Life between high school and college is the perfect time to explore and enjoy some well-earned freedom. After studying for finals, many students crave a break before continuing their education. For many Americans, that means traveling across the Atlantic and discovering what Europe has to offer. If this is your plan, and you need some inspiration for where to go and about what’s feasible, then look no further than our top itineraries.
From awe-inspiring ancient ruins to picturesque landscapes and bustling, modern cities, Europe has it all! If cosmopolitan living is your thing then base your trip around the bigger European cities such as London, Paris and Madrid. If getting away from it all is what you desire you should look instead to regions like the Alps, the Black Forest in Germany, and the Lake District in the United Kingdom for the ultimate breather. With so much to choose from, traveling in Europe allows you to pick a route that’s true to your interests.
If you want to make the most of your time in Europe and see as much as you possibly can, visiting these countries will give you a great overview, making you feel almost European by the time you’re finished.
Visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris in person, relax in a Biergarten in Germany, or enjoy a pizza in Italy. Historic cities like Florence or Vienna will give you plenty to marvel at, while natural wonders like the Provence lavender fields or the fairytale-like Black Forest will surely cast their spell on you.
Travel along the coastal regions and feel invigorated by the brisk winds before exploring some of the most modern and cosmopolitan cities Europe has to offer like London, Dublin and Amsterdam.
Go cycling through the colorful Dutch tulip fields, visit beautiful historic cities like Bruges or Lille, and then hop on a ferry (or the Eurostar) to discover the beauty of Ireland and the United Kingdom. This trip will offer plenty of variety!
Explore Europe’s long and rich history by visiting some of the most iconic European sights during your gap year. Enjoy the warm, sunny days and get to know the Mediterranean way of life.
Be amazed by the ancient Grecian and Roman monuments and beautiful Renaissance palaces. Savor the Mediterranean cuisine as you travel along the Italian and French Riviera or go island-hopping in Greece.
The Scandinavian lifestyle has long become equated with sleek modernity and coziness that will give you the chance to refuel and grow during your gap year.
If you’re an active person and love the outdoors, a trip through Scandinavia is the right choice for you. Be mesmerized by lush green forests of Sweden and deep-blue fjords of Norway, experience the icy coldness of the glacial scenery and see the amazing Northern lights for yourself.
In comparison to many metropolitan areas in Europe, Eastern Europe is a more affordable option, but nevertheless rich in experiences.
Let yourself be enchanted by picturesque landscapes, charming historical landmarks, and lively cities. You could go on a river cruise on the River Danube in Budapest, visit World Heritage sites like Malbork Castle in Poland or just mingle with the hospitable, friendly locals in Kraków, Prague and Bratislava.
During your gap year, you’ll hear different languages, wander through stunning landscapes, and get a taste of the local cuisines. If you want to make your grand European tour even more interesting, let yourself be guided by different themes:
While planning your trip can seem daunting at first, it’s more than possible to enjoy a gap year in Europe without breaking the bank. To help you save during your travels, we’ve compiled all the necessary budgeting tips about transport, activities and expenses to help you to save.
Some countries in Europe, especially in the West, will be more expensive so bear that in mind when planning your trip. Here are our tips to help you save no matter which country you’re in:
Account for the time and money it takes to travel between cities and countries. Decide beforehand which places you absolutely want to visit and plan a route that avoids backtracking.
Do a lot of research in order to plan your excursions and activities yourself. Relying on tour companies will cost you significantly more and limit your flexibility. Browse official websites for up-to-date information on how to avoid common mistakes.
Try to find affordable accommodation outside of expensive metropolitan areas. Hotel rooms outside the city center are often much cheaper than a hotel in the heart of the city.
Europe is a rich tapestry of history, culture and, most importantly, fun just waiting to happen. If you’re feeling daunted by organizing a trip to Europe during your gap year—don’t be! With proper planning and budgeting, it will be a trip you’ll never forget.
Between demanding studies and a competitive job market, more and more young Americans decide to hit the pause button for a little while. Traveling, volunteering, or interning during a gap year can give you the much-needed time to recharge your batteries and develop valuable skills. Spending some time whilst on your gap year is a great opportunity working out what you want to do in life. Take a look at our comprehensive guide on planning a memorable gap year in Europe and start planning you adventure abroad.