Most of us would love a fortnight sunbathing on a beach, other times we’d rather soak up some history and culture on a weekend in the city, but just occasionally only a weekend of debauchery will do. If you’re after 24-hour nightclubs, sweaty dance-floors, foam machines, smoke machines, drum machines, then you’re in luck. These are the best party cities in Europe.
Map of the Best Party Cities in Europe
Check out this map of the best party cities in Europe to find where you want to party your eyes out.
Best Cities to Party in Eastern Europe
Riga, Latvia – Best Party City for Large Groups
Vying for the top spot for cities to party in Eastern Europe is Riga, the capital city of Latvia. Although Riga is quite a large city, its best nightlife spots are mostly situated in the Old Town, which is blessedly compact.
Clubs and bars being in such close proximity not only means that you can forego pricey taxi fares, handy when you’re traveling as a group, but also generates a sense of friendly competition between the venues.
Competition breeds creativity and Riga is no exception. Bars and clubs here all have something a little special about them.
Whether it’s Vest, a bar where you can get your beard trimmed and enjoy a beer at the same time, or The Armoury Bar, where guests are encouraged to handle the numerous fascinating weapons on display – all unloaded, of course, there really is a strange little something for everyone!
It’s not only bars though, Riga has a handful of brilliant nightclubs, largely housed in former factories and warehouses. If you enjoy the industrial look then head to Depo.
This disused warehouse has been reimagined as a grungy mecca for alternative music lovers. Whether it’s techno, heavy metal, or long forgotten B-sides, the playlist is always eclectic.
Drink choice is fairly thin on the ground, but if you like seriously cheap beer, then you’ll fit right in.
Prague, Czech Republic – Best Party Cities in Europe for Beer Lovers
Up there with Riga as one of the best cities in Europe to party is Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. Not only does this city have a wild nightlife, but it also boasts more than its fair share of historical interest too.
If you’d like to combine a couple of drinks with a little culture, then there’s perhaps no better place to do it than Prague.
The Hemingway Bar is named after none other than Ernest Hemingway himself, who inspired their drinks collection single-handedly. Sample their limited edition Hemingway Absinthe, one of their two hundred different rums, or if you want something a little sweeter a delicious Hemingway Daiquiri.
This drink was named by Constantino Ribailagua in honor of the writer and adds the sweetness of maraschino cherry liqueur and the tartness of grapefruit to the classic daiquiri blend.
After a couple of cocktails at the Hemingway Bar, a trip to a nightclub is in order. Chapeau Rouge, although unassuming from the outside, is one of Prague’s largest clubs. It stretches down a further three stories below ground level and is a heaven for anyone who loves a wild, sweaty dance-floor.
If you’re in need of a little TLC the morning after, then get yourself to the world’s first beer spa.
Soak in a hot tub full of beer, relax on a wheat straw bed, enjoy some home-baked beer bread, and if your stomach permits, sample some ice-cold Czech beer.
Budapest, Hungary – Best Party City for College Students
Another of Eastern Europe’s great party cities is Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Much like Prague, this city has the perfect blend of hedonism and history. Swat up during the day and hit the ruin bars at night. Even better, Budapest is super wallet-friendly, with cheap drinks and budget hostels aplenty. There are plenty of party cities in Europe for college students, but Budapest might be the best of them.
Ruin bars are the most unusual of Budapest’s drinking attractions. Much of the old Jewish quarter was left abandoned, but over the past twenty years, many of the buildings and car parks have been reclaimed and turned into bars.
They retain plenty of that ‘abandoned’ quality, with open ceilings and plants growing through the walls.
Szimpla Kert is brilliantly quirky and was one of the first to open in 2002. It’s incredibly popular with tourists but the reputation is deserved. Who could say no to enjoying a cheap beer or a glass of wine on the back of a merry-go-round-animal?
If you’re after a nightclub experience like nothing else then the Szechenyi Baths might be the spot for you. During the daytime, they operate as a thermal spa, set in a spectacular historic bathhouse, but at night they are altogether different.
