We know that “fun” is a totally subjective term. For some, it may mean loads of booze and live bands galore. For others, it means high-speed sailing and bungee jumping off a rickety bridge. Still, for others, it means eating delicious food and slow dancing in a cobblestone square to the sound of a local musician strumming away. That’s why we’ve picked five destinations that can offer a bit of everything.
The Greek islands have been a go-to vacation destination for as long as anyone can remember. That’s because they offer some of the best water, weather, beaches, food, culture, and nightlife in all of Europe. Plus, there are about 200 of them to choose from in the Aegean Sea east of the Greek mainland. The Cyclades group of islands, where Mykonos is located, are among the most popular destinations, and it’s easy to see why. Winding white-tipped cobblestone streets lead you around the main port town with tiny shops full of locally made clothing and knickknacks, and there is also a high-end shopping strip that rivals Rodeo Drive.
The choices of food range from $2 gyros to swanky 5-star establishments, and a sunset tipple at 180º Sunset Bar is a must-visit. If it’s a bit of luxurious quiet you’re after, Katikies is just the spot for chic seaside accommodations with breathtaking sea views. But if the party life is for you, Paradise Beach and Super Paradise have beach clubs teeming with partygoers and jet-setters from around the world, and are especially welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community. Or how about a bit of both? Sailboat rentals are no hassle on Mykonos, and they cater to non-sailors. With a day rental, you can get a group of friends on a boat with loads of provisions and sail around the small Cyclades for about $100 per person. Dive off the boat, play some tunes, check out hidden coves, or simply lounge on the deck — it’s whatever you fancy in Mykonos.
In Thailand’s capital city, you will find some of the world’s best open-air markets, outdoor dining, and street partying. Located in the center of the Southeast Asian country, Bangkok is a high-energy bustle of people and sights, smells and tastes, ancient spires, and dedicated hawkers. Offering something for everyone, there are trendy clubs and rooftop bars, but there are also flip-flop-friendly shindigs and backpacker gatherings galore. Head to Royal City Avenue for one of the most popular clubbing areas. At Route66, the party spills out onto the street when it gets too packed inside, which, of course, goes well with the street-friendly vibe of the city. Known throughout the world as a backpacker’s haven, Khao San Road is full of, well, pretty much anything you need: delicious food stalls, cheap hostels, bric-a-brac shops, massage and tattoo parlors, and dozens of different bars. Try Brick Bar for live music by local cover bands playing anything from Thai pop to American rock & roll. If you want some upscale action with the locals, head over to Thonglor Road, where Bangkok’s elite mingle.
After all this partying, you’re going to need some food. Look for Sister Mole wearing her trademark goggles at Raan Jay Fai, the first street-food stall to receive a Michelin star. For cheaper but just as delicious fare, try Polo Fried Chicken (it puts all other fried chicken to shame), or Chakki for a huge plate of steaming noodles. Ladyboys, or kathoeys, are another staple in Bangkok, having been a part of the community since the 14th century. (It was only when Westerners started to come to Thailand in the 19th century that the LGBTQ+ community was villainized.) Trans people live open and supported lives in the city, and to be a part of their fabulousness, check out the cabaret shows at DJ Station or Playhouse Theatre Cabaret, or Maggie Choo’s Sunday gay parties. It’s also home to Miss International Queen, the world’s biggest beauty pageant for transgender people.
Split buzzes with both modern vibrancy and ancient soul. The peninsular city sits on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, whose turquoise sparkles complement the terra-cotta shingle rooftops of this Dalmatian Coast destination. The second-largest city in Croatia, Split offers both a historical element that helps awaken travelers’ eyes to our collective past and also provides excellent food, drinks, and socializing that let us connect to the present. A classic place to start is Old Town, a maze of cobblestone streets entwined through the ancient Diocletian’s Palace. At the center is People’s Square, where restaurants and cafés abound and which the old clock tower watches over. The seaside boardwalk is also another hot spot, and both during the day and night bars beckon, and it’s the place to see and be seen. But the nightlife during the summer months really is some of the best around, with more-discreet bars all the way to big clubs and eateries that don’t just serve great food but incredible atmosphere as well. Bokeria Kitchen & Wine Bar is trendy but doesn’t shirk on great food; Joe’s Beach Lounge & Bar is the spot for a beachy daytime drinking vibe; Bokamorra has excellent pizza along with a live DJ; and when you’re ready for that pick-me-up, head over to Kava coffee, where it’s more about a story than it is the caffeine.
It is almost impossible to think of fun destinations around the world and not have Ibiza included, even if it is an uber-popular destination for the party-going fanatics of this world. And while the nightlife is some of the best on offer anywhere — famous European clubs setting up outposts and world-renowned DJs guest performing during the summer — the Balearic Island off the east coast of Spain also offers quaint villages and sandy beach coves, relaxing retreats, and an incredible amount of history. Much of the island is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which keeps modern development and commercialization at bay. So, for instance, the Renaissance wall of the old town of Ibiza city is one of the world’s few that have not been demolished.
But back to the party: Ibiza Town and Sant Antoni are the two mainstays for nightclubs and electronic dance music (EDM). The island’s tourism began in the 1950s and ’60s as a gathering place for wandering hippies. Their free-loving and drug culture spilled over into the ’70s club scene, and all of it blended together to become the Ibiza we know and love today, where clubs stay open until 6 a.m. and the beachside cafés cater to coming down off the high of dancing all night. Need to get away from the noise for a bit? Take a hot-air balloon ride over the warm, crystal-clear water of the Balearic islands, or ride horseback at Ibiza Horse Valley, or go to a yoga retreat any time of the year on the north side of the island at the 21-year-old establishment Ibiza Yoga.
Prague, Czech Republic
Whether the beer is actually cheaper than water in Prague is not as important as the fact that it is incredibly inexpensive to party in Prague, and it’s famous for its great beer. Need a beer spa? Then Prague’s the city for you. The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague has long been known as a cultural hot spot throughout its post-Communist era as it decked out its city limits with hundreds of music halls, world-renowned operas and symphonies, and every type of museum imaginable. What used to be an underground culture à la Andy Warhol in opposition to the Communist movement of Eastern Europe is now a thriving alt-culture fueled by young artistic types looking to start a circus or create new types of visual art and dance, with many factories being converted to multi-use spaces. This breeds an innovative type of person and has a similar feeling to Berlin’s thriving cultural scene. That feeling flows over into the nightlife, where bars and music, clubs, and even some Michelin stars await.
For a more low-key vibe, Hemingway Bar (yes, named after Ernest Hemingway) is a top cocktail spot; for an outrageous night spread across multiple levels, Karlovy Lazne is the club to be at. It’s got an ice bar, in case that’s your thing. And since we started with beer, it’s important to also mention the Czech Beer Festival — the biggest festival in Prague — that happens every May, with loads of microbrewing festivals throughout the rest of the year.
Valentina Valentini is a London-based entertainment, travel, and food writer and also a Senior Contributor for Shondaland. Elsewhere she has written for Vanity Fair, Vulture, Variety, Thrillist, Heated, and The Washington Post. Her personal essays can be read in the Los Angeles Times, Longreads, and her tangents and general complaints can be seen on Twitter at @ByValentinaV.
Get Shondaland directly in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TODAY
Source: Read Full Article