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Europe is a continent rich in history, captivating stories, and stunning architecture. It’s home to a plethora of palaces that transport visitors to a world of magic and wonder. Each palace has its own unique charm, whether it’s nestled amid the snow-capped mountains of Portugal or within the bustling streets of Istanbul. The good news is that many of these palaces now offer the convenience of online ticket purchases, ensuring a smooth journey. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the ten most remarkable palaces in the world, each offering a fairytale-like experience. From the opulence of the Palace of Versailles to the historical wonders of Topkapi Palace, these palaces are bound to enchant and captivate.

Palace of Versailles, France

Our fairytale journey begins with the illustrious Palace of Versailles, situated just outside of Paris, France. This UNESCO World Heritage site boasts of its stunning Hall of Mirrors, magnificent gardens, and a rich history that once housed Louis XIV, the Sun King. A visit here is a step into the extravagance of 17th-century France. To make the most of your visit, consider booking your Palace of Versailles tickets online and avoid long queues.

Topkapi Palace, Turkey

Exploring Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace is like stepping into a bygone era of Ottoman grandeur. This historical gem, once the illustrious abode of Ottoman sultans, boasts a sprawling complex adorned with opulent courtyards, extravagant chambers, and an awe-inspiring array of priceless artifacts. When planning your visit, keep in mind that Topkapi Palace ticket prices vary, with options ranging from US$15 to US$30, allowing you to tailor your experience to suit your preferences, whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture aficionado, or simply seeking to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of this iconic palace.

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, is a gateway to imperial Austria. With its stunning Baroque architecture, meticulously maintained gardens, and panoramic views from the Gloriette, it offers an unforgettable experience. Ticket prices for Schönbrunn Palace range from US$14 to US$20.

Château de Chambord, France

Nestled in the Loir-et-Cher region of France, Château de Chambord is a fairytale castle that showcases French Renaissance architecture at its finest. Its iconic double-helix staircase is a marvel to behold. Explore the vast grounds and bask in the majestic beauty of this architectural wonder. The ticket price for Château de Chambord ranges from US$14 to US$20.

Alhambra, Spain

The Alhambra, perched atop a hill in Granada, Spain, is a breathtaking Moorish palace that effortlessly transports visitors to a world of exquisite Islamic designs, tranquil courtyards, and enchanting gardens. This historical gem is a testament to the rich history and architectural brilliance of the region. To ensure a seamless and unforgettable visit to this immensely popular attraction, it is highly advisable to plan ahead and secure your Alhambra tickets online, as the demand to explore its intricate beauty is consistently high. By doing so, you’ll not only skip the potential long queues but also guarantee your entry to this mesmerizing palace, where the past comes to life in every intricate detail.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, often hailed as the inspiration for Disney’s enchanting Sleeping Beauty Castle, is a true emblem of fairytale dreams. Perched amidst the breathtaking Bavarian Alps, this picturesque castle has an almost otherworldly allure that immediately captures the hearts of all who behold it. Yet, its true magic lies not only in its exterior grandeur but also in the equally magnificent interior. As you step inside, you’ll find yourself transported to a bygone era of opulence and romanticism, with lavishly decorated rooms, intricate furnishings, and awe-inspiring architectural details that complete the enchanting fairytale experience.

Catherine Palace, Russia

Located near St. Petersburg, Catherine Palace is an opulent Russian baroque-style palace that once served as the summer residence of Russian tsars. Its highlight is the legendary Amber Room, meticulously reconstructed to its former glory. Stroll through the majestic halls and gardens to experience the grandeur of imperial Russia.

