New Year’s Eve is the celebration that unifies the world. We get to leave the previous year behind us (and who doesn’t want to leave 2020 behind?) and dream of better things for the new year. What is a better way to ring in the new year than spending in a new city or country? I’ve worked with over 30 other bloggers to compile a list of the best places to celebrate New Years’ Eve – on six continents!
Don’t have time to read? Pin “Best Places to Celebrate New Years Around the World” for later!
New Year’s Eve on a Cruise Ship
Celebrated by Jenni of Cruise Mummy
A cruise ship is a fantastic place to celebrate New Year’s Eve. It’s the easiest, most hassle-free New Year celebration you’ll ever have with no food preparations, no taxis, and no queuing to get in anywhere.
Cruise ships go all out on New Year’s Eve. You’ll typically enjoy a formal evening with a five-course gala dinner in the grand dining room. After that, you’ll have your choice of activities while you wait for midnight – head to the casino, see a West End style show or enjoy some live music in one of the on-board bars.
The best place to be when the clock strikes twelve is usually up on the top deck. Cruise ships tend to dock in a port for New Year, rather than being out at sea as they often are on Christmas Day. This means that there’s a good chance you’ll see the most incredible firework displays, particularly if you’re in a city such as Sydney, New York, or Dubai.
New Year’s Eve parties on cruise ships go on until the early hours, and the bar won’t close until everyone’s ready to leave. If you have a drinks package, you can relax knowing that there’s no bill to pay.
Luckily your cabin is just steps away, although you might want to make a detour past the buffet!
Whether or not you can cruise this year depends on where you live. If you live in the Schengen Area of Europe there’s a very good chance. Otherwise, you might have to wait until the following year.
Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in North America
New York City
Celebrated by Heather of Trimm Travels
Definitely the most iconic place, but dare I say, the best place to spend New Year’s is in New York City! I have twice enjoyed celebrating my New Year’s Eve birthday in NYC to fulfill a dream bucket list item that appears on the lists of so many. There truly is no comparison to the atmosphere, the anticipation, and the sheer adrenaline of that night in The Big Apple!
Of course, everyone wants to see the iconic ball drop in person. After having seen it live twice, the years of watching it on TV doesn’t do it justice. However, pulling off the long wait and securing a viewing spot is a huge feat. Don’t worry, if the thought of standing in one spot for 12+ hours in the elements without exiting privileges (including restroom) has you dismissing the idea, there is another option. I was effectively able to watch the ball drop without the crowd twice and it was the perfect solution!
In addition to the ball drop, there are many New Year’s parties that take place as well as endless special menus that restaurants offer to celebrate ushering in the New Year. If you are looking for ways to further optimize your trip, all of the Christmas decorations are still up and you can knock out visiting New York at Christmas and at New Year’s in one trip! One thing I can guarantee. No matter which way you choose to celebrate in New York City, the experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will leave you with memories never to be forgotten!
Amelia Island, Florida
Celebrated by Carol of Is This Even a Road
Want the excitement of the Big New York Ball Drop for New Year’s Eve without all the ‘Big City’? Why not head south to small town Amelia Island, on the coast of northeast Florida for a New Year’s Eve to remember.
Walking through the quaint streets of Amelia Island feels like stepping into a Hallmark Christmas movie. Town Hall is decorated with a festive tree and holiday lights twinkle from the palm tree-lined streets. Charles Dickens’s scenes are displayed in shop windows. During New Year’s Eve day the weather is mild. Visit one of the beaches along the 13 miles of pristine coastline including a ‘boneyard’ driftwood beach. Check out the ‘Salty Pelican’ for fresh seafood overlooking the pier. Wander into the many shops or visit the ‘Amelia Island Brewery’.
The evening is when the BIG event happens. The Amelia Island Annual Shrimp Drop. The festival takes place at Centre Street, Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034…in Parking lots A and B starting at 5 p.m. This free, family-friendly event includes food booths, vendors, a live band, a laser show, and dancing. There are bounce houses and fun games for the kids. The giant glowing shrimp waits perched atop a giant crane for the countdown.
At 7 p.m. the Mayor of Amelia Island steps gallantly onto the stage with a large costumed Shrimp and the Official ‘Miss Shrimp’ to thank the crowd and get ready to welcome the New Year. The crowd counts down in anticipation and the glittering shrimp drops lower with each number.
Shouts of Happy New Year fill the air and fireworks erupt across the harbor. You’ll still have plenty of time to get back to the hotel beach under the stars, drink in hand and toes in the sand for the very best way to welcome the New Year.
Celebrated by Rai of Rai of Light
With amazing weather and pretty beaches, Aruba is one of the most unique places to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Throughout the year, the tropical climate and summer breeze almost always guarantee good weather and a whole lot of sunshine. This provides an escape from the cold winter weather with plenty of inviting beaches. The time leading up to the new year is a popular time to visit this island. What’s so special at this time of the year? The Arubans take the holiday very seriously. A grand tradition that happens on the days leading up to New Year’s Eve is the lighting of pagara or firecrackers all over the streets of Oranjestad. The smoke is believed to ward off evil spirits.
In addition to this, there is a huge New Year’s Eve celebration everywhere you turn, not limited to continuous music and a night of endless firework shows. The best place to watch the display are at the lighthouse on the main promenade or along any of the beaches, a favourite being Aruba flamingo beach. Almost every resort and restaurant hosts a special New Year’s Eve party with events booked out in advance so do be sure to book your preference ahead of time. Just when you think the celebrations are over, large groups of musicians known as “dande” travel around the island bestowing blessings and best wishes for the New Year through song and dance, adding to the already joyous festive atmosphere.
Celebrated by Steph & Lewis of Book It Let’s Go!
If you are looking for a tropical island paradise to see in the new year, then look no further than St Kitts. St Kitts is a small Caribbean island and as with most Caribbean islands they know how to party. Between Christmas and January 2nd is when St Kitts hold their annual Carnival celebration Visitors know it as the St Kitts and Nevis National Carnival. However, the locals call it Sugar Mas. There is no better way to experience Kittitian culture, the festivities start at the end of November with many local fetes and live music events.
