Europe is the ultimate destination for a lot of things, and you can bet partying is one of those. Other ‘top party cities’ lists will include the typical tourist spots. Paris, Rome, Amsterdam etc etc. But in my opinion, those big cities are not as crazy as they’re talked up to be. Of course they have potential, but most of the time these kinds of places are bursting with historical attractions as the highlight and the nightlife is either far from the city centre, very spread out throughout a large metropolitan or filled with a lot of big tourist traps. A lot of the time you really need to know where to go as a local. And in Amsterdam’s case, marijuana is everywhere and with a huge focus on sex, it isn’t exactly my idea of a party environment. I’ll cut to the chase and tell you what destinations are traveler friendly party spots. Places where it’s easy to find a good party and easy to meet other travelers.
Summer is the ultimate time to go with places like the Greek Islands or Ibiza being pretty much closed for partying in winter months. But then there are some locations such as Berlin and London that will be great fun year round.
Being a self-confessed party girl, in this list, you’ll find my personal opinions on favorite spots that I have been to. Some unexpected hot spots, some up and coming ones from eastern Europe and some not-so-surprising party destinations.
With highly exclusive club Berghain and other famous clubs such as Tresor, Watergate, Matrix and many more it’s hard to disagree that this is the number one party spot in all of Europe. From outdoor day clubs to circus themed clubs including labyrinths to kinky sex clubs, you won’t be short of new party experiences here.
Budapest has unique ruin bars (discover the best eight here) which are old abandoned buildings turned into quirky bars filled with op-shop furnishings and cheap drinks. It also hosts ‘sparties’ (spa parties) in the famous Szchenyi Thermal Baths, boat parties and two of the top three bars in the world are here, as voted by Lonely Planet (A38 #1 and Szimpla Kert #3).
Summer is insane in Ibiza. From sunset booze cruises to free beach parties to some of the best DJ’s in the world playing every night of the week. World famous DJs such as Steve Aoki, David Guetta, Hardwell, Axwell Ingrosso, Armin van Buuren and more often play more than once a week. I doubt they even leave the island! It also hosts the biggest club IN THE WORLD, Privilege. Check out the crazy calendar of 2015’s events.
On that note though, the clubs in Ibiza are pretty expensive with club entries costing anywhere upward of 40 euros. But you can find great deals. 5-hour booze cruises with unlimited alcohol will set you back only 80 euros and day-time pool party entries can be as little as 10 euros (drinks not included). You can also find free day parties. Check out Bora Bora beach club, which you can also bring your own drinks to. And a 2 litre bottle of sangria from the supermarket there will set you back like 6 euros. You are welcome! It is also very spread out meaning you may pay a lot for taxis, but there is a bus service running between to few main parts, but if you wan’t to hit some beaches around the island, hiring a car might be a good idea.
Spain get’s another spot on the list and to be honest, Madrid is just as good. The Spanish know how to party. Port Olimpia in Barcelona is a wild time. A whole marina full of bar after bar after bar, and then a McDonalds. Of course. These bars are pretty much clubs with free entry and a great atmosphere but head over to the beach and you’ll find the major clubs there to put these bars to shame. The entrances nave huge lines and sit a story above the beach on the busy street, but once you’re inside you go ‘underground’ and the outdoor areas pop out right onto the beach.
Lonely Planet voted it the #1 Ultimate Party City in the World, and Lonely Planet knows it’s stuff. The ‘Berlin of the east’, Belgrade is party central all year round, unlike some European destinations. Clubs downtown for winter will close during summer as the riverboat clubs open up. Yes, that’s right, they turn large boats/barges into floating nightclubs and it is one of the coolest things you will ever see. And no cover charge either! Bonus. Shake ‘n’ Shake – at the end of the line of boats – is the most popular and head to Blaznavac for the coolest bar in town.
Prague, Czech Republic
Czech’s drink more beer than anyone else in the world, by A LOT! So it’s no wonder Prague is a place to really let your hair down. The famous Karlovy Lazne – a five story nightclub – is indeed a tourist trap, but a fun one at that with many rooms to explore including an ice bar. For a unique experience, head to The PUB in Prague 1. Grab a table with a beer tap and a touch screen menu sitting in the middle so you have self-serve beer and you can easily order your own food, music and more. Make it exciting by entering the drinking competition and aim to out-drink the other tables as they measure your beer flow and display everyones tally up on the big screen.
From beach clubs to pool parties to moped riding to crazy bars, Mykonos has it all. The ‘party island’ is friendly, crazy and a place where anything goes. Paradise Beach Club is one of the best beach clubs and Cavo Paradiso (pictured) is one of the craziest clubs you’ll ever see. Ios is just as much fun, with more of a focus on backpackers there, and you will find a lot of Aussies. But you find Aussies pretty much everywhere in Europe.
Russians have caught on to this summer hot spot in the beautiful country of Montenegro, which offers unreal nightlife and it’s only a few hours by bus from Dubrovnik. Party during the day at one of the many day clubs along the beach, check out unique cocktail bars in the old town, or when the curfew kicks in inside the old town walls, head back out to the party strip adjacent to the beach for a long night of dancing. Top Hill has been voted one of the best clubs in all of Europe, and as the name suggests, sits on a hill a little far from the main part of town. This means ample space for a great venue that hosts some of the worlds most renowned DJ’s.
London is more about the quirky variety of bars and pubs than big time clubs, but of course they have a great selection of both. Head up the Shard for a cocktail with a view, underground to some cool cellar bars or even go into an old tube carriage that has been transformed into a bar. It’s called Cahoots, and you’ll need secret instructions to find it. Shoreditch, SoHo or Camden are the best areas to hit on a night out.
Lisbon has some awesome clubs like Lux or Urban Beach, it has wicked rooftop bars such as Park Bar, and the Barrio Alto neighborhood is a party in itself. With drinking allowed on the streets, bars overflow onto the streets making it a very big party you won’t want to miss. Lisbon is also a beautiful city with much to explore, but check out my post on the best parts.
Where else would you include in this list?