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The world is your playground and there are so many amazing places around the world that are perfect for ringing in the New Year! Undecided about where to go? Well, you should look no further for in this list you will find the best places to spend New Year’s Eve, recommended by world travelers. 

No matter where you go, you can always have a blast, since it’s always about letting go of the past year and looking forward to the future one. Why not try something new and make some new connections next year? Some believe that how you kick off the new year determines the rest, so just go for it!

Discover the best destinations to celebrate The New Year around the world! 

USA

Baltimore, Maryland

If you’re looking for a new place to celebrate New Year’s Eve this year, check our Baltimore, Maryland. You can start your evening early at Guinness Open Gate Brewery – the first and only Guinness Brewery in the United States. Guinness celebrates the New Year at midnight in Dublin time, meaning 7pm in Baltimore. They rang in 2019 with a specialty beer brewed just for the occasion and passed out FREE samples to everyone after a speech at 7pm. Everyone was in such great spirits; it’s a great place to kick-off your evening of New Year’s in Baltimore.

Since you’ll finish at Guinness rather early in the night, you’ll have time to go explore the other happenings in Baltimore. The obvious choice is to head to the Inner Harbor where all the events are happening. Many restaurants offer New Year’s Eve special menus and live music. You can choose from a Speakeasy-style 1920’s party at the Fish Head Cantina or a jazz quartet at Germano’s. The biggest party always happens at Power Plant Live. While a bit pricy, you definitely get your money’s worth! There are 9 different bars and clubs to visit, several bands, lots of dancing, laser light shows, a gourmet buffet, and an open bar!

Once it gets close to midnight, you should head outside around the harbor. There’s no better way to ring in the new year than a fireworks show! And Baltimore knows how to do fireworks. Find yourself a spot along the water and enjoy! Then, start the new year back at one of the local venues for more drinks and music.

Suggested by: Danielle Benjamin from Wanderlust on a Budget

Boston, Massachusetts

New Year’s Eve in Boston often means below-freezing temps, but the cold weather doesn’t stop locals from celebrating. Anyone planning to ring in 2020 in Beantown will have plenty of options to choose from, so pack your coat and boots, and get ready for a day (and night) of festivities.

Attending First Night Boston is the classic NYE experience, with cultural performances, concerts, and other events taking place all afternoon and night on the 31st. Activities start around noon in Copley Square, Back Bay, the Boston Common, and the Waterfront, and everything is free. Some can’t-miss events? The ice show at Frog Pond, the costume parade down Boylston Street, and the ice sculpture stroll near the Waterfront. For anyone needing to get to bed early, there’s also a family-friendly fireworks show in the Boston Common at 7:00 pm.

Otherwise, fireworks go off over Boston Harbor at midnight, and the show can be viewed from all around the city. Some of the best spots to watch include Christopher Columbus Park, the Rose Kennedy Freeway, and along the waterfront in East Boston.

For a unique experience and a different vantage point on the city, board the Northern Lights for a cruise. The Northern Lights is a classic luxury yacht, all decked out for the holidays, and the New Year’s Eve cruise offers live music, dancing, food, and drinks on the harbor, plus a one-of-a-kind view of the fireworks.

No matter how you want to ring in the new year, Boston is an iconic destination, and it’s the perfect NYE alternative to the chaos of Times Square.

Suggested by: Jen Ambrose and Ryan Victor from PassionsandPlaces.com

Miami, Florida

Miami is a multicultural city with a huge dollop of Latin culture which permeates every aspect of the city; food, music, art, and language.  In fact, the city is widely perceived as the capital of Latin America. So, if you want to experience a Latin city without leaving the U.S., Miami is it.

Everything good about Miami comes together on New Year’s Eve. The average temperature is 78 degrees, the sun is shining and the water on the beaches is still warm enough to swim.

There are tons of New Year’s Eve party venues in the city but my favorite is South Beach. The main drag, Ocean Drive, closes to traffic and the trendy restaurants on the avenue spill out into the street.

At dusk, the streets begin to fill with party-goers in silly hats blowing party trumpets. Strollers are dressed in formal sequined attire or cargo shorts and both wardrobes are perfectly fine. This is a casual, tolerant city that lets people be themselves.

Music drifts from the clubs; salsa, jazz, Frank Sinatra…something for everyone. A line forms in front of the big clock showing the time and date.  Everyone wants to have their picture taken next to the date to commemorate where they were on THIS New Year’s Eve. 

But the best is yet to come.  As the clock ticks closer and closer to midnight, people begin to gather on the beach. It’s almost time for the fireworks!  Five!…four!…three! The anticipation builds…two!…ONE! The sky over the Atlantic explodes with colorful lights in geometric formations. Brilliant white circles, deep blue stars, red, yellow and green bursts. The crowd roars its approval, people kiss and the champagne flows.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Suggested by: Talek Nantes from Travels with Talek

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, the home of the Longhorns, Willie Nelson, and the South by Southwest and Austin City Limits (ACL) festivals. There is never a shortage of things to do in the city on a regular day which makes New Year’s Eve in the city all that more fun. 

The Austin New Years event hosted by the city is free and starts around 3pm at Auditorium Shores. They’ll have multiple stages with live music, food and art. The weather in December is variable, but will likely be anywhere from 35-60 degrees F (0-15 C). 

Which means after the family-friendly fireworks kick off at 10pm you may be ready to head indoors to ring in the new year with some music and dancing! Every venue downtown will be bustling with party-goers so it will be best to pick your venue ahead of time and maybe even a back-up option.

And if you’re interested in sticking to one location for the evening there are parties happening everywhere! There is the NYE Electric Ball which requires a ticket purchase in advance but will be sure to keep the party rocking all night. And if you’re in Austin for the music, try to get a ticket in advance to the ACL Live show. It’s always proven to be a blast! 

Want a variety of activities? Check out the Highball on South Lamar which will have laser light shows, a mechanical bull, and a massive dance party. Or if you’re just after a view of the city head to the downtown library for a rooftop celebration. There will be an open bar, a DJ, a photo booth and midnight champagne toast. And of course a great view of the lake and the fireworks show! Whatever you are after, Austin has it all. 

Suggested by: Taylor Gill from Traveling Tayler

Bay Lake, Florida

Disney World New Year’s Eve parties are some of the biggest you’ll ever see and thousands upon thousands of guests flock there on an annual basis. For NYE 2019 all four theme parks will stay open until midnight for the first time ever with special festivities and party hats for everyone.

The Magic Kingdom has one of the most sought-after parties, and caps off the evening with a special show at midnight, with the park surrounded by fireworks on all sides. Over at Epcot, the celebrations have a little more of an adult flair with DJs, dance parties, and special cocktails throughout the World Showcase area. Like the Magic Kingdom, it also has a special midnight fireworks presentation, this one with each country’s pavilion celebrating with its own lights and music in the order that the new year arrives there before culminating in a big countdown.

Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom also host parties with special shows at midnight, though Animal Kingdom’s is a light and music show without fireworks because of the animals who live there. Keep in mind that the Magic Kingdom and Epcot typically close for capacity during the day, so plan to arrive early and stay in the park all day if you want to be there for the late-night parties. Crowds will be at their maximum, so expect long lines for all attractions and come prepared with a large dose of patience.

If you’d prefer to stay out of the very crowded parks that day, several of the Disney World hotels host their own ticketed events in convention spaces or rooftop bars. These (expensive) parties typically include food, drinks, entertainment, and a chance to see the midnight fireworks from nearby parks.

For a more low-key option, select restaurants at the resorts offer special New Year’s Eve menus that evening. Wherever you choose to spend the evening, you’re sure to have a blast.

Suggested by: Kris from Nomad by Trade

Hawaii

Visiting the Big Island of Hawaii is festive for New Year but a little more low key and focused on outdoor activities and fun around the island. There are plenty of New Year’s parties happening in the big resorts along the Kohala Coast on the West side of the Big Island along with walking around Kona town at night with fireworks displays all around the bayfront area and beaches in town because everyone one loves to set off fireworks for the holidays. You’ll see fireworks displays all along the coastline on the west side of the island and on the east side, you’ll find more personal displays happening at the beaches. 

Outside of the night time fun, the day time is when people enjoy gathering for adventure activities, exploring the island or just gathering for a meal or buffet at all the elaborate hotel venues offering New Years Day Brunch to dinner experiences and shows. Most people visiting the Big Island are seeking the natural beautiful and outdoor fun that you can have visiting the island with snorkeling, diving, sailing and a slew of outdoor adventure to fit all different interests, families, couples to solo visitors on the island. If you are into snorkeling and beaches, check out this post on snorkeling the Big Island here for where to go and visit the best spots around the island.

Suggested by: Noel Morata from Travel Photo Discovery

San Diego, California

San Diego offers many locations to celebrate New Year’s Eve including a few really fun beach and boat options. Anyone who wants to escape the snow or cold will enjoy the mild temperatures, which on average are between 63 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (17 to 19 degrees Celsius) during December.  

Below are three of my favorite ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in San Diego.  One of the most beautiful hotels in San Diego is located on Coronado Island; the Hotel Del Coronado. The hotel is located on the beach and for New Year’s Eve, the oceanfront ballroom is transformed into a lavish big top, complete with a live band, black tie-clad aristocrats, a delectable five-course feast, open bar, and dancing.  For extra special experience, be sure to book a room at this world-famous hotel and cap off your evening in style! Where: Hotel Del Coronado; 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado

Another great San Diego beach option for New Year’s eve is Tower 23 in Pacific Beach. The hotel is located right on the beach and they have a party to toast the new year including live music, dancing, full bar. Of course, step out on the sand and enjoy fireworks you’ll be able to see from La Jolla and Seaworld.

Stay overnight with an exclusive discount hotel package, and enjoy a special New Year’s Day brunch the next morning until 3:30pm. Where: Tower 23 Hotel; 723 Felspar Street, San Diego 

If you’d prefer celebrating on the water, the Hornblower Bay Cruise is a great option! Enjoy a four-hour cruise around the San Diego Harbor, with plenty of free-flowing champagne, a five-course gourmet seated dinner, live jazz band, New Years Eve party favors, and of course, incredible views of the San Diego coastline!

Suggested by: Alexa Meisler from 52PerfectDays.com

Honolulu, Hawaii

More than any other holiday celebration throughout the year, for residents of Hawaii, New Year’s Eve is the biggest holiday. Perhaps it’s the pleasant temperatures that allows for outdoor activity or the proximity to China that gives easier access to fireworks, but we’ve never seen New Years celebrations so widespread and festive anywhere else in the States.

The public fireworks displays and parties across the islands are numerous. And all around Honolulu on Oahu, families, and neighbors gather to enjoy their own fireworks displays in the streets. When we visit, we always stay up late with all the uncles, aunties, and cousins at one house, and then get together again, at someone else’s house, the following day.

In years past, firecrackers were so plentiful in Hawaii, they would leave huge smoke clouds hovering over the neighborhoods, and new regulations had to be put in place. The celestial light shows are still impressive but slightly subdued compared to a few years ago.

Many Hawaii families also have other New Years traditions tied to their Asian roots – like eating traditional foods that symbolize good luck, long life, and prosperity for the coming year. 

Suggested by: Michelle C from Intentional Travelers

Key West, Florida

Around the world, New Year’s Eve is a festive time as we say goodbye to the old and ring in the new as the final seconds tick away. In the US, one of the most incredible places to celebrate the New Year is in tropical Key West, Florida.

The celebration wasn’t in the spotlight until recent years but the party really got started once cable TV started covering the event. The entire town comes alive with wall-to-wall partiers along Duval Street packing the bars the town is famous for. Several bars have a unique way of counting down those last ten seconds and ringing in the New Year: a giant conch shell is lowered from the top of Sloppy Joe’s Bar. At the Schooner Wharf Bar, a pirate wench is lowered from the main mast of a tall schooner ship. But perhaps the most recognized event happens at the Bourbon Street Bar on Duval Street. One of the town’s famous drag queens, Sushi, is lowered from the second-story balcony in a giant champagne-filled high-heeled shoe, complete with bubbles.

After a raucous night of partying, head to famous Pepe’s Cafe on Caroline Street for brunch with a tall Bloody Mary or fresh-squeezed orange juice. The Cuban Coffee Queen serves some of the best Cuban coffee on the island — perfect for a hangover or any morning in paradise. The best part about celebrating New Years in Key West is that the party continues all week long, giving revelers plenty of time to spend lazing by the hotel pool, swimming at Smathers Beach, or heading out on the water on a sunset snorkeling cruise, one of those things you must do in Key West.

Hotels on the island fill up quickly so be sure to make your reservations months in advance especially at any of the many quaint B&Bs in Old Town. If you love New Year’s Eve celebrations, you have to celebrate at least once in Key West!

Suggested by: Lori Sorrentino from www.Travlinmad.com

Canada

Ottawa

From stunning fireworks on Parliament Hill to amazing parties at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa is definitely the place to spend New Year’s Eve in Canada.  

Ottawa is known for throwing amazing over the top parties, hosting not to be missed free concert with top celebrities and offering top-notch dining experiences. They are two places we highly recommend spending and ringing off the New Year when you are in Ottawa. 

First, you can enjoy a day of free parties throughout the city, great street food and free access to many of the attractions. This means, it is the perfect time to visit the Museums in Ottawa, as they will all be free. 

Then be sure to enjoy a lovely dining room experience at any of the amazing restaurants located in Ottawa. They are so many amazing places to eat in Ottawa

Hit the Parliament Hill at some point to enjoy the free concerts that they put on. Around midnight, you can watch the amazing fireworks light show at the Parliament Hill, which is the main attraction in Ottawa. 

Canada Day on Parliament Hill draws more than 11, 000 people every year from all over the world. Another place to watch the fireworks in Ottawa and enjoy New Year’s Day is at the Casino Lac Leamy in the Gatineau area. 

