Credit: Gloria Atanmo
And while travel is an absolute privilege for so many, I want to encourage my fellow Black Americans who’ve had their passport in hand just waiting for the opportune moment to take off temporarily, that the time is now. While I’d love to include other continents in the mix, Europe is the one I’ve spent the last 3 years exploring the most. So it’s currently the only continent I can confidently offer suggestions for cities that not only welcome Black skin color, but celebrate it as well.
1. Edinburgh, Scotland
Scottish people are some of the most hilarious and genuine people you’ll ever meet. Not only will they feel comfortable opening up to you with their life story within seconds, but they’ll invite you for a beer, banter about how much they hate England (haha, sorry Brits), and find a way to make light of any negative situation. Collectively, they have some of the best senses of humor and while you’ll only catch every third word or so due to their accents (God bless it), their charm, welcoming spirits, and laid back personalities are the exact type of people you need in your life. Just don’t go in the winter. Because hashtag, brutal.
2. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is jokingly known as the “poor but sexy” cousin to Munich, but is always a millennial favorite for digital nomads, gap year students, and others just in between jobs and taking time off to travel. Germany is a pretty liberal country in general, and whether it’s the crazy house parties, the endless selection of cuisines, nudist parks, or the hipster vibe dripping throughout the streets, it’s a city that has something for everybody. It’s got an amazing international community, so you’ll be bumping elbows with people from all walks of life on a nightly basis. It’s also without saying that due to the dark Nazi history of Germany, they really have no room to repeat or harbor negativity towards other cultures, and it seems like they make a deliberate effort not to do so.
3. Nice, France
Nice, which sits cozily along the French Riviera, is one of the most colorful, vivacious, and diverse cities in France. You’re in a melting pot of cultures from around the world, which again means incredibly varied cuisines, and not to mention one of the most beautiful and unique architectural layouts in Europe, because of its mixed Italian and French influence in the past. Nice is a city I’m always happy to go back to, and if you’re traveling for a longer period of time and you’re short on Black hair care products, you’ll have NO problem finding everything you need here.
4. Krakow, Poland
I don’t know what took me so long to discover Poland, but I finally did (thanks, Busabout!) and loved every single minute. Not only do the Polish people stop and smile at you as you pass them on the street, but you can can feel their warmth and genuine appreciation for you being there in their expressions. Though the basic words of the Polish language are a challenge to master, they’ll smile at your attempts and will meet you more than halfway with their very high levels of English.
5. Budva, Montenegro
Budva is a city that’s on the extreme end of how much Black skin can be appreciated abroad — but not as extreme as Italy, which you could read exactly what I’m talking about here, LOL. But in Budva, you’re not only welcomed, you’re practically celebrated, as you’re viewed as a celebrity as one restaurant owner confessed they get roughly two Black tourists a year, and I’m sure that’s an overstatement, ha. In Montenegro, they treat you like royalty, and got damn it, you are. You’re magical, divine, and every bit worthy of being appreciated and not judged prematurely as a threat.
While these experiences will come with its fair share of people asking for selfies, understand that it’ll still be far more enjoyable, because they’re people who feel honored by your existence, not threatened by it. And that makes the world of a difference.
Discover more at The Blog Abroad.
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