So, you’re on the hunt for the best party places in Europe for students? We can only discern that you’re preparing for that moment when you finally lay down the books and the biros. Don’t worry – there are plenty of spots that we think can give you the post-term blowout you’re after.
Cue this guide. It runs through seven of the most happening, most hedonistic destinations on the continent. Ranging from the sun-scorched islands of the Mediterranean Sea to the bumping old cities of Eastern Europe, it’s got something for those who want to guzzle beers in the heat of the summer and those who like underground jazz bars and pub crawls alike.
We’ve tried to include options that are both affordable and iconic on our list of the best party places in Europe for students. Some will be pricier than others, though (Ibiza, we’re looking at you!). The one thing that’s guaranteed is that all these no-holes-barred after-dark scenes. So, let’s get partying…
The party mecca extraordinaire of Europe comes in the form of the fabled White Isle of Ibiza. Surrounded by the sun-glinting Mediterranean Sea just south of the Spanish costas, this one’s pretty much tailor-made for those summertime blowout sessions away from the lecture halls, touting some of the biggest DJ names in the whole darn world and super clubs that would make even Miami blush.
The parties coalesce in two places: Playa d’en Bossa in the east and San Antonio in the west. They both have their own array of venues that are worth talking about, including the likes of Amnesia (a San Antonio staple that’s been named the Best Global Club four times!) and Pacha (situated north of Playa d’en Bossa with a hedonistic history that goes all the way back to 1966).
Nights here often start late and end late – the next day, that is. The good news is that, once you’re done on the dancefloors, the beaches beckon. Sizzle off hangovers on the sands of shimmering Pou des Lleo and Ses Salines before doing the whole thing again. The one downside? Parties in Ibiza are expensive! It’s not one for students sticking to a shoestring.
Berlin has been the engine room of European deep house and techno since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In the wake of Communism’s speedy demise, the city was transformed into a melting pot of protesters and students ready to channel their energy into something new. They chose music and before long oodles of the old warehouses and East German factories were being converted into party hubs.
Fast forward to today and the German capital’s place among the best party places in Europe for students is firmly established. A lot of that is down to uber-legendary clubs like Berghain, where the Panorama Bar hosts the most epic multi-day raves you can imagine but has a super-strict entry policy to match.
Unless you’re absolutely determined to say you’ve been there and got the T-shirt, we actually wouldn’t waste your time playing dodge the bouncer at Berghain. There’s too much nightlife to get through elsewhere in Berlin, like in the squat bars of old-school Friedrichshain and the jazz-echoing basement bars of cool Prenzlauer Berg.
There’s a myth flying about that Krakow has more bars per square meter than any other city in Europe. True or not, you simply will not go hungry for places to party in Poland’s second-largest city. There are literally hundreds of venues packed into the small – and UNESCO-tagged, mind you – Old Town core, ranging from tacky karaoke spots to hidden shot bars doused in vodka.
Krakow is also the home of one of Europe’s original pub crawls: Krawl Through Krakow. That’s been going for well over 10 years and is credited by some with coming up with the power-hour and bar format that’s now spread to cities all over the continent. Oh, and it’s cheap – you’re looking at something like $1-2 a beer here!
For more local nights out, we’d recommend skipping the Old Town and heading south to Kazimierz and Podgorze. They’re both areas that attract a good following of European Erasmus students and weekend travelers, offering more off-beat boho bars and live-music places.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is Europe’s number one beer town. It’s also Europe’s number one cheap beer town. The good stuff has been produced here since anyone can remember and is now sold in countless halls and underground beer basements across the city, all for something in the region of $2-3 a liter. You’ll want to be sure to drop into the likes of U Hrocha (if you can get a seat!) or Pivovar U Medvidku (an Old Town staple) to get your fix of the tradition.
And it’s not just about guzzling affordable pints. There’s a well-established pub crawl in Prague that can bring in upwards of 200 people a night in the peak backpacking season of the summer months. That mainly focuses on hopping venues in the Old Town and Mala Strana, the two most historic and vibrant parts of the city.
You can also chase down more hipster areas, too. Head across the Vltava River to Holesovice to see where old factory depots have been converted into open-air breweries. Or get across to Zizkov, an old Communist district that has tenements brimming with jazz joints and rock bars.
Brno, Czech Republic
The second pick from the Czech Republic on this list of the best party places in Europe for students comes in the form of the urban center of the South Moravian Region. It’s a relatively small city of 700,000 people but centers on a handsome medieval core that sprouts jagged Gothic churches like the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul.
Enough about the history, though – what about the nightlife? Brno really knows how to party. You do have to time it right. The evening scene here is almost entirely fueled by the resident student crowd; a crowd that numbers 89,000, no less!
They will flood venues like Fleda – a drum and bass hotspot come arts hub – and the thumping Lemon Music Club – an LGBTQ+ friendly space with multiple rooms – mainly during the term time that runs from September to June. To cure the hangover, you can join the crowds that head up to the Brno Reservoir for wild swimming between the Moravian hills.
Wroclaw brings us back to the affordable lands of southern Poland. The city has risen in recent years to rival even the likes of Warsaw and Krakow for the title of the most hedonistic in the country. We can see why – there are plenty of top-quality bars, a booming craft beer scene, and you don’t have to deal with the same crowds of sightseers that flood the more famous towns.
What makes Wroclaw unique is that it’s spread over a whole archipelago of river islets along the courses of the Odra. Some islands are topped with lovely historic relics from the medieval ages. Others are dedicated party hubs, like the student favorite of Slodowa, where there seems to be a de facto break in the law that you can’t drink in public.
Later on, you can hit famous venues like Insomnia Club. Or choose to pub crawl it through the Old Town area, where there’s everything from historic Polish taverns serving smoked cheese to upcoming craft emporiums with experimental beer labels.
Budapest shoulders its way onto this list because it’s both wild and affordable. Pretty much the only real city in the whole of Hungary, it’s home to nearly two million people and a huge cohort of students – the city counts no fewer than 18 universities, don’t you know? And if that sounds like a recipe for a pretty raucous nightlife, that’s because it is…
The headline acts here exist in the enthralling and moody Latin Quarter. They’re known as ruin bars and are essentially nightclubs that occupy rundown tenement buildings with all manner of strange paraphernalia and vintage antiques. There are now more than you could hope to get through in a weekend, but the most famous remain Szimpla Kert and Instant.
We also love that Budapest really takes care of the hangover part of any party trip. There’s really nothing better for the heavy head than a trip to one of the town’s iconic bathhouses. They’re fed by natural sulfur springs beneath the streets and come replete with indoor and outdoor swimming spots and saunas galore.
The best party places in Europe for students – our conclusion
You won’t have to look far to find some of the best party places in Europe for students – the continent is riddled with cities and islands, resorts and university towns that positively pump with life when the sun dips low. On this list, we’ve included a whole range of them that we think will satisfy a good group of travelers. You’ve got historic medieval cities that buzz with jazz bars and pub crawls (Krakow, Prague), alongside major capitals with quirky nightlife venues (Berlin, Budapest), and even sunny islets that host world-famous DJs (Ibiza).