Why is the Casino the best place to celebrate New Year’s Eve?

They have amazing parties hosted at the Club ALÉA, at Bar 7 and a great dress-up party in the Ballroom, which is all located at the luxurious Lac Leamy Hotel.

Suggested by: Divine Mwimba from Culture Weddings & PR Firm – Wedding Blog

Toronto

Toronto, the largest city in Canada, is also vibrant, lively and considered to be one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Ringing in the new year in Toronto is a special occasion and something you should experience at least once in your life.

The best place to ring in 2020 in Toronto is at Nathan Phillips Square in the center of the city, which also houses the infamous Toronto Sign and ice-skating rink. Every year, more than 60,000 people fill the square to celebrate the successes of the previous year and countdown to a fresh start. Bundle up and show up early to beat the crowd and enjoy the festivities, which usually start around 8 pm with a DJ skating party, followed by awesome concerts and a gorgeous fireworks display following the countdown! Partying with 60,000+ people is something you’ll never forget!

If you prefer a quieter (and warmer) atmosphere, opt for a fancy dinner at a restaurant downtown Toronto. Most will offer a special 4+ course fixed-priced menus, and they’re a great way to party the night away even if you don’t have a big group with you!

For a hybrid option, there are countless venue choices across Toronto that will put on a special night for you, including the iconic CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, and the Royal Ontario Museum. Check their sites mid-November for details and book a ticket early, there is a limited number every year and they always sell out!

Another bucket-list-worthy way to ring in the new year is from a harbourfront cruise. Toronto boasts one of the best skylines in the world, and it’ll take your breath away at night as you cruise on Lake Ontario with a drink in your hand and your loved ones nearby. It’s also the best seat in the house for the fireworks in the city! Have your camera handy, the view is unbeatable.

Suggested by: Ioana Stoica from The World Is My Playground.

Oceania

Sydney, AUSTRALIA

It’s always exciting to spend New Year’s in a brand new destination. And
there’s no more thrilling place to celebrate the first of January than
Sydney, Australia. Because of its time zone, it’s one of the first cities in the world to celebrate New Year’s. For people from the northern hemisphere, it’s a treat to celebrate New Year’s in Sydney’s warm, sunny climate. After all, it’s summer there in January. You can spend the morning of December 31st relaxing on Bondi Beach in your best swimsuit.

When the evening rolls around, everyone will go to watch the magical
fireworks display over Sydney Harbour. Travelers on a budget can watch
the fireworks for free, as long as they’re willing to line up early for their spot. But be warned that it can get very crowded down by the harbor, and it can also be difficult to find a bathroom.

If you have some extra money to spend, you can have a more glamorous
experience watching the fireworks from the Royal Botanic Garden. The tickets are pricey, but all the food and alcohol is included with admission. There are also no crowds, there’s easy access to restrooms, and there are the best views of the amazing fireworks that you are ever likely to see. Sydney knows that pictures of their fireworks will be in the international press every year, so they try to outdo themselves each time!

Once the New Year has arrived, the party in Sydney doesn’t stop! The famous Sydney Opera House does special shows at New Year’s for all the
tourists who come into town. Their Great Opera Hits show is the perfect way for a beginner to experience opera for the first time. There’s even a sing-along portion, so you can tell all your friends back home you sang at the Sydney Opera House.

Suggested by: Stella Jane from Around the World in 24 Hours

South America

La Paz, Bolivia

Built inside a canyon, La Paz is an impressive city on its own accord and very worthy of a visit on a trip to South America. But if you happen to be near one of Bolivia’s two capital cities around New Year’s eve, it might be worth a detour to see the fireworks. The valley shimmers spectacularly that night.

On the 31st, we walked around town shopping for a bottle of sparkling wine, which we found in a convenience store. Before midnight, our hosts kindly invited us to a roast pork dinner in their home. After that, they suggested us to watch the fireworks at the nearby mirador (viewpoint) of Killi Killi. From there, we witnessed what it’s like to be on the same level as the fireworks. Some people also shot their own fireworks at the viewpoint, but generally, we were at a safe distance from the loud bangs and bad aims. That’s where we opened up the semisweet sparkling wine and celebrated the new year.

For firework action, there are multiple viewpoints inside the city. It’s a good idea to book accommodation close to one if you’re heading out at night. For big parties, it’s best to stay in one of the backpacker hostels that organize their own events or check local Facebook groups to see where to be. In the days before or after New Year’s, you can enjoy the city’s museums, ride the cable car, visit the Titicaca Lake, and attend the Achocalla Festival.

At 3640 meters (11,942ft) above sea level, La Paz is the highest capital city in the world. If you’re prone to altitude sickness, it’s good to take your time to acclimatize and perhaps use the native Andean remedy of a hot cup of coca tea.

Suggested by: Iris Veldwijk from Mind of a Hitchhiker

Valparaiso, Chile

On New Year’s Eve, Valparaiso, a city next to the capital of Chile i.e. Santiago is flooded with tourists from around the world. Everyone either goes down to the beach or high up on their rooftops to watch the fireworks show that Chile puts up on the Pacific coast at the New Year’s eve.

Do you know for how long the fireworks light up the sky at midnight on the Valparaiso coast? For about 30 minutes. The crowd goes crazy cheering, the parties pause as everyone looks up to the sky to watch the show, champagne bottles open up, barbeque sticks are passed around, and that’s how New Year is welcomed in Chile.

Enjoying the fireworks in Valparaiso is one of the best things to do in Chile, and if you are in Chile around New Year’s you should definitely head to Valparaiso to be part of the grand celebration.

Either before or after the fireworks, get busy in the street parties that have open bars, amazing food, and a DJ to get you moving. Or just be at your hotel or a homestay and enjoy the festivities from a distance. Weather is perfect around that time in Chile, and you can just wrap yourself up in a light shawl and relax.

Don’t forget to make your bookings beforehand as the city gets pretty crowded around the new year. Also, remember to try the Chilean famous empanadas and terremoto drink (literally earthquake) that are freely passed around in parties.

Suggested by: Priyanka Gupta from On My Canvas

Medellin, Colombia

Whilst looking for new places to spend New Year’s Eve, be sure to add Medellin in Colombia to your list. More than four million tourists arrive in Medellin every year for the holidays. There’s something for everyone, whether you like the idea of spending New Year’s Eve with friends and family or prefer to mingle with the locals. 

The city offers a refreshing climate and a happy vibe for all its visitors. One good thing about being in Medellin during the festive season, especially in December, is that there are many celebrations going on in the city.

One of my favorites was heading over to Calle 10 for a night out in the Parque Lleras and the Provenza area of the city. Both located in El Poblado neighbourhood. Many Paisa’s, which are the people native to the Antioquia region, religiously celebrate Los Alumbrados, a term which basically means ‘the lights’ in English. 

On and before New Years’ Eve, parts of the city are completely transformed with millions of lights. I headed down to Parque Norte to see the light show in the early evening. Here you can also see street vendors, along with different night markets offering many traditional foods and desert. From there, it was easy to get a cab to go to see the fireworks display dazzling over Aburrá valley.

