Edinburgh Castle with fireworks_

New Year’s Eve Getaways 2020 [Recommended By Travel Experts]

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I’ve never liked New Year’s Eve anyway! A common statement made by many friends. The solution? A New Year’s Eve getaway. What better way to ring in the bells of the new year than exploring how another culture does it, visiting friends in faraway lands or even celebrating in another city in your home country? I (Gemma) have asked travel experts to spill the best places to spend New Years to help you decide where and how to celebrate the 31st of December (or Hogmanay as we call it in Scotland).

» You may also like: the best places to spend Christmas abroad

New Year’s Eve Celebrations 

United States of America

New York

NYC is my hometown and we’ve got a New Year’s Eve that rocks. The iconic crystal ball has been counting down the minutes and dropping into 42nd street, Times Square every year since December 31st 1907. People start gathering in the streets around 6 pm.

Many bring foldable seats and snacks to keep them going for the long night ahead. Despite the freezing weather, about one million people congregate in the streets by the time 12 o’clock rolls around.

The TV programs cover the event for hours showing people stomping their feet to stay warm and yelling “Happy New Year” into the TV cameras.

The excitement is palpable. Emotions run high fed by the flashing neon lights and live bands playing in the cold night. The anticipation of the countdown grows as the clock ticks towards midnight. At 11:59 the countdown starts…

10…9…8. The crystal ball begins its descent…3…2…1!…until midnight when the flashing lights spell out “Happy New Year!” in unison.

It is an electrifying experience. After midnight, people head home via the crowded subways, many stops for one last nightcap at the bars that remain open late.

I highly recommend Times Square’s New Year’s Eve experience. Everyone should try it at least once.

Talek Nantes | Travels With Talek

Image credit: Countdown Entertainment, LLC.

New York New Years Eve

San Francisco

San Francisco is a great option for New Year celebrations.  San Francisco has a gorgeous New Year’s Eve fireworks display over the waterfront near both the Ferry Building and the SF Bay Bridge.

The display kicks off at 11:59 pm and lasts for about 15 to 20 minutes. It’s one of the most attended displays every year with hundreds of thousands of people taking part. On a clear night, it’s definitely worth the time and effort to get there and see this amazing display as you ring in the new year.

Plan to arrive early for the best seats and grab a spot somewhere along the waterfront to the south of the Ferry Building.

You can watch the fireworks display anywhere along the eastern side of San Francisco by the waterfront. The fireworks are on a boat that sits in the water between the Ferry Building and the SF Bay Bridge. You can also hop aboard a fireworks cruise for dinner, dancing, and a little drinking before the display starts.

If you would rather pass on the fireworks and just want to chill with friends head to Proper Hotel San Francisco’s rooftop bar. Unlike New York or Chicago San Francisco isn’t exactly known for its rooftop scene – but Charmaine’s is changing that.

With amazing 360-degree view complimented with cozy fire pits and craft cocktails – at night it is a hot spot to mingle and a perfect place to ring in the New Year in SFO.

Priya Vin | Outside Suburbia

» Check out our popular San Francisco itinerary 



Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Toronto is without a doubt a classic Canadian experience. While the weather might be a tad on the cold side, there is plenty to do – whatever your style – to ring in the New Year. For revellers wanting to stay warm, the largest city in Canada is stocked full of bars, restaurants, and clubs all ready to celebrate.

For the thousands willing to bear the cold, however, the highlight of a classic Toronto New Year’s celebration is the festival at Nathan Phillips Square.

Located right in the heart of downtown, the square is shared with Toronto City Hall, the illuminated “Toronto” sign, and the ice skating rink – which is also free if you bring your own skates!

The Square itself is converted into a giant festival with lots to do for everyone. It’s free to enter, and the main stage features top Canadian and international performers in the hours leading up to midnight. At midnight, the host takes over the stage and the countdown begins. With the crowd huddled together as the clock strikes down, fireworks shoot from City Hall in a fantastic display. The fireworks last for the duration of ”Auld Lang Syne”!

Since it is the beginning of January in Canada, it’s always a good idea to dress warmly when planning to be outside. We were able to make it through the cold evening just fine with the help of a warm winter coat, a winter hat (called a ‘toque’ in Canada), a thick scarf, and gloves for our hands. Of course, we couldn’t forget the tacky New Year’s glasses – but we certainly weren’t alone in wearing them!

