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6 best skate-cities in Europe

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As a tourist you don't really want to hang around other tourists. You want a different atmosphere. As a skater however, you want to go where there is other skaters. Other skateboarders makes you hyped. A good analogy is when you’re in a group and there’s some people saying or doing something very normal for the atmosphere but a bit strange or ridiculous in your opinion. Then you look over to that one friend that you know for sure thinks the same and sort of gets you. That is skateboarders to one another. They are not strangers just because they don’t know eachother. They are strangers if they don't understand eachother. When you travel to a foreign city, you want to find other skate-tourists. I will make the case for a few select cities that I visited in Europe and explain why you should pick that.

1. Barcelona - The superstar

This city is an overkill and overused and over-visited in skateboarding for two decades now. That is very positive and gives it a lot of points to the empirical standard. For me, it was so easy to get around on the ground because it is very smooth. You can ride from spot to spot on the board. There are tons of skaters throughout the city because this city is so advertised everywhere. Your view on skateboarding changes when you get here. It's a bit like a Tony Hawk video game when the spots are close to each other or you take the metro and go out straight to a huge spot. There are so many spots also because they arranged the Olympic games back in the days and wanted to upgrade the city. So they put modernized objects around the streets which resulted in more spots for skaters. Fun fact: The Swedish skateboard company Sour bought a flat in Barcelona and let the skaters on the team live there.

Spots: Macba, Forum, Fondo, Universitat, Parallel, Sants, Besos

2. Berlin - The stable

If you are into to well structured and organized streets then this city is good for you. You can see the grounding is different from the south with more asphalt and less marble and tiles. This is because during the winter it will freeze under the ground and the marbles will then shape crookedly. In the south, there is the problem with the asphalt. When it's super hot the asphalt melts and gets uneven. So they use more tiles and marble in the south. It's also because marble is slippery. That becomes very funny with ice on top.

Spots: Kulturforum, Treptower park, Warschauer Straße

Skateparks: Vogelfreiheit, Böcklerpark, Lohmühlenbrücke at the Maybachufer, Heidelberger Platz in Wilmersdorf, Hasenheide, Pappelplatz, Nike SB Shelter

3. Copenhagen - The environmentalist

This place has a lot of artistically motivated objects in the city. Cubes, circles, weird fountains and so on. Like those weird objects that you only see in dreams… And also here. There is a lot of open space here. A lot of random open squares with few people. This is not a dense city.

The legal drinking age in Denmark is 16, so you can see a lot of kids in the streets while you skate in the evening and think: "Aren't they too young for that?" Actually not!

Skaters here are very open and want you to have a nice trip if you're on tour. That was my experience. They might invite you to skate with them. Just don't smoke what they give you! Or do. I'm just a writer, not a police officer.

Skateparks: Royal Copenhagen, Alis Wonderland, Vanløse, Fælledparken, Mjølnerparken, Refshaleøen, Helligdommen, Christiania DYI skatepark, Under broen – Bispebjerg, Under bispebuen, Hullet, Løbehjulsparken, Tårnby, Holmehaven

Skatespots: Nansensgade, Jarmers Plads, Superkilen Nørrebro, Plug N play, Israels plads, Amager strandpark

4. Paris - The artist

The city for artists. As a skater that can be you. Here you go to get the vibe of artistic expression and somehow your thinking changes. Not like when you are in Berlin, Copenhagen or Barcelona. Here you turn into a different kind of person. You begin dreaming about a trick you can do and you want to have the signature of Paris in the background while you do it. Here you become more poet-like just by walking in the streets. Maybe you will think of analogies to describing your skate situation. Like how skating is like going to war and not getting the trick is like getting shot in the arm and you will have traumas about it until you go back and make the trick. Of course, Hemingway would be pissed if you even tried to relate military to skateboarding.

Skatespots: Le Dome, La defense, La Vague, Republique, Austerlitz, Bondy skatepark, Rue Rene Boulanger, Avenue Georges Gosnat

Skateparks: Impasse des Fillettes, La Muette Bowl, Bercy skatepark

5. Moscow - The wild card

Not a lot of people know about or think about all the things you can ride on here. They have a lot of big plazas and squares which is made for big political figures. The political figures deserve a big space! That is very good for skaters. The country has used so much money on military and public stuff. They might suffer now because of that. But skaters thrive here because of this.

Skatespots: Oktyabarskaya square, Memorial Museum of Astronautics

Skateparks: Victory Park, Lockstream, Rollerdome

A relevant side topic to Moscow is "What the skateboarder benefits of property rights vs public property." With public property, there are squares and public parks and monuments and parliament style buildings to skate. With private property, you can make your own park, buy a membership in a park, skate awesome business buildings until the security guard kicks you out. From videos skateboarders here the security complaining and saying: "step aside, this is private property", and skaters hate that. Just remember that those property rights gives you the ability to have your own space with your friends and you can kick out scooter kids.

6. London - The Classic

This one is rougher. Bring bigger and softer wheels and you'll be fine. This one has the most depressing skate scene on the list. At least if you're going to South banks. There's a lot of medicine dealers there. They are calm people. They ride bikes in the square to pretend that they are there as athletes without hidden motives. In reality, they are there for the exchange of products! Here's how you know if it's a medicine dealer: They ride around in circles and attempts to ride on one wheel very unsuccessfully.

Besides from this, you have many spots to skate in the streets and there are some skateparks around. I put this city on the list since it is an essential place for skaters and it's a good place to be a street boy. The skateparks are quite a bit out of the center in London.

Skatespots: St. Pauls, Euston banks, Shell center

Skateparks: Southbank, White grounds, Normand park

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The author

Kai Bonsaksen

Kai Bonsaksen

I'm Kai from Norway. I always follow that little voice in my head that tells me to go and explore new places … and on itinari, I talk about the ones I know the best!

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