Back in 1999, Belgraders held outdoor concerts while undergoing NATO bombardment, a feat that bewildered many outsiders. The long years of bad press that kept Serbia and its energetic capital off the map have now passed, and foreigners are now realising what locals always knew – that Belgrade really rocks. With an exuberant population and its legacy as an intellectual hangout, Belgrade offers intriguingly varied nightlife, ranging from eclectic watering holes for those in the know, to the busy restaurants and bars of the Skadarlija district and the summer clubs in heaving barges on the Sava and Danube Rivers. Major international musicians hit Belgrade’s Sava Center, and the summertime EXIT Festival, held an hour north in Novi Sad, is one of Europe’s best.
Not only underage drinkers from New England are descending on this dynamic francophone city in Québec these days. Easygoing Montréal is increasingly popular with other foreign travellers, who enjoy the joie de vivre of a place with bilingual ambience and good local beer. Montréal’s irrepressible student population and atmospheric old quarter give the city a light-hearted, Bohemian air. There are Old World cafes, cool jazz clubs, packed discos and titillating late bars to choose from, plus a popular comedy festival each July.
With its unique mix of European and South American cultures, and a native passion for dance (tango, baby!), the Argentine capital provides fertile ground for lively nightlife. There’s an emphasis on fashion and a diverse range of entertainment in Buenos Aires‘ barrios (districts). Relax at a swingin’ jazz club or dance all night by the waterfront; some clubs and cultural centres offer classes so you can learn to tango or salsa like (and with) a local. Variety is huge – there’s everything from Irish pubs and local folk to industrial-strength house parties. Come in October for both the world tango festival and the international guitar festival.
For those who can afford it, the world capital of conspicuous consumption is unbeatable. Dubai’s extravagance is way over the top, with ultraluxury hotels on artificial islands, slick modern malls and tonnes of precious metals glittering in shops. Yet Dubai is also a surprisingly cosmopolitan place, with workers coming from all over the globe. So if you’re not invited to party on board the private yacht of a celebrity, you can always mingle with people from around the world in the swank bars and clubs of the Middle East’s most decadent desert getaway.
Greece’s second city has style, with plenty of fashionable shops and salons and a 1-million-strong population fleshed out by a big university (80,000-plus students). Thessaloniki boasts great nightlife during those long months when more famous Greek destinations are deep in hibernation, from arty cafes to Latin bars; from discos pumping out house music to salacious bouzoukia (clubs featuring twangy, Eastern-flavoured Greek folk-pop). That’s plenty to keep you occupied after you’ve traversed the city’s sublime Byzantine churches, museums and scattered ruins. It’s not cheap, but no Greek city save Athens compares.
Don’t forget that liquor goes to the head quickly in the Bolivian capital, which well over 3000m above sea level. Get hot and sweaty on a chilly Andean night in one of many slick nightclubs, which cater to chic locals and the foreign contingent. The natives are friendly and, with a steady stream of travellers, it’s a town of many tongues. World-class bars, swank cafes and restaurants serenading with traditional Bolivian music round out the offerings. Buy traditional Aymara herbs at the Witches’ Market (Mercado de Brujas) to ward off hangovers and bothersome spirits.
With the 2010 World Cup bringing a global audience to South Africa, the partying will only get harder as travellers converge on a city already well known for nightlife. Luxuriate on some of the world’s best beaches by day and kick back under the moonlight at suave cocktail bars by night. Two hours east, in the Indian Ocean, lies the elegant beach village of Mossel Bay, with more great beaches and chic flair. Visitors must try some of the wines crafted by South Africa’s world-renowned vintners, either at a Cape Town bar or at one of several wineries nearby.
Since the 1990s, when it started taking off as a hub for Caspian Sea oil and gas, Baku has been transformed. It’s left its former existence as communist backwater to become a buzzing hive of Western capitalism – all without forsaking the indigenous delights of its Turkic traditions. And this newfound economic stimulation hasn’t failed to influence urban nightlife. The cash injection from energy projects, enhanced by the presence of thousands of international oil workers and wealthy consultants, has turned Baku into an oasis of excess in an otherwise fairly traditional Muslim country. You’ll find the best bars, clubs and restaurants around Fountain Square.
Myriad cafes, bars and dinner clubs cater to a hip young clientele. Try the glittering waterfront for smart bars, and hit the happening clubs (some stay open 24 hours). There are plenty of live shows on offer too, from folk in Devonport to louder sounds at Mt Eden. If you don’t get drunk, you can always walk off the Sky Tower – the southern hemisphere’s tallest structure – a 328m cable-controlled drop in which jumpers reach a speed of 85kmh.
Like elsewhere in the greater Mediterranean, Israel’s capital of fun gets going late. The endless bars, pubs and cocktail venues start to fill up by midnight, from which point the nightclubs get revved up with dancing till dawn. Nowadays an international crowd joins native Israelis for a mixed bag of funk, pop, house and techno (in addition to live shows small and large) at the city’s dozens of entertainment hotspots. Tel Aviv has a relaxed, hedonistic air, and prides itself on being gay-friendly and outgoing.
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/north-america/travel-tips-and-articles/39339#ixzz21jNvVUdz
by ‘Canadian Ginger (AKA D’Vora Charness)
Every year Tel Aviv throws what is called the White Night party. As we all know by now, Tel Aviv is always looking for new reasons to party so to kick off the summer the right way, Layla Lavan began last evening and went on till sunrise this morning! The basic idea of the festival is for the streets of Tel Aviv to be packed with people, concerts, dancing, food and of course alcohol!! The night started off with a HUGE silent party at Rabin Square. There was an insane DJ and over 1000 people dancing like crazy to music, which could only be heard by purchasing headsets, which are programed, to the DJ. Picture a mosh-pit of people dancing their bums off to music you can’t hear. The only thing to do after seeing this is to buy a headset and join in!
The night continued by eating shawarma across from the square and purchasing 2 bottles of wine, which we drank while walking down Rothschild Street and listening to all the concerts, that were playing along the street. It was PACKED with people! Funniest part of the night, being stopped by the police because we were jugging wine straight from the bottles while walking down the street, not because of the open bottles but because he wanted to make sure we were of age. Once we explained that we were all in our mid-twenties he just smiled and said: “have a great night!” Oh wait! Another fun cop story, we went up to one to ask directions in our drunken state, which surprisingly effects my navigation skills… open bottles of wine in tact we asked a cop to direct us somewhere and instead of giving us a fine for drinking in the street, he just politely gave us directions and we were on our way! We then ended up turning down Allenby and walked to the beach where again, bands and stages were set up and music was blasting and people dancing and drinking! The night ended with sitting on the beach smoking Nargila, drinking (duh) and watching the sunrise. Oh and observing the very dedicated fit people of Tel Aviv in their sunrise yoga session. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I was out till 5:30am the night before at Clara and eating at Abulafiya (middle eastern style “pizza pops”) I was way to tired to join in. Oh well! There is always next year!!
Gordon-Frishman Beach, Tel Aviv, Israel
If Jerusalem is Israel’s responsible, buttoned-up firstborn child, then Tel Aviv is the fun, freewheeling youngest sibling. On warm days, Tel Avivians are quick to hit the city’s 13 beaches that span more than eight miles along the Mediterranean. And Gordon-Frishman Beach, closest to the city core, is one of the hippest places to be seen. Beach bars, DJs, and volleyball courts draw a cosmopolitan crowd, and on weekends you have to arrive early to stake out a spot on the wide beach.
What to Do: Come for an early-morning workout in the saltwater outdoor pool. Stop at a cafe along the seaside Tayelet (“promenade” in Hebrew), or follow the path to adjacent beaches where you’ll see kite surfers and people playing a type of beach tennis called matkot, unofficially the country’s national sport.
Clock Tower Beach, Montreal, Canada
Inspired by Paris Plages’ annual summertime transformation of the Seine riverside into a faux Cote d’Azur beach setting, Montreal opens its own urban beach along the St. Lawrence River this June. Clock Tower Beach, built on the Old Port’s Clock Tower pier, is piled with truckloads of sand and dotted with bright blue parasols and Adirondack chairs that look out over Old Montreal, the Jacques Cartier Bridge, and Ile Sainte-Helene. No swimming is allowed in the swift river, but you can cool off in the outdoor showers on the boardwalk.
What to Do: Grab a treat at one of the snack bars and find shade under trees on the pier’s east side. Climb the 192 stairs to the top of the 1922 Clock Tower. Near the pier entrance you can rent pedal boats.