Whirlwind Backpacking through Europe – 3 week itinerary

strolling along old cobblestoned streets, marveling at majestic churches and cathedrals, and savoring sweet, rich ice cream night after night

3 Week Itinerary in Germany, France, and Spain

who: Callie, Kyla, & Sydney
what: three weeks of backpacking through Europe
when: May-June 2015
where: Germany, France, Spain
why: to finally backpack through Europe, to see three major European countries, & to practice my Spanish and German

Day 1: travel day (USA to Europe)
Day 2: fly into Berlin
Day 3: explore Berlin
Day 4: take the train to nearby Quedlinburg, explore the town and castle
Day 5: take the train to Bacharach, explore the tiny town
Day 6: take the train to Heidelberg, explore the town
Day 7: visit the castle, take the train to Munich
Day 8: explore Munich
Day 9: explore more of Munich, go to the Hofbräuhaus
Day 10: take the train to Paris
Day 11: explore Versailles
Day 12: explore Paris
Day 13: take the train to Barcelona
Day 14: explore Barcelona
Day 15: beach day in Barcelona
Day 16: take the train to San Sebastián at night
Day 17: explore San Sebastián
Day 18: beach day in San Sebastián
Day 19: take the train to Madrid
Day 20: explore Madrid, head to airport at night
Day 21: travel day (Europe to USA)


This was my first time traveling out of the Western hemisphere — a European trip was the adventure of my dreams! Although I felt comfortable doing a solo trip, I ended up recruiting two of my friends, Sydney and Kyla, to come with me. When we decided that we were actually going to do this, it was April 2015 — which meant we only had one month to plan everything. Rick Steves and Lonely Planet were both great resources in the planning stages. I also relied heavily on tons of different travel blogs to get more personal and detailed opinions.

We stayed in hostels, traveled by train, and traversed the streets of cities and towns that had been on my Pinterest travel board for ages. We were all at points in our lives where this was the perfect time to go. When we arrived at the Schönefeld Airport in Berlin in May, we were absolutely clueless as to where the hell the train station was located, but insanely excited as to what the next three weeks would bring.


With my around 14 years of Spanish speaking experience and 3 years of taking German in high school, I somehow ended up the expert despite the fact that these places were completely new to me as well. I would also like to add that I am clueless when it comes to French, as I know about four words total (Bonjour, oui, escargo, and croissant, of course) and cannot conjugate a sentence to save my life. Ultimately, I had a ton of fun practicing my fairly basic language skills.


Honestly, I have to say that this really was a whirlwind trip of three major European countries. Our experiences provided us with just the tiniest yet tastiest morsel of the places we visited. Obviously I would have loved more time to experience so much more but time is hard to come by. For me, it was kind of the perfect introduction to Europe and, when we left in June, I definitely was left craving more.


Of course, with a lack of sufficient planning, trains being sold out, and a little bit of pure carelessness, we did not end up following the exact itinerary I’ve shown here. But for the most part, this was our three week trip to Germany, France, and Spain. There were definitely some ups and downs throughout the three weeks, as you can see in my posts. We overcame some pretty rough moments but also made some amazing memories. We had an epic time and I cannot wait to go back one day.

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  1. That was a whirlwind trip. Wears me out just thinking about it. We were in France for 5 weeks in 2013 — two weeks in Southern France (Aix-en-Provence), and three weeks in Paris, and we needed so much more time in both places, especially Paris.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Completely a whirlwind trip. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I can honestly say, however, that I enjoyed my time in each of these places so entirely much. It was way different that actually visiting a city for a week or two or more and fully immersing yourself in the culture. What we did was more like dipping our toes into the pool, rather than swimming across the length of it.

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      1. We spent our last two months in Europe traveling around northern Spain and staying in campgrounds, and then the we went to Italy for the last month and traveled around central Italy and stayed in campgrounds, except in Rome. During that time we didn’t stay more than 5 days in one place, often just a day in some cases. Enough to get our feet wet, but not long enough to get immersed in the local culture.

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  2. What a great little adventure that looks like! You did most of the big places. From my own experiences, I thought Berlin and Munich were equally amazing, and I loved Barcelona, too. Paris so-so. I never made it to Madrid though, so I was interested in your recent write up. 🙂 Looks a nice city.

    Liked by 1 person

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