UNiDAYS 2024 Student Travel Index

The spring season is officially here—from destination dupes to cool-cationing, 2024 travel trends have been coming in thick and fast. That means it’s time to get serious about summer getaways and what better way to give yourself a motivational kick up the bum ahead of exam season than booking a dreamy summer holiday for the end of term?

Over the past month, Google Trends data has highlighted a breakout search for ‘best student holiday destinations’, while ‘Cheap city breaks’ 1 is also seeing an average of 14,800 searches per month. With ‘traveltok’ full of breathtaking beaches, stunning skylines and foodie hotspots, booking a holiday can be overwhelming. After all, choosing the perfect spot to sip cocktails in the sun is a big decision.

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Where should you travel in 2024?

Fear not, our team at UNiDAYS have done the work for you and conducted an in-depth study2 to find the top 10 European student travel holiday destinations for 2024. As part of the index study, we considered all the important factors, including hostel pricing, attractions, group activities, beer prices, safety rating, average cost of meals and population of international students.

Without further ado, get your travel student discount at the ready because here are the top 10 student travel destinations to add to your summer bucket list…

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Credit: Unsplash

1. Tbilisi, Georgia

Taking the top spot is Tbilisi in Georgia, with a score of 7.32 out of 10. As the country’s capital, Tbilisi is a truly unique blend of old and new, with a vibrant and colourful charm. Many of the city’s must-visit attractions are conveniently situated close together, making it perfect for exploring on foot. Students will also be pleased to know that this bohemian city is very affordable—for reference, the average cost of a beer is just £1.87.

Tbilisi is well-known for its thriving nightlife so visiting the lively Sololaki district is a must. Here, you’ll find hidden speakeasy bars and vintage-style cafes aplenty, along with clubs to keep you dancing well into the night.

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Credit: Groovy Mashed Potatoes

During the day, enjoy a browse around Dry Bridge Flea Market, where you’re sure to find some delightful vintage finds. When it comes to getting a bite to eat, carb-lovers are in for a treat as Georgian cuisine is indulgent, fresh and full of flavour. Tuck into a spot of lunch inside the former soviet sewing factory Fabrika—an incredible space that has been transformed into a social hub offering urban cafes, bars, art studios, shops and even co-work spaces.

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Credit: Getty Images

2. Lisbon, Portugal

Coming in second place is the beautiful capital of Portugal, Lisbon, scoring 7.18 out of 10. As the country’s largest city, Lisbon is known for its captivating, colourful architecture, idyllic location on the coast and its abundance of rooftop bars, of course. Lisbon is also known for being a super safe city, scoring 70.4 on our safety index.

Begin your trip by marvelling at Lisbon’s impressive setting and colourful streets. From the grand Praca do Comercio to the Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon is the perfect place to stroll on foot to learn about its fascinating history. Be sure to visit Alfama, one of the oldest districts in Lisbon, to soak in its charming character and enjoy the panoramic views, quaint backstreet restaurants and cobblestone streets.

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Is there a better way to watch the sun go down than while sipping a beer from a rooftop bar? You’re in luck because Lisbon is brimming with the coolest bars. We love Park—an atmospheric bar set on the 6th floor of a multi-storey car park where you can expect the chillest vibes and lots of live music.

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3. Yerevan, Armenia

In third place is the city of Yerevan in Armenia, often referred to as ‘The Pink City’ due to the colour of the stone used to build the soviet buildings. This small yet remarkable capital has an incredibly rich history as one of the world’s oldest continuously populated cities. Yerevan has seen a huge transformation over recent years and is now the proud home to charming boutiques, coffee shops and an array of restaurants and bars. Think it couldn’t get any better? It’s also very affordable, with the average cost of a meal coming in at just £7.18!

Yerevan ticks all the boxes when it comes to nightlife, offering a vibrant scene, ideal for students. Particularly in the summer, Yerevan’s thriving restaurants, bars and clubs are open until the early hours. Epicure is the place to be, offering great coffee and lunch in the day and incredible cocktails by night.

