The Best New Year Celebrations Around the Globe
Times Square is perhaps the world's most iconic New Year's celebration venue, so it's really no surprise if it's on your bucket list. Every year, about 1 million people gather in the square in New York City to count down to The Ball Drop, where the glittering New Year's ball falls and the new year is heralded in with a storm of confetti and fireworks. Other popular ways to celebrate New Year NY-style include a river cruise on the Hudson River or the New Year party on Grand Army Plaza at Prospect Park, Brooklyn. The possibilities are endless in the city that never sleeps.
For the Scots, New Year is not something that can be celebrated in a single evening. Here, in the land of kilts and bagpipes, the New Year is rung in with Hogmanay, a 3-day party that features torchlight processions, concerts, dancing, swimming in the river, fireworks displays over Edinburgh Castle and, of course, the obligatory crowd rendition of Auld Lang Syne. The Edinburgh Hogmanay is very popular and is considered to be one of the best New Year party traditions in the world. It’s also known for its unpredictable weather, so book tickets in good time for the various events, and pack waterproof and warm clothing!
The British capital has it all, particularly when it comes to New Year celebrations. More than 250,000 people gather by the River Thames for the countdown to midnight in front of Big Ben and Houses of Parliament and London's official New Year's Eve Fireworks. To see the spectacular show you have to have bought a ticket, but you can also take in the fireworks display from a riverboat on the Thames or a rooftop bar. The city is awash with shows, dinner clubs and themed parties, so there’s no reason to come home early. However, don’t forget the traditional New Year’s Day Parade featuring 10,000 performers who process through the city on New Year's Day.
Berlin's nightlife is legendary, and so are its New Year celebrations. People spill onto the streets in their hundreds of thousands and, no matter whether you’re at Alexanderplatz, on the banks of the Spree River, in front of the Brandenburg Gate or at the foot of the Victory Column, drinking, dancing, music and parties go on until the wee small hours. The main party takes place at the Brandenburg Gate, the edifice which once separated east and west and forms the backdrop for the night’s festivities - live music, a light show, bars, and street food - all with free entry. Our only advice - come EARLY and wear some warm clothes!
New Year is the biggest celebration in the Russian capital, and is celebrated from the December 31 to January 2, with fireworks, markets, events, and parades. Streets and squares form a cornucopia of light decorations, glitter and tinsel, and, of course, the world's largest country has a fireworks show that puts most others in the shade. It takes place on Red Square, where there is also a market and an enormous ice skating rink. In addition, there are also shows in 20 different parks around city that start at different times – from 12 pm to 3 am.
Prepare yourself for a party like no other when you join 200,000 Icelanders burning bonfires and igniting their own personal stockpiles of New Year's gunpowder. It’s not a quiet affair. One of the best places to enjoy the fireworks spectacular in the capital is from the top of Öskjulid near the Perlan restaurant, which boasts views over all of Reykjavik and the surrounding area. Other good locations are at Hallgrimskirkja in the city center, at Klambratun Park, and at Landakostun Park. The fireworks display gets underway at 8 o'clock, and the city's 10 bonfires are lit at around 8.30
If you want to welcome the New Year under more exotic skies, Hong Kong is a good bet. The New Year firework display over the city skyline is impressive, and Victoria Harbor and Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade are full of concerts, parties and other countdown events. To get the best view of the city’s firework display, which begins at around 9 pm, take a boat out on the bay or book a table on one of the city's famous rooftop terraces.
The Portuguese holiday island is known for its mild climate, flowers and wine. But Madeira also understands how to put on a real New Year celebration! It takes place over 2 days, during which the streets of the capital Funchal are filled with all sorts of live music, races, and people in formal dress who begin the last celebrations of the year on December 30. At midnight on December 31, the city puts on one of the biggest fireworks shows in the world, whilst the cruise ships in the port and the bells of the city’s churches clang and chime in unison. Take a leaf out of the locals’ book and eat 12 grapes at midnight, and party through to breakfast on January 1.
Published: December 12, 2019