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Vinohrady in Prague
Photograph: Pyty /

It’s official: these are Europe’s coolest neighbourhoods

From water sports and regeneration projects to traditional Italian markets and Irish pubs, these places have got some big personality

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

There’s a whole lot more that goes into making a neighbourhood worthy of a place on our annual list of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world than just the trendy coffee shops and the nightlife. Those two things are obviously super important, but a tight-knit community and a sense that traditional, local businesses are still thriving makes a place pretty cool, too. 

This year, our list of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods was compiled with the input of 12,000 city dwellers, as well as the expert knowledge of editors and locals who truly know their cities inside out – and it resulted in a collection of fascinating spots with big personalities. 

Of the 40 entries on our worldwide roundup, 17 are in Europe – clearly, the continent has an abundance of thriving hotspots. These European ’hoods have a charming blend of new, swanky art spaces or music venues alongside landmark traditional restaurants and locals who have lived there for decades. 

Havnen in Copenhagen is one such example. Dubbed ‘the city’s living room’ by Copenhagen’s city architect Camilla van Deurs, this waterfront spot is awash with people rafting, paddleboarding, kayaking and swimming, and has witnessed a wave of new openings of eateries and public spaces. 

Milan’s Isola neighbourhood is another of the coolest neighbourhoods in Europe, thanks not only to its colourful street art and bustling bars, but also to the continued presence of indie shops and galleries, which are disappearing from other areas of the city. Isola’s weekly outdoor market retains bags of authentic Italian charm, too. 

The Baltic Triangle in Liverpool ranked sixth on the list, making it the highest-ranking neighbourhood in the UK. ‘The Baltic’, as it’s nicknamed, has been revitalised over the last few years thanks to a huge regeneration project. Formerly a patch of abandoned shipping warehouses, the neighbourhood now has a thriving food scene and nightlife. 

The UK did pretty well overall, with four neighbourhoods making the top 40 ranking, including King’s Cross in London

Here are the 17 coolest neighbourhoods in Europe:

  1. Smithfield, Dublin
  2. Carabanchel, Madrid
  3. Havnen, Copenhagen
  4. Isola, Milan
  5. West, Amsterdam
  6. Baltic Triangle, Liverpool
  7. Cours Julien, Marseille
  8. Leith, Edinburgh
  9. Costa da Caparica, Almada
  10. West End, Glasgow
  11. Neukölln, Berlin
  12. Haut-Marais, Paris
  13. Kings Cross, London
  14. Vinohrady, Prague
  15. El Clot, Barcelona
  16. Exarcheia, Athens
  17. Bebek, Istanbul

Want to know more about some of our cities’ trendiest districts? This is officially the coolest neighbourhood in the world – and you can browse our list of the top 40 coolest neighbourhoods here

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