If you’re anything like us, you can’t wait to catch the first flight outta here once it’s safe enough to travel again. I think we all deserve it after this strange and uncertain time spent in lockdown. Drinks in the sun with our friends, trying local foods, touring iconic landmarks, embracing new cultures and partying late into the night - we have all of this to look forward to in the near future. I think one lesson that we’ve all learnt from COVID-19 is to never take travelling for granted again. We’ve rounded up some of the best affordable feel-good cities that are bursting with positive vibes and we can’t wait to visit them once travel bans are lifted and the world is a safe place again. Check them out…
In the meantime, stay safe, stay home and remember to keep in touch with your loved ones…
Here’s a roundup of the cities:
Tel Aviv, Israel
Prague, Czech Republic
Need some positive vibes? Check out our
Barcelona is all about good vibes and positivity. If you’re looking for an affordable city that boasts sunshine, sea and sand then the Catalan capital is probably your best bet. With a real party atmosphere, a charming Gothic quarter and some of the world’s most incredible architecture (including the works of Antoni Gaudi), there’s something for everyone here, particularly foodies! Think Spanish tapas, paella, floods of sangria, seafood and buzzing food markets where you can sample authentic Catalan cuisine - there’s so much amazing food to try. Barcelona is one of those super relaxed cities that offers a lively cityscape, but also has the chilled out beach and beautiful mountains to retreat to. It’s the kind of city you’d never get bored of and can keep returning to over and over again.
Need a hostel in central Barcelona for your future travels? Check out .
This beautiful city in the Veteto region of northern Italy has a unique aura about it which makes you feel instantly happy. With gorgeous architecture, ancient canals, historic sights and a real romantic feel, Venice is the perfect Italian retreat. Grab a pizza at a local Venetian cafe, embrace the atmosphere on the elegant Piazza Saint Marco square, get a look inside St Mark’s Basilica and take a gondola ride through the peaceful waters. The floating city is famed for having no roads, just canals - and it’s been recently reported that Venice has actually seen something good come out of COVID-19 with clearer water in its canals (despite being the world’s hardest hit country). More of a reason to visit Italy once this is all over, to support their local businesses and tourism industry...
Need a hostel in Venice? Check out the Anda Hostel .
Edinburgh is one of our favourite cities in Europe for a long weekend. Compact enough to spend a couple of days here, the Scottish capital is a great destination to travel with friends post-quarantine. Enjoy the traditional Scottish pubs of the medieval Old Town, explore inside Edinburgh Castle, sample the local cuisine (including haggis, neeps and tatties), go whiskey tasting or check out Harry Potter filming locations on the Potter Trail. There is so much to do and everywhere is within walking distance.
We particularly love the atmosphere in the city, especially in the evenings when the secret underground bars come alive with jolly Scots. The city also lends itself well to outdoor activities like long hikes up Arthur’s Seat, pleasant walks along the Water of Leith and Holyrood Park. The best part is, the city is pretty affordable, especially if you stick to the charming, winding streets of the Old Town. What makes Edinburgh so feel-good for us is the friendly people and the sound of bagpipes down every street.
Need a hostel in Edinburgh? Check out our new hostel
You can’t go wrong with a trip to Lisbon. This charming Portugese capital city is a real foodie destination so if you’ve been missing eating out during your time at home, make Lisbon your first port of call. The city is home to the famous TimeOut street food market, authentic peri peri chicken restaurants, quaint Portugese tapas spots and the best clams and Portugese natas you’ll taste. With the sun shining most of the year (even through the autumn months), it’s such a feel-good city, located just moments from the coastline with cheap transport options to get around (a tram journey is just €3). The hilly city also boasts beautiful architecture from medieval city cathedrals, pastel-coloured buildings and ancient castles set against more modern, contemporary structures of the 21st century. Make sure you also pay a day trip into the Sintra mountains, home to even more great local restaurants and the magnificent Pena Palace, a beautiful Romanticist castle.
Need a hostel in Lisbon? Check out the Oasis Backpacker hostel
If you’re looking for an ideal destination in Europe to spend a long weekend, Bruges is a beautiful medieval town in the West Flanders region of Belgium, perfect for a short trip away. Being a small city, you only need a couple of days here to get a real feel for the local culture. Wander the cobbled streets of the Old Town Square, explore the little chocolate shops, take a cruise down the canal or marvel at Bruges’ idyllic medieval architecture. We recommend hiring a bike out from the hostel and cycling in the fresh air as you pass by famous windmills, the beautiful Minnewater lake and over old, ancient bridges (while making food and drink pit stops along the way). Does anything sound better than that? Bruges is famous for its brewing history and local Trappist beers so be sure to experience the Flemish pubs and bars (our favourite is the Brewery De Halve Maan and De Garre). You can travel to Bruges on the Eurostar via Brussels, or by plane.
