Sometimes booking a trip is the exact motivation you need to get through exam season. The one thing that will push you forward while you have an existential crisis over endless revision sessions is the knowledge that you will soon be jetting off on a much-needed holiday. But where should you go? Here I’ll be giving you my top ten European destinations for you to visit while sticking to that student budget.
The Amsterdam mini break is a cliché one but it’s always a goodie. Amsterdam is one of my all-time favourite cities, so forgive me if I seem biased here. Sure, it’s got a reputation as a party-city, but it’s also a city full of history and culture. The Dutch are notoriously some of the friendliest people in the world, and you’ll be constantly in awe of the beauty of the city. It’s not exactly the cheapest city you’ll find in Europe, but it’s certainly not the most expensive. There is always plenty to do in this city and events happening all the time, so whether you’re here on a wild party week or a chilled weekend, you’ll always find plenty to do in Amsterdam.
Prague, Czech Republic is another must-see city in Europe. When I visited, I remember our hotel was a short walk outside the city centre, so the first time we made the journey into the centre, it was like walking into a Disney movie. The buildings are breath-taking and everywhere you look there is something that will leave you speechless, ranging from the Astronomical Clock to the endless beautiful churches. Seriously, it’s like walking straight into a Disney movie. Another reason that Prague attracts a lot of students is the party scene. Try the ever-potent absinthe over at The Absintherie and hit up the many clubs without breaking the bank. Although avoiding the hangover the next day may be near impossible!
It would be difficult for me not to include Budapest in this list of best cities to visit. I studied abroad here and even as a broke student I managed to live quite comfortably. Hungary uses the Forint not the Euro, which has a great exchange rate against the Pound (although Brexit may have put a spanner in the works there!) so you’ll be able to make your budget stretch. Budapest is a city rich with culture, nature and diversity. On the Pest side, you have the sprawling metropolis with busy bars, restaurants, shops, museums and so much more. The Buda side offers a more tranquil side of the city with parks and spas. Spend the days exploring the incredible museums, party the nights away in the characteristic ruin bars, and nurse that hangover the next day in the thermal spas or on top of Gellert Hill with a picnic.
You may not have considered Bratislava as your next holiday destination, but let me assure you, you will not be disappointed. The city is easy to get to from most UK airports, or even via bus or train from nearby European countries. I myself first visited on a train from Budapest which took two hours and cost approximately £12 for a return journey. Bratislava itself looks like a mish-mash of Budapest and Prague all condensed into one compact city. Its small size means that it is easy to navigate without endless public transport hopping, and makes sightseeing (and bar crawls) so much easier! The castle is beautiful and offers fantastic views over the whole city, as well as a great deal of museums and galleries to explore to get your culture injection. There are also endless traditional bars, trendy microbreweries, and clubs to suit your night out, and with prices staying as low as one Euro per beer, you’d better be careful about that hangover in the morning!
I've saved the best for last here, as Berlin is the perfect city for any student’s needs. Fancy visiting museums? There’s an island full of them! Looking for good food? Berlin has you covered! Prefer bars or clubs? Doesn't matter, Berlin has them all! It is a city with a fascinating history and is now renowned across the world as a hub for arts and creativity, and you’ll find that this bleeds into almost every aspect of the city. It’s hard not to fall in love with this city and everything it has to offer, with some of the best nightclubs in the world, a friendly and laid-back attitude, and overall the inclusiveness of a global community that Berlin has.
So what are you waiting for? Get some pals together and just book that trip already!