The Sparty invites thousands of partygoers to enjoy pounding house music, a fantastic light show, and an underwater dance floor.
European Party Holidays
Mykonos Town, Mykonos – Best Party Destination for Sun Worshippers
If you’re looking for party islands in Europe, then there are perhaps other islands that would come to mind before Mykonos. However, this sleepy island might be all blue skies and peaceful beaches during the day, but it truly comes alive at night.
If elegant nightclubs, all night taverna parties, and perhaps a drag queen or two are your sort of scene, then get yourself to Mykonos Town for an unforgettable holiday.
One of the best cities to party in Europe summer, Mykonos applies a 24-hour approach in its main town. Beach bars with famous international DJs move seamlessly from chill-out house to thumping techno as the day turns to night. Paradise Club is one of the best examples of this, making it the most famous on the island.
Their full moon parties are the stuff of legend, combining daytime beachfront drinking, top DJs, and even a firework display.
One other aspect that Mykonos is famous for is its LGBTQ+ friendly attitude. There are plenty of bars that celebrate queer culture on the island, but The Jackie O’ Bar is the most famous.
It’s impossible not to enjoy a beachfront club with incredible cocktails, non-stop floor fillers and the most dramatic drag shows imaginable.
Whatever your orientation, Jackie O’s throws a party that’s hard to beat.
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Magaluf, Mallorca – Best Party Island for Tight Budgets
Those of us who are lucky enough to be based in the grey, drizzly UK for winter will do anything to find a bit of sunshine during those chilly months. Thankfully there are some great party cities in Europe during winter, maybe none more debaucherous than Magaluf; whose nickname will remain unspoken…
If you’re after everything outrageous about party holidays rolled into one dangerously compact strip, then Magaluf is the answer to your prayers. The Puenta Baena is a half-mile long strip of nighttime carnage.
Boasting more than fifty bars, five notorious nightclubs, and more greasy takeaways than you can shake a soggy note at, this is the sticky-floored club lover’s mecca.
The Boomerang club is believed by the cast of Geordie Shore to be one of the best party holiday destinations in Europe. Well, if endless reality tv stars and the lion’s share of Magaluf’s resident DJs are the clinchers, then it looks like the Boomerang club wins it.
Jelly shots, worker parties, and pole dancing podiums make this club a divider of the people – it isn’t classy, but it is great fun.
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Best Party Cities in Europe for Live Music Fans
Barcelona, Spain – Most Fun City for Live Music Fans
Barcelona, the proud capital of Catalonia, has a special quality about it that sets it apart from all other places. Food, drink, art, architecture, and music all come together to create one of the most fun cities in Europe. During summer partygoers can expect huge music festivals, drinks on the beach, and open-air fun.
Barcelona’s premier music festival is Primavera, which this year saw it’s 20th anniversary. What started as a small, one-day event, has turned into a mammoth five-day extravaganza that sees music-lovers flock from around the world to join in.
Planners have kindly considered everybody’s hangover needs and run bands from 4 pm until 4 am. This gives everyone plenty of time to recover on the beach, before getting ready for the next round. The lineup is always eclectic, with a mixture of established artists and new faces.
Pulp, The Cure, and Radiohead go alongside Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, and The xx perfectly, helped along by the Spanish sunshine.
For those planning a visit without the festival, there’s still plenty for partiers to get stuck into. Razzmatazz is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, with five venues rolled into one.
There’s a live stage, for those who were gutted to miss out on Primavera, that regularly pulls in big bands.
The other four venues all hire DJs and between them play everything from electropop to indie, disco to dubstep, and everything in between.
Brighton, UK – Best for Summer Time Festivals
A great deal closer to home, for me anyway, Brighton will always have a special place in my party-going heart. Although it’s great fun year-round, Brighton probably fits the most neatly onto the best cities to party in Europe summer list. Its beachside location is dreamy in warm weather, with a whole host of bars and clubs opening right out onto the pebbles.
The Great Escape Festival falls in the first two weeks of May and sees the whole city transformed into a music lovers dream. Brand new bands travel from far and wide in the hopes of being talent scouted, or at the very least having the best fortnight of the year.
