City breaks in Europe offer excellent culture, food, nightlife and more, but if you’re not careful if you could finish your holiday more stressed than you started.
The least relaxing city breaks in Europe have been revealed by spa booking specialist SpaSeekers.
The research analysed 28 European cities on the following ranking factors: how busy the city is (number of people per km), how happy the locals are and living standards.
They also looked at access to public transport, the amount of coastline nearby and how busy the local airport is.
SpaSeekers then calculated each of these scores to produce an overall index score to create the European Relaxation Index.
The least relaxing city in Europe was revealed to be Sofia in Bulgaria.
Sofia is the capital of the Balkan nation. According to Lonely Planet, it’s a modern and youthful city with onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques and Red Army monuments that lend an eclectic, exotic feel.
It’s also at the foot of popular ski mountain, Vitosha and home to many of the country’s best museums, galleries, restaurant and clubs.
However, according to the European Relaxation Index, it has the highest city population density of 6,400 people per km² and only has a small coastline (354 km).
Its mediocre scores for happiness (6.4), living standards (5.6) and public transport satisfaction (6) on the index, suggests Bulgaria’s capital is one of the most hectic for visitors.
In second place on the index came Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Despite its low city population density (3,300) and relatively high satisfaction levels, Amsterdam’s 63,625,664 annual airport passengers result in a stressful city break experience as soon as visitors touch down in the city.
The Dutch city was followed by Paris, France in third place.
Like Amsterdam, Paris’ 65,933,145 annual airport passengers at the popular Charles de Gaulle Airport can often result in a chaotic and congested experience.
In fourth place came Madrid in Spain followed by Bucharest in Romania as the fifth least relaxing city break in Europe.
The UK did not escape, however, and London came eighth in the list. The capital city’s population density is high at 5,600, public transport satisfaction is fairly low at 6.7 and Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport.
Happiness in London was rated at 7.8 and living standard satisfaction at 7.7 but its overall score came to just 3.25.
Neighbouring Dublin was named the 10th least relaxing city break in Europe on the index with a score of 3.33.
On the far end of the spectrum, Copenhagen was revealed the most relaxing city break to enjoy in Europe.
Jason Goldberg at SpaSeekers said: “Although Amsterdam and Paris are popular tourist destinations, their high airport numbers mean our visitors are stressed by the masses of people as soon as they get off the plane.
“For those in search of a city break full of tranquillity and peace, Copenhagen hits all the right chords with a positive atmosphere, great public transport links and a beautiful coastline.”
The 10 least relaxing city breaks in Europe
1. Sofia, Bulgaria
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
3. Paris, France
4. Madrid, Spain
5. Bucharest, Romania
6. Berlin, Germany
7. Prague, Czech Republic
8. London, UK
8. Warsaw, Poland
10. Dublin, Republic of Ireland
The most densely populated countries in Europe were also recently revealed, although the e not what you’d think.