Each year, cities across the world come alive with a host of parties and festivals that welcome in the new year. In fact, travel industry body ABTA estimates that 3.5 million Britons are likely to head overseas for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Spending the New Year abroad can be a great way to relax after the busy Christmas period, and offers you the chance to explore a new city. Here are five locations worth thinking about this year.
1. New York – Raise a glass in the city that never sleeps
The Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration features star-studded musical performances and entertainment.
New Year’s Eve at One Times Square is a tradition that dates back to 1906 and attracts more than one million people each year, all looking to enjoy a truly unforgettable experience. Memories of the New York event will last a lifetime and, believe it or not, it’s free!
Before the event, the New York City Police Department start to barricade the Times Square area, which extends from 41st Street to 59th Street and from 6th Avenue to 8th Avenue, so make sure you’re there early to get a good view of the Waterford Crystal ball drop.
If you want the Times Square experience, but with glitz and glamour, try some of the best NYC bars and restaurants for organised parties: Bubba Gump Shrimp Company offers an unforgettable New Year’s Eve event along with views of the ball drop. Or, if you are looking for something a little more chic, why not try Maple NYC?
At New Year, it transforms into a wintery scene and, as the countdown begins, party-goers can enjoy a complimentary toast with champagne. If you purchase a Times Square Official Party Pass, you’ll be able to jump the queues at some of the city’s top bars and clubs – take your pick.
If you’re looking for a more laidback trip, then try one of NYC’s many restaurants. The Gramercy Tavern, on Park Avenue, offers warmth and a romantic setting with a menu of contemporary American cuisine. Chef Michael Anthony uses only seasonal ingredients to provide elegant, yet rustic dishes.
2. Copenhagen – Celebrate like the Danish
Tivoli Gardens is Scandinavia’s most popular attraction, and the fifth most visited amusement park in Europe.
If you’re looking for New Year’s Eve family fun, head to Denmark’s capital and bring in the new year in Tivoli Gardens – a 169-year-old amusement park filled with rides, restaurants and shops. From mid-November time, it is turned into a winter wonderland full of wooden chalets, Christmas decorations and pantomimes. But, that’s not all, on New Year’s Eve it holds a massive fireworks display.
The park stays open all day, but make sure you’re through its gates by 9.30pm, as the fireworks display launches at the same time as Tivoli closes for admission. Taking a stroll through the beautiful gardens, you’ll be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of millions of kroner’s worth of fireworks.
There’s no rush to leave as the park stays open until half past midnight, giving you time to explore and enjoy the many heated bars.
Tivoli Gardens’ 21 restaurants plan special New Year’s Eve menus, but if you want to celebrate in style, book a table at Nimb Brasserie – one of Denmark’s largest restaurants. Its Indian palace architecture is a big draw and so is its tasty European treats such as beef tenderloin, brown crab tart and chocolate creamy sorbet.
3. Iceland – Light up this New Year’s Eve
Reykjavik in Iceland is one of the best places to spot the northern lights.
If you’re looking for a short break, why not embrace the northern lights and head to Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, for an action-packed evening? You can watch the city’s impressive fireworks display from off-shore.
There are a number of cruises to choose from – usually lasting around four hours – where you’ll be able to dine on delicious 5-course gala dinners and enjoy live music while heading out to the harbour to watch the sky light up.
If you’re more of a land lover, then visit one of the 10 bonfires lit around Reykjavik at 20:30, then head for something to eat. The Perlan restaurant is one of Reykjavik’s most striking buildings. If you visit its fourth floor, you’ll be able to enjoy panoramic views and maybe even spot the northern lights.
You can also try a host of dishes including cream of lobster and monkfish, as well as one of Iceland’s traditional deserts, skyr – a healthy yoghurt filled with blueberry, oats and milk ice cream.
At 23:35, a brilliant fireworks display is launched high into the sky of Reykjavik – an estimated 500 tons. Bars and pubs stay open until 5am, so afterwards you can dance the night away.
4. Las Vegas – Have a night to remember in Nevada
Las Vegas is famed for being the party capital of the USA, so when New Year’s Eve comes around, it goes all out. In all, more than 300,000 people head to the city for the big night which sees the Strip transformed into a giant street party with live music, pyrotechnic shows and laser displays.
It also hosts a number of concerts, shows and parties in its clubs, hotels and casinos, giving you plenty of choice. And, no matter where you stand at midnight, you’ll be able to watch firework celebrations as they’re launched high-up on seven rooftops.
For a New Year’s Eve with a difference, how about heading to The Smith Centre in Downtown Las Vegas? The venue will be holding a musical extravaganza celebrating Broadway hits. The night will be hosted by actor Erich Bergen (Jersey Boys) and includes live performances from Tony Award winning singer and actress Patina Miller (The Hunger Games series) and Tony nominee Norm Lewis (The Phantom of the Opera) among others.
Alternatively, see in the New Year 550 feet in the air with a glass of champagne at Las Vegas’ High Roller – the world’s tallest observation wheel.
5. Paris – Soak up the City of Light
The Arc de Triomphe cost 9.3 million French francs and was completed in 1836.
Paris is the place to be for New Year’s Eve, especially on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, which sees thousands gather together to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate the new year – usually bringing along Champagne bottles and flute glasses.
The Paris Metro is free until 12.30am, giving you the freedom to explore all parts of the City of Light and even head to the Eiffel Tower to watch a spectacular light display.
Cabaret shows are another popular way to celebrate in Paris. In fact, the Lido, on Champs-Elysees, holds a dinner and the famed cabaret show Moulin Rouge. While enjoying the performance and live orchestra, you can tuck into delicacies like lobster and Champagne.
Published 28th November 2015