Palacio Real, Madrid, Spain

The Palacio Real, nestled in the heart of Madrid, stands as a testament to Spanish royalty and grandeur. Serving as the official residence of the Spanish royal family, this magnificent palace invites visitors to explore its lavish interiors, home to an exquisite collection of art, intricate tapestries, and opulent furnishings. The Royal Armory, housing a vast array of historical armor and weaponry, offers a captivating glimpse into Spain’s martial history. Beyond its regal chambers, the expansive Plaza de Oriente, adorned with statues of Spanish monarchs, provides a picturesque setting for leisurely strolls. To ensure a seamless and hassle-free entry to this grand palace, purchasing Palacio Real tickets online is highly recommended, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the rich heritage and elegance of Spanish royalty.

Hampton Court Palace, London, England

Hampton Court Palace, nestled near London, is a historical gem that offers a captivating journey through England’s royal history with its splendid blend of Tudor and Baroque architecture. As you explore its grand halls, meander through the vast gardens, stand in awe of the Great Hall, and perhaps even dare to venture into the eerie depths of the haunted gallery, you’ll be transported back in time to the days of kings and queens. To ensure you don’t miss out on this extraordinary experience, booking your tickets online is a wise choice, allowing you to secure your visit to this iconic palace and delve into the rich tapestry of its intriguing history.

Peterhof Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia

Also known as the “Russian Versailles,” Peterhof Palace is a grand ensemble of palaces and gardens overlooking the Gulf of Finland. The opulent Grand Cascade, with its impressive fountains, and the intricate design of the Grand Palace will leave you spellbound. Plan your visit wisely and obtain Peterhof Palace tickets online to avoid any disappointment.

The Best Palaces in the World – Final Thoughts

A journey through these ten magnificent palaces in the world offers an immersive experience into the opulent lives of monarchs and historical figures. Whether you’re captivated by the opulence of the Palace of Versailles or the enchanting gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, each visit promises to transport you to a fairytale realm. Online ticketing makes these trips even more convenient, allowing you to skip the lines and fully immerse yourself in the enchanting world of these palaces. So, pack your bags, grab your tickets, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable fairytale adventure through the world’s most captivating palaces.

Are you planning your first European backpacking travel adventure? Packing for a trip can be exciting but stressful, especially if you don’t know what to bring. Whether you’re going for a week or for an entire summer, there are a few backpacking Europe essentials for your packing list. To help you get started, take a look at our backpacking Europe checklist, which will ensure you have everything you need for your trip. 

1. The Right Backpack

The right backpacking can make or break your trip. A backpack that’s too big can make traveling uncomfortable, while a backpack that’s too small won’t allow you to fit all your belongings in it. 

When backpacking Europe, you won’t want to bring a large, rolling suitcase. European cities were built before the age of elevators, which means that you’ll be walking lots of stairs. When navigating the metro, the old buildings, and the hotels, you’ll be happy to be able to take the stairs instead of lugging around an unwieldy backpack.

When it comes to essentials for your backpacking Europe packing list, it’s best to bring a carry-on sized backpack to avoid baggage fees on budget airlines. A carry-on sized backpack will also be small enough to keep nearby if you’re taking a bus or train tour in Europe.

Backpacking backpacks come in sizes based on the liter volume that they can carry. A 30-40 liter bag is comparable to a carry-on size suitcase, while a bag that’s 50-65 liters will be too big to take with you as a carry on.

Make sure you choose a bag that fits comfortably on your body. If you’re visiting a store, the employees will be more than happy to help you select a few bags that are suited to your body size. 

If you’re looking for the best backpack for backpacking Europe, the Osprey brand has some great all-rounder backpacks. Osprey is the go-to essential Europe backpacking option and fits most people comfortably. 

2. Day bag

When you’re taking a day trip or going on a hike, you won’t want to bring your huge backpack with you. Leave most of your items locked safely at your accommodation and take along a day bag. Your best bet would be to purchase a foldable daypack that can fit into your bigger backpack.

It will need to fit essentials such as money, a snack, water, and maybe a change of clothes, so it shouldn’t be too big or bulky.

3. Padlocks

Padlocks are a quick, convenient, and inexpensive way to secure your bags and hostel lockers. When assembling your backpacking Europe essentials for your packing list, a small item like this can be a lifesaver! You can also use your luggage lock on your backpack during travel days, ensuring all your belongings are safe, including your passport.

