Traveling the world while in your 20s is possibly one of the most carefreeexperiences that you will ever have. This is not to say that traveling becomes any less enjoyable as you get older; it’s just different.
Now at29, I simplydon’t have the patience to share a dorm with 20 other snoring and highly sexually active backpackers, and I don’thave the stamina to party until the wee hoursof the morning, or the ability to hold down terrible-tasting, cheap shots. Although, come to think of it, I don’t think my younger 20-year-old self possessed that ability either.As you get older, your tastes and priorities change, which is why you should make the most of travel while in your carefree 20s.
Here is a list of20 cities to visit in your 20s, when having that 20s stamina may very well come in handy.
Berlin radiates “uber” cool and is a magnet for creatives, hipsters and entrepreneurial types. Check out the bars in grittyKreuzberg, explore the industrial buildings in the Urban Spree, cheer on the brave souls atbear pit karaoke inMauerpark and ride a bike along the airstrip at the abandoned Tempelhof airport.
You’ll need all the stamina that you can muster to keep up with this experimental city.
Budapest hascemented itselfas one of Europe’s coolest cities and for good reason. The glitteringDanube River literallydividesthe city into two, and also figurativelysplits the city’spersonality.
You’ll find the hordes of tourists on the leafy Buda side during the day, and the partygoers on the Pest side in the evening. Stay in the hip Jewish quarter and spend time inthe makeshiftruin pubs born out of abandoned buildings. The original and most famous ruin pub, Szimpla Kert, is a visual feast to behold.
Budapest is also known as the “city of spas,” sohead to one of the infamous spa parties if you’re game.
A cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures and a hub for excellent music, it is often saidthat London is the centre of the universe, a fact which is indisputable when you’re there.
Join the cool kids for a gin and tonic in the trendy suburbs ofEast London,pick up one-of-a-kind vintage finds at the Portobello Market and watch all ofyour favorite bands for less than 20 quid. The royal family isn’tagainst welcomingcommoners into the regal fold, so you never know
Home tothe wacky, bizarre and the brilliant, there is no other city quite as eclectic asTokyo, or one as likely to make you feel as if you’re in a Manga comic.
Pretend you’re one of Gwen Stefani’s backup dancers in quirky Harajuku, have a sak with Japanesesalarymen in one of the minuscule bars in the Golden Gai area, get your geek on in nerd-town Akihabara and, of course, belt out your favorite J-pop tunes inone of the many karaoke bars.
5. New York
It’s cool, urban and trendy, and you’ll need a whole lot of New York swag to keep up with all of the pavement-pounding locals in this concrete jungle.
Findthe pocket of New York that speaks to you: whether it’s the edgy Lower East Side, boho Greenwich Village, trendy Tribeca or hipster-central Brooklyn. Walk the Highline, visit Central Park and soak in the view from the top of the Empire State Building.
You’ve seen the movies, you know what to do.
Blessed witha mesmerizing locale on the Croatian coast,Dubrovnik is a must-see for all 20-somethings.Although not as renownedas its island counterpartsfor its party atmosphere,there is still plenty to dowithin the ancient city walls of the Old Town, which has its own unique auraof Adriatic charm.
Don’t miss out on the Buza bar, otherwise known as the “hole-in-the-wall,”a bar perched on the cliffs offering uninterrupted panoramas of the sparklingsea. You’ll need to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.
A strange combination of refinement and liberalness, Amsterdam is the home of canals and tulips, sex and weed. Although let’s be honest, the young’uns areprobablymore interested in the latter.Twenty-somethings will fall in love with the freedom and autonomy that Amsterdam grants its residents and the unrivaled friendliness of the locals.
8. Rio deJaneiro
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and that the last one standing during a night out will always be a Brazilian. Seriously, Brazilians know how to party. Time your visit to coincide with the colorful and wonderful Carnival festival that is held annually before Lent.
Otherwise, spend yourdays sun baking on the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beachesbefore practicing your samba moves and drinking caipirinhas to your heart’s content.
Phuket’s reputation as a party hub is well established. Most of the activity takes place along Bangla Road in Patong, where youwill encounter thecurious and the outlandish among the bright neon lights and discotheques. It’s cheap and cheerful; what more could you want?
