When planning a Euro trip, an array of things come to mind. The food you’ll savour, the history, the breathtaking views, the stunning architecture… Yet if you are a millennial traveling to the great old continent for the first, second, or tenth time, you probably also think about the best places to party and enjoy the nightlife in Europe. And for that, we got you covered, party animal!
If you are looking to spend your evenings dancing ‘til you drop and experience the European nightlife scene in its purest expression, a must-visit country on your list should be Germany.
Deutschland, like the locals call it, is known for its quaint historical villages and modern cities, for its diverse population and bustling ethnic food scene (there is plenty of bratwurst and Oktoberfest beer too!), but it has also been dubbed one of the most fun and party-oriented countries in Western Europe.
At Wanderu, we are all about experiencing the local culture, and if that means partying your way through Germany Euro-style, so be it. To help you plan an unforgettable vacation, we have done all the research and used data to figure out which are the biggest party hubs in Germany.
Using public information from the Yelp API, we tallied the bars, clubs and other party locations in the top cities in Germany to find out which are the best destinations for those looking to party like there’s no tomorrow.
We have compared the number of bars, dance clubs, jazz and blues venues, karaoke bars, music venues, piano bars and pool halls to figure out which cities have the best variety and the most options for party animals, and of course, where you should be headed first!
While many might think that Berlin and Munich could easily sweep this race, turns out that the most populated cities in Germany actually aren’t the biggest party hubs. Cologne, the fourth biggest city in Germany, took first place as the best party destination in the country with a total of 2,533 bars, and if you like to shake your booty, note that this city also has 458 dance clubs. So lovers of the night, you’ll have to make a pit stop in this western hub!
While Berlin has the most music venues, gay bars and karaokes of all cities in the country, the German capital only secured second place on the list, with 2,469 bars total.
One of the biggest surprises of the study is the fact that the second most populated German city, Hamburg, barely made the top 10. With a total of 1,510 bars within city limits, the northern port city ranked 10th among party hubs – needless to say, 1960’s teenagers John Lennon and Paul McCartney might disagree with this one!
Another shocking stat is the absence of iconic Oktoberfest destination and third most populated German hub, Munich from the top 10. Showing up in the 11th slot, the modern and techie Bavaria capital didn’t seem to have a great variety of nightlife options. While a perfect destination for soccer (where are the Bayern fans at!?) and German fare, it seems like young Munich residents either aren’t particularly fond of wild nights or are throwing Animal House-style home parties and not inviting us over.
On the other hand, some smaller German hubs have proven to be perfect for the party rock stars. Leverkusen, ranked 48th by population, claimed fourth place on the biggest party hubs list, only behind Cologne, Berlin and Frankfurt. The small city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has a whooping total of 1,559 bars, including 262 dance clubs and 166 music venues. Similarly, Solingen, the 50th most populated city in the country, claimed fifth place.
A southern hub and a northern small city close the top 20 list. Germany’s sixth largest city and capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart appears in the 19th place with 868 bars, and Brandenburg state capital Potsdam, the 45th most populous city, claims the 20th spot with 770 party establishments.
With Diversity We Thrive – There’s a perfect city for everyone
Because not everyone likes partying in the same environment and because Germany offers a wide variety of nightlife establishments, we have sorted through the results of our study to show you which city would be the best destination for you based on your preferences.
Berlin has proven to be the best destination in Germany for the LGBTQ party lovers. The capital currently has 62 gay bars, 23 more establishments than the city that earned second place, Cologne.
Other great hubs for a fun LGBTQ party night are Leverkusen, Solingen and Bonn, each with over 30 options for gay bars. From the biggest cities in Germany, another one that stands out is Hamburg, with 18 options in this category.
While Germany might not be the biggest grape-producing country in Europe and many of its nationals do prefer beer over wine, the Viking nation certainly has some options for those who enjoy wine tastings. Judging by the numbers, it seems like all the wine lovers – or should we say ‘wein’ lovers – in Germany have moved to Frankfurt, as the race for the city with most wine bars wasn’t even close. The southwestern city took first place with 469 bars, over 200 more than Mainz, which took second place.
Other good destinations for wine aficionados are Wiesbaden, Mannheim, Cologne and Ludwigshafen am Rhein followed by Berlin and Stuttgart.
If the German nation is traditionally familiar with some kind of wild partying, it’s definitely beer-related partying. And while once again the Oktoberfest capital of the world Munich failed to make the cut, there are other hubs in the country where you can head to if you are looking to experience a wide variety of beer-specialized bars.
While Berlin came third on this list – tied with Potsdam, smaller cities Karlsruhe and Aachen seem to be where the beer stravaganza is at (brb, booking tickets there now!).
If you are planning a party night out and not looking forward to showing off your Gaga or your Beyoncé on stage, you’re not doing it right my friend. But if you are, let us direct you to the closest karaoke bar in Berlin! The German capital took first place on our list of top destinations for karaoke lovers, with 22 establishments. Other great destinations for singing the night away with your friends are Hagen and Cologne, with 18 and 16 karaoke bars respectively.
Let’s face it, whether you have taken a dance class since middle school and move like Shakira or whether you are embarrassed of your moonwalk, when a wild party night winds into the early morning hours, you’ll most likely end up on the dance floor. This is why it’s so important to wander in a city that has plenty of options in the dance department.
In Germany, that city is, obviously, Cologne. With more than 400 dance clubs and the absolute winner of the German party hubs, the western city of Cologne has proven to be a worthy destination for those who proudly call themselves party animals.
Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg, while not as diverse as Cologne, are also highlighted destinations for the dancing crowd, each with close to 300 clubs.
Don’t miss a single party in Germany
Now that you know which German cities are the greatest one for lovers of all things nightlife, you can start planning a trip even Keith Richards would be proud of!
If you are wondering how you can get to the hubs mentioned above, the answer is Wanderu! We recently launched into Europe, giving you the ability to find and compare bus and train trips to more than 1,000 destinations across the Old Continent. So, to get to all the party destinations in Germany, look no further. On Wanderu, you can easily find a bus or train to the top German party cities, including Cologne, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Düsseldorf.
How we did it
In order to determine which the greatest party destinations in Germany are, we first looked up the 50 biggest cities in the country. Then, using the public data available on the Yelp API, we counted all the party establishments including bars, dance clubs, jazz & blues venues, karaoke bars, music venues, piano bars, and pool halls operating in each city on the list. To figure out which destinations are the best for LGBTQ folks, we tailed the currently operating establishments found under the “gay bars” subcategory.
After that, we created rankings for each of the categories based on the total number of operating establishments and used each city’s ranking in each category as a corresponding number of points. (e.g. the city that came at #1 in a particular category, claimed one point, the one at #2 claimed two points, etc.)
Finally, we combined the points that each city received in each separate category and the city with the lowest combined number of points (in this case, Cologne) was deemed the biggest party hub, followed by the city with the second lowest total number of points (Berlin), etc.
So there it is, you might never see Germany the same way – and we take full responsibility for it! If you’re looking to hit Europe with some old friends this winter or take on a solo adventure and meet awesome characters along the way, make sure you keep in mind these 20 party destinations; you’ll sure be the one leading your squad to an epic night.
Don’t want to go all the way to Europe to hit the clubs and dance, dance, dance? Well, if you are interested in learning about the best destinations to party locally, don’t forget to check out our study on the biggest party hubs in the U.S.
Please feel free to use the information and graphics presented on this article, crediting Wanderu. If you post any of these materials, please link back to this page, so that travelers can look at all the available results and find out how we conducted this research.