Urban Discoveries: Europe’s Hottest Spots

We have put together a slightly alternative city guide for some top European cities. There are some true ‘urban discoveries’ here. These range from secret bars, to hipster hang outs, to some super cool street art! Enjoy the list and let us know if there are any other secret spots that we have missed! ?


is a fantastic city, and a fantastically large city with infinite possibilities! Here we have listed a few fun and some slightly off the radar things to do in the capital!

  • God’s Own Junkyard displays neon artist Chris Bracey’s personal collection of work in a salvage yard in Walthamstow. It comprises everything from his signage for Soho sex clubs in the ’60s to his work for the movie industry. It includes pieces that were used in ‘Captain America’, ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, ‘Byzantium’ and more. Squeezed in between all of this, you will find his artwork.
  • Little Venice visit this oasis of calm and treat yourself to a cruise up the river, or simply take a stroll down the canal. Stop off at the Waterside Café for a floating coffee!
  • Vertical Chill – Enjoy your very own extreme mountaineering experience right in the centre of Covent Garden. With ice axes, crampons (or studded boots to you and me) and help of a trained instructor you can learn to climb Vertical Chill’s many ice walls. Experience the thrills of reaching the peaks, in a safe and controlled environment!! They also have a location in Manchester.
  • Secret Bars – Find your way to one of London’s secret bars for delicious cocktails in mysterious locations. Top options include The Natural Philosopher in Bethnal Green, The Little Yellow Doorin Notting Hill, the clandestine pop up parties run by the Candlelight Club and The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town in Spitalfields. Just don’t tell them we told you!
  • House of Vans Personally I think this is one of London’s coolest venues! The House of Vans has relocated and taken over what used to be the Old Vic Tunnels. This is a rad destination for skateboarders and assures a variety of diversions that are also certain to appeal to those who don’t even know what an ollie is! This venue boasts a live music stage, a three-tier indoor concrete skate park, an art gallery, a café, bar, cinema space and a host of workshops and talks. Skate sessions are free and open to all, you can also book in for lessons with the Skateboard School on Saturday mornings.
  • Enjoy an Escapade in Camden Camden is one of London’s most iconic areas. This historic neighbourhood is famous for being the hang out of countless musicians, artists and writers. Camden played a key role in the rock, punk and Britpop scenes. Camden still has great music to offer, but it also has so much more! From shopping to eating, to enjoying a great night out, Camden has you covered! You cannot go to Camden without swinging by the sprawling, colourful market! With over a thousand shops, cafes and bars here there is something for everyone! Music is still very much a feature of Camden, with some great venues, check out Dingwalls, a small venue that has hosted some big names, the Dublin Castle, a stalwart of the Indie music scene that helped launch the careers of Blur and Amy Winehouse. The Electric Ballroom regularly hosts incredible acts, and places like the Jazz Cafe have a mix of club nights and live music.
  • Go shopping in Portobello London is full of great market options! Another top place to visit is Portobello. The Saturday antiques market is the most popular here, look out for clothing, jewellery and some great food stalls too! Once you are done with your shopping I would recommend a cupcake at the Hummingbird Bakery, a film at the beautifully eclectic Electric Cinema, followed by a delicious cocktail at the Rum Kitchen!
  • Head East and Explore the street art scene East London is home to some spectacular street art. You will find some of the city’s best murals in between Shoreditch and Brick Lane, be sure to pass by Redchurch Street and Shoreditch Triangle! If you’re looking for a more in-depth experience of East London’s street art scene, the Alternative London Walking Tour offers insightful tours led by local street artists. Once you have finished admiring the artistry, there are some great fun bars with a slight twist! Bar Kick is a football fan’s fantasy, with large plasma screens showing live sports and a bar packed with foosball tables for half-time fun. If football isn’t really your thing but you are looking for a more unique, and energetic way to socialise head over to Bounce Ping Pong! This is a great bar filled with ping pong tables! Bounce also serves food and offer a great bottomless brunch on Sundays!
  • Hip Hop Karaoke The UK’s original Hip Hop Karaoke event at the Social has facilitated thousands of people act out their rap fantasies! Whether old school beats are your jam, or Drake is more your thing Hip Hop Karaoke is the place to let go of all inhibitions and experience the exhilaration of killing it live on stage!


is famous for being a party city. However, its fundamental Georgian core, sprinkling of art galleries and increasingly varied restaurant scene means a weekend in this former industrial hub proposed much beyond nightspots.

