Wildest Places to Party in Europe
David Boyle in DC, flickr
The continent may be famous for its food and culture, but with all backpackers and young travelers from around the world descending here, these European cities are prime party destinations for drinking heavily and staying up until dawn.
1. Ios, Greece
In my opinion, Ios is one of the best party destinations in Europe. In recent years, the island has tried to distance itself from its boisterous reputation for parties, but so far it has been unsuccessful. From May to September, hundreds of thousands of party goers descend on the island to compete for the world's best tan, drink heavily, and dance until the sun comes up. Bars stay open until dawn and no one wakes up until noon. Beach bars like FarOut hold day-time contests and parties. The god Dionysus would be proud with all the merriment going on here.
2. Barcelona, Spain
This is a city for night owls: No one here even goes out until 2 am and the clubs don't close until well after dawn. Start your night on Las Ramblas, which has a little bit of everything (shot bars, touristy spots, backpacker pub-crawls). When the clock strikes two, move to the clubs near the waterfront and dance until dawn. Don't feel bad about sleeping most of the day. This is the city that invented the siesta.
3. Lagos, Portugal
Lagos is where you'll find young travelers heading out for booze cruises, beach parties, and late night pub-crawls. And everyone nurses his or her hangover on the beach. Bronzed limbs are of the utmost importance in this small historical seaside town, so work on that tan before heading out to the bars and clubs. Water sports or beachside drinking dominate the day, while dancing dominates the night.
4. Ibiza, Spain
The reigning champ of European nightlife, Ibiza is where you go if you don't want to sleep for a week. It's like Ios or Lagos on steroids. Clubs are open until noon, being drunk is the norm, and the drug culture is obvious. Emperor Nero, famous for his orgies, would probably even be shocked at what goes on here. Ibiza is debauchery at its best.
5. Krakow, Poland
Historical Krakow is a beautiful place to visit, with its tiny streets lined with amazing cafes, clubs, and bars. The city has a sophisticated jazz scene, or seek out up-and-coming places where the parties go to the wee hours.
6. Prague, Czech Republic
I remember when Prague was an unknown destination with very few crowds. Today, it's cheap beer and cheap rooms make it a hot spot for Europeans and Brits looking for an easy weekend getaway (flights are inexpensive as well, so you'll encounter lots of stag and hen parties). It's not out of control like Ibiza, but with clubs open until dawn and a culture that loves to cut loose, Prague rates as one of the best party towns in Europe.
7. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is not a city for wild drinking parties, making it the most low-key location on this list. The city is really a stoner's party and travelers visit Amsterdam to chill out at the famous "coffeeshops." You can still find a few good pub-crawls in the Red Light district, though, with good beer and great music venues like the Winston.
8. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin is obviously a great place to go on a pub-crawl, especially in its famous Temple Bar neighborhood. There seems to be at least one pub (or more) on every block and the close proximity is ideal for people who live for pub nights. But remember, this is not a cocktail town: Only serious beer lovers need apply.