If you’re a traveller looking for trendy rather than touristy, Europe boasts some great up-and-coming hip areas to visit.
Now holiday price comparison site TravelSupermarket has compiled a list of the top 10 hippest European neighbourhoods – and only one, the gritty Ancoats in Manchester, is in the UK.
Areas were scored on their ratio of trendsetting and creative industry indicators, such as independent coffee shops, vintage fashion stores, vinyl record shops, vegan cafes, independent bike shops, co-working spaces and art galleries/studios to the number of residents. Penalty points were subtracted for areas that had high numbers of big chain brands such as Starbucks, Costa and Pret a Manger etc.
Here’s the top 10:
1. Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
Plastered in graffiti and street art, Kreuzberg has long been an eclectic neighbourhood with a history of providing space to fringe groups and artists, and today that continues with its influx of international restaurants, cool coffee houses and trendy bars. In summer, crowds flock to the canals and open spaces of the neighbourhood.
2. Miera iela, Riga, Latvia
Miera iela, or Peace Street, is a short walk from Riga’s city centre and overflows with cafes, candlelit bars, small galleries, shops and even a chocolate museum. You’ll also find everything from men’s fashion shops to baby apparel stores. In summer, restaurants set up special midsummer menus and street vendors hawk flower garlands.
3. Ancoats, Manchester
Having undergone a major overhaul in the last 20 years, Ancoats is quickly eclipsing the neighbouring Northern Quarter as the hippest area in Manchester. Every corner is dripping with street art, independent shops and quirky cafes. The city’s old textile mills are still present, although they’ve been converted into stylish apartments. Look out for The Peeps, a public artwork spread across the area.
4. Praga, Warsaw, Poland
For many years Praga was Warsaw’s most dangerous and rundown district, but in recent years the area has been reclaimed by artists and bohemians. Today, you’ll find street art throughout Praga alongside hip and arty cafes, galleries, bars, clubs and markets. The main street is home to a quaint farmer’s market, and there’s an art centre, bar and club where contemporary cocktails are served to customers sitting on bunk beds.
5 (joint). Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden
Södermalm is one of Stockholm’s largest islands, located just south of the city centre and offering a number of different cool areas. In SoFo, vintage clothing shops outnumber bars, restaurants and cafes, and head towards Mariatorget Square and you’ll find countless coffee shops. Many of the area’s coolest spots double-up as both cafes/restaurants and shops, where the furniture you sit on is probably for sale.
5 (joint). Metelkova Ljubljana Slovenia
Metelkova’s graffiti-covered buildings serve as one of the city’s most colourful backdrops for a holiday selfie, and each Friday the Open Kitchen market (Odprta Kuhna) sees local vendors, chefs and restaurants selling international and local cuisine.
6. Pigneto, Rome, Italy
The Pigneto neighbourhood is one of Rome’s most contemporary and cool areas, despite its past rundown reputation. Wine bars, music clubs and bars keep the area alive each night, and the pedestrianised street Via del Pigneto is at the centre of the neighbourhood’s life and soul. It boasts all-night eateries, and a farmers’ market sells fresh produce. Artists have also turned the area into a bohemian paradise, with galleries and shops showcasing international and local art.
7. Grünerløkka, Oslo, Norway
Along Oslo's Akerselva River, Grünerløkka is a bit shabby, very pretty and with an authentic mix of warehouse-style architecture. The area has many parks, and on its main streets old spaces have been converted into new and trendy cafes, bars and shops, boasting a great mix of stylish independent brands and boutiques. There’s a regular farmers’ market where you’ll find champagne bars next to fishmongers, cheese shops and street food vendors. The neighbourhood is also a hub for musicians, with a thriving live music performance scene.
8 (joint). Sredets, Sofia, Bulgaria
Sredets has been hailed as the Bulgarian capital’s most hip area, containing countless bars, cafes, shops and restaurants along with a handful of green spaces (including the northern edge of Sofia’s oldest and largest park, Borisova Gradina), and historical buildings. Nightlife in Sofia is legendary, with some of the world’s best clubs located in the city centre.
8 (joint). Exarchia, Athens, Greece
Interesting characters hang around the triangular Exarchia central square, but it’s better to take your camera down one of the side streets where you’ll find a wide range of street art murals and political graffiti. One of Exarchia’s best restaurants is Yiantes Restaurant, which serves organic, fresh Greek cuisine in a lovely little courtyard. Elsewhere on the same street, Valtetsiou, you’ll find countless other international restaurants.
9. Kalamaja, Tallinn, Estonia
Kalamaja is a relatively tourist-free area of Tallinn, with a jumble of colourful, old-fashioned houses. The main cultural hub is the Telliskivi creative centre, which grew from a set of old factory buildings into a collection of off-the-grid restaurants, shared studios, hip bars and shops. There’s also the Cultural Cauldron Garden i.e. PADA, an urban space complete with its own jazz club, boutique shops and art gallery.
10. Norrebro, Copenhagen, Denmark
The Norrebro district is one of the most culturally rich parts of Copenhagen, with countless art galleries, restaurants and small vintage shops. The old working class district is also one of Copenhagen’s greenest, with public parks and open spaces such as the Assistens Cemetery (where Hans Christian Andersen is buried).
Where do you think Europe’s hippest places are? Tell us in the Comments section below