12 of the Best Destinations to Bring in the New Year

A New Year means a fresh start . It’s a time to reflect on where you’ve been and to look forward to the new destinations you’ll find as you take on the next chapter of life. Of course before you get too philosophical about resolutions and future plans there are celebrations to be had! From all night parties to secluded hideaways there are plenty of options to consider when bringing in the New Year so with the stroke of midnight fast approaching we asked a couple of fellow travel bloggers where their favourite places were, the celebrations they held most dear and why we should consider them for our New Year festivities.

So guys….

Where is the best place to spend New Years Eve?

Deni from The Full-Time Tourist – The Canadian Rockies, Canada

New Year's Eve in the Canadian Rockies

One of the best places to bring in the New Year is at a ski resort in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. There’s just something so magical about staying on the hill with some friends and family, and catching the midnight fireworks show. Apres-ski is in full swing on New Year’s Eve, as skiers and snowboarders eagerly wait for midnight to strike.

If you’re lucky, there’s a small show before the main event, where skiers and snowboarders do tricks on the lower terrain park. And as midnight slowly rolls around, the excitement is palpable. The snow falls gently around you as the crowd slowly counts down from three. Two. One. Colourful fireworks light the black, starry sky on the snowy mountainside. Whether you’re celebrating a romantic evening with your partner, or having some drinks with family and friends, the combination of snow, fireworks and cheer make it the best way to celebrate the end of the year.

Julianna from The Discoveries Of – London, England

Celebrating New Year in London

London is one of the best places to see in New Year. I might be a bit biased as it’s my hometown but there’s always so much going on on New Year’s Eve that you’re completely spoilt for choice.

Obviously you have the big events like the fireworks over the River Thames by The London Eye (tickets sell out for this way in advance though) – is there anything more magical than seeing luminescent fireworks lighting up the city’s striking skyline?

You can also take your pick of parties at some of the city’s biggest attractions like the National History Museum and coolest clubs like Cargo or Corsica Studios.

For me, you can have the most fun at one of the thousands of smaller events going on around the capital. River cruises, rooftop bars, lively clubs, cosy pubs – the best thing about New Year’s in London is that there’s something to suit anyone and everyone. One piece of advice? Wrap up warm!

Shweta from Zest In A Tote – Uttarakhand, India

A quiet New Year in Uttarakhand, India

Imagine a serene little town cocooned in the Kumaon region of the Himalayas, 7000 ft above sea level, in the district of Uttarakhand, India. And now imagine a cosy 150-year-old bungalow with rooms overlooking a breathtaking vista of mountains and orchards.

This is where we headed with close friends to bring in New Year. Hill stations in India get crowded during summer months, but winter months with far fewer people, stunning clear views and biting cold needs to be experienced as well.

To reach here, we took an overnight train from Delhi, and then a 2-hour taxi trip. Some friends chose to drive for 8/9 hours from Delhi to join us.

Snow is not common in most parts of Uttarakhand, and when it snowed unexpectedly on 31 st December, we took it as an omen of good things to come. My 3-year-old daughter experienced snow for the first time and rejoiced in making a snowman with her friends.

Some may prefer big cities, all-night parties and jazzy fireworks, but for me, this cosy retreat in pristine surroundings with friends was a great way to think of the year ahead.

Ana from Merry-Go-Round. Slowly – Vilnius, Lithuania

New Year's Eve in Vilnius, Lithuania

The nice thing about celebrating New Year’s Eve in Vilnius is that it’s just the right size of the city. With the population of half a million, it is neither too big with events too spread out across the city, nor too small to feel the lack of entertainment.

There are two main ways to have a pre-party. You do it either at home with friends, or choose a bar, a club or a restaurant for some drinks or a fancy dinner. For the after-party you can again go home and continue with board-games or chose some club for dancing through the night. But whichever you chose, you better plan your location to be around the city centre. Just before midnight you should grab a bottle of champagne and some plastic glasses and head to the Cathedral square to be the part of the big celebration: the countdown and then the big

It might not be the most spectacular of the fireworks in the world, but it is the feeling on that square that counts – you would usually congratulate total strangers and share champagne with them (no, drinking in public places is not allowed, but during the New Year this rule does not count). This is the time and the place when you fully  believe that peace in the world will be achieved and you’ll check off all the boxes on your new year’s resolution. A total new year high, which so far I only managed to catch in Vilnius.

