Fancy a city break over the summer? Planning on doing a tour of Europe or going Interrailing? Here is a selection of the best places for students to visit. Paris and Berlin, two of the greatest cities in the world, can be surprisingly inexpensive if you are careful and know where to go. Lisbon and Budapest are less obvious options, but both have so much to offer for visitors on a student budget. Here are some tips for these fabulous cities.
What to do
Paris’s major museums are free if you are under 26. The pick of the lot is arguably the Musée d’Orsay. For something different, head out to St. Ouen and wander the Marché aux Puces, a sort of super-refined flea market.
“Paris Plages” runs from July 20 to August 18 and sees the bank of the Seine transformed into a beach, along with the Bassin de la Villette, at the top of the hip Canal St. Martin. At the adjacent Parc de la Villette, films are shown by moonlight throughout the summer.
Paris’ eating possibilities are endless. For a cheap classic Parisian experience try Chartier. Montmartre holds cool bars, as does the Marais. For clubs try Batofar, which is on a boat, or Wanderlust, both near the Gare d’Austerlitz. More expensive and glamorous clubs can be found around the famed Champs Elysées
BEST FOR… Couples
What to do
Get your bearings by checking out the view from the top of the Reichstag, or hire a bike to explore on your own. Explore Charlottenburg for great galleries and museums; or if you want to see the more alternative side of the city head to Mitte, where amongst many things you can find thrift shops and quirky art galleries. Must sees are the Holocaust Memorial and the Berlin Wall.
Stagger along 2.2km of folk festival during the Berlin beer weekend from 2nd – 4th August. From 19th – 22nd September you can find Art Berlin showcasing the best of European contemporary art.
Going out to eat in Berlin is cheap, try some German classics like currywurst. Berlin has world renowned clubs such as Berghain and Renate, as well as countless smaller more intimate venues like KaterHolzig and Kaffee Burger.
BEST FOR… Nightlife
What to do
Free walking tours are a great way to start and offer the opportunity to orientate yourself while taking in the beauty of the city. St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of Budapest’s most imposing landmarks, pay the small fee to climb to the top and catch panoramic views of the city. Reasonably priced museums are dotted on both sides of the Danube. To splash out, hit the Szechenyi Baths – slightly more expensive than many of the city’s spots but relaxing in the beautiful thermal spas is a perfect end to the day. To escape the summer heat the small town of Szentendre is just 20 minutes on the train; the cobbled streets offer a closer insight into Hungarian life.
The 5th-12th August sees the Szigent festival. Now in its 21st year it has previously been awarded the ‘Best Major European Festival’ award. This summer it boasts a huge variety, from Blur to Dizzee Rascal to Regina Spektor.
According to Lonely Planet Budapest has the best and third best bars in the world. The first A38 is a decommissioned Ukrainian stone hauler ship. Szimpla Kert, the third, is the original ruin bar which essentially means it is in a previously abandoned building. Both are definitely worth a visit.
BEST FOR… Hipsters
LISBON, set against the Atlantic, is a stunning and vibrant city. Its relaxed atmosphere and great situation makes it perfect for a chilled break in the sun. Its rickety trams add to its romantic appeal.
What to do
Lisbon is perhaps best captured by sitting with a caipirinha or an ice cold Sagres at one of the City’s countless street kiosks. Also of note are St. George’s Castle and the Museu Colecção Berardo with its world-class contemporary collections. Shop in the elegant Chiado district. Catch the train to Sintra or Cascais for beautiful beaches within an hour of Lisbon. Here the more adventurous can surf the sometimes fearsome Atlantic swells – nearby Nazare is famed for being home to one of the world’s biggest waves.
The Festas de Lisboa run into July and see parties take over the streets. Sample Portugal’s thriving Jazz scene at the Gulbenkian Foundation festival (2-11 August).
Lisbon comes alive at night, with bars open until 2 or 3AM and clubs long after that. The Bairro Alto, up above the city centre is home to some of Lisbon’s best nightlife for young people looking to party. LuxFragil is a flash option, with a rooftop bar looking out over the ocean.
BEST FOR… Lounging in the sun