This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you book or purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.New Year’s Eve is a popular time of year to travel. For most people, it’s the excitement of ringing in the New Year. While this is also the case for me, it’s one of my favorite times of year to travel because it’s my birthday. And, with the chaos of Christmas behind me, I can allow myself to relax and be free. But there’s always the question of where to go. Do you ever have a hard time deciding? This year I thought I would share unique New Year’s Eve getaways to inspire you with a few different ideas!
Fellow travel bloggers have shared their unique New Year’s Eve getaways with me along with their location-specific tips for planning your own New Year’s adventure. In no particular order, here are…
12 New Year’s Eve Getaways
1. Bingen, Germany
Photo by Lindsay from I’ve Been Bit
Nestled along the Rhine River are the beautiful towns of Bingen and Rüdesheim. While the latter is a hotspot for tourists, Bingen is kind of like the lesser-known cousin. It may not have the famous Drosselgasse, but Bingen has the advantage of its tall hillside – perfect for viewing the fireworks on New Year’s Eve!
One thing I learned from experiencing a Bingen NYE is that the Germans sure love their fireworks. Bingen and Rüdesheim take turns hosting the fireworks and while it’ll be beautiful no matter who hosts it, the citizens of Bingen like to extend the show with their own fireworks…so settle in for an hour-long show!
See more from Lindsay at I’ve Been Bit
2. New York City
You might be thinking New York City isn’t a unique location, but actually, it is solely based on the fact that it’s the most famous place to ring in the New Year. In 2017 an estimated 2 million people gathered in Times Square to watch the iconic ball drop!
Hosted for years by Dick Clark and now hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the annual event is televised and features an array of celebrity talent. There’s great anticipation from the moment the ball is raised at 6 pm and that anticipation builds with each passing hour. Every hour there is a small fireworks celebration giving you a hint of what’s to come.
Finally, the countdown to the new year starts and the ball makes its slow 60-second descent. When the clock strikes midnight there is a huge fireworks celebration and an unfathomable amount of confetti is dropped over the crowd and it travels for miles!
I got the chance to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square and I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!
3. Bologna, Italy
Photo by Laura from The Travelling Stomach
Bologna is heaven for foodies and with New Year’s Eve an opulent celebration, what else to do but enjoy the best the city has to offer! After a morning of sightseeing, find your way to one of the city’s many wine bars or restaurants to explore the many gastronomic delights.
Namesake to the world’s most famous pasta dish, enjoy a truly traditional bowl of Bolognese (served with tagliatelle, of course!) or a regional classic, Tortellini in Brodo (meat-filled pasta in broth), or both…
Away from food, Bologna has one of the best New Year’s Eve events in Italy – the traditional burning of the “Vecchione”. Around the center the streets will be buzzing, the bars spilling out and music playing everywhere.
See more from Laura at The Travelling Stomach
4. Muscat, Oman
Photo by Rahma from The Sane Adventurer
Muscat the capital city of Oman is a small coastal city famous for its natural diversity and cultural heritage. Unlike its “more happening” neighbor Dubai, New Year celebrations in Muscat are calmer and less exciting for the party lovers. However, the city has its own unique ways to welcome the New Year.
The Love of Omanis for cars cannot be doubted and that’s exactly how the Omani youth of Muscat celebrates the New Year-through a huge car rally party! The seafront party district of Al-Shatti in Muscat is jam-packed with a fleet of luxury cars on the New Year’s Eve buzzing with Arabic tunes and people singing and dancing while dangling from the car windows. And as the clock strikes midnight, there is a spectacular show of fireworks as well. Do not expect the Burj Khalifa sort of fireworks in Muscat as these might be less exciting but definitely worth watching!
Read more about visiting Oman in winter from Rahma at The Sane Adventurer
5. Budapest, Hungary
Photo by Cris from LooknWalk
Budapest is known as an incredible party destination. Festivals and concerts happen year-round. But New Year’s Eve can be quite a special time to visit Hungary’s capital.
What should you do? Party on the streets. Known places for amazing parties outdoors are at Nyugati tér, Oktogon and Vörösmarty tér. There are firework displays organized in each location and the music doesn’t stop until the early morning hours.
How about something special to do that you can only do in Budapest? Walk on Chain Bridge! It is closed for car traffic in the hours leading to midnight. You can stick around to watch the fireworks from various locations. The best part is that you can see both Buda and Peste side.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been fireworks displays organized by the city in recent years. So you are stuck with outdoor parties or private parties (which are plentiful, too).
Read more about visiting Budapest in the winter from Cris at LooknWalk
6. Sydney, Australia
Photo by Jolene from Mum Knows Best
Sydney Harbour is Australia’s best spot to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This is where multi-million dollar fireworks and Australia’s best light shows take place. Both the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge put on a sensational spectacle. This is the show that you will remember forever!
Make sure to book your accommodation in Sydney well ahead of time! Thousands of tourists and locals storm the grounds all around the harbour in order to get the best viewing spot. You can avoid the crowds by getting a more private view from one of the surrounding hotels.
Yes, you will spend top dollar for the best view here, but it will be worth it! We stayed at Holiday Inn Old Sydney and our hotel rate included a New Year’s Eve dinner and a drink at the rooftop bar whilst watching the fireworks.