  • See a gig at the Cluny: listen to some live music at this intimate, split-level live music venue and bar in former bottling plant, hosting up-and-coming acts.
  • Watch a cult classic In addition to serving some top notch food (try the duck fat and rosemary popcorn!!), the Tyneside Cinema cafeis also host to a number of free film nights.Cult classics are played on the cafe’s small screen on Monday nights. Musicals are shown on Sunday nights, and all can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or something stronger.
  • Hangout with the hippies at the Settle Down Café  it has a back room like the parlour of a grandmotherly terraced house, even incluing a TV. The food is great: Don’t miss the  Thai lentil-and-coconut soup, or just enjoy a tea and a fantastic cupcake.
  • Enjoy a quiet sit down at The Literary and Philosophical Society a splendid 19th-century institution of learning with a terrific library. You have to be a member to take books out, but the public can sit in the leather chairs or at the vast polished tables, enjoy a cup of tea, flick through a periodical and marvel at the Victorian interiors.
  • Take a Sunday morning stroll throughTynemouth Market  which is housed in a restored Victorian train station, selling crafts, plants, books, old postcards, curios, toys and bric-a-brac. If you get peckish, there are plenty of food stalls and even an open-fire pizzeria. Alternatively you can head for the beach and have fish and chips at Crusoe’s.
  • Enjoy a night out at the Wylam Brewery, a 30-barrel microbrewery that has recently moved to the Palace of Arts in Exhibition Park. It now also features a bar and a gig venue. Don’t miss out on the Jakehead IPA!




is an undeniably beautiful city, with a number of famous sites to see. But there are also a lot of interesting things to do and see that aren’t as well known!

  • Père Lachaise Cemetery A cemetery might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of things to do in Paris, but Père Lachaise is unique. Not only is it really picturesque, but it is also one of the most fascinating cemeteries in the world. Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are amongst some of the famous names there. Père Lachaise is hauntingly beautiful, particularly in autumn.
  • The Paris Catacombsare quite an exceptional place to visit, very unique. Experience the dark side of the French capital. The Paris Catacombs are an underground maze of ossuary’s, depositories of bones, found right in the heart of Paris. They form part of converted limestone quarries used many centuries ago. There are roughly 200 miles of underground tunnels underneath Paris. Only 1.1 miles of this massive network is regarded as the catacombs, they accommodate an estimated six to seven million Parisians.
  • Have a drink with a view at Le Perchoir. This stunning rooftop bar offers 360-degree views of the capital. This is a great spot for sunset. But be warned this place is on the 7th floor and the street entrance is totally unmarked! There is also a restaurant on the floor below with great food and even a “surprise menu” picked by the chef!
  • Visit one of Hemingway’s Favourite Haunts. Shakespeare and Company, the small, run-down bookshop on Paris’s Left Bank, might be the one of the most famous bookshops in the world. It was the first place to publish the whole of James Joyce’s Ulysseswhen absolutely no other publisher would, and for decades it was treated like an informal living room – and even sometimes a bedroom – by many of the most esteemed characters in modern literature: Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Durrell, Martin Amis. It is an English language bookshop and is one of my favourite places in Paris.
  • Explore the hipster hangouts in Canal St Martin https://www.jetsetter.com/magazine/172/paris-hip-hood?ckey=
    Located in the North East of Paris, the Canal Saint-Martin is a scenic area with a 19th-century waterway and iron footbridges. Recently, the area has renovated from a concealed gem to a chic hot spot bursting with some of Paris’s finest restaurants and shops. Go to the Hood for an evening of Banh Mi and Beats and sip on cocktails at the Comptoir General, an achingly trendy ghetto museum/bar.
  • Take a Sunday Stroll through Le Marais one of the only neighbourhoods in Paris where everything is open on Sunday. This is a great area to stroll around. You will find all the top boutiques along with numerous independent stores, alongside great cafes and restaurants. Be sure to get a falafel sandwich from L’As du Fallafel!!
  • Enjoy Art…..all night long – La Nuit Blanche For over 15 years now, the White Night – Nuit Blanche – astounds Paris. In 2018, the event will take place on October 6. Paris and all of her tourists are invited to explore the cities art galleries and museums in a unique manner, at night! The 2018 show offers 3 unparalleled tours that are related to the capital’s symbolic sights. You can see works and attend performances by artists from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. This is a truly fantastic way to explore Paris and to see contemporary art. I cannot recommend this more!
  • Explore the history of Hip Hop – learn about Paris through the role it has played in French Hip-Hop Culture on this great tour. This is a great way to see the city through the eyes of a local and through the street culture. French hip-hop, if you’re not familiar with it, is fantastic!! For the French hip-hop newbies, check out this track by 3ème Oeil. It is one of my all-time favourites!


Berlin is debatably Europe’s hippest city. Boasting a 24-hour nightlife, an emerging culinary scene and reasonably priced living, Berlin has global appeal.