Eric and Lisa | | Penguin and Pia

» Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Toronto + affordable places to stay

Toronto street car in snow

South America

Salinas, Ecuador

For an incredible cultural experience, you should consider spending New Year’s Eve in Salinas, Ecuador.  The horseshoe bay fills with thousands of people, all looking to celebrate.

Every restaurant and bar is packed full and street vendors can be found all along the Malecon, or promenade, selling cheap and delicious food. People sell fireworks, balloons, lanterns and all manner of ‘party’ objects to add to the atmosphere.

Throughout the day, people begin their celebrations and the occasional marching band works its way down the street, dancing along while collecting tips. The free beachfront concert provides entertainment as people wait for midnight to strike. Ecuadorians ring in the new year by burning elaborate effigies in huge bonfires.

Unlike other cities where these fires are dotted around town, in Salinas, the beach provides the perfect setting for a long line of bright orange focal points. As the fires burn, fireworks begin exploding from every direction. Our heads were on a swivel as we jumped and gasped at each unexpected bang. 

The festivities continue well into the early hours of the morning as the fireworks give way to music. For locals, this is a family celebration and many children join in the fun but it’s definitely an incredible party for adults too! It was by far the most fun we have had on New Year’s Eve and we can’t wait to experience another one in Salinas!

Claire | Past The Potholes


Amsterdam New Year’s Eve

For people who like fireworks and crowds and noise, Amsterdam is the place to be on New Year’s Eve. The official fireworks show, organized by the city, will start at midnight, but don’t be surprised if you see and hear lots of fireworks all evening. People shoot them off anywhere and everywhere. In other words, be prepared for a crazy, loud, crowded night. If you’re skittish about loud noises, this is definitely NOT the place to be!

The official fireworks show, organized by the city, was at Java island, on the IJ river, last year. This year’s location hasn’t been announced yet, and it may be different. Your hotel should be able to tell you what’s been decided and how to get there.

If you don’t want the biggest crowds, don’t worry. Stand pretty much anywhere in the city and, at midnight, you’ll see fireworks in every direction. Your best bet for a great view would probably be on one of the many bridges over a canal in the old part of the city.

Both before and after the fireworks, street celebrations take place on the public squares like the Leidseplein and Nieuwmarkt. Tip: try an oliebol, a traditional fried dough ball, with or without raisins. You’ll find the oliebol kiosks by following the smell. And, of course, most pubs and clubs will have special New Year’s Eve celebrations that extend to the early morning.

On New Year’s Day, if you have any energy left, many of Amsterdam’s museums are open, though with shorter hours. For the big famous ones like the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum or the Anne Frank House, make sure to book your tickets ahead of time.

Rachel Heller | Rachel’s Ruminations

Dublin New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve celebrations, in Dublin, are like most major celebrations in the city – loud and entertaining.

The Dublin New Year’s Eve festival is now entering its seventh year and it looks like things are only getting bigger. Using the Custom House as the backdrop to the festival, revellers enjoy live music light show across the river Liffey and an incredible firework show as the clock strike midnight.

The organisers are aiming to make this Ireland’s largest New Year’s Eve event. 

Traditionally, it is the smaller pub affair which is most popular in Dublin and you won’t be surprised to hear that Temple Bar always draws the largest crowd of partiers. The bars and streets in this popular neighbourhood become packed with people waiting for the countdown to begin.

For the most part, each bar will have their own live entertainment which goes silent for the countdown and then it is back to business as usual.

If visiting from afar get into the bars early so you can have yourself a comfortable seat. The pubs and bars tend to start filling up around 8.00pm. as they are bound to fill up by the end of the night.

Eoin Dolly | DollysQuest

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is renowned for hosting the best New Year’s Eve party in the world! You know the feeling: it’s reaching 31st December and everyone is talking about plans for the evening, it might be a house party, paying extortionate prices for club entry that you’re not really up for, or staying in to watch the telly.

Once the fireworks end, it all feels hugely anticlimactic. But New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh? It won’t disappoint in the slightest. In Scotland, New Year’s Eve is known as Hogmanay and the celebrations last for at least three days. Effectively, it’s a winter festival complete with fireworks, street parties, live music and flaming torches. It’s fantastic and the perfect way to say goodbye to the year.

