Friendliest cities in Europe
Friendliness of a city is not an easy thing to gauge. Anyone who’s done some traveling will tell you that you usually only get out of a city what you put in.
In a positive mood after a few days of epic travels? Chances are, you’ll attract warm, interesting and friendly people. Missed your train because of an unhelpful conductor? You’ll be forgiven for being temporarily frustrated and dismissive of your destination.
But research and personal experience have shown that there are some cities in Europe that just ooze charm and friendliness, that have people who are kind, understanding, and social regardless of your circumstances. These are some of them:
Many people consider this Swedish city to be among the most open-minded and sociable in the world. As a result, its people are typically warm and welcoming. In fact, recent research by Hostelworld declared it tops for openness, willingness to party, and general socialising. The relaxed nature of the city’s residents will have you feeling right at home, whether you’re traveling alone or with company.
How to get there by train: There are trains on the hour from Stockholm. The scenic journey requires an advanced reservation, but the high-speed trains get you there in an impressive 3 hours! It’s also easy to reach Gothenburg from Copenhagen – the train ride from there is under 4 hours.
The Swedish capital of Stockholm also fares well in the slew of friendly-city research. This is a city that feels ahead of almost every global curve, from eco-friendly policies to social awareness. This filters down to most people on the street. Stockholm’s welcoming nature is particularly impressive, or perhaps explained by, the fact that the city’s residents see little sunshine for much of the winter months – so there’s a renewed vigour and enthusiasm when summer rolls around.
How to get there by train: Stockholm is a convenient rail hub in Sweden. There are easy train connections from throughout the country, as well as long distance trains to other Scandinavian countries.
Most Portuguese cities are welcoming and friendly. Even the bustling capital Lisbon is vibrant and open. It’s common to leave the country with a selection of new local Facebook friends, who you’ll maintain sporadic contact with until you realise you’ll likely never see each other again. But there’s something about the colourful city of Porto that puts it above the country’s other top destinations. It may be the pleasant climate, vibrant social scene, or just general appreciation towards visiting tourists, but it’s hard not to feel welcomed in this beautiful destination.
How to get there by train: It’s easy to reach Porto by train! The most common route is from Lisbon. There are high speed InterCity trains that require advance reservation running every hour, and the journey time is just 3 hours!
There’s no mistaking classic Irish warmth and hospitality. You’ll encounter it throughout a journey to the country, even if you’re really just finding it difficult to read any kind of hospitality into the infectiously friendly accent. There’s something about Dublin, with its intriguing history and hundreds of unpretentious pubs, that makes it a delightfully hospitable city to visit.
How to get there by train: The capital Dublin is easy to reach by train from most major centers in Ireland. For example, trains from Belfast in Northern Ireland run every hour and take just over 2 hours.
Spend time in Berlin and you’ll quickly learn that most German stereotypes aren’t actually true. The cosmopolitan capital is a melting pot for all kinds of cultures and nationalities, and as such it’s hard not to feel welcome there. Whether you’re sipping on a coffee at the ultimate ‘Third Wave’ café, or dancing the night away in one of the city’s legendary clubs, it always feels as if a meaningful engagement is never far away.
How to get there by train: Berlin is easy to reach by train from throughout Germany. Trains are fast and frequent. There are also long distance routes to neighbouring countries that make it a convenient rail hub in Central Europe.
The city of Krakow has seen some trying times in its history. These days, it feels as if the younger population that frequents the numerous bars there are doing their best to cast everything in a new, more energetic light. There are dozens of vibrant bars and clubs to visit that suit all tastes, and many are filled with interested, and interesting, locals ready to have a friendly conversation.
How to get there by train: Krakow is a quick and easy train ride away from the Polish capital, Warsaw. An advance reservation on the EIP high-speed train will get you there in just over 2 hours!
Norway regularly features towards the top of the annual World Happiness Report. When you consider the quality of life in its capital Oslo, is easy to understand why many consider it among the friendliest cities in Europe. The prices and weather may be somewhat daunting, but with so much going for it, it’s almost impossible not to slip into the relaxed and open nature that many embrace there.
How to get there by train: Oslo is a good rail hub in Norway. There are several trains to and from the capital throughout the day. If you’re arriving from Sweden, there are two daily direct trains from Stockholm that require advance reservation but take just 5 hours.
The Danish capital is another Scandinavian gem that seems to tick all the boxes when it comes to welcoming outsiders. It too features regularly in the World Happiness Report, thanks to its eco-friendly policies, social consciousness, and high standard of living. It also has one of the most progressive mobility policies in the world, meaning as a pedestrian or cyclist, you’ll be right at ease making your way alongside the rest of the population.
How to get there by train: Copenhagen is a convenient rail hub in Denmark. There are easy high-speed connections to most major centers in the country. There are also easy connections from Germany – with several daily direct train rides from Hamburg that take under five hours.
Most of Europe is kind, tolerant and welcoming, especially towards intrepid Eurailers making their way around the continent. But there are some countries and cities that have found a way to be even more friendly. If you’re looking for this classic warmth and hospitality on your Eurail trip, then you can’t go wrong by checking in to at least one of the above destinations.
Feeling friendly? You might like these other posts:
- 5 Family-Friendly Destinations in Europe by Rail
- Where to Meet Other Travelers on Your Europe Trip
- Best Cities to Party in Europe