The Best European Party Countries of 2017

Summer is fast approaching, so why not make it a worthwhile one by taking an unforgettable vacation to Europe, where some of the hottest and most fun parties are being held at this time of year?

With so many events happening throughout the continent this summer, it can be daunting to plan a trip there and determine where to go exactly. Fortunately, we have prepared this handy guide that gives you the lowdown on the best countries in Europe to go to. This guide will also tell you which specific events in each country we highly recommend you check out. And while you’re at it, we give you the opportunity to learn some practical culture and language lessons that will be particularly useful for the occasion.

SPAIN

When it comes to the European party scene, Spain is one of the top countries, if not the top country, to go to. The fact that Spain has the legendary party island Ibiza as part of its territory is enough to boost Spain’s stock, so to speak. And it’s easy to see why Ibiza has gained quite the popularity, with its paradise beaches and some of the world’s best clubs and parties being held here. Notable Ibiza clubs include DC-10, Amnesia, Ushuaïa, Pacha, Sankeys, Privilege and the newly-opened Hï Ibiza. For those looking to balance out the party life with some much-deserved r&r, there’s a wealth of yoga retreats and tranquil sandy beaches on the island, making for the most picture-perfect party location.

Dc-10 Ibiza

Beyond Ibiza, Barcelona has a great nightlife scene as well. In fact, the city is host to a variety of €1 shot bars, world class clubs, and wild parties that last until 6am. One popular venue here is Opium, where guests lounge by the beach during the day and dance to the hits at night. You may have heard of elrow, the famous colorful and carnival-like party series that was born at elrow Barcelona, or of the Sónar festival that takes over the city, alongside with all the OFF parties, every June — undoubtedly one of the must-attend European techno festivals. Madrid’s Fabrik nightclub is also another world-renowned clubbing institution worth traveling for!

Be like a local

What to drink: Hierbas
What to eat: Sobrasada
How to say cheers: Salud!

THE NETHERLANDS

There must be something in that Dutch water that makes it the venue for hundreds of music events each year, ranging from rock to pop to electronic music. Just to name a few, some of the most popular festivals held in the country include Awakenings, DGTL, Mysteryland, Dekmantel, and ADE. Truth be told, we already selected three of the aforementioned festivals to be included in our Top 13 Techno Festivals in Europe list, and with plenty of reason!

Speedy J at DGTL Amsterdam. Photo by Marty Marn Photography / Martijn Barzilaij

 

With a flourishing Dutch music scene too, it’s the perfect time to look out for established techno names such as Speedy J, Steve Rachmad/Sterac and Sandrien, or emerging acts the likes of Satori, Tom Trago, Mirella Kroes and Hunee. While you’re at it, why not combine a festival with a city break to Amsterdam, where you can take in the laid back atmosphere, wander the cobbled streets and canals and check out one of the most cutting-edge nightlife scenes in Europe?

Be like a local

What to drink: Kopstoot
What to eat: Stroopwafel
How to say cheers: Proost!

GERMANY

Germany is considered to be the techno hotbed of Europe, if not the world. Berlin, in particular, is extremely famous for clubs like Berghain, Tresor, :// about blank and plenty others, which are frequented by locals and tourists alike. But that’s not to say other cities in Germany don’t have anything to add. For instance, Munich has its MMA Club while Frankfurt has the Robert Johnson, just as examples.

Being a techno hotbed, Germany is home to a number of techno festivals as well. Among the more notable events include the Time Warp being held in Mannheim and the Love Family Park in Mainz.

Be like a local

What to drink: German beer such as pilsener, weissbier (wheat beer), and bock (a type of dark beer)
What to eat: Schnitzel
How to say Cheers: Pröst

SERBIA

This friendly, warm and welcoming country is a lot of fun. Its capital city Belgrade has become one of the most happening cities in Europe, but the best place to get your music fix is Novi Sad’s Exit Festival which sees music fans from all over the world visit for an extended weekend of top-tier music. Visitors can take in the beautiful, scenic views across the River Danube, wander through pretty parks, outdoor cafes and its bustling bars. Nicknamed the ‘Athens of Serbia’, this vibrant, creative city oozes history and its laid-back liberal vibe makes for the perfect festival spot.

Exit Festival. Photo: Bernard Bodo EXIT photo team

Just a short ride away from Belgrade, the magical Petrovaradin Fortress set high on the banks of the river Danube in Novi Sad provides the perfect setting for EXIT Festival. Started in 2000 as a student protest fighting for political change and freedom, EXIT continues to spread positive vibes, promoting change and positive education, supporting many community and humanitarian missions, while throwing a damn good party. It features a diverse mix of artists performing on numerous stages connected by cobbled streets, ramparts and tunnels. This year’s festival is highly anticipated, with the Liam Gallagher, Solumum & Dixon B2B, Paul Kalkbrenner, Hardwell, Rag’n’Bone Man, Jake Bugg, Hot Since 82 and more set to take the stage. EXIT Festival takes place from 6-9 July 2017. Tickets are available at exitfest.org

