10 Melbourne activities that will make you feel like you’re in Europe

Words by Alyce Greer

Illustration by Twylamae

Melbourne or Munich?

Friends, it’s that time of year again. You’ve lived painfully through the past two months, as your Europe-bound pals count down the days (out loud, via Facebook) until they fly to Positano or Mykonos – the only two places Australians go.

Now they are in Europe, and you’re forced to follow their entire journey on Instagram, from which gelato flavour they picked today, to their continuous sunset cocktails. Seriously, how many times a day do Greece and Italy have sunsets??????

For the rest of us back here on the freezing, isolated island that is Australia, we have to be creative when it comes to activities that pass the time. Here are just a few of the best activities Melbourne is putting on this winter, to make it feel like you’re soaking up the European sun with an Aperol Spritz in hand.

Drink like you’re on Sail Croatia with a long, boozy brunch

Of course, in Europe, the #1 thing on the to-do list is drink. All day. Every day. No stopping. But who says we can’t do that here too? Melburnites can finally combine their two favourite things – brunch and booze – at one of the many boozy brunch events being held every weekend. Try Fargo & Co, Belles Hot Chicken and House of Lulu White.

Wander the German markets at the European Night Market

In addition to drinking, summer holidays also means eating, and lots of it. Seeing as we’re not able to access the chip-filled gyros our friends are chowing down on, Melbourne has blessed us with a European Night Market, featuring bowls of melted raclette cheese, Nutella crepes, cups of hot spiced rum and Bavarian pretzels, among others. There’s also live music and barbers and stuff, but more importantly, melted cheese.

The European Night Market runs every Friday in July from 5-9pm in Madame Brussels Lane in the CBD.

Watch cultured and slightly erotic films at MIFF

Back for its 67th year, the Melbourne International Film Festival is here to treat us with 500 film screenings across three weeks – starting with the Australian premiere of Wildlife starring Ed Oxenbould, Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. We will definitely be catching the Alexander McQueen and Bill Murray docos, and we’ll be pretending we’re at Cannes when we do so.

MIFF is on from August 2-19 at locations all over the city.

Sweat like the Turkish in a traditional steam room

When is the last time you hung out in a Turkish steam room? Never? Good – now is your chance to give it a try at the Amara Wellness Centre in Brunswick. They offer Hammam healing rituals and packages, including Turkish therapy, Kessa exfoliation and Indian head massage. And if you post pictures on your feed and rave about it on your Instagram Stories, you will be just like your friends.

Pretend you’re at Primavera Barcelona at Expo Liaison

Not everyone can be having the time of their life at a European music festival, so for those of us left behind I suggest we all meet at Expo Liason at Flemington Racecourse on August 18 and pretend like we are. With a huge line-up including The Voice himself, John Farnham, I dare say it will be even more fun than Primavera. Probably not, but let’s try anyway.

Wanna join? Get your tickets here.

Drink a stein taller than yourself at Oktoberfest St Kilda

Because us Australians love nothing more than dressing up in costume and drinking novelty-sized drinks, we’ve got our very own version of Oktoberfest, happening in St Kilda. There’ll be best-dressed competitions, a silent disco, all kinds of pork, and more beer halls than you could poke a bratwurst at.

Oktoberfest St Kilda is on October 13. Get your tickets here.

Taste as much wine as all of France at the Urban Wine Walk

If you were in France right now, chances are you’d be spending your days hopping from cellar door to cellar door, tasting the local wares of wine and cheese. In October, we can do the same thing right here in Richmond, as some of Melbourne’s best venues open their doors for a “self-guided” (aka “carry your mate”) tasting experience.

Make a decision because the Urban Wine Walk is on October 13 too.

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