Eastern Bloc Party: A Guide to Eastern Europe’s Best Party Destinations
By Miruna Corneanu
Ayia Napa, Cyprus
This European vacation, perhaps you’re craving a little taste of the demimonde. Something cool and edgy. Maybe even a little bit dangerous. A place so formerly taboo no one will understand why you’d ever want to go there in the first place (you trailblazer, you). I’m not talking Paris, London or Amsterdam (you’re too edgy for that) I’m thinking go east young jetsetter, to the old-school communist states that have since blossomed into something completely invigorated. I’m talking Eastern Europe, where the rigid laws of the past have been cast aside for a more modern mindset and all is revived. The vibe is downright exuberant, and the party scene—booming.
- Christina Angelacos
Deemed “The most fashionable party destination in Europe,” at the 2012 International Clubbing Show in Monte Carlo, Mamaia, the pearl of Romanian seaside, has developed into one of the most sought-after destinations on the Black Sea coast.
With practically zero full time residents, Mamaia maintains its reputation as one of Romania's finest summer resort communities. Entertainment options range from traditional live music joints, to old-school jazz clubs, to cutting-edge nightclubs. At sunrise, the delirious party extends to the white sands of Puro Beach, a favorite amongst locals in-the-know. Other notable night life venues include Bamboo, the Tribute Summer Residence, The Office, La Mania and Kudos Beach.
Recommended events: Sunwaves Festival (3-5 May) and B’estfest Summer Camp (5-7 July).
The season kicks off on May 1st with grand opening parties that last until September.
What makes Budapest’s nightlife unique? Even at its most frenetic the city remains distinctly chilled, and weather permitting, locals prefer chilling on a cafe terrace or a beer garden (both of which are plentiful in Budapest) to cramming into a noisy pub. These kertek (meaning 'gardens') are the dominant features of Budapest's bar scene.
Tripping the light fantastic in the beautiful Hungarian capital has its charms as well. The city is vibrant, cosmopolitan, and caters to all tastes, ages and budgets. From underground parties held in the city’s quintessential “ruin pubs” to sophisticated jazz spots, there’s something for everyone.
Budapest is brimming with a wide variety of venues at which to get dangerous on the dance floor. Trafiq, Mix Club, Creol and Morrison’s Liget are popular options. For the evening’s grand finale, go out with a bang at a staggering boat party on the Danube River.
Budapest is also a vibrant festival city. An absolute must is the famous Sziget Festival in Hajógyári Island held in the middle of August.
Though the Pearl of the Danube is literally pulsating with life in the summertime, Budapest itself never sleeps, so there’s never a bad time to get your swank on.
Hvar Island, Croatia
Located in a sundrenched spot just off the Dalmatian coast, Hvar proves to be one the most idyllic of all the Croatian islands. The picturesque Venetian port is dotted with polished yachts and a lively Mediterranean ambience. The stunning landscapes and wide variety of bars and nightclubs are ideal for glamorous parties on the Adriatic coast.
In Hvar Town there’s always something going on during the summer months. Highlights include Veneranda – an exclusive club packed with glitterati, celebrities and hipsters. Carpe Diem – the island’s most famous club, offers everything from chilled out afternoon outdoor beats to legendary full moon parties. For revelers with alternative tastes, Pink Champagne in Hvar Old Town features fanciful burlesque and the atmospheric Hula Hula Beach Club doesn’t disappoint.
Hvar’s party season is in full effect from June to September.
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
If you’re looking for quiet days on the beach raucous evenings in the clubs and value for your BGN (Bulgarian leva) Sunny Beach is your place. The resort’s main promenade is lined with bars, karaoke venues, nightclubs and restaurants packed with energetic young crowds.
Perhaps less glamorous than Hvar Island and Budva, the scene is undeniably emerging and the prices can’t be beat. Popular venues include Disco Orange, Dance Club Mania, Lazur and Bedroom.
