13 Unique Places to Celebrate New Year’s Eve

Madeira, Portugal

Funchal the capital of the Region of Madeira hosts one of the biggest firework displays in the world, even bigger than London’s, Sydney’s & New York’s, seriously who would have expected that? Funchal is closer to Africa than to Europe, a 1 hour and 45 minutes flight from the Portuguese capital Lisbon. Famous for its all year round beach parties, seafood extravaganza, and unforgettable celebrations of New Year’s.

5279479131_7225d8c77d_zPhoto by Porto Bay Events

Cape Town, South Africa (loudest)

Some people hate cold winters, therefore Cape Town could be the perfect escape, with temperatures varying between 20 to 25C. Aside from fireworks shows and usual New Year’s bing bang happening on December 31st, on January the 2nd of each year a parade known as Cape Minstrel Carnival “Tweede Nuwe Jaar” (second new year) runs throughout the day with up to 13000 musical troupes dressed in colorful costumes marching & performing around the city. Cape Town homes a variety of outdoors activities & extreme sports such as -but not limited to- shark cage diving, the highest bungee jumping in the world, hiking, skydiving, abseiling and much more.

6620447315_c3b04fedf8_zPhoto by Damien du Toit

Edinbrugh, Scotland (most traditional)

“Hogmanay” as weird as it sounds, that’s the way Scots celebrate the last day of the year. One of the most unique longstanding traditions, during that day a famous people book well in advance to be dressed as Vikings and roam around the city carrying torchlights to illuminate the city, some others compete at the Loony Dook, this is where people compete to plunge into freezing waters, in addition to fireworks shows.

79066793_6f26ce1ab6_zPhoto by Katherine

Niagara Falls, Canada

Be ready for a very cold night at Queen Victoria Park, this is actually the busiest time for Niagra Falls, party-goers gather around to watch two sets of fireworks, one that fires at 9 pm so kids can watch, and another at midnight with around 30000 spectator, with live music & ice rinks. Clifton Hill Amusement Park is another option for a different set of activities; Niagra Skywheel, Glow in the Dark Mini Golf, and Dinosaur Park. Those who cannot stand cold can always stay indoors to enjoy their night at one of Niagra’s Casinos, namely Casino Niagra & Niagra Fallsview Casino Resort.


Madrid, Spain (for the active ones)

That’s an event that is only suitable & entertaining to the active ones, those who want to send the year off with a 5KM run. People dressed in costumes gather at the city center to start their running competition from San Silvestre, and the spectacle cheers for them. Afterwards runners refill their tanks with tapas, paella, cocktails, and all sorts of Spanish delicacies.

387492219_220e71f529_zPhoto by hoteldephil

Koh Phangan Island, Thailand (moonlight party)

Take off your heavy coat, your pair of boots and pack your hippiest set of swim-suits and flip flops, and get yourself ready for a beach party New Year’s celebration. Koh Phangan island is famous for full moon parties and festive year round atmosphere, loaded with beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and palm trees. Haad Rin is the party center, however you’ll find a party on each and every beach, just make sure to book ahead of time as it’s difficult to get in or around without booking well in advance.

2014-11-17_1310Photo by Matteo Pieroni

Hong Kong, China

Celebrates New Year’s at the Chinese version of Times Square 13 hours before New York with a replica ball drop at midnight, fireworks shooting off from almost every skyscraper in a certain harmony, the biggest party is at Victoria Harbour, and the best way to watch fireworks is from a boat. Make sure to party hard in one of the bars or clubs at Lan Kwai Fong district.

11754888555_86c1c76c2d_zPhoto by Colin Tsoi

St. Petersburg, Russia

Literally freezing, but totally worth freezing for, so make sure to be equipped. Celebrating New Year’s at St. Petersburg is like a fairytale, bridges and boulevards are all covered in snow, and illuminated by holiday lights. The “happening” is at Hermitage museum area, fireworks are shot over partially frozen Neva River, and paper lanterns are sent up into the sky as the clock ticks 12.

4234963448_f07fe2131a_zPhoto by Jonas Forth

Sydney, Australia

Staying festive over the course of 24 hours straight, Sydney is the first major city to celebrate New Year’s, exactly like Niagra falls, two stunning sets of fireworks are shot one at 9 pm and the second at midnight, with more than a million attendees, air and water shows, and the Harbour of Light Parade.

2014-11-17_1338Photo by Christopher Chan

Berlin, Germany

Berlin has a worldwide reputation as a “Party City”, New Year’s known as Silvester in German is celebrated with live music performances, food and drinks all along the “Party Mile”. Stunning fireworks are also shot at midnight & best views are offered over the top of one of their famous dance clubs.

6609749337_775eb8effd_z Photo by Spreng Ben

Dubai, U.A.E.

Another escape from freezing winters, Dubai is fast becoming a top travel destination. On New Year’s eve the city of Dubai displays an amazing fireworks show coming out from each of Burj Khalifa’s 160 stores, with over 2 million people watching, but that’s not it, laser, fire, water and music shows take place for 4 hours straight around the Dubai Fountain.

8331574429_e17a91025d_zBurj Khalifa’s fireworks by nthy ramanujam

Las Vegas, U.S.A.

Sin city as widely known, and the party capital of the world. Festive all year round, however New Year’s Eve is a totally different story. The Las Vegas Strip -Boulevard- is where all casinos and hotels are is closed for traffic on that day. Mind-boggling street parties, shows and concerts are taking place everywhere. Fireworks are shot off from the roofs of seven different hotels and casinos, and are better watched from any of the club’s rooftop. Needless to say how important it is to book way in advance, to guarantee yourself a place in a club or a bar that are usually closed right after midnight for pre-reservations only.

6508670201_7f95b2047c_zSin city at night by Photo Dean

London, U.K.

London is the perfect destination for sightseeing, shopping, spending Christmas, & above all celebrating New Year’s. Celebration starts around 9 pm around River Thames with loud music playing and people dancing their hearts out. The countdown starts, at the count of 1 fireworks are come out of Big Ben & London Eye, make sure to arrive as early as you can to get the best views, and for after hours partying book ahead.

11683195295_c6bfcbf9e3_zFireworks coming out of London Eye by Lynda

Our Readers Comments

  1. thank you passainte ur always do the best to make us get interesting . really great work

    • I was at the “Millenium” New Year’s party at the Pyramids watching Jean Michel Jarre- THE most memorable yet. Cape Town is DEFINITELY amazing and worth visiting….

      • Ohhh, I wasn’t, my parents won’t let me go…
        cannot agree more :)

  2. Good morning Passainte. wish u`ve a great day

  3. I’ll be in Cairo for this New Year. What special things will be happening here?

    • Doing my research now, will let you know once I get all info 😉
      Have a safe trip 😀

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