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
You might also like: LUXURY ACCOMMODATIONS: 15 FIRST CLASS HOTELS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
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.
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…
Leave a Reply - I Love Comments!
Kayla Marie says
I wish I could be in one of these places for New Years! I think Brazil would be my first choice if money didn’t matter.
Hi Kayla-I know, right?? I would love to go there or Sydney for NYE! Thanks for reading! 🙂
I admit to being something of a homebody at New Year – we go out for a curry, and then back to catch the London fireworks on the TV – in the warm with champagne in hand! But some of these certainly look tempting – thanks for compiling a great list!
Hi Emmalene-You aren’t alone, a lot of people do this and it can be a great way to do it if it’s cold and you don’t feel like traveling or getting out! Thanks for reading! 🙂
I’ve spent NYE in more cities than I can remember and I found the only two that did it really well were Sydney (#6) and Hong Kong. While I haven’t spent it at any of the other places on this list, I’m pretty content to say that the celebrations in Sydney are the best in the world. Although I’m probably biased, being from there 😉
Hi Zac-Sydney is definitely high on my bucket list for NYE. I’ve been to Hong Kong and I loved it there. I think it would make an excellent place for NYE too. Do they do fireworks? If so where do they shoot them off? Thanks for reading! 🙂
Lola La Paz says
All of these places add something extra to the Christmas spirit but I would love to settle myself with a bottle of red wine at the Piazza Maggiore. Sounds amazing to witness this and sounds also really cozy to just sit there with a group of friends or just my partner and enjoy the festivities.
Hi Lola-Yep, totally agree…Sounds wonderful! Thanks for reading! 🙂
I usually stay home for New Years as I can’t handle the crowds, but Bologna sounds like an interesting place for a New Year celebration 🙂 I like visiting places that are known for their delicious food. I’ve also never heard of the Vecchione. Would love to see that as it’s something different from the tradition fireworks.
Hi Candy-I found Vecchione interesting as well! I’m not a huge crowd person either…we got around that in NYC thankfully. But I make exceptions for exceptional events and places sometimes…that bucket list gets me every time! 😉 Thanks for reading! 🙂
AMBER TATTON says
This is such a great list – I loved Bologna but I went int he summer. I bet it would have been lovely. I have just left India and had heard some great stories about new year in Bangalore but sounds like you had a blast in 2017 in Shillong. Bet there were many many sweets!
Hi Amber-Actually it’s a collab post so there are a lot of places on here that are on my bucket list too. But I can tell you NYC is a blast for NYE! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Melody Pittman says
I go through phases where I want to go big for New Years and then some years I just want to be low key. These are great suggestions. I hope to spend at least one of mine in Red Square. 😉
Hi Melody-And I think that just might be the perfect balance!! Oh my goodness…Red Square, hello! PERFECT suggestion and now on my bucket list. How did I miss that one in my brain seeing as though I’ve been there? FACE. PALM. Thanks for adding a place to my list and for reading! 🙂
Astrid Vinje says
It’s cliche, but I’ve always wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve in New York City. But I know that it gets super cold there! This year we’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve in Mexico City, and hopefully it won’t be too cold. Maybe I should look into celebrating in Sydney, like you suggest in your post.
Hi Astrid-NYC for NYE is amazing! I did it two years ago and hands down, one of the best experiences of my life. I did it a literally differently from my hotel room and right outside my hotel so I didn’t have to stand out in the crowd. I also love cold weather so I’m a bit weird 😉 Mexico City will be exciting, would love to know how that goes! Sydney is absolutely on my bucket list. Thanks for reading! 🙂
The Travel Bunny says
Oh, I was hoping you’d add Paris by the time I reached the end of the post. 🙁 That’s where I’ll be for New Year’s. I’ll just have to make better plans next time :))
Hi Mirela-I wanted to add Paris and I actually had someone who would have submitted Paris and she lives there. But they don’t do anything over the Eiffel Tower if you can believe that. She said there’s other cool things that go on but she didn’t have pics of them. But I wanted Paris and I think it will be cool to be there then for NYE and still all the Christmas stuff. Have a great time and thanks for reading! 🙂
I love all the options for celebrating New Year’s Eve. I can tell you Dubai’s New Year Eve on world’s tallest building is also marvelous and world famous. I loved the Iceland concept as it sounds very unique by burning out the old.
