New Year’s Eve can play out in one of two ways: There is always the choice of sitting on the sofa in front of the television; a few friends and relations for company; the popping of champagne corks and a half-hearted rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Or, there is the slightly more adventurous option of heading out into the night – braving the cold and the crowds to take in the fireworks and festive fun. And with New Year coming but once a year, it’s worth it to make the festivities memorable. But where’s the best place to be when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st? We’ve scoured the world for the best annual celebrations, from the beaches of Rio de Janeiro to Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate…
Should you find yourself amidst the cobbled streets of Edinburgh this New Year, then prepare for a party like no other. Last year 148,000 people from more than 70 countries joined the famed three-day New Year’s Eve event in the centre of this historic city. With festivities kicking off on December 30th with thousands of revellers carrying torches from Parliament Square to Calton Hill, it’s no surprise that people from around the globe travel to Scotland’s celebrated capital. With fireworks setting the sky ablaze, and acts such as The Pet Shop Boys and Billy Clyro having graced the main stage; this three day event promises to combine traditional music, food and drink for a New Year like no other!
Happy New Year: ‘Bliadhna Mhath Ùr!’
New York City, New York
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Since 1907, a sparkly sphere has been lowered in Times Square to welcome in the New Year. It may not be for everyone, but there’s no denying that New York City has an atmosphere that few other cities can rival. Over a million people gather each year to see famous musicians and watch the ball drop in Times Square however, if braving the cold and the elements isn’t for you, for a slightly less chaotic experience, book a reservation at one of the bars or restaurants overlooking the festivities. And for something completely different, consider a night time boat ride on New York Harbour that offers the best view of the midnight fireworks display on Liberty Island.
It’s no surprise that the City of Light is one of our top destinations to usher in the New Year. With awe-inspiring landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumph surrounding you, revelry permeates the Parisian air. Opt for a gourmet dinner at an elegant restaurant or watch the clock strike twelve from the steps of the Champs-Élysées. If you’re looking for something a little different, try Montmarte for excellent views of the fireworks without the accompanying crowds. Restaurants and nightclubs also hold festive soirees providing no shortage of options for how to ring in the New Year. On New Year’s Day, the Grande Parade de Paris caps off the celebrations.
Happy New Year: ‘Bonne Année!’
Sydney is one of the first cities in the world to welcome in the New Year so it comes as no surprise that you’ll find plenty of ways to celebrate here. At Sydney harbour, boats filled with revellers permeate the water as the largest fireworks display in the world commences. With one at 9pm and the other at midnight; the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House make for a striking setting to spend the night. More than a million people attend the annual waterfront show which includes and air and water display featuring aerial acrobatics and the harbour of light parade; a flotilla of more than 50 illuminated boats.
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Berlin has something of a reputation as a party city throughout the year, so it makes sense that the German capital has a go-big-or-go-home attitude towards New Year’s festivities. Marking the opening of Berlin’s biggest open-air party, December 31st see’s celebrations line the 2km stretch between Brandenburg Gate and Victory Collum. Lined with bars, food stalls, music stages, party tents and laser light shows, the impressive display attracts thousands of visitors every year. The fireworks begin promptly at midnight, as do the toasts to the New Year. But don’t despair as the part is not over then! Many people then hit the dancefloors of the city’s clubs, partying until well after sun-rise.
Happy New Year: ‘Frohes Neues Jahr!’
Londoner’s ring in the New Year the only way they can; to the chiming of Big Ben at midnight. More than 250,000 people crowd the banks of the River Thames and its numerous bridges to see the spectacular ten-minute light show that illuminates the winter-sky. With the London eye and the houses of parliament among the highlights of the urban scenery, the many after-parties permeate the streets of the capital. The fun doesn’t end there though as New Year’s Day sees the streets of central London host a parade that features colourful floats, marching bands, costumed dancers and a procession of the Queen’s horses.
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
If Rio is best known for its Carnival festivities, its New Year’s Eve celebration comes in a close second. Iconic Copacabana beach hosts the world’s largest New Year’s Eve party when more than two million people line the two-and-a-half-mile stretch of sand. Locally known as Réveillon, this uniquely Brazillian celebration includes large oceanfront stages for live musical and dance performances and a colourful fireworks display at midnight to welcome in the New Year.
Happy New Year: ‘Feliz Ano Novo!’
Abu Dhabi, UAE
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If you’re looking for a little more sophistication this New Year’s Eve then look no further than the UAE capital. Since outdoor drinking isn’t condoned, revellers here can choose to ring in the New Year in the sandy outskirts of the city. A New Year’s Eve desert safari takes party-goers out to a traditional Bedouin encampment where a barbeque buffet, belly dancers and an alcohol bar can be enjoyed. There’s also the opportunity to ride a camel or quadbikes for those more adventurous, with a dazzling canopy of stars welcoming in the New Year.
Happy New Year: ‘Kul Am Wa Antum Bi Kheir!’
With only four hours of daylight in late December, locals in the northernmost capital of the world are ready to party like no one else. New Year’s Eve kicks off with traditional community bonfires that symbolises the burning away of last year’s troubles; around which people sing, dance and play music. Fireworks light up from every corner of the city and as midnight approaches, crowds gather around local landmarks like Perlan and Landakotskirkja church for the best views of the festive display. Come 5am, you will see many revellers staving off hangovers with hot dogs or a traditional trip to the hot springs.
Happy New Year: ‘Gleðilegt Nýtt Ar!’