4. Universal travel adapter

Your Europe backpacking packing list should include a universal travel adapter, which will work for your phone charger or any other electronic devices. 

The outlets in continental Europe use the same 2-pronged plug, but if you’re traveling in the UK and Ireland, you’ll need a different 3-pronged system. Rather than taking multiple chargers with you, a multifunctional adapter will do. 

5. Camera

The best travel camera for backpacking europe

Your phone camera is sufficient for everyday life, but backpacking around the world is an incredible experience that you will never want to forget!

Your travel photos will prove invaluable once you return from your epic journey, so be sure to capture all the incredible things you encounter along the way. Bring a camera that not only takes great pictures but also fits easily into your backpack.

These days, the majority of cameras are equipped with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi capabilities, so they can be transmitted easily to your laptop or phone to post them online.

You may wish to bring a high-tech DSLR camera to take stunning photographs.

If you want to take your backpacking adventures to the next level, then consider bringing along a waterproof GoPro, which will accompany you everywhere from underwater adventures to skydiving during your European backpacking adventures.

6. Travel towel

Your essential backpacking Europe packing list should include a quick-drying travel towel, since you will be moving from hostel to hostel as you backpack between cities. My favorite travel towel is a Turkish towel which is quick to dry and easy to fit in your backpack. You can also use the towel as a privacy screen if you secure a bottom bunk in a hostel.

7. Power Bank

A power bank is one of the essentials on my backpacking Europe packing list, for multiple reasons. While traveling, you’ll be using your phone much more than normal – for navigation, taking photos, videos, or researching travel tips. On days like this, you’ll want to have a backup battery for your phone. 

I’ve also relied on my power bank during long travel journeys when I use my phone and want to make sure I have enough juice to find my way to the next destination.

8. Change purse

Reliance on physical money is surprisingly still pretty high throughout Europe. Plus, having lots of €1 and €2 Euro coins is a good idea if you want to leave behind tips or donate to street musicians that you’ll see on your trip. 

9. The right shoes

For your backpacking Europe packing list, don’t forget to throw in a pair of rubber sandals for the hostel showers. You should also bring a pair of comfortable but stylish walking shoes. Some nightlife spots will require a certain dress code, but you can get away with leather-style sneakers. And women can get away with stylish-looking flats that are secretly super comfortable.

10. Hostel survival kit

If you’ll be staying in hostels, don’t forget these 4 backpacking Europe essentials. We call it the hostel survival kit:

11. The Best Apps for Backpacking Europe

The Best Apps for Backpacking Europe

And lastly, before heading off for your European backpacking adventure, you should load up your phone with a few essential apps that will make backpacking Europe a breeze.

Apps to book transportation from place to place

Given the relatively compact size of Europe, you can travel between major cities by train or bus. There are a few useful apps for European transportation that can help make sure you find the best deal while sticking to your schedule.

  • Omio – compare trains, buses, and flight options in Europe and travel using mobile tickets
  • Trainline – a popular app in the UK to find train and bus tickets 
  • Flixbus – a long-distance bus company that is a favorite mode of travel for budget backpackers
  • Kiwi – a flight search comparison site that helps you find the lowest prices
  • Skyscanner – another classic flight search website that has powerful flexible search options
  • DiscoverCars – car rental search engine with direct booking to 500+ suppliers

Apps for Finding Accommodation in Europe

Apps to book discounted activities and Skip the Line tickets

Apps to stay in touch with friends and family back home

If you don’t want to change to an international mobile plan, you can use these apps over free public WiFi to stay in touch with people back home.

With the cost of everything soaring, the last thing anyone needs when they’re backpacking around Europe is to be hit with hefty data roaming charges that can leave a big hole in your wallet. But many Brits are still unaware that they’re racking up huge mobile bills when abroad, leaving them outraged when they get back home and discover they’ve been unknowingly clocking up data charges as they travelled.