One of Bruges’ best architectural assets is its charming step-gabled buildings and our hostel happens to be located inside of one! Check out St Christopher’s Inns at the Bauhaus. We have our very own Belgian pub downstairs.
Need a hostel in Bruges? Check out
Visit the home of Flamenco for serious feel-good vibes and memories that will last a lifetime. Seville is one the prettiest and most peaceful cities in Europe, located in Spain’s sunny Andalusia region. The elegant city is home to stunning architecture which makes just walking around Seville enjoyable in itself. From the majestic paths of Plaza de Espana square, awesome gelatarias and pretty green spaces like Parque de María Luisa, there’s nothing to kick off your travels again like a trip to a stylish, Spanish city like Sevilla.
Expect pristine streets, incredible (and affordable food) as well as a real party atmosphere - if you know where to go, that is. There is a lot of rich history and authentic culture to discover in Seville too. A must is a trip to the elegant Alcazar castle built during the Moorish dynasty, the Gothic Seville Cathedral and of course, you can’t miss out on a proper flamenco show experience on your visit. You will be in awe of the dancers.
Need a hostel in Seville? Check out the Oasis Palace Backpackers Hostel
Tel Aviv, Israel
While Israel technically doesn’t sit in Europe, it is in fact part of the European Union. Since it’s such a feel-good city, we had to add it into this list. Tel Aviv has been on the backpacker route for a while now and for a good reason! This is a very vibrant city known for its world-class nightlife, sandy beaches, flea markets, western culture and UNESCO-recognised architecture. In fact, it’s starting to become a popular destination for stag and hen dos due to its relaxed nature! People travel from far and wide to Tel Aviv just to indulge in the amazing food; Israeli cuisine has been born from Jewish and Middle-eastern influences making it extra tasty. Think foods such as baba ganoush, flatbreads, falafel, rich stews, shakshuka, couscous and kosher kebabs - so tasty. Top tips: Explore the port area of Jaffa where most of the action takes place, and for a dose of culture, step back in time and pay a visit to Jerusalem which is just 50 minutes away by car or bus.
Need a hostel in Tel Aviv? Check out Abraham Hostel which is surrounded by cafés, nightclubs, and cultural attractions (and just a 20 minute walk to the beach).
Need a hostel in Tel Aviv? Check out Abraham Hostel
Prague, Czech Republic
Take a journey to Eastern Europe and enjoy the wonders of Prague. The Czech capital is an awesome city in that it’s super affordable with so many fun things to do. Nicknamed the City of Hundred Spires, Prague is known for its old Gothic churches, colourful baroque buildings and it’s quaint medieval streets. And amongst it all, there’s a real party scene with a collection of the best cheap clubs in Europe and some of the greatest tasting beer you’ll taste in the continent. Czech beer is famed for being light to drink and varies from golden light colours to a darker, bronze (which is our personal favourite). A pilsner is Prague and can cost around 25 - 40 CSK which is around 2-3 euros, so pretty cheap if you ask us.
The beauty and charm of Old Town Square is enough to make you fall in love with the city. But there’s also the medieval Charles Bridge, St Vitus Cathedral, Letna Park, the John Lennon Wall and the beautiful Prague Castle to explore. While you’re in Prague, experience the Czech pub culture and enjoy the local cuisine. Czech cuisine is heartwarming and comforting with rich beef stews, schnitzel, goulash, pork knuckle, potato dumplings and tasty soups! This is one of the most visited cities in Eastern Europe and one that will put a smile on your face.
Need a hostel in Prague?
Escape to the English countryside to breathe in the fresh west country air in the beautiful Roman city of Bath. Packed with a fascinating history as well as fantastic bars, restaurants, parks, gardens, a spa and way more, there’s more than enough to keep you entertained on a peaceful weekend away in the UK. Venture out on a walk along the Bath Skyline, taking in views of the small World Heritage City and getting a bit of exercise in, then sit down for a quintessentially British afternoon tea or a Bath Bun at Sally Lunn’s tea house.
The Roman Baths are a main draw, as you can visit and stand upon the remains of one of the greatest religious sites of the ancient world, which are incredibly preserved right in the centre of Bath. It even still flows with natural thermal water. Bath Abbey is another stunning attraction, as are the quaint shops on Pulteney Bridge and the Royal Crescent.