Las Palmas offers the ultimate viewpoint and a brilliant place to get panoramic views of the city at night. A very popular spot with locals and many of the younger crowds tend to leave home after midnight and party well into the early hours. From Las Palmas, you can head over toDulce Jesus Mío. A club from Medellin famous for its live performances who host a massive New Year’s Eve party every year.

Suggested by: Daniel James from Layer Culture

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

What’s not to like about Brazil in December? It’s summertime in the Southern Hemisphere, and Rio de Janeiro has so many beautiful beaches where revelers can spend a memorable New Year’s Eve with their toes in the white sand!

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro is one of the most popular beaches on the planet. It’s also the epicenter of Brazilian New Year’s Eve. The world-famous horseshoe-shaped beach frames the harbor for a spectacular fireworks display from the floating boats in the center of the harbor.

After dinner, start your evening at nearby Ipanema Beach for a traditional candle-lighting celebration followed by a big party and concert at the beach. After that, head to Copacabana Beach with your loved ones and a bottle of champagne. At the stroke of midnight, the fireworks begin. Pop your champagne to celebrate it with thousands of others!

For the best experience, stay in one of Copacabana’s beach hotels, like the Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana or Grand Mercure Rio de Janeiro Copacabana. That way, you can easily head back to your hotel after the celebration is over, or whenever you feel like enjoying it privately on your own balcony overlooking Copacabana Harbor.

Before you go, take a moment to learn a few Brazilian traditions for celebrating New Year’s Eve. And don’t forget to pack your white clothing to welcome the New Year, Brazilian style!

Suggested by: Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys

Europe

Bologna, Italy

Bologna is a heaven for foodies and with New Year’s Eve an opulent celebration, what else to do but enjoy the best the city has to offer! Maybe spend your morning in and around the region of Emilia Romagna, of which Bologna is the capital, home to some of the most famous produce in the country.

Explore the most authentic Balsamic Vinegar, Prosciutto and Parmagiano Reggiano producers on a tour with Emilia Delizia perhaps. Back in the city, lose yourself in its winding streets, climb to the top of the city’s Two Towers and stand in awe of Basilica Di San Petronio, with its 22 chapels.

After your mornings of sightseeing, find your way to one of the cities many wine bars or restaurants to explore the many gastronomic delights. Namesake to the world’s most famous pasta dish, enjoy a truly traditional Bolognese (served only with tagliatelle, of course!) or a regional classic, Tortellini in Brodo (filled pasta in broth).

Away from food, the city has one of the best New Year’s Eve events in Italy – the traditional burning of the “Vecchione”. Around the centre the streets will be buzzing, the bars spilling out and music chiming everywhere. Get into Piazza Maggiore early to find a spot and marvel at the grand statue that has been constructed specially for the big night right as it bursts into flame at midnight! The night continues late in true Italian style with plenty of good wine, food, and fireworks dotted around the city!

Suggested by: Laura & Charlie from The Travelling Stomach

Berlin, Germany

If you’re wondering where to spend New Year’s Eve 2019, you can’t go wrong with celebrating the holiday in Berlin! Parties take place all across the city in venues ranging from bars to ballrooms…but if you plan to ring in the New Year here, there’s no more legendary place to go than the New Year’s Eve Party at Brandenburg Gate.

This open-air party is free to enter and takes place on a two-kilometer stretch between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. Nearly one million people attend each year, and it’s a grand celebration with the 18th-century neoclassical Brandenburg Gate forming a magnificent backdrop for the festivities.

While you could wander the city and visit different parties throughout the night, the party at Brandenburg Gate really gives you no reason to leave and tons of reasons to stay. From vibrant light and laser shows to DJ sets and live performances, to delicious food and drink stands offering snacks from all over the world, and plenty more…it’s all right at your fingertips within the festival area. And that’s not even counting the breathtaking and explosive midnight fireworks display that takes place nearly right above you! Then, once the fireworks are through, the party kicks off again and continues until 3am. So if you’re looking for a social place to spend an unforgettable New Year’s Eve, this is most certainly the place to be.

Gates to the party open at 2 pm on New Year’s Eve and you can watch live rehearsals until the official entertainment program begins at 7 pm. You’re free to come and go throughout the night, but security does close off the area to prevent overcrowding if there are already too many people inside, so keep that in mind when planning your perfect New Year’s Eve.

Suggested by: Abi Johnson from Happy Go Abi

Stuttgart, Germany

New Year’s Eve celebrations in Germany are among the loudest, brightest and craziest in all of Europe. It is one of the few times of the year where fireworks are allowed to be sold and used, and celebrations at the New Year are among the biggest of any other celebrations.  The sheer excitement and number of fireworks on display are unparalleled to many places.

Stuttgart, located in southern Germany, is located in a valley and has an amazing fireworks celebration in its central square, Schlossplatz.  There isn’t a single square inch where fireworks aren’t going off in the valley and surrounding cities.  The entire square is ablaze in fireworks and the atmosphere is spectacular.  An ice rink is in the center of the square and food vendors are selling a variety of foods and beverages to all the visitors throughout the night. 

There are New Year’s Eve parties at numerous restaurants and venues across the city, and tickets are usually advertised at each location, or through Stuttgart’s local papers.

If you aren’t able to make the central square location, as this is very popular with a lot of people, the city rests in a valley, and any spot along the hills will provide amazing views for firework displays.  Getting a hotel or Airbnb along the hillside for New Year’s Eve is a great choice for seeing the dazzling display.  After, you can get down to the city and continue the festivities at numerous restaurants or bars that are hosting parties.

Suggested by: Diana from Travels in Germany

Copenhagen, Denmark

If you’re looking for a great place to spend New Year’s Eve, consider booking Copenhagen, Denmark. There are a lot of reasons to visit Copenhagen in the winter, and they don’t end as soon as the Christmas markets close up. New Year’s Eve can be a lot of fun in the Danish capital.

One of the first things you should know about spending New Year’s Eve in Copenhagen is that the city stops at 6 pm on 31 December. This is due to the annual tradition of the Royal address. Queen Margrethe II delivers a speech from the Royal Palace each year, and the entire country tunes in. Stores close early, restaurants close or briefly shut their doors because everyone watches the queen’s speech to begin the night.

The next thing you need to do is find a place for dinner. Because of the speech, this is usually a later dinner, an 8 pm reservation is normal. You should make this reservation a few months in advance, and most restaurants will offer a fixed menu. The best option is to look for a New Nordic restaurant. That’s the latest culinary trend in Scandinavia, where traditional recipes and ingredients are prepared with modern gourmet techniques. It’s a great way to begin your New Year’s Eve.

There are parties and events at bars, clubs, and venues around the city. Find one of those, but also know that everyone will be outside shortly after midnight. At midnight, the tradition is to stand on a chair and jump off of it. The idea is that you’re jumping into the new year. You’ll also find plenty of fireworks filling the sky. These are not professional fireworks, Danes are only permitted to buy fireworks a few days each year and they take advantage of it for New Year’s Eve.