Since Britain left the European Union, most mobile networks stopped providing free roaming in EU countries, which allow their citizens to make calls and use mobile data at no additional cost while in member states. But Brits may not know that when they’re in an EU nation and using data for such things as maps and messaging that they’re incurring charges that could add up to large sums.

According to a survey commissioned by mobile network Lebara UK, some Brits are paying up to £1,000 in roaming charges while on holiday in the EU. As many as one-third of British people holidaying in places like France, Spain and Italy were paying such enormous bills that were mostly made up of roaming charges, the survey found.

Other destinations where Brits were holidaying when they were being charged for mobile data roaming included Germany, Greece and Croatia. Respondents to the survey, carried out by OnePoll in early August and involving 2,000 people, also visited the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal.

What’s All the Roaming About?

When you’re backpacking around Europe, in towns and cities you don’t know, the most essential tool is right there in your pocket — allowing you to easily find hotels, bars, restaurants and clubs, and snap all the sights as you go. Sharing picturesque images with pals on social media is another must-do while abroad, making them green with envy that you’re on your travels in exciting places while they’re stuck at home.

So it’s no surprise that almost half of survey respondents (44%) said they used mobile data for social media use in EU countries — posting pics to Instagram, TikTok and other online platforms to keep their followers updated. A total of 42% of those who took part in the poll said they used mobile data for maps, so they could quickly locate the places they wanted to be. Others (28%) streamed music on their mobile devices; 20% used mobile data for gaming; and 16% were looking for love while abroad — not in pubs and clubs but via dating apps.

Avoiding Big Roaming Charges in the EU

Before you head overseas on your next big trip, check with your mobile network provider to see if free roaming in the EU is included in your package, or if there are extra charges. Even if you have to pay more, small sums can quickly add up when you’re downloading, streaming, scrolling or searching on your phone.

For those unlucky enough to have no free EU roaming, they may want to consider getting a SIM-only deal before they head away. These are available in the UK from networks like Lebara and they don’t tie you into any contracts and provide the amount of EU data roaming you’re likely to need.

So when you get to your destination, swap out your usual SIM for your new one, giving you the freedom to roam like home. You can then enjoy your holiday without the worry of clocking up data charges as you travel and being landed with a massive bill when you get back that would certainly ruin the happy memories of those carefree European days.

Have you always wanted to visit Europe but don’t have the budget for accommodation costs? Not to worry, you may want to consider applying for jobs that offer free accommodation in exchange for work across Europe

There are plenty of options to find a steady job along with safe and clean digs in various parts of Europe. To help you understand more about the process, here are examples of how to work in exchange for free accommodation in Europe. 

Become a Petsitter

Combine your love of animals with your love of travel and become a Trusted Housesitter.

Combine your love of animals with your love of travel and become a Trusted Housesitter.

All across Europe, there are plenty of people looking for trustworthy housesitters to watch their pets in exchange for staying at their homes for free. Trusted Housesitters is the pet-sitting network for animal lovers who are responsible, reliable, and looking for a fantastic way to travel around Europe while staying for free.

You can find everything, from a chic apartment in Barcelona to a beach house in Portugal. A basic petsitter account costs just $129 for unlimited housesits anywhere in the world, and considering how expensive accommodation can be in Europe, it’s well worth it.

Work on an Organic Farm

Spend the grape harvest season on a vineyard in Europe

Spend the grape harvest season on a vineyard in Europe

If you love the outdoors, this is the perfect opportunity for you. Work on various agricultural projects in exchange for accommodation with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF).

On the organization’s website, you will find plenty of volunteer roles across Europe. You could be fruit picking in Spain, or working on an organic vineyard in Italy, and getting room and board for free.

