The prospect of jetting off to a foreign country with all your team mates on tour is an exciting one, yet university sports tours can be difficult to organise, and coming to a unanimous decision on the perfect destination to spend the last dregs of your student loans can often show a conflict of interests. There are numerous websites out there that offer overpriced package deals aimed at touring University sports teams and they come complete with sweaty, thirty-hour long coach rides across half of Europe. A little more research shows that a flight to an alternative location wouldn’t be that much more expensive, so to help you decide, here are a few attractive cities that are guaranteed to strike the perfect balance between culture and nightlife.
Though it is only twenty minutes down the road from its notorious neighbour, Magaluf, beautiful Palma seems a world away. Palma is a city that really has it all: its gothic cathedral looms over the beach that stretches out in front of the old town, and its fourteenth-century Moorish Palace looks like something straight out of the set of Game of Thrones.
On top of all the culture, I can say that Palma is probably the best night out that I have ever had. I mainly attribute this to the fact that the Spanish really know how to party; they siesta during the hottest hours of the day and then they will head out in the early hours of the morning. Many of the clubs don’t shut until 6am! Watching the sun rise over the Mediterranean Sea is even more fun when it’s done from inside the club.
If you do get tempted to watch the sun rise after a night out, stay well away from those balconies and don’t take any unnecessary risks such as a dip in the sea when under the influence of drink or drugs. The Med might look lovely and inviting after the ridiculously strong Spanish measures but, in fact, there are many hidden underwater currents sitting in wait.
Warsaw is a perfect option for poor students, as the exchange rate makes the cost of accommodation, nights out and food super cheap. On my trip to Warsaw this allowed us extra cash to be a little more excessive than we might be back home – full bottles of good quality Polish vodka with table service in bars and clubs can be more economic than everyone buying their own drinks, so we ended up treating ourselves more than once. In the six days that we were guests in this inexpensive capital, I only spent the equivalent of £150 and we partied every single night.
Amongst the excitement of all the cheap Polish vodka, be sure to get your travel insurance! I realised that I had forgotten mine when we were in the airport waiting for our flight out, but I managed to find one online for less than five pounds. My friend, however, managed to badly sprain his ankle on the first night out and had to stay in for the rest of the week while the rest of the team were in the club. Just be aware that if you do injure yourself after having a few drinks, many insurance companies won’t cover you. Aside from buying insurance be sure to apply for your free European Health Insurance Card, this gives you the right to access state provided health care in any country within the European Economic Area and Switzerland and can save you a great deal of hassle and money!
Prague is a classic go to for a cheap, crowd-pleasing boozy holiday, and for those of us who love to sightsee, it is home to some of the most eclectic architecture in Europe so there’s no shortage of things see during the day. Prague is often championed as having the best beer in Europe and some of the craziest nightlife. With five-story clubs that have oxygen and ice bars alike on the inside, it’s hard to resist the temptation of the super-cheap flights that can get you to this charming city.
One unfortunate thing to be aware of in Prague are pickpockets that pose as prostitutes on the street. They will approach tourists and try to get close to them, so if you do get approached, keep a close eye on your phone, wallet and keys.
Wherever you do decide to head to this year, make sure to check the travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which is constantly available at http://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.