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22 years of age - off to Europe for experience of lifetime... WHERE 2 GO??

Hi there, I have never traveled throughout Europe before. I am going with two friends who are both 22 years old and we are all looking to party and have a good time. I know of Ocktoberfest in Germany, but besides that we are not really aware of any hot spots. Any suggestions?! Thanks

Posted by
204 posts

If you have to ask where to go in Europe you are not smart enough to go. In addition, if all you are interested in is "Partying" then you are not mature enough to go. Stay home, PLEASE!

Posted by
9363 posts

The crowd on this helpline is, on average, considerably older than you and your friends, and hot spots for partying aren't really our area of expertise. You might try the Thorn Tree forum at Lonely Planet. You'll most likely find a more like-minded crowd there. Have fun!

Posted by
1804 posts

Are you locked in to travel during the Ocktoberfest period, or are you just trying to figure out what other places in Europe you should research and your travel dates are flexible? There are loads of multi-day music festivals throughout Europe, especially in the summer. And some places are known for clubbing if that is your thing - Ibiza and Barcelona (Spain), Rimini (Italy), Mykonos (Greece), Berlin (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic). Of course, Amsterdam used to be a place all 22 year old guys wanted to visit between smoking weed in the coffeehouses and gawking at hookers in the Red Light District, but they are attempting to get rid of that reputation with new laws and restrictions. Get over to a bookstore and flip through some of the guidebooks in the travel section that are geared more towards backpackers (skip the Rick Steves guides as his suggestions are not for people looking to take a pub crawl across Europe) - Let's Go, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide are the better guides for your age and will each have some sections regarding clubbing and expanded recommendations on hostels, cheap lodging and budget eats. You could also watch any number of video clips on YouTube that will give you a glimpse of the party clubs in whatever city you decide to visit.

Posted by
809 posts

Decide when you are going and how many nights. Get a map and talk with your friends about where they want to be. You can party anywhere but might as well.research best party places. I would go.to Amsterdam, I've heard Gronigen is a cool.party city. in Belgium I am spacing on the name of the huge backpacker bar (brewery with pink pig??) In Brussels. Haven't been to Germany but certainly many opportunities to drink beer (I am currently planning a winter trip to.MUNICH AND Bamberg which is a big brewery town). OR you could head south and check out Barcelona or Ibiza or somewhere like that or the Greek Islands. OR head east to Prague for some good beer and further easy to Krakow for.a better.scene.( I.thought). Have fun.but don't waste a fantastic time.by not doing research!. Sorry about typos.- tipsy on sofa.

Posted by
8055 posts

Ceidleh already mentioned the two top places, Berlin and Ibiza. Ibiza (an island) is the #1 place in all of Europe. You will love it there.

Posted by
1809 posts

Ed,
What, are you a moron? Ever hear of Amsterdam? Holy crap, youth is wasted on the young!!! This board is full of old farts.

Posted by
1804 posts

@Richard: C'mon! What happened to your "more hostel, less hostile" comment from that other thread you posted to just 10 minutes before you called poor Ed here a moron? And some of the old farts here know of the party spots because they paved the way decades ago for Ed to carry on the long tradition of puking in a trash can as he stumbles back from the bars. @Ed: Really take a careful look at your budget before you even plan a trip to Europe. Europe is not an inexpensive place to visit if your primary reason is to party all night and sleep most of the day. If that's the case, you may do better just going to a place like Cancun, New Orleans, Las Vegas or Ochos Rios. I've seen way too many people in their early 20s who think they are going to budget $50 a day in Europe for all their meals, transportation, lodging, sightseeing and clubbing. So be realistic about your money before you really start to plan, because in a big party city, $50 will barely pay for 1 night's cover charges and the 4+ drinks you are likely to consume over the course of the evening (not to mention the 4AM taxi ride back to your hostel because the subway & buses stopped running).

Posted by
12040 posts

Aim for cities that host a large univserity population, like Utrecht, Ghent, Leuven, Paris, London, Berlin, Heidelberg, Dublin, Freiburg, Tübingen, etc. Oktoberfest is the single most expensive time to spend in Munich. Many other German cities outside of Munich have their own fall festivals, like Stuttgart's Cannstatter Volkfest or Bad Bürkheim's Wurstfest (more of a wine festival than the name implies), and probably many more I don't know about. I think Munich's Oktoberfest is probably the rowdiest, though. I'm passed the party age myself, but in my day, I found the nightlife here very enjoyable. Ignore all the scolds you've received so far, you're young and if you want to enjoy European nightlife (and not the for-toursits-only stuff like the Rothenburg Nightwatchman's tour) what better age to experience it than age 22? I swear, sometimes European travel is wasted on retirees and Rickniks... Just make sure you adequately budget for your plans. As another poster mentioned, the days of Europe on $50/day or less are long gone, even for people who qualify for youth rates.

Posted by
517 posts

Eh? What did you say, you young whipper-snapper? Par-tay tonight at the old folks home in Edmonds, WA! Travel slide show and free German Riesling. Now that's livin!
Don't forget your moneybelt.

Posted by
791 posts

I spent my first 10 years partying all over Western Europe until I got married and settled down so I'm feeling you Ed. In my experiences, I often had the best times in places you wouldn't expect or that aren't generally known as "party" cities. I've done Oktoberfest, Amsterdam, etc and had a great time to be sure but I had my best times in places like Salzburg, Zurich, Bologna and Wurzburg. Sometimes it can be about timing too. I've organized several pub crawls in Venice, some that went into the wee hours and some that died early because the pubs were empty. As a general rule of thumb, I've usually had the most fun in Irish pubs because you always get a good mix of Brits, Irish, Scottish, Canadians and Americans, as well as locals and other nationalities. Irish pubs are all over Europe and seldom have I not had a great time in them. As someone above mentioned, there are tons of smaller fests in Germany and to me, they are much more enjoyable. Bad Durkheim is good but my favorite was the Herbstfest in Heidelberg. The entire Altstadt becomes one big outdoor party and then at night all the university bars open and the party continues til the wee hours. You might want to check that one out...

Posted by
791 posts

Well, Rome has some good nightlife but it's a bit spread out. Florence is spectacular however it's also the foreign city where most American college students do their exchange program so it's not uncommon to go out and run into nothing but American students all night. Until recently, Venice used to be a great albeit unpopular nightlife destination. Not so much for clubs (there are relatively few) but because there are 3 or four really good pubs there that get crowded and fun. Add to that a place called Baccaro Jazz near the Rialto and they made for a great pub crawl. Unfortunately things have changed; the Baccaro Jazz got bought by the Chinese (who are buying up EVERYTHING in Venice) who run it with military precision and have driven away all the customers (and fun). Another one of my old standards, the Devil's Forest Pub recently got sold and the new owners have jacked up the prices considerably (from 5 euros a pint to an unheard of 8 euros a pint, the most I've ever paid anywhere) so I'll never go back there. There's another one that used ot be called the Fiddler's Elbow but got sold and the name changed to "The Irish Pub", that one is still a lot of fun and there's still the Inishark whic is popular with locals. In the summer, the party places for the young people like Ed are on the beaches. Rimini, San Remo, Ostia in Rome and Jesolo near Venice. But those days are long over for me I'm afraid.

Posted by
1068 posts

Whatever you do (and after reading all of the comments here, you might have decided to just duck and cover :D ) don't get too locked into an itinerary. I have also spent my fair share of time partying in Western Europe, and some of the best times were the times when my friends and I would meet some interesting people and head off wherever they were going. There is an IMMENSE amount of cultural learning to be done over an open bottle of schnaps with a bunch of people who are NOT from where you are from. Oh - and if you do break down and decide to venture into a museum, don't do it while hung over. I have ghastly memories of the Uffizi after a huge bender at the Oktoberfest and a poorly planned night train ride (on which we continued to "party"). BLUGH. Nasty. And wasted on my softboiled eyes and brain. @Rick - jeez. You got married really young, didn't you? ;o) Oh - and another "final" thought, which might not be necessary to point out, but I will.... drugs while abroad are a really and truly horrendous idea. Getting drunk is one thing. Getting arrested is another. For some sobering research, check out an episode of "Locked Up Abroad," or rent "Midnight Express." (From 1978, but it's out on DVD, and is sufficiently horrifying to make you think twice.)

Posted by
7979 posts

Getting too drunk over here is also not the wisest idea. Drunk tourists fall into rivers, fall out of hotel room balconies, fall off of cliffs, fall onto railroad tracks, as well as get their money stolen. Sure this can all happen in the US too, but it is the party mentality in certain places that ends up in people getting hurt and even dying unfortunately. For one thing, people who aren't used to drinking cause of the silly drinking laws in the US, come over here and simply go crazy. With the doom and gloom now addressed, you can certainly have a fantastic time in many, many cities here. Berlin of course comes to mind, but also Cologne, or Hamburg or Heidelberg as mentioned. Take a look at Amsterdam, Majorca, Malta, Barcelona, Prague, etc. See what those cities have besides the party part, otherwise, why go at all. Do you want to spend your night in a club until 06:00, sleep til dusk the next day and then do it over again, or do you want to sight-see too? Pub Crawls are on offer in most major cities for a pretty low price. Berlin will probably be the cheapest place on this list of places to visit, with food, drink and hotels.

Posted by
1809 posts

Ceidleh,
Sorry but I'm jealous of Ed's youth and opportunity and I got carried away. With a decent budget I could really have done some damage traveling with my buddies to some party destinations. With the wisdom that age and experience brings I'd narrow it down to two or three destinations. Greece, Spain, Amsterdam are all possibilities. I'd also watch some old episodes of "Three Sheets" with Zane Lamprey. He's the drunk Rick Steves of TV travel.

Posted by
12040 posts

Don't get me wrong, I love Amsterdam, but... The young "party" scene there I was less impressed with than some of the university towns I listed. It seemed to be a lot more foreign stag party-goers and stoners. I've returned since my party days of yore, and although I didn't go into the same kinds of clubs or bars, the type of crowd didn't seem to have changed. Now, there's plenty of good night-life and restaurants in the city, but if you're looking for a good time with people your age... take the quick train ride to Utrecht instead.

Posted by
1068 posts

@Richard: I'd forgotten about Zane Lamprey! Ed - that is a good suggestion. "Three Sheets" is a funny show, lots of fun - and you learn all about strange and wondrous liquors of the world!

Posted by
2193 posts

Ed: Not to offend, but the average age here is something like 115 (seriously...I think Wyatt Earp is a member here), so it's probably not the best place for partying advice. Having said that, you've been given some good suggestions. I'll add Reykjavik in Iceland...it has a notorious reputation for being one of the top clubbing spots in all of Europe. Icelandair serves Toronto...you can stop in Reykjavik either on your way to or from Europe for up to 7 days with no additional fare. They typically have some of the best fares anywhere...I've flown them...great airline! Also, check Let's Go for a good guidebook and reference some of the backpacker resources online for ideas. Another tip...don't ask anyone here for fashion advice due to aforementioned average age. Have a fun trip...you're only in your 20s once! BTW, why not head over to U of T and see where the students are going? Who knows what's up with Charles...not enough fiber in his diet, perhaps?

Posted by
11450 posts

At 23 my friend and I travelled around Europe for almost 3 months. We enjoyed the sights, the musuems,, and totally partying too... thats what being young is about . We had most fun in Amsterdam and on the Greek Isles,, we loved Mykonos and Paros( which was quite a bit quieter then Mykonos,, but great anyways).. plus, in september and even into early Oct the weather can still be very nice in southern Greece and the islands. We took train around Europe, but caught a flight from Paris to Athens to board the ferrries for the islands. You can ferry over from Italy to Greece, but at that time the length of trip( overnight ferry from Brindisini) and expense made a flight a better option for us. Have fun,, yes, party, but be careful,, getting drunk does make you vunerable,, so watch your backs,, keep together when partying,, and try not to get totally blotto. Good advice to check out Lonely Planets Thorn Tree forum.

Posted by
3580 posts

The LET'S GO travel books are written for your age group. I understand that Barcelona can be a great party city.

Posted by
2828 posts

Oktoberfest is quite overrated IMO. It is famous, but it is still expensive, overrated. As for partying, you could use a mix of these 4 strategies: - choose your hostels carefully. Read their reviews on hostelworld or booking.com. Check their website. Hostels are very different in terms of their vibe, there are some known as being party centrals, others as chill-out places where even loud conversation is frowned upon. Go to the hostel that fits your vibe, and you'll find like-minded travelers. - go to some major university towns (assuming you are travelling during class time) and check the local ESN (Erasmus Student Network) website/facebook groups. Erasmus is the name of the EUropean-wide student exchange program, and they are known to throw the best parties in pretty much every college place they work, many of them opened for other people not on exchange as well - spend some days in a major party hot spot like Ibiza, Rimini, San Sebástian/Donostia, Murcia, Alicante, Malaga, where many other Europeans on the 20s converge on summer. - If it is your thing, put a music festival on the schedule, but beware they sell out months in advance and crashing is no longer an option for safety/crowd-management reasons. If it is also your thing, radical sports' (winter and summer) places like Interlaken always have a good vibe for partying ===================== On a side note, I'd mix some chill-out days with more intense ones. When I was a bit younger (I'm now 30), many times I've encountered on hostels throughout Europe people who were in a bad mood, completely exhausted from their trips, only to talk to them and notice they were <i>only</i> partying hard every single night like a massive, extended Spring Break. So take some days to do less intense activities, to visit some monuments and so, and then have a blast the following one.

