With Christmas fast-approaching, it’s easy to get swept away in yuletide cheer; planning your Christmas Day and getting engrossed in last minute gift shopping. Before you know it, the big day’s been and gone and you find yourself in the ‘Crimbo Limbo’, having forgotten to make any plans for New Year’s Eve. Well, let this year be different. Ever fancied going to a new and exciting city to see in the New Year? If so, now’s the time to start planning. I’ve done some of the groundwork for you, so here’s my list of the best cities in Europe to spend New Year’s Eve.
1) Berlin, Germany
Berlin is home to nightlife that rivals all others around the world, so it’s no wonder that a New Year’s Eve spent here will be one you’ll never forget. No matter what your taste, you’ll find something going on to suit your party style, whether that’s a swanky cocktail bar or a pumping techno dance club. But of course, the most popular place to see in the New Year in this vibrant city is at the iconic Brandenburg Gate. You’ll find no end of fun and entertainment going on around here, from live music and party tents to laser shows and a whole host of mouth-watering food stalls; all rounded off with a spectacular fireworks display.
2) Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has got to be one of the most incredible cities to visit for New Year, albeit a touch on the chilly side, which I found out! But hey, that just adds to the festive vibes. Weather aside, there’s such an incredible atmosphere in the city, with so many magical places to celebrate the turn of a new year. Head to the picturesque Old Town Square and join the other partygoers enjoying the live entertainment and buzzing Christmas market stalls. Or make your way to Charles Bridge and find the perfect spot to watch the numerous fireworks displays going off around the castle and river. In fact, going back to the weather, it actually started snowing just as the clock struck midnight when i went, making the whole experience all the more special.
3) Funchal, Madeira
Now, Funchal might not spring to mind straight away when you’re thinking of European city breaks, especially for New Year, but let me tell you why it should. The capital city of the island of Madeira; Funchal sure knows how to put on an unforgettable fireworks display. So good, in fact, that in 2006 it was recognised by the Guinness World Records as being the biggest in the world! Impressive, right? Madeira has a lovely, mild temperature year-round, so you could turn your short break into a bit more of a holiday and explore the rest of the island too. Alternatively, you could take a look at cruises that visit Madeira and take in the sight of the famous fireworks from the comfort of your ship in the port of Funchal.
4) Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is a great place to visit at any time of year, but even more so during the chilly winter months, for a couple of reasons. If you choose to spend New Year’s Eve here, you’ll be in for a treat when all the locals come together to put on the most wonderful fireworks display for the whole city to enjoy. There are no official displays in Reykjavik, so the friendly Icelanders have taken it upon themselves to put on their own impressive show. Near enough the whole population of the city lets off their own fireworks (approximately 500 tonnes of them!) as a way to bring in the New Year with a bang. And of course, there’s a pretty good chance of seeing the incredible Northern Lights at this time of year too.
5) Lisbon, Portugal
Ever-increasing in popularity, Lisbon is one of the most desirable cities to visit in Europe, as well as one of the hottest. That’s not to say it’ll be scorching at New Year, but certainly milder than most places, so you’ll still get to show off your best party outfit. The streets of Lisbon become one giant party over New Year, but the main place to head to is the Festa Ano Novo (or New Year Party) on Terreiro do Paço (Praça do Comércio). From here, you’ll be in a prime position to watch all the incredible fireworks over the river, as well as enjoy all the live music and entertainment that takes place throughout the evening. And what’s more? It’s all free!
6) Stockholm, Sweden
Parties on New Year’s Eve in Stockholm tend to be more centred on locals spending time with family and friends, as opposed to big, open street celebrations. But it’s still a magical place to be at this time of year. Picture a traditional snowy scene on the front of a Christmas card and that’ll give you an idea of what Stockholm looks like in the glistening snow. Restaurants put on special menus for New Year’s Eve diners, so book ahead at the one that takes your fancy. Then wrap up warm and walk off dinner with a leisurely stroll around the narrow, cobbled streets of Gamla Stan, before being joined by the locals who all come out to watch the midnight fireworks over the water.
7) Paris, France
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway with that someone special and a celebration that you’ll never forget, then a trip to Paris to see in the New Year could be just what you’re looking for. Dine at a boutique restaurant before sipping cocktails at a chic bar and then finding a late-night club to party into the early hours of the New Year. Or for the ultimate New Year’s Eve experience, book onto a luxurious river cruise with dinner along the Seine, with beautiful bridges, colourful fireworks and the unmistakable illuminations of the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop. Now, I don’t want to put any ideas in people’s heads, but if there’s ever a time and a place to pop ‘the question’…
Have you ever considered a city break to celebrate New Year’s Eve? Where would you most like to hear the clock strike midnight? Let me know in the comments below.