Looking for a hostel in Bath? Check out , right in the city centre
Take your mind off a few weird weeks of no travel and jet off to Berlin on your first trip abroad. The German capital ticks the boxes for every kind of traveller whether you’re into history, culture or you want to spend the whole time partying and having a good time. Here you have some of the most well-known museums and monuments in the world, including the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Brandenburg Gate and the East Side Gallery, set against one of the most iconic modern landmarks in Europe, Berlin TV Tower with bright new street art around every corner. It really is a city that mixes the old in with the new.
Berlin is also home to pubs, bars and nightclubs that rival the best in the world, so spend your night partying with locals at the city’s renowned techno clubs, or drink steins to live music in the traditional beer bars. Then there’s the food. Berlin’s street food scene should be enough to tempt you to the city in itself. Think traditional German currywurst and fully-loaded doner kebabs, as well as international dishes inside the many street food markets across Berlin.
Need somewhere to stay in Berlin?
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
There’s a reason no one visits Amsterdam without raving about the city forever afterwards. The Dutch capital is the ideal feel-good city as the locals are just so open and welcoming. You’ll never get bored in Amsterdam, exploring the city on two wheels and stopping to enjoy the atmosphere in a local park or buzzing canalside bar. Snap pictures in all the iconic Insta spots like the houses of Damrak, the A’Dam Lookout Swing and the Sex Museum (and be sure to get one of you on your bike). Grab brunch in Jordaan, eat street food in De Pijp’s Albert Cuyp Markt and do some vintage shopping at the IJ Flea Market before a big night out Dutch-style.
You can’t visit Amsterdam without a visit to the Anne Frank Museum where you can clamber up into the tiny annex where she and her family hid from the Nazis during the war. If you’re looking for more history and culture in Amsterdam, then the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum are must-visits, too. Up for a Dutch smoke? Pop into a coffeeshop and either smoke inside amongst other laid-back locals, or take it to Vondelpark where plenty of other smokers will be.
Looking for hostels in Amsterdam?
Always wanted to see the South of France? Located right on the French Riviera, Nice offers up one of the most chilled out experiences in Europe. With fabulous beaches, ocean-view restaurants and stunning Baroque architecture, this city will have you returning to the sunny Cote D’Azur again and again. While Nice is known for being pretty glamorous, you can definitely enjoy this paradise city on a budget, especially if you stay in a hostel. The Villa Saint Exupery Beach Hostel is a stylish hostel located 20 metres away from Nice’s main square. Inside the hostel, there’s one of the cheapest bars and restaurants as well as a whirlwind of outdoor activities available to book such as scuba diving, water sports, sailing and free walking tours. The riviera is also within walking distance.
The sea is so blue here and unlike its neighbouring cousins Monaco, St Tropez and Cannes, Nice is less party and a bit more relaxed. Find cultural sights in Nice such as Marc Chagall National Museum, Castle Hill, Cours Saleya market and the Palais Lascaris. Some of the city’s iconic local dishes include ratatouille, salad nicoise, tarte tropézienne, fougasse and cheeses with breads, all of which you can enjoy from quaint local French bistros and cafes. You will find many of these tiny restaurants in Nice old town where winding narrow streets and historical sights make for perfect walk around in the afternoon,
Need a hostel in Nice? Check out the Villa Saint Exupery Beach Hostel
One of the trendiest cities in Europe has to be Stockholm. The Swedish capital is a hub of exciting restaurants, bars and attractions with hip hangouts and a modern young culture. Made up of 14 different islands and more than 50 bridges separated by canals - it’s no wonder people call it the Venice of the North. In Stockholm, you simply must pay a trip to the Royal Palace, the official royal residence of the current Swedish monarch. This Roman palace is open all year round to visitors.
Then there’s Stockholm's charming Old Town, Gamla Stan which is one of the popular attractions of the city. This quaint pocket of the city is full of colourful architecture, narrow alleys and real hidden gems like independent shops and cafes. Other neighbourhoods worth exploring are Södermalm and Östermalm. the underground railway network (the Tunnelbana) is a great way to get around the city, if you’re staying in a central location, you can walk to many places too. In terms of food, Swedish cuisine is distinct and made up of a lot of seafood and meat and many sweet treats. Think Swedish meatballs, crayfish, raggmunk, surstromming herring and delicious cinnamon buns!
Stockholms food scene represents Scandinavia's dynamic culture. In the restaurants you’ll be served new-Nordic cuisine but there are also old style pubs cooking the classics, chic bistros and hipster coffee shops. We recommend visiting in the spring or summer where the temperatures are warmer. Winters in Stockholm can get freezing!
