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Top Seven European Cities For A Weekend Getaway
Balling on a budget? Here are a few places that make a perfect weekend trip for study abroaders
There’s nothing quite like studying abroad in Europe. Calling a new city home for four months, meeting new people, and experiencing a new culture, in a way you only can by living it. But as much as you’re going to love your new home, one of the best parts of studying abroad is getting out of there! It’s so easy to travel: flights between cities are so cheap, and everything is only a short train ride away.
Europe has so many iconic cities to see, and your time studying abroad is precious, so we’ve done our best to narrow it down to 7 cities that you absolutely have to visit.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is a living, breathing fairytale. It also happens to be one of the cheapest European cities to visit. I mean you can get a beer there for 50 cents. The city spreads itself with enough castles, towers, and steeples to give it the nickname “the city of a hundred spires”
The Czech capital is steeped in history and the art & culture scene here is as vibrant now as ever. Take a walk across the river on the Charles bridge, to see the John Lennon Wall, which has been covered in graffiti, Beatles lyrics and murals since the ’80s.
Per capita, the Czech’s come in first in the list of annual beer consumption, so it’d be a downright travesty if you didn’t treat yourself to a pint or two whilst in the Czech capital. If you want one of the best views of the city, head across the river to Letna Park and grab a drink at one of their many beer gardens.
It’s no secret that Prague has some of the best nightlife in Europe. With over 600 bars and clubs, you could find yourself anywhere from a Hemingway bar to a multi story underground mega club pulsing with EDM.
With ruins and houseboats converted into clubs, where you can dance until the sun is up, and cobblestone streets to stumble your way home on, a weekend in Prague will be one you’ll be talking about long after you leave.
There’s never a bad time to visit Lisbon. While it’s always lively and busy, the rhythm of life is somehow – slower. The best way to explore Lisbon is to walk—sure it might be a little hilly here and there, but the intricate tile work and amazing street art that will surprise you at every turn (and if you get exhausted simply stop for a cerveja). Whenever you see a sign saying miradouro follow it and you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous Insta’ worthy views. If you’re looking for a sunset spot Miradouro da Nossa is a great place to sit with a bottle of wine (we go for vinho verde in the whites and anything from Alentejo, or Douro).
Make sure to visit the Alfama district—a maze of steep cobblestones streets—and you’ll find tiny restaurants and terraces that serve some the best seafood you’ll ever have. Yellow cable cars run through the heart of the district and are the only form of public transport able to navigate the tight turns and steep inclines of Alfama.
Just 45 minutes outside of the city you’ll find Sintra, a UNESCO world heritage site made up of Moorish castles, monasteries and old fortresses. The sights in Sintra will keep you busy for a whole day with ancient palaces and castles hidden amongst exotic gardens and greenery.
If you’re looking for a night out head to Rua Cor de Rosa, the pink street. It’s not just an Instagramable street, it’s home to some of the best bars in Lisbon too.
The best way to describe Copenhagen is with the danish word hygge—which roughly translates to a cozy feeling. Think dim lighting, lots of candles and sharing a drink with friends.
The most photographed spot in Copenhagen is Nyhavn, the iconic harbor lined with colorful buildings. The best way to enjoy this sight is to grab a few beers and people watch. Copenhagen is also home to the little mermaid statue which may be the most overrated attraction that you’ll probably end up going to see anyway.
You can’t visit Copenhagen without a trip to the small hippy commune of Christiana which is most famous for it’s ‘Green Light’ district named for the open cannabis trade that has taken place for 50 something years. Besides a steady supply of the devil’s lettuce, Christiana is home to cafes, street food, bars, restaurants and a ton of fantastic street art.
Budapest is one of the most underrated cities in Europe and should be on every list of spots to check out. While the Szechenyi Thermal Baths may be somewhat iconic, Budapest is a place that has so much more to offer than a spa day.
