The Biggest New Year’s Eve Parties on the Planet

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You’ve got to go big on the last night of the year.

So naturally most of us reserve our wildest nights and most extravagant celebrations for New Year’s Eve.

And while we can show you where you should be seeing in 2017, we can’t help with the hangover. Sorry, you’re on your own with that one – but at least you get a day off.

Here’s what’s happening across the globe when the clock strikes midnight.

 

Hogmanay – Edinburgh, Scotland

Let’s start with Scotland, where New Year’s Eve is by far the best party of the year – it’s way bigger than Christmas.

To be honest, wherever you go in Scotland there’ll be some cool ceilidhs (dances) and first footing (being the first visitor to someone’s house). But Edinburgh really goes to town.

Hogmanay has grown from being an informal gathering on Princes Street to a huge three-day festival. Crowds of more than 100,000 people pack into the streets of Edinburgh city centre.

It’s busy, but it’s also blooming freezing – so you’ll be glad of all those warm bodies around.

Tickets get you into the street party, for live bands, DJs, plenty of outdoor bars and a massive fireworks display.

They don’t get you an extra day off on 2nd January to recover though. That’s just for the Scots. 

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Midnight Fireworks (c) Chris Watt

Midnight Fireworks (c) Chris Watt

Sydney Harbour – Sydney, Australia

Party by the harbour and your friends in the northern hemisphere will be waking up to your Facebook feed full of photos (you’ll be sleeping if off by then).

Australia is one of the first places to celebrate New Year and they like to get the ball rolling in spectacular fashion. And fair dinkum, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House make a pretty decent backdrop for the fireworks.

The sheer scale of the display means there are plenty of viewpoints to watch them from. It’s usually super hot, so make a day of it by taking a picnic down to the harbour.

One of the most decadent parties is at Luna Park. That’s a retro theme park opposite the harbour, where the alcohol flows and world class DJs keep the party going.

Plus you get free theme park rides all night, just go easy on the rollercoasters after a few glasses of celebratory champagne.

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Sydney Opera House

 

 

Fiesta de Iemanjá – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil sets the standard when it comes to al-fresco partying. While we’re shivering up in the northern hemisphere, they’re heading to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

At midnight, two million people will be on the Copacabana beach: one of the largest outdoor parties in the world. Join them and you can be sipping champagne, counting down the seconds to New Year with the fireworks framed against the waves.

It’s a double celebration, as it’s also Festa de Iemanjá. That’s when Brazilians pay tribute to Iemanjá, the Goddess of the Water, throwing gifts and flowers in miniature boats into the sea.

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Rio New Year's Eve

Copacabana Beach, New year’s Eve

 

Gamlarsdagur – Reykjavik, Iceland

It’s going to be a long night. Literally.

The Land of Fire and Ice has about five hours daylight over the New Year. We say that’s a brilliant excuse to start early and finish late.

Visit Reykjavik and you can celebrate the first day of the new year in the world’s most northerly capital city.

Get your Gamlarsdagur going off (that’s Icelandic for New Year) by doing what the locals do – and having dinner together.

They’ll also have been busy building huge bonfires – brenna – in their neighbourhoods. So tag along to one of those before heading into the centre for the fireworks.

Now there’s 200,000 people in the city, and they’ve got hold of 500 tons of fireworks for the evening. They also get a bit over-excited, and who can blame them. So you might see them being set off well before midnight – we love the enthusiasm.

Tradition also says it’s the one night of the year when elves move house and cows can talk (that’s if they’re in the moo-d of course).

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New Year's Eve. Image via Visit Reykjavík / Ragnar Th Sigurdsson

New Year’s Eve. Image via Visit Reykjavík / Ragnar Th Sigurdsson

 

London Fireworks – London, England

Big Ben, the London Eye and Tower Bridge: three iconic landmarks acting as a backdrop to what is now one of the world’s leading fireworks display.

If you want to get a prime spot alongside the river, then you have to buy tickets in advance.

But there’s also loads of places you can see them for free, like some of the central bridges and viewpoints like Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill.

The 12,000 fireworks are launched from three big barges moored next to the London Eye.While Big Ben chimes in the display, GPS technology ensures the fireworks are ignited in time to the music.

We’ve put together a guide to what to expect when you visit London over New Year.

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NYE Fireworks 2014 (c) Greater London Authority

NYE Fireworks 2014 (c)
Greater London Authority

 

Times Square – New York, USA

Ah the city that never sleeps: sounds like they’d throw a decent New Years ‘do.

And they’ve honed it over the years in the appropriately named, Times Square – with the first ball dropping in 1907.

New York hosts a huge, crazy street party where everyone gazes at a ball descending as the clock chimes, before the confetti drops and the fireworks kick off.

The ball has a whopping 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles. It can display a palette of 16 million colours and endless patterns, which creates a kaleidoscope effect across the area.

If you’ve never been to the Big Apple before – we’ve put together a first timers guide to New York to point you in the right direction.

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Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball

Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball

 

Where are you bringing in the New Year?

We’d love to hear where you think the parties at. It’s not too late to grab one our cheap flights and bring in the New Year somewhere exciting. Tell us your favourite places to kick off the next year in by leaving a comment below.

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