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Europe’s top 10 cities for nightlife

By Ashleigh Farrar and Hannah Hardin

10. Florence, Italy

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Never considered Florence to be a crazy place to party? Think again. Flo can seriously hang. It’s a huge study abroad city, and where there are more students, there are more bars and clubs. If you miss your favorite hole in the wall bar from home, head over to Lion’s Fountain for an Irish pub atmosphere. Or if you want to dance like a madman, hit some of our favorite clubs in Florence (Twice, Yab and Space to name a few).

9. London, United Kingdom

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Being one of the biggest cities in the world, London has some serious street cred when it comes to nightlife. If you’re looking to have a crazy clubbing night, you can’t go wrong with anywhere in Oxford Circus. Just be careful, these clubs can put a serious dent in your wallet with that pound conversion! Balling on a budget? Hit Camden for a trendy hipster bar vibe. Brilliant.

8. Dublin, Ireland

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Dublin’s nightlife is nothing less than thriving. People young and old flock from all over the place to drink in their bars. I mean come on, the Irish are pretty much famous for their drinking abilities. Think you can’t keep up? About 34 million Americans have Irish ancestry. I have faith in you.

7. Berlin, Germany

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It’s time to get weird. Berlin has one of the most unique alternative nightlife scenes out there.

6. Split, Croatia

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Beautiful place, beautiful people. What more could you want to look at while sipping on something sweet. How many times in your life can you say you partied in The Diocletian’s Palace? White marble streets light up the night just enough to lead you to the quaintest hole-in-the wall tropical bars. Did I mention Split has one of the best pub crawl in all of Europe? I kid you not, it’ll be easy to turn your nose at any other pub crawl post-Split. End at one of Croatia’s epic night clubs for an experience you’ll never forget (assuming you remember it in the morning).

5. Corfu, Greece

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Two words: Pink. Palace. It’s a hostel, and their pink toga party is one of the most famous in the world. Is day-boozing one of your favorite past times? Take it to another level by raging your face off with some of the most beautiful scenery around you.

4. Krakow, Poland

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This university town has a huge crew of young people down to party. Actually, Krakow has the most bars per capita in the world. I like those odds. Throw in some dirt cheap drink prices and you have a nightlife mecca.

3. Budapest, Hungary

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Imagine Eastern Europe as the scary town shown in the movie, Eurotrip? Think again. Budapest is absolute heaven for study abroad students who are trying to get weird on a budget. Whether you’re into the thumping nightclubs or rowdy bars, Budapest has something for everyone. One must-see would definitely be the oldest ruin pub in Budapest, Szimpla. The club just goes on forever with tons of rooms that all have different music and vibes. Let’s just say it’s one of those things you just have to see to believe.

2. Prague, Czech Republic

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Did somebody say beer is cheaper than water? Yep, that’s right. In Praha you can snag a Pilsner for around 25 CZK. In case you are not sober enough to do the math, that’s just over a euro. Maybe Pilsner isn’t your thing. The best way to find out? Prague Beer Museum. Taste 5-10 beers for around 100 CZK (5 euro) depending on your selections. Once you’ve found your perfect match, drink up and prepare for a nightlife scene unlike any other. Weather you stumble upon a basement bar for hot wine or hit up Lucerna Dance Club for the strangest dance moves to the songs of your youth, you’re bound to see why people travel from all over to party in Praha. Don’t forget to pick up a fried cheese sandwich on the way home to kick-start the hangover healing process. You’re welcome.

1. Barcelona, Spain

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If you like to rage, you probably have: 1. Heard of Barcelona, 2. Are studying abroad in Barcelona or 3. Have been spotted in the VIP section of Opium Mar at least once. If you haven’t experienced the epicness of Barcelona nightlife, think of a perfect mix between the beautiful Miami scenery and the crazy clubs of Las Vegas. Don’t forget to find your favorite promoter to get in for free! Even if you aren’t into the club scene, Barcelona has some of the best bars, including the best shot bar in Europe, Espit Chupitos (be sure to get the boy scout shot!). VALE!

