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12 Stops for Spending New Year’s Around the World

Celebrating New Year's Around The World In Vienna

As we get older, New Year’s always seems to the holiday that sounds more exciting than it ever turns out to be. Maybe it’s the repetition of doing the same thing year after year or maybe it’s the realization that time is just, like, a straight line, man! and we’re celebrating just any other day with no real significance.

But it doesn’t have to be like that! As you plan your next New Year’s celebration, why not do something totally different and spend it in an entirely different part of the world! You get the freshness of seeing New Year’s from a different point of view while getting whole new cultural experiences you won’t get from sitting at home watching the same old New Year’s Eve TV specials.

In this post, I’ve collaborated with some of my fellow bloggers to bring you some idea of how they celebrate New Year’s around the world. So, leave Ryan Seacrest in the TV guide and imagine yourself ringing in midnight at any one of these 12 spots!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a small commission. This occurs at no added cost to you.

New Year’s Around the World Stop #1 – Aruba

By Raven from Lattes N’ Luggage

I’ll be the first to say there is no wrong time to visit Aruba. However, there is definitely a right time. Ringing in the New Year on this island is like nowhere else on Earth, and this past year, I had the privilege to experience this firsthand.

The official festivities begin on New Year’s Eve, when strings of Chinese firecrackers adorn the doorsteps of businesses island wide. These are said to bring good luck and protect from evil spirits for the year to come. You can hear the loud crackles rippling through the streets and watch the smoke rise in front of your favorite beach bar, local restaurant or even the grocery store. However, only one of these businesses can stand out from the crowd and it’s Renaissance Hotel.

This year, they set off the largest string of a whopping 2 million firecrackers trailing down main street. It took over 15 minutes for the sparks to fly. As the red roped line turned into a pile at the end for the ultimate grand finale, a billowing pile of smoke puffed into the air and the crowd erupted into cheers.

However, firecrackers aren’t the only way to receive a blessing for the new year. “Dande”, derived from the Spanish word dandare, means “wandering or going from one place to the other” and this is exactly what happens with not only musicians, but friends and families in Aruba. A traditional Papiamento song is sung, and, for a tip, you can have the lead singer give a blessing to your name for the next year inspiring health, happiness, wealth – you get the gist.

These festivities take over the day and go well into the night – all the way up until the fireworks soar through the night sky. There is no one place to watch these from as, once again, all the businesses, as well as neighbors, seem to get into the fireworks business come New Year’s Eve. If you head to the California Lighthouse, you can get an aerial view of this magical show sparkling in the sky above beloved Aruba. However, if you’d rather immerse yourself in the crowds, MooMba Beach Bar is sure to have a DJ, a countdown and all the drinks one could need for a sandy-toed celebration.

And no, the occasion is STILL not over after midnight, in fact, it’s just begun. Restaurants like AZIA and Faro Blanco turn into nightclubs, giving more DJ’s, more shows, more champagne. The dancing doesn’t stop until the sun begins to rise and then the Arubans all head to grab breakfast from the hotels in their formal gala wear, turning the walk of shame into the walk of fame.

There is one last celebratory event until the New Year can officially begin and only the strong can survive until this point; it’s the polar plunge. Now, I know what you may be thinking, “What could be polar about the Caribbean Sea?” Anything can look cold if you’re wearing a winter hat. Each year, a sponsor will provide hats for everyone daring to participate and by that, I mean put on the hat and run into the warm salty water at the same time as the crowd. After the plunge, participants can warm up with a nice bowl of traditional Dutch pea soup that’s said to cure a hangover.

Aruba At