Multiple Locations +4
  • Austria
    • Salzburg
  • Germany
    • Berlin
  • Italy
    • Venice
  • Hungary
2 - 4 weeks
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Merit-based funding, Payment plans, 529 Plan eligibility
Health & Safety

Program Details

Backpacking City Exploring Sightseeing
Guesthouse Hostel Lodge
Primary Language
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Some Meals Park Fees Transportation Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Some Meals
What's Not Included (Extra)

Half of the meals on the European Explorer are included in the programs fees. Approximately half of the dinners (15 dinners) are not included in the program fees.

May 25, 2023
Jun 15, 2022
26 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

The European Explorer Program is a structured, four-week, group expedition that resembles the classic European back-packing adventure of old. The Program combines a hands-on study of European history, culture and current events with small group travel on the world famous Inter-Rail train system.

From Amsterdam to Berlin to Salzburg and the Austrian Alps to Venice, Lake Garda and the plains of Northern Italy, the Irish Gap Year team will guide you on this journey through some of Europe's most iconic places. Of course (in true Irish Gap Year fashion) we'll be going far off the beaten track and exploring some of the lesser known, quirky hidden gems of each region.

Program Themes:
~ European Cultural Exploration and Study
~ Independence Building
~ Reflection
~ Train Travel
~ Backpacking
~ Self-Discovery

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

We welcome students from all walks of life and backrounds and have hosted many BIPOC students on our programs.

LGBTQIA+ Support

We welcome students from all walks of life and backrounds and have hosted many LGBTQIA+ students over the years. Ireland and Europe in general are quite progressive with regards to LGBTQIA+ policy, lifestyle and support. Irish Gap Year provides support to our LGBTQIA+ students to help them feel secure and safe during their time with us.



Irish Gap Year is a Carbon Negative Company, meaning we remove more C02 from the amosphere through our ecological volunteering than we create as an organization (including student flights to Europe).

Irish Gap Year Director, Ryan Allen is the Chair of the Gap Year Association's Sustainability Commitee and created the Association's Climate Action Plan in 2023.

Program Reviews

4.92 Rating
based on 13 reviews
  • 5 rating 92.31%
  • 4 rating 7.69%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.55
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.85
  • Value 4.7
  • Safety 4.95
Showing 1 - 8 of 13 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Euro Explorer ‘22

This program is amazing at teaching valuable travel skills. We traveled through 4 countries in 4 weeks and got to see so much. I can not speak more highly of the leaders and their adaptability. They all truly do care about each and every student. This program also allows for you to travel without the stress. There is also tons of time to explore on your own or in small groups which adds a much needed independence level. Traveling in a group adds safety and makes everything so much more fun. Throughout the 4 weeks we did lots of city tours and exploring as well as hiking in the alps and swimming. There are a few built in free days but this program is definitely tiring. It is constant moving, living out of a backpack and hostels. It is so much fun but definitely something to be prepared for. Irish Gap Year is an amazing company run and staffed by equally amazing people.

  • Train travel throughout Europe
  • Structure and social aspect of being in a group
  • Leaders
  • extra money spent on snacks lunch and meals on free days
  • very tiring both socially and physically
95 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Euro Explorers

The European Explorer program is a chance to explore European cities by train. European Explorers has been a chance for me to learn how to be a solo traveller and be more confident. I have also made amazing new friends and memories. This program is a chance for you to learn how to travel on your own. I think this program has definitely been a struggle in the sense that it can be very tiring but I am so grateful for it as I have grown so much over my time in Europe. I truly have had the best time!

  • Travel from city to city is paid for
  • Free time
  • Travelling constantly so can be exhausting if you aren’t up for it
  • Cost (Not all meals are paid for)
100 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

European Explorer 2022

Irish Gap Year’s European Explorer program surpassed my expectations and fulfilled my gap year goals of cultivating independence, making friends/meeting new people and cultural immersion throughout Europe.
Prior to the program I had never travelled abroad and was seriously lacking independence. I had some anxiety about the safety aspect of travel. However throughout the program I felt very safe with the support of our program leaders and my peers.
This program got me out of my comfort zone socially, physically, emotionally, energetically and financially. At the end of this experience I have discovered so much about myself and my personal limits. Additionally, I have grown immensely and made some incredible memories.
The complicated aspects of travel such as making reservations, buying tickets etc we’re all taken care of by IGY. Not having to worry about this component removed a ton of stress for us.
I would strongly recommend the European Explorer program to anyone who wants to build up their independence, travel Europe on their gap year and have a group of peers to travel with!

