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Exploring further than the city’s heart is so worth it…

Thinking of backpacking Europe? On a trip around this continent’s greatest and most beautiful cities, there are some places in Europe that truly stand out. The continent is brimming with charming neighbourhoods, hipster districts, architectural centres and quaint villages. Take the time to explore further than the city centre. Head to some of the more underrated, much-loved districts in a new city for a different perspective. We’ve rounded up the trendiest neighbourhoods in Europe that backpackers simply must visit on their European adventure…

Notting Hill, London
Best Places in Europe: Notting Hill, London © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Kreuzberg, Berlin

This quirky district in Berlin is a hub of students, creatives and hipsters. Kreuzberg is a cultural neighbourhood full of laid back cafes, cool coffee shops, alternative night clubs and trendy thrift shops. Definitely worth heading here if you’re in the city for a more authentic Berlin experience. The whole district is plastered in street art, painted by well-known street artists from around the world.
Kreuzberg is also home to a large Turkish population. There are affordable food and doner kebabs being sold on almost every street corner. For the city’s best doner kebab, get in line at Mustafa Demir’s for a cheap yet delicious Turkish lunch. Visit the city’s biggest Turkish Market selling colourful fabrics, colourful fruit and veggies, and exotic food where you can try and haggle as best you can.
In fact, the food scene is pretty unbeatable here compared to the rest of the city. You can find the amazing Markthalle Neun, a culinary melting pot of a market representing cuisines from all over the world. Head to this popular market for its ‘Street Food Thursdays’. We also recommend heading to Bite Club. This new favourite amongst young people offers an amazing foodie experience combined with a party vibe.

Kreuzburg, Berlin
Best Places in Europe: Kreuzburg, Berlin © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Praga, Warsaw

On a trip to Poland, make sure you visit the beautiful Praga. This neighbourhood is just north of the city centre and was built in the 19th century. Located on the east bank of the Vistula River, this is one of the more endearing parts of Warsaw and definitely the most authentic. This is because Praga was one of the only areas in Warsaw that was left undestroyed during WWII. The architecture here remains pretty much intact.
The vibrant Praga quarter is a great place to eat, drink and explore to get a feel of the real, stripped-back Warsaw. While Praga is considered a little more rough compared to other areas of the city, it’s worth visiting if you’re keen to get a more local experience. While considered a little more dangerous a few years ago, it’s now a popular hang out spot. Hipsters and creatives have transformed the area into a fun, alternative quarter unlike the rest of Warsaw, which is more polished and pristine after being rebuilt after the war. The beautiful old buildings of Praga may be crumbling and run down, but the streets are bursting with life.
Praga is now blossoming with pre-war factories and warehouses which act as popular bars, clubs, galleries and restaurants for the cool crowds — a massive transformation of the historic back alleys which are now buzzing.

Praga, Warsaw
Best Places in Europe: Praga, Warsaw © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Belleville, Paris

Paris’ beloved Belleville district translates to “Beautiful Town”, and for good reason. Tucked away just out of the main city centre, Belleville is away from the tourist crowds. It gives the sense of being somewhere completely different, yet still somehow maintains a truly Parisian air. The area is full of character and the place to be for budding artists looking for a little more diversity.
Stroll through Rue Denoyez, a little side alley covered top to bottom in incredible graffiti. You’ll see street art plastered all over the area, however Rue Denoyez is one of the few streets in the city where it’s actually legal to get creative with some spray paints on public walls. Belleville’s parks are some of the most beautiful in the whole of Paris, boasting the most stunning views over the city on a clear day, Eiffel Tower and all. Parc des Buttes Chaumont and Parc de Belleville are the two prettiest spots to venture to. Spend time relaxing, reading or picnicking here on a mild day in Paris.
Mooch around Belleville Market on a Tuesday or Friday. Sample some local cheese or sit in one of Belleville’s charming cafes to watch the world go by. Spend a day or two getting to know Paris’ hidden gem and feel like a true Parisian while you do.

Belleville, Paris
Best Places in Europe: Parc des Buttes Chaumont in Belleville, Paris © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Notting Hill, London

As a visitor to London, it can be pretty overwhelming when you realise how big the Big Smoke really is. There is too much to see and do and not enough time. One mistake backpackers tend to make in London is sticking to the famous sights and attractions such as Covent Garden, Westminster, Piccadilly Circus, Camden and Soho. While these areas are awesome, they are very touristy so you simply must make time to discover some of the more trendy, quiet neighbourhoods such as Notting Hill.
Located in West London, this fairly affluent cosmopolitan area is one of the city’s best places for Instagramming. Just walking around Notting Hill, you’ll quickly realise its charm and fall in love with the streets and colourful opulent houses on one side, and then the more multicultural, community spirit on the other.