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Credit: Visit Yerevan

Taking in the city’s rich history is an absolute must and we’d recommend visiting one of the oldest districts in Yerevan, Kond. Whilst you’re exploring the sights, treat yourself to an array of Armenian delicacies. Taking its influence from both Asia and Europe, Armenian cuisine is rich and delicious with plenty of herbs, spices, meats and fish. One of the staple dishes is Lahmajun; a thin flatbread typically topped with a coating of ground meat and tomato, baked in the oven.

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Credit: Madison’s Footsteps

4. Prague, Czech Republic

The spectacular city of Prague takes 4th spot, with a score of 6.81. As the largest capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is known for its striking buildings and extremely cool culture, not to mention having one of the best drinking scenes in Europe. The average price of a beer comes in at £1.85—beer garden anyone?! You won’t be short on things to do in this remarkable city and it’s very budget-friendly too.

Situated minutes from the centre of the city is the cultural oasis that is Kasárna Karlín. This former army barracks has something for everyone, including; a coffee shop, cinema, sports facilities, an art gallery, a bar and even a club. Need we say more?

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Credit: Manifesto Market

One of Prague’s lesser-known hipster districts is Praga 7 where you’ll find street food, independent pop-up shops and quirky cafes in former warehouse buildings. Once you’re ready for another place to chill and pass the time, head to the new outdoor Manifesto Market for a bottomless brunch of dreams.

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Credit: Globe Guide

5. Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik comes in 5th on the list, scoring 6.80. Iceland’s bustling capital is an incredible place to visit at any time of year, with a big nightlife scene and endless things to see and do. From its vibrant art and music to the beautiful historical architecture, Reykjavik should be on your travel radar.

Start by exploring Reykjavik’s vibrant street art scene; the perfect way to discover the city’s culture from a truly unique perspective. You can either book a private walking tour or explore in your own time.

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A visit to Reykjavik isn’t complete without experiencing one of the city’s many geothermal pools near the city. There’s no better way to relax than enjoying the soothing benefits of the naturally heated waters. Once you’re feeling properly chilled out, head for a bite to eat at one of Reykjavik’s food halls, serving delicious local street food. Grandi is situated right on the harbour, offering some of the best views you could possibly ask for.

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Credit: Laura. H Parker

6. Istanbul, Turkey

With a score of 6.35, Istanbul in Turkey comes in at 6th on the list. As the largest city in Turkey, Istanbul exudes rich, historical charm and a remarkable culture that you’ll no doubt fall in love with. It’s also the only city in the world to stand across two continents. Aside from its grand buildings and bustling atmosphere, Istanbul offers no end of activities and incredible food. It’s seriously affordable too, with the average cost of a meal coming in at £7.30.

Often referred to as Istanbul’s ‘coolest’ neighbourhood, you’ll want to check out Kadıköy-Moda right away. Situated on the Asian side of town, near the coastline, Kadıköy-Moda boasts an array of restaurants, shops, cafes and street markets whilst enjoying a more relaxed vibe.

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Whether you’re after Insta-worthy rooftop bars or underground clubs, the nightlife in Istanbul is like no other. Head to Beyoglu district to experience the buzz of the city and dance the night away in one of the city’s most popular clubs; Kiki.

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7. Madrid, Spain

Coming in at number seven with a score of 6.32 is the capital of Spain, Madrid. A city that oozes sophistication and grandeur, Madrid will capture your attention and your heart. Whilst it may be a little more pricey than some other areas of Spain, Madrid offers an abundance of free activities and opportunities to explore.

Unlike other Spanish hotspots like Barcelona and Valencia, Madrid doesn’t offer the opportunity for a trip to the beach so instead, you’ll be greeted with beautiful green spaces and colourful parks such as El Retiro Park; the perfect place to hang out.