Need a hostel in Stockholm? Check out the City Backpackers Hostel
The Polish city on your travel radar is likely to be Krakow, but the country’s capital city of Warsaw is home to some real hidden gems that most people are really missing out on. We guarantee you will never get bored in Warsaw as there’s simply so much to see and do that will immediately put a smile on your face. The city’s Old Town is one of Poland’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites having been rebuilt to be just as bright and colourful as it was before it was so badly damaged by WWII (visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum to delve deeper into the city’s wartime history). Some of the greatest cities in Europe have that one crazy, quirky district and in Warsaw that’s Praga - it’s like a whole new city with no chain cafes or restaurants and tons of artistic cafes, bookshops, graffiti and more.
Sample some wedel chocolate at the Wedel Chocolate Factory, take a stroll through one of the prettiest parks in Eastern Europe, Łazienki Park, and see the narrowest house in the world. The city is also home to Poland’s Presidential Palace. You wouldn’t guess that Warsaw’s bar scene is up there with the best in Europe. It’s packed with speakeasies, cocktail bars, wine bars, beer bars, you name it. There’s even a tiny alleyway over in Pawilony that’s packed with 12 different bars for the ultimate bar crawl. Whether you’re looking for a cultural trip away, a party destination to visit with friends or some fascinating historical museums, Warsaw is the city for everyone.
Need a hostel in Warsaw? Check out Warschau Hostel
Home to some of the friendliest locals in Europe, Copenhagen is the perfect destination to kick off your travels post-travel ban. It’s vibrant, colourful and right near the sea, with some truly stunning city cycle routes for that well needed burst of fresh air. Start your mornings off with a great quality coffee and a traditional Danish pastry before hopping on your bike and touring Copenhagen’s quirky sights. Bump over the cobblestone streets that pass by Nyhavn Port’s brightly coloured buildings, climb to the top of the Church of our Saviour for sweeping views and explore the pretty indescribable Freetown Christiania. Save the best until the end of the day, and visit the world’s second oldest theme park, Tivoli Gardens, when it’s all lit up after dark.
Shop around the designer boutiques in Norrebro, get your dose of culture at the beautiful Christiansborg Palace and cycle over to see the Little Mermaid statue perched on a rock right near the military fortress, Kastellet. There’s something for everyone in Copenhagen, and we can guarantee it’ll become a newfound favourite city of yours.
Looking for a hostel in Copenhagen? Check out the
Living in England and want a destination that’s in easy reach for the second the travel ban is lifted? Coming from abroad and want to explore an area of the UK that you’ve probably never visited before? Newquay is a fun, affordable and beautiful seaside town on the coast of Cornwall in the southwest of the UK. Famous for having the best waves in the UK (and of course fish and chips and Cornish pasties), you can jump on a surfboard and spend your days soaking up the atmosphere (and hopefully some sunshine) after weeks of being stuck inside. Stay at St Christopher’s Inns Newquay hostel and book a Surf ‘n Stay package for lessons from the pros down at Escape Surf School. Then learn to surf the waves of the stunning Towan Bay.
Surfing not for you? While away your days going on coastal walks or spend a day at the world famous Eden Project, also known as the world’s largest indoor rainforest, that’s only a 30 minute drive from Newquay. If that’s not enough to tempt you, maybe the town’s pubs, bars and seafood restaurants will.
Want to know the best hostel in Newquay? is right by Towan Bay with incredible beach views from the outdoor terrace.
Being the European City of Culture for 2020, it’s a no-brainer that Belgrade is an absolute bucket list city. The Serbian capital is a melting pot of history and culture, with bars, restaurants and cafes on every corner (Serbians LOVE their coffee). Plus it is so cheap! You can pack out your days touring historical sights, eat like a king or queen and party until late and it really won’t break the bank. Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan Park are a highlight of Belgrade and the most visited attraction in the city as it’s steeped in history with fantastic river views as well as being free to visit. The Church of Saint Sava is another beautiful must-see, as is Republic Square and the intricate architecture down Belgrade’s busiest walking street, Knez Mihailova. You’ll notice how well-kept and clean the city of Belgrade is, despite being totally damaged by NATO bombings during the Kosovo War in 1999.
Have a glass of rakija in a local bar and spark up a conversation with locals - Serbians are known for being incredibly friendly and hospitable. Sample some traditional Serbian cuisine in the restaurants along Skadarlija Street, such as cevapi (grilled minced meat with flatbreads), sarma (cabbage rolls) and pljeskavica (Serbian hamburger) to name a few of the tastiest. Belgrade is one of the most up-and-coming cities in Europe, so if there’s a time to visit and witness its beauty before the crowds really start pouring in, it’s now!
Looking for a hostel in Belgrade? Check out the ArkaBarka Floating hostel