1. Two words for Prague: Beer spa.
It really is as glorious as it sounds. Beer + spa = heaven, right? At Spa Beerland in the centre of Praha, no less than a ten-minute stroll from Charles Bridge, lies an underground chamber that houses a beer lover’s dream. After pouring hops in a beer barrel disguised as a hot tub, the nice man from reception sets an alarm on a timer and leaves you and your spa-buddy to your own devices. You get 30 minutes in a bubbling vat of the good stuff before your half hour cooling-off period begins. At this point, you move to a bed of straw to nibble on beer bread and do as couples do when they’re left alone with unlimited beer *ahem*. When the alarm goes off, you get dressed and emerge from the booze dungeon, rather flushed, into the Prague night.
2. Ski, snowboard, and just party on the piste in Val d’Isere.
If you like to ski or snowboard as much as you like to party, you best book yourself a flight to the French Alps and on a transfer to Val Dizzle, stat. Although the resort is known for its snobbery and too-rich inhabitants, it’s a town that prides itself on training its visitors in the art of getting shitfaced and being able to ride the snow like a pro at the same time.
La Folie Douce is to partiers what Mecca is to those taking the Holy pilgrimage, and on a bluebird day, you’ll be able to hear the bass thumping from all over the Espace Killy. By 4pm, the party on the piste is really rocking — ski equipment is abandoned on the slopes in favour of dancing on shoulder-height tables in ski boots, 80s disco booms across the mountains and a DJ in platform boots so high the Spice Girls would be jealous, is master of the chaos. The beer flows and the jager slams well after the last gondola stops swinging into the station, often leaving you bleary-eyed to nav the slopes down into La Daille in the dark, ready to head to Saloon Bar for happy hour.
3. Go to Dublin. Get drunk there.
Dublin doesn’t just house, create, and distribute the world’s finest pint of Guinness, it also has an energy that invites you to party into the small hours. In every pub is a slurring Irishman that will demand to buy you a drink, a band begging you to dance the night away or a handsome backpacker looking for a good time. In Dublin, everyone is your friend and every local wants you to go home with fuzzy memories twinned with huge smiles. Boozing in Dublin is an experience in itself, and one that’s not for the faint hearted. If you can go out for just one pint of Guinness and turn up for your flight home sober, on time and with a good night’s rest, you’ll have much greater willpower than I.
4. Haul off your own bottle of Prosecco on a Venice beach.
Don’t bother with Champagne in France, Italy’s northern regions are home to its sweeter and cheaper cousin, Prosecco. Not only does a litre of the fizzy juice come in at less euros than a bottle of wine, but the Italians really do know what they’re doing when it comes to grapes.
There’s no better place to sit with a carafe of the stuff in the sun than on the Venetian sea front. If you don’t want to pay tourist prices, hop on a boat to the Lido, nab yourself a table at one of the beach bars and recline with your toes in the sand and smugly smile at your not-so-empty wallet.
5. Field the masses of wasted Englishmen at an English ale festival.
Give an Englishman a pint of ale and he’s one happy chappy. Give him a town hall filled with so much ale he doesn’t know where to start, he’ll likely forget your name even after you’ve told him 16 times.
English ale, although an acquired taste, is a British institution that unites the country in solidarity. Our little island is bursting with microbreweries and independent brewers. As a nation that celebrates boozing, it’s only necessary to host hundreds upon hundreds of ale festivals throughout the stretch of the land.
No ale festival is the same, and although every pint of liquid gold that slips down your throat will taste different — from pumpkin ale to chocolate beer — you’ll find something that tickles those taste buds. Either that, or you’ll get so blottoed on Tribute you’ll insist on showing the whole place your finest folk dancing before falling off a chair.
6. Prove to everyone that you can marathon drink at a European music festival.
It really, honestly doesn’t matter which. From Glasto to Sziget, Groezrock to Tomorrowland, a festival on the Euro-continent will always be one hell of a good time. Whether you mingle with the hippies in the British southwest or bond with a German punk while Joey Cape stands on a milk crate, singing his little heart out to a campsite in the Belgian middle-of-nowhere, you can guarantee too many crates of Jupiler will be consumed and many new friends will be made.
Remember that festival boozing is a marathon, not a sprint: breakfast gin is encouraged, but shots before sundown and you’ll be in a palinka-induced-coma in your tent, missing your favourite band.
7. Experience the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam.
The ‘Dam isn’t just about hash cakes and mushies, it’s also about beer. The Heineken Experience is housed in the original building where Heineken was brewed for 100 years and has been turned into a hands-on beerathon museum. Learn about how Heineken is brewed, giggle at advertising through the ages, and then get down to the serious business of drinking the damn stuff. Don’t expect someone to pour your pint for you though, this is a hands-on experience, remember.
8. Go on a 24-hour bender in Berlin.
Berlin is known for its 24/7 party lifestyle, but surely, realistically, these bars must close at some point? Er, not quite. The neverending party of Berlin sees all walks of life rub shoulders at all times of day — the hardened day drinker might indulge the all-night raver with a conversation and steiner of beer at 1pm, has-been anarchists share shorts of rum and coke with football fanatics at four in the morning, and wannabe artists and musicians grace their presence whenever their muse fails them. It’s a place of stamina and juxtapositions that has to be seen to be believed, only to be ended by stuffing your face with one of Europe’s finest kebabs on your way home.
9. Find every hidden dive bar in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is one cool capital, with a pretty rad population to boot. The bars stay open all night and each night of the week sees a different bar drop its booze prices cheaper than that in Europe’s East. The pubs are crammed, filled with smoke so thick your eyes water and the natural habitat of a good-old knees up.
Head to Moose Bar, a narrow, orange corridor of a pub with less space than there are people, graffiti covering every inch of the filthy walls, and toilets that reek like festival hedges that have been pissed on by 3,000 people.
This may not sound like fun, but trust my hangover on this one, it was freaking awesome.
10. Drink whatever whiskey the barkeep gives you in the Scottish Highlands.
It wouldn’t be an article about boozing without including the Scots and their penchant for a wee dram every now and then. There are many, many whiskey distilleries dotted around the Highlands, from the obvious Ben Nevis distillery to Talisker on the Isle of Skye. But the best way to taste Scotland is to perch yourself at the bar of a dingy local and wait for the recommendations to come to you.
If you can make out the thick, drunken slur of a Highlander, you’re already halfway to being accepted. If not, just say yes and tell the bar-wench that you’ll have what they’re having. Good luck!
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