Lifestyle & Culture

New for 2023: Dispatches’ list of Europe’s best spring break and summer party destinations

Working in spring and summer? Forget about it! Everyone is at the beach. 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 and summer travel to parties in unique settings.

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 yes, we’re shooting for something beyond the Club 18-30 experience.

Porto & Lisbon, Portugal

I love a fun city trip in spring, especially somewhere sunny in Southern Europe. Portugal is the perfect spring break destination to escape the still cold weather in most of Europe in early spring.

And why settle for one city when you can do two?

Both Lisbon and Porto are stunning riverside cities that are built on many, many hills, so don’t just bring your party shoes but some decent sneakers as well. Spend your days wandering through the picturesque old town, wine tasting in old barrels and eating your bodyweight in pastel de nata.

Hit the town at night for some dancing or check out one of the springtime festivals in Portugal. In April, Lisbon is host to Dias da Música, a 3-day festival with non-stop music that includes jazz, opera and classical music concerts.

Want to show off your dance moves at an even bigger party? Hop on a train or flight to Porto in June for Primavera Sound 2023, which is headlined by Kendrick Lamar this year.

Sevilla, Spain

Sevilla is another spring break destination for those of us who can’t wait to enjoy some warmer temperatures and sunshine this spring. Temperatures can already get as high as 25 degrees Celsius in April and May, which makes Sevilla a top spring destination.

Feria de Abril is the biggest festival of the year in Sevilla and takes place at the end of April. The flamenco festival starts on 23 April and is a colorful week-long carnival with parties where the drinking, eating and dancing lasts until the early hours of the morning.

King’s Day in Eindhoven (Photo by Terry Boyd for Dispatches)

King’s Day in the Netherlands

It may not be super warm and sunny in April in the Netherlands, but King’s Day makes it more than worth to plan a fun little city trip. Get there a day early, because the party already starts on the evening before King’s Day.

During Koningsnacht, there will be parties in every bar, club and city.

Dress code: anything orange! The next morning, you can go straight from the club to one of the many flea markets around town and continue dancing at one of the outdoor festivals, like Loveland van Oranje in Amsterdam.

Valencia, Spain

It’s impossible to pick one favorite city in Europe, but Valencia is definitely high up on the list. The city is an interesting mix of old and new with the historic city center on one side and the super modern Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias on the other.

It’s also very bike-friendly and situated close to the sea.

You can simply rent a bike in the city and cycle over the beach. Once you’re there, hang out with a cocktail or two at the Marina Beach Club, which has a stunning infinity pool right on the beach. In the summer months, the beach club often hosts DJs who transform the venue into an outdoor club.

Read more about Valencia here in Dispatches’ archives.

Sicily, Italy

If you are one of the millions who was hooked on the HBO-series “The White Lotus” last year, you know that Sicily is one of the places to be for a fun time this spring or summer. A stay at the luxurious San Domenico Palace, where the majority of the show was filmed, might be out of your budget but you can still have a fabulous time on the Italian Island.

Sicily’s many beach clubs are the spring break place to be for those who want to soak up the sunshine during the day and dance, drink and party at night.

A pop-up bar on the Donau (Photo by Terry Boyd for Dispatches)

Donauinselfest, Austria

When I visited Vienna in June a couple of years, I was surprised by how fun, young and trendy the Austrian capital is. We spent a lot of time sipping Aperol Spritzes at pop-up beach bars along the Donau (Danube) River while also wandering around town and soaking up the impressive cultural and architectural highlights of the city.

June is a great time to visit Vienna if you want to dance the night away at an outdoor music festival. The Donauinselfest is a free 3-day festival held on the Donau island in the city. It’s massively popular and attracted more than 2.5 million visitors in 2022.

This year, Donauinselfest will take place 23 thru 25 June.

Šibenik, Croatia – Otok Obonjan

The chill, grown-up party starts in June on this small (136 acres) adults-only private Croatian island and runs through September. There’s music in a stone amphitheater, but there’s a lot more than music.

There’s an underwater sculpture garden, an island cinema and a woodland well-being centre. Imagine Cap-Ferrat at half the price.

You can book here on the Obojan website.

Shambala Festival, Utopia (okay, Northamptonshire, UK)

This one is for those who can tell their sister/brother by the flowers in his/her eyes on the road to Shambala, where everyone is so helpful, everyone is so kind. Ah, ooooh-hooo, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

You know what we’re talking about.

From 24 thru 27 August, Adventures in Utopia will be the order of the day in the Middle of Nowhere, England north of London. Yes, there will be music. Lots of music. But this is a consciousness-raising event for the Creative Class, with debates, seminars, circuses and acrobats, poetry and theatre along with 200 music acts.

Two hundred acts, and we’ve literally never heard of one of them, which is a record.

And which could go either way … you could discover new music that’s not on anyone’s radar, or you could just skip the music and go straight for the food, which looks freaking amazing even though there is no fish or meat.

Anyway, music kind of seems to be beside the point because most of the EDM and pop acts are too commercial for Utopia. (Could you imagine Liam Gallagher at this?)

You really need to read the “Our Principals” section before you go because this ain’t Sonus Festival. This is a family-friendly gathering where random acts of kindness are encouraged.

Insomnia Festival, São Gião, Portugal

There are two Insomnia festivals – one in Norway, one in Portugal. Confusing, we know. But this is the one in middle-of-nowhere Portugal, between Porto and Lisbon on the edge of the Sara da Estrella mountains. The perfect setting for what is a blend of counterculture festival (read, psychedelics) and EDM festival.

This is another Portugal event that’s kinda about the experience of bringing the tribes together, which includes camping and hanging out outdoors.

Insomnia runs from 1 thru 3 September. The DJs are from all over – South Africa to Spain to Israel to Australia.

There are also lots and lots of things to do during the day including workshops such as yoga, of course, drumming and tribal meditation.


Read more from Willeke here in Dispatches’ archives.

Willeke van Doorn
Dispatches Europe at | + posts

Willeke van Doorn is a Dutch journalist and graduate of Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Tilburg, Netherlands. Her experience includes an internship at National Geographic Traveler in Amsterdam.

Willeke has lived in the U.S. and Australia and loves to travel the world. She was an early Dispatches contributor as a student.

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