See more from Jolene at Mum Knows Best
7. Shillong, India
Photo by Madhurima from Orange Wayfarer
Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, a predominantly Christian state of Northeastern India has been celebrating NYE since the early days of the eighteenth century. The missionaries came along and brought in scriptures and faith in Christ for the countless mountain tribes. The new year’s traditions in Meghalaya is a mix of local myriad customs alongside the more “globalised version”!
Shillong has a unique scene of rock music in India and rightly called the rock capital of India. Do watch the Bollywood movie Rock on 2 to know the music frenzy. The music selection by a cabbie will astound you in Shillong, which is also fondly named as the Scotland of the east by the British for its unbound nature and highlands touching the horizon!
I spent NYE 2017 in Shillong! I was a bit skeptical since the party scene in Bangalore, Mumbai or Goa catches way more attention in media and is showcased in social media while Shillong seemed to be a small town. Boy, had I many pleasant surprises in store!
Shillong decks up for Christmas holidays with plenty of neon lights and colourful stars. The old colonial mansions are a sight to behold, still attesting to the British heritage. The bustling downtown Police Bazar is all decked up. The famous hotels host parties where who’s who of the local entertainment industry will visit and sing and dance till the drop of the ball. But above all, celebrate the spirit of music in Shillong for a New Year’s Party!
Read more about visiting Shillong from Madhurima at Orange Wayfarer
8. Reykjavik, Iceland
Photo by Stephanie from Road Unraveled
Huddling close to the bonfire, watching fireworks explode over my head felt like a fairytale—and that is exactly what New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik, Iceland has to offer. Icelanders take the new year seriously, starting with several large bonfires throughout the city.
Bonfires signify “burning out” the old year. Locals once burned the belongings they didn’t want to take into the new year. While most people no longer burn their possessions, they do use bonfires to bring communities together and light the way into the new year. With numerous bonfires in Reykjavik, you’ll have your choice as to which to visit—but ask for some local advice. Many people have favorite bonfires and can tell you what makes each a unique experience.
Read more about NYE in Reykjavik from Stephanie at Road Unraveled
9. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Photo by Halef from The Round the World Guys
Joining the New Year’s Eve celebration in Rio de Janeiro is one of the top events you should experience for yourself. The celebration is centered at Copacabana Beach. The world-famous horseshoe-shaped beach frames the harbor for a spectacular fireworks display from the floating boats in the center.
Read more about NYE in Rio de Janeiro from Halef at The Round the World Guys
10. Porto, Portugal
Photo by Stephanie from Road Unraveled
If an evening of sipping port and watching fireworks sounds like a wonderful way to ring in the new year, Porto is a terrific—if not slightly unexpected—destination. Located in northern Portugal, Porto is best known for gorgeous bridges and tasty, sweet port wine. It’s also home to a spirited outdoor New Year’s Eve party and some outstanding spots to watch their fireworks display!
Many of Porto’s wine cellars are open on New Year’s Eve, and enjoying a few tastings is a relaxing way to spend the final hours of the year. After the wine cellars close in the evening, make your way uphill to the historic Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, a monastery overlooking the Douro River and the Luis I Bridge. You’ll have a front-row seat to the spectacular fireworks display in the distance, and it is a wonderful spot for Instagram-worthy pictures.
The combination of wine, architecture, and traditional New Year’s Eve festivities is perfected in Porto, and you may want to add the city’s annual party to your travel list year after year!
Read more about NYE in Porto from Stephanie at Road Unraveled
11. Edinburgh, Scotland
Photo by Emma at Travelface Blog
New Years at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations is the best. As one of the largest New Year’s festivals in the world, with over 150,000 people attending, there are plenty of events over three days. This includes Concert in the Park with Franz Ferdinand headlining this year, and the Street Party, which I attended.
If you are going to pick one event, this one should be it, but be sure to book in advance as tickets often sell out. With music, food, and drink to keep you busy, it is literally a party along the streets of Edinburgh, topped off with a magical firework display over Edinburgh Castle. We also managed to watch the torchlight procession whilst at the party, which is an atmospheric start to New Year’s Eve.
Plus there is the bonus of the Edinburgh Christmas Market still being in full swing, so there is plenty to do. Just be sure to also factor in some time exploring Edinburgh’s many sights.
See more from Emma at Travelface Blog
12. Berlin, Germany
Photo by Abi from Happy Go Abi
Explosive. Legendary. There really are no better words to describe spending New Year’s Eve (Silvester) in Berlin!
What makes it such a perfect place to ring in the new year? Berlin’s Silvester Party is one of Europe’s largest open-air parties. Every year it draws nearly one million people to Brandenburg Gate to join in the festivities!
With live performances from German and international musicians, light shows, and DJ sets, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. And at midnight on the dot, the spectacular firework show begins. Stunning, beautiful, and explosive—you will feel as if you are right underneath the fireworks as they spread across the sky!
After the fireworks, the party kicks off again and goes well into the morning hours—it doesn’t officially end until 3 am! So if you’re looking for a social place to spend New Year’s Eve in a grand and magnificent style (and with a million of your closest friends), then Berlin’s Silvester Party is the place for you.See more from Abi at Happy Go Abi
Not sure about you, but I think those are some pretty spectacular celebrations and my bucket list just grew by a few! 😉
Where is the best place you have spent New Year’s Eve? Where are you going this year? I’m always looking for new places to celebrate my birthday!
‘Til next time…