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Spend some time at the unmissable Matadero Madrid, which is a cultural hub for dining, drinking and art exhibitions. Then, head to the edgy neighbourhood of Malasaña. This is the place to be if you’re looking to appreciate Madrid’s thriving nightlife and restaurant scene. Foodies should definitely try Ojalá for a truly unique dining experience.

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Credit: Getty Images

8. Belgrade, Serbia

Eighth on the list with a score of 6.07 is Belgrade in Serbia. It may not be the first European city that comes to mind when you’re booking a summer getaway, but Serbia’s capital is currently having a moment. This bustling Eastern European city boasts an ultra-cool industrial bar scene whilst maintaining charming Balkan aesthetics and traditions. It’s also ridiculously affordable; a meal will set you back approximately £8.56 and a beer £1.20—a student’s paradise!

If you’re searching for vibrant street art and quirky bars, look no further than the Savamala District. Known for its colourful streets, hidden art galleries and industrial bars, Savamala is often referred to as the creative hub of the city.

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Be sure to spend a day exploring and relaxing at Ada Ciganlija; the green paradise located just outside of the city centre. An ideal oasis if you love the outdoors and perfect for a spot of sunbathing on a hot summer’s day.

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9. Vilnius, Lithuania

Coming in at ninth on the list, with a score of 6.03, is Vilnius in Lithuania. This elegant Baltic city is beautifully located between vast hills and valleys and is sure to impress with its stunning views. Relatively small in size, Vilnius is best explored on foot and, this way, you’ll get to appreciate each and every charming cobbled street and city wall.

Sampling the street food is an absolute must whilst you’re in Vilnius. Head to Hales Market, one of the oldest and largest markets in the city to taste some of the finest Lithuanian delicacies, such as cepelinai (potato dumplings) and kibinai (savoury pastries).

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Art lovers and explorers alike will want to visit the bohemian district of Užupis, the smallest district in Vilnius separated by the Vilnelė River from the Old Town. Spend an afternoon wandering through the quirky streets and marvelling at colourful street art before retreating to one of the cosy cafes for a coffee and a treat.

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10. Zagreb, Croatia

The final destination from our index research is the city of Zagreb in Croatia, scoring 5.94. As the capital of Croatia, Zagreb is relatively compact in size but definitely makes up for it with a rich culture and fascinating history. The city enjoys a laid-back atmosphere with plenty of charm and is perfectly surrounded by picturesque Croatian countryside views. Zagreb scored one of the highest in the safety index, making it a great option for those looking to take a solo travel trip.

Take yourself on a self-guided tour across the city, taking in Zagreb’s vibrant street art scene and be sure to stop at one of the city’s trendy cafes, the people in Zagreb take coffee very seriously.

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Credit: Jose A. de Lucas Torre via Timeout

Check out the lively and colourful Tkalčićeva Street; a picture-perfect street lined with traditional restaurants, bars and boutique shops. Before the day is up, don’t forget to pay a visit to the open-air farmer’s market, Dolac Market, to experience local traditions and flavours and immerse yourself in Zagreb’s unique culture.

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Book your 2024 getaway with UNiDAYS travel discounts

If our top 10 list has got you feeling inspired, explore travel student discount offers from some of the leading travel booking and transport services, including Booking.com, Expedia and Contiki Travel, to name a few. Whether you’re booking a long weekend break or taking an extended stay, The Edit Travel hub will provide you with plenty of inspiration and travel hacks.


  1. Search data was collected for the term ‘cheap city breaks’ using SEMRush on 22/03/2024
  2. The initial list of cities was found and pre-filtered for European cities with a population of over 100,000 using data from geonames.org. For each European country with a city on the list, the most populous city was chosen, then the most populous European cities not already on the list were added until a total of 50 was reached. The cities were ranked based on source factors including price of hostels, meal cost, one-way local transport ticket, price of beer, safety index, quality of hostels, quality of attractions, number of activities and percentage of international students.
    1. Each factor was given a score using a percentile ranking system. Cost based elements were averaged and then combined with other scores using a weighting factor to derive a final score out of 10.

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