Raving the night away in a sweaty club in Ibiza, throwing back juice-y cocktails in Malia or falling out of nightclubs in Magaluf, these are all classic thoughts you might have about typical party destinations. If the idea of ending up on “Sun, Sea and Suspicious Parents” makes you shudder, yet you still enjoy a good boogie now and again with a cocktail in hand, fear not, you’re not alone! Studies show that millennial’s have fallen out of love with nightclubs, opting for wine bars, cocktail lounges and cosy local pubs to socialise. However, we understand that while on holiday that inner party animal might make a reappearance, and it would be rude not to indulge it. While certain destinations just scream fishbowls and hangovers, there are still plenty of party hot spots where you can enjoy some culture between showing off those dance moves. Here are our top 10 alternative destinations if you want to party with a little culture on the side.
Budapest – Hungary
Ruin Bars are two words becoming famous throughout Europe. What started as a few young guys after a cheap night out, has now turned into some of the most lively and interesting places to drink in Budapest. After World War II, buildings and stores in the Jewish quarter of Budapest were left to crumble and remained empty for many years. Just after the millenium, the developments started and the first ruin bar was born. Szimpla Kert (literally meaning ruin pub in Hungarian) remains the largest and most popular in the city today, while many more have popped up around the city. Crammed with mismatched furniture, quirky paintings, bizarre ornaments and graffiti-ed walls, these bars are the coolest place to hang out while enjoying cheap drinks.
The City of Spas, as Budapest is otherwise known, also hosts one of the biggest spa parties in Europe in the incredible Szechenyi Baths, where you can drink and dance the night away in a truly unique environment. These “Sparties” (spa party, get it?) lure well known DJ’s and party goers from all over the world after a good night out. With temperatures in the baths ranging from 27C to 38C, they can also be enjoyed year round!
Prague- Czech Republic
The Czech Republic consumes more beer than any other country in the world, so it’s no wonder travellers flock to Prague in search of some of the best pints. From Pilsner to Budweiser, the Czechs pride themselves in providing drinks for the thirsty masses and Prague truly is any beer lovers paradise. The first brewery in the country is said to have opened around 993 AD, so it can’t be denied that they know what they’re doing. Even in the 13th century, the punishment for stealing hops was death! There are plenty of activities in the city that focus on beer, from brewery tours to pub crawls. You can even bathe in beer in most of the local spas!
Cali – Colombia
Cali is known as the salsa capital of the world, and with good reason! People from Cali eat, sleep and breath these Latin moves, and travellers from all over are now flocking to Cali for a piece of the action. The popular dance was introduced to the city around the 1960s, and the Caleños were quick to adopt the trend and make it their own. They upped the pace, upped the tempo and upped the beats, introducing faster moves and more energetic spins. The rest is history, and salsa remains one of the most popular and traditional activities in the city. Dance the night away in one of original establishments, Siboney Club, which runs their famous Martes de Salsa.
Colombia is also famous for its production of Aguardiente, an alcohol made from sugar cane and anise seed. If it’s not to your taste though don’t panic, Cali also serves up rum in abundance!
Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Colourful masks, vibrant feathers, body paint and glitter galore, Rio’s world famous carnival experience is one of the biggest parties in the world! For one week a year, eager travellers from all over flock to the seaside city to experience the Latin flavour and incredible shows, with around two million people taking to the streets. The main parade takes place in the Sambadrome, where you can see extravagant floats and costumes showcasing years of Latin tradition. The most famous dance at carnival is the samba. A Brazilian dance with African influences, it pulses through the streets with dancing continuing into the early hours. There is no where else on earth where you can experience the colours, music and cultural pride than Rio carnival!
Berlin’s party scene is not for the faint of heart. If you travel to this modern city, then you must dip your toes into one of the best party scenes in Europe. From quaint jazz bars and live acts to relaxed indie bars and crazy techno clubs, Berlin is known to have it all and the party simply never ends. Berlin has a classic European approach to nightlife, anything goes and everyone is welcome. The city’s clubbing culture is very interlinked with their history, as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the peoples new found freedom meant the clubbing scene developed fast with nightclubs popping up in abandoned factories all over the city. Berghain is perhaps the most famous, with the best sound systems and a techno lovers heaven.
Belgrade – Serbia
If you haven’t heard of Belgrade being one of the best party cities in Europe, catch up quickly! Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia. By day the city is home to some of the most beautiful churches and landmarks. By night the city transforms as techno sounds radiate through the streets. With a host of underground clubs waiting to be explored, the city is known for its 24 hour nightlife and don’t be surprised if you hear whispers of secret clubs that require a password to enter. Some of the best include Barutana, built into the fortress walls or KST, which is located in the basement of the universities engineering faculty.
Serbia is also home to one of Europe’s biggest festivals, with Novi Sad hosting EXIT Festival every July. This 4 day rock festival takes place on the grounds of the Petrovaradin fortress and has seen the likes of Billy Idol, Guns N Roses, The Prodigy and The Sex Pistols, to name a few. What started as a student protest against the government in the year 2000, the festival now sees around 200,000 music lovers attend and enjoy true Serbian hospitality.
Amsterdam nightlife is unique and much more relaxed than that of its European neighbours. The Dutch are a lot more low key and often prefer a canal side pub to a high energy club. While the city might be known for its red light district, search beyond this tourist hot spot and there are plenty of cocktail bars, relaxed pubs selling local beers and of course a popular hangout, the coffee shops. Nightclubs are of course dotted around the canals, and the district of Leidseplein is where you will find the majority of live music venues.
For something a little different, hop on board a boat and indulge in an Amsterdam cocktail cruise!
Cancun – Mexico
Once a small fishing village, Cancun has transformed into a popular party destination which is worth writing home about. With sizzling weather and white sandy beaches, the party scene in Cancun blends effortlessly from day to night. The strip has the main clubs, with countless to choose from depending on your music taste. With a Caribbean flare, Cancun is the perfect place for combining a unique culture with the perfect party atmosphere, not to mention some of the most delicious food in the world! The beach front is the perfect spot to relax and soak up some sun, or take part in the many water based activities on offer such as snorkelling.
Mexico is also home to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, a giant stone pyramid and excellent example of Mayan architecture.
Bangkok – Thailand
Bangkok is the gateway to Southeast Asia and has plenty of party venues which reflect the tastes of locals, visitors and everything in between. The city has plenty of rooftop bars where you can enjoy the stunning skyline over a cocktail or two, classy wine bars, gritty nightclubs and infamous local shows. Backpackers flock to Khao San Road for happy hour, where you can enjoy live music and cheap drinks with a range of pumping clubs to choose from. Bustling night markets and food stalls selling local delicacies are open late, so if you need a breather from the clubs there is still plenty to keep you occupied once outside.
Finally, don’t forget about the many karaoke bars dotted around the city for those with a little Dutch courage!
Hanoi – Vietnam
Hanoi is crazy, hectic and dizzying all at once. The old quarter is seeping in history and culture, but come evening transforms into the perfect party haven. The “Walking Street” combines 26 streets around the Hoan Kiem lake which are all sealed off to vehicles come the weekend, therefore making it perfect to enjoy the lively atmosphere free of dodging motorcycles. Visit Ta Hien Street, where you can find delicious beers at great prices and an abundance of restaurants and street food vendors. The square outside the famous Thang Long Puppet Theatre is crammed with performers, boom boxes and travellers from all over soaking up the atmosphere.