Where will you be when the clock strikes 12 for the last time this year? I have made a list of 12 places in Europe to celebrate the New Year’s Eve – with crowds or solo, on the city squares with fireworks everywhere, or in remote villages, on warm beaches or among the snowy pines. Where would you go?
Table of Contents
- 1 1. The Faroe Islands, Denmark
- 2 2. Berlin, Germany
- 3 3. Vienna, Austria
- 4 4. Tenerife, Spain
- 5 5. Zakopane, Poland
- 6 6. Rome, Italy
- 7 7. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- 8 8. Paris, France
- 9 9. Copenhagen, Denmark
- 10 10. Bologna, Italy
- 11 11. Innsbruck, Austria
- 12 12. Edinburgh, Scotland
1. The Faroe Islands, Denmark
by Mar from Once in a Lifetime Journey
The Faroe Islands is a very remote and unknown part of Europe. Technically part of Denmark, this island south of Iceland and north of the UK is hardly visited in the winter because it is cold and some of the typical touristy activities are not available. But if you do go, New Year’s Eve is a very unique time of the year to be there and you will be rewarded with a very unique experience.
Every house will have their own set of fireworks which they will light just outside their home as the clock hits midnight turning the entire city and all the smaller villages into a continuum explosion of light and sound that can last up to an hour past midnight.
New Year’s Eve is a very family-friendly affair and very few places are open. One that is, and which gathers the cosiest of the evenings and all the foreigners, travellers and some local families in town, is the only four-star hotel in Torshavn, Foroyar Hotel.
Located on a small hill above the city and with panoramic views over it and the bay below. The dinner will end with midnight drinks on the traditional Faroese grass roof of the hotel when the entire city goes up in a massive party and all the fireworks are lit. If you are lucky, you may even spot the Northern Lights.
2. Berlin, Germany
by Ioana from The World Is My Playground
Berlin has long been known as one of the top party capitals in the world, and there’s no better place to ring in the New Year! Boasting a diverse and vibrant nightlife on a regular night, it’s no surprise that the energy goes into overdrive on one of the most festive nights of the year. In fact, more than a million people from all over the world come to Berlin to welcome the new year in style.
There’s something for everyone – and every budget – whether you want to attend the biggest street party in Europe, party at epic clubs, enjoy a romantic dinner overseeing the city or club hop at Berlin’s top nightclubs.
The most obvious and bucket list-worthy experience is joining the (free) party at the infamous Brandenburg Gate. Known as the party mile, crowds fill the 2 km strip from the Gate to the Victory Column and transform it into a gigantic street party. Seeing the impressive fireworks show dance behind the Gate will leave you speechless, and pump you up to dance until the early morning!
If the outdoor party isn’t your scene, head over to the Kulturbrauerei complex for the biggest indoor party of the year, with over 30 DJs pumping up the crowd on 13 floors.
For the elegant and luxurious option, get a ticket to the exclusive party with the best view over the electric city – the Berlin TV Tower. A New Year’s Eve buffet is on the menu, drinks, DJ entertainment and an impressive panoramic view of the fireworks lighting up the city.
Not sure what to choose? Berlin’s got you covered with the 7-in-1 pass that gives you access to the top venues in the city, and even shuttles you between them for free!
3. Vienna, Austria
by Kami from Kami and the Rest of the World
Vienna, the capital of Austria, is one of the most special places to celebrate New Year’s Eve in. The centre of Vienna turns into a party place. You can find numerous stages all over the city, each of them offering a different kind of music, from waltz to rock, so you can choose your favourite one or just circulate from one to another.
Already in the afternoon, you can attend waltz dancing lessons that are held on the streets, so you are prepared to dance it exactly at midnight. It’s one of a kind experience to dance the waltz on the streets of Vienna together with the cheerful crowd from all over the world.
When walking between stages you stumble across lots of food and drink stalls. For a few Euros, you can buy a very decent cup and then just fill it up with mulled wine. You might need it to keep you warm for the whole night, and to keep your spirits up!
On New Year’s Day, you can attend the famous classical music concert in the Opera. It’s one of the most important cultural events in Vienna, broadcasted all over the world. Keep in mind that tickets sell quickly so try to get them well in advance.
No matter what you choose, spending New Year’s is the unique experience that you will remember for years!
4. Tenerife, Spain
by Paulina from Paulina on the Road
One of my favourite places to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Europe is definitely Tenerife, one of the largest Canarian islands. Not only is it one of the best places for winter holidays in Spain, but on top New Year’s Eve is usually a huge party all over the island.
The thing I loved the most about Tenerife during the holiday season are the warm temperatures. That means you can even spend New Year’s Eve on the beach. The best beach to celebrate New Year’s Eve is in Costa Adeje in the South or near Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the north.
The biggest party takes place in the capital of the island, Costa Adeje. There will be live music, plenty of food stalls and opportunities to dance. As Tenerife is a part of Spain, it’s mandatory to eat the 12 grapes at every strike of the clock. The 12 grapes symbolize 12 lucky months ahead.