Wristbands will allow you to enter more than thirty live music venues and give you a choice of over 500 emerging artists. It’s packed, sweaty, exhausting and the most fun a music nerd could hope for.
Another summer event that always draws in the crowds is Brighton Pride. Held on the first weekend in August every year, this festival celebrates the LGBTQ+ community in the most outrageously colorful way possible. An enormous procession shuts down the town as it traverses right through the center.
Drag queens, mobile dance parties, milk floats, fire breathers, carnival dancers, all weave their way through Brighton’s streets.
When the parade is finished, everyone makes their way to the Kemptown Village Party for a day and night of pop anthems and good vibes.
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Best Party Cities for Culture Vultures
Berlin, Germany – Best European Party City for Unadulterated Techno
Of course it wouldn’t be a count down of the best cities to party in Europe without mentioning the inimitable Berlin. Anybody who takes partying even slightly seriously knows that Berliners are the kings and queens of crazy. Whether you want to party in your undies, dance the night away on a boat, or embrace the best of techno, everyone is well catered for in Berlin.
Although it’s a notoriously tricky club to get into, Berghain is more than worth the struggle. This enormous former power plant has been drawing enormous crowds since techno was invented. Wear something sophisticated, yet interesting and cross your fingers that the doormen are feeling generous.
Once inside you’ll not only find the techno club, but also the Panorama bar, playing disco, soul and funk, as well as Saule and Lab.Oratory which both play a mix of experimental music.
Those who are after something a little naughtier should make a beeline for KitKatClub. Monday nights allow you to wear whatever you like and are a favorite with locals, or slightly more reserved tourists.
However, every other day of the week, the queue is filled with all kinds of outfits, from barely there lingerie, to full blown creative costume.
KitKatClub is sexy and subversive in equal parts, an absolute gem of Berlin’s nightlife scene.
Dublin, Ireland – Best Party City for a Proper Pint
Although we all know, and love, Dublin for Guinness, it has a booze history that stretches so much further than that wonderful black stuff. More than 4 million people flock to this relatively tiny city each year, simply to get a slice of the cultural action. This lively lot make Dublin one of the best party cities in Europe. Anyone looking for a raucous night in an old school boozer is in safe hands.
Of course it wouldn’t be a party visit to Dublin without visiting the Temple Bar. This is not simply a bar, as the name suggests, but rather an entire district dedicated to drinking. All venues open far later here and you’ll find a proper mixture of contemporary cocktail bars and traditional taverns.
That said, The Temple Bar pub is indeed a pub in its own right and has been serving thirsty revelers since 1839. If you want traditional Irish charm then this should be a stop on your list.
After a night in the Temple Bar you’ll likely be feeling a little tender headed. Make your way to the Auld Dubliner for a disgustingly large cooked breakfast. Once you’ve shoveled down your sausages and you’re in the land of the living once more, stagger to the Guinness Factory for a guided tour – and a few pints of course!
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Paris, France – Best European City for Sophisticated Partiers
Although the French are stereotypically a little more reserved than some of the countries we’ve visited, a weekend in Paris is always one to remember. This city oozes charm and sophistication and makes the perfect end to this hedonistic trip around Europe. Pack a red lipstick and your best beret.
Le Marais is one of the most fashionable districts in Paris, but it can be enjoyed without breaking the bank.
The Candelaria hides a glittering gem on the Parisian cocktail scene that can be accessed through a small door at the back of the restaurant. Simply pick your way through the tables and to the white door and you’ll be greeted with a plethora of tequila based cocktails. It’s so good you’ll struggle to find a reason to leave.
If you feel like dancing after your drinks in Le Marais then there are few clubs more famous than Les Bains. This magnificent old building was once used as a luxurious spa, but is now an exclusive hotel that boasts its own underground club. If you love rubbing shoulders with celebrities (and don’t mind forking out a pretty hefty door fee) then Les Bains is the club for you.
You never know, you might leave with Mick Jagger or Kate Moss!
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