By Rachael Funk
You are bold. You commit to your choices. You are absolutely, positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt, ready to get a tattoo abroad. Hooray! And also oh boy. As you plan out your piece, you’re looking for clean studios with excellent artists to book for the end of your trip. (Trust us, you want to do this at the end of your trip. It’s way easier to sit through a multi-hour plane ride home with fresh ink than trying to hike around a new country with your backpack rubbing those open, seeping, stinging cuts for six more days)
If you already have the “what” locked down, but need help with the “where” and the “who,” we are here to help! Below are some of the most travel-worthy tattoo studios in Europe.
One of the best-known tattoo spots in Paris, this shop is a great choice whether you’re getting your first tattoo ever, or adding to your collection. Tin-Tin is self-taught and has been tattooing for almost three decades. Make sure to block off enough time to schedule in person; they don’t take appointments by telephone and require a preliminary meeting to discuss your project and give you a quote.
Dots to Lines
Specializing in geometric designs and strictly blackwork only, the Dots To Lines studio in Berlin is the place to go if you’re looking for something more than the standard tattoo experience. The intricate work Chaim Machlev does is mindfully customized for his clients and every tattoo is contoured to their frame to make the design, shape, and flow of each piece perfectly unique. The waitlist for Dots to Lines has reached up to two years, so plan early if you’re set on one of these masterpieces.
The Leu Family’s Family Iron
Ste. Croix, Switzerland
Filip Leu (who has collaborated with Chaim Machlev of Dots to Lines), along with his parents and siblings, are a family of well-traveled artists with deep roots in the craft. Known for a Euro-Japanese art style, Filip and his brother Matthieu create bold pieces ranging from body suits to pieces that blend surrealism and psychedelia. No walk-ins allowed, so make your appointment ahead of time!
The Family Business Tattoo
Established in 2003, this tattoo parlor in London custom makes every piece and holds very high standards for creativity and customer service. With a large, hand-picked staff, this is the place to find the right artist for any style you’ve been after. Appointments can be arranged remotely but still require a deposit so contact the shop ahead of time to discuss dates and art.
Mao & Cathy
The oldest tattoo studio in Spain, this team calls themselves pioneers in the standardization of sanitary and hygiene rules within the sector. Distinguished by their one-of-a-kind art and decades of experience, you can visit one of their four open studios – three in Madrid, and one in Barcelona. As recipients of countless mentions and international prizes, as well as hosting world class artists, it’s probably best to call ahead and make a reservation.