One thing that makes Budapest so dynamic is its mix of Western and Eastern Europe, thanks to its years under communist rule. After World War II many of Budapest’s buildings were destroyed. Years later these buildings were converted into the famous ruin bars we know today. Inside these techno hotspots you’ll find the walls covered with communist memorabilia and a vibrant array of artwork.
You can’t leave Budapest without tasting the country’s most popular street food: langos! We’re talking deep-fried dough that’s topped with sour cream, cheese, butter and whatever else the vendor decides to treat you with.
Before your weekend comes to an end make sure to grab some snacks and wine to watch the sunset on the banks of the Danube River which gives you the perfect view of the iconic parliament building.
Thanks to its large student population, lovable accents, and steady supply of Guinness, Dublin is usually a top destination for study abroaders in Europe. Dublin’s pub scene has a reputation to uphold, with the oldest pub dating back to 1198. The plethora of Dublin bars range from lively and rowdy to traditional and intimate.
Whilst out you’ll inevitably end up in Temple Bar. Not just the name of a bar but a whole neighborhood made up of cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs. Ireland has a long history of folk music, so keep your ears out for a pub playing traditional Irish folk music because there’s nothing more fun than dancing terribly with drunk Irishmen.
The best way to combat your hangover is with a classic Irish coffee. If spending the entire day getting drunk and learning about 250 years of brewing Ireland’s favorite pint at the Guinness storehouse isn’t your thing there’s still a ton to do in Dublin. Visit St. Patrick;’s Cathedral or Trinity college, located right in the heart of the city home to the Book of Kells, an Irish national treasure.
Pro tip: there’s a reason the Emerald Isle is so green, it constantly rains so bring a rain jacket and make sure to brush up on your craic or you’ll be a gobshite.
Unless somehow you’ve been living under a rock, you know weed is legal in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is home to countless coffee shops, each of which have their own vibe—there’s always something for everyone.
Psychedelics can also be purchased in most of these ‘coffee shops’, located in the red light district, an area notorious for its abundance of escorts. Amsterdam also has museums you’ll want to visit like, the famed Van Gogh Museum and the newly opened MOCO featuring infinity mirrors and Banksy artwork. There’s also a sex museum because, you know, Amsterdam (and its live sex show is more hilarious than erotic… we recommend).
Amsterdam isn’t quite a foodies dream but you’re missing out if you don’t at least try Stroopwafel. This tasty treat is a layer of caramel syrup sandwiched between two waffles. And if there’s anything you can find easier than a coffee shop in Amsterdam, it’s Dutch cheese. Gouda is the most famous but there are a bunch of other types of lesser-known Dutch cheeses to choose from as well.
Amsterdam is a relaxed city and not just because everyone’s high. One of the best places to witness this laid-back lifestyle first hand is at Vondelpark, the prime place to chill out, have a picnic or people watch.
Munich is full of warm people, hearty Bavarian cuisine and beer so delicious there are two month-long celebrations dedicated to it.
Yes, Munich is home to Oktoberfest, the larger than life beer festival that takes place in the fall, where delicious lager is served in giant mugs called steins. Travelers and locals alike dance on tables fully decked out in lederhosen and dirndls until they can yell Prost! no more.
Although Oktoberfest only happens once a year, Germans will drink steins all year long, so if you can’t make the festival in the fall, give Springfest a visit instead—it lines up perfectly with the end of spring semester. At both Springfest and Oktoberfest you’ll find the world famous Stoketoberfest campsite and pre-party/after-party. It’s a beer festival, where you stay has to be lit, and we host 1000s of travelers from all over the world during both beer fests.
The main square, Marienplatz is buzzing with shops, tourists, and the New Town Hall, which hosts the famous Glockenspiel. Every morning at 11 a.m. sharp through figurines and bells the Glockenspiel tells the history of Munich. Munich is also home to the English Garden (one of the largest city parks in the world) with green space, beer gardens, and a permanent man-made wave on the Eisbach that’s perfect for surfing or spectating.
Keen on some of these weekend trips when you’re studying abroad? Sign up as a Stoke Travel VIP ambassador and get free upgrades, trips and hookups for your buddies.
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