City Hall Square is the epicenter of the fireworks display, people gather there and light their fuses. Others avoid that area completely due to the number of intoxicated people with fireworks, but you can decide for yourself how to handle it. Whatever you choose, you’ll have a happy new year in Copenhagen.

Suggested by: Derek Hartman from everythingcopenhagen.com

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is a great place to spend New Year’s Eve because of the fun way that everyone celebrates. For one night only, anyone is allowed to set off huge fireworks anywhere in the Netherlands. The great fireworks show you see is not an orchestrated show put on by cities; it is a chaotic but fun display of fireworks put on my local citizens.

As soon as it gets dark on New Year’s Eve, you will constantly hear fireworks going off throughout Amsterdam, but the best place to be for this event is at the Skinny Bridge starting around 11 PM. People will be out in the streets setting up their fireworks and partying together. Once the fireworks really start going off, you will get a 360-degree view of fireworks at the Skinny Bridge.

Besides the fireworks, Amsterdam in December is a good time to visit because of the Amsterdam Light Festival. Artists from all over the world create beautiful art installations made with light illuminating the city of Amsterdam. The best way to see this is in an open-air boat as a tour guide will share the meaning behind these giant art pieces as well as give you warm Chocomel or glühwein to drink! You can also see the Amsterdam Light Festival by bike or walking.

Besides these two big events, December has fewer tourists than other times of the year, which makes simply walking around quite a fun thing to do. Definitely visit Jordaan to see the Christmas lights hanging everywhere and peoples’ Christmas Trees shining through their 17th-century homes in this UNESCO protected area of Amsterdam.

Suggested by: Sarah Kim from Lust ‘Till Dawn

Allendale, Northumberland – UNITED KINGDOM

In the 1900s, the centre of world lead-mining was a small village of Allendale in the Northumberland countryside, near the Scottish border. The villages got cold in the dark and very windy winter evenings. As Christmas approached, they went around the village singing Christmas Carols. Their candles kept blowing out in the wind and so instead they used a bucket of burning tar (since there was so much of it in this area). Tar barrels are heavy and so the burliest men in the village carried them on their heads (still lit) for the carollers.

This tradition, occurring since 1864, is now a fully-fledged New Year’s Eve bonfire festival and tourists come to the tiny village market square from around the world. These villagers like burning things – during the year they also burn giant pagan effigies of wolves in the market square.

The New Year’s Eve T’ar Baal Festival involves parading around the village in costumes (quite a few Donald Trumps made their appearance last year). The Guisers (the name given to the men who carry the Tar Barrels) wear bright costumes and lead a procession around the village. At midnight they dump the tar barrels onto the bonfire.

The festival is becoming well known. It’s is important to book accommodation early! It’s also important to get to one of the three pubs early and stay warm whilst the party is starting up. Then rug up warmly and take your spot in the market square to watch the parade, the festivities and the bonfire set alight. The T’ar Baal festival is the most special time of year for the villagers, and they put real effort into their costumes. See it before it becomes a well-known tourist destination and see in the New Year like the English northerners!

Suggested by: Monique Skidmore from Tripanthropologist.com

London, England – UNITED KINGDOM

If you’re looking for the perfect city to visit for New Year’s Eve in 2020, look no further than London. While this magnificent city is perfect to visit at any time of the year, it is especially magical over the New Year.

London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show is one of the best in the world. Each year, thousands of people gather along the River Thames to watch the show and ring in the new year. Each year’s fireworks show has a theme, with this year’s being “British New Decade 2020.” This year’s show will also be the biggest that London has ever seen, so you won’t want to miss it!

Tickets are required for the London New Year’s Eve fireworks show and celebration, but they’re just £10 per person. For an extra special New Year’s Eve experience, consider booking a river cruise along the Thames or make a reservation at one of the restaurants with views of the fireworks. Several of London’s hotels also host parties with great viewing areas of the fireworks.

The fireworks show isn’t the only thing going on in London for New Year’s Eve! If you’d prefer to celebrate indoors away from the cold, consider celebrating at one of the many parties held at restaurants, bars, and clubs throughout the city. One of the biggest is held at Ping Pong Southbank, where there’s also a viewing area for the fireworks.

If you’d prefer to celebrate your New Year’s Eve a little differently, there are also special shows and performances held across the city. Ballet fans can experience The Nutcracker at Royal Albert Hall, while fans of classical music will enjoy the Viennese New Year’s Eve Gala. No matter how you choose to celebrate, you won’t be able to find many places better for spending the New Year than London!

Suggested by: Sydney Richardson from A World in Reach

Edinburgh, Scotland – UNITED KINGDOM

New Year’s Eve in Scotland, and especially in Edinburgh, the capital, is a big affair. Unlike other cities where the celebrations may just be limited to one evening, in Edinburgh, the celebrations last for 3 whole days. It’s no exaggeration to say that the New Year’s Eve celebrations or Hogmanay as it’s known to the Scots, in Edinburgh is one of the biggest and best in the world. Over 100,000 people attend to celebrate New Year in Edinburgh with huge street parties, Viking parades, more than one firework display, flaming torches and live music.

Hogmanay kicks off on December 30th with a Viking Parade through the streets of Edinburgh complete with flaming torches towards Calton Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are around 8,000 people with torches and a further 70,00-80,000 who walk alongside them. On Calton Hill, there’s an impressive firework display precluding the even bigger one on December 31st.

On New Year’s Eve, there’s a buzz throughout the entire city. It’s a good time to explore the Christmas Market, Edinburgh Castle, or go shopping. Then, come evening there are 5 stages with live music. There’s the Candlelit Concert, a Ceilidh, the Concert on the Gardens, the infamous Edinburgh street party and the fireworks at midnight.

There are 4 sets of fireworks with the first ones at 9pm and each set gets bigger, better and louder with the finale at midnight. When the bells strike 12, the fireworks sore into the air from both the grounds of Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill in time to the music which blares through the city. It’s really something special. After a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, it’s time to hit the streets and continue the party! Everyone’s in a great mood, carrying flasks of whiskey (you’ve got to keep warm!), singing, dancing and fully celebrating the New Year. 

If you’ve woken up with a sore head after all the partying, the best remedy is to join in with the Loony Dook. The Loony Dook is a polar plunge underneath the Forth Bridge in South Queensbury just outside of Edinburgh. 1000s of people are paraded through the streets of this quiet village in all sorts of costumes and then throw themselves into the chilly waters.

Suggested by: Hannah Kacary from That Adventurer Blog

Tirana, Albania – EASTERN EUROPE

New Year’s is the biggest event in Albania so what better way to spend it than in the lively capital city of Tirana. During communism in Albania which lasted from 1941 until 1990, all religion was banned which meant holidays like Christmas were no longer. The only day that the country could celebrate was New Year’s! Even though Albania is no longer a communist country, this tradition of going all out on New Year’s is still very much the done thing. Families will exchange presents and big family dinners are held as we would normally do on Christmas. If you interact with the locals and make some friends, there’s a high chance they will invite you to spend New Year’s with them. Albanian’s are very welcoming to new guests! 