In Tenerife, you’ll spend the New Year’s Eve of a lifetime!
5. Zakopane, Poland
by Holly from Four Around The World
The best destination we have ever spent New Year’s Eve is in Zakopane, Poland. This beautiful storybook town is located relatively close to Krakow and is easily reached by bus or car in under an hour. As soon as you arrive you will know you are somewhere special.
Zakopane is a popular holiday destination due to its proximity to the Tatra Mountains. There are mountain views in every direction, giving you some of the best scenery to see the new year roll in.
For New Year’s Eve, book into one of the restaurants on the main street so you will be in the centre of the action. The food and vodka will be flowing non-stop all night, with music and dancing to set the party scene. Many of the restaurants will have live music as well.
With the town decorated for Christmas, it is beautiful day and night, with the perfect festive setting for celebrating. On New Year’s Eve, the whole town will be in the main street, singing, drinking and being jolly.
One of the coolest things to experience on New Years in Zakopane is the fireworks display, teamed with live music acts. The whole family will love the party atmosphere.
And when it’s all done and the new year has arrived, you are on the doorstep to some of the most beautiful scenery in Poland giving you plenty of options for day tours and fun attractions.
6. Rome, Italy
by Stephen from A Backpacker’s Tale
One fact about Italy is that Rome has a lot to offer travellers at any time of the year. But the city has different energy the week of Christmas and New Year. The city’s decked out in lights, Christmas trees, and celebrations.
And where the Romans embrace their Catholic traditions during Christmas, they equally embrace partying and celebrating during New Year’s Eve. The biggest event in the city is La Festa Di Roma. This is a 24-hour party that moves around the city and takes place in the different piazzas, theatres, bridges, and neighbourhoods of Rome.
La Festa Di Roma is wild; there are hundreds of performances, like concerts, acrobats, theatrical plays, Dj’s, and art installations.
Performers and artists come from all over the world to join the festivities! The celebration kicks off at 9 p.m. on December 31st and is a great way to start your New Year Celebration in the city. And if you have the energy to make it 24 hours, it will be an unforgettable night.
There are also various parties throughout the city’s bars and clubs. And as the clock nears midnight, there’s a group that always gathers at the Colosseum – which is where I rang in the new year.
Live music in the area starts around 10 p.m. and goes until the New Year’s countdown. And there was something symbolic about starting a new year while being surrounded by the old. I’ve always had a love affair this area fo Rome, and It was a New Year I will never forget.
7. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
by Tea from Culture Tourist
Amsterdam is absolutely one of the best places to celebrate New Year’s
Eve in Europe. With its lovely canals and picturesque architecture, it’s
going to set you up in that winter mood immediately.
The Dutch capital is beautiful the whole year-round, but it’s especially
cosy during the wintertime. It’s beautifully decorated, with Christmas
lights all over the town, many ice skating rinks and some delicious
Dutch sweets, like the oliebollen or stroopwafels.
This is also the time of a famous Light Festival happening in Amsterdam.
So, you can start your New Year’s Celebration on one of the night canal
cruises, by enjoying in some mulled wine and exploring some of the
fantastic light installations.
However, being famous for its night scene, many clubs and some great
parties organised there, you won’t be bored at all in Amsterdam. If you
would like to join some of the parties held during the New Year’s Eve,
be sure to buy your ticket at least a few weeks in advance.
Celebrating the New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam is extra special because of
one of the biggest fireworks in Europe, as well. The time between
December 29th and 31st is the only time of the year when the
firecrackers and fireworks are allowed in the Netherlands. Many people
get involved in that and often each street in Amsterdam has their own
fireworks. So, take a good place and enjoy one of the biggest fireworks
in Europe, usually lasting without the interruption until 2 or 3 AM in
8. Paris, France
by Jeremy from All Over the Place Podcast
Paris is always a good idea, especially for New Year’s Eve. I’ve celebrated New Year’s Eve in Paris a handful of times, and while my evenings are now spent in house parties around the city and accompanied by my French friends, some of my fondest NYE memories were spent outdoors and near the city’s iconic monuments as a tourist. So, even if you don’t have a group of Parisians to ring in the new year with, there is plenty to do to enjoy the celebrations a la française.
Those new to the city looking to make memories gather in two central spaces: the Champs de Mars behind the Eiffel Tower and in front of the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Élysées. While the weather is predictably cold, revelers huddle together on the Champs de Mars, with bottles of champagne in hand, where they watch the Eiffel Tower’s shimmer and twinkle at midnight. Tourists also gather en masse on the Champs-Élysées to watch the light show and midnight fireworks at the Arc de Triomphe.
If being outside in the dead of winter and among crowds of partygoers is not your thing, there is no shortage of discos and nightclubs in which to ring in the new year. Plus, the metro has extended hours and is free for all, so getting around the city after a few drinks isn’t a problem. Alternatively, for a more mellow but equally memorable night, dinner cruises along the Seine are popular options to watch the heart of Paris, and the old year, float by. Bonne Année!
