Although I love to travel, I’ve always been home for the holidays. I love spending Christmas with my family, but I wouldn’t mind ringing in the New Year at some exotic, warm location.
To gather some inspiration I decided to ask some fellow travel bloggers about their experiences celebrating the New Year abroad.
Did they miss a spot I should definitely check out on the edge of December 31/January 1? Let me know in the comments!
New Year on the Spanish mainland
“It’s commonly accepted that Spanish people know how to party. New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja) celebrations are not a exception. Until midnight, everybody tend to stay at home, have dinner with their relatives or friends and get ready for a big night out. When midnight arrives, it is traditional to eat 12 grapes, one on each stroke of the clock to bring good luck for the New Year and with the 12th and last one, the party kicks off!
Throughout the whole country, there are huge parties in the street, hotels and clubs everywhere. But, unless you are in Puerta del Sol, Madrid, celebrating the event with thousands of people; don’t expect anyone in the streets until 12.30 or 1 am. Then, think of Spanish timing. Parties usually go on until the sun goes up or much longer. Although we’d recommend you head home for lunch next day. Staying longer is a bit useless.”
New Year in New York City
“It’s a bucket list item, New Year’s Eve in New York. During our nomadic travels we spent 2012/2013 on Times Square in New York. Instead of opting to sit on the streets for 8+ hours we decided on attending the AMC New Years Eve party. AMC Empire 25 is a large cinema complex. There were 6 floors of theaters, all playing movies throughout. Our ticket allowed access to a balcony to view the ball drop. It also included a buffet, open bar and movies playing all night long in 25 cinemas, free with popcorn, cookies & brownies, oh and did I mention drinks? Live DJ’s pulled in tunes for us to dance the night away. I will remember it fondly forever. Happy 2014!”
New Year in Stockholm
“My favorite city in the world is Stockholm and so when I lived there in the winter of 2010 aka Ice Age, I celebrated New Year’s Eve in style! I threw a dinner party in my apartment and after that we headed to the city to watch the fireworks. If you’re in Stockholm for New Year, the best place to watch the fireworks is up the hill in the Stockholm Observatory. It’s not as crowded as Sodermalm and it’s just magical to see the beautiful rooftops of Stockholm and the fireworks at the same time.”
New Year in Sydney
“This past New Years I was in Sydney to watch the fireworks, the dancing and the general partying that accompanies one of the earliest major New Year’s celebrations on the blog. Sydneyians really know how to do it right! This is a major event with hotel rooms significantly more expensive in and near Circle Quay and Darling Harbor. The coveted spots are from boats in the harbor where you can see the fireworks exploding over the famous Sydney Opera house and generally lighting up much of the downtown. Fireworks are even shot off of some of the city’s tallest buildings! I ended up finding a patch of grass near the Botanical gardens and watching the “kiddie” fireworks at 9 pm – falling asleep and then waking up to the booms and cheers as the main event unfolded.”
New Year in Paris
“My wife and I were visiting Europe one winter and by chance we were in Paris on New Year’s eve. So we bundled up and headed to the Eiffel Tower to see the fireworks. We left extra early to give us a better chance to get a good spot. The crowds started to gather as midnight approached. People started counting down… 3…2…1… and nothing. That’s when we discovered that Paris doesn’t do fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Even though it was an hour walk from the Eiffel Tower, we decided to walk back to our hotel instead of taking the crowded Metro. I don’t think New Year’s gets any better than walking through the streets of Paris after midnight.”
New Year in Brazil
“A few years back I spent New Year’s in Brazil. It wasn’t the epic fireworks celebration on the beach in Rio but instead a family and friend celebration with my then boyfriend in their small town in South Brazil (although there were still fireworks on the beach!). Things that stick out in my memory are the hot weather in contrast to the North American winter New Year’s Eve I’m used to, the tradition of wearing white for peace in the coming and making sure your underwear is white too, eating pork for good luck, and the crazy lighting of fireworks and popping champagne at midnight that evolved into an all-night celebration in the streets like only Brazilians have. It was a beautiful way to start a new year.”
– Laura from Eclectic Travel Girl –
New Year on Antarctica
“After 8 months of traveling, I was tired. Starting in North Pole (a small village in Alaska) I traveled all the way down to Antarctica. Here I was, in my cabin on a 40-passenger boat, away from the rich families who were going to celebrate New Year’s eve with expensive champagne and bad jokes. I closed the porthole to block out the light; it was mid-summer and therefore didn’t get dark outside. Just a little power nap. The next morning I wake up confused but well-rested. The tour guides tell me I hadn’t missed anything. I smile and start on my New Year’s breakfast. All is well.”
