The first country we explored was Switzerland, stopping in Zurich and Lucerne. This country is as beautiful and mountainous as you expect. This picture is a monument that we saw in Lucerne. Not everyone knows this, but Switzerland is one of the only European Union countries that doesn't use the Euro. They still use their Swiss Francs which is quite an expensive currency. In Zurich we visited the Lindt Chocolate Factory, and in Lucerne we saw the Wooden Chapel Bridge.
I believe that every young person should do a major trip before they get bogged down by school, jobs and life in general. My husband and I did this 7 week backpacking trip around Europe one year out of high school. He has family in Southern Germany so that is where the trip began. We flew into Frankfurt, visited family and adjusted for about a week before setting off on our own! We had two month Eurail passes which allowed us lots of flexibility, although I did have the general itinerary planned out so that we wouldn't run out of time. We planned to stay in hostels, and because we were travelling in the spring managed to do fine without making many reservations.