could see Tallinn from 2 different perspectives, toward the sea and into the heart of the city respectively.
Helsinki, Finland (2 Nights)
From Tallinn, you will have to get a ferry across the ocean to Helsinki which should take you around 2 hours and cost around 15 EUR. You can book your ferry from Direct Ferries.
Helsinki, a modern Scandinavian city along the side of the Baltic Bays, and the capital city of Finland is one of those cities you don't hear people rave about often but the place has quite a unique feel to it that you have to see for yourself.
The Helsinki Cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks of the city and it is easily walkable from the city center. Same goes for other famous tourist attractions like Uspenski Cathedral and the stunning architecture of Helsinki Central Station.
For a half-day trip, you can visit the 18th Century Sea Fortress of Suomenlinna, where you can go and hike around on the island and explore all the attractions on the island. The best route to walk is the Blue I would recommend following the main "Blue Route" which should take you to all the main sites like the King’s Gate and the Kustaanmiekka artillery.
Stockholm, Sweden (4 Nights)
I can not express how much I love Stockholm. You will need at least 3 full days to explore this vibrant city and its rich Viking culture. From Helsinki, you will have to take an overnight ferry via Viking Line which leaves from Helsinki at 5:30 PM and arrives in Stockholm at 10:00 AM. The ferry with a cabin cost around 88 EUR and the cabin was mandatory for an overnight trip.
If you are there on a rainy/snowy day, use it to your advantage and visit all the cool museums in Stockholm. 2 museums I would recommend you visit are the Vase Museum, where the giant renovated Viking ship is located, to learn about the Vasa ship and the Nordic Museum to learn about the Nordic history in extreme detail.
If you have one more day in Stockholm, I would recommend you go on a day trip and visit the beautiful Gripsholm castle near a small town called Mariefred, only 1.5 hours away from Stockholm.
Copenhagen, Denmark (2 Nights)
There is a Danish word "Hygge" (pronounced hooga) which means "to create a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people" and that is something you will experience in Copenhagen.
Most of the colorful houses you often see in pictures of Copenhagen are located at the Nyhavn waterfront area. This is a must-visit but there are a ton more things to do and see in Copenhagen other than visiting Nyhavn waterfront.
For one, places like Frederik's Church, Amalienborg, and the Rosenborg Castle will have keep you occupied for hours and hours on end. Not to mention the King's Garden and Strøget street where you can sink more hours walking around, exploring and shop until you drop.
If you are into cafes as much as I do, there are plenty of cafes in Copenhagen that really master the art of Hygge, like The Living Room Cafe and The Bastard Cafe that is waiting for you to experience.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands (3 Nights)
After 80+ days of traveling across over 10 countries, you must be tired and there is no better place to end such an epic trip than in Amsterdam. You can spend your day on a bike and cycle around Amsterdam canals or hop on a boat and cruise the canal instead.
Or you can simply relax, go on a walk around the Vondelpark and enjoy the fact that you have just traveled across 10+ countries in 3 months and you have seen more than anyone could ask for such a trip. Kudos!
And there you have it, the ultimate 3 months itinerary for Europe. This is one of the biggest travel guides I have ever written so if I miss anything or you have any question regarding traveling or backpacking in Europe, please do let me know in the comments below.
P.S. If you add all the nights up, you will realize that you will have a few days left out of 90 days. These are buffer days in case something doesn't go as planned or you might enjoy some places a little more than others, so you can always add/remove a few nights and customize the 3 months itinerary for Europe to your liking.
Further Reading for Europe
I hope you found this Europe travel guide useful. If you want to read more about Europe, I have a ton more articles you might like:
- Spain is a great place to start you Europe journey. If you are looking for a complete travel guide and itinerary for Spain, check out our 10 days itinerary for Spain.
- France is a big country that requires great planning if you wish to maximize the things you see with limited time. Here’s a complete itinerary and a travel guide for spending 2 weeks in France.
- Switzerland maybe expensive but hiking is free and camping is often cheap. Check out my Switzerland travel guide page for complete travel and hiking guides in Switzerland.
- Germany is not all about beers and Schuhplattler dance. It is so much more than Bavaria and you will need a good travel guide to see Germany in its true self. Check out my 2 - 3 weeks backpacking itinerary for Germany here.
- Poland has it all with beautiful architectures, cheap cost of travel and full of important European history for you to learn about. Visit my 2 weeks backpacking itinerary for Poland for more info.
- The Baltic Countries are often forgotten when it comes to traveling in Europe but that makes it even better to visit the there are more untouched places waiting to explore, considerably fewer tourists and remain cheap. If you are heading north, be sure to check out my one-week itinerary for the Baltic Countries.
- There is a ton more to do in Northern Europe, all can be done in a week such as a day island-hopping in Helsinki, 3 days exploring Stockholm and spending one full day in Copenhagen.
- Not convinced by my words? Here are 125 photos that will inspire you to visit Europe.
- Looking for more travel guides for Europe? You can find more on my Europe Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides like this, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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