New Year in Tirana is incredible with hundreds of fireworks, parties, and people on the street celebrating the New Year. Tirana is already a lively city at night but during this particular night, people will easily celebrate until the early hours of the next day or even to the following night!

One of the best things to do in Tirana is to spend some time in Skanderbeg square where thousands of people will be joining you to watch the fireworks for free in Tirana. It’s one of the best places to be when the clock hits midnight! If you want to party into the early hours of the morning then check out Folie Terrace, Discobox or Radiobar. Make sure you organise tickets or a table beforehand as places are usually booked days in advance, especially as some of Albania’s biggest superstars usually perform on this night!

Suggested by: Anita Hendrieka from AnitaHendrieka.com

Zakopane, Poland – EASTERN EUROPE

There is no New Years Eve celebration for us that is more memorable than one spent in Zakopane Poland. Less than an hour from Krakow is one of the most beautiful storybook towns in Europe, which also happens to be one of the best holiday spots in Poland. 

Zakopane is located at the base of the Tatra Mountains which means breathtaking scenery surrounds you from every direction. And during the winter season, they are covered in snow, as is most of Zakopane. 

The town itself is small, with wooden houses and cottages that look like something from a fairytale. It’s a perfect destination to spend a white Christmas and celebrate the new year, whether you are solo, looking for a romantic escape or a family fun adventure.

For New Years Eve, book yourself a table at one of the restaurants in the main street so you can be right in the centre of the fun. Surrounded by the party atmosphere, yet with a comfortable seat and warmth. Not to mention some of that incredible Polish food they serve up. 

On New Year’s Eve, there is entertainment galore with live music, performances, and a big fireworks display. It goes perfectly with a few vodka shots to keep you warm!

The town is decorated for Christmas with a constant array of festive events, markets, and experiences over the December and January period. 

Another fun option is to take a horse-drawn sleigh ride into the forest where you can watch traditional dance performances, drink mulled wine and feast on delicious food in the wilderness. We missed the chance to do this on New Years Eve as it was booked out, so we went the night before and had a blast! 

It’s a perfect place to spend a few extra days to enjoy the ski seasons too and a visit to the Tatra Mountains! 

Suggested by: Holly Connors from Four Around The World

Asia

Hakuba – Japan

Planning to spend your New Year in a snow city in Japan? You’ve probably heard a lot about skiing in Hokkaido. The powder snow, the immense amount of snowfall and the beautiful mountain view… Believe it or not, Hokkaido is not the only place that has the offer. A little village called Hakuba (白馬) has it all. Situated in the breathtakingly beautiful Northern Japan Alps of Nagano Prefecture, Hakuba stands out as one of Japan’s top winter resort areas.  Abundant snowfalls and excellent powder conditions make Hakuba a perennial top choice of skiers and snowboarders from around the world.

There are in total 11 ski resorts in Hakuba. With over 200 different trails, I’m sure you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs. You can find out all the different trails from the official website.

On top of that, it’s also a very good place for a hot spring! Nothing beats soaking yourself in natural hot spring at the end of the day while watching the beautiful snowfall. If you want to find out a more complete guide to Hakuba Skiing in Japan, check out GoGo Budget Travel. 

Suggested by: Chloe Lin from GoGo Budget Travel

Singapore

There’s always something going on in Singapore to keep you busy, but during NYE the party gets turned up a notch. If you don’t mind wading through the crowds, then you can join roughly 300,000 other guests to watch the explosive fireworks at the Marina Bay area. This is by far the most popular thing to do on New Year’s Eve in Singapore. Beyond the fireworks, there are food trucks, games, and competitions. Every year there is something different at the Marina Bay Countdown event, so check in closer to the time (the schedule is usually updated in November).

For party-goers who would rather dance into the New Year with the sand between their toes, Sentosa island is the place to be. Ola Beach Club on Siloso beach has an annual NYE countdown party and probably the most popular event on the city-state for the younger crowd. There’s 12 hours of live entertainment along the 1.2km beach from DJs and fireworks to pool and foam parties.

For a more formal (read “expensive”) night out, you can have an intimate party while sipping champagne in a cable car high up at Faber Peak. This is for couples looking to get away from it all, but who are still seeking some party atmosphere as you get to see the fireworks from up high. Many restaurants and clubs have their own special way of calling in the New Year, so you just have to pick the one that stands out to you. But you’ll need to make reservations well in advance and expect to pay some high fees if you want a spot. 

Suggested by: Callan Wienburg from Once in a Lifetime

Tokyo – Japan

Japan is an unforgettable country, and what better city to ring in the New Year than Tokyo? I’m not going to lie, it will be COLDDD. But, it will just make all of the iconic Japanese comfort foods like ramen, oden, curry, and nabe that much more delicious.

Although it is a festive holiday, the cold temperatures will keep the crowds down, so you can actually enjoy all of the fun shops on Harajuku without having an elbow fight with eleven thousand other tourists. The entire city will be dressed up in lights and arches, with end-of-the-year sales and the smell of KFC wafting from family homes decorated with traditional kadomatsu and shimekazari ornaments to invite good fortune and prosperity.

It’s also the perfect time to check out Tokyo Disney, and experience the happiest place on Earth at its most festive season! And once it’s time for the countdown, head over to Sensoji Temple for “joya no kane”, a ritual done a few minutes before midnight to purify minds and souls for the year up ahead. Or you could go for a more party route and take a Tokyo Bay booze cruise or head to a nightclub in Shibuya!

The Tokyo Tower no longer does a fireworks show, although you could head to Kasai Seaside Park (it has the largest Ferris Wheel in Japan!) for fireworks! It’s even a party at Shibuya Crossing! Then, January 1st, you can head right back to shopping to snag a Fukubukuro, a “lucky bag” assortment of random shop items that stores sell at heavily discounted prices! It’s a super cute tradition and a fun way to start the year! 

Suggested by: Kay from The Awkward Traveller

Goa, India

Goa is a popular holiday destination among Indian and foreign travelers to welcome the New Year.  There are several reasons for recommending Goa for the New Year but my favorite is weather, food, nature, and options for party places.

The weather is pleasantly warm around the New Year as temperature hovers between 20 to 30-degree Celsius. It is a perfect time to spend time on beach relaxing, swimming in the sea and enjoying different water sports. 

If you are a nature lover then there are many interesting things to do during the day. Some of my favorite activities are a trek to Dudhsagar waterfall, visit a spice garden, Kayaking in one of the best beaches and cycling in Chorao and Divar Island in Goa. If you are a history buff then there are some beautiful churches and cathedrals in Goa.

Good food is another reason to visit Goa during the New Year. During monsoon, people don’t catch sea fish because it is the breeding season. That’s why in winter months fish is in abundance in the sea and for the seafood lover, it is the best time of the year to enjoy a fresh catch.

It is one of the best places in India for partying.  You can party all night in different clubs, pubs, and bars with live music, dance, and DJ. Most of the resorts organize a New Year celebration for their guests. 

