Be inspired by Europe’s great design destinations
Many cities across the globe claim to be art and design havens, complete with artsy design districts that inspire innovative style and are frequented by the local who’s who of the design world. But which ones should you visit first on your next adventure in visual artistry?
Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers to some of the world’s most incredible and unique destinations, recently asked travellers which cities really deserve the title of ‘design destination.’ With 49% of Canadian travellers being style-inspired by embracing local culture, and 23% from a city’s landscape, it’s no wonder the cities below made the list.
Here are the top European cities for style and design inspo.
A transformation in Saint-Etienne, France
The French city of Saint-Etienne has undergone massive transformations this century, with initiatives such as the city’s annual design fair (the International Design Biennial) and being home to creative and innovative startups. The city’s modern designs and structures continue to drive the city’s design evolution.
Stay in design hotel Chambres d’Hôtes Belle Étoile; they’ll be able to recommend some incredible walking tours that will take you the city’s best (and most aesthetically pleasing) sites. Following a full day of walking, experience a food-awakening at Aromatic, right in the centre of the city’s next evolution into a culinary paradise.
Design District in Helsinki, Finland
This place carries everything you’ll need for inspiration, with a cluster of independent designer boutiques, studios and other creative projects. Right in the heart of Helsinki, you’ll experience a design district with incomparable unique styles, which can only be attributed to the city’s love and appreciation of good design.
It will be hard to miss, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a sneak peek into the next generation of Finnish design talent, and make Hotel Klaus K the base for your explorations. With its fusion of Renaissance opulence and contemporary Nordic furniture, you’ll see how interior décor can truly fall under the great works of art.
Thoughtful design at Weil am Rhein, Germany
This will be a spot to write (or text) home about. The Vitra Design Museaum, founded by Rolf Fehlbaum, the CEO of Swedish furniture design company Vitra, is a perfect representation of the residents’ passion for good design. The museum has played an integral role in the development of Weil am Rhein’s reputation as a design destination for travellers.
This German town may be small, but it’s filled with only the best in design due to the museum’s rolling lecture series with an ever-changing exhibition featuring the world’s greatest designers. Visitors to the town will also have design-savvy options for accommodations, so your inspiration won’t end until you get on the plane to return home.
Furniture shopping in Milan, Italy
You probably know about the fashion scene in Milan, but did you know about its architecture and urban design?
This city really does have it all.
There very little you can’t find here, but it’s best to begin with the city’s latest design obsession: furniture and interior design showcases. Opposite Via della Spiga (the Milan version of 5th Avenue) is where you’ll find cutting-edge Italian furniture and décor.
From there, it’s only a short walk to Raw on Via Palermo, a combination of eclectic oddities and industrial homeware. When you (or at least your bank account) are all shopped out, head to the Hotel VIU Milan where you’ll find rooftop views of the city centre, the latest in eco-friendly design and a Michelin-starred chef.
Search for inspiration in Graz, Austria
Known as a European Capital of Culture and a UNESCO City of Design, Austria’s second largest city of Graz will be the cultural and creative hub you seek (that most of the world has yet to discover).
This fresh creative scene with enchanting design studios and boutiques will leave you desperately motivated to redesign your style with a Graz, Austrian twist.
Stay at the Augarten Art Hotel, just a short walk away from the city centre with a collection of over 200 pieces of contemporary art. The hotel was designed and built by the famous Austrian architect Günther Domenig. Don’t forget to enjoy a drink in the immaculately-designed courtyard and top it off with a mini art tour. All this without having to leave the hotel.