1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Any city which has it’s own mayor specifically for governing nocturnal activities is going to know what to do with a speaker and four walls. Sadly the iconic Trouw closed in early 2015, but Amsterdam still boasts a clutch of top notch clubs, with Sugar Factory boasting performance, cabaret and modern jazz amongst the more familiar techno club nights. The enormous and very ‘urban chic’ NDSM Docklands venue is located in the former shipyards of Amsterdam Noord, so jump on the free ferry from behind the train station, running every 15 minutes until midnight. In summer some of the action heads out the nearby Netherlands coast for legendary daytime beach parties at Bloemendaal aan Zee seaside resort (50 minutes drive from Amsterdam). Read more insider secrets in our guide to the top 10 Amsterdam attractions.
2. Barcelona, Spain
Spain offers a fantastic opportunity to have an awesome clubbing holiday, but it’s not all about the Balearic beats of Ibiza. Both Madrid and Barcelona have more than enough options to help you shuffle your feet. Madrid may be the capital, but Barcelona hosts two of the biggest events in the Spanish, if not European, music calendar: the ultimate urban festival, Sónar, and Primavera by the beach, both held in June. Razzmatazz is a must if you’re flying in any other time, named Mixmag’s club of the year in 2015 and spinning an eclectic range of music, from indie alternative to Kraftwerk. For the local’s take on Barcelona, check out our rundown of the best things to do in the Catalan city
3. Basel, Switzerland
If you’re more into deep house than Richard Strauss, skip the elegant Swiss Alps for base-bumping Basel. The country’s third largest city is a stone’s throw from the dance music heartlands of France and Germany, a mere three hours from Stuttgart’s live music scene, so it’s hardly a surprise that a venue like Nordstern attracts some of the world’s top DJs, with resident local names like DJ Le Roi and Gomorra on-hand for regular nights. Across the Rhine lies the Klybeck/Feldbergstrasse neighbourhood, with enough late-bars like LadyBar and Fass Bar to keep the likes of Afro beat, electro swing and house coming until the wee small hours.
4. Berlin, Germany
Having a conversation about the best places to go clubbing in Europe without talking about Berlin would be like omitting eggs from any respectable post-rave breakfast buffet. The city dances to a techno beat with everything from abandoned warehouses to chic and intimate venues providing nights you’ll never forget. Berghain is famously difficult to get into but even if it’s all in vain you have to try because for the techno afficionado there’s no better way to spend 24 hours (if not longer!). Thankfully there are Berlin nightclubs where the door policy’s not quite so severe, so if the city centre snobs are not playing ball, get the shuttle from Ostkreuz and lose yourself in the magical maze that is Sisyphos for a few hours, noting the motionless bus and lake onsite before you have so many shots you think you’re imagining it all. Find out where to go and what to do in Berlin during the day with our local’s guide.
5. Zagreb, Croatia
While Croatia is known for its beautiful yachting types and champagne set nightlife in places like Hvar, as well as Brit-clubbers-abroad festivals like Outlook near Pula, capital city Zagreb offers grittier pleasures, where you’ll be more likely to be dancing alongside locals than ‘It’ girls. While there is a choice of characterful clubs and music bars like studenty SPUNK in town dishing up other musical forms, EDM fans shouldn’t miss intimate venue Sirup, south of the Maksimir Park and east of the city centre. Check out hotels in the area like Apartment Royal if you need somewhere close by to rest your legs. Read more about Croatia’s finest attractions in our top 10 post
6. Budapest, Hungary
The beautiful blue River Danube runs right through the Hungarian capital, and every summer many, many thousands of partygoers run riot on an island in its midst. Hajógyári was originally the site of a Roman palace but it now hosts a plethora of bars and clubs – the three-tiered A38 is on a moored boat – as well as it being the location of Sziget Festival in August. Tickets for the festival as of 2016 cost €289 including camping on the island. Staying a bit longer in Budapest? Read our top tips for a fantastic break in the city
7. Copenhagen, Denmark
Clubs like Culture Box attract electronic music heavyweights to play the Danish capital, giving a very serious edge to the city’s underground. As an added bonus, the club offers the liquid attraction of all-you-can-drink Heineken between 11pm and midnight. And this is a city in which beer holders for bikes are not unheard of and which has a creative and club-centric Meatpacking District to rival New York’s own. The good news about going out here is that there are plenty of good butcher-come-restaurants like Fleisch where you can sample fresh cuts before your night on the town. Under a strict budget? Read our guide to Copenhagen on the cheap
8. Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow’s music scene had long surpassed that of capital Edinburgh and one of the most exciting club nights and record labels to emerge from Britain’s shores in recent years is Numbers. The collective, headed by Spencer and Jackmaster – who’s become a Radio 1 presenter – is one of the most talked about, not only Scotland but the UK with their extended family including Rustie, Jamie xx and SBTRKT. The hub of their activity is the truly legendary Sub Club on Jamaica Street. It’s a must visit for anyone who wants to be at the vanguard of electronic music. Get the lowdown on where to go at night in Glasgow, with our eating, drinking and partying guide.
9. KaZantip, Crimea
Having established itself as an independent clubbing republic (for part of the summer at least), KaZantip requires a specific ‘visa’ to enter, which is only granted once you’ve accepted laws such as ‘be happy, have fun and enjoy life.’ Bringing together extreme sports, beautiful people and the planet’s best DJs, it’s set on the beaches of otherwise sleepy fishing village of Popovka on the Black Sea and opens its borders for two weeks in the summer. Doublecheck the website for 2016 dates and tickets.
10. London, England
For the ultimate domestic destination you can do no better than London. All four corners of the city offer something different – from the North’s legendary Fabric, to the often satirised ‘Dalston Strip’ in East London. But your best option for a focus on the music rather than whether you’re wearing the right kind of trainers is south of the river, where Corsica Studios atmospherically set under the railway arches in Elephant and Castle area and Fire (Vauxhall Tube station) deliver some of London’s best nights. For bedding down, there’s always Generator Hostel, which is not only one of the more lively stays in London with its late bar and games room, but one of the cheapest. Find more budget accommodation in London with our handy guide.
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