Summer in Europe: there’s nothing like it, right? Tens of thousands of wide-eyed travellers searching for the most famous sights and the most unforgettable parties. Somewhere along the way, a true genius realised that these two ambitions should be combined and the ‘pub crawl’ was born. Having crawled my way across the continent (and nursed a serious hangover or two), I’m happy to share with you my hit list for some of the best cities to experience a pub crawl in Europe.
This popular Greek island has mastered the art of the pub crawl. After spending the day relaxing on the golden sand and crystal blue water beaches, the island comes to life as the sun sets. The small township of Ios has over 70 different bars all within walking (or crawling) distance from each other. Each of these watering holes has a unique theme and their very own shot challenge: usually, 7 shots and a special t-shirt as your reward, which you will wear around the island like a badge of honour and the world will know of your courageous feat. Chances are, you’ll end up wearing 5 t-shirts at once and after 35 shots you’ll be deep crawling your way to a hard-earned gyros.
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Prague, Czech Republic
Any place where you can buy 2-litre bottles of beer from the supermarket is bound to be up for a good time. Couple this with the fact the beer is literally cheaper than water and you have a pub crawler’s dream. Set amongst the magical fairytale castles of the old town are dozens of hidden bars ready to fill you with cheap beer plus vodka and absinthe shots if you’re game enough. No Prague night out is complete without a visit to Karlovy lázně, a 14th-century bathhouse converted into a 5-storey nightclub for those advanced pub crawlers who are ready to crawl up and down stairs.
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Belgium may be famous for its waffles, but it’s the Belgian beer that really brings the travellers to the yard. The Belgians are renowned for getting creative with their beer and brewers across the country have experimented with over 2,000 different beers. You can start with a strawberry, raspberry or cherry beer, follow that up with a mango beer and then a chocolate mud cake beer for dessert. With such incredible variety, you’ll want to try them all and a pub crawl is the perfect way to do it.
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Unlike its bigger brother Ibiza, Mallorca doesn’t boast the biggest DJs or most iconic nightclubs in the world. However, it does have a pub crawl vibe like no other. In the famous strip of Magaluf, you will find a road of Vegas-like neon lights and drink specials as far as the eye can see. With nearly every bar offering 2 spirit-based drinks for €5, the drinks are always flowing, and the people are always crawling.
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Budapest is the most underrated European city for its nightlife and every night is a party for travellers. Many of Budapest’s hostels have a weekly schedule of drinking activities all designed to get you as drunk as humanly possible. With hidden ruin bars, crazy nightclubs, booze cruises down the Danube and ‘sparties’ (parties in thermal spa baths), Budapest has an amazing party culture that will help you create memories you’ll never remember.
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The Irish are known for their drinking talents, so it stands to reason they can pub crawl with the best of them. The famous Temple Bar district is where all the action happens with traditional Irish pubs lining the streets. Many of Dublin’s hostels combine to organise one epic Temple Bar pub crawl, stopping off at some great pubs for Guinness, beer pong and games before finishing it all off with a silent disco. If you’re a big drinker and partier then Dublin better be on your bucket list.
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An absolute must on any European adventure, Barcelona’s nightlife has something to cater for everyone. The Spanish siesta suits the traveller’s lifestyle, as dinner is usually enjoyed around 10pm and then the party gets started at midnight. Immerse yourself in the Spanish culture with cooking lessons and free sangria followed by a €1 tapas bars and more free sangria. If all that food is getting in the way of your drinking, you can then head out to one of the many pumping bars or world-famous nightclubs and let Barcelona crawl its way into your heart.
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It seems every traveller who visits Krakow is there for a great time and that’s exactly what they get. In the old town, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a bar on every corner. Many of Krakow’s hostels organise a pub crawl that gives you the full cultural experience of a welcome shot of vodka at every bar and a seemingly endless supply of cheap beer. With such amazing people and welcoming atmosphere, it’s impossible not to make the best of friends and feel like a family by the time you leave.
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In this Portuguese party haven, the days are spent on some of the most beautiful beaches and the nights in the wildest bars. Nothing opens until the early afternoon as most of the town is still in recovery from the night before. You can swim or sleep your hangover off at the beach just in time to do it all again. A personal favourite is Whytes Bar’s ‘beat the bartender’ challenge: roll dice with the bartender and if your roll is higher, then your drinks are on the house!
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The narrow, cobblestoned maze of streets in Lisbon is the perfect backdrop for an unbelievable night on the town. The bars in Lisbon are quite small and can’t hold many people, so the party always spills out into the streets where it’s a free-for-all of fun. You’re all but guaranteed to find Latin music coming from somewhere, a sea of complete strangers who’ll shortly become your best friends and 10 different brands of cheap beer you’ve never heard of but will get you completely inebriated in no time.
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About the Author
Alex is a passionate traveller, traversing the globe to meet the most amazing people, party, chase sport and try figure out if there is more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. Follow his adventures on Instagram.