Things really kick up a notch with the J’ouvert day parade on December 26th when Basseterre, the capital of St Kitts, becomes party central and there are colorful decorations throughout the town. There are Carnival parades on multiple days for all ages to join in and whether you want to take part in the parade and don one of the fantastic elaborate feathered costumes or if you just want to watch from the side-lines the festive cheer and atmosphere is infectious.
The event also serves a cultural purpose as folklore groups dominate the activities, introducing the crowd to moko jumbies, masqueraders, clowns, and other traditional figures. Sugar Mas regularly ranks as St Kitts largest event of the year and it is one of the best things to do on St Kitts and Nevis, so for a unique New Year’s Eve book your time off, mark your calendar and pack your bags for St Kitts
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Celebrated by Dean & Laynni at Routinely Nomadic
Located up in the Guatemalan Highlands, beautiful and scenic Lake Atitlan is much more traditionally Mayan than most other parts of the country. As a result, very few of the dozen or so towns and villages around the lake offer much nightlife, at least not by the standards of most travelers. There are a couple of notable exceptions, however, in Panajachel and San Pedro la Laguna. While “Pana”, as it is known, generally caters to an older ex-pat crowd, San Pedro is the epicenter of backpacker life on the lake. With a festive tourist street lined with shops, restaurants, and bars running for several kilometers along the lakefront, San Pedro is a fun place to hang out any time of year.
On New Year’s Eve, however, the party is taken to a whole new level. With all-day parties spilling into the streets (that often continue on for several days into January) and huge concert-style speakers pointed out for the “enjoyment” of all, it is impossible to miss out on the action. Meanwhile, with liters of beer available for about $US3 each and annual Gallo door prize promotions at local favorites such as Alegre Pub, there is no better place to ring in the new year on Lake Atitlan.
Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in South America
Copacabana Beach, Brazel
Celebrated by Deb of The Visa Project
Being in the new year celebrations in Copacabana beach is an experience like none other. While there are beach parties all over the world on the new year’s eve, the celebrations in Copacabana are truly incredible and unique with millions of eve-goers, events, fireworks and traditional ceremonies. x
Reveillons are of monumental proportions for New Year’s Eve celebrations where tradition and partying go hand in hand on this iconic beach of Rio.
Tourists and locals often acquire their spot in morning, as the day passes the place becomes more crowded. You can also reserve your place in any of the beach-front restaurants to enjoy all the celebrations from the terrace. Don’t forget to wear all white, the sign of peace and prosperity. And add a touch of some other colors to give it a little twist, like Brazillians do.
Once the sun sets, you can expect a vibrant Carnival atmosphere with outside concerts, samba dancing and music. The midnight starts with a breathtaking 15-minute display of fireworks. Right before midnight, locals go to the ocean’s edge to jump seven waves and offer flowers, soap, and floating candles to Queen of the Ocean, Goddess Iemanjá. This is done to show their gratitude for all the wishes that have been fulfilled in the previous year and ask her to grant the wishes for the New year.
So if you are visiting Brazil as a tourist around New Year’s eve, this is one place you don’t want to miss this.
São Paulo, Brazil
Celebrated by Bruna of I Heart Brazil
There are many beautiful places to visit in Brazil, but São Paulo makes one of the most exciting spots to celebrate NYE! As Brazil’s biggest city, SP is jam-packed with lavish parties and fireworks shows.
For instance, Paulista Avenue hosts the biggest of them all! Not only can you party in Brazilian style to the song of local artists, but as the clock ticks midnight, a massive firework begins along the whole avenue. The best part about this party is that it is absolutely free!
However, you can still celebrate the upcoming year in Brazilian style in a more exclusive party–São Paulo has many of those! The Tivoli, a luxury hotel in one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city, hosts an incredible NYE party with DJ and samba school. What’s not to love? For party animals, night clubs go in full power to welcome the new year and play national and international songs all night long!
Last but definitely not least, this massive city also has fantastic high-end restaurants that offer a skyline view–perfect for watching the firework’s shows! For instance, you might want to check out Terraço Itália, an Italian restaurant on the top floor of one of SP’s highest buildings. Not only is the food incredible, but the whole experience is memorable!
And this speaks a lot to the soul of Brazil, diversity in every corner, in every party. Happy New Year!
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Celebrated by Erin of Sol Salute
Argentina is a warm, relationship-focused culture and holidays like Christmas in Buenos Aires are centered around the family. New Year’s Eve is no different.
Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are celebrated in the same way. Families join together to share a large meal, drink copious amounts of Malbec, and ring in the new day together at midnight.
Like in many countries, fireworks explode into the air as the clock strikes midnight. There are a few professional shows but they’re overwhelmingly done by families across the city. Wherever you find yourself in the city, make sure you have access to a rooftop to watch fireworks explode all around you.
For tourists, the best area to go to is without a doubt Puerto Madero. The restaurants in this neighborhood have the best views of the fireworks. Madero Tango often offers the great combination of a tango show leading up to midnight.
If you want to go to a club, wait until around 1 am when the younger crowd leave grandma and grandpa’s house to dance. This is when the party officially starts. Also, stay close to home because taxis will be hard to come by, as the drivers are, of course, celebrating with family.
Celebrated by Sarah of Apus Peru
If your idea of a great New Year’s celebration is one steeped in tradition and superstition, then there is no better place to ring in the New Year than Peru.
For the party-goers, you’ll find the bars and clubs organize special New Year’s Eve events, with live entertainment, drink specials and even party favours – plastic yellow glasses in the shape of the incoming year (i.e., 2021) are ubiquitous!
But superstition, fulfilling your ambitions and the quest for good fortune are the centrepiece of New Year’s celebrations in Peru – especially Cusco, once the capital of the Incan Empire.
Here is just a taste:
Everything is Yellow – On the street and in the markets, vendors everywhere will be selling yellow items in the lead-up to New Year’s. Yellow underwear seems to be the most abundant, but you’ll also spot bouquets of yellow flowers, yellow decorations, and bags of yellow confetti.
Travel Tip: Sprinkle some on your doorstep to ensure your household is blessed during the new year.
Yellow symbolizes happiness and good luck. You may find other people buying items that are red (for love) or green (for money). It all depends on their priorities for the coming year!
