The quality of a city’s beer credentials might seem like strange criteria on which to judge a travel destination -- but there are certainly stranger. And there are also plenty of beer fans out there. It might be the cost of the beer, its beer-soaked historical root,s or its sweet craft beer scene, but each of these six cities makes a case for being Europe’s best city for beer lovers.
One word: Oktoberfest. Munich is the most famous beer city in the world thanks, in a big way, to its annual beer fest. Contributing over a billion Euros to the Munich economy every year, the event is a huge date in every beer fan's calendar. And considering the majority of the 17-day party takes place in September, that calendar should come in useful. For the other 348 days of the year, Munich’s beer halls and gardens continue the tradition, and we’d recommend a Hofbräuhaus to get a touristy taste of the city beer culture.
Hotel Pick: Hotel Bavaria is within walking distance of the Oktoberfest grounds and offers large, simple rooms.
When it comes to beer, Belgium has some of the finest tipples in the worldWith its dreamy canals and UNESCO World Heritage Site good looks, Bruges is the ultimate backdrop for getting down with the grain. Unsurprisingly, the city is filled with cozy beer bars vying for your stein-cradling hand. Go straight to the source with a tour of the Straffe Hendrik Brewery (De Halve Maan) before moules frites and more beer at De Kelk on Langestraat.
Hotel Pick: Within close range of sights like the Beguinage Convent and the Groeninge Museum, the Hotel Montanus is as convenient as possible -- and the rooms here are stylish.
If you thought that Londoners only drank warm ale then...okay, they still drink some warm ale, but tradition’s no bad thing. To go with the cask ales, the city has a huge craft beer scene that has grown exponentially over the last five years. A slew of American-inspired pale ales hit the market and now every other pub in the capital serves something out of the ordinary. Nowhere is the rise and rise of beer in London more evident than beneath the railway arches of Bermondsey. Visit and sample breweries like the Kernel, Brew by Numbers, Partizan Brewing and Fourpure as you attempt to conquer the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
Hotel Pick: The cheap and extremely cheerful Clink78 Hostel is the choice for those who don’t need frills, but appreciate the thought of the fun street-art-inspired design.
When beer prices hover at around $1.70 a pint, you’d think that bargain drinking was the main reason a destination could compete as one of Europe’s best beer cities. But while the price of a pint in Prague is a treat, the relaxed beauty of the Baroque city is just as important as the sinking of suds. The city is home to one of Europe’s most famous Old Town Squares, and once you’ve checked off a visit to the must-see Charles Bridge, a trip spent lazing in the dramatic square drinking the local Staropramen pilsner wouldn’t be one misspent. After all, this is the home of the first ever Pilsner and it’s a city that even goes as far as having an actual beer spa!
Hotel Pick: Style it out at the 1920s Art Nouveau Grand Hotel Bohemia in the heart of Prague’s Old Town.
Do you know why the Irish capital is one of Europe’s best beer cities? Of course you do; it’s because when you’re there, the good times just keep Doublin’ and Doublin’ and Doublin’...like what we did there? It may be most famous for one beer in particular, but Dublin is a doozy for drinkers. And it’s not just Guinness that flows -- although no trip is complete without a brewery tour and a pint of the black stuff at the in-house Gravity Bar. The Temple Bar neighborhood is packed with bars -- not to mention an atmosphere that feels like every weekend is St. Patrick’s Day. The local Porterhouse was Dublin’s first brewery pub, where you can find an extensive range of its brews for when you tire of Guinness.
Hotel Pick: Place yourself directly within the action at Dublin Citi Hotel. Located in Temple Bar, the simple hotel is one of the best placed for the bars.
Scotland may be more famous for its whiskey than its beer, but the picturesque city of Edinburgh is trying to change that. With an excellent balance between craft beer outfits and traditional pubs, the city allows beer lovers to sample the new and the old Scottish beer scenes. A famous university town, here beer drinking is a year-round pursuit and even outside of term-time the city is always packed. We can recommend it as one of Britain’s friendliest cities, so expect to pick up some new drinking companions should you visit. Head for the Hanging Hat to sample local British brews in a contemporary scene and make sure to visit the Guildford Arms for a traditional interior that might even be better than the beer.
Hotel Pick: The 42-room Grassmarket Hotel is great for its quirky character, contemporary design, and picturesque location.