Location: Zrce Beach, Island of Pag, Croatia
A mainstay on the Croatian party circuit since the late ‘80s, Kalypso Beach Club on Zrce Beach is genuinely something a little bit special. With sweet-smelling pine trees to the rear and the glistening Adriatic in front, the 4,500-capacity beach club on the Island of Pag is about as perfect a setting as you could wish for. And thanks to a huge renovation project last year, it’s been updated to modern day specs, including next level production, a dozen bars to choose from and a finely-honed D&B soundsystem.
Covering everything from daytime pool parties, sprawling chillout areas and a dancefloor pulpit overlooked by balconies and terraces, it’s cleverly partnered up with big-name festivals like Hideout, Sonus, Fresh Island and Black Sheep, meaning the summer months run like a virtual 24/7 party. And they’ve backed that up with an impressive array of their own bookings, spanning everything from Pan-Pot’s rolling techno, the melodic sounds of Dixon and a legendary annual appearance by Ricardo Villalobos, plus plenty of EDM action in the form of Timmy Trumpet and KSHMR.
Location: Zrće Beach, Island of Pag, Croatia
Those looking for the early roots that helped Croatia’s now-globally renowned electronic music scene grow could do worse than check Kalypso Beach Club. Situated on the stunning Adriatic coastline at Zrće Beach, arguably the most hedonistic spot in the Balkans, the venue first opened its doors in 1987, making it the godfather of the region’s nightlife. Skip forward to today, and elements that first made the place so special remain intact — that stunning location, the infectious vibe — but plenty has changed.
Now operating a mammoth 12 bars across two floors, separate day and night stages mean punters aren’t won’t get bored when knee-deep in one of the club’s musical marathons, for example during Sonus, Barrakud, or Hideout festivals, with celebrated VIP areas ensuring it is possible to take some time out of the mayhem. 2017 saw the likes of The Martinez Brothers, Seth Troxler & Monika Kruse, Richie Hawtin, Adam Beyer, Ben Klock and Ellen Allien grace the booth, with overground faces coming in the form of Marshmello and R3hab. Indicative of the diverse acts that have played, and range of crowds you might find partying here, it’s place on our list is unarguably deserving. Institution barely comes close.
While Croatian jewels are relatively fresh faces on Europe’s hedonistic map compared with Balearic or Greek islands — many of the most essential events are still under a decade old — Kalypso is already at veteran status. The oldest venue on Pag’s Zcre Beach was doing open-air sessions long before its neighbours knew what the phrase meant. And the three decades since revellers first landed here have seen everything from the Balkan war, constitutional and economic reform, the breakup of Yugoslavia and establishment of an independent Croatia, to the onset of mass tourism.
Plenty has changed about the club, too, which began life far more humble than it is today. The main dancefloor, split level layout, and chic chill out areas took years to come to fruition, and more improvements arrived during a 2015 refurb. Nevertheless, Kalypso still keeps it real, representing local talent as much as possible, although that doesn’t mean a lack of touring international faces. As one of the main spots for epic Adriatic marathons like Hideout Festival, Sonus, and Barrakud, names ranging from Elrow to Ellen Allien have all added to its rich legacy, with the coming summer’s 30th anniversary season set to be the biggest yet.