The season at Sunny Beach lasts from late May to mid-September.
Ayia Napa, Cyprus
Ayia Napa is Greek for "Saint Napa" (the patron saint of the town) whose Venetian-era monastery is in the center, next to the square which today is clubbing central.
Ayia Napa, the lovely resort on the southern coast of Cyprus, has evolved from a quiet fishing village into a first-class party capital, competing today with legendary destinations such as Ibiza and Rimini. It’s renowned as the summer holiday destination for followers of London's Garage music scene. Beyond club goers, Ayia Napa attracts tourists world-wide for its debauchery by night and soothing beach scene by day.
Options vary from outdoor chill-out lounges to flamboyant foam parties. Popular venues include The Castle Club (heralded as Ayia Napa’s best club), Club Ice, Soho and the fashionable Guru Bar.
The season in Ayia Napa lasts from June to late September.
Tallinn – the charming medieval capital of Estonia with its quaint Old Town and rich cultural scene has established a steady reputation of being the Baltics’ party hub. Lively, varied and relatively inexpensive, its nightlife is clustered around the compact Old Town, making it extra convenient for first-time visitors.
Tallinn is ideal for combining culture and sightseeing with nights of decadence. Whether you’re after sipping cognac in a historic cigar bar, tipping a few at an Irish pub or dancing til dawn at a hip downtown nightclub, this vibrant city has it all.
Main attractions include Prive, Hollywood, BonBon and the Von Krahl Theatre.
Tallinn’s nightlife thrives year round.
Often called “Ibiza of the Aegean”, Mykonos enjoys sophisticated nightlife and one of the most thriving beach party scenes in Europe. The fun begins at the stylish Psarrou beach and continues with sunset cocktails at Caprice in Little Venice. As night falls things heat up at Paradise Club, the island’s biggest and boldest open-air venue. Club Cavo Paradiso gets started after 3 am and by the time most locals are rising for coffee, the party is overflowing into a glittering pool nearby.
The island comes to life in the summer months, reaching its highest peak throughout July and August.
Apart from its stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, rich history and idyllic Old Town, Budva is an exciting destination with plenty of bars, open-air discos and funky nightclubs.
The city’s spectacular nightlife kicks off with al fresco diners in the peninsular Old Town (Stari Grad) and continues outside the ancient walls where an attractive selection of bars and cafes await. The waterfront is dotted with open-air establishments featuring exotic cocktails and a full menu of pumping beats.
Popular venues include Top Hill, Emporio, Trocadero and Sparta.
The season in Budva lasts from May to October.
Another sweet Eastern promise, Riga greets its visitors with a far-fetched amount of bars, glamorous clubs and live music venues.
Since 2006, when FHM Magazine UK nominated Riga the number one stag party destination in Europe, the capital has become famous its dynamic nightlife.
When night falls, the well-heeled head to the swank Club Kino and Coyote Fly. Other notable venues include Depo, Kaļķu vārti, and Everyone Writes to the Colonel.
Riga is an exhilarating year round destination and so are the parties.
So there you have it, my jet set glitterball chaser. Eastern promises of tripping the light fantastic have never been sweeter, Baltic nightlife—never better. The iron curtain has been swapped for a velvet rope, and all are welcome.
Mamaia, Romania Deemed “The most fashionable party destination in Europ...
Underground parties held in the city’s quintessential “ruin pubs”, sophisticated jazz...
Hvar Island, Croatia
Dotted with polished yachts and a lively Mediterranean ambience...
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
If you’re looking for quiet days on the beach raucous evenings in the clubs and value for...
Ayia Napa, Cyprus
Attracts tourists world-wide for its debauchery by night and soothing beach scene by day...
Ideal for combining culture and sightseeing with nights of decadence...
Sophisticated nightlife and one of the most thriving beach party scenes in Europe...
An exciting destination with plenty of bars, open-air discos and funky nightclubs...
The number one stag party destination in Europe, famous for its dynamic nightlife...