There is something for everyone in goa for celebrating New Year’s Eve. Considering all the above points Goa is one of my favorite destinations to ring the New Year. I love the sun & sand during the day and at night I have several options for partying with good food & drinks.

Suggested by: Sapna Kapoor from My Simple Sojourn

Taipei, Taiwan

Milos wanted a big night out in one of the world’s landmarks, those you see on TV every New Year’s eve. And it had to be on the street, with loads of people. Of course, it had to include fireworks. I, on the other hand, well, let’s just say I’m not into crowds, noise is not my thing, and what if things get out of hand? You can’t have it both ways! Yes, you can, in Taipei! We got ourselves into a nice hotel and rested all afternoon. We woke up fresh and took the metro to Taipei 101, the city’s contemporary landmark.

The weather was superb, not cold nor warm. It seemed the entire city was there, smiling happily. This was a communal activity, an endless crowd coming together to celebrate! There we were, under the gigantic building, chatting with locals and laughing. You could sense the shared anticipation. With plenty of space, we sat down on a very clean street. The countdown began with a projection on the building, and in no time the fireworks erupted in a glorious frenzy! All hell broke loose! A joyous Taiwanese hell. People jumped and hugged, exchanged handshakes, and everybody wished everybody a happy new year! Not a single push, not a single jerk, just a massive street party.

We walked for hours along with the crowd laughing and singing. We stopped at a local fast-food chain, sat on the sidewalk, and ate surrounded by locals. Exhausted we came back to our hotel. What a fantastic party! The most civilized street New Year’s party in the world!

Suggested by: Milos Mitrovic from Happy Frog Travels

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

If you’re ever in Southeast Asia, I would recommend spending New Year’s Eve in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The capital city of my country. For one, we are a tropical country. No need for triple-layered thermal wear, although you might need an umbrella just in case! 

Then there is the food. Malaysia is a nation of foodies and we will take any excuse (or none at all) to eat. Mamaks (local streetside stalls run by Muslim Indians and a favourite dining place of most KL locals) will be filled to the brim with patrons. Nasi biryani (chicken on rice), maggie mee goreng (fried Maggie Mee, which is a type of instant noodles that tastes a lot nicer than it sounds) and roti tissue (a towering flatbread of condensed milk and sugar that you will have to post on Instagram) are just some of the offerings available. 

Or you might even want to head over to one of KL’s popular restaurants. Changkat Bukit Bintang is a popular option – a pedestrian-only nocturnal street located in the heart of KL and full of lively bars, pubs and atmospheric restaurants. 

And what is a New Year’s Eve celebration without fireworks and a grand countdown? There are more than enough options for this, the prime suspect being the Petronas Twin Towers. A glittering symbol of Malaysia’s capital city and must-see whenever you’re in town. 

Here is an insider’s tip: You don’t have to go to the KLCC Park to see the fireworks at the Petronas Twin Towers. There are nearby alternatives, the most recent being W Hotel, which possesses an unhindered, pool view of the Twin Towers. You could even stop by the Helipad @ Heli Lounge Bar. Another nearby watering hole with an unhindered view of Kuala Lumpur’s metal forest. 

Great weather, food, drinks, fireworks and friends. What more can you want for a New Year’s Eve?

Suggested by: Iuliya Wong from Doing Life with Iuliya

Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India

The best place to spend Christmas Eve would be Kanyakumari. Kanyakumari is known as the Peace land of India and can be a perfect destination to spend Christmas eve with friends and families. Bounded by sea beaches and famous temples in South India, Kanyakumari stands tall and unique as compared to other tourist destinations in the world.

Kanyakumari is unique due to the presence of memorials and rocky sea beaches. Kanyakumari is very popular among Indian travelers and people of South India as it accessible from all parts of the country and people come to enjoy the offerings and the warmth of the city. Individuals can stay in hotels close to the sea beaches and enjoy different canoeing and kayaking opportunities in the region. Kids would definitely enjoy spending time on the sea beaches and like the unique offerings of the town.

Suggested by: Somnath Roy from Travel Crusade

Middle East

Dubai

There are so many exciting places in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve but my personal favorite is Dubai with a glittering evening of this special day.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Dubai is very unique and fun experience due to whole city skyline glitters with their high rises on this special day and especially the world’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa. It would be so great to see world’s tallest tower welcomes the year with beautiful pyrotechnics fireworks, spellbound Laser shows, special LED shows.

When the countdown begins to say goodbye to the present year, Dubai excitedly welcomes the new year with all lavish and pompous celebrations. You will be witnessing some word-class fireworks in Dubai skies, excitement on beaches, wild parties at beach clubs/beach resorts and crowds rejoicing on streets with glimpse of their favorite and iconic skyline adorned with many glittering lights and fireworks.

Not only skyline and fireworks are the only way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Dubai, but you can head to special Desert Safari to witness the last sunset of the year in the middle of desert and with some folk Arabic performances in the desert you can also welcome the new year. Not only this a special Dhow (traditional wooden boat) Cruise with New Year eve’s dinner plies in Dubai Creek with a glimpse of the city skyline.

You can celebrate your New Year on the water with a view of celebration in the city.  Many people hire personally luxury Yachts and sail the whole night for exotic party on deck. Also partying in hippest beach resorts accompanied by dancing to famous tunes by International DJ’s is the most favorite way of spending New Year’s Eve here.

Why you should celebrate New Year in Dubai – This is the perfect season to visit Dubai as it is not freezingly cold and not very hot. The weather is perfect for all outdoor activities. It is the most peak season for tourists in Dubai due to weather, many word-class events and shopping festivals.

Tip – Book your tickets in advance even secure your place for dining in restaurants for New Year’s eve as everything gets sold out a month before. So booking in time will save your money and you can grab your favorite seat with a fireworks view from your favorite hotel room or restaurant.

Suggested by: Yukti Agrawal from https://travelwithme247blog.com

Africa

Lagos, Nigeria

Spending Nеw Year’s Eve in Lаgоѕ іѕ one of thе most iconic еxреrіеnсеѕ аnуbоdу саn get whеn trаvеllіng to West Africa. Lagos іѕ thе hеаrt of Nіgеrіа. With a рорulаtіоn of over 20 million people, it іѕ Afrіса’ѕ most populous city. As уоu саn expect, Lаgоѕ іѕ vіbrаnt, full of culture and has outstanding рlасеѕ for your NYE celebration.

Off thе соаѕt оf thе Atlаntіс Oсеаn, is Vісtоrіа Iѕlаnd, аn affluent аrеа in Lagos, and реrfесt place to kick off your New Years Eve celebration. It becomes electrifying as we approach the end of Lagos Countdown, an extension of thе African Chrіѕtmаѕ tradition. Fеѕtіvіtіеѕ fоr the соuntdоwn tурісаllу іnсludе fіrеwоrks show, lіvе muѕіс by local bands, аnd karaoke. 

