Summer’s nearly here, so chop-chop with your holiday plans. If you’re cash-strapped, book your break now to save more money for beers on the beach!
Forget tacky package deals and paying through your teeth for organized bar crawls. There are loads of hostels in Europe and last minute flight deals available for student-friendly destinations, where sun-soaked beaches and buzzing bars come as standard. There’s even the odd bit of culture on show if you can stomach it.
Whether you fancy partying in the city, or just want to veg out on a beach; grab a group of mates, slip on your flip-flops and read our pick of the best places for a summer party…
1. Lisbon – for an eclectic all-nighter
Lisbon is the secret party capital of Europe, with nightlife far from low key. The Portuguese are night owls at heart, and most clubs don’t even kick off until after midnight. Home to some of the plushest boutique hostels in Europe, Lisbon is one effortlessly cool capital, with few tourists and countless buzzing bars and wild clubs pumping till dawn. A night out here is typically Portuguese – you’ll need some stamina to keep up with the pace!
Where to go: The Bairro Alto is the center of the city’s nightlife, a winding maze of streets home to hundreds of hip bars and even hipper clubs, including the Bicaense Club pictured. With bars spilling onto the street and ‘Fado’ restaurants playing mournful folk music, the atmosphere here is electric. For something a little more low key, the Parque das Nacoes in the North has a trendy selection of bars and cafes. In the south of the city, the Docas de Santo Amaro lies by the river – enjoy a drink or two with a view before heading on to the more energetic clubs on the Av. 24 de Julho. If you’re going for a weekend, check out our 48-hour guide to Lisbon.
Where to stay: The Gspot Hostel is typical of the city – it’s got cool and quirky decor, a fun and friendly vibe, and spacious rooms to boot. With free pancake breakfasts, nightly pub crawls, family dinners every night and queen sized bunk beds – what more could you ask for? There are also plenty other cheap Lisbon hotels or hostels that won’t break the bank.
From €14.50pppn | Book here
2. Corfu – for a beachside bender
Corfu nightlife is no-holds-barred fun in the sun – all foam parties, beach bars and outdoor discos. Most party animals on Corfu stick to a diet of clubbing all night and sleeping it off on the beach the next day (or blasting away the hangover with the wildest of watersports). From the infamous ‘fishbowls’ of cocktails to booze cruises around the island, Corfu is not the place for cutting edge clubs, but it sure is a lot of fun!
Where to go: Corfu’s nightlife is spread over several resorts. The capital Corfu Town is home to several lively pubs, bars and clubs, while Kavos is a favourite with the club 18-30 set. Other lively resorts include Dassia, Gouvia and the infamous Ipsos, probably the wildest of the bunch.
Where to stay: The Pink Palace Budget Resort and Hostel is legendary on the backpacker scene for its party-hard atmosphere. Only 10 minutes from Corfu town, the hostel has its own nightclub (free for guests) and three different bars – one is open for 24-hours, and all have a five hour happy hour! Entertainment every night ranges from karaoke to toga parties, and in the day you can take the hostel’s booze cruise around the island. Veg out the next day on a private beach or in the Jacuzzi, or try out the therapeutic massage!
From €21pppn | Book here
3. Barcelona – for hip hedonism
Barcelona’s nightlife is uber-cool. The city is renowned for its music scene and club nights, ranging from dirt cheap dive bars playing grunge music to huge super-clubs on the beach. Barcelona’s clubs attract top-name DJs and don’t even open until 1am, and you could bar hop around the city for weeks on end. Even if you aren’t around during the legendary SONAR festival (a week long party in clubs across the city), you’re sure to have a wild night out.
Where to go: The Barrio Gothic has some of the most fashionable bars – but can be a little pricier than some places. The Ramblas, Calle Ferran and the Plaza Reial may seem a little touristy but still boast plenty of vibrant bars stuffed with locals. The bars in El Raval and Gracia have an offbeat, bohemian feel and L’Eixample, in the center of town is home to one of the most thriving gay scenes in Europe.
Where to stay: With its rooftop terrace, and stylish and spacious rooms, Casa Con Estilo is a suitably hip place to crash in Barcelona, and it’s right in the city center. There are loads more cheap Barcelona hotels or hostels that offer pools and terraces too.
From €36.67pppn | Book here
4. Naples – for dancing on the bar
Naples may not have the chic or sophistication of Milan or Rome, but is also not as pretentious or pricey. This manic city buzzes 24 hours a day and there’s always something going on – even the simplest of neighbourhood bars are packed with loud and lively locals talking well into the night. A lot of the nightlife centers around ‘disco bars’ – bar/clubs where the music can be slightly cheesy, but the atmosphere is always fun. There’s also plenty of sleek cocktail and wine bars if you fancy a classier evening out.
Where to go: The Centro Storico’s narrow alleyways and main piazzas are rammed with disco bars and the Via Paladino is also home to some lively venues. The Via Paladino is where you’ll find most of the student hangouts, and the chicer bars and clubs playing live music lie around Piazza Bellini. Chiaia has the highest concentration of ‘enotece’ (wine bars). In the height of summer, many of the city center clubs close (it’s too hot to party indoors!) and locals decamp to the resorts of Bagnoli and Miseno for clubs that open along the beach. But there’s plenty of fun to be found at open air parties in the Piazza del Gesu Nuovo and Piazza San Domenico Maggiore.
Where to stay: La Controra Flashpacker’s Hostel is a welcome escape from the manic city centre, with funky decor, free breakfasts and a chilled-out garden area. But there’s also a cool bar serving cheap wine (and great dirty martinis) to kick off your evening.
From €15pppn | Book here
5. Ibiza – for an ‘at least once in your lifetime’ experience
This is still a clubbing Mecca and Ibiza’s super clubs should be experienced at least once. Of course, you get the best of both worlds here: beach and nightlife. So you can party hard and earn yourself some quality ‘time-out’ on the beach too. Find out Which are the Best Ibiza Clubs? (including the island’s cheapest – and coolest – option, DC10).
Where to stay: Get in the centre of the party action at San Antonio with a stay at Hostal Balearic. It’s clean, cheap, close to clubs and beach and has free Wi-Fi. Despite the name, all rooms are private doubles or triples. For more ideas, see our pick of 5 Party-tastic Ibiza Hotels & Hostels and 5 Best Budget Ibiza Apartments.
From 12.33pppn | Book here
Have we missed out any party places? Let us know below!
Thanks toST33VO, frankartculinary, Sami KeinÃ¤nen, John Sexton, rstml, mickpix, Moyan Benn and Zingaro for the excellent images from Flickr! Please note, all images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting.