Lifestyle & Culture

New for 2018 (updated): Dispatches’ list of Europe’s best spring break and summer party destinations

Street’s like a jungle / So call the police / Following the herd / Down to Greece / On holiday!Blur, “Girls & Boys,” 1994.

Europe went from cold to hot without warning this week, and it’s only going to get hotter.

Now through June is spring break in Europe, and we’re here to help you get the most out of this magical, drunken, sexy period with our latest list, devoted to all things spring break.

Our list will be updated with summer parties on the horizon, so keep this one bookmarked so you don’t end up sleeping on your spring break.

And if you know of a big party or event perfect for spring breakers or summer parties for the sun, sand and sin crowd, you can either email yours truly at cameron@dispatcheseurope.com or our editor, Terry, at terry@dispatcheseurope.com; or hit up our Facebook page.

• APRIL

Chamonix – Musilac Mont-Blanc 2018: This is a music festival in one of France’s iconic ski towns, and within sight of Mont-Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. But there’s more to do here than listen to music and ski during Musilac Mont-Blanc, which is scheduled for 19 through 21 April.

The event area is also renown for paragliding and rock climbing. So, this is sort of a spring celebration of the mountains and great outdoors.

The Musilac line up is, well, eclectic, running from Scottish pop group Texas to roots/blues duo Ben Harper and Charlie Musselman to French trance DJ duo Synapson to The Empress’s ’70s space disco. (No, seriously, that’s a thing in France.) So in short, it’s like going to a great party where hosts play every genre all night long.

You can see the full lineup here.

Ticket start at 49 euros and you can get them here.

Malta – Sunbreak Malta: If there’s anywhere in Europe you’re going to see the sun in April, it’s probably Malta. So no surprise, a package-tour company has come up with a new marketing angle …. take a “sunbreak,” not a “spring break.”

Sunbreak Malta, from 29 April to 1 May, is billed as the “craziest spring break in Europe.” Okaaaay.

The southern Med island climate is in their favor and the 2017 photo gallery shows people actually swimming in April. Also, it’s pretty affordable, centered around a couple of 3-star hotels and Club MTV Sunbreak.

And when you’re 20 years old, you’re not going for the Frette sheets and amuse-bouche at the Georges V. You’re going from the music and the booze … and this package deal appears to offer plenty of both.

Access to the parties start at 79 euros and you can get tickets here.

Playa d’en Bossa – The IBZ Boat Party: Off the east coast of Spain is an island famous for its party scene: Ibiza (Eivissa en catala). While there are quiet villages, yoga retreats, and serene beaches on the island, most who make the trek are there to party the days and nights away with EDM and (occasionally) foam in the air.

The first big party of the 2018 Ibiza party calendar takes place away from the island, though. The IBZ Boat Party sets sail from Playa d’en Bossa 20 April for four hours of music, food, jet skis and flying bananas. After the boat returns to port at 17:00, the party continues at Ibiza’s many clubs, thanks to the free and discounted admissions you’ll receive by booking your place on the boat.

Want to start your spring break in Ibiza off right? A super early-bird ticket will cost you €49. And don’t worry if you miss the boat: the IBZ Boat Party will return in late May for a summer of near-daily sailings.

• MAY

Ayia Napa, Cyprus, Spring Break Ayia Napa 2018: This is a relatively new destination in southern Cyprus, which is part of Greece … and known for its unrestrained British partiers.

The island heats up early, with an average daily high temperature of 26 degrees in May. So “Spring Break” here lasts from 1 May till way into June. Which makes it easy to schedule a trip.

You can get a Spring Break package deal here at Clubbing Destinations. Or you can go your own way, as Christine McVie used to say, and stay in one of the beach hotels.

Cannes – Cannes Film Festival week: This is definitely not for everyone, but we’re just going to throw it out there.

The French Rivera town of Cannes comes alive during the film festival in early May, right when a lot of young Europeans go on Spring Break. This would be a very, very expensive Spring Break, even if you stayed nearby in Nice or Juan-Les-Pins.

But, that said, how many times do you get a chance to party with the stars?

Cannes has some of the most famous clubs in the world including Gotha, and they all crank up in early May with the opening of the festival on 9 May. Bâoli, the most expensive club, opens 3 May.

See if Jay Z will lend you his credit card because the Dom and Cristal are not on the house.

Copenhagen – Distortion 2018: Starting 30 May and running through 3 June, the 20th anniversary of Distortion will turn most of Copenhagen into party heaven. Distortion includes massive daytime street parties, underground nightclub events, and the grand two-day finale, Distortion Ø at Refshaleøen and the Copenhagen harbour.

Distortion claims to include more than 110 dance floors across the Danish capital where people party as late as 9 a.m. at “morning bars.”

If you want to party with the likes of Maceo Plex, Grandtheft and Noah Carter, a week pass will set you back DKK 450 (about 60 euros); other options are available including camping.

You can get tickets here.

Malta – Annie Mac Presents: Lost & Found Festival: Around 1,200 kilometres to the southeast of Ibiza is the island nation of Malta, one of the smallest nations in the world, boasting the smallest capital city in the European Union by area, Valetta.

Coming to this tiny nation 3 through 6 May is the fourth annual Annie Mac Presents: Lost & Found Festival. Hosted by its namesake, BBC Radio 1 host and DJ Annie Mac, Lost & Found brings some of the best EDM DJs to rock the house, the boat, and the castle. That’s right: in addition to the festival arena, there are boat parties and a rave in a Maltese castle.

And who is Annie Mac bringing to the party this year? Diplo, The Black Madonna, Shy FX, TS7, and Annie Mac herself, among the dozens of DJs already ready to rock the house at Lost & Found.

General release tickets to the festival are £119 to £129 (€135 – €146) for general admission, £149 to £159 (€167 – €180) for the VIP treatment. Tickets can also be paid in monthly installments.

Novalija – Croatia Spring Break: For three weeks in late May through mid-June, Novalija and Zrće Beach on Croatia’s Island of Pag leads the transition from spring break to summer holiday with its annual Croatia Spring Break.

What’s it going to be like when you get to Novalija? Think about every time MTV hosted their annual spring break affair in places like Daytona Beach and Miami Beach, Florida and Cancun, Mexico (especially from 1986 through the late 1990s): wild, sexy, raw, uninhibited, total non-stop madness on the beach. Drop some 24-hour EDM ecstasy from famed DJs against the backdrop of crystal blue waters of the Adriatic Sea and golden sunset beaches, and you have the ingredients for the next Ibiza, right here on the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe.

From €149 per person, you can check out all of the EDM and afterbeach parties you want, plus obtain access to all clubs, and move around the area on a bus that runs 24 hours a day. All you need to decide is how many days and nights (from 31 May – 3 June, 7 – 10 June, and 14 – 17 June) you want to spend losing and/or finding yourself on Zrće Beach.

Salou – SpringBreak Salou: Salou, a resort area on Spain’s Costa Daurada south of Barcelona, is the destination from 10 thru 13 May. This isn’t so much an organized event as a tradition more like spring break in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

SpringBreak Salou is all over the place, literally: From multiple clubs to cruises on the Med.

We’ll post more information on the 2018 event as soon as it’s available. Meanwhile, check out the after-party vid above to get a sense of what this is all about.

Zrce, Croatia – Spring Break Europe: As you can tell, the Croatian coast is the place to be when the weather starts to get warm. There are so many parties, it’s hard to keep track of all of them.

Spring Break Europe combines two competing parties – Spring Break Europe and Zrce Spring Break – into what’s touted as a non-stop mega-party. And indeed, there are daytime pool-and-beach parties and nighttime club parties … 72 hours straight of stuff going on.

About 10,000 people are expected for the event, scheduled for 31 May thru 3 June, and it will be interesting to see where they put them all.

Tickets start at 99 euros and you can get them via the SBE Facebook page here. Also, there isn’t much posted yet about the music acts, but they promise the FB page will be updated regularly … and we ARE still four months out.

Ta’Gali, Malta – Earth Garden: And now for something completely different. Most parties/music festivals are themed, and typically EDM-oriented. Not Earth Garden.

This is a multi-genre event 31 May thru 3 June in a park in the center of Malta that features “non-mainstream” music. So this is one is that appeals more to counterculture/alternative/Earth Mother type than hardcore partiers. But with more than 100 acts, there’s a little sumpin’-sumpin’ for everyone including:

World Music, Blues, Jazz, Funk, Ska, Dub, Reggae, Psychedelic & Alternative Rock, Gypsy Punk, Psychedelic Trance & Dub, Techno, Acid, House, Ambient, Electro, Drum & Bass

You can see the full lineups of acts here.

Like MEO Sudoeste in Portugal, Earth Garden is about camping and connecting with other people, so there’s apparently minimal access to Wifi to make sure you don’t just sit and stare at your iPhone between sets.

That’s the good news.

The really good news is, Earth Garden is damn near free, with passes starting at 15 euros for a one-day pass, and 25 euros for the full four days.

You can get your tickets here.

• JUNE

Novalija – Spring Break Island: At the same time and same place as Croatia Spring Break, Novalija’s Spring Break Island is a separate affair held at Noa Beach Club, Rocks Beach Club, and Cocomo Club 31 May through 3 June and 14 through 17 June.

What can you expect on Spring Break Island? Foam parties, boat parties, after beach pool parties, lots of EDM, adventures on Adriatic and Zrće Beach, sexy 24-hour party people, the usual spring break madness. And speaking of EDM, there will be DJs announced soon.

In the meantime, you can book your Spring Break Island adventure for as little as €59 for a three-day general admission pass, €89 for the VIP treatment. Don’t sleep on this, though, as these prices are good until 31 January.

Polkovnik Serafimovo, Bulgaria – Meadows in the Mountains: We’re seeing a trend here … mellow gatherings for the non-Berghain crowd.

This one is as mellow as it gets in a remote section of Bulgaria … sort of a Bulgarian Burning Man. The meadows of Meadows in the Mountain are in Polkovnik Serafimovo, 850 meters in the mountains on the Greece border. The festival runs from 7 thru 10 June, so this might make a unique summer trip if you’re into the tribal back-to-nature thing.

The vid from previous events makes it clear that this is really, really rustic if you’re used to partying with Bono on the Cote d’Azur. Though this being Bulgaria, there is a thermal spa/pool.

The spa hotel is sold out. But you can still camp.

Tickets are 140 euros for four days. And this is interesting … you can volunteer and get in free, with a meal. 

We also have to give Meadows in the Mountains four stars for a great website with very clear info.

Graz, Spring Festival Graz: Anyone who’s attended university in Graz knows Austria’s Second City is one of Europe’s golden towns, with a vibrant student scene. From 13 thru 17 June, you can experience it yourself as Spring Festival Graz takes over the city.

This is an annual 5-day festival that turns the city center into an EDM and arts festival. This year, the headliners are Honey Dijon from Chicago via Berlin, Goldberg and Yeah, But No from Berin as well as Austrian DJs we’re not familiar with including Attila and Seventy Percent.

We can’t begin to say how much the Spring Festival Graz website sucks. You have to open the ticket tab to find out where the venues are. It looks like there are least three. But at this point, we don’t see anything like as schedule. We get the feeling this is more for locals, but it looks great. AND tickets start at 12 euros.

You can get them here.

Pag – Hideout Festival 2018: Yet another huge summer party for the EDM crowd in Croatia. Hideout Festival, which runs from 25 June to 29 June, is on Zrce beach, near Novalja, at a string of open-air venues; Papaya, Aquarius, Kalypso, Euphoria & Noa. So, this is kind of a continuation of Spring Break Island above.

As with most of the Croatian parties, there are parties on land and on boats.

We count at least 26 acts/DJs – mostly from London – including rapper AJ Tracey (“Pasta”) and DJs Chris Lorenzo and Horse Meat Disco.

Tickets start at 149 pounds, and you can get them here.

Reykjavik – Secret Solstice 2018: Secret Solstice starts on the longest day of the year, scheduled for 21 thru 24 June.

The sun never sets in Reykjavik at the summer solstice, so it’s safe to say this will be a round-the-clock party. Secret Soltice, like so many other festivals, mixes new acts and classics. Emerging Belgian DJ Charlotte DeWitte is on the list as well as Bonnie Tyler, who’s been around forever. Other big names include Steve Aoki, Clean Bandit and East London rapper J Hus. But there are at least 50 acts announced for the four days including many from Iceland. So that’s cool.

You can see the full lineup here.

There are also two side events including music in a cave and inside a glacier. You won’t want to miss this. The only downside is that Iceland is one of the most expensive places on the planet, so take plenty of do-re-me.

Tickets start at 175 euros and you can get them here.

• July

Le Barcarès, France – Electrobeach Music Festival: If your idea of the perfect summer is some of the biggest names in EDM on a beach in the south of France, this is your party.

From 12 thru 14 July, Le Barcarès, France near Spain is the place, and Afrojack, Carl Cox, Martin Garrix and Diplo are just some of the big names. There are three days, three stages and at least 43 DJs, by our count.

There are still tickets available starting at 149 euros, but we’re guessing you’ll be on a waiting list if you wait much longer.

You can get tickets here.

Split, Croatia – Ultra Europe 2018: This isn’t just another festival in Croatia. This scene has spread around the world since Ultra began with British entrepreneurs and Dutch DJs in Miami!

If you’re looking for (and willing to pay for) The Big Names, Ultra Europe is your summer destination from 5 to 11 July.

How big are the names for Ultra Europe? Legends, such as Carl Cox and Dave Guetta and global phenoms such as Chainsmokers, Afrojack and Hardwell. Just to name a few.

Ultra Europe is kind of two events – the first at a stadium in Split, and the second at a beach resort in Hvar. The major acts will play at the stadium 6, 7 and 8 July, with Tier 2 acts at the beach party on 10 July.

