It’s easy to sneer at New Year’s Eve: too expensive, too crowded, too much pressure to have the greatest night of your life. OK, you could hunker down at home – or you could make it really memorable by hitting up one of the best New Year’s Eve parties in the world. From fireworks blasting across breathtaking backdrops to raucous street parties in cool capitals and all-night raves on blissed-out beaches, there’s no shortage of amazing ways to ring in a new year.



Reykjavik, Iceland 

The Icelandic capital’s midnight fireworks are a community effort: everyone buys their own from ICE-SAR, the national search-and-rescue unit, in what is its most lucrative fundraising project of the year. The result: when the clock strikes 12, the sky explodes with hundreds of mini firework displays, lighting up the entire city. It’s a spectacular sight, but listen out for the sounds, too: fire engines and ships docked in the harbour all ring their bells and blow their horns to welcome the New Year.


Revelries ramp up long before the countdown, with community bonfires kicking off all over town from 4pm (a bonus of those long winter nights). A large crowd of locals gathers at landmark Hallgrímskirkja Church to launch fireworks and watch the display at midnight – offering a great vantage from its perch on Skólavörðuholt hill.

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New York City, USA

Sure, Times Square isn’t the most original recommendation, but it is the archetypal NYE in NYC. If you’re going to do it, do it from the Renaissance Hotel’s  R Lounge – the bar windows offer peerless views of the famous One Times Square building due south, where the ball drops.


Make like a real New Yorker and swap Manhattan for Brooklyn. There’s free fireworks and live music at Prospect Park, and Brooklyn Bridge is a spectacular spot to take in the sky-side show. 


Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scottish capital’s famed three-day Hogmanay extravaganza usually kicks off on 30 December, with a Viking-style torchlight procession along the Royal Mile. The big night itself features a Scottish music programme including Dougie McLean, Eddi Reader and Breabach, which wraps in time for gig-goers to catch unequalled views of midnight fireworks over Edinburgh Castle. Celebrations continue on New Year’s Day with the traditional fancy-dress dip in the freezing Firth of Forth (known as ‘the Loony Dook’). For more information on the many events that normally take place, visit


You probably won’t spot many Edinburgh natives at official Hogmanay festivities for one, entirely rational, reason: they know to be sceptical about the weather. Instead, find the Scots hedging their bets with indoor jollities before bagging a free spot to watch the castle’s midnight display. Smart, boho Stockbridge has a wealth of great pubs: stop off for a wee dram or two and folk music at basement joint The Bailie Bar, followed by a trip to Inverleith Park, which offers the best free view of the countdown fireworks in the city.


Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbour’s firework extravaganza is usually watched by more than a million people gathered along the foreshore – but with the city only starting to reopen in October, this year will look a little different. If you’re already there, join the boatfuls of revellers bobbing in the water – hire out a boat, bring your own bubbles and start the countdown early. Landlubbers might prefer to reserve an outside table at one of the waterfront restaurants by Sydney Harbour Bridge for a front-row seat.


Alternatively, motor out to Cockatoo Island and set up a moonlit picnic in preparation for the show; you can even camp or glamp there for the night, as long as you book a spot in advance. New Year’s Eve without the end-of-night battle for a taxi? Yes, please.



Paris, France

If you’ve got someone special to share a midnight kiss with, there’s no better place to spend New Year’s Eve than the city of romance. The centre of the action is undoubtedly the firework display on Champs-Élysées, but if you’re hoping to soak up the atmosphere without being packed shoulder-to-shoulder, the street parties in hilly Sacré-Cœur offer a cinematic – and slightly calmer – view over the festivities. Avoid disappointment and skip the Eiffel Tower entirely; fireworks are only set off here on Bastille Day, and you can see it lit up any night of the year with slightly fewer crowds to battle.


Traditionally, the French mark New Year’s Eve with a supper known as le réveillon – usually an indulgent feast of delicacies such as oysters, caviar, escargot and foie gras. Michelin-starred restaurant La Tour d’Argent does a set menu of exceptional dishes (and even more exceptional views over the city), though you may need to start saving in January to afford it. For a more budget-friendly option, the roof terrace of cool club Wanderlust is the ideal spot to watch the fireworks over the Seine.


Venice, Italy

Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, it’s crowded. But something is enchanting about Venice at New Year’s Eve, all the same, the anticipatory thrill of counting down to midnight in the packed St Marco’s Square more than worth the wait. (And there’ll be a wait – get here at least a few hours in advance if you want a good spot to see the fireworks).