On Hogmanay Eve you can join the Vikings as they march flaming torches through the city centre and all the way up to Calton Hill before an impressive fireworks display to warm you up for the main event. Then, on Hogmanay, there’s a huge street party complete with several stages playing everything from chart-toppers to Ceilidh. Dance the night away while keeping warm on whisky. January 1st sees the crazy (like myself) head down to South Queensbury and the Forth bridges to cure their hangovers. Turns out the best cure for a New Year’s Day hangover is to dress up and run into the freezing Scottish waters.

Hannah | That Adventurer | Above image\feature image credit Chris Watt + Edinburgh Festivals

» Thinking of Hogmanay? Here are 70 other things to do in Edinburgh too

Edinburgh Castle with fireworks_

Florence, Italy

When you decide to spend your New Year’s Eve holiday in Florence and don’t have local friends to guide you through the typical Florentine celebrations, you might either be left to yourself or end up paying a hefty price for an arranged experience.

That nearly happened to us when suddenly serendipity saved us and got the opportunity to learn about how the locals really celebrate!

First of all, New Year’s is one of the feasts that is best celebrated in a circle of friends, with plenty of good food and wine. We’re in Italy, after all.

Typically, people start eating and having a merry time early in the evening. Just before the clock strikes midnight, everyone rushes out to the city.

Surprisingly, there are no official fireworks at midnight. Locals and tourists alike just gather on Ponte Vecchio, along the river Arno, or simply at the main square Piazza della Signoria.

Everybody drinks their preferred wine, which some people switch for champagne. More friends bump into each other on the street, everyone gives their best wishes to each other and people are generally happily tipsy.

The more able ones finish the night off with a party. Weather permitting, a spontaneous party in the street might develop. More often, though, it’s cafés and restaurants, which stay open throughout the night, that unofficially host the New Year’s festivities.

Veronika Primm |  TravelGeekery

Innsbruck, Austria

After spending a mountain Christmas in Innsbruck it’s hard to anticipate what the New Year festivities will be like. We needn’t have feared that the New Year’s celebrations in the Tyrolean capital would be dull compared to Christmas.

While the Christmas markets are all about standing quietly around with hands wrapped around steaming hot mugs of Glühwein, the streets of Innsbruck come alive in the countdown to the New Year.

People start gathering in the cobbled streets of the Innsbruck old town from soon after dark.

There are stages with live entertainment and plenty of drink and food stalls to set the mood. But what makes the New Year celebrations in Innsbruck unique? The mountains, of course.

The big attraction, the Nordkette mountain range towering over the city, never fails to impress. From 23:00 onward people start to move in the direction of the Inn River and the Market Square.

They vie for a prime spot from where to start the countdown to midnight when fireworks light up the mountains in a gorgeous display.

What I love most about New Year in Innsbruck is that the city caters for families with children by celebrating a “Children’s New Year” on 30 December.

There’s even a children’s disco in front of the Golden Roof, the symbol of Innsbruck. And shortly after dark, they are treated to their own firework display over the Inn River.

Linda | Travel Tyrol

Innsbruck New Years Eve

Lapland, Sweden

Who needs New Years’ Eve fireworks when you’ve got Mother Nature’s very own light show going on overhead? There’s no more epic way to ring in the New Year than trying to spot the Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland. One caveat, though – New Year’s Eve falls during the “Polar Night,” when due to how far north you are the sun doesn’t rise for several weeks.

Still, during the “Polar Night,” it is not all darkness, so it’s possible to get several hours of blue hour and twilight during the day and can still do exciting outdoor activities like dog-sledding with huskies or going ice-climbing during the “day.”

Within Swedish Lapland, you have a few options on where to stay. Outdoorsy types could spend the days around New Years’ in Abisko National Park, where Sweden’s Northern lights are the most visible and there are plenty of outdoor activities to be done such as snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

Alternately, the small but lively town of Kiruna has the only true nightlife scene in Swedish Lapland, so it’s a good place to celebrate for bar-hoppers who want a drinking scene on New Years’ Eve.

For those who want a bit of luxury, there is the Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi – imagine spending the night in a room made entirely out of ice at -5 C, popping champagne and trying to spot the Northern Lights!

Allison  | Eternal Arrival

Lisbon, Portugal

When it comes to New Year’s Eve in Lisbon, there’s something for everyone. Street parties with live music and fireworks take place in several locations across the city and, for those that like to party hard, many bars and nightclubs stay open until the early hours of the morning.

