Why You Should Visit Fewer Countries, Cities When Backpacking Europe

In October 2022, the author embarked on a two-week backpacking trip across Europe, visiting six cities: Berlin, Vienna, Venice, Rome, Milan, and Zurich in four countries. Initially, they planned to spend one or two nights in each city to see a variety of places, but soon realized that 48 hours isn’t enough time to explore each destination thoroughly.

The ancient city of Rome, one of the most popular tourist destinations for the summer of 2024, according to a recent study, was a particular highlight. The author strolled down cobblestone streets with ruins on one side and modern buildings on the other, and admired the dramatic exteriors of Renaissance museums. However, they were unable to explore these museums in depth, only managing to visit the top tourist spots like the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Colosseum in Rome, and the canals in Venice.

The author also felt they didn’t have enough time to immerse themselves in the local life of each city. For example, they wished they could have cruised on Lake Zurich, shopped in Milan, or stayed in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg in Berlin. After the trip, they concluded that two weeks is not enough time to explore six European cities and regretted not being able to dive deeper into each destination.

The author advises travelers planning a trip to Europe to focus on one or two cities or towns and take their time to immerse themselves in their art scenes, neighborhoods, and history. This will leave them with a deeper sense of the destinations they carefully selected. The author already had plans to revisit Zurich, Berlin, Rome, and Vienna, vowing to make the most of their time when they return. If you don’t want to find yourself saying “next time” every day, like the author did, focus on fewer cities and take your time to truly appreciate each destination.

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