If you’re not doing a J1 this year and you don’t like navigating rivers of vomit on your morning walk through Ballymun in the sun there are a few European destinations that will satisfy your hunger for a slightly more meaningful trip abroad.
Vienna, Austria.

The cradle of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna wears its imperial history with pride. Filled with spectacular architecture and more museums than you could shake a wienerschnitzel at, there is no shortage of cultural delights to sample. At one time home to Mozart and Beethoven, Vienna has maintained its reputation as one of the most important cities in the world for classical music and a trip to see the Philharmonic orchestra is an unforgettable experience.



Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Amsterdam is of course the canals. And weed and hookers, but if you can tear yourself away from the sleazy and debaucherous den of vice that is the Anne Frank Museum then Amsterdam will no doubt surprise you. The great Dutch masters are showcased in a number of impressive locations throughout the city and a weekend can be lost quite easily wandering about. The recently renovated Rijksmuseum is a must see.



Florence, Italy.

The birthplace of the renaissance, Florence is perhaps a little less overtly impressive than its big sister Rome but it is still overflowing with impressive historical sights. Michelangelo’s David is one of the main draws to the city and attracts hordes of visitors year round and can be found in the Accademia Gallery alongside works from Botticelli. The Uffizi Gallery is home to a huge collection of renaissance masterpieces bequeathed by the Medici family and is considered one of the most important and impressive museums in the world.



Istanbul, Turkey.

One of the oldest cities in the world and certinly one of the most historically significant, Istanbul has a lot to offer beyond the mosques and tea houses that seem to dominate the city. A trip to Kilic Ali Pasa Hamami is a perfect way to begin a day of museum hopping with the likes of the Florence Nightingale museum and the Hagia Sophia enough to impress even the most museum weary traveller.



Berlin, Germany.

Not only a good spot for partying, Berlin has a huge amount to offer the cultural traveller. The Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Brandenberg gate are landmarks with huge cultural significance for Europe and the history behind them is a major part of 20th century Europe. Organised as ever, the authorities have gouped five of the most important museums in the country on an island, fittingly labelled museum island

Eoin Blackbyrne