What Countries Are Best for Backpacking?

Apr 25, 2023

A backpacking man standing on a mountaintop.

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Backpacking is a freeing form of travel. You can go anywhere in the world and have more than a lifetime of new experiences, but where should you start? Check out a few of the best backpacking countries to start planning a year’s worth of experiences.

1. The Philippines

There are numerous places to explore while you’re backpacking in the Philippines. You could hike across islands, surf your way down the coast and snorkel in various reefs. The country even allows people with tourist visas to stay for 59 days before requesting a visa extension.

2. Finland

Finland is one of the best backpacking countries for adventurers. There are gorgeous mountains to explore in the fall and popular campsites nationwide. While you’re there, you could also experience a mindful activity by watching the Northern Lights between fall and spring. Feel your deep breaths as you connect with the Earth and appreciate it in new ways.

3. Sri Lanka

Anyone new to backpacking would enjoy a trip to Sri Lanka. There are laid-back trails that lead to waterfalls, national parks with swimming holes and snorkeling along the coast. Vehicle rentals are also typically more affordable than in most countries, so you can drive between regions if you tire of backpacking.

4. Ireland

Stepping into a warm pub after a chilly day of backpacking is the ultimate way to relax. Ireland has small towns scattered throughout the country and they’re all connected by trails beloved by backpacking enthusiasts. Don’t forget to make a few pitstops at castles and the Blarney Stone for photos at the area’s most popular attractions.

5. Croatia

An affordable adventure awaits you in Croatia. Strap on your backpack with all your favorite gear to hike the country’s rolling mountains. It’s one of the cheapest backpacking countries due to its budget-friendly economy, but you can still see a few famous attractions if you’re missing the bigger tourist countries.

After all, Dubrovnik was the filming location for all the King’s Landing drama in “Game of Thrones.” If you were a fan of the series, you wouldn’t want to miss a walk through the place where the Battle for King’s Landing occurred.

6. India

Any list of the best backpacking countries would be amiss to leave India out of the fun. The country has incredible experiences and culinary delights for any curious backpacker. Whether you backpack to the Taj Mahal or explore the pink city of Jaipur, you’ll love exploring India with your trusty backpack in tow.

7. Austria

You’ve likely seen the snow-capped Austrian Alps in photos before, but you can also see them in person if you try backpacking. Along the way, tour the Gothic architecture in Austria’s ancient castles and churches. You’ll love the bold colors, vivid entertainment and boundless culinary creations that make the country a favorite destination for global travelers.

8. Vietnam

When you backpack through Vietnam, you’ll feel like you’re hiking through different worlds with beautiful landscapes. The country welcomes travelers who want to backpack from north to south or vice versa.

With the right supplies and desert-strength sunscreen, you could walk across Mui Nei’s sand dunes and try your hand at sandboarding. Just watch for signs of dehydration and drink plenty of water throughout your trip.

9. The U.S.

Although the United States isn’t one of the cheapest backpacking countries, it’s still a great place to travel. You could see glaciers in Alaska or hike the Grand Canyon. See what the Appalachian trail has in store for you or backpack along the sprawling California coast.

You’ll find plenty of landscapes to explore and campsites ready for some relaxing fun. Research the various destinations to find more affordable transportation to each site with options like rental cars or passenger trains.

10. Italy

You may have dreamed about visiting Italy for years. It’s a charming destination with rich history, architecture and culinary delights. It’s also home to many places made famous through literature, like Verona in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

Use the country’s well-connected train system to jump between destinations when you’ve completed a backpacking trip in smaller towns. You’ll save money by avoiding the larger cities and see more gorgeous scenery. Don’t miss out on the Swiss Alps or the food made fresh by local farmers and small businesses throughout the country.

Explore the Best Backpacking Countries

Now that you’ve read about some of the best and cheapest backpacking countries, consider which places you want to explore. Whether you’re looking forward to the brisk breezes that caress mountaintops or hiking through winding city streets made hundreds of years ago, you’ll find the best destinations with this list.

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.