The main street party and the biggest event takes place at Praça do Comércio, and has live music from around 10 pm until midnight when the espumante (Portuguese fizz) is opened and the fireworks are set off. After that, you have the choice of finishing up the evening or joining the other revellers at bars in Cais do Sodré and the Bairro Alto.

For those that don’t fancy standing elbow-to-elbow in a crowd or partying until after the sun comes up, don’t worry there’s something for you too: many Lisbon restaurants have Fim De Ano menus that are staggered over several hours, pausing for a break at midnight to take in the fireworks and to wish everyone dining a Happy New Year.

If you want to eat but don’t want to spend the night sitting at a table, you don’t have to. You’ll find plenty of restaurants that offer simpler menus with just a few courses, giving you the chance to try a few of Portugal’s most famous dishes before you head out to watch the fireworks.

There’s also the option of watching a fado performance, and many of Lisbon’s fado houses will put on special shows to ring in the New Year. You’ll find more information about this on their Facebook pages in the weeks leading up to the end of December.

New Year’s Day is a fairly quiet day in Lisbon, and most businesses don’t open. The exceptions are Chinese restaurants or Chinese-owned businesses and restaurants in the more touristy parts of the city like Baixa.

One place that is open on January 1st is Pastéis de Belém, the first bakery to begin selling pastéis de nata. Normally there’s a queue that stretches down the street but the early hours of January 1st are unsurprisingly pretty quiet. If you’re already up, this could be the perfect opportunity to get in line and break that first New Year’s resolution.

James Cave | Portugalist

» Read next: where to eat in Lisbon + What to do there

Food in Lisbon

London, Great Britain

One of our favourite places to spend New Year’s Eve is our hometown, London. It is famous for having one of the most watched and famous fireworks in the world, which takes place on and around the iconic Millennium Wheel on the Southbank.

We love coming to see the fireworks by the Southbank and it’s become almost a tradition for us. We always make an evening of it. First, we have a group of friends gather at our place for dinner and drinks. Then at around 10:30 pm, we set off into town.

Tip if you’re heading to London for NYE, it gets super crowded, so plan to go early to get a spot. There are serious crowd control measures in place, which causes delays.

Also, the tube (London Metro) is free on the evening of the 31st and the early hours of the 1st which is handy.

The fireworks go off at exactly midnight and last for a good 20 minutes, set to music, and they are WOW. A massive crowd gathers to watch, so there’s always guaranteed a fun atmosphere.

However, because it has become so busy, they now charge an entry fee of around £10.

After the fireworks are over, we either hang out in the streets of London which turn into one giant outdoor party, or head to a club or friend’s house.

Stefan and Sebastien | Nomadic Boys

» London is expensive, here are the budget tips

Efteling, Netherlands

One of the most magical places to spend New Year’s Eve is the Dutch theme park Efteling. The place is absolutely enchanting in the night when all the lights are on. In winter, Efteling is festively decorated and there’s artificial snow to complete the illusion that you are in a Winter Wonderland.

On New Year’s Eve all attractions and rides, besides the water coasters, are open, so what a better way to say goodbye to the old year than by making a few loops or by falling from 37,5 m into a mine shaft with 90 km/h, or by simply taking a stroll in the Fairytale Forest.

The whole evening there’s a live entertainment on the various squares in the park and the spirits are pretty high. And if it’s too cold, there are campfires at each square to warm up your hands. When the clock strikes midnight, spectacular fireworks lit up the sky.

There’s one thing you should try on New Year’s Eve – oliebollen. This Dutch take on the doughnut is eaten warm and dusted with powdered sugar. It’s the traditional snack after midnight on the New Year’s Eve.

There will be also plenty of mulled wine and fizzy wine in the Efteling. If you are still hungry take a bowl with snert (Dutch split pea soup with pieces of smoked sausage) and a broodje Unox (the Dutch version of the hotdog with Unox sausages).

The New Year’s ticket for the Efteling gives you access to all attractions and festivities in the park form 7:00 pm on 31 December till 1:00 am on 1 January and the parking fee is included in the price.

Daniela | Ipanema travels to…

Paris New Year’s Eve

With its iconic monuments, dazzling glamour, and epic celebrations, it’s hard to imagine a better place to ring in the New Year than in Paris.