Posted by
1804 posts

"don't ask anyone here for fashion advice due to aforementioned average age"... Come now! What 22 year old guy doesn't want to be told that he should leave all of his jeans at home because they are too heavy and won't dry overnight after he hand washes them in a sink or uses a makeshift Ziploc baggie as a washing machine? And why wouldn't he want to outfit himself in an Ex Officio travel safari vest, Tilley hat and lightweight khakis from TravelSmith that will all easily fit into the Rick Steves Convertible Civita Daypack? And don't forget the all important Rick Steves moneybelt! Although as soon as you pass out drunk on a public park bench in Barcelona those pesky pickpockets will simply strip you down and just slide that moneybelt right off you. On another note, I don't think you need to bother watching "Midnight Express" or episodes of "Locked Up Abroad" unless you are actively planning to smuggle balloons full of heroin between your butt cheeks. And most of those profiled on that show get busted in places like South America, Mexico or Southeast Asia where the jails are actually full of real criminals. Everyone here agrees Europe is such a happy, safe place that the only cell mates you'd likely have would be pickpockets (another reason to make sure you wear that money belt!).

Posted by
7979 posts

The rest of Germany keeps far, far away from the Oktoberfest and has zero interest in going to this over-priced beer fest. There are fests everywhere, with the same kind of things, but just not the emphasis on getting trashed and a whole lot cheaper. Have yet to meet a German who has been to the Oktoberfest or even had a desire to go to the Oktoberfest. I am sure there may be some out there, but not very many.

Posted by
833 posts

Rik was correct in suggesting Irish pub type places. I've been to some in Rome, Zurich and Garmisch and enjoyed them. I agree with others on advice with Oktoberfest (expensive) and other cities to visit (they've mentioned some good ones). To do it cheap, stay in hostels, grab sandwich-making items from the grocery store, etc. If you know how long you plan on staying, etc, you may receive more specific answers.

Posted by
204 posts

I loved all the comments about my post but my favorite was the one about fiber in my diet. I'll have to look into that.

Posted by
129 posts

Since this is your first trip to Europe and you are 22 going with some buddies, check out Contiki trips. They cater to the young partying crowd, mainly the drunk Australians. It's a great deal if you want to go to Europe and party, since they cover your transportation, lodging, meals, and there will always be someone to walk you home or help you throw up 20 bottles of Heineken. You'll have a hungover whirlwind tour of the sights, too. That was my first trip to Europe, it was a lot of fun, but I don't wish to repeat it! Now, I enjoy the Rick Steves way of travel, respectful, engaging, and seeing the beauty of Europe during the day!

Posted by
3696 posts

Seriously... just land with some money and a vague plan and go with the flow. At your age, it will depend on who you meet and where and what looks the most exciting and interesting. You are really talking to a lot of people your parents age and older, so take the advice with a grain of salt, maybe some of them can't remember what it was like to be your age. Have a great time learning about people from different backgrounds and hopefully you will make some life-long friends and develop a global view of the world. Definitely hit the college towns.

Posted by
3313 posts

If you want to confirm that little has changed about being in your early 20s and in Europe in 40 years, read "The Drifters" by James Michener. EDIT: Heck, go back almost 90 years and read "A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway.

Posted by
11450 posts

James,, its true the average age of posters here may be a tad over 20,, but you sure use a broad brush when you paint everyone a "rik nik".. there are a fair amount of us here who don't wear Tilley Hats, moneybelts, or discourage youngsters from partying,,
I do notice you on this board quite a bit,, and I assume you are not "drinking the koolaid" so I think it would be nice if you didn't lump us all in as old fuddy duddys who are slaves to every RS.

Posted by
2193 posts

Nigel asks an interesting question. Think about this: The original poster is 22 and is living in the hippest city (and one of the best for music & clubbing) in North America, yet he's asking the RS Helpline (of all places) about partying and mentions Oktoberfest in Bavaria as a possibility. Oktoberfest??? Bavaria??? Seriously? One can get stupid drunk there like a frat boy to be sure, but partying/clubbing atmosphere? Hardly. As I think about this, it's akin to saying you live in Madison, would like to party through Friday night into Saturday before the game, and was thinking of heading up to the "University of Phoenix" for a good time. This post may actually be a bunch of BS. I can't imagine a 22 year old in Toronto not knowing how to find party spots in Europe. Not buying it. A tad over 20? How about closer to 20x4? Pat: And they're into clubbing and partying? Of course there are lots of kids who wouldn't know where to look because they're not into it, but tech-savvy 22 year-olds looking to party wouldn't have much trouble finding places to do it. They probably wouldn't be visiting the RS Helpline for advice.

Posted by
11450 posts

I can imagine my nieces asking exactly that question,, and they live in Toronto. Not everyone is up on the hippest stuff.

Posted by
11450 posts

wow.. a tad insulting , if op comes back on and admits hes not hip and cool in Toronto he may feel awkward,, you guys need to be aware not all 20 yrs old that live in Toronto are "hip and cool" ( and by the way what frigging era is that term from,, its pretty stupid sounding) and how pray tell would a person raised in Toronto know where the partying areas are in Europe,, geesh,, thru his crystal ball.

Posted by
1804 posts

My guess is OP split as soon as he was called stupid and immature and someone else told him everyone here is old then referred him to Thorntree. Just an observation...I wouldn't automatically think his post was BS as it's not the 1st post I've seen on here from someone in their 20s who doesn't seem to know what's going on in Europe or even what direction to head (ie, the posts "I want to go to Europe after I graduate college. Where should I go?" or "What is there to see in Paris/Rome/London?"). So if all 20-somethings are so tech savvy they can sniff out the hottest nightclubs anywhere in the world, then what's the excuse for the ones who ask questions like that? As for Ed thinking Oktoberfest is a hot spot - he's 22 and maybe he was a frat boy so to him "looking to party and have a good time" may very well equate to chugging 60 oz. of beer out of a giant stein while wearing a goofy Oktoberfest hat and trying to pick up some drunk sorority chicks taking a semester in Europe. If that's what brings him joy, then great! Also, just because he has "Toronto" posted after his name here doesn't necessarily mean he actually lives in Toronto. I've lived in a number of very large cities in the U.S. and often encountered people in my travels who would ask me where I live and I would name the city and they would say "Oh, I lived there, too!" and the instant I started talking about specific neighborhoods in said city, they would not know what I was talking about and would backpedal and say "Well, actually I didn't live in the city - I lived about 50 miles outside of the city". So Ed may live in some rinky dink Canadian town that no one has ever heard of and rarely, if ever, ventures into Toronto to experience the nightlife and know what is "hip".

Posted by
839 posts

I agree that the first (very rude, by the way) comment probably sent Ed packing. But on the chance that you do come back, Ed, know that not everyone around here is a grouchy, money belt wearing, Teva-sandaled fiftysomething. It's personally not my thing, but Europe has a great clubbing scene if you are interested. Of the cities that I visited, Berlin, Prague, and Budapest had the best reputation for nightlife that involves clubs/dancing. If you just want to go out to bars, Budapest, Prague, and Berlin are hands-down the cheapest places to drink. Brussels and Munich have a lot of (great) beer, but it will cost you more than you may want to pay. Zane Lamprey, as someone mentioned, is a good resource as far as finding places to drink, although those places may not necessarily be in your budget. At 22, you are still well within prime target hosteling age. Your hostel can be a great resource for finding the nightlife (especially on a budget), as well as people to go out with. Have fun! P.S.: Oh, and if you think you are a hard partier, prepare to meet quite a few Australians who will probably beat you to it.

Posted by
638 posts

Madrid, Spain-tho the partying starts late at night, probably 11PM at the earliest. That's why they have those afternoon siestas! Remember tho, alcohol will be more expensive in Europe than the US (not sure if your prices are comparable to the US) and don't buy drinks for the pretty girls who work at the bars, or you may end up with some very expensive drinks. Best not to run a tab and ask the price of drinks before ordering. Watch your money, pickpockets love drunks with money. have fun!

Posted by
142 posts

@ Ed I'm 29 and going back to Europe for the second time in two weeks!!! The first time I went was a UK adventure where my goal was to see lots of pretty scenery (Ireland, Dingle Peninsula wins hands down), see the touristy London things, Stonehenge was thrown in a day trip and then have drinks in as many pubs in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales that we could handle. That was when I was 23. I wish at 23 I was doing (more than just the UK) what you are doing so go for it! In two weeks I am leaving for my Prague, Salzburg, Munich (yes, I'm going to Oktoberfest), Zermatt, Paris, Bruges and fly out of Brussels. If I was still a student and didn't have the work responsibilities I have now I would have used two months and traveled ALL over...stayed in hostels and not cared all while seeing cool things and eating/drinking whatever I wanted. I'd say make sure you have some UK mixed in there and when I get back from my next trip I'll update you if any of those places may be to your liking. Like others have said there are all different ages that post on here. They have great advice (except the super negative folks) but everyone's advice is THEIR advice and THEIR perspective so take it with a grain of salt. The rest of you that were jumping on this poor kid you should take a second look at your posting behavior. I'm embarrassed for you and you're probably MUCH older than I am. Let's keep it friendly.