#TravelGoals – If your New Year plans include travel, then to make sure those plans come true; put on a backpack or grab a suitcase, and “travel” around the block on New Year’s Eve.
Eat Grapes – As midnight strikes, eat 12 green grapes, one after the other. This will ensure good luck in each of the next 12 months – or so Peruvians will tell you! This custom is so popular that even if you find yourself at the bar, they’ll most likely give out little bags of grapes to everyone who wants one.
Fun Fact: Cusqueñans celebrate New Year’s twice. Even in Cusco, you can’t escape the importance of January 1st, but actually, the Andean New Year is celebrated on August 1st. This is the day of the Pachamama – Mother Earth – and is similarly a time of celebration and renewal. Some families, especially in rural areas, will perform ritual ceremonies to honor the Earth. Even in the city, don’t be surprised if you see some yellow confetti sprinkled on doorsteps on August 1st!
Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Europe
Celebrated by Ania of The Travelling Twins
When we were visiting Iceland in December, we didn’t think about New Year’s Eve. We assumed we would spend it with family watching fireworks on the TV, how wrong we were.
Fireworks on New Year’s Eve is an experience that cannot be described. Icelanders love fireworks. It’s being said that I an average Icelander spends around 300,000 Icelandic Krona (1800Euro) on fireworks. The fireworks are everywhere.
The best and most crowded points in the city are the high ones with a view of the entire panorama. Tourists and natives gather on the hill by Perlan, on Breiðholta or at the Seltjarnarneskirkja church. The view from these places extends over the whole metropolitan district.
Fireworks can be seen in the sky from late afternoon. At 09:00 p.m. the sky is all lit up. With every minute, you can hear more and more bangs coming from everywhere. The fireworks kick in and suddenly stop at 10:30 p.m., and there is total silence for an hour. At 23:30, the fireworks return to the starry sky with redoubled strength.
Fireworks stop at 10:30 p.m. because at that time every Icelander switches on the TV to watch the New Year’s nativity scene (Áramótaskaup) or the summary of the year is played on the Icelandic RÚV television for fun … mocking political and social events from the past year. The most important point of the program throughout the year for every Icelandic.
The annual New Year’s Eve tradition are also bonfires, organized in many places. Bonfires are the place of meetings, wishes, and a symbol of saying goodbye to the past year. Fire symbolizes the purification and the end of the old year, and they are great.
Celebrated by Polly of Let’s Travel UK
London is one of the best places on the planet to see in the New Year. Crowds line the banks of the Thames, clustering around South Bank near the London Eye and at Victoria Embankment, close to Big Ben.
It’s a long-standing British tradition, and those who aren’t present in person will usually watch the spectacular NYE fireworks at home. Even parties are often put on hold while guests “ooh” and “ahh” over the technicolor skies.
The countdown from ten seconds before midnight is the climax of the annual event, with a digital display projected onto the Shell Centre just south of the river. The UK capital is kind to both residents and visitors on New Year’s Eve, with free travel offered on all Transport for London services between 11.45 pm and 4.30 am. This includes underground and overground trains, night buses, the Docklands Light Railway and trams.
Since 2014 the pyrotechnic display set to music has been ticket-only. It costs around GBP £10 and there is enough space for around 100,000 spectators. This has overcome previous problems by demand outweighing supply that placed a subsequent strain on transport and space.
Celebrated by Anuradha of Country Hopping Couple
Nicknamed as “Festival City”, Edinburgh does have an impressive array of festivals to display. Be it the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival or Military Tattoo, or it’s Hogmanay, Edinburgh knows how to do them best!
Hogmanay is the Scottish celebration of New Year and it is held every year in the country’s capital Edinburgh. Hogmanay is one of the world’s biggest New Year celebrations and the largest street party in the world. The fact that Hogmanay is recognized by Guinness Books of World Records in 1997 as the world’s largest New Year Party pretty much sums up the reason why everyone should visit Edinburgh for New Year celebrations. Hogmanay runs over for four days. There are torchlight processions, concerts, fireworks, street party and the celebrations end with the Scottish tradition of Loony Dunk on New Year’s Day. People gather together in a fancy dress and dip into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth, located near Edinburgh.
Torchlight processions start from Holyrood Park and follows the Royal Mile. This is a ticketed event, and depending on the type of ticket, you will be allotted the location to join the procession. The procession and street party is usually accompanied by fine artists, dancers, jugglers, drummers, bagpipers from all over the world. The new year concerts happen in Princes Street Gardens, followed by a fireworks display from Edinburgh Castle. Fireworks can also be watched for free from the many vantage points in Edinburgh.
Celebrated by Elisa of World in Paris
If you are looking for a great place to spend New Year’s Eve, book your ticket to Paris right now and enjoy the most festive days of the year in the City of Lights.
If possible, try to arrive some days before the last day of the year to enjoy some Christmas fun in Paris. Ideally, you want to spend at least 5 days in Paris to visit the Christmas markets, shop windows, and other special events. Stay more days if you also want to do some sightseeing in Paris.
For the last dinner of the year, book the restaurant well in advance, especially if you have a specific restaurant in mind. This is a popular night to go out for dinner with friends or family so the best restaurants in Paris are fully booked weeks (or months) in advance.
Apart from a good restaurant, there are other fun options to get in the mood for the New Year’s celebrations like a Parisian cabaret show with dinner or a Seine River cruise with dinner.
Then, you can join the crowds to celebrate New Years’s Eve at Champs Elysées, or head to Champs de Mars or Montmartre for an alternative, more local way to celebrate the New Year in Paris.
Celebrated by Brittany or Bucketlist Bri
Of all the incredible things to do in Lyon, France, celebrating New Year’s Eve and ending the year on a final high note is a must. Lyon is France’s third-largest city bubbling with culture, history, and romance. Renowned for its regional cuisine and the legacy of Paul Bocuse, it is also the gastronomic capital of France. It can be said that Lyon comes alive nearly every night, but this is especially the case on New Year’s Eve when the city’s iconic landmarks light up the night. To debut your evening, take a stroll through romantic Old Town, where cozy bouchons lyonnais invite travelers inside to a delicious meal typical of Lyon paired with the perfect wine.