There аrе рlеntу оf NYE раrtіеѕ that you can go to. Put оn уоur dancing ѕhоеѕ and wіtnеѕѕ thе best dаnсе parties at Club Quilox. For a different experience, head to Lekki. You can spend some time at the beach or go on a boat tour. Lаgоѕ Harbor has a luxurіоuѕ сruіѕе bоаt fоr thе bеѕt vіеwѕ оf thе fireworks display and thе ultimate cultural experience.

From раrtіеѕ to live music and boat tours thеrе аrе mаnу things to dо іn Lagos on Nеw Yеаr’ ѕ Evе. If you аrе рlаnnіng a family gеtаwау for thе Nеw Yеаr аnd to have ѕоmе аmаzіng mеmоrіеѕ, Lagos is thе рlасе to bе. The New Years Eve celebration attracts mіllіоnѕ оf tourists from аll over the wоrld аnd lеаvеѕ thеm in awe!

Suggested by: Lydia from Africa Wanderlust

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

If you are looking for one of the most prolific playgrounds in Africa, look no further than Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. In amongst the turmoil of a country that has been ravaged by the work of Robert Mugabe, remains a gem that keeps us at Ollie and the Captain returning, year after year.

Victoria Falls town has numerous one of a kind, world-class activities all within close proximity. River rafting, bungee jumping, Big 5 safari, and helicopter rides all in amongst the unparalleled natural diversity that Zimbabwe has to offer. Fun fact: Victoria falls is the only place on Earth where it rains 24/7.

Victoria Falls especially comes alive around December/January and over New Year’s Eve where it hosts the annual Victoria Falls Carnival which welcomes revelers to a 3-day experience like no other.

Day 1 is a train and secret bush party where you board an old Zimbabwean train which transports you to a music festival in the middle of the bush. On day 2 they host the Electric Safari concert and on Day 3 (New Year’s eve) you can join thousands of party-goers from all over the world at the Unity New Year’s Concert where you can witness musicians from all over the world perform alongside traditional dancers and fire breathers.

We suggest flying directly into Victoria Falls which has its own airport. You will leave this place with the most wonderful memories, having had a truly authentic African experience. Don’t forget your sunblock, binoculars and a thirst for adventure. 

Suggested by: Ollie and Candi from Ollie and the Captain

Cape Town – SOUTH AFRICA

Cape Town in South Africa is one of the best cities to spend New Year’s Eve, and that’s with good reason: the city seems to have an inexhaustible offer of all things fun, innovative and extraordinary for people of all ages – be it wine country hop and off trains, open-air festivals or rooftop bars.

December is summer in South Africa and our second hottest month – after January. Although it’s hot and reaches up to 35 degrees Celsius, It’s not humid and there are many outdoor festivities especially on New Year’s Eve. Some of my favourite things to do include:

Go swimming with African Penguins at the Insta-famous Boulders Beach. Located just 45 minutes from Cape Town city centre, you can either drive or get there using the Cape Town hop on and off bus. Boulders Beach is one of the few sites in the world where the endangered bird (Spheniscus demersus) wander freely in a protected natural environment. It’s also a great place to watch fireworks from the beach.

If you love sunset music concerts, pack a picnic blanket and head to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – located inside the Table Mountain National Park, there are over 1500 species of flora unique providing an awe-inspiring backdrop.

Cruise the Atlantic, what better to celebrate the New Year than aboard a yacht? Cape Town is home to Cape Point, ”where two oceans meet” – the warmer Indian Ocean waters on the east mixes with the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the west. Yacht parties are popular in summer and It’s almost as if the endless ocean echoes the endless possibilities that the new year brings with it!

Suggested by: Lerato Bambo from My Life From A Bag

Caribbean

Aruba

Who wants to spend New Year in the cold? Not me. I always want amazing weather and perfect beaches. Throughout the year, the tropical climate and summer breeze almost always guarantee wonderful 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 my favourite 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 is at the lighthouse on the main promenade or along any of the beaches. 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.

Suggested by: Rai from aRayofLight.com

St. John – US Virgin Islands

St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the perfect place to spend New Year’s Eve with a tropical drink in hand.  What makes this island unique is its small size, relaxed vibes, and great beach bars. However, its close proximity to larger islands in the US and the British Virgin Islands means lots of opportunities for island hopping.

St. John’s North Shore is renowned for its fluffy white sand beaches and calm turquoise waters.  Beach bums will enjoy lounging with a book or counting boats on the horizon. Those craving more activity will love strolling the beach or getting on the water with a kayak or stand-up paddleboard in search of sea turtles.

In the evening, many St. John bars host a New Year’s Eve party for the public.  One of the most popular is that of Skinny Legs, an island staple in Coral Bay. However, livelier Cruz Bay on the other side of the island has many more nightlife options and bar hopping opportunities.  No matter which you choose, be sure to try a Painkiller, the famous island cocktail on St. John!

Finally, one of the most fun things to do in St. John on New Year’s Eve is going island hopping.  Simply hire a captain to take you and your friends around in a private boat.  You can dictate your own schedule, or your captain will surely have plenty of ideas for fun stops along the way.  One of the most popular New Year’s Eve stops is Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke in the BVI’s, which throws a famous New Year’s Eve bash every year.

If you love island hopping and hitting the beach, and want to bar hop between laid back island bars, you will love everything about New Year’s on St. John.

Suggested by: Theresa McKinney from Fueled By Wanderlust

Nassau, Bahamas

There are plenty of great places around the world where you can party late into the night on New Year’s Eve, but in the Bahamas don’t expect the party to even get started until 2:00 am on New Year’s Day!

Downtown Nassau comes alive for Junkanoo, a massive street carnival where 7 groups compete to be named the best on the island. Each of these troops has spent months practicing music, choreographing dance routines, and building elaborate costumes and giant parade floats out of little more than beads, feathers, cardboard, and crepe paper.

As the crowd builds along Bay Street, people begin to climb trees and lamp poles for a better view of the action. The first of the groups begins its “rush out” down the parade route to the tune of horns, whistles, cowbells, and goatskin drums. When each group reaches the grandstand they give it their all for the judges. Cash prizes are awarded but the real reward is a year of bragging rights for the winning groups.

Mixed in with the crowd are street food vendors selling conch salad, fritters, and spicy chicken wings so you can keep your energy up for the duration of the carnival. Junkanoo lasts all night long and into the morning hours so don’t expect to go home early.  

As the sun begins to rise over the city of Nassau, the crowd starts to stumble home. The streets are now littered with bits and pieces of abandoned costumes and parade floats which makes this New Year’s Day experience all the more surreal. 

Suggested by: Nick and Val Wheatley from The Wandering Wheatleys

Wrapping up

I hope that this list of the best places to spend New Years around the world gives you some food for thought and inspires you to plan your next holiday vacation to celebrate the New Year.
These frequent fliers (Top Travel Bloggers) only included the top places to welcome in the New year, all must-see locations! The rest is up to you!

What are your favorite places to ring in the New Year? Did we miss your favorite one? Share your experience by commenting below. Maybe you’ll inspire our next New Year’s escape!

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