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The art of haggling

There are few things as alluring as Florence’s outdoor markets. Jackets, bags, scarves, even novelty key chains seem to call your name as you pass by. There are deals galore, but for Americans who are used to price tags, the idea of haggling can be somewhat terrifying.
The secret to getting the best bargain is playing hard-to-get. Consequently, these tips can also be used to get the attention of the hotties who frequent your favorite club:

Take your time
Don’t immediately purchase the first thing that catches your eye. If you’re in Florence for multiple days, visit the markets several times to make sure you’re not missing out on something even better.

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Don’t be a gusher
In America, it’s normal to get super excited about finding something that you love. You can jump up and down and instantly Instagram the stellar item without looking out of place. But when you’re haggling, you have to seem totally indifferent. Even if you find the leather jacket of your dreams, keep an unimpressed look on your face while you internally squeal with delight.

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Choose your words wisely
Sellers can spot an uninformed tourist from miles away. If you can manage to haggle totally (or at least mostly) in Italian, you’ll have a much better chance of getting a good deal. A few phrases that can get you a long way:
“Posso vedere questo?” (Can I see this?)
“Quanto costa?” (How much does it cost?)
“Posso pagare…” (I can pay…)

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Don’t insult the seller
Offering less than half of the asking price is just kind of rude, and offended people rarely give good discounts.

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Don’t be afraid to walk away
If they aren’t anywhere near your desired price range, go ahead and turn down their offer. Chances are the price will suddenly decrease the second you start to leave.

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Mention the competition
It doesn’t hurt to bring up that another vendor is selling a similar item for less money. This tactic works best if you actually did see something similar, but what’s haggling without a little bluffing?

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Befriend the seller
If you take the time to visit your favorite seller every day for a few minutes, before long you’ll have an awesome Florentine friend (and someone who is more likely to cut you a deal.)

did we just become best friends yep

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Things you didn’t know about Florence

Florence is a city full of historical, artistic and architectural beauty. We’ve all seen or are aware of the David, the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, but what about the things that get less noticed in this intriguing city?

  1. One David just isn’t enough
    There are, in fact, three David statues spread out throughout the city. The original used to stand in Piazza della Signoria, but after some weather related damage, it was moved indoors to the Accademia Gallery. There is now a copy of the David standing in front of Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria. The third (and also a copy) stands in Piazzale Michelangelo, as a dedication to Michelangelo’s artistic contributions.
  2. “This isn’t how bread normally is!”
    Tuscan bread is actually very different from the Italian American style bread that we are used to.  There is no salt added to real Tuscan bread and it tends to be more dry and flavorless.  The reason for this is because bread is meant to be eaten with the meal, and not just on its own as a pre-dinner snack.
  3. The Medici family loved their artists
    When Michelangelo became poor, Lorenzo di Medici was his savior.  Rather than kicking Michelangelo out of the city, the ruler gave Michelangelo a room in his palace and provided him with money to continue studying art.
  4. Medici Palaces
    Back in the day, Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria was town hall and center of the city (and continues to be a major area in current times).  However, the Medici family moved to the other side of the river in Palazzo Pitti with Boboli Gardens as their backyard.
  5. Craving a late night snack?
    Cafes and bakeries aren’t the only places to get fresh baked goods.  During the late hours of the night, bakers are busy baking croissants and other goods sold in cafes the next day.  If you follow your sense of smell, you may be able to find one of these secret bakeries, where you can buy a freshly baked good for only one euro!
  6. The legend of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore
    If you look up on the wall of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, you may see the stone head of a woman emerging building. As legend has it, on the day of the execution of a man practicing witchcraft, this woman yelled at crowds below not to give the man a drink because it would prevent him from dying.  The sorcerer, angry at the woman for revealing this, turned her into stone and trapped her head into the wall where it still remains. Creepy, right?
  7. The best view in Florence
    Everyone knows that the highest place is the best place to capture the full view of Florence.  Piazzale Michelangelo hands down has the best view both during the daytime and nighttime.  A bit of a walk to the top, but it’s definitely worth it!
  8. Businesses on the Ponte Vecchio
    The Ponte Vecchio is known for its gold salesmen and vendors, but during the Medici days it held another purpose.  It used to be full of butchers, as the Ponte Vecchio was the main area where people bought their meat.
  9. So much stone, so little grass
    There is only one piazza with grass in the city. Piazza Santa Maria Novella, right by the train station, is the single piazza with grass and flowers in it.  Not to say that it makes it better than any of the other piazzas, they all are unique and add interesting elements to Florence.
  10. The house of Dante  
    Just a quick walk out of Piazza della Signoria stands the home of poet, Dante Alighieri. While it is pretty easy to find, most people don’t notice what is below their feet.  If you look carefully, the face of Dante is etched on the ground in front of his home.  By pouring water on the spot you will be able to see the outline of Dante’s face in greater detail.
  11. The more you see of gelato, the less authentic it is
    Yes, those puffy piles of gelato shown in the windows do look appetizing, but if you’re looking for the real deal gelato avoid that bright gelato at all costs!  The higher the gelato, the more artificial flavors it contains.  Real and natural gelato melts fast, so it is kept in metal containers rather than put out on display.  Keep an eye out for those metal containers, you won’t regret it!
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10 reasons why Florence is fabulous

