Interesting European Neighborhoods
Europe’s most popular cities have dozens of neighborhoods that are great tourist destinations. However, there are several neighborhoods that offer something more unique and interesting than others.
In recent years Islington has become increasingly popular and youthful. Lining Upper Street between the Angel tube stop and the Highbury and Islington tube stations are some of the most affordable, yet most delicious restaurants in London. You will also find many fantastic, low-key bars in this exciting, authentic London neighborhood. Islington is a great place to spend a night out and get away from the swarms of tourists in SoHo.
Red Light District, Amsterdam
A visit to Amsterdam is not complete without checking out the oldest area in town! Here you will not only find interesting museums - Hash Marijuana Hemp Museum (148 Oudezides Achterburgwal), and Tattoo Museum (Oudezijds Achterburgwal 130) but the Condomerie (condom shop) at Warmoesstraat 141. T: 4, 9, 14, 16, 24, 25 to Nieuwemarkt.
Latin Quarter, Paris
Artsy and academic, the Latin Quarter is filled with Paris’s young, liberal students. The beautiful medieval streets lined with cafés and stylish shops are increasingly touristy, yet still charming and inviting. M: St. Michele.
Mala Strana, Prague
Located across the Charles Bridge from Stare Mesto, it is here that the romantic and stunning beauty of Prague is most intensely felt. The intimate scale, combined with many trees and beautiful quaint buildings, creates an atmosphere that begs for people to fall in love with each other and the city itself. The most picturesque streets are: Na Kampe, Misenska, Velko-prevorské námestí, Nerudova and Thunovska. Beware, however, the restaurants here are pricey.
A colorful neighborhood that demands to be explored! Its wonderful winding streets are lined with excellent bars, cafés and affordable restaurants. The nightlife here is one of the most hopping in Rome. Also check out the interesting flea market on Sunday mornings.
East End, London
London’s East End is one of the most enjoyable, interesting, and affordable neighborhoods to explore. Once infamous as Jack the Ripper’s haunt, this historic conglomerate of formerly immigrant neighborhoods is now a lively, ethnically mixed, and young section of the city. It is here that many students and artists come to London and attempt to set up shop. Brick Lane is an excellent East End street to explore. At the southernmost part of Brick Lane near the Aldgate East tube stop and Whitechapel High Street, is a long string of Bangladeshi restaurants and shops. Even the street signs in this area are in Bengali. As you proceed north, exploring off-beat furniture and Bangladeshi outposts, you will find several of the most charming and down-to-earth coffee shops in London. Also check out the one of the best flower markets in London. On Sunday morning, Columbia Road erupts into a fantastic array of beautiful colors. Just don’t show up any other time, as this otherwise quaint and attractive street may be completely dead.
Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
A bohemian neighborhood, even under Communist rule, that has now become an incredible conglomerate of beautiful buildings, streets and cafés. Prenzlauer Berg was the next hot spot following Mitte and is now also quite well established. On the streets, many of Berlin’s young crowd chat endlessly on sidewalk cafés and inside mellow clubs. Don’t expect outrageous punkiness - it is a lively and intellectual scene that is a delight to explore. Most of the scene is focused around Kollwitz Platz and the fire-tower between Diedenhöfer Str. and Kolmarer Str. However, it is also worth venturing over to the wonderful cafés and bars on Winsstrasse and Kastanienallee, and around Helmholtz-platz. Make sure you spend time walking around this fabulous area.
Passeig de Gràcia/L’Eixample, Barcelona
An interesting, lively neighborhood with many students and relaxing cafés. Set in the middle of the area of L’Eixample, Passeig de Gracia offers a great view into Barcelona life minus all the tourists. Catalan is the native language of these streets. M: Passeig de Gràcia. Don’t miss the exquisite architecture found throughout the l’Eixample neighborhood, particularly on Passeig de Grácia, Rambla de Catalunya and the streets that pass between them. Of note are Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Batlló and La Pedrera (Passieg de Gracia nos. 43 & 92).
An independent town until the 1800s, Kazimierz once housed a large Jewish community. It became world famous when Steven Spielberg filmed parts of Schindler’s List here and depicted the harrowing plight of Poland’s Jewish population. The Old Synagogue and its Jewish Museum is just one of the stops possible on a self-guided or organized walking tour. At night there is an emergent energy radiating from the trendy bars and cafés.