Anna from Would Be Traveller – Athens, Greece

Fireworks bring in the new year in Athens, Greece

Most people consider Athens to be a summer destination, but it’s also the perfect place to bring in the new year.

For the party animals, there are celebrations happening in nightclubs and bars all over the city. But for everyone else, the real highlight is the spectacular fireworks display that lights up the Parthenon come midnight.

On December 31 2016, we were lucky enough to be staying at a hotel just a stone’s throw away from the foot of the Acropolis Hills. It even had a rooftop bar from which you could see the Parthenon. What better way to bring in the new year in Athens than with a view like this!

Food wise, most hotels and restaurants in the centre offer a set menu that you HAVE to book months in advance. New Year’s Eve meals can also be quite expensive, so my advice is to stock up on some bread, cheese and a bottle of wine and head somewhere for a picnic. The locals’ favourite spot is Lycabettus Hill – another vantage point that overlooks the Acropolis itself. If you think I’m mad to suggest a picnic in the middle of winter, that’s the beauty of doing New Year’s Eve in Athens. The weather is still warmer than the rest of Europe so you won’t be bringing in the new year with a bout of hypothermia either.

No matter how you choose to spend your New Year’s Eve in Athens, you’re sure to have a night you’ll remember forever!

Christabel from Where Is Bel – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Celebrations in Dubai, UAE

If you’re looking for a glitzy and glamorous way to ring in the New Year, then the Middle-Eastern metropolis of Dubai is the destination for you. Whether its watching an incredible display of world-famous fireworks bursting off the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, or lighting up the night sky over Palm Jumeirah island, Dubai’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are legendary and make for an unforgettable way to ring in the New Year.

While there are plenty of free areas such as City Walk, the Dubai Water Canal or the Palm Jumeirah boardwalk to watch the night’s fireworks, I’ve always enjoyed going to a sit down New Year’s Eve dinner with close friends and family – hotels on Sheikh Zayed Road like the Dusit Thani have great views of the Burj Khalifa from their restaurants.

Richa from My Ticklefeet – Sydney, Australia

World famous fireworks for Sydney's New Year

Sydney is famously known for its beautiful harbor setting and of course the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge. And this city knows how to bring in the New Year in style and grace. Every New Year’s Eve there are splendid fireworks that go off over Sydney’s Harbor Bridge. Depending on where you are witnessing this view from you can see the fireworks with a backdrop of the Opera House as well.

There are plenty of free vantage points to view these fireworks such as Circular Quay, Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay Botanical garden, Bradfield Park, Observatory Hill and many more. The only problem with these really popular spots is that they start filling up with crowd as early as the afternoon of December 31st. If you want to have a little picnic with friends and family before midnight fireworks then this is a perfect idea.

In my case, I didn’t want to spend 10 hours of the day waiting for midnight fireworks so we decided to give our luck a chance. We ended up stumbling upon a nice beach in Rosebay area. The spot was perfect because even though there were a lot of people, it wasn’t packed. And the feeling of warm waves rolling over your feet as you welcome the New Year watching incredible fireworks is something else.

Maria from 203 Travel Challenges  – Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia, the capital of the small Balkan state Bulgaria, will entertain you for New Year whether it be a traditional-styled tavern or a hipster bar with creatively presented cocktails. Reservations in advance are required for the most popular clubs and restaurants, although you should be able to sneak somewhere last minute as well.

If you don’t want to be confined by walls, join the happy crowd celebrating New Year at the central Alexander Battenberg Square where the Bulgarian National Television organizes a big free concert every year. Wine and beer are usually sold on the square and local musicians perform. When midnight strikes, a traditional Bulgarian dance, horo, is danced by all the people at the square. The steps are not too difficult to remember, so you can actually end up with a new dance on your skills list.

Madhurima from Orange Wayfarer – Kerala, India

New Year celebrations in Kerala, India

The Christmas holidays, had instilled the urge of travel in me since school days and the Bangalore resident in me seeks a quick gate-away to the wilderness of Kerala, the famed Ghats of Nilgiris as the festive season beckons.

The lush greenery of monsoon let the flowers bloom in full petal; Kerala welcomes the bright sun of December. It is indeed a pleasure to embark on the long journeys following the serpentine route to explore the Periyar reserve forest of Thekkady. You may also want to experience the waterborne lifestyle of Alappuzha, in the warmth of a guest house. I remember being in the middle of Vembanad lake, one of the largest lagoon in India, as the fireworks lit up the sky from the shore.