Notting Hill, London
Best Places in Europe: Notting Hill, London © Courtesy of Shutterstock

With Regents Park and Primrose Hill on the doorstep of this neighbourhood, make it a full day out. Pay a trip to Notting Hill’s Portobello Market, one of the best markets in the city. Then catch a movie at the Electric Cinema and grab a smoothie and bite to eat at Bumpkin.
There’s more to Notting Hill than just beautiful facades and tree lined streets. Packed with independent restaurants, coffee shops, British pubs and funky bars, it will fast become one of your favourite London hangouts.
Every year in August, Notting Hill Carnival comes to the area injecting life into the streets. Carnival is a massive Caribbean celebration where people from all walks of life come together for London’s biggest street party.
Notting Hill Carnival
Best Places in Europe: Notting Hill Carnival © Courtesy of Shutterstock

Read more: Ten Unique Things to do in London for Backpackers in 2019

Holešovice, Prague

In the North of Prague, you’ll find Holešovice, the city’s coolest district brimming with traditional Czech pubs, sleek restaurants and vibrant markets and parks. While it’s located away from all of the tourist crowds, it’s pretty accessible using Prague’s efficient tram services. Holešovice boasts an arty flair with Veletrzni Palac, a world renowned art gallery that is home to to a wide collection of modern art. You can also check out Vnitroblock, a minimalist exhibition space, perfect for grabbing a coffee in style.
This part of Prague benefits from really beautiful architecture built at different times: the contrast of quaint 19th century buildings with more modernist structures makes Holešovice pretty special with a mix of old and new. Some abandoned factories and old industrial buildings have now been turned into cool cafes and coffee shops.
Letna Park is the perfect summer spot in Holešovice. It has an amazing outdoor beer garden where you can sample local Czech beers. Letna Park also boasts one of the best panoramic views of the city, making it a favourite local spot.
Don’t forget to visit Prague Market where there are stalls upon stalls of tasty street food from around the world.

Holešovice, Prague
Best Places in Europe: Holešovice, Prague © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam

Hop on the free ferry and cross the IJ river to the hippest area of Amsterdam. Amsterdam Noord is where you’ll find the towering A’Dam Lookout, the quirky bar Pllek and the unusual structures in NDSM Wharf. Without doubt, north Amsterdam is one of the city’s coolest areas. However, tourists seem to regularly miss out on all the fun. You could easily spend a whole day exploring the district on foot or bike. Go up to the top of the A’Dam Lookout for epic views over the city, and look around the EYE Filmmuseum or to explore abandoned-looking buildings.
Over by NDSM Wharf, you’ll find some of the most eye-catching graffiti you’ll ever seen. On the brick walls, on the cafes, on old ships, and even inside enormous warehouses, you’ll feel rebellious peeking in. Pllek is one of Amsterdam’s coolest hangouts. The bar/restaurant is set inside old shipping containers with a man made beach set right by the river. Chill with a beer by the water with one of the weirdest hotels in Europe, the Crane Hotel, looking over you. If you’re looking for a quirky spot in Amsterdam that’s not packed with tourists and their cameras, the north is your best bet.

Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam
Best Places in Europe: Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam © Courtesy of Darcy King


Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Norrebro is Copenhagen’s most up and coming cultural district. The vibrant buildings, independent shops and artistic flair are what make Norrebro a dream to young creatives across the world. Get on your bike and explore the place on two wheels. Admire the colourful facades and stop for a cup of Copenhagen coffee and Danish pastry in a local cafe.
Those that enjoy browsing through boutique shops and drinking in laidback coffee shops will be in luck. You can find them down every colourful, cobbled street in this quaint city. Cycle through Assistens Kirkyard between the tall, narrow trees, and head over to Superkilen for one of the coolest photo opportunities in Copenhagen. The floor of this huge open urban space is covered in white wiggly lines, just one of the things that give Norrebro its cutting-edge urban feel. There’s even an annual kebab championship held in the area! Doesn’t get much cooler than that.

© Courtesy of Shutterstock


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