Essential Travel Spots to Celebrate New Year’s Eve

by Jules on December 2, 2013

Get ready for a New Year’s Eve to remember at one of these hotspots: prepare to celebrate with likeminded revellers and party hard!

Sydney, Australia – Sydney is the first city in the world to ring in the New Year. Most of the revelry is concentrated around the Sydney Harbour region. Prior to New Year’s there is a traditional Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony that is believed to cleanse the atmosphere of bad spirits. This is typically followed by a lavish fireworks display and a lit-up boat show. The famous boat parade showcases a spectacular display of lights and an array of boats and vessels. For an unforgettable view of the firework display at midnight, hop onboard one of these boats and enjoy the hospitality.

London, UK – The unmissable event in London at New Year is the lively New Year’s Day parade. First held in 1987 to raise money for charities across the city, it draws over 10,000 performers together from 20 different countries. More than half a million spectators line the streets to watch this energetic 2 mile parade. Celebrity commentators are also often spotted on the route. Typically the parade begins at noon from Piccadilly Square and ends at around 3pm. At night you can watch the stunning pyrotechnics over South Bank or ring in New Year’s Day at a traditional English pub.

New York, USA – Watching the famous ball drop in Times Square and living it up afterwards at the nearby concerts and bars is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The ‘ball dropping’ has been a yearly event since 1906 and Times Square is jam-packed with tourists every year. If you prefer to ring in the New Year like a local, party at the trendy Meatpacking District, where you can buy an All-Access Pass that allows you to access to exclusive clubs, watch DJ perform and grab some food at the buffet dinners. If you prefer something more low-key, you can spend New Year’s at any of the thousands of great restaurants in the city.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Ring in the New Year Latin style by attending Reveillon in Rio de Janeiro. This loud and crazy event brings in two million celebrants on the famous Copacabana beach. In typical Brazilian style, you can expect massive crowds, skimpy clothes and infectious samba beats. Besides partying, Rio also offers a more soulful vibe as you celebrate New Year. As a tribute to the African-Brazilian goddess Lemanja, flowers are thrown into the ocean. At exactly midnight however, an insane firework display will signal the event and partying continues into the wee small hours of the morning.

Niagara Falls, Canada – There was a time when the most exciting thing to do at Niagara Falls was to watch a daredevil act. Whilst you can still do that, Niagara Falls is now the site of one of the biggest outdoor New Year’s gatherings in Canada. Organised every year by the Niagara Parks Commission, Queens Victoria Park is the place to be on New Year’s Eve to eat, drink and be merry. The New Year’s Eve Concert extravaganza is enjoyed by more than 30,000 people every year. The beautiful Niagara Falls is lit up for the occasion is a stunning backdrop to this amazing event.

Prague, Czech Republic – Prague is known around the world as the best European city for wild New Year’s Eve events. Revellers gather for the elaborate fireworks display over Prague Castle and Vltava River and many carry their own hand-held fireworks. Explore the traditional Christmas markets at Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square which sell handicrafts, gifts, hot food and warm beverages. Music lovers can watch the Czech Philharmonic orchestra and top off New Year’s Eve by attending a gala ball at the Prague State Opera. For those who prefer to celebrate New Year with boisterous partying, there are numerous events and dinner cruises along Vltava River.

Chinese New Year: 31 January 2014 – Instead of celebrating New Year’s Day on the 1st of January, the Chinese community Chinese New Year in line with the Chinese lunar calendar and rings in the year of the Horse on January 31st 2014. On the day itself, communities hold technicolour street parades with lavish fireworks displays and traditional food. In Hong Kong the activities that lead up to the event are filled with lion tiger dances, fortune-telling at the temples and lots of snack sampling.

Many other Asian countries hold their own versions of New Year, again following the lunar calendar. So also observed on 31 January 2014 is the Mongol New Year (known locally as Tsagaan Sar). On 2 March 2014 Tibetans celebrate Tibetan New Year (Losar Festival) for up to 15 days.  Japanese New Year (Shōgatsu) is held on 1st January 2014, Vietnamese New Year, aka Tet falls on 31st January 2014 and Korean New Year (Seollal) also falls on this date.

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