Kerala houses one of the oldest ethnic communities of Christians in India and Christmas is celebrated with much galore. In the small town of Kochi, the churches are decked up with colourful banners, lit up with neon bulb and traditional exotic dishes are served. Cake mixing and wine making are an art form in the state and adored by all the communities alike.

Kerala, being a dry state, procuring a bottle of alcoholic beverage could be a challenge. We remember the crowd that we had to fight! Also be weary of the tourist influx. All the holiday makers with family will flock to Kerala at the onset of Christmas holidays. That said, the off the beaten tracks of the mountain terrains and lesser explored coastal line are waiting to enchant you. And the ever smiling and helpful populace! Come winter, trust Kerala to take your breath away.

Luke from Backstreet Nomad – A Cruise Ship Deck, Caribbean Sea

New Years Eve at Sea

Last year, I spent New Years at sea on a cruise ship sailing the Caribbean. We hit islands like St Maarten, Barbados, St Lucia, and St Kitts, before hitting the decks for a floating New Years party.

It was a sea day so we spent the actual day part basking in the sun, reading swimming, exercising, eating at the buffet, and playing bingo. You know, normal cruise stuff.

The night began as a formal dress night at dinner followed by a broadway style show in the theatre. The party continued up on deck where a DJ was playing, lights were flashing, and cruisers of all ages danced by the poolside. Every square inch of deck seemed to be covered. The captain even joined in the festivities with an enthusiastic blast of the horn to signify midnight. The bar was the busiest I saw it and just because we were at sea was no excuse to avoid tacky novelty NYE items.

I love boats and cruising and this was an incredible way to bring in 2017.

Stefan from By Stefan Alexander – Toronto, Canada

Toronto's New Years Eve fireworks

Outside of Southern Ontario you wouldn’t think of visiting Toronto for its New Year’s Eve celebrations. However, it’s one of the best places in Canada if you want to party the night away and enjoy an incredible fireworks display in the city center.

A few hours before the clock strikes midnight it seems like the entire city converges onto Nathan Phillips Square. This is one of the biggest public squares in the city and thousands of people from all over Ontario make their way for the amazing light show.

Up until midnight there is a huge outdoor concert in the square with popular Canadian artists and musicians. As the countdown begins you can feel the energy from the enormous crowd as everybody starts counting down. At midnight the entire sky comes alive with fireworks and for nearly 20 minutes you’re bound to be staring up at the light show going on above you.

Afterwards, everybody makes their way to the various nightclubs and bars in the city for a few hours of partying before heading home for their first good night’s sleep in the new year. Despite all the crowds, Toronto is still an amazing place to be, to experience the New Year’s Eve festivities and to wander around the city one of the few nights during the year where everybody’s out all night long.

And my choice for New Year’s Eve?

Kirstin of the tinberry travels – Edinburgh, Scotland

Hogmanay in Edinburgh Scotland

Well, Scotland has so many New Year’s antics that it’s hard not to gush about it as the best place to”bring in the bells”. While it might be called New Year’s Eve everywhere else here in Scotland the last day of the year is known as Hogmanay and there is plenty of celebrating to be had! We take the New Year very seriously with a lot of partying, unique traditions and maybe a few too many whiskys. Edinburgh is of course a major Hogmanay destination and brings the crowds from the world over to enjoy the street party atmosphere, open air concerts and amazing fireworks over Edinburgh Castle! If you’re willing to brave the cold, there’s no place quite like it and you’re certainly in for a spectacular show. To mark the stroke of midnight Mons Meg – an ancient cannon – is fired from Edinburgh Castle before fireworks roar but this is a crowd participation event too as you’ll soon find yourself linked arms with a perfect stranger singing Auld Lang Syne. In Scotland, Hogmanay is all about friendship and even if you don’t join the big parties you’ll need to watch out for “first footers” where someone brings small gifts just after the bells to wish you well in the New Year.

Have you spent a New Years Eve in any of these destinations? Where do you thing is the best place to bring in the New Year?

Thanks to all our guest contributors for their great suggestions and images.

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With New Year fast approaching we asked fellow travel bloggers to share their favourite New Year's Eve celebrations. How many have you experienced? #NewYearsEve