7 Ideas for Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Europe

Unexpected destinations and ideas for celebrating New Year's Eve.

Berlin, Prague, and London are well-known. That’s why this year, something different is proposed, such as ice skating on Amsterdam’s canals or hot springs in Reykjavik.

Edinburgh, Scotland

3 days of Celtic-style fun.

Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. Its historical architecture creates a fairy-tale backdrop for Scottish revelry. And Scots love and know how to party. Thus, the New Year’s greeting lasts not one, but three days. The Hogmanay festival starts with a torchlight procession, featuring many street events and open-air concerts, including Kelidh – a traditional Celtic party, and the midnight fireworks show climax. Several tons of fireworks explode over Edinburgh Castle! And everyone in the streets sings “Auld Lang Syne,” an old Scottish song.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

New Year’s ice skating.

The city, known for its liberalism, is so calm and beautiful that almost half of it is listed as UNESCO World Heritage. The same can be expected on New Year’s Eve: historic streets decorated with lights (including the spectacular festival of lights with installations throughout the city) and many cheerful people on the streets will immediately put you in a good mood. And when the weather is cold (read: frosty), you can spend the whole night on skates, beloved by the Dutch. A large ice rink operates from November to February at Museum Square, where a Christmas market and a New Year’s party take place.

Hamburg, Germany

Happy city.

Hamburg is often mistakenly overlooked. The city is considered one of the best places to live in many rankings. Reasons? Access to water thanks to the Elbe and Alster rivers, as well as the proximity to the Baltic and North Seas, a large number of parks, lots of romantic atmospheric architecture (and recently modern), small charming cafes and boutiques, and – not least – open and warm-hearted people. On New Year’s Eve, walk through the famous Elbe Tunnel and stop at the port opposite the city when fireworks launch at midnight. By the way, you can also see the spectacular Elbe Philharmonic, standing on the Elbe (unfortunately, tickets for the New Year’s concert are long sold out).

Madeira, Portugal

The best fireworks show.

Located in the Atlantic, Madeira is the perfect place to spend New Year’s. In January, temperatures reach even plus 20 degrees Celsius, which is a good (read: warm) change for the sub-zero weather in Russia. And it is here that one of the best fireworks shows in the world is held every year. For about 10 minutes, the sky shines and is painted in all the colors of the rainbow because lights flash simultaneously in different parts of the island. Most of the action is in the capital – Funchal, where the funniest party takes place, attended by Portuguese and people from all over the world.

Vienna, Austria

Classical and elegant.

This atmospheric city is famous for the luxurious imperial New Year’s Ball at the Hofburg Palace and “Die Fledermaus,” traditionally performed by Johann Strauss at this time. But the city experiences many unusual things. The famous Viennese Christmas markets turn into New Year’s markets, and hundreds of thousands of tourists wander the so-called New Year’s Trail from the center through Rathausplatz to Prater from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Along the route, there are many punch, food, and sweets kiosks. Dance schools offer free dance courses, including waltzes. On New Year’s morning, everyone traditionally gathers at the city hall for the “Hangover Breakfast” and together watches the New Year’s concert of the Vienna Philharmonic, broadcasted on a big screen.

Barcelona, Spain

For party-goers and… skaters. Barcelona doesn’t sleep on New Year’s Eve.

Until midnight at Plaza Catalunya, Las Ramblas, and Plaza Reial, a crowd sings and dances, sipping champagne and counting down the minutes to the New Year. Fireworks light up the sky on the other end of Barceloneta Beach. At this time, it’s recommended to be on the pier, where the best view opens. If you are a big fan of ice skating, indulge your passion at one of the largest rinks in Europe, in the center of Hospitalet del Llobregat. It’s also recommended to stay in Barcelona for a few days and see the colorful Three Kings parade.

Reykjavik, Iceland

At (hot) springs.

Icelanders believe that only by burning last year’s problems can you guarantee that the next year will be successful. For this occasion, real bonfires are lit throughout the city, and fireworks light up the sky from all corners of the city. People dressed as elves and trolls wander the streets, sing folk songs, and throw out smoking pipes. At 5 a.m., everyone heads for hot dogs and to the hot baths – there’s nothing better after such a night than to plunge into pleasantly warm water. You can also spend the last New Year’s Eve in hot water – 45 minutes from Reykjavik is the “smoking valley” – Reykjadalur, where a wonderful hot river flows (you head to Hveragerdi, from where you reach the place in about an hour).


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