Best Activities in Europe for Travelling Teens

things to do in europe for traveling teenagers

Whilst I was lucky enough to travel a few times to continental Europe as a British kid with my mum, I still feel like it was the trips to continental Europe as a teenager that really solidified my love for travel. My teenage European travel memories are soaked in a perfect mixture of excitement at all the 'new' but at the same time safety, as it was in a vaguely familiar setting. It was like leaving home and going over to a cousin's house - same same, but different. I honestly think all teenagers can benefit from travel, as I think all adults can too. I feel it's even more imperative to do it, if you can, as a teenager, as it will shape you in a way that's hopefully more progressive and open to other cultures and head-spaces.

Best Activities in Europe for Travelling Teens

As a teenager, I went to a good chunk of Western European countries - on school trips, as a language exchange program and to visit random family friends of friends. As an adult I've also been to a good chunk of Eastern European countries, and I can only wish I went to those as a kid too. Hence in this blog post I've drawn from my own personal teenage European experiences, and suggested some that whilst I didn't actually experience until I was an adult, I recommend you do now (cause let's face it: who knows what the global climate will look like when you grow up). I will be writing this blog post henceforth as if I was talking directly to a teen - but of course, you might well be reading this in research for your own teenager. If this is the case, I hope you will forgive that I am addressing the teen, not you, it makes for easier writing - and hey, maybe you can read it as if I'm addressing the inner teen with in you. So without further ado, here are my recommendations for best activities in Europe for travelling teens.

#1. Interrailling Through Europe

An Interrail Pass (for Europeans) or an Eurrail Pass (for non-Europeans) is a nifty way to travel through Europe by train. It essentially gives you an easy way to travel through Europe (or at least 33 countries of Europe) using just one train pass. It's a popular activity with teenagers partly because it's cheaper if you're under 26, and partly because it's so easy - no need to buy multiple tickets or hang around in train stations, just hop on the train. (Okay, disclaimer: for some countries you will need to book specific tickets). I myself worked with Interrail when I was 25 in exchange for free passes, and I recommend it for people who don't want the hassle of multiple ticket buying - for people like me though, you might find that's half the romance of train travel, and for people who want to do it cheaper (albeit slower and less comfortable), I recommend taking a bus or a coach.

best activities for teenagers in europe

Ultimately, whilst I cringe at the concept of 'doing multiple countries' I also won't deny that that is one of the big advantages to travelling Europe - you can 'tick' multiple countries off easily, because they're all so close together. It only takes a few hours to get from England to France, another few to get across Belgium and the Netherlands into Germany. From there it's only a few more down through Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, and then we can enter Eastern Europe (where the real fun starts, in my opinion). As a teen, you may not know exactly what you like or want, so I recommend taking as big a bite as possible - try as many countries as you like, go back to the ones you love later. I would have always assumed that I'd prefer Western Europe to Eastern Europe - hence why I spent so much time there in my teens and early 20s. But I was wrong, I prefer Eastern Europe lol.

#2. European Summer Camps for Teenagers

Yes, summer camp tends to conjure a more USAmerican type of summer, but it's not exclusive to them, here in Europe we have them too. So no matter whether you're from Europe, Africa or Asia and want to experience camp without actually going to the USA, or if you're from North America and want to experience Europe within a familiar institution - there will no doubt be an awesome summer camp for teenager in Europe! Most of the summer camps I went to were in the UK, where we enjoyed rock climbing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking (and the joys of always having wet and muddy feet). I also went to summer camps in Slovenia though where the weather and food was much better, all with the same activities.

#3. Doing a Workaway in Europe

I loathe to be a person that says that teenagers should work, however, I do think that there's a level of empathy for physical workers that can only come from becoming one of them for a while. Thus I recommend working in Eastern Europe - I didn't appreciate the value of wine until I had to pick grapes, for example. However, I still want you to have fun, and thus I recommend Workaway - the hours of work are set to 4 per day, so whilst you will hopefully gain insight into the plight of many field workers, you won't break your back doing it. Although the grapes I picked were in Italy, I actually recommend that you do Workaway in Eastern Europe. Why? You know why, I love Eastern Europe! But seriously, do your Workaway in the country you've always dreamed of going to. And enjoy!

#4. Be an Exchange Student With Erasmus

I had an exchange student from Germany, who, although we didn't really like each other lol, I still hold fondly in my memory because through her I had a real insight into living in Germany (a kind of pointless insight really as I had a German boyfriend later on). Still! A boyfriend is not a girl and it was different seeing Germany through her eyes. I also had a Japanese exchange student who sent me gifts for years after wards - although my favourite was the free leaflet his teacher had dispensed to explain the differences between the UK and Japan 'Japanese people wash themselves every day, English people do not'. I digress - so why do I recommend being an exchange student as a great activity to do in Europe? Because you can truly live the life of someone that lives here - as opposed to 'just' travelling around as a tourist. I've done both and the latter is worth so much more.

Is Europe Safe for Travelling Teenagers?

In the past I would have said that Europe is one of the safer continents to travel to - we have limited natural disasters, we have vaguely good healthcare, petty crime has taken a big turn towards digital crime instead, etc. However, in that past I would have been talking exclusive from a white position, where my PoC friends existed only in theory, and within that theory 'Europe was progressive when it came to racism'. If you're a white teenager, Europe is a great place to travel for you, if you're not white, certain countries in Western Europe will be more progressive (e.g. the UK and Germany), whilst other won't (e.g. much of Eastern Europe) so I recommend travelling there with a white friend might be a good idea. It's a situation that is far from ideal, but I'm telling you here because I want you to be safe.

What about you, have you travelled Europe as a teenager or are you planning to? Feel free to share any tips & advice below!

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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