We’re halfway through the summer and party season is in full swing. But it’s not too late to get away if the FOMO is starting to bite. Whatever your budget, we’ve found a party destination for you – whether you want to get down and dirty to techno in Berlin or throw your hands towards the starry sky to a trance soundtrack in Thailand.
1. Splurge: Mykonos – fly from £66
Greece’s answer to Ibiza is as well-known for its ritzy nightlife as it is for its gold-sand beaches and blue-shuttered, whitewashed villas. Come dusk, there’s only one place to be: perched on a bar stool with a mojito and an unobstructed view of the setting sun. Luckily, there’s no shortage of cocktail bars designed for this purpose, and they’ll practically all be buzzing, every night of the week.
One of the island’s classiest beach clubs is Scorpios, where rustic open-air terraces and cabanas overlook the Med from the sandy private bay. After dark, it’s one of the chicest places to be – first for a plate of grilled red snapper from the refined Mediterranean restaurant, then for live bands or DJs set up on the beach until late. Entry might be free, but snacks and drinks are on the pricey side, and be sure to make advance reservations.
Stay: The four-star Kosmoplaz Hotel promises private bus transfers, a seafront location and its own beach bar to get the party started. Rooms from £175.
2. Save: Prague – fly from £24
Beer is cheaper than water in the Czech capital, so its little wonder this legendary party city is jam packed with EDM clubs, cosy dive bars and live music venues. Dlouhá, a street in the Old Town, is known as the main nightlife hub, and is home to legendary club Roxy. Taking over an Art Deco, former cinema, the club incorporates the visual arts into a full sensory experience, with a gallery and theatre on its second storey. But it’s the cavernous dance floor that’ll tempt you, where you’re just as likely to witness a world-class concert as you are to dance the night away to some of Europe’s most euphoric beats – look out for artists like Mall Grab and Ofenbach. Tickets cost as little as £5.
Stay: The sociable Botel Albatros hotel is a stone’s throw from Dlouhá, and offers great views of the castle and Vltava River, too. Rooms from £52.
3. Splurge: Ibiza – fly from £31
The White Isle has been one of the world’s most iconic party hotspots since it first drew the bohemian, free-love crowd in the 1960s, and became a hotbed for rave culture in the 90s. Names like Pacha and Amnesia are synonymous with the best superclub experiences on the planet. And that’s without taking into consideration the island’s beautiful cuisine, unbeatable beaches and laidback vibes.
Party-wise, this season is all about Hï Ibiza. Opened in 2017, it’s already hosted some of the biggest names in electronic music and won multiple awards. South African DJ Black Coffee brings his soulful brand of progressive house to the decks for a Saturday night residency, while Sundays see house and disco party Glitterbox take over the space, soundtracked by the likes of Honey Dijon and Horse Meat Disco. The closing party will be hosted by Glitterbox, too, on 6 October. Tickets start at £30.
Stay: The best-value accommodation on Platja d’en Bossa (where Hï Ibiza is located, too) is Ibiza Jet Apartamentos, equipped with a sauna, swimming pools and a solarium. Rooms from £195.
4. Save: Berlin – fly from £24
Ibiza’s top European clubbing rival has got to be Berlin, where glamour and sun tans are swapped for trainers and black jeans at gnarly, weekend-long techno parties in abandoned warehouses and smoky, underground dives. The party capital comes into its own in summer, where hangovers are nursed at riverside bars and revellers spill onto warm terraces open all night. And the clubs’ respectful, sex-positive policies make them some of the freest places on the planet to let your hair down, without costing the earth.
The process of getting into Berghain, an enormous temple to techno known for its strict door policy, has become just as famous as its soundsystem, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg in Berlin. We like Griessmuehle, a derelict complex in Neukölln that’s popular with the underground crowd for weekend-long parties in its abandoned silos and treehouses. If you’ve never heard of the DJs, go and queue anyway for one of the purest techno experiences in town. It’s usually about £10 on the door.
Stay: Partying in the Neukölln area? Recoup at Estrel Berlin, a good-value luxury hotel in an entertainment complex by the river that boasts a glass-covered atrium with trees, a terrace and a bridge. Rooms from £83.
5. Splurge: Cancún – fly from £334
Get your fiesta on at Mexico’s nightlife capital, where tequila-fuelled spring breakers sunbathe all day and then party all night in Latin America’s biggest clubs – filled with acrobats, light shows, Latin beats and EDM. While you can rub shoulders with a more local crowd downtown on La Ruta Nader, you can’t visit Cancún without experiencing at least one of its Hotel Zone superclubs.
While you can max out at Latin America’s (allegedly) biggest club, The City, we’d recommend its most quintessential and hedonistic nightlife experience, Coco Bongo. Acrobats fly overhead and bartenders dance while they pour you drinks. Don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of Spider-Man or a Michael Jackson impersonator moonwalking through the crowd, and beware of their dangerous drinks deals. Entry can cost upwards of £55.
Stay: The all-inclusive Melody Maker Cancún has clean, stylish rooms, gorgeous sea views and an inviting pool lined with day beds. Rooms from £150.
6. Save and splurge: Koh Phangan – fly from £444
Flights to Thailand might not seem like your cheapest holiday option but as soon as you arrive, the extra transport costs are offset by the cheap party culture that awaits. Three words: full moon party. Back in the 80s, the crescent-shaped Haad Rin cove became legendary among a group of tourists for its awe-inspiring full moon. To celebrate the monthly return of the yellowy orb, they began to throw parties, which now welcome up to 30,000 people, dancing and revelling from dusk till dawn.
As the music progresses from reggae and drum and bass to trance and techno, fire eaters and jugglers provide entertainment, which culminates in a fireworks display. Beach traders flog street food and the warm surf of the Gulf of Thailand is always within toe-dipping reach. It’s worth that long-haul flight for one of the most iconic grassroots partying experiences on the planet – for a bargain entry fee of about £2.50.
Stay: You’ll find a cluster of cheap hostels north of Haad Rin on Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach. We like the no-frills and friendly Dolphin Bungalows, with terrace hammocks and beach access. Rooms from £13.
7. Splurge: Las Vegas – fly from £276
Sin City is home to just about every form of entertainment you can think of, mostly held in its themed hotels, which house everything from theme parks to musical theatre and of course, casinos. It’s impossible to get bored on this neon Strip in the middle of the Nevada desert, where you’re guaranteed to have a night to remember (or not, as the case may be).
Head to the lesser-known hotel, The Cromwell, for its indoor-outdoor club Drai’s, which holds daytime beach parties that progress well into the night. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with those in the know: The Weeknd held a residency here, and Nicki Minaj once made a memorable appearance. But its best asset? The wonderful panoramic views of the Strip and its neon landmarks, seen from the palm tree-dotted dance floor. Tickets will set you back around £25.
Stay: Sleeping in Las Vegas isn’t cheap, but it is iconic. You’ll recognise Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino’s flashy façade from the movies, and it’s actually one of the more reasonably priced stays. Rooms from £67.
Ready to party? Grab your glow sticks and start searching for flights now…
All flight and prices mentioned in this article are estimates of the cheapest prices based on Skyscanner’s flight search tools. These are subject to change and were correct at time of writing on 30 July 2019.