You know how it is when you’re travelling – you spend a few days in a city, manage to figure out where the cool spots are after a few days and then it’s time to move on. Well this needn’t be the case, because the clever folks at Contiki have created a short guide to some of Europe’s coolest neighbourhoods in celebration of its very cool new Boutique Local trip itinerary. You are welcome!
- Gràcia, Barcelona – like many of Barcelona’s neighbourhoods, Gràcia was once a small village that was incorporated into Barcelona. Unlike other neighbourhoods, Gràcia has retained that village feel – you will find narrow pedestrian walkways, rustic storefronts, and smiling locals as you walk through the neighbourhood. Gràcia is home to young families and working artists, as well as several delicious restaurants and boutique shops and Gràcia’s most famous attraction, Gaudi’s Park Güell.
- Sternschanze, Hamburg – by far Hamburg’s most bohemian district, Sternschanze, or just “Schanze,” is where all the hipsters live, work and play, and the area’s cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs are open all hours. If you’ve ever visited Berlin, Schanze might feel similar, there has been some gentrification here, but there’s still a gritty appeal to the streets and a feeling of creativity in the air, as seen in the colourful street art.
- Bairro Alto, Lisbon – meandering around Bairro Alto’s narrow and cobblestoned streets, you can’t help but notice its chilled out and friendly atmosphere. Filled with charming, old fashioned grocery stores and characterful bars, the neighbourhood also boasts an impressive graffiti selection and great community feel. Quiet during the day, Bairro Alto transforms into a buzzing, vibrant quarter at night, with bars appearing from behind the shutter doors and beautiful people filling the streets.
- Siete Calles ‘Seven Streets’, Bilbao Old Town – ambling along the ancient narrow streets of Bilbao old town, with occasional stops for a cold calimocho is a great way to spend an afternoon. The corners of the Old Town are home to Bilbao’s oldest churches and monuments; Santiago’s Cathedral, the Church of San Antón, the Archaeological Museum, the Basque Museum, the Bidebarrieta City Library and the Plaza Nueva Square.
- Chueca, Madrid – Madrid’s LGBT neighbourhood and home to the city’s trendiest bars, restaurants and clubs, Chueca is known as a loud, colourful and super fun area to hang out in. LGBT or not, Madrid’s young people flock here in the evenings and at the weekend for the fun, chilled out atmosphere and fashionable watering holes. When in Madrid, there are few better ways to spend an evening than by sipping Sangria on the numerous outdoor terraces of the Chueca district.
Contiki has just launched its 2017 Europe brochure, showcasing more than 142 life-changing trips across the continent. For more information, visit contiki.com.
Do you have any fave Europe Cities you recommend?