Some people like nothing more than to spend New Year’s Eve curled up on the sofa, watching Jools Holland and listening to Auld Lang Syne. For others, New Year’s Eve is a major event which includes anything from fancy dress to black tie and, generally, copious amounts of alcohol. Whether you belong to the former or the latter category, the world’s biggest, quirkiest and best New Year’s Eve celebrations will not fail to inspire you.
With its stunning landscape and the endless choice of galleries, shops and pubs in Edinburgh, the city is a popular destination all year around. However, at Hogmanay, Edinburgh really comes to life. The authentic Scottish New Year celebration goes off with a bang (literally), with traditional dancing and street artists flowing through the streets. Revellers can enjoy drinks and entertainment from the many pubs in Edinburgh, topped off by spectacular fireworks at midnight. If you feel a little jaded on New Year’s Day, you can blow away the cobwebs with a dip in the icy cold River Forth, a dog-sled competition, or a run down the Royal Mile.
New Year’s Eve in the UAE doesn’t feature the traditional revelling in the streets. However, it does offer a very special experience to slightly more adventurous travellers who want to see in the New Year in a more peaceful environment. Several tour companies provide enticing desert safari packages for New Year’s Eve, offering entertainment such as camel (or quad bike) riding through the desert, belly dancers, camping Bedouin-style and barbeques. There is something almost ethereal about celebrating New Year’s Eve in the desert, under a blanket of mesmerising stars; a perfect opportunity to reflect on the successes of the last year and your dreams for the future.
The Chilean city of Valparaíso is home to one of Latin America’s largest New Year’s Eve celebrations. Festivities begin on the 28th December and, by the 31st, millions of revellers have flooded to Valparaíso for the massive beach party, which brings in the New Year. Dancing continues until dawn and, at Midnight, the harbour and coastline are illuminated by incredible fireworks, set off at different locations along the coast. In Valparaíso, the celebrations are about more than having fun; they contain a series of rituals and traditions to see out the old year and bring good fortune to the new one. To optimise your chances of a successful 2017 the Valparaíso way, eat 12 grapes at midnight, keep a 1,000 peso note in your shoe, and wear yellow underwear!
There is something special about spending just one moment in time with literally millions of other people, particularly if that moment happens to take part in an iconic location. New Year’s Eve in New York is something straight out of the movies. Whether you have seen it on your favourite television series or film, the sight of the silver ball dropping at midnight is likely to be a familiar one. Nothing, however, can prepare you for the incredible sensation of actually being in New York on New Year’s Eve. More than a million people throng to Times Square, where they listen to live music and enjoy a breath-taking firework display. Come midnight, when the ball finally descends, revellers are showered in over a ton of confetti. Don’t forget to mark you New York New Years by writing your wish for 2017 on the Wishing Wall.
The thought of seeing the New Year in in sunshine is, to many of us, just divine. Due to its geographical location, Sydney is one of the first major cities to celebrate New Year’s Eve and it does so in style. Celebrations this year are coordinated by the Royal Botanic Gardens. They kick off at 6 local time (7.00 a.m. GMT), with an air display, water show and projections onto the Harbour Bridge, followed by traditional Aboriginal smoking rituals, which are said to banish evil spirits. More than a million people attend New Year’s Eve in Sydney, to party on Bondi beach or enjoy the incredible atmosphere along the harbour, where almost £4million worth of fireworks are released from vessels on the river. The world-famous, spectacular pyrotechnics displays light up the sky over Sidney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, making it a truly unforgettable New Year’s Eve.
Paris at New Year is truly magical. The city’s iconic monuments are beautifully illuminated and the streets team with revellers. Tens of thousands of people flood to the Champs-Elysees, where they can see the Eiffel Tower as it lights up to welcome in the New Year. If you don’t fancy being in the melee, consider a romantic cruise down the Seine. Or, for a more refined New Year’s Eve, book a table at one of Paris’s many nightclubs and restaurants, which hold opulent soirées. The celebrations are topped off on New Year’s Day with the Grande Parade de Paris, an exquisite, vibrant parade of floats, dancers and music.
With so many choices, finding the perfect location for New Year’s Eve can be challenging to say the least! Don’t be daunted; wherever you spend your evening, approach it with optimism, bright hopes for the future, and a big smile.