New Year in Berlin
New Year in the Philippines
“In the Philippines, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with gusto. There’s a lot of food, drinks, and of course, firecrackers. There would be drinking, singing, and much merrymaking. In rural areas, however, the traditional ways are still followed, from making sure that every family member is home by midnight, to eating a certain number of round fruits for prosperity.”
New Year in Tenerife
Los Cristianos was buzzing with anticipation for the evening’s festivities. Vendors were selling noisemakers and glow in the dark headbands to use later on.
We got all glammed up in our finest New Year’s outfits and went in search of the local rituals. We ate at a French bistro where the waiter’s tradition was to give all the woman free drinks. Lot’s of them. I wish that would catch on in the States! We ate 12 grapes at midnight, one for each second counting down, and for good luck in the next year. When the clock struck midnight, the fireworks exploded over the Atlantic Ocean and we started our own tradition by kissing everyone within kissing distance.
– Cathy from Solo Travelers Alliance –
New Year in Hong Kong
“We always knew Hong Kong was crowded, but our first year celebrating New Year’s here, we had no clue just what we were in for. Met with a mass of people, we never made it to the waterfront to witness the spectacular fireworks that year. Instead, we were surrounded by millions of people on the streets on Tsim Sha Tsui, with not a clock in sight. No one knew what time it was, and we couldn’t see or hear the fireworks going off in the distance. Everyone began yelling “Happy New Year” out of sync from one another, hoping it was actually midnight. While it may not have been the perfect New Year’s Eve I had in mind, it was one I’ll never forget!”
– Beth from Besudesu Abroad –
New Year in Cambodia
“Last year I was was flying overnight on the 31st. I was on the way from New Zealand to Cambodia for medical volunteering, which I’ve been doing every year for the last four. I got a migraine, which I often do when departing on big trips. A group of Cambodian friends all came to the airport to greet me and take me to one of their houses for a special lunch. I had to get out on the side of the road and barf due to the migraine. All the extended family were waiting for me to have lunch but I had to go straight up to bed and sleep off the migraine. Not a typical New Year’s story but the less glam side of travel. My migraines seem to come on due to the combination of dehydration from flying, travel stress, excitement, and jet-lag.”
– Kathryn from RTW Travel Guide –
New Year in Philadelphia
“When most people think about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, they think about the Liberty Bell, Rocky, Cheese Steaks and staid Quakers dressed in black. Those would be people who have never been in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day when Philly erupts into its version of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Every January 1st since 1901, thousands line the two and a half mile parade route up Broad Street from South Philadelphia to Center City for the day-long Mummers parade. About 10,000 locals belong to Mummers clubs that prepare all year to don their sequins and feathers, pick up their banjo or saxophone and push their scenery along the parade route (no motors allowed). In the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection) you can spend New Year’s Eve at a hotel along Broad Street, catch the midnight fireworks over the Delaware River and then watch the Mummers strut their stuff, your mimosa (or a beer) in hand.”
– Suzanne from Boomeresque –
New Year in Edinburg
“The first time I spent New Year’s Eve overseas was in 2003. I headed all the way from Australia to one of my favorite cities, Edinburgh, to take part in one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in Europe, Hogmanay. We were very excited as we made our way in the dark, wet, cold to the center of town. This excitement soon turned into frustration when the event was cancelled – at 11 pm! – and we were all made to leave the area. I ended up welcoming in the new year lying in a bed in my hostel room not very happy at all!! It turns out that they cancelled it because of bad weather!”
– Sharon from Where’s Sharon? –
New Year in China
“Without a doubt, New Year’s Eve is celebrated in the most spectacular and extraordinary way in Asia. Back in 2011, I was lucky to experience it in China in one of the most charming and remote village in Hunan province. Chinese were preparing themselves for this day for a long time. There was no alcohol and food limit and I could hear and see fireworks almost everywhere all day long. There were some traditional Chinese dishes on the table such as dumplings called baozi and jiaozi filled with mince and veggies, fried rice with pork and chicken, chicken feet, famous Beijing duck and you tiao (deep fried bread sticks). All locals were wearing red clothes (for god luck), we watched dragon show on TV which took place in Beijing and we gave red envelopes with money to each other. On that day locals did nothing apart from eating, drinking Baijiu (Chinese spirit), playing a very popular game here called Mah Jong. Kids were playing with fireworks and they were going from house to house to say Happy New Year to their families and neighbours. The most important for Chinese was to gather all family members together and spend as much time as possible. No matter how long it took them to travel from their living places to family home (some people travelled for more than 46 hours by train), everyone had to show up!”
– Agness from eTramping –
Where will you spend New Year’s Eve?