  • Hang out with the hipsters: Assemble your hippest looking friends and head to Michelberger Hotel. A perfect location for both day and night, Michelberger’s interior offers something in between industrial chic and minimalist – perfect for some great Instagram They have a super swanky cocktail list and host DJs who play chilled out beats. A perfect place to start your night!
  • Dance the night away at Kraftwerk Berlin: This illustrious techno nightclub is located within a neglected power plant. It has since been converted into a stark, fundamentally industrial and immensely impressive venue. Kraftwerk Berlin also presents art installations, specialist events and gigs. Check their website for a full programme of events.
  • Take a hidden walking tour: If you want to see how the locals truly live, this guided walk by Urban Adventures reveals many of the hidden secrets of the capital. You will encounter lesser known sites like the Palace of Tears, Humboldt University and New Synagogue, and even hear about the city’s storied history. Part of the tour also involves going to one of the oldest bakeries in the city to sample a ‘Berliner’, a customary German doughnut-ish delicacy.
  • Enjoy the coffee culture: Berlin has an abundant café culture with kaffee und kuchen– coffee and cakes – a time-honoured tradition. Head to Cafe CK for a mesmerising matcha latte and delectable banana bread! Cafe CK offers an impeccable mix of mouth-watering cakes, fine tea, wonderful coffee and an incredibly welcoming staff in a tranquil and cool ambiance.
  • Explore Kreuzberg– also known as “Europe’s hipster central, “Kreuzeberg is truly where it all goes down. Known as X-Berg by the locals, the neighbourhood is crammed with wall art, graffiti, trendy vintage shops and hipster cafes. For those who are into cryptocurrencies, Kreuzeberg boasts the world’s topmost density of companies accepting Bitcoin. Rent a bicycle and enjoy a relaxing brunch with the locals!


This extremely vibrant city, is constantly evolving. There are frequently new cafes opening up and street markets popping up.  I would recommend visiting in summer as everyone is getting out and enjoying the city; on sidewalk cafes, in the port or just hanging out with a barbecue on one of the many urban beaches.


  • Indulge in Copenhagen Street Food A new take on street food in the port enjoys an enormous amount of food choices. Sit outside to take full advantage of the amazing views across the city!  Go for the twice fried (in duck fat) chips at Copper and Wheat.
  • Take a Stroll: Copenhagen is a flat city constructed around waterways with a condensed downtown area. It is a very walkable city. The majority of the points of interest are within easy reach of City Hall Square and Central Station.
  • Enjoy the Hipster Vibes in Norrebroparken this lengthy, thin strip of city space was converted a few years ago into a sweet assortment of cycling paths, skate parks and playgrounds. This area is established as a bohemian hangout. The Assistens Cemetery(where Hans Christien Andersen and other prominent Danes are buried) in the middle of Nørrebrogade, the area’s main thoroughfare, is the symbol of this trendy area. The locals tend to flock towards Jægersborggade, known for its cool cafés and organic restaurants. They also head to Ravnsborggade for its great selection of vintage and second-hand shops.
  • Hang out with the cool kids in Vesterbro: As the sun sets and the hum , the Meatpacking Districtin eclectic Vesterbro is the coolest spot to be. It is one of the trendiest areas to go for dinner, drinks and dancing. Here you will find a lavish selection of bars and clubs! If cocktails are your thing don’t miss out on Curfew. This classy spot wows it’s customers with vintage décor, jazz music and some of the best cocktails money can buy! Be sure to try the Unfaithful and Odyssey Number 10!
  • Dance the night away to live music
    The VEGA complex is one of Denmark’s most well-liked clubs and is believed by some to have one of Europe’s top sound systems. VEGA has a stylish wooden bar and two concert venues. The bigger of the venues has hosted the likes of Kylie Minogue and Foals. The smaller one (which is more intimate with a capacity of 500 people) is a great venue for experimental artists.
  • Sleep in a houseboat: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2003116 Airbnb has one of the coolest spots to stay in Copenhagen, on a boat! Ahoy their sailor!!

Honourable Mentions

This list could go on forever! Unfortunately, I had to put a stop to it. But I couldn’t finish without mentioning a couple more super cool spots!  

  • Surf a River in the Centre of Munich This sounds like a hoax, but Munich genuinely is the birthplace of a new sport: river surfing. This wave is for more advanced surfers and is packed all year round!
  • Latraac Skate bowl Athens is an incredible spot to skate, just hang out, or even have a great snack! This rad place was set up by a Greek architect whose dream was to build a haven for Greek skaters! He realised this dream in the centre of Athens! He teams up with a number of organizations working with refugees and holds some seriously cool events!
  • Play football with the best in Barcelona! Join Celebreak and get the chance to compete on thetraining fields of FC Barcelona!!!
  • Walk across the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Switzerland! This bridge runs 86 metres above the ground at its highest point. The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, in the Swiss Alps, is a terrifying 494 metres long and connects Grächen and Zermatt.

Looking for some new gear? Head over to Urban Surfer and check out the great collection. I am loving the pink MLB Snapback! ?

Stephanie Contomichalos

Stephanie Contomichalos is a sports enthusiast. She is an avid crossfitter, wakeboarder and has recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach. She is also an advocate for women’s sport and for using sport as a tool for development. She is currently living in Athens, Greece.

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