Urban areas in Europe: Many tourists make it their goal to visit cities to see certain sights, because of which they miss many interesting parts of the city. Direct traffic from one tourist point to another often leaves only a superficial impression of the culture and spirit of the city. Many cities in the world have their own colorful districts that create a special atmosphere, and visiting them can make a long-awaited trip much more eventful.
Here are some of the most interesting urban areas in Europe.
- Montmartre, Paris
Although Montmartre attracts many tourists, the high hills and winding streets mean that, unlike some of the other well-known areas of Paris, it never feels crowded. Heading north from the bustling Boulevard de Rochechouart, towards the cobbled streets of the district, you will come to Montmartre.
Once upon a time, at the turn of the 20th century, it was an artist’s paradise, home to celebrities such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir. This is where they got their inspiration. These days, it’s perhaps better known as the setting for the 2001 movie Amelie (no wonder there are walking tours here).
In any case, Montmartre is just a great place to enjoy the views of Paris. Watch the sunset and the twinkling of the Eiffel Tower from the steps of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. This is a scene that will never get old.
- Kreuzberg, Berlin
Nowhere in the German capital does its spirit manifest itself like in Kreuzberg. Once a poor area of West Berlin, surrounded on three sides by a hideous wall, it has become home to immigrants, creatives, artists, and misfits.
Walking around Kreuzberg is exciting as you will be immersed in the atmosphere of everything that matters in modern Berlin. Crossing the gothic Oberbaum bridge into the Friedrichshain district, you will see the streets bustling with life, from coffee halls during the day to street food vendors at night.
Street art is one of the most important phenomena in the area, and the most striking installation is Victor Aesch’s huge astronaut on Mariannenstraße. Berlin is home to almost 450 art galleries and walking through the area feels like visiting one of them.
- Alfama, Lisbon
The oldest district of Lisbon is a place to walk in time. A labyrinth of narrow streets and quaint hillside squares, the charm of old Alfama mixed with magnificent views of the sparkling blue coastline make this part of Lisbon so inviting to visit.
Alfama has long been associated with fado – sad music with guitar and vocals. Originally born among the sailors of 19th century Lisbon based on feelings of longing and loss, it is heard today in many houses and restaurants in this old area. The rustic Parreirinha de Alfama is one of the best restaurants to experience the authentic flavor of fado.
Alfama’s high location saved the area from a disastrous earthquake in 1755, and the views from one of its many miradors (lookouts) are among the best in Portugal. Head to Portas do Sol for a romantic panorama of colorful houses, red brick roofs, and distant crystal clear waters.
- Malasaña, Madrid
In a city known for its huge number of drinking establishments, Malasaña is the area most likely to tempt you with warm embraces of cocktails and conversation.
But there are more than just bars, bistros, and Vinothéque on the busy streets of Malasaña. Street art adorning the walls and alleys has long been the main form of expression in this creative district. Some of the most impressive works can be found in the Plaza Callao and Conde Duque areas. And don’t miss the Museum of Romanticism on Calle San Mateo, a small but interesting alternative to the constantly busy Prado and Reina Sofia museums.
- Monti, Rome
Surrounded by some of Rome’s most famous landmarks, Monti is an elegant paradise with bohemian cafes, stylish bars, and artisan shops, a short distance from the tourist trail. Its cobbled streets are ideal for strolling and enjoying the lively Roman atmosphere.
Once a slum with a nefarious reputation during imperial times, the area eventually developed into a chic and affluent neighborhood that is perfect to explore, especially from the busy Piazza della Madonna Dei Monti.
Ancient relics and ivy-covered walls reflect a deep history, but the area also has a touch of youth. The area is loved by both locals and tourists. None captures Monty’s 21st-century vibe quite like the neon-lit Drink Kong cocktail bar.