Lock up your partners, don’t tell your parents, it’s time to party. It’s time to lose track of time, wake up with a stranger, and having nothing to show for 72 hours but scattered memories of debauchery.
Forget culture or World Heritage sites, the chief consideration when picking a summer vacation destination is how well you can party. And at the ultimate party destinations you’ll be losing the plot for weeks on end. These aren’t festivals or clubs. They’re destinations so high they couldn’t even sleep if they tried.
The question is not whether you want to go. It’s whether you can handle these destinations..
1. Ibiza, Spain
Let’s start with a classic. Ibiza has been the home of 72 hour partying and cutting edge electronic music since the 70’s, and it continues to separate the wannabes from the serious raving animals. The clubs are insane enough, 5000 revelers moving to the baselines of throbbing techno. Then you emerge at 8am and head to a series of after party clubs that roll to subterranean beats. Keep moving, keep chatting rubbish to strangers, and keep going until the nighttime clubs open again and everything repeats itself.
2. Beirut, Lebanon
Beirut is the Middle East in liberated form, the shackles of conservatism thrown off as clubs continue until the sun rises across the scarred buildings of civil war. You’ll find swanky bars on most apartment rooftops, places for starting the night with indulgent cocktails and checking out the talent. Then everyone dresses provocatively as they head off to raves in underground bunkers converted to slick nightclubs. To blend in with the locals, make sure you rent a hummer to cruise the different venues.
3. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town’s party scene is a cross section of the Rainbow Nation. Which means that even culture loving fiends can be convinced to devote a full week to partying. Spend the days in the townships, where the locals hang out in grills. Essentially you eat your way through a kilo or two of meat, then climb onto the chairs and dance to grooving African house music. When evening comes hit the beach bars, where the city’s rich and fashionable move to champagne cocktails and tropical house. Then hit central Long Street for some early hours madness where just about anything goes.
4. Berlin, Germany
Nobody goes to Berlin for a night out. You go for a whole weekend of debauchery. Some of the clubs open on Friday night and close on Monday. And they’re the tame ones. The city’s atmosphere was founded on revolution and the modern manifestation of its subculture is found in the nightlife. The clubs are dark and almost eery, places of gurning and sweating until you don’t know what day it is. They’re places of couples screwing in corners, DJ’s playing marathon 12 hour sets, and weekends that redefine notions of excess.
5. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hip and classy, the Buenos Aires club scene is one for beautiful people with beautiful tastes. The music is underground yet chic, the clubs combine dance floor revelry with lounging on elegant terraces, and there’s something unusual happening every night of the week. It’s an ultimate party destination for taking the girlfriends and a great way to journey to the soul of Argentina’s youth culture.
6. Goa, India
While the local authorities have been trying to clean up the image of Goa, it remains a place of trance clubs and wandering around in a psychedelic haze. Anjuna Beach is the original hippy destination, great for losing the plot and then coming round with a mug of masala chai (tea). Scattered along the beach roads are all manner of clubs – some large and bouncing, others hidden in the trees, and all filled with psychedelic slices of green and orange. Adding further intrigue is the mix of tourists and local Indians getting their first slice of real partying.
7. Montreal, Canada
Like a series of North American cities, Montreal has an excellent collection of VIP clubs and stylish venues for a night out. But unlike the States, Montreal’s clubs also offer a laid-back and friendly atmosphere, one that’s free of the haughtiness from the silicone and steroids brigade. With so many international tourists coming to party, a night out here almost inevitably ends with a stranger in your bed and a series of credit card slips spilling out of your pockets. But you don’t regret it. What happens in Montreal, stays in Montreal…
8. Jakarta, Indonesia
Asian party destinations aren’t just about full moon parties and extortive prostitutes. Dingy and seriously depraved, Jakarta’s atmosphere is one that makes drug addicted rock stars look tame. It’s where the degenerates of Asia hang out; washed out hippies, lost-it expats, sons of fraudulent local politicians, and all those who lost grip of reality a long time ago. If the other destinations on this list seem tame, hit Jakarta for a week.
9. London, England
London isn’t a destination for a weekend of clubbing. It’s a destination for a whole year of clubbing. Choose massive clubs like Fabric, where the speakers are in the floor and the lasers move like devil’s fingers. Or hit tiny venues, like converted toilet cubicles that rock well into the day. Then there’s the traditional pubs emanating drum and bass or breakbeat, or the cocktail bars for dressing well and grooving to commercial house. London has something for every audience and every taste, and the party never ends.
10. Tel Aviv, Israel
Go to virtually any international music festival around the world and it’s always the Israelis selling the drugs. Most of their home country is off bounds for serious partying, except Tel Aviv, the modern beach side city for doing everything the rabbis would frown at. Choose beach bars of depravity, luxurious haunts of the famous, underground indie music venues, or low-ceilinged dens of corruption. And wherever you go, expect an unbelievably good looking crowd.
11. Punta del Este, Uruguay
Think South America ultimate party destinations and you’ve probably already booked the flights to Rio. But along the same Atlantic Coast, Punta del Este is where South Americans visit when their own party cities aren’t badass enough. The nights start off with swish bars and dressing to impress. Then the cocktail of indulgences kick in and the city turns into a free for all. This is where South Americans come to do all the things they wouldn’t do at home. And they’re a pretty liberated bunch to begin with.
12. Budapest, Hungary
Eastern Europe has a great attitude to partying. Start with a vodka at breakfast and see how the day unfolds. This makes a dozen destinations great for a party (Krakow, Prague, Tallin, Belgrade, etc). Budapest is our choice as the ultimate Eastern European party destination, because when the vodka bars kick you out at midnight, there’s a whole range of clubs inviting you in until sunrise. These include vast bathhouses, converted 19th century palaces, and dodgy venues that make squats look luxurious. Come in summer and you’ll need a few weeks to party your way through the whole city.