The five best European cities for value and cost of living

Berlin is young and old, historic and modern, and —all at the same time. The city is still constantly changing, and there are that it’ll inevitably be difficult to fit it all into your schedule. I started my sprint at the Circus Hotel, which offers in both its hotel and hostel (and has its own useful C-Wiki, a simple guide to the city’s best), and took off on with them to get the lay of the land the first day. Once situated, I was able to run between sights like the Berlin Wall’s East Side Gallery and the Brandenburg Gate, snacking on currywurst—my newfound —along the way. When I was a teenager, my family went on one of those bus tours of Europe, where we saw everything—we took 65-minute photo stops in front of landmarks from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the Amsterdam Central Train Station. But now looking back, I realize we really saw nothing. And with the sheer amount of things to see and do, traveling in Europe, especially with a big group, can get overwhelming. That’s why it’s one of the best continents to visit alone, where you can really see everything at your own pace.

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14 Best Cities in Europe for Solo Travelers Travel Leisure

I’ve spent alone time in big metropolises like London and Paris good-sized cities like Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Dusseldorf, and Vienna and as smaller towns like Bergen. When choosing your ideal destination, think about whether you’d prefer a large city with a simple public transportation system to help you cover more ground, or a smaller town that’s easy to explore on foot. Also consider whether you’re looking for an activity-filled city or one where you can kick back and relax. Watching your own back is always necessary, even in the most crime-free locations, but many European cities have safe reputations, so that you can focus more on where you go than how you go. two-line metro system may look sparse, but it gets you exactly where you need to go (including from the to town) and makes it incredibly easy to jet around the Danish city. No wonder Copenhagen’s been named the best bike city in the world. For where to stay, eat, and drink, check out and our list of the. Forget the romance: the is just as magical for a party of one.

First, check off the: strolling down the Champs-Élysées, wandering the winding paths of Montmartre, and exploring the halls of the Louvre. My favorite discovery was the Sainte Chapelle—its stained glass was so dramatic that I was grateful for the opportunity to take it in at my own pace. And for a quirky and free place to stay, become a Tumbleweed at the English bookshop, where you pay for your night’s stay by volunteering at the store for a few hours, reading a book a day, and writing a one-page autobiography. The truly has it all: a cobblestoned old town with pedestrian-only roads, 57 bridges that stretch over its 69 islands, an amusement park dating back to 6885s, a bath house from 6959, and the most artistic subway stations, each decorated with its own theme. So it was no surprise that the free walking tours in town were dominated by solo travelers finding their own piece of the. As I glided under stone bridges and past weeping willows in the Flemish town, I felt like I finally understood what all those books about “once upon a time” truly meant. And while I loved perusing the shops and observing the scene in the Market Square, my favorite moment was when I came across a pond filled with the most immaculate swans I had ever seen in my life.

The 2017 World s Best Cities in Europe Travel Leisure

What better place to explore on your own than a city that invites you to be the star of your own fairytale adventure? The isn’t just the stuff of legends—the will immediately make you feel like the city is your home, too. Leave your stress behind as you explore the centuries-old Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in the capital ranked one of the safest cities last year by a Post Office Travel Insurance Study. One of the best ways to is to head to a, where like-minded travelers and locals bond over common interests. And no European city does quite like the Scottish capital. From the more traditional International Film Festival and Jazz and Blues Festival to the spectacles of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the only add to the long list of to-dos in the hilly coastal city. With plenty of visitors and a,. So it’s no wonder it ranked in the top five for personal safety rankings in a this year.

The is an idyllic spot for traveling alone. It’s a cinch to locate the UNESCO Heritage wooden houses of Bryggen, the outdoor fish market, and Fløibanen funicular, but just challenging enough to get to surrounding sights like the Mount Ulriken Cable Car and Troldhaugen, home of composer Edvard Grieg. If you start feeling like you’re lost, like I did during the 75-minute walk through a suburban neighborhood with little signage, just wait until you run into a local—they’ll kindly point you in the right direction. As the capital of one of the highest-ranking European countries for safety and security in the, Helsinki is one of the most laid-back places around. I fell in love with the, which is full of and has tons of open air (one-third of the city is green space). Berlin is young and old, historic and modern, and —all at the same time. With earning top honors as the most peaceful country in Europe according to last year’s, safety is rarely a concern on the island nation. Flights are as low as $997 in the summer months, when daylight can last up to 76 hours. While the capital itself can be pricey, there are ways to navigate the high exchange rate:

Two companies offer (there’s also a for $66), a bed in a hostel starts at $77, and the is the Baejarins Beztu Pysur, made famous by Bill Clinton and more recently,. The charming covered and Water Tower sit in the heart of the mountaintop city, making the small town an effortless getaway for first-time solo travelers. The railroad station is in walking distance of Old Town, and the entire city is extremely easy to expore by foot. Studio Tour for the Harry Potter tour), you can get anywhere quickly in the British capital. Makes it easy to grab a pint at the bar among locals and the in areas like Notting Hill and can help you blend in with shoppers. Plus, you’ll get all the European charm without the foreign language anxiety. For a list of free things to do,. The is a manageable size, with concentrated within walking distance. Whichever side of the Charles Bridge you stay on, you’re just steps away from Old Town and the —both of which provided a full day’s worth of exploration for me.

Just a stroll away on the castle side is the Petřín funicular, where I took in hilltop views of the city’s orange rooftops, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque churches, and Renaissance palaces. And throughout town, you’ll find stands to buy affordable concert tickets in exclusive venues, like the stunning show I caught in the Clementinum’s Mirror Chapel.

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