Paris New Year’s celebrations offer something for everyone: whether you want to attend the official party on the Champs Elysees and watch the light show over the Arc de Triomphe, attend the more laid-back party on Sacre-Coeur where you can see fireworks go off all over the city, or splurge on a table at a club (Moulin Rouge is said to put on quite the show!), Paris has you covered.

However you decide to ring in the New Year in Paris, you’ll definitely want to plan ahead of time: crowds are predictably enormous and having a game plan – including when and how to arrive and how to get back to your hotel afterwards – is essential to having an epic New Year’s celebration in Paris.

The Paris metro is usually open with full service until 2:15 AM on the night of the 31st/morning of the 1st, and limited service continues afterwards.

To have the perfect Paris New Year trip, consider booking a hotel that is easy to access from the celebration you plan to attend.

Since, like most cities, most of Paris is closed on January 1st, you may also want to stock your hotel or Airbnb with some food and drinks before heading out for the celebrations, to ensure when you wake up on January 1st you won’t have to worry about tracking anything down if you decide the day is better spent in bed.

Even if you’re exhausted, though, try to pull yourself out for at least a brief walk on January 1st – the city is insanely quiet, and it is a fantastic time to wander the streets of Paris in peace (and take photos without the crowds, if that’s your thing!)

Kate Storm |   Our Escape Clause

Iceland New Year’s Eve – Reykjavik

Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, here is one of the best places to celebrate New Years in the world. In Iceland, New Year’s Eve is done BIG and Reykjavik is the largest city in the country and the most popular place to celebrate.

In Iceland, the fireworks are donated and put on by a volunteer brigade. Everyone in the community donates throughout the year for the spectacle. 

While Reykjavik is the largest city for viewing the New Years Eve display, each of the smaller communities all pitch in for the New Years Eve festivities as well! The tradition of community is strong and makes for a fun and festive spectacle on New Years!

Victoria | Follow Me Away

» Get the Iceland itinerary here + find out how much it costs

Street Art Iceland

Vienna, Austria

The friendly people of Vienna really know how to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Straight after Christmas, which includes twenty markets around the city, locals join in parties on the streets all over the city. This is called the New Year’s Eve Trail.

Wintertime in Vienna is popular with ball dancing lovers, you can watch locals and visitors waltzing around Graben on the 31st of December!

There are also a number of other events at Vienna’s historic buildings and even on the Danube River. Like many European cities, Vienna says hello to the new year with fireworks and music.

» We have lots of content on Vienna! Start here

Schoenbrunn Palace December Vienna Austria


Bangkok, Thailand

Crazy fun, lots of laughter, friendly people and amazing fireworks – that pretty much sums up New Year’s Eve in Bangkok.

This city gathers thousands of people throughout the year, tourists come here to enjoy great street food, loads of different types of markets, adventurous tuk-tuk rides and seemingly countless opportunities to celebrate and dance.

One of the tourist hot spots is the famous Khao San Road which turns into a huge festival mile during New Year’s Eve celebration.

It’s almost impossible to walk along the street that night. It’s wise to go there early (around 7 pm) to grab a spot and start making friends with the people that surround you.

They will be the ones that hug you once the clock strikes midnight. Some even dress up and wear costumes to give this place an even closer appearance of a street parade.

Everyone is happy and when the clock comes close to midnight make sure to join in the countdown from 10 to 0 to welcome the new year with loads of hugs and cheerful laughter.

The only downside of this location is the high buildings that make it almost impossible to see the fireworks. So, if you’re after the lightning show, you’re better off to watch it from the river shore or one of the many great rooftop bars that Bangkok has on offer.

Whatever location choice you’ll make, be prepared to celebrate until the early morning hours and enjoy the funky vibes of Thailand’s capital city. You’ll definitely need some island hopping afterwards to recover. 

Julia Jerg  | Jey Jetter


Taipei, Taiwan

New Year’s events in Taipei Taiwan are an exceptional spectacle. The annual fireworks and light show is broadcasted and watched around the world, right alongside other globally recognized celebrations happening in Sydney, London, New York, and Hong Kong.

At its inception back in 2005, this spectacle was the first-ever fireworks show to be launched from a skyscraper.

Lasting for just 35 seconds, this less than one-minute wonder became a global hit. Since then, it has been listed by CNN as being in the top ten New Year’s destinations around the world and is broadcast live in over 100 countries.

