An unfortunate part of being a tourist in Europe is the fact that you are one tourist amongst a crowd of hundreds of thousands of others, who usually seem to have identical itineraries to yours. When tourism takes over so much of a city, you lose the honesty and reality of the city’s culture. The following list of cities offers some suggestions of places to give you an authentic and diverse taste of European culture.
Easily walkable, impressively picturesque, and student-friendly, Edinburgh is a quick flight from London, but offers a healthy dose of Scotland’s distinctive culture. The city is divided primarily between the New Town and Old Town, and while these two parts of the city are just a quick jump away from each other, they offer two very different experiences. To dazzle at street performers, or get lost wandering through medieval alleyways with the iconic Edinburgh Castle shadowing overhead, head to the Royal Mile in Old Town. Whether you’re pining for an afternoon pint or midday cappuccino, head to Rose Street in New Town, which is a pedestrian friendly esplanade with more pubs and cafes than you can count. Another bonus of Edinburgh is the abundance of student deals- most places will accept student cards from across Europe to get you some great discounts.
Possibly promoted by a certain movie starring Colin Farrell (In Bruges), this city is a perfect alternative to the more popular Belgian destination of Brussels. Often referred to as the “Venice of the North”, due to its extensive and picturesque canal system, much of the medieval architecture of Bruges is still intact. Key Instagram-worthy locations include the Church of Our Lady, the Belfry of Bruges, and Minnewater Lake. The city is also perfect for chocolate lovers, with the Choco-Story Museum devoted to those with a cocoa-rich palette. Beer connoisseurs will find comparable delight at the annual Bruges Beer Festival, featuring more than 300 beers.
A recent addition to the European Union, Croatia is getting noticed internationally for its bountiful outdoor activities, thriving nightlife, and multi-faceted culture. As the ‘Jewel of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik boasts some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches, and offers a prime alternative to its more expensive neighbor (Italy). If it is music you’re looking for, make sure to visit Croatia during Soundwave, a three-day music festival that brings musicians and spectators from around the world, and is just a quick jump up the scenic coastline from Dubrovnik.
While the city is best known for its signature export (Port wine), locals are trying to reinforce that the magic of Porto is not restricted just to what you can find in a bottle. Visitors to this Portuguese city will notice the aforementioned magic upon arriving in São Bento railway station, located in the heart of Porto and famous for the scenes depicted on its tile-paneled walls. Art is alive in Porto; visit the Casa de Musica (designed by Rem Koolhaus), saunter through the galleries down Rua Miguel Bombarda, and end your day at Soares Dos Reis Museum for a healthy dose of both new and old. Porto’s location on Rio Douro makes for an ideal afternoon or evening on the water; river cruises offer a wonderful and all-encompassing view of the city.
To avoid spending your entire visit standing in a queue, venture away from the most popular cities to discover your own slice of Euro-heaven. Regardless of whether you are traveling for business, pleasure or Study Abroad, StudentUniverse offers exceptional rates on flights to Europe. With prices as low as $144* for a one-way ticket to London – you know that seats are going fast. For more great deals to these hidden gems, book your flight through StudentUniverse today!
*Total Price includes taxes and fees. Prices are based on searches done in the last 14 days. Flight prices vary by date, departure city, arrival city and availability. All taxes/fees are included, except certain government taxes, change fees, and fees imposed in destination and airline baggage fees, if applicable.