Be like a local

What to drink: Rakija
What to eat: Sarma
How to say cheers: živeli

CROATIA

Croatia has rapidly become a party destination for millions who seek an alternative to the Ibiza during summer. Lax regulations, 24-hour licenses, beautiful beaches and seafront locations as well as the cheap Croatian Kuna has transformed the Eastern European country into the home of a myriad of festivals the likes of Love System, Hideout Festival, Outlook Festival, Dimensions Festival, Barrakud Festival, Defected Croatia, Dekmantel Selectors, Lighthouse Festival, Ultra Europe, Echo Festival, For, The Garden, Electric Elephant, Soundwave, Unknown, Suncebeat, Stop Making Sense, and Sonus. The lineups are diverse yet deep in talent beyond the usual headliners that visit Ibiza, with plenty of weekend festival experiences going the extra mile by providing boat, day and night parties for 24-hour non-stop fun. It is no coincidence that two of the aforementioned festivals made our list of the world’s most unique festival destinations – we could have picked more but had to equally feature the rest of the world.

Hideout Festival (photo courtesy of Jugokoncert)

Be like a local

What to drink: Rakia
What to eat: Peka
How to say cheers: zivjeli

GEORGIA

Georgia may not immediately come to mind as a country worth traveling to. But over the last few years, its capital Tbilisi has become a new hotbed for underground dance music. One club in particular makes the trip more than worth it: Bassiani. The techno venue, which opened in 2015, has been lauded by many traveling DJs as one of the best techno experiences in the world, often compared to Berlin’s Berghain. The 700-capacity spot located beneath Tbilisi’s main football and rugby stadium. There are also other clubs like Mitkvarze, Vitamin Cubes, Café Gallery and its sister venue, Didi Gallery, as well as the newly-opened Khidi. As time goes on, more and more house and techno DJs list the Georgian capital as one of their favorite places to play. Read Resident Advisor’s article Tbilisi and the Politics of Raving for more information on the rich nightlife history of Georgia and its capital.

Bassiani, Tbilisi Georgia

As a rising party venue, one event to look forward to is the GEM Fest with 32 days of parties and 500+ artists in performance. You can check out this link for more details about this upcoming festival.

Be like a local

What to drink: Chacha
What to eat: Khachapuri adjaruli
How to say cheers: Gaumarjos

ROMANIA

If you mention the country of Romania to a techno and house fan, they will undoubtedly imagine the countless international touring acts that represent the country’s minimal techno and micro-house movement throughout the world. Or it could be the marathon DJ sets on the beaches of Mamaia Beach during Sunwaves festival. With many artists performing at the country’s most popular resort, the Sunwaves festival has become a highly-anticipated event in Romania’s party scene, as well as throughout the globe.

Sunwaves Festival (photo courtesy of Festicket)

Be like a local

What to drink: Balsam Pomorski
What to eat: Bigos
How to say cheers: Sanatate

CZECH REPUBLIC

The party scene in Czech Republic is not as well-known as the others, but it offers some great experiences overall.  In the capital city of Prague you can find quality techno and house at Roxy, where acts such as Joris Voorn, Mark Knight, Ø [Phase] and HVOB are the type of quality guests featured on weekend lineups. Chapeau Rouge is also worth checking out if you’re in the capital, a smaller venue but with focus on true underground sounds. The city also offers some of the beer gardens and cellar bars that hold hidden dance rooms, with cheap prices to boot.

Photo courtesy of TRANSMISSION

Held at the 02 Arena in Prague and mostly featuring Trance, TRANSMISSION is known around the world as one of the best festivals to attend, thanks to its impressive lineups and cutting-edge audio/visual productions. Looking for techno and house at a festival? Check out Colors of Ostrava, which this year features Moderat, Digitalism, Booka Shade, Voiski, Dusy Kid and more. While there’s no info if Shotgun Festival will return in 2017 yet, the Hrádek nad Nisou based weekend celebration had an impressive roster in 2016 with Headless Horseman, Commix, Orgue Electronique and Christian S. all featured.

Be like a local

What to drink: Becherovka
What to eat: Uzene
How to say cheers: Na zdravi

PORTUGAL

Portugal and its capital Lisbon seem to be the latest contender for a focal point of new underground sounds. The scene is not that new however, with decades of techno and house parties throughout the center and north of the country already engrained in Portugal’s rich history. On any given weekend night in the capital you’re literally embarrassed for choice with a multitude of techno and house venues to choose from including Lux Fragil, Portugal’s most internationally renowned venue and one of Lisbon’s biggest nightclubs, MusicBox and Lx Factory, which hosts Lisboa Electronica with an impressive lineup of techno and house. The north of the country, and in particular Porto, is also not one to overlook when planning a trip to the country, with a multitude of nightclubs, one-off venues and festivals taking place in the region. More recently, some exciting new festivals have started to spring up on the Iberian country: first up was the turn of Festival Forte, a cutting-edge electronic music festival with groundbreaking visual arts inside the walls of the Castle of Montemor-o-Velho, a heritage site in Portuguese history. Now The BPM Festival is set to touch base in Portugal for its inaugural European edition this coming September!

Festival Forte. Photo: Festival Forte

Be like a local

What to drink: Porto
What to eat: Cozido a Portuguesa
How to say cheers: Saude

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