As you step back out into the narrow cobblestone streets, make your way to La Théâtre Maison de Guignol, one of the historic theaters hosting lively spectacles for the evening. If it’s a party you want, take a stroll down the quay of the Rhône river and dance the night away with drinks and friends on one of Lyon’s traditional floating boat barges. And when the time comes, during the final countdown to midnight, get ready to shout with your peers “trois, deux, un… Bonne année!” and lend a friendly French bise (kiss) on both cheeks.”
Celebrated by Becki of Meet Me in Departures
The Spanish certainly know how to party, and New Year’s Eve in Madrid is no exception. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Madrid in the winter and in particular around the festive season and into New Years, there are loads of traditions you can embrace.
For starters if you happen to be there for Christmas Day, the big celebration happens on the 24th December, think of it as a bit of a double Christmas, you’ll also find stunning displays of lights and nativity scenes in every main street and town square. These decorations stay up until after the New Year, so make sure you spend some time wandering about and admiring the impressive displays.
New Year is always a big deal in Madrid, with public street parties, fireworks and celebrations happening all over the city. One strange tradition they do is the ‘12 grapes’. This originated in the 1800s and is still done today. The idea is that you eat one grape with every chime of the clock at midnight to welcome in the new year, this is then washed down with champagne as you continue the party into the early hours of the morning.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Madrid for the days after New Year, then on the 6th January known as the Cabalgata De Los Reyes (The Three Kings Cavalcade), this is a huge street parade and carnival.. Similarly, like on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, children are given gifts on this day to mark the end of the festive season. On this day it’s traditional to eat Roscón de Reyes which is a traditional ring-shaped, fruit-filled buttery cake. Absolutely delicious and very calorific, but worth it! You’ll see them for sale in every bakery, and is eaten in the morning of Three Kings Day.
Celebrated by Victoria of Guide Your Travel
Malaga is an amazing place to celebrate New Year’s and enjoy a short city trip. The city is located in the south of Spain on the Costa del Sol. While this area is a beautiful place to visit in summer, it is arguably even nicer in winter when temperatures are not too hot and you can get away with wearing a light jacket. Celebrating New Year’s in a warm place is always a special experience and you might even be brave enough for an early morning swim in the ocean on January 1st.
On the 31st of December, there are several stages scattered around the city center of Malaga where you can watch cultural performances and live music. In Spain, it is an important tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight of New Year’s eve which is why you’ll find many street vendors selling grapes all around the city. If you’re not ready to go to bed after midnight why not visit one of the many clubs and bars in Malaga. Many don’t even open until after midnight so there is plenty of time to dance the night away.
Celebrated by Alexandrina of Earthosea
If you are wondering where to spend New Year’s Eve, you should definitely consider going to the island of Madeira. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, just 500 kilometers away from the African Coast, Madeira is probably one of the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve!
The island of Madeira is known for its incredible festivities, however, the absolute highlight of them all is that of New Year’s Eve. Every year, thousands of people gather in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, to watch the fireworks show. This show is so spectacular that it was named by Guinness World Records as the “Greatest Fireworks Show in the World”. Usually, it lasts around 8 to 10 minutes and the fireworks emerge from 37 stations places within the city and the ocean.
If you plan to watch the “Greatest Fireworks Show in the World”, it is best to climb somewhere on the hills of the city. Either at Miradouro dos Mermeleiros, Miradouro de Sao Roque or Miradouro de São Gonçalo That way you would have a better view of the show itself and will be able to enjoy it without the crowds.
On New Year’s Eve in Madeira, you can also expect to be served incredible meals. Among them are Grilled Limpets, Tuna Steak, Black Scabbard fish with fried bananas, which is the island’s specialty or Bolo do Rei (Kind’s Cake). Whichever dish you choose, you won’t be disappointed!
Prague, Czech Republic
Celebrated by Me of The Directionally Challenged Traveler
For the ultimate party destination, Prague is a must-visit destination. We were not expecting the incredible atmosphere of Old Town Square. The Christmas markets in Old Town Square are filled with street vendors featuring homemade souvenirs and delicious foods – like trdelnik – a cinnamon pastry roasted over the fire.
As midnight approaches, there are a few key areas in the city to see the fireworks. There are incredible views in the Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, Prague Castle, and over the river for views of the city. It’s important to note that public transportation typically stops running around 1:00 a.m. but there are plenty of taxis and ride-sharing available.
Celebrated by Sydney of A World in Reach
There are few better cities around the world to ring in the New Year than Berlin, Germany. Known as “Silvester,” New Year’s Eve in Berlin is an experience unlike any other, with parties held in the streets near major tourist attractions like Brandenburg Gate, clubs hosting exclusive parties where you can dance the night away, and fireworks lighting up the sky.
If you’re planning on visiting Berlin for New Year’s Eve, you have a few different options for where you can celebrate. One of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties in Europe is held outdoors at Brandenburg Gate, one of the most famous landmarks in the city. Here, you can ring in the New Year with hundreds of thousands of your closest friends and enjoy live music, DJs, and a firework show at midnight.
If you’d prefer to celebrate indoors, consider purchasing a ticket for a party held at one of Berlin’s legendary clubs. Berlin is known for its nightlife scene, and the clubs don’t disappoint on New Year’s Eve. There are dozens of parties to choose from, some including an open bar and dinner in the ticket prices. Many hotels and restaurants also host parties if you’d prefer that over a club. No matter where you choose to celebrate, spending New Year’s Eve in Berlin is an experience that you won’t soon forget.
Celebrated by Sara of Sara Far Away
Despite its small size, Switzerland is a country with numerous traditions. And this is no different at New Year’s. NYE is avidly celebrated in Switzerland, with parties, fireworks, and lots of food.
The biggest party takes place in Zürich, where over 100.000 people gather on the shores of Lake Zürich to celebrate together. But other cities like Lucerne, Basel or Interlaken put up considerable parties too.
Another typical thing to do in Switzerland on NYE is a fondue dinner. These often take place in a mountain hut, followed by night sledding if there is enough snow.
