Guest blogger Anita Dykstra is a travel writer from New Zealand. You can read her great blog on her website.
There’s no doubt that travelling to the top European cities with a bunch of friends is one of the best experiences you could ever have, but ‘where should we go?’ you ask? Here’s the lowdown on five of the top cities in Europe, perfect for you and your friends!
Amsterdam is a hub for great culture, food and even better nightlife and it’s a one-of-a-kind place filled with beautiful canals and friendly locals. It’s also a hot spot for European travellers as it’s cheap to get to with Schiphol being one of the major airports in the world. Accommodation, food and beer are also reasonably priced. Start with a bite to eat at Omelegg to start your day before a cycle tour with Mikes Bike. Afterwards, get yourselves to the Farmers market in the Jordaan area and head to Vondelpark for a picnic, before checking out the Rijksmuseum and The Van Gogh Museum nearby. Then party hard with the locals down in Leidseplein in the popular clubs such as Paradiso and Sugar Factory to finish off the night.
Where to stay? Hostel Van Gogh is a top-rated, modern hostel in the city centre, just a few feet down the street from the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. They offer very comfortable six- and eight-bed dorms as well as ensuite private rooms for up to eight people in each. Inner Amsterdam is also nearby and has a number of comfy ensuite dorms and smaller private rooms.
‘If you’re bored of London, you’re bored of life’ is a popular quote because there is simply so much to do here. Head straight to Shoreditch in East London to check out where the hipsters sleep, eat and party. There is amazing street art here and REALLY good food trucks such as Motherclucker which sell the best fried chicken and cajun fries in London. Have a wander through the streets and look at the talented graffiti art; if you’re lucky you might see the artists in action. There are also a couple of great markets here to have a look at if you all feel like shopping. Once you have worked up an appetite head to Red Dog Saloon in Hoxton square to try out their delicious and enormous burgers! You won’t feel hungry for the next two days.
For some of the best bars in London get off at Angel tube station and go straight to Slim Jims, an American bar which contains a ceiling filled with bras, for some reason. You may want to contribute a piece of your clothing after you try a ‘Pickleback’, a shot of Jameson chased with a shot of pickle juice! If you want to go late night dancing, go to Egg London where some of the top house DJs play. It usually doesn’t close until at least 8am so you guys could be in for a good night!
Where to stay? London is a big city so it’s important to pick a hostel in the right location. One of the best is Smart Hyde Park Inn Hostel in the gorgeous neighbourhood of Bayswater, a short walk from Kensington Palace, Hyde Park and Oxford Street. Rest Up London is another great hostel near Elephant & Castle tube station featuring private rooms and dorms for four to 20 people.
Prague, one of the most beautiful historic cities in Europe, is home to beautiful old buildings and delicious food. Go for a walk along the Charles Bridge to take in the beauty of this magical city. After that, book yourself onto a food tour around the city and sample some of the best Czech food and beer there is to offer. To catch the ultimate sunset view in the city, travel to Vitkov Hill. It hosts some of the best views so you can get beautiful pictures of Prague with the sunset glowing across the sky – perfect for that all-important group selfie! In the evening, head to the oldest bar in Prague, called U Fleku, then go to U Zlateho Tygra beer hall. Don’t order, just simply wait for the beer to come to you. If you don’t want any more then make sure you tell them so, otherwise you will get never-ending beer!
Where to stay? Located right in the heart of Prague’s Old Town, Equity Point Prague is perfect for exploring the city on foot. All of their rooms are ensuite and your group can plan the day over their free breakfast! We also love City Stay, offering 10-bed dorms, ensuite private rooms and apartments right next to Wenceslas Square and some of the city’s best museums.
Known for its rich 20th-century history as well as its never-ending nightlife, Berlin is a fantastic city for groups. You may want to start with a guided tour with Insider Tours to really get a grasp on what happened in the past. One of the most iconic buildings around is the Reichstag; it has been bombed, burned, loved and hated but today it still stands strong just like Berlin. And did you know there is an island just for the museums?! Go to Muzeumsinsel, but pick your favourite museum as there are so many you could be here for days. We love the Neues Museum for the world-famous bust of Nefertiti—and the building itself has a fascinating history of design and destruction. For a bite to eat, head to Markt Halle Neun and try some of the various street food that is available. It’s a great way to try the local cuisine and beer! Don’t forget to check out our blog post on 24 Hours in Berlin for more tips on Berghain, the DDR Museum, the S-Bahn and beyond.
Where to stay? MEININGER Berlin Alexanderplatz is a cheery hostel with plenty of room for groups large or small – and best of all, it’s located in one of Berlin’s trendiest neighbourhoods, Prenzlauerberg. Elsewhere, Generator Berlin Mitte has a popular onsite bar and is just around the corner from Tacheles, the iconic former art squat.
The Hungarian capital is a fascinating city to explore, especially with your friends! Rain or shine, definitely head to one of the many bath houses in Budapest. One of the best is Szechenyi, a neo-Baroque palace of 15 pools. It’s the largest bath house in Europe! The city also has some amazing museums like the House of Terror and Buda Castle. When you get hungry, head to one of the many ‘traditional Hungarian’ restaurants in city centre, such as Fatál Étterem, where you can sample delicious Hungarian cuisine. Try the goulash and follow up your dinner with a shot of pálinka—allegedly it’s good for digestion! For a an evening hangout go to Szimpla Kert, a popular ruin bar in the city. Not only does it offer good, cheap drinks but they have regular cinema screenings and tons of fun-to-explore rooms covered in local artwork. Ruin Bars are former abandoned warehouses that were converted to artsy, comfy bars. They’re like little rabbit warrens which have decent drinks, eclectic interior design and a buzzing atmosphere. You can bar-hop quite easily here because there are so many places to explore.
If you really love music, of course, Budapest plays host every year to one of Europe’s best festivals, Sziget. This is a week-long escape to an island where you can see huge acts like Rihanna and Sigur Rós, as well as literally hundreds of indie, ska, metal, world, electronic and pop bands, learn how to juggle or speak Hungarian, watch ballet and participate in nightly street parades. Let us tell you from personal experience that this is truly a happy place to hang with your pals.
Where to stay? Want your own apartment right in the very centre of Budapest for an awesome price? Check out Happyhostel, featuring dorms, private rooms and apartments for up to 10 people. They’re also child- and pet-friendly! Just around the corner is Base Budapest Hostel and Backpackers, another highly rated hostel catering to groups, with tons of freebies, foosball, airport pickup and more.
Want to make a booking for your group? Our dedicated Group Travel Department are here to help, from the moment you place your enquiry through to booking your accommodation. Book with us over on our Groups page!