Work in Hospitality

Get free accommodation in exchange for working in hospitality

Get free accommodation in exchange for working in the hospitality sector in Europe

Another great way to earn and live while traveling in Europe is to find a job in the hospitality sector. Europe’s hospitality sector is a huge industry, so you’re bound to find a role that suits you. Popular tourist hospitality jobs include housekeepers, bar staff, waitresses/waiters, chefs, and more. This could include working in a hostel as a live-in staff member who takes on the role of a receptionist or even a hostel manager. 

Especially in the spring and summer months in Europe, there are a variety of seaside and lake and holiday camps that hire seasonal workers. These jobs typically offer fair pay along with free accommodation in a cosy cabin or even a quirky tepee. 

Become a Nanny or Au Pair

Get free accommodation in exchange for working in childcare

Get free accommodation in exchange for working in childcare

Another popular way to enjoy Europe without worrying about accommodation costs is by becoming a nanny or au pair. Most nanny jobs are live-in, which means you may end up staying in a lavish penthouse in Paris or even a villa in Italy and get a taste for the rich lifestyle.

As a nanny or Au Pair working in Europe, you may also be offered a wage that you can use to fund the rest of your travels. You may also be given a daily allowance typically put towards food and other miscellaneous costs for both you and the children you are caring for. Your main responsibilities will happen during the week, leaving your weekends free to explore Europe.

Other ways to get free accommodation in Europe

We’ve outlined just a few of the main ways that people can find free accommodation in exchange for working in Europe. If you’re still searching for that great opportunity, you can look through the opportunities listed on Worldpackers

You’ll find everything from childcare jobs, to personal assistant jobs, to charitable volunteer opportunities. A membership is a one-time cost of $49 giving you access to tons of opportunities to work in exchange for free accommodation. Worldpackers is great for solo travelers in Europe because of their host verification process, insurance policy, and huge community network. Use my promo code BACKPACKING10 for 10% off your membership fee.

Getting a visa to work in Europe for free accommodation

When applying for any of these positions, remember to consider your visa eligibility. Before entering Europe or staying for an extended period of time, you may need a B-1 or J-1 Visa, even if you are not paid for your services. Before completing your application, you should speak with a visa specialist or the program leaders.

Are you ready to get down in the dirt at an Italian winery? Or become a nanny to a generous Parisian family? Without breaking the bank, you can have the time of your life no matter what venture you choose. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start researching and preparing for your Europe trip!

When planning a trip to Munich, there are the obvious famous spots, like the Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall, Marienplatz, or the vast English Garden. But if you’re looking for something more off the beaten path, there are plenty of hidden gems in Munich!

I have lived in Munich for four years, and have grown to love it. The city checks a lot of boxes: lots of nature, charming neighborhoods, and a great selection of cultural events year-round. Discover what makes Munich so great with this list of my favorite places in Munich off the beaten path.

The Seehaus Biergarten

The Seehaus Biergarten in the Englischer Garten

The Seehaus Biergarten, my favorite Biergarten hidden gem in Munich!

Munich is well known for its Biergarten culture, and you’ll find them scattered throughout the city. But my favorite Biergarten is in the middle of the English Garden next to the Seehaus. From the Biergarten tables, you have a beautiful view over a small lake and into the dense green that makes the English Garden an oasis in the middle of the city. 

Not only is the scenery unbeatable, but they serve a variety of classic Biergarten food, including Hax’n and Steckerlfisch. And of course, you can pick up a fresh beer right from the tap. Or, if you’ve had your fill of beer, they have an area where you can enjoy cocktails and wine under the Linden trees.

Gärtnerplatz

Hang out at Gärtnerplatz while exploring Munich off the beaten path in the alternative Glockenbachviertel

Hang out at Gärtnerplatz while exploring Munich off the beaten path in the alternative Glockenbachviertel

Nestled between the Viktualienmarkt and the Isar River is the neighborhood known as Glockenbachviertel. While Munich has a reputation for being conservative, Glockenbach is a welcoming and lively neighborhood full of hidden gems in Munich.