And lastly, the common thing to do for anyone who is spending New Year’s at home is to watch “Dinner for one”. The short movie about Miss Sophie’s New Year’s Dinner and her increasingly drunk butler is a classic, shown on TV every year on the 31st of December.
Shortly before midnight, the church bells start ringing all over the country. This is called “ringing out the old year”. The bells then stop for a short moment, before ringing 12 times just before 00.00 After counting the countdown, everyone toasts with champagne and gets ready to watch the fireworks, which start shortly after midnight to start off the new year in a spectacular way.
Celebrated by Me of the Directionally Challenged Traveler
The floating city of Venice is any traveler’s dream. When we had the opportunity to spend New Years Eve, we had NO idea what to expect. It’s tradition in Italy to have a huge dinner (known as the San Silvestro Dinner) which is said to bring wealth for the future. Hotels and restaurants both offer mouth-watering delicacies. Since the celebrations go on past midnight, dinner usually starts after 8pm! You can also have dinner on a boat for waterside views.
Once you’ve filled up on delicious food and incredible wine, head to Plaza San Marco for the real celebration! Live music, Bellini’s and, of course, fireworks! If you are brave, on January 1st you can head to Lido at noon for a nice Polar Plunge in the Adriatic Sea,
Celebrated by Christine of Romantic Places Insider
Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Europe. Known for its medieval architecture that stood with time, it lies along the Adriatic coast.
The Old City, which is the main attraction, is popular for its imposing towers, palaces, and impenetrable walls. While the surrounding areas of the Old City consist of villages perched in the rugged cliffs and the amazing islets and beaches of Croatia. This makes Dubrovnik one of the most scenic spots in Europe and one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve.
The main party is celebrated along Stradun – the main street in the Old City. Here, you’ll find the towers, palaces, and churches decorated with Christmas lights and decorations that give additional charm and magic to this place. In the same street, you’ll also find the Christmas market which lasts until the first week of January. It is not as big and extravagant as other major cities in Europe but it’s just as beautiful. There are also several live music and entertainment in place from different bars in the area
And the best thing about celebrating New Year’s Eve in Dubrovnik? The firework displays above it. Nothing is more spectacular than being surrounded by medieval architectures lit up by colorful firework display above.
If you would like a more intimate celebration to welcome the New Year and far away from the crowd, some hotels and hostels in Dubrovnik also offer private parties. There are also resorts in nearby islands where you can welcome the new year – if that’s what you prefer. Regardless of your preference, there’s something for everyone in Dubrovnik.
Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Asia
Celebrated by Tatiana of Family Road Trip Guru
New Year’s celebrations in Russia are typically huge. Christmas comes on January 7 and it is a strictly a religious holiday so New Year’s is the biggest party you can imagine. There are festive lights decorations everywhere, New Year’s trees are decorated throughout towns and in everybody’s houses. On New Year’s Eve there are lots of public celebrations with fireworks, concerts, dancing, music that start right after midnight. Some people just go outside to walk the brightly decorated streets after midnight and wish each other Happy New Year.
The main characters of New Year celebrations in Russia are Father Frost and his granddaughter, the Snowmaiden. They bring kids gifts on New Year’s eve and leave them under the tree. They will also always be part of any public New Year’s celebrations, singing and dancing with kids and adults. Many towns have Father Frost’s residences, a place (typically a museum) where he “resides” during the last 2-3 weeks of December and first 10 days of January. You can come visit and participate in entertainment programs for kids as well as have your photo taken with Father Frost.
At home, people prepare huge feasts for the New Year’s eve celebrations. The staples of the table will be sandwiches with caviar, mandarin oranges, Olivier salad made with potatoes, carrots, eggs, peas, pickles, and bologna sausage and, of course, Champagne.
All Russian New Year’s celebrations are basically a combination of the best Christmas and New Years’ traditions from around the world so they always feel double as big as anywhere else.
Hong Kong, China
Celebrated by Thirumal of Visa Traveler
Illuminated skyscrapers, stunning night views and a dazzling display of fireworks. Hong Kong’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are one of the best in the world. Every year, thousands of tourists visit Hong Kong to witness this spectacular event and ring in the new year.
The Hong Kong convention center is the focal point of the fireworks show. A giant LED billboard displays the countdown timer. Small fireworks shoot up every 15 minutes leading up to midnight. The main fireworks go off at midnight from Victoria Harbour and the surrounding rooftops. The fireworks show lasts about 10 minutes.
The best vantage point to watch the fireworks is the waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui. Especially from the Avenue of Stars or Symphony of Lights viewing point. The entire waterfront gets packed quickly and it’s standing room only. For a front-row view of the fireworks, arrive at the waterfront by 6 pm. Make sure to eat your dinner before heading to the spot. Bring water, snacks, something to pass the time like a book, external battery for your cellphone and camera. The other vantage points are Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, Victoria Harbour cruises, luxury hotels, and rooftop bars. Looking down on the fireworks from the Victoria peak is also spectacular.
Celebrated by Nick of Spiritual Travels
Taipei, the vibrant capital of the island nation of Taiwan, is one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve in Asia. In December in Taiwan, winter is just beginning, but the cool weather doesn’t stop hundreds of thousands of people (literally!) from crowding into the streets of Xinyi District.
They go there to see the incredible lasers and fireworks display which is set off from the sides of the country’s most iconic landmark: Taipei 101. The 508-meter building was the tallest in the world for six years until it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.The fireworks blast horizontally into the air, igniting above the heard of onlookers. For an even more magical view, partiers fill nightclubs occupying upper floors of adjacent buildings, while photographers crowd onto the peaks of mountains surrounding the city which afford unbeatable views.
Leading up to the mesmerizing fireworks display, a live concert and countdown is held from a stage nearby, watched by millions of people across the country from the comfort of their homes. Meanwhile, another fireworks display takes place simultaneously in a riverside park elsewhere in Taipei to help alleviate the insane crowds. Taipei is truly a thrilling place to spend New Year’s Eve! Then, as if that weren’t enough, they also celebrate the Lunar New Year a month or two later!
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Celebrated by Lieze of Glitter Rebel
New Year’s eve in Dubai is a spectacle you will never forget – not only because it has some of the best fireworks in the world, but also because it is incredibly busy! Hundreds of thousands of people flock to the centre of the city to see the fireworks fired off the Burj Khalifa. It will be near to impossible to secure a restaurant reservation with a view on the Burj Khalifa a month before New Year’s Eve (even for TGIF!) so you will need to plan ahead. There are a number of great restaurants in Dubai Mall and in The Palace Downtown that have a balcony form where you can admire the fireworks. I can personally recommend Thiptara as they have a full frontal view on the fireworks and serve the best Thai food in Dubai.
If you are not very keen on booking a restaurant it is advised to head to the Dubai Mall area early enough. Hire a car for New Year’s Eve as taxis will be scarce and it is not uncommon to have to wait 3 hours for a taxi (I am not kidding). You can park your car in Dubai Mall, Souk al Bahaar, or Zabeel. As New Year’s eve is very busy I would recommend parking in Zabeel as they always have parking spaces available.
Restaurants and clubs will do theme nights – albeit very expensive, for New Year’s Eve. These theme nights will (often) include unlimited alcohol, food, and a great DJ. Check out your favorite restaurants, clubs – or contact your hotel to ask if any of their restaurants are doing something special.
Celebrated by Khushboo of Munni of all Trades
Set on the banks of the River Aie (which means mother); the Dwijing Festival Assam celebrated local and national heritage and culture. It brings together traditional folk artists, Bollywood performers, dancers and musicians on one unique platform. Until a few years ago, Bongaingon was a region that had witnessed deep unrest. The local Bodo community decided to come together to invite the world to their homes by initiating the Dwijing festival in 2016 and since then it has grown in size. Popularly known as the ‘New Year festival’ in the region; it is spread over 20 days on average.
One can enjoy riverside camping, adventure activities, a helicopter and a hot air balloon joy ride. The festival supports local businesses, is working towards zero plastic use, and promotes local heritage and culture. During my trip in 2019, I had the opportunity to witness handloom weaving, visit local Bodo villages, enjoy dance performances, eat exotic food (including fried silkworms!), and make memories of a lifetime. To me, it is the perfect way to ring in the new year.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Celebrated by Caroline and Neil, CK Travels
Hoi An in central Vietnam is a magical place to visit over New Years. This charming riverside town comes alive at night with big decorative lantern displays, and the river is filled with cute passenger boats, all adorned with bright and colourful lanterns.
Most people visiting Hoi An on New Years Eve enjoy the lively outdoor drinking scene in the run up to midnight, with riverside bars spilling into the streets and a large outdoor stage providing entertainment and bands. You’ll find several pop up stalls selling cheap cans of local beer or cocktails, plus Vietnamese street food. Vendors also wander around selling flowery flashing head dresses and other fun accessories too.
At midnight a 15 minute firework display is held and the reflections of the fireworks over the river are really beautiful (make sure you get a spot over the bridge). The party continues well into the early hours of the morning with the riverside bars pumping out loud music and the riverside strip turns into one huge outdoor party.
Most of the people celebrating in Hoi An old town are usually tourists so the atmosphere is really good-natured, and when we visited in 2018 we found it was not too crowded at all. We would highly recommend Hoi An for a fun New Years’ Eve party.
Celebrated by Matina and Jürgen of Places of Juma
Are you thinking about where to spend New Year’s Eve this year? If you are in the mood for something exotic, sun and unforgettable parties, then you should consider celebrating in Thailand. By the way, with that you can escape the cold winter weather, get a lot of sun and good mood in the so called “Land of Smiles”.
The coolest and at the same time biggest New Year’s Eve party in Thailand awaits you in the megacity Bangkok. Here the possibilities to celebrate are almost endless. Best you reserve a table in one of the hip Bangkok Rooftop Bars, from the airy heights you can experience the turn of the year with the huge fireworks from a unique perspective.
If prefer it a bit wilder, you can mingle with the crowd later. The best place to go is certainly the Khao San Road, a popular party mile, where clubs and bars are lined up one by one. Here tourists, backpackers and locals meet to celebrate together the turn of the year and to dance to dance until the early morning comes.
Our tip: The best place to escape the hangover is on one of the countless paradisiacal islands, where you can relax and heal with a vitamin shake, wellness treatment and enjoy the turquoise blue sea.
Chang Mai, Thailand
Celebrated by Kristel and Gabriel of Chef Travel Guide
Located 435 miles (700 km) north of Bangkok, this vibrant city is visited by millions each year for its majestic temples, bustling markets, amazing street food, and abundant natural beauty. A more laid back version of Bangkok, the city is one of Thailand’s greatest cultural treasures. The old town is easily explored by foot where you will encounter over 30 temples surrounded by the remains of ancient walls.
If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate New Year’s Eve that is guaranteed to be a memorable one, then Chang Mai is one of the best places to spend this festive event. Locals and tourists gather at Tha Pae gate to release candle-lit paper lanterns into the dark sky. Imagine thousands of paper lanterns brighten the sky like twinkling stars as they drift away into the darkness.
Despite the large crowd that gathers, it somehow still has the small-town vibe that is lively and energetic yet not rowdy like you would expect in a bigger city like Bangkok. There’s live music playing in the background and plenty of street food options to enjoy as you are out and about. Once the countdown begins, the crowd counts in unison and prepares to release their lanterns.
Once the clock strikes at midnight, the crowd cheers, fireworks explode left and right and thousands of paper lanterns float into the dark sky. This experience is truly magical and one of a kind that you will surely treasure for a lifetime.
Celebrated by Karlie of Bali Buddies
There ain’t no party like a Bali party…..and NYE celebrations are one of the biggest party nights of the year in Bali! Whether you are celebrating on a budget, or want to go all out, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to reining in the new year in Bali!
Choose from beach parties, restaurants with themes and specials menus, luxurious and elaborately decorated beach club parties, elegant fine dining events or even just walking the streets and watching all of the festivities unfold. From early morning on December 31, there are hundreds of street sellers with stands selling party hats, horns, and fireworks. You’ll hear and see fireworks from the minute it turns to dusk right up until dawn. At midnight of course is when you see the best shows! The beaches are packed and lined with both locals, expats, and tourists ready to welcome the New Year, you can not be but swept up by the party vibes on this night of the year in Bali.