Everything starts with a pre-party on 5 July. The 149 euro tickets are sold out. Prices now start at 175 euros and you can get them here.

Madrid – Mad Cool Festival 2018: Of all the festivals on this list, there’s only one with this many major acts – new and retro – squeezed into three days, 12 thru 14 July: Mad Cool Festival.

Let’s just get right to the Big Names:

Pearl Jam; Sofi Tukker; Dua Lipa; Wolf Alice; Tame Impala, Arctic Monkeys; Jack White; Depeche Mode; Queens of the Stone Age; Nine Inch Nails.

Yeah, it would have been nice to have Chain Smokers, Camilla Cabello and Kendrick Lamar, but Mad Cool Festival looks pretty, well, mad cool.

Predictably, this is almost sold out, with just day entry tickets and VIP. You can get them here.

France – Musilac Aix-Les-Bains: This is the summer version of  Musilac Mont-Blanc above.

From 12 thru 15 of July, the storied French spa resort on a lake at the foot of the Alps will be the setting for one of France’s biggest festivals. Musilac Aix-Les-Bains dates back to 2004, starting out with a lot of big-name acts including Peter Gabriel, The Cure, Franz Ferdinand,  Iggy Pop and Patti Smith. Now it’s more of a hodge-podge of big names and French acts.

But back for 2018 are Franz Ferdinand, Depeche Mode, The Stranglers and Deep Purple along with lesser-knowns French acts such as Mc Solaar, who’s actually pretty good!

Tickets start at 59 euros and you can get them here.

Varna, Bulgaria – MTV Beach Party: Last year was the debut of the peripatetic MTV Beach Party in Varna. We know it’s coming back for 2018, but the date hasn’t been announced. We’re pretty certain that this will come off sometime in mid-July during the height of the vacation season.

Last year’s MTV Beach Party put Varna on the map as an international party destination along with Croatia and other sea-and-sun cities. It’s funny what building a stage, having cool lighting and bringing in stars on the level of Steve Aoki can do for a town’s rep.

The MTV Bulgaria website states, “2018 announcement coming soon.” So stay tuned.

• August

Ibiza – BBC Radio 1 Weekend Ibiza 2018: This is the highpoint of the island’s party season. Exactly when it will be isn’t set yet. Though our guess is 3 thru 5 of August.

This is the weekend promoters showcase top DJs at clubs and parties. It’s also known as the “Scouse Weekend,” a reference to the Liverpool accent and the vast number of people from that English city pouring into Ibiza.

While we don’t have the details yet, it’s a pretty safe bet that Annie Mac and other BBC DJs will be on hand. That, and you’d better book tickets ASAP because the island is known to hit capacity with this event.

More as we know more.

Zambujeira do Mar, Portugal – MEO Sudoeste: This is one of the purer festivals in terms of minimal commercialism and maximum fun. In fact, their motto is “Party all day, party all night.”

MEO Sudoeste 2018 runs from 7 thru 11 August for a full week of music and whatever on the Atlantic way south of Lisbon. And according to the pub we read, people come for five and stay for 10 at “an extended summer camp.” If you check out the vid, you’ll see MEO Sudoeste is as much about camping, hanging out and swimming as it is about music.

No Annie Mac, no Martin Garrix nor Dua Lipa. Headliners for 2018 include Brazilian reggaeton singer J. Balvin (remember, Brazil’s official language is Portuguese), Portuguese hip-hop artist DeeJay Telio and Marshmello.

There actually are some biggish names this year including Shawn Mendez, Dutch DJ Hardwell and Lil Pump of “Gucci Gang” fame.

Full passes start at 115 euros and you can get them here.

• Anytime

Here’s a quick list of the best destinations to pull together your own pop-up parties:

Croatia:

• On the Southern Dalmatian Coast, Orebic and Korcula between Dubrovnik and Hvar.

• On the Middle Dalmatian Coast: Drvenik and Tucepi have beautiful beaches; Zaostrog is cheap and great for campers.

• On the North Dalmatian Coast: Primosten is literally breathtaking, with a quiet sandy beach on one side and a wild, stone beach with surfing possibilities on the other side.

Cyprus:

Ayia Napa is famous for two things: beautiful beaches and a wild party scene. On the Greek side of Cyprus, this is a huge destination for Brits … and incredibly affordable.

Greece:

Kos has a reputation as a party island especially popular with Germans. We’ve been there. It’s true.

Mykonos often gets compared to Ibiza. Check out Nammos Beach Club.

Balearic Islands:

Everyone knows Ibiza is THE party destination in Europe. But did you know Ibiza has Privilege, which claims to be the world’s largest nightclub, with a capacity of 10,000 people?

Bigger than Ibizia and (slightly) more sedate, Mallorca still knows how party hardy.

 

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