Firenze is dope. The heart of Tuscany will win you over and never let go. Here are a few reasons why we think Florence is fabulous.

10. The view from Piazzale Michelangelo
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It’s absolutely breathtaking. Hike to the top of the hill on Florence’s south bank and be rewarded with (not just a workout, but also) an overlook of the entire city. From the Duomo and the bell tower to the Arno and Ponte Vecchio, take in the view. Go in the evening with your friends and a bottle of wine to catch the sunset and create memories you will never forget.

9. Amazing leather
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Walking through the stalls you are sure to discover some of the best souvenirs for your friends and also yourself! Sport a new leather jacket from Massimo’s, or stop into the Central Market to pick up some produce. There is always something to be found here.

8. Oh, my. The wine.
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Tuscany produces some of the best wines in the world, from regions like Chianti and San Gimignano. Chianti Classico, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are a few excellent options in wine country.

7. Travel hub 

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Florence is practically a hub for European travel. One hour on the train gets you to Pisa where cheap airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet service most major cities around Europe. Plus, it is so easy to take day trips to cities all over Italy. Rome, Bologna, Venice, Milan, and Cinque Terre are all within a few hours of Florence.

6. Bistecca Fiorentina
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If you have not sampled this slice of heaven yet, this is the only place to do so. Satisfy your heartiest meat cravings with a slab of some of the juiciest steak on the planet. Ask for it cooked to your preference though, because many chefs serve this specialty slightly rare.

5. Unmatched nightlife
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The party never stops, even during the week. Mondays at Yab, Tuesdays 2-for-1 at Astor, Wednesday nights at Blue Velvet, there is always something going on. Even though Florence seems small, there is always more to discover.

4. Fashion is on fire
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Hosting Pitti Uomo every January and June, Florence attracts an international clientele for its fashion scene. Major streets are lined with designer shops: Gucci, Ferragamo, Prada, Cavalli and Moschino. Living in Florence means seeing high-end fashion both on people and in shop windows. Looking good means everything here.

3. Tuscan Italian will get you far
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It’s considered to be the national tongue. This dialect is so easily understood and translatable thanks to a great poet. Dante, who hailed from Florence, is credited with inventing modern Italian. You can see two monuments dedicated to him at the Church of Santa Croce; one sculpture outside and another indoors.

2. History is alive
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Florence’s city center is declared a UNESCO World Heritage site; thus, it is like an outdoor museum which attracts visitors from all over the globe. For such a small city, there is so much to see and do to fill your time. Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi are all within walking distance from each other, and not far off are Palazzo Pitti, the Bargello, the Accademia and other attractions. Even walking through the city feels like visiting a historic monument.

1. Florence is a city of legends
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Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti did some of their best work here, not to mention the other Renaissance artists Raphael and Donatello. This is the city where the Ninja Turtles get their names, which automatically adds credit to Florence’s claim to fame. Countless geniuses lived and worked here, such as Galileo and Machiavelli, who are buried inside Santa Croce. Other artists, musicians, writers and politicians have left their mark on this incredible Renaissance city.

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Photo blog: Wandering and wondering

All photos credited to Danny dePasquale.