  • A group of peers to travel with
  • Not having to worry about booking hostels and train schedules etc.
  • Incredibly thoughtful program leaders who were super supportive.
  • Long days of train travel were exhausting.
  • I learned travel can be unpredictable, plans that change can be frustrating.
  • The health risk was a con I experienced. I got covid.
92 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Time on European Explorer

I had a great time doing the European Explorer program. My leaders were always super supportive and always gave us recommendations for each city we traveled to. They navigated lots of complicated travel with a bunch of 18 year-olds, which is not always easy. We had lots of free time in each city but almost always did a walking tour to get our bearings. My favorite cities were definitely Prague and Munich. We always tried the cuisine of each country we visited, and you could always find food you were happy with, even for our pickiest eaters. I really bonded with the people on my program, and I know that they are people I will keep in touch with after my gap year. Backpacking around Europe for a month is not for the faint of heart though, it is exhausting and draining!

  • Lots of Travel
  • Great Social Support
  • Independence/Freedom
  • Really Tiring
  • Cost (lots of other stuff you have to pay for while abroad)
93 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Euro explorer

This trip is a nice bite of Europe. You get to visit many places, and get surface level understanding of each location. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a program that will give you a little bit of everything. There’s good variety and the course leaders are very helpful and kind. The social aspect is lively and I enjoyed having dinner with everyone at night, having all our dinners organized made the trip much easier. However if you’re looking for a very in depth program, I don’t think that’s achievable through the 4-week course and If you’re considering this program I would also suggest to be prepared to walk quite a lot as some of the hostels ended up being 45 minutes away from the more interesting parts of each location, and walking to and from hostels that are more out of the way becomes more difficult with the backpack. You get a significant amount of free time, but the leaders aren’t always very knowledgeable on each place so you might have to do a lot of your own research. However I made some fantastic memories on this trip, with my personal highlight being hiking through the Austrian alps. That aside it’s a good experience to have and a good course to consider. They put in a lot of effort to take good care of you.

  • Free time
  • Cool activities
  • Visiting both urban and rural locations
  • Not very flexible
  • Not much downtime
  • Not great hostel location
91 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

European Explorer Program

This program was honestly amazing, it’s such a great opportunity to meet and connect with people your age and to experience a range of different cultures. It’s a great mix of structured time and free time to explore on your own in each city. The leaders are incredibly kind and helpful, and I met some wonderful people on this program. The leaders are also great at providing support without being overbearing. The amount of travel involved can be kind of exhausting, but it’s honestly worth it for the amazing experiences. This program has really built my confidence as a solo traveler.

  • Experiencing lots of cultures
  • Free time
  • Support and safety
  • Not much time in each city
  • Barely any time alone
  • Lots of travel
88 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Euro Explorer

The European explore program is a great program that teach students in between Highschool and college how to travel on their own. You get to meet new people from different parts of the country or different countries. Everyone is around the same age. The European explore program helps you learn about different types of cultures around Europe. It helps you find new foods to try and see what types of clothes they where. There’s a good amount of independence and scheduled time. The leaders are all very nice and they all treat everyone equally.

  • Free time in cities
  • Learn different cultures
  • Making new friends
  • The chances of the trains
  • Not a lot of time to be a long
90 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Euro Explorer

For my first time in contentinental Europe I couldn’t of had a better program to teach me the ways about backpacking. I made life long friends and learned so much about the world and how easy it is to travel. The program leaders were amazing people and good friends now. They figured out the train system and hostel living while we could fully experience the new environments. I saw so many things I’d never thought I see and I can return home with a different perspective on the world. I hope to work with them in the future.

  • People
  • Experiences
  • Fun
  • Some bad food experiences
87 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers