‘Readers’ Favorite Student Trips: Unforgettable Experiences and Delightful Encounters during Europe Holidays’


Winning tip: Berlin’s lakes and cakes

It has to be Berlin. During a month-long summer trip in the late noughties, I fell in love with Kreuzberg’s €2 kebabs, cheap pilsner and vibrant street art. I strolled through leafy Prenzlauer Berg, home to endless coffee, cake and culture. This city has whatever food you could possibly want (currywurst is a must – meat, veggie or otherwise, big and budget-friendly). But the highlight was taking a train out to the stunning lake Wannsee. We packed a picnic, stripped off, sank our toes in the sand and swam, swam, swam until the canalside clubs began calling our name.

Jessica Cole

Binge on the Balkans

River Neretva, Mostar. Photograph: Lassi Kurkijarvi/Getty Images

My three-week trip through the Balkans aimed to combine culture with stunning views. I stopped in Split, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Mostar, Kotor, Tirana, Skopje, Sofia and Plovdiv before flying back from Istanbul. The buses between each city cost around €20 each. Hostels were really affordable, and living costs were a great respite from English prices. The cool museums, galleries and themed bars and cafes made it a really educational experience. Everyone I met was lovely and hospitable, and the food was gorgeous (and vegetarian-friendly). Get used to fog-topped mountains looming over exciting urban visions, panoramic views and an array of interesting, varied tongues.

Antonia Langford

Budapest, the perfect student capital

Food and drink are cheaper in Budapest than in many west European cities, our tipster found. Photograph: rudi1976/Alamy

Why follow the crowds to Paris, Berlin or Rome when you can visit the perfect student capital, Budapest? Walk by the Danube, visit the fairytale Fisherman’s Bastion, soak up art and culture in Buda castle and fill your nights with great music and the best craft beers. Travel, food and drink are inexpensive, especially with student discounts. By night you walk cobbled streets in the footsteps of vampires and drink in the famous ruin pubs. By day you must visit the thermal baths, then head to the Buda hills to explore the fabulous underground caves.

Susanna C

A month in mind-blowing Mexico

Mazunte, Mexico. Photograph: Daniel Daplincourt/Alamy

As I was a female solo traveller, most people told me not to go to Mexico, warning of scam artists, violence, kidnapping and more stereotypes. However, thanks to a travel grant from the University of Manchester I got to spend a month travelling from the Atlantic to Pacific coasts then up to Mexico City. The culture, nature and food were mind-blowing, but what really took me aback was the hospitality everywhere I went. People looked out for me, from sharing rides to inviting me to stay in their home; I felt so welcome and safe. My top tip off the beaten track is Mazunte on the Pacific coast. A fishing village and turtle sanctuary, with stunning sunsets and community atmosphere.

Sarah Collings


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Montpellier, France

Rue de la Loge, central Montpellier. Photograph: Manfred Gottschalk/Getty Images

On a school/uni gap year I took my guitar and rucksack to the Montpellier Guitar Festival, held every year in September. The lively, cosmopolitan city in the south of France has the youngest population in France and 75,000 students, giving it a cool tolerant arty vibe. I stayed the whole year. Some medical students were so impressed with my strumming and my English accent they offered me a room in their flat in return for some tunes to help them study and some rather dodgy English lessons. Lovely architecture, student priced happy hours at open air cafes, pink flamingos, the nearby Med plus my first love interest with a beautiful French girl gave me a great start to my student life.


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