There’s something truly magical about the clock striking midnight on December 31st. It’s a time to reflect on another year gone by, celebrate the highs, let go of the lows and shift your attention to the new year ahead. It’s also a time to drink yourself silly and have the time of your life with a bunch of strangers in an incredible place.
While many celebrations throughout the world relate to specific cultures and religions, New Year’s Eve is one of those universal occasions where (almost) everyone joins in on the fun. From magnificent fireworks displays to world-class street parties, New Year’s Eve is a spectacle to behold on almost every continent in the world.
For some of the very best parties around the world, consider one of the following destinations to ring in 2014. Booking in advance can mean sourcing inexpensive flights and cheap hotels online so you can put your hard-earned cash towards finding the best parties and buying you and your new friends all the booze you can handle.
“Hogmanay” pushes the boundaries of a traditional New Year’s Eve celebration. This massive four-day festival in the Scottish capital is a centuries-old tradition that draws crowds of over 250,000. From torchlight processionals to massive open-air ceilidhs, live concerts and 4.6 tons of pyrotechnics, Hogmanay culminates in a massive rendition of the classic Scottish tune “Auld Lang Syne” and one of the most memorable hangovers you will ever experience.
This storied German capital is the epicentre of European cool. New Year’s in Berlin means over a million people counting down to midnight and dancing in the street under a canopy of fireworks. The beer flows freely and the massive street party is the stuff of legend. There are live bands, mind-bending light shows and the party is so huge that it stretches from the iconic Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column with video screens, music stages, party tents and refreshments lining the roughly 2km stretch.
If fireworks are your thing, Sydney is your place. The world-class pyrotechnics display in the iconic Sydney harbour is regularly referenced as the best in the world. A spot along the waterfront puts you in perfect position to witness the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House become illuminated by the intense sparkle and shine of this massive fireworks extravaganza. The celebration also includes aerial acrobatics, an Aboriginal and Islander smoking ceremony (intended to cleanse the evil spirits of the past year) and a spectacular flotilla of illuminated boats that are choreographed throughout the harbour. Australians know how to party and New Year’s Eve is the ultimate event.
Rio de Janeiro
While the Carnival is known as Brazil’s most raucous event of the year, New Year’s Eve is a close second. The world-famous Copacabana beach hosts more than two million beautiful people all dressed in white as this is the colour that’s said to bring good luck for the new year. There are giant stages set up along the waterfront, stunning carnival-esque costumes and traditional dance performances that keep partiers entertained well into the early morning hours. Sip champagne, pay homage to Yemanja, Goddess of the sea, by throwing handfuls of flowers into the ocean, and dance the samba well into 2014.
With spectacular parties all over the globe, choosing a New Year’s venue will largely depend on your personal preference and your sense of adventure. Watching TV just won’t cut it. There’s no better time to meet new people, experience another culture in all its glory and make the sort of memories that will kick a new year off in all the right ways.
Emily Martinez is originally from London but has been travelling the world for just over two years. Growing up in London has given her a passion for cities and she’s currently visiting as many as she can around the globe.
Images by Martin Robertson and emmettanderson used under creative commons licence