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
by Erin from Oregon Girl Around the World
If welcoming the New Year for you comes with the fanfare of fireworks, then there is no better place to do it than Denmark. Come to Copenhagen, she said! The Danes – a normally structured and rule-following and refined lot – let it all hang loose on New Year’s Eve.
Start the day with twinkly lights and a festive atmosphere in the iconic Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park in the centre of town where pretty Christmas decorations adorn the park for one last day. Soak in the fairy tale charm as you meander the Christmas market, enjoy a good meal, ride a few rides and sample the gløgg – Scandinavia’s answer to warm spiced wine. At the end of the day, you can take in Tivoli’s brilliant fireworks show from right here near midnight, but know that you’ll be shoulder to shoulder with masses and crowds.
Instead, head towards the water and witness the cacophony of a million and one fireworks shows all over town. Here in Denmark, it is legal to light your own fireworks and most Danes do. Plan ahead and purchase a few sparklers and rockets to join in the fray. Head towards the Lakes at Dronning Louises Bridge for the loudest and craziest celebrating. Or stroll down the paths for a bit safer viewing.
And don’t worry if you don’t see much as the clock strikes midnight, the locals are finishing their traditions inside as they kiss and cheer and jump off a table or chair into the New Year. In a few minutes, they’ll all be outside. Soon the night will be fully alight and continue for at least an hour. Put on your safety goggles and raise a glass (public consumption is legal) to this wild Danish display. Skål! Cheers!
10. Bologna, Italy
by Laura & Charlie from The Travelling Stomach
Bologna is a 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 your mornings of sightseeing, find your way to one of the cities many wine bars or restaurants to explore the many gastronomic delights.
Namesake to the world’s most famous pasta dish, enjoy a truly traditional Bolognese (served only with tagliatelle, of course!) or a regional classic, Tortellini in Brodo (filled pasta in broth). Away from food, the city has one of the best New Year’s Eve events in Italy – the traditional burning of the “Vecchione”. Around the centre the streets will be buzzing, the bars spilling out and music chiming everywhere.
Get into Piazza Maggiore early to find a spot and marvel at the grand statue that has been constructed specially for the big night right as it bursts into flame at midnight! In the daytime, you can also explore some of the areas most famous food delicacies, many of which are known throughout the world. Take a tour with Emilia Delizia and head to a number of balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and salami producers to work out why Northern Italy is one of the world’s best gastronomic destinations.
11. Innsbruck, Austria
by Linda from Travel Tyrol
Seeing in the New Year in Innsbruck, Austria is an experience you’ll always remember. The Nordkette mountain towering over the city is the perfect backdrop for the explosion of colour when the fireworks go off halfway up the mountain at midnight. All this while the Blue Danube, one of Austria’s most famous compositions, plays in the background when the clock hits midnight.
Innsbruck’s historic centre is one big party area on New Year’s Eve, with different stages providing musical and other entertainment. Local delicacies are on sale and a warm mug of Glühwein (mulled wine) takes care of the cold. Two of the most popular places to be at midnight are the market square next to the Inn River or the open area between the Imperial Palace and the Landestheater.
If you really wanted to, you can start celebrating New Year’s on the 30th of December when in Innsbruck. This is when the Kid’s New Year party takes place in the city. With or without kids, this makes for a great celebration without the masses. There’s entertainment in front of the famous golden roof and a kid’s disco in the Cloud 9 Igloo Bar at the Seegrube Station of the Nordkette cable car. And, of course, fireworks! (But this time shortly after dark so as not to keep the kids up too late.)
So, if you can’t be in Austria at Christmas, New Year’s Eve isn’t necessarily second best!
12. Edinburgh, Scotland
by Kaisa from Glam Granola Travel
When it comes to New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, I am shamelessly biased. I lived in this gloriously grey city for a year and, regardless of season, return as much as humanly possible. Most folks don’t think of visiting Scotland anytime in the winter, but New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh is well worth braving that infamous Scottish weather.
“Hogmanay” means the last day of the year in Scottish Gaelic. Believe me, Hogmanay is anything but dreary! Edinburgh is one of the most hauntingly beautiful medieval cities in the world, and even more so with a dusting of freshly fallen snow. Winters in Edinburgh tend to be a bit quiet, but the legendary celebration of Hogmanay is the epic exception. It is celebrated every year with music, traditional activities, and in the true British style, many hours in the pub.
While it’s celebrated all over Scotland, Edinburgh throws a huge street party complete with famous musical performers. I truly didn’t know about Hogmanay until I lived in Scotland since the only NYE destination anyone talks about in the United States is New York City, but Edinburgh throws an iconic New Year’s party!
Whether you’re in town for Hogmanay, a mug of mulled wine at a leftover Christmas market, or to simply cosy up in a welcoming pub, Edinburgh is a perfect European destination in which to spend New Year’s.