Choose your venue carefully though, the traffic on NYE in Bali is known to be painful! You want to be staying close to where you’re celebrating….more time for celebrations and less time for being stuck in traffic! Stay tuned to Bali Buddies to keep up to date with all things New Year’s Eve in Bali.
Celebrated by Shelley of Travel Stained
If you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve in a huge megacity, like Seoul, Korea, you can count on massive parties, epic fireworks and swanky special events. But why not bring in the new year in a more traditional way, by waiting for the first sunrise of the year to dawn.
Every year, thousands of people brave the bitter cold to stand on high mountains or line up on the East Coast to watch the sun rise. Welcoming a new year this way, is one of the most popular things to do, because Koreans believe that any wishes made while witnessing the first sunrise of the year, are more powerful.
There are many sunrise festivals across the country, where you can watch the sunrise, make a wish, and then eat a warming bowl of tteokguk (rice cake soup) – a traditional New Year’s Day dish. Some of the more popular festivals in Korea are at Achasan Mountain, Homigot Village, and Gyeongpo Beach.
Word of warning though – if you do plan to attend one of these festivals, be sure to prepare with thick coats, hot packs, and the warmest shoes you own. Winter in Korea can be painfully cold, and you’ll be glad you did.
Celebrated by Pooja of Feels Like Life
What better way to celebrate the new year than to witness fireworks illuminate the city’s skyline? The Marina Bay countdown on New Year’s Eve in Singapore is one of the most awaited affairs the islanders look out for. The area around the Marina Bay Sands is packed with various activities like a giant carnival, beach parties, live music shows and massive fireworks.
You could choose one amongst the several vantage points to watch the fireworks for free. The country’s best pyrotechnic artists gather to give you an incredible experience. Thousands of people gather to witness this firework performance. For those not interested in crowded places, the fireworks can still be enjoyed from a far-away area like Clarke Quay or Marina Barrage or any of the rooftop bars in the nearby areas.
Before the fireworks begin, the food carts and carnival rides keep the crowd entertained. As the new year live countdown begins, everyone hugs and kisses each other to wish them a happy new year at the stroke of midnight, which altogether with the fireworks lighting up the sky is a surreal feeling.
For those of you who want to celebrate the end of this fateful year, spending New Year’s Eve in Singapore is a perfect kind of adieu to 2020.
Celebrated by Anna of No Space in My Passport
I have been lucky enough to have travelled to the Maldives 3 times. Each one of those times was over the Christmas and New Year break, and here is why it was the perfect time to visit.
December in the Maldives marks the beginning of the high season. Yet, you are guaranteed to have the heat and the sun even if it does rain a couple times. Visiting the Maldives in December is ideal to get away from the winter blues.
Depending which hotel you stay at, each one usually organises a party and some special performances for NYE. We stayed in Anantara Kihavah hotel, where they invited magicians, dancers, gymnasts, singers, fire showmen and many more performers to entertain the guests on New Year’s Eve and Christmas also. In addition, they usually have a huge buffet with meat, fish, pasta, all the food you can imagine! As well as a whole room dedicated to desserts.
This is the ideal opportunity to eat a lot, drink and meet some new people. And what is a better way to welcome the New Year than by sipping cocktails on the beach?
Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Africa
Celebrated by Joanna of The World in my Pocket
I was lucky to spend last New Year’s Eve in a remote village, whilst doing a homestay in Tanzania. Located 2 hours away from Moshi, the village of Lembeni is nested at the foothills of the Pare Mountains, in a green area with red Kilimanjaro soil.
A few minutes before the passing into the new year, the family gathered outside, and we all got out in the street. As soon as the church bells started to ring, we knew that 2020 has come. Immediately after, the young adults in the village started to rave their motorbike engines and drive on the main roads, whistling and shouting happy chants at each other. Armed with flashlights, the locals were walking up and down the streets, making as much noise as possible, welcoming the new year in. The celebrations didn’t last for long, and half an hour later we were back at the house.
The following day, we drove to the family’s orchard, near the Nyumba ya Mungu reservoir, with large pots of food which the lady of the house prepared all morning. There, we met the extended family, sons, and nephews, who all gathered around the table and enjoyed the simple but delicious Tanzanian food.
Cape Town, South Africa
Celebrated by Leticia of Chic Travel Around the World
Cape Town, South Africa is one of the most beautiful places to celebrate New Year’s Eve. There are so many ways in which you can ring in the New Year’s in this eye dropping city which has the world famous Table Mountain which could serve as the backdrop to such a splendid occasion such as bringing in a New Year.
You can even watch fireworks from Table Mountain or Signal Hill this would be a very budget friendly option as it is free. One could simply pack a lovely meal to enjoy the fireworks. Make sure you get there early because as it is free there will be a lot of people vying for that perfect view of the fireworks.
Cape Town’s Victoria and Albert Waterfront is known for its popular New Year’s Eve celebration and it is deemed to be the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in the country. This waterfront location offers various entertainment zones with food and entertainment.
A very private and exclusive way to bring in the New Year is by celebrating on a catamaran or schooner while cruising Table Bay Harbor whereby you could watch the fireworks from a distance.
South Africa is also known for its many vineyards. The wines in South Africa are simply divine. What better way to ring in a New Year on a vineyard sipping your favorite wine?
Celebrated by Kesi of Kesi To and Fro
Spending New Year’s Eve in Zanzibar is magical. First, Zanzibar is filled with the most beautiful beaches with crystal white sand and turquoise water. The island is very picturesque, with many activities like visiting spice markets or meeting the oldest tortoises. Additionally, it’s warm in December, so it’s a perfect time to go for New Year Eve.
If you are looking for a big party, I would suggest staying in Kendwa or Nungwi. Kendwa Rocks is infamous for its monthly full moon party, and they also host a big NYE party each year. (Are you surprised to hear that there are full moon parties outside of Thailand?) One of the best things about nightlife in Kendwa and Nungwi is that it’s a mixed crowd with locals and internationals. Also, there is a lot of great dancing and afro-beats! I had so much fun dancing in a place where it seemed like everyone had rhythm!
Note it’s important to book accommodation way ahead since Zanzibar is a popular NYE spot. If you want to visit other places before or after NYE, have a look at this list of the best African countries to visit. It’d be great to pair a visit to Zanzibar with other places in East Africa, like a safari in Kenya or gorilla trekking in Uganda!
Celebrated by Rachita of MeanderWander
Seychelles, a beautiful paradise, is one of the best places to celebrate NYE due to a number of reasons. Made up of more than 115 gorgeous islands, Seychelles is filled with amazing places to explore and unique activities to experience. From scuba diving in the clear blue water to chasing waterfalls, you can do it all over here. But what I really love about Seychelles is that you can spend your new year eve watching out-of-the-world views from one of the most gorgeous beaches in the world, Anse Lazio.
If that doesn’t excite you, well there are other ways to celebrate NYE in Seychelles too. You can visit The Raffles Seychelles to enjoy their dinner buffet comprising of Creole-style dishes and then later enjoy a party complete with live music and fireworks. There are several other resorts and hotels in Seychelles too that make NYE arrangements and help you welcome the new year with some wonderful memories. And for the adventure seekers, there are lots of things to do here like hiking on the numerous trails, swimming in the cool water, and so on.
Honestly, NYE in Seychelles is a unique experience and will definitely help you make your new year memorable.
Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Oceania
Celebrated by Natasha of The Great Ocean Road Collective
When it comes to the land down under, there’s no better place to ring in the New Year then Melbourne. Australia’s second-largest city is the country’s bar capital and is known for great parties and live music. Every year, there are tons of New Years Eve parties run by local clubs and hotels, as well as dinner specials offered at most restaurants throughout the city. For the ultimate NYE party, head to Newquay Promenade where H2o Harbourside party is hosted every year. For 145$, you’ll get an all-inclusive drink & food package from 8pm till 3am, plus tons of DJs and room to dance. With panoramic views of the harbour and skyline, it’s no wonder H2o is rated as Melbourne’s #1 NYE event.
Another unique way to spend New Years Eve in Melbourne is to spend the night on a deluxe river cruise. Most cruises leave from Federation Wharf, taking you on a multi-hour journey along the Yarra River. Dress up, sip on cocktails and take in the city’s incredible skyline and firework display from a different perspective.
Be sure to double-check the firework schedule before heading out. For a family-friendly event, head to Yarra and Footscray Park. Activities usually start around 7 pm, including entertainers, carnival games, and movies on the big screen. Enjoy a picnic or grab some takeaway before watching the first firework display at 9:30 pm. Enjoy the second set of fireworks (at midnight) from Kings Domain, Treasury Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, and Docklands.
Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends, with a partner or your family, a magical Melbourne New Year celebration awaits.
Celebrated by Christina of Travel2Next
Sydney is the city to go for a New Year’s Eve party you won’t forget. Join in the merrymaking in one of the many locations around this beautiful harbor city, which is where you will see one of the most famous landmarks in Australia, the Sydney Opera House. Most years, there are fun parties and celebrations throughout the city. Plan in advance for a fun night out as most places get booked out fast.
Each year, the city puts on one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the world! Watched by over one billion people worldwide, it’s a tradition for Sydneysiders to pack a picnic and pick a spot around the harbour to watch the fireworks. If that’s what you intend to do, make sure you go early in the afternoon to nab a good vantage point as over one million people flock to the harbour on New Year’s Eve.
Do put some effort into finding a good spot to watch the fireworks. The best spots are at Mrs. Macquarie’s Point, for prime harbour views, Observatory Hill, west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Cremorne Point, or North Head in Manly for more distant views of the skyline. Darling Harbour is the best place to go if you’re visiting with kids, as there are events, restaurants and light shows. Most years, there’s also a 9 pm fireworks display at a family-friendly time but this year’s fireworks display will be a cut-down affair.
Queestown, New Zealand
Celebrated by of Try Wandering More
New Zealand is warm in December and therefore perfect for outdoor celebrations. The party capital of New Zealand, Queenstown, offers a vibrant New Year’s Eve with something to do for everyone. It is easily the best place to celebrate New Year’s on a road trip across South Island.
South Island’s largest music festival, Rythm and Alps, is held annually on New Year’s Eve at the scenic Cardrona Valley located just 45 minutes away. It attracts about 10,000 people every year!
Experience the spirited nightlife and meet other travelers on a NYE Pub Crawl in Queestown!
However, the best bit is the free New Year’s Eve celebrations at the beautiful lakefront. It has a lively yet laid-back vibe to it. Leading up to the lakefront, you’ll find pop-up food stalls, live music at Earnslow Park, and people relaxing while waiting for the midnight fireworks.
New Year’s in Queenstown attracts tourists aplenty. Be prepared for high accommodation prices, difficulty in finding parking spots, and police to keep the party going smoothly. However, to put it in perspective, it is way more relaxed than NYE at Time’s Square New York.
Gisborne, New Zealand
Explored by Nadine of Le Long Weekend
The normally sleepy city of Gisborne explodes with revellers over New Year’s Eve, who come to party at the annual Rhythm and Vines three-day music festival. The festival, which is one of the biggest and best in the country, attracts big-name artists – both local favorites and international acts. It’s a popular event that attracts around 30,000 people – effectively almost doubling the usual population. But even if music concerts aren’t your jam – there’s another big reason to head to the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island for NYE, and that is the New Year’s Day sunrise!
Gisborne is dubbed “the first city in the world to see the sun”, meaning you can be among the first to see in the New Year. Every year, you can join other early birds (and those who haven’t quite made it to bed yet) by heading to Gisborne’s coastline and watching the sun appear on the horizon. It’s one of the most unique ways to celebrate new years around the world. Gisborne is also home to the best beaches in New Zealand It’s quite a magical and ethereal experience, especially when witnessed with loved ones. The next day, head to a cafe for lunch, take a hike on the trails, or simply hang out on the sand and surf!
No matter where you are in the world, New Year’s Eve is a great night to say goodbye to the past and hello to the future! Whether you’re partying it up in a big city or celebrating with friends and family – I wish you the happiest new year!