Here you can find swanky cocktail bars, grungy dive bars, and hip boutiques. The center of Glockenbachviertel is the circular Gärtnerplatz – grab a drink at a nearby kiosk and hang out with the locals.

Gans Woanders

Even from the funky exterior, it’s clear that Gans Woanders is one of the best hidden gems in Munich. Its name is a play on words from the phrase ‘Ganz woanders’ (somewhere else) but with a twist of using the German word ‘Gans’ which means goose.

A whimsical building houses a unique space that serves as a café during the day and a bar at night. It’s a great place if you’re looking to get off the beaten path in Munich and are looking for something different from the typical beer halls and Bavarian food.

Rosengarten

Just a small fraction of the many roses you'll see at the stunning Rose Garden

Just a small fraction of the many roses you’ll see at the stunning Rose Garden

I lived in this city for 3 years before discovering the beautiful rose garden. In fact, my first visit there prompted me to write this article about the best hidden gems in Munich!

Located near the Isar river, this manicured garden offers a great place to take a stroll and relax. There are plenty of lounge chairs and hundreds of blooming plants. After enjoying the Rosengarten, you can walk along the banks of the Isar river, where the locals love to take a dip in summer.

Neues Schloss Schleissheim

Venture to the north of Munich to explore Neues Schloss Schleissheim

Venture to the north of Munich to explore Neues Schloss Schleissheim

Inspired by Versailles, and serving as a summer residence to the Wittelsbacher royals, the Neues Schloss Schleissheim castle is well worth a visit! It’s a little outside the center of Munich, well off the beaten path. The castle features Baroque architecture at its finest and is surrounded by spectacular gardens. I’m surprised this place isn’t more famous – it took 3 years of living here before I even heard about it! 

View of the Glockenspiel from Galeria Kaufhof

While the Marienplatz Glockenspiel is arguably the #1 tourist attraction of Munich, there is a viewpoint over the famous square that is a true hidden gem. The café in Galeria Kaufhof overlooks the square and gives you a perfect view of the famous Glockenspiel.

Grab a front-row seat to Munich’s most famous attraction without dealing with the crowds. Side note – if you happen to be in Munich during a heatwave, the Galeria Kaufhof is one of the few places in the city that has coveted air conditioning!

Alte Utting

The Alte Utting boat sits atop a bridge and functions as a restaurant and bar

The Alte Utting boat sits atop a bridge and functions as a restaurant and bar

A scene that looks like it belongs in the more edgy Berlin, Alte Utting is one of the best hidden gems in Munich and my favorite place to take out-of-town guests. It’s an old ship that has been elevated onto an old set of railway tracks, a cool place to grab a drink with friends.

The Lost Weekend

The Lost Weekend is a café and event space in the middle of the student district. It serves great coffee and snacks, and will occasionally have a book reading or poetry slam. Check the schedule of events to see if something sparks your interest.

The Jaded Monkey

With a prominent beer culture, it’s no wonder that great cocktail bars in Munich are few and far between. But there are some great hidden gems, like the Jaded Monkey. Serving up inventive cocktails in a swanky setting reminiscent of a New York bar, you’ll love getting a little more off the beaten path while visiting Munich.

Café im Vorhoelzer Forum

Munich's favorite student hang out

Café im Vorhoelzer Forum – Munich’s best rooftop hang out

As a university town, Munich is full of great restaurants and bars that cater to the student crowd. This rooftop bar is a true hidden gem in Munich because it’s hard to find!

Located atop one of the University buildings, you’ll need to find your way to a back elevator. Once you emerge on the top floor, you’ll find one of the best views in Munich. On a clear day, you’ll even catch a view of the Alps!

Note: Café in Vorhoelzer Forum closed during the pandemic and re-opening is TBD. In the meantime, you can still access the rooftop and BYOB to enjoy a drink with one of the best views in Munich.

 

Hidden Gems in Munich, Germany

Pin Hidden Gems in Munich, Germany