Six European neighborhoods that ooze style and creativity.

Share story

The idea of hipness is a bit like that of beauty: It’s in the eye of the beholder. But there are some neighborhoods where an influx of style and creativity is impossible to deny.

These neighborhoods are great places to visit while on vacation because they offer plenty of one of our favorite pastimes: people-watching. On top of that, these spots usually come with some of the most interesting culture, food, shopping and activities the city has to offer.

Here are six of Europe’s hippest neighborhoods right now.

1. GRUNERLOKKA IN OSLO, NORWAY

Cheap, edgy, urban … ah, those familiar words of a newly trendy neighborhood. Grunerlokka has been described as all three, and while it’s still most definitely urban, it is a welcoming, interesting place to see a livelier side to Oslo. You’ll find vintage stores and boutiques selling everything from clothes to bikes, and the Sunday Birkelunden flea market is great for a rummage. Watch the world go by from cafés such as Supreme Roastworks and restaurants like the bohemian Fru Hagen. It may be stylish, but Grunerlokka is a relaxed area of Oslo that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Hotel pick: Stay at the upscale boutique Scandic Vulkan, in walking distance of Grunerlokka. The rooms are stylish and the hotel houses a trendy restaurant and bar.

2. KREUZBERG IN BERLIN

Choosing one area of Berlin as its most hip is not easy. But given that it has a floating swimming pool on the River Spree, more graffiti than a 1970s NYC subway train, and it once had the highest density of businesses accepting bitcoin, it has to be Kreuzberg.

Hotel pick: The comfortable Relexa Hotel Stuttgarta Hof is located in the heart of Kreuzberg. Some of the modern rooms come with balconies, and an extensive breakfast buffet is included in the nightly rate.

3. HACKNEY WICK IN LONDON

Crate Brewery in the Hackney Wick neighborhood of London.
Crate Brewery in the Hackney Wick neighborhood of London.

Breweries, restaurants, fish smokers, clubs and markets have helped this area evolve into a tiny enclave of London with a strong independent spirit. Even the 2012 Olympic site, casting a shadow from the other side of the Regent’s Canal, almost goes unnoticed. For a day trip, take a long walk from Shoreditch to Hackney Wick before stopping in at Crate Brewery to eat pizza and drink beer next to the water.

Hotel pick: Keep the hip vibe rolling with a stay at 40 Winks, an eclectic mashup of Jane Austen, Frida Kahlo and Lewis Carroll interiors in a boutique 18th-century townhouse.

4. 7TH DISTRICT IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

Budapest’s “ruin bars,” are the most creative examples of transforming old, abandoned buildings into vibrant hangout spots. The bars pepper the achingly cool 7th District neighborhood, and are perfect for people-watching and filling up on some of the best Jewish comfort food in the city.

Hotel pick: Located next to the Hungarian State opera, K+K Hotel Opera is an impressive-looking building from the outside. Inside, its rooms are cheerful and functional, which is what you want after wandering the shabby-chic neighborhood.

Canal St Martin in Paris.
Canal St Martin in Paris.

5. CANAL ST MARTIN IN PARIS

Cheap rents and warehouse space once combined to launch Canal St Martin’s status as one of the most stylish neighborhoods in Paris. Those days may be gone, but what remains is an idyllic canal-side area filled with chic cafés, indie cinemas and no shortage of beautiful people to watch. To fit in, wander the canal with your Baudelaire tucked under your arm (for carrying, not reading) while stopping in at the many artisan bakeries, thrift shops and wine bars.

Hotel pick: Situated right on the picturesque Canal St Martin, Le Citizen Hotel is decorated in an attractive Scandinavian style that goes well with its stunning location.

6. MALASANA IN MADRID

In Madrid, the term for hipster is “modernos.” And Malasana is the place they call home. It’s also where you can find the Spanish capital’s main LGBT scene (along with in neighboring Chueca). The area has a strong nightlife appeal along with some of the best cafés, shops and bars in the city. For a late-night trip back in time, try the famous Malasana dive bar, La Via Lactea, which means “The Milky Way.”

Hotel pick: The quirky decor at Hotel Abalu Madrid Centro is the right fit for a stay in Malasana. To go along with the stylish interiors, the hotel offers other amenities, such as a 24/7 bar and Segway rentals.