Bringing together a combination of impressive fireworks and LED displays, the lights took over the building from the 35th floor all the way up to the 90th floor for a total of six minutes.

The show is notable for using the eye-popping LED lights in cooperation with traditional fireworks to create a mind-blowing experience that aims to be more environmentally friendly than past shows have been!

The Taipei New Year experience also comes with countless other entertainment, activities, and celebrations all around the square to ring in the New Year!

Kaila | Kaila Yu 


NYE in Sydney

Since the early 1990s, I have spent most New Years Eve’s in my hometown of Sydney watching fireworks from somewhere in the city centre.

Sydney hosts one of THE biggest NYE parties in the world with over 1.5 million people heading to the harbour foreshore to watch the two fireworks shows.  

There is a family show at 9 pm which runs for eight minutes or so and then the main event at midnight when 12 minutes worth of fireworks light up the sky and the bridge itself.  

In total over seven million dollars went up in smoke last year!

Each year features a different theme, the feature of which is kept secret until show night. Last year we celebrated the passing of the same-sex marriage laws with a rainbow waterfall of colour off the harbour bridge at midnight.

Along with the main event, there is the Harbour of Light Parade which runs from 9.15pm until midnight. Boats and ferries covered in party lights parade up and down the harbour creating quite a spectacle.

The challenge of enjoying NYE in Sydney is learning how to best cope with all the people. My tip is to plan ahead because this is not a night where you can wing it!

You basically have three options, part with some big $$$ for a ticket to one of the private areas by the harbour or camp out for 12 hours or more to secure a spot in one of the free zones.

Or bypass it all and attend one of the dance parties and restaurant events across the city.

While some people find the crowds and the fuss all a bit tedious, I think it’s hard to beat with the electric atmosphere that comes about from so many people in a good mood waiting to see in the New Year together.

In my book, that many smiles are hard to beat.

Paula | Sydney Expert

Canberra, Australia

Whilst Sydney, Australia is famous for its big bang Sydney Harbour fireworks, the nation’s capital city of Canberra is a great alternative to escape the crowds and enjoy a more laid-back, peaceful welcome to the new year.

Canberra hosts two firework sessions – at 9 pm for families, and of course the midnight fireworks.

A family concert is a great start to the night, usually hosted in the Canberra CBD.

People flock to Civic to have a bite to eat from the different food stalls, watch the free live concert and take part in the different fun activities on offer, including a ride on the beautiful antique carousel.

Children run about and play with fluro stick wands and windmills and families lay out picnic blankets on the numerous parkland areas surrounding the central fireworks point.

When the fireworks go off, they are spectacular – the surrounding national landmarks such as Black Mountain Tower providing an impressive silhouette against their fiery colour display.

Canberra’s New Year’s Eve atmosphere is one that is laid back, family-friendly and no-stress – a fantastic option to ring in the new year, and all just a two and a half-hour drive from Sydney.

Barbara Bryan | Let’s Go Mum family lifestyle and holidays

Middle East


Iran is definitely an unusual place to spend New Year’s Eve because it’s just another day! In Iran, the New Year celebration is called Nowruz and is actually celebrated every year on March 21st, the first day of spring, to symbolize renewal.

It’s really incredible that the Nowruz tradition, which is Zoroastrian in origin, survived in Iran even after the 1979 revolution – and it’s still celebrated with massive meals and family gathering to this day.

However, since Iranian people are extremely hospitable, if you are staying at an Iranian home, they will also be more than happy to celebrate ‘our’ New Year’s Eve on Dec 31st – albeit with no alcohol, which is illegal throughout the country.

We stayed up till past midnight with our Couchsurfing host family, eating pistachio sweets and toasting with tea, definitely a first on an NYE night!

Hotels which cater to an international clientele may also have special dinners or events, but generally speaking, the ‘charm’ of spending NYE in Iran is exactly that it’s a normal day of the year, with nothing going on.

This is amazing for people who don’t love the hustle and crowds of NYE events and to be honest, Iran is such an amazing country that deserves to be visited all year round, NYE or otherwise!

Margherita Ragg | The Crowded Planet

Iran New Years Eve


South Africa

New Year in South Africa is in the middle of summer – hot and sunny, not a traditional winter New Year with a lot of snow, more like a summer beach holiday. It means you can chill on the beach, go surfing or kitesurfing, swim and do many summer outdoor activities.