Hi Yukti-I would love to spend NYE in Dubai (and go there period). I was looking for that as a submission. If you’ve been there and spent NYE there I would love to have that for my list next year. NYE is my birthday so I’m always going to compile a list! And right?? I think Iceland has it going on in so many ways! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Mei and Kerstin says
Seriously, we NEED to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Sydney someday! It’s been on our bucket list forever, but the problem is that we can’t afford to travel to the other side of the world during the short holidays at the end of the year! :'( Still, we’ll try!!! And in the meanwhile, we’ll definitely check out the other destinations mentioned in your post. We had no idea that they do the Vecchione in New Year’s Eve! We have a similar custom here in Luxembourg, but we celebrate it in February at the end of winter. 🙂
Hi Mei and Kerstin-I know, I’m just like you…I’m trying so hard to get to Sydney for NYE but it isn’t a great time for my husband to travel, but I will get there eventually! Interesting you do something similar to the Vecchione and at the end of winter, but that makes sense too! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Jenn and Ed Coleman says
I love the bonfire traditions of Iceland. That seems like a perfect way to celebrate a new beginning. We are going to be in Citizen Itzin this year, probably going to be early so we can wake up and watch the dawn of a new year rising over the park.
Hi Jenn and Ed-That sounds like a great way to ring in the New Year! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Usually, if I go anywhere it’s Paris at this time of year, but I am not one to celebrate NYE. I do like Porto a lot and think the idea of doing NYE would be fun. My birthday is close to the 1st so I am usually thinking about what restaurant I want to treat myself to at this time of year!
Hi Andi-Cool! When is your birthday? Mine is NYE! Thanks for reading! 🙂
I’d like to see the New Year’s Eve celebration in Sydney. Having a chance to photograph the iconic Opera House with fireworks would be a real treat, but I would definitely go for a splurge on a near-by hotel and a room with a view. I know I don’t want to fight the crowds at one of the public viewing areas.
Hi Ann-Girl, you and me both!! Totally would want to go the hotel with a view route as well. We did this for NYE in NYC. We wanted to watch the ball drop but not stand 11-12 hours with hundreds of thousands of people without access to food and restrooms! But, an absolute dream of mine is to photograph the fireworks over the Opera House! Thanks for reading!
Juliann Jones says
What a great collection of NYE celebrations, Heather! Watching the ball drop in NYC is the only item that has never moved off my bucket list. I still want to do that one year. But now I also really want to go to Bologna and Sydney, too. I get so focused on New York every NYE; I forget there’s a whole world out there!
Hi Juliann-New Year’s in NYC is absolutely awesome! It was a huge bucket list item of mine for so long and it didn’t disappoint. I would even like to do it again. But I really want to do Sydney too! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Love this list! Sadly this year I will probably be spending NYE watching TV at home lol.. as I’ve got to work that day and then again early the next morning. Wahhh. But one year I’d LOVE to do hogamany for NYE in Scotland! Maybe next year if I’m lucky 🙂 Hope you have a happy New Year’s!!
Hi Sarah-That stinks but I’ve had years like that too! I would like to do Hogmanay too one year, but my biggest desire is to be in Sydney to see the fireworks (and photograph them) over the Opera House! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Cat Lin says
I used to live in NYC but I never went to the NYE countdown in Time Square! I bet it was quite an experience to see it live. But every time I thought about the toilet situation, I gave up lol. I would love to go back and share a room from a nearby hotel (with a view!) with a group of friends though!
Hi Cat, Yes! I highly recommend doing that because you can stay out of the crowd in your warm hotel room chatting it up with your friends (toilet, food, TV right there) and then walk outside and watch the ball drop and have the confetti land all around (and on) you. It’s magical! I totally want to do it again! Thanks for reading! 🙂
The Intellectual Dubai says
New Year EVE at Dubai was phenomenal and better than others. World’s Tallest Building presented a best Fire Works Show even better than Darling Harbour Australia.
Hi! Yes, Dubai is also somewhere I would like to visit for NYE, or really just in general. The architecture and buildings are beautiful and it’s definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for reading! 🙂
Victoria Botka Williams says
We live in Southern CA, and after many years of working on the Rose Parade for TV, we never went to a party. After I quit working the Parade, we started our tradition of traveling somewhere different each year for NYE. We’ve done the free concerts in the park, to a black tie gala…here’s a few of our NYE’s….
San Francisco – cozy dinner in the city, music at The Mark and brunch NY morning
Rome — Mass at the Vatican, then gourmet dinner/fireworks at hotel right above Spanish Steps
London – cozy dinner then out with the crowd in St James Park (actually the secret place since not tons of people) watching fireworks
Quebec City – black tie gala in Chateau Frontenac, then next day (when everything was closed) dog sledding!! Awesome
Nashville, TN – nice early dinner with some dancing, then change into jeans and join the awesome country natives for free Styx and Keith Urban concert!
Alabama – family NYE then next day and night Biltmore estate in NC
Still deciding where to go this year!
Hi Victoria-That’s quite an impressive list. I like that you’ve spent NYE in Alabama! I used to live in Southern CA -Pasadena as a matter of fact and would walk up to the parade you worked on for so many years from my house! Thanks for reading! 🙂