For any music fan interrailing round Europe, you’re not going to want to miss out on the amazing heritage of this hugely varied continent. But where do you start in a place which has launched the careers of everyone from The Beatles to Robin Shulz? Here’re our pick of the most musical cities in Europe.
Hosting some of the Beatles’ first gigs, Hamburg has always been a key player in Europe’s music scene. But despite its massive success stories, it has remained a fairly well kept secret even in Germany. If you like the idea of Berlin but feel put off by the horror stories of 3 hours spent queuing for a club full of hipsters only to be turned away for no reason, Hamburg might be the perfect answer.
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Montenegro might not immediately strike you as one of Europe’s top music hubs, but this tiny Mediterranean country with its stunning coastline is the perfect location for summer festivals. Budva is not only home to one of the most spectacular beaches you’ll ever see, it’s also where Sea Dance festival takes place every July.
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Sea dance festival – Voted Europe’s best medium sized festival 2015, Sea Dance is growing yearly. Its incredible beach-side location and camping create the most idyllic location imaginable, while also playing host to artists like Bondax, Jai Paul and other house and dance acts from The Sound You Need and UKF. The festival tickets are much cheaper than UK festivals, and because of its location, the festival camping, food and drink whilst you’re there is amazing value too.
While your mind might jump to Italy’s capital for nightlife and music, Milan is just as buzzing as its Southern sibling and often attracts a wider variety of acts. It’s a hub for rock and jazz music, with loads of Jazz bars serving excellent Italian wines and cocktails. If dance music is more your thing, you’ll find many amazing clubs hosting world famous DJs. Milan’s industrial past means it’s full of warehouses and abandoned buildings turned edgy music venues.
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Porto is a hidden gem in Portugal, often overlooked for it’s big sister Lisbon. But with its stunning multi-coloured buildings, large student population and riverside nightlife district, Porto is definitely deserving of it’s place on our top music cities in Europe. The music starts late and carries on till dawn in this vibrant city, but it’s in the tucked away bars and venues that you’ll find Portuguese character and local crowds.
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Hot Five Jazz Club: For something different, head to Hot Five Jazz Club and experience one of their live bands. Local bands perform on weeknights with live jazz from midnight Friday and Saturday, with a friendly mixed clientelle and staff. Another perk is their unique drinks (and food) system – you receive a card on entry which the barman marks all your drinks on, so you don’t have to queue for ages at the bar – you settle the bill as you leave.
We know we always harp on about how great Budapest is, but it really is the capital of the East as far as music cities in Europe go. At its centre is the thriving Ruin Pub scene (for more info, check out our Top 10 Coolest Bars in Europe), a collection of vibrantly decorated abandoned buildings, which provide a whole host of amazing and unique venues for alternative arts. Most of these spaces have a massive variety of acts – from under the radar DJs to indie/rock/hip hop artists to the really weird stuff that you probably wouldn’t want to go to, as well as cheap drinks and incredible atmospheres. Google to see their upcoming events.
Budapest’s other big draw is of course Sziget festival, which takes over the city for 5 days in August. This year you can expect to hear sets by Naughty Boy, Bring me the Horizon, Kodaline, Sigur Ros and Mo with more still to be announced. It’s one of Europe’s largest festivals with over 400,000 visitors over the few days, and it takes place right in the centre of the city.
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