Cape Town is an amazing place to celebrate the start of a new year. There is a New Year’s Eve party everywhere, for every kind of person.

The main celebration is happening at the V&A Waterfront and Long Street where hundreds of bars and restaurants will be open all night, music will play everywhere and people dress in Carnival gear – a real festive vibe in the city.

If you prefer to skip the craziness of Long Street and the V&A Waterfront, you can watch the firework spectacle from a chilled out picnic on Signal Hill.

Lion’s head is a perfect spot to spend the last sunset of the year. It is about an hour’s hike to the top. As a reward for quite a challenging walk, you get fantastic views of Table Mountain, the ocean and the city bowl.

It is a five-minute drive to Signal Hill from Lion’s Head. Take a blanket, picnic basket and a bottle of sparkling wine and enjoy the awesome fireworks display from the best vantage point.

Finally, don’t miss a truly unique traditional event, the colorful Cape Minstrels march on 2nd January, so-called ‘Second New Year’.

Campbell & Alya | Stingy Nomads

South Africa New Years Eve

Final Words

So will you be ‘out with the old’ in the hot or the cold?! This international guide to the best new years eve parties in the world has something for everyone from cosy city shows to quieter countryside affairs. One thing that every New Year’s Eve party has in common is the opportunity to celebrate with friends, old and new.


Where to spend New Years, planning your New Years party, what to wear for New Years Eve, best New Year’s Eve parties, things to do on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Eve travel destinations, New Year’s Eve party ideas, where to spend New Year’s Eve

Where is your favourite place to spend NYE?

Tell us in the comments below.

Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 24

  1. Thanks for including us guys! So many great places to sped new years here. As well as Sydney we have also spent New Years in Auckland, Singapore and London. Both we’re memorable but not quite as much as Sydney was last year. This year we will likely be living in Perth so can’t wait to see what celebrating New Years is like there! Hope you guys have a an awesome year!

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      You too Jen and thanks for sharing your story! London fireworks looked pretty epic this year from what I saw on Instagram!

  2. I never seem to know what to do over New Year’s, too. This year, we took it easy and just saw a couple of friends for a very relaxing evening of drinks & board games. Nothing fancy! We’ve done some local travel before to bring in the New Year, never traveled abroad this time of year but perhaps that will be a great idea 😀

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      It’s a funny time of year eh? It would weird being somewhere hot but miserable being outside in the cold… I need to get to the Edinburgh Street Party myself!

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          It’s something Canadians and us Fifers have in common actually – we get slagged by other Scots for our overuse of eh?!

  3. Celebrated New Year’s outside my home country for the first time. Philippines and Denmark have really different ways of celebrations and I love both. Nothing to complain. Haha. Happy 2016 and glad to learn the term, ‘Hogmanay’! 🙂

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  4. We were in Edinburgh for the Fringe festival, and it was awesome…so I can only imagine the Hogmanay would be spectacular. And Hannahs hangover cure sounded intense!

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  5. I love this! It’s neat to see how everyone spends/spent celebrating the new year! My favorite new year celebration was first celebrating in Singapore, then immediately heading to the airport and flying direct to LA. With the time change, I was able to celebrate again in LA! Plus with all the ‘celebrating’ I did in the plane, I was quite intoxicated.

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  6. I could take the Edinburgh option, complete with the 3 day party and whisky, but I can skip the swim! It was fun to read what everyone did though!

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  7. Hi Gemma,
    I was in Lisbon for New Year’s Eve this year, and I celebrated just as James Cave suggested — by watching the fireworks at the big party near Praça do Comércio. Actually, I didn’t go into the square but stayed a little bit further down the river. I still had a great view of the fireworks from there, with enough of a crowd to make it feel like a party but not so much as to make me want to crawl under a rock. I’m not always great with crowds. 🙂

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      Aw Wendy, that’s really awesome. I’m going to message James and let him know. Happy New Year and thanks for taking the time to comment!

  8. I’ve celebrated many NYE’s in different locations… New York, Ramallah, Montreal and most recently Bali then Zanzibar. Something about a warm NYE’s coming from the northern hemisphere is just so nice. Hard to beat a Bali beach party but hoping for a 2020 NYE in Sydney

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