One of the best views of Venice’s fireworks isn’t actually on the main island; catch the Vaporetto (water bus) over to Giudecca and watch the show from across the lagoon. There are several Italian New Year’s Eve traditions you can join in with. It’s good luck to be wearing red underwear as the year turns over, while lentils, also believed to bring good luck, are an essential part of any New Year’s Eve dinner. Plus, try out more modern practices, such as the chilly New Year’s Day swim in the Lido.


Beirut, Lebanon

Beirut’s legendary party scene makes for a memorable outing any night of the year, but in 2017/2018 the city elected to put on an official shindig in its streets, and immediately landed on various ‘best of’ lists – prompting it to go even bigger in the following years. Place de l’Etoile is packed with merrymakers, as live bands, DJs and fireworks ring in the next decade, and a spectacular light show beams out of the square’s 1933 Art Deco clocktower. This being Beirut, things don’t typically wind down until after dawn.


The city’s nightlife scene has more than its fair share of bling-bling clubs, but to get among the Beiruti in-crowd, bar hopping in hip Gemmayzeh and neighbouring Mar Mikhael is where it’s at. The latter’s Anise is a firm favourite, where craft cocktails are concocted with Lebanese spirit arak and locally foraged herbs.

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Madrid, Spain

A city which is world-renowned for its parties goes crazy especially on the New Year’s Eve. If you are searching for where to go for New Year celebrations then we would be definitely recommend Madrid to you. One unique tradition which you would find here in Madrid is eating 12 grapes sharp at 12:00 am marking the arrival of New Year. Feasting on a scrumptious dinner is another way of celebrating New Year in Madrid, the traditional dinner here usually consists of lamb or seafood. Royal Palace is another hotspot for New Year celebrations in Madrid. Witness a great countdown party at Puerta del Sol with a huge variety of drinks and food.

Things to Do: Follow the tradition of eating 12 grapes at 12:00 am, feast on a heaty dinner, stroll through the Royal Palace



Koh Phangan, Thailand

Pre-Covid, there were parties on the beaches of Thailand’s islands all year round, but the wildest of them all is New Year’s Eve on Koh Phangan, home to the world’s most famous full-moon party. Revolving around Sunrise Beach in Haad Rin, the maelstrom starts as soon as it gets dark and romps on well beyond sunrise and into the following afternoon.


Go for cocktails and a dinner of freshly caught and grilled fish over on the sunset side of the island, and don’t even think of joining the party until just before midnight. Then head back to Sunset Beach for a dawn swim.


Goa, India

Some say Goa’s parties are not what they used to be. We say it’s still hard to beat dancing on the beach, with the sand between your toes and fairy lights strung on every palm tree, sequinned sari skirts twirling under the stars. And New Year’s Eve is the best time of year to party in Goa, with fireworks and celebrations all along the coast of India’s good-time state. Inevitably, the biggest and loudest bashes tend to be centred around Anjuna, where world-class DJs play to huge crowds long into the night.


For a more intimate party, head to Palolem, in the south. This jungle-lined bay is dotted with ramshackle beach bars that join up for a night of psy-trance tunes and EDM, free-flowing cocktails and fireworks at midnight.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

It’s practically midsummer in Rio de Janeiro this time of year, which is why many partygoers shun sweaty indoor clubs and take the party to the beach instead. A whopping two million people gather on the 2.5-mile-long Copacabana for samba, Champagne and fireworks on New Year’s Eve – to find a good spot, start staking your place from 10pm. It’s customary to wear white in Rio on NYE – said to bring luck for the New Year. But perhaps leave your favourite clothes at home, unless you don’t mind getting doused with Champagne, sprayed F1-style by rapturous crowds.


Lifeguard stations along the beach are called ‘postos’; in-the-know types recommend setting up between Postos 5 and 6. This is the final stretch of Copacabana, so it’s not quite as crowded; plus, it’s walking distance from the parties at neighbouring Ipanema, where many revellers head after the countdown fireworks.


Cape Town, South Africa

The mother of all celebrations in the Mother City usually takes place on the V&A Waterfront, where there’s everything you could possibly require in one handy spot: dinner, live music, dancing, fireworks. Plus, there are views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic shore. It’s spectacular – but if you want a party with a more local flavour, you have to head for the sand. 


A sunset picnic on Clifton 4th Beach, a gorgeous cove in the affluent Clifton neighbourhood, is a popular choice for Capetonians. Then it’s time to hit one of the city’s many glam beach clubs. The hottest ticket? Pacha’s elite soirée at Grand Africa, on the Grand’s private beach, facing Robben Island.

Sources: cntraveller, My holidays

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