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- Posted:Tuesday, September 2, 2014
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Europe’s Craziest Cheap Party Cities
While most party-hard backpackers in Europe stick to the big cities like Paris, London and Barcelona, doing this might end up cutting your nights (or even your trip) short. These cities come at a cost and just one cocktail can run upwards of $15. Luckily there are so many other beautiful cities around Europe that offer an exciting nightlife at half or even a third of the cost.
Cheap, artsy, and exciting, Budapest offers some of the most unique places to party, such as the “ruin pubs”- bars created inside an old, abandoned building. Szimpla Kert is the most popular of these, and for good reason. The decorations are completely wacky and there are tons of different rooms to explore. Lonely Planet even named Szimpla Kert one of the best bars in the world in 2012. During the summer, the popular bathhouse, Szechenyi, hosts pool parties during the night. Bring a swimsuit, dance and enjoy some of the 15+ baths.
Although lesser known for its party scene compared to Barcelona, Madrid packs a punch at half the cost. Start out your night with a “cubo” (a bucket of beers) from one of the many establishments offering them around the city. For €5-7 euros, it’s a steal. Bars also offer drinks at much lower prices than other big cities in Western Europe. Once you’re ready, head to a club. Be patient though, they won’t get crowded until around 3am and don’t start to empty until the sun rises.
From the influx of Australians on a work holiday, you know Lagos is bound to be a party town. This slice of paradise on the coast of Portugal is full of inexpensive bars, clubs, happy hours and drink specials. In the summer, booze cruises take to the sea, while party goers enjoy hedonism along the beautiful rocky coastline. In the morning, soak up that hangover with a full English-style breakfast then head to one of the many white sandy beaches.
One of the oldest and most culturally interesting cities in Europe, Krakow has also has become one of Eastern Europe’s craziest party cities. Home to one of Poland’s best universities, Krakow has a great student vibe full of young people from all around the world. During any night of the week expect the bars and clubs to be full. Many hostels run nightly pub crawls and “vodka tastings” (aka free shots) so take advantage!
A lesser known Greek island compared to Santorini or Mykonos, Ios turns into a full-fledged party town once the summer hits. After the sun goes down, the quaint looking white-washed buildings transform into bars and clubs. Hostels run around €10 per person, a steal for most cities in Europe. While most backpackers spend the days hungover at the beach, there are also many other activities around the island to partake in (if you can gather the strength). From watersports to renting a scooter and exploring, you might end up staying longer than you originally had in mind.
Offering a massive party scene, Belgrade, the largest city in Serbia, rivals other top European cities for nightlife. With two different nightlife seasons, winter and summer, the party scene is constantly changing. During the summer months, all the excitement will be found by the river. In the winter, nightlife shifts to the city where expansive warehouses turn into large scale night clubs. Start your night in a ‘kafana’ (a traditional Serbian café/bar) where you can take shots of the typical ‘rakia’ (fruit brandy) with locals and prepare for the crazy night ahead.
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Jessica Wray is a Californian, an over-thinker, a spicy-food lover and a serial expat. She has studied and lived in Latin America, taught English in South Korea, backpacked Asia and now lives in Madrid, Spain. Follow along with her on her blog, Curiosity Travels, as she tackles her mid-twenties all while calling different parts of the world home.
Thanks to currystrumpet, PromoMadrid, Kuba Bożanowski, Studio-8, Dejan Spasovski and Federico Capoano for the excellent images. Please note all were under creative commons license at time of publishing.