Is Russia and Eastern Europe safe for backpacking alone.
Hay guys, i'm 20 year old collage student that will be backpacking Eastern Europe this summer. I could really use some information on whether or not it is safe to do so alone. Russia is the place i want to stay the longest, but i'm worried about safety and overcoming the language barrier. Ive been to Europe before; however, it was mainly Western Europe and it was on a tour. I will be in Europe for as long as i can budget my money. I would really appreciate your advice and experiences. Thanks!
I've spent most of the last 4.5 years in Russia and have traveled all over it. It's completely safe as long as you are sensible - don't walk home down back alleys blind drunk at 4am in an industrial suburb type thing. As with any country there's a small risk of robbery, pick pocketing, being struck by lightning etc but I've never felt that risk to be any greater in Russia than in England.
As for the language barrier - yes it does exist. Very few people speak English. If you have patience and are willing to play the stupid foreigner by miming and so on to ask people questions and getting looked at as if you're barking mad then it's still possible to travel without a word of Russian. I did it when I first arrived, before I even knew "hello" or "thank you".
Excellent advice, thanks for the tips!
We are currently living in Lithuania in Eastern Europe and it is completly fine. The baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) are fine for backpackers and at times finding people who can speak english may be difficult overall no worries. Where are you going to visit? Countries like Balarus you will need a visa and english is very limited in that country as well as anything in English but not dangerous.
Hay! Awesome advice! Well i'm starting in Switzerland because it was the was the cheapest flight to get, and from there i'm going up threw Germany and into Poland. My goal is to ether make it up to Estonia or Russia. Depending on the advice i get between the two. I saw your map of the places you have been, your defiantly an expert! Were would you go if you were in my shoes? AKA, first time backpacking alone.
Well it depends on what time you have of course. If flying into Switzerland you should check out the Alps... A great place (and my favourite place on earth) is Gimmelwald. Dont get it confused with Grindelwald either which is up a different valley. In Gimmelwald their is only one hostel so book in advance and the actual village is on a cliff face with 360 deg view of the Apls.
If your going to go through Germany on the way to the baltics maybe try include Prague along the way. It is in the same direction and many people think it is the most magnificant city in Europe if not the world..
In Poland, Krakow is a must and the concentration camp close by.. (From Prague to Krakow their it is an over night train so can save some money that way)
It depends on many things for what you want to do in the Baltic states.. If you wish to go to Russia you may be needing a visa which can be a pain to organise so do it before you go.
In Lithuania make sure you go to the Hill of crosses also.. Getting around the Baltics is no worries by the way but getting to the Baltics is a long process. From Warsaw to Vilnius (first capital in the Baltics) it is around 8 hours and i think of memory a few busses a day.. Dont worry about the train as it takes longer than the bus.
Gimmelwald and Prague are on the the list. Your the second person to say Prague is awesome, so it defiantly going down. Thank bud!