10. Hong Kong
More than astopover city, Hong Kong offers the best in food, shopping and entertainment. Gorge on the dumplings at Tim Ho Wan, the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, watch the symphony of lights illuminating Victoria Harbour and then head on over toLan Kwai Fong on Hong Kong Island, the centre of HK’s bustling nightlife and a beacon for the expat community.
This spirited Spanish city isa wonderful mix of quirkyarchitecture, delectable foodand lively nightlife. Explore Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces during the day (don’t miss the incrediblePark Gell), grab a fresh juice from La Boqueria, settle in for your 9 pm tapas dinner and then find a cool bar tucked away in the labyrinth of the Gothic Quarter where you can get your flamenco on.
12. Las Vegas
Look, I can’t say too much because, you know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Although I think this line is used just to mask the fact that most people don’t actually rememberwhat happenedafter a weekend away in Vegas. Thisdesert oasis cityis made for partiers and punters, and you will soon find yourself getting seduced by the (faux) glitz and glamour.
13. Buenos Aires
Here is city that will be guaranteed to have you reveling until the early hours of the morning, simply because the parties in Buenos Aires areknown to get started at 2 am hope you’ve had your coffee intake! Buenos Aires is smooth,sexy and intoxicating, and the perfect place to dance the night away beforethe sun comes up.
A citywhere east and west collide front-on, Istanbulis a cosmopolitanblend of different cultures and empires. Wake up to the mesmerizing call to prayer at the Blue Mosque (it’s goose bump-worthy), haggle for colorful scarves and carpets at the Grand Bazaar, and visit a hamman for a traditional Turkish bath and a vigorous scrub.
Beyolu is the epicenterofIstanbul’s pulsating nightlife, and you’llfind a diverse mix of people partying together in trendy rooftop bars to more traditional folk venues.
15. New Orleans
Not just the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans is also famed for its raucous and jubilantnightlifeand you will be swept away by the joie de vivre spirit that embodies this city.
Join in on the festivities during Mardi Gras which occurs at the beginning of the year. Otherwise, tuck into thedelicious gumbo, jambalaya and po-boys, enjoy the live music scene onFrenchman Street and hit the bountiful bars on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter.
16. Tel Aviv
Tel Avivis a lively,young city with a beautiful coastline and plenty of vivacious energy to keep you buoyed throughout the night. It’s often touted as the party capital of the Middle East, which may come as a surprise to some, but perhaps it’s the backdrop of ongoing conflict that compels locals to live in the moment and toseek outfun and pleasure.
Head tothe beachfrontif you’re keen toparty by the wateror check out the bars along the area surroundingLilienblum Street if you’re in the mood forsomethingwith a local flavor.
It’s super expensive but oh-so worth every dollar and, in this case, Icelandickrnur.For a city with such a small population, Icelandic people seemed to be iced (pardon the pun) in coolness and creativity.
Icelandersalso know how to have a good time and after spending your daysroad-trippingand marveling at the sublimebeauty of the island, you’ll want to join in on the rntur, which is the town pub crawl.
Taste the local “schnapps” Brennivn, otherwise known as the Black Death.
Sure there are other Greek Islands better known for their party vibe; however, Santorini undoubtedly wins the award for best-looking. The whitewashed walls of Cycladic housesperched dramatically on the cliffs,contrast brilliantly againstthe indigoAegean sea. This is a vision that will be engrained in your brain for years to come.
I may be biased, as it’s my hometown, but Melbourne is simply one of the coolest cities if not the coolest in the world with the best bars, restaurants and coffee on offer in this cosmopolitan microcosm.
All of the action happens down dimly lit laneways, behind dumpsters, in abandoned lofts and through unmarked doors, so you need to be in the know to know where to go. The rule of thumb is to venture down every derelict alleyway that you come across; you never know what you maydiscover.
Bienvenue Montral! As the home to the second largest number of French-speakers outside of France, it may be beneficial to brush up on your high-school French to score points with the locals.
Montral is a captivating city with ajam-packedfestival calendar,innovative culinary sceneand countless cocktail bars topractice your Franaisin.
This post was originally published on the author’s blog.