Student travel: capital ideas

Europe is on your doorstep, so what are you waiting for? Here are some places you don't want to miss

Many international students coming to study in the UK from far a field will find that, for the first time, they have unheralded access to a lovely little place: Europe! Countries such as France, Spain and Italy are entirely accessible from this small island, without having to be hugely expensive. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites. Bon voyage!

Paris, France

What to see
Where to start? There are the obvious hot spots of course: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame cathedral and the Louvre museum. There’s also the area of Montmartre (above right), topped by a beautiful white church, Sacre Coeur. Oh, don’t even get us started on the crêpes stands…

When to go
Paris Plage, a man-made beach, appears along the banks of the river Seine every summer; this year you can feel the sand between your toes until 21 August.

How to get there
The Eurostar, a high-speed train from London, is one option. You could also get a National Express coach through the Eurotunnel; it takes about nine hours from London.

Where to stay
Auberge des Jeunes – youth hostels for those of you whose French is less than fantastic – are plentiful.

Barcelona, Spain

What to see
Visit the several museums and galleries on offer and don’t miss La Sagrada Familia, a spectacular unfinished cathedral by the famous Spanish architect Gaudi (top left).

When to go
La Mercè, a massive festival, takes place from 19 to 24 September.

How to get there
Ryanair fly to Barcelona, as do British Airways. Check individual websites for details.

Where to stay
There are loads of cheap and well-placed youth hostels.

Rome, Italy

What to see
Or perhaps that should be what to eat! Pizza, pasta, seafood: it’s all here. Stock up before you see the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the Vatican.

When to go
The Estate Romana festival runs until 21 September, with outdoor performances of music and film.

How to get there
Easyjet is one of many airlines that provides cheap flights.

Where to stay
You could look at staying in one of many pensiones: budget hotels.

Berlin, Germany

What to see
There remains a great difference between East and West Berlin since the fall of the Wall in 1989.The East of the city is slightly dilapidated, but the plus side is that these dilapidated buildings have been transformed into quirky bars and restaurants. Also check out the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag building.

When to go
The Festival of Lights takes place from 14 to 26 October, including displays, projections and fireworks.

How to get there
Flying is the best way to go; Air Berlin offer some good deals.

Where to stay
Berlin is a well-priced European capital when it comes to accommodation, so a bit of research should find you an affordable hotel or pension.

Prague, Czech Republic

What to see
Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, while Charles Bridge is another highlight. In the New Town it is Wenceslas Square that dominates, surrounded by restaurants, cafés, offices, hotels, cinemas and shops.

When to go
The Fringe Festival takes place every year around May/June, with loads of comedy and theatre. Students get cheaper tickets.

How to get there
If you fly in it will be to Ruzyne airport, the Czech Republic’s only international airport; you could also catch a train from Paris or Amsterdam if you’re feeling adventurous.

Where to stay
Cheaper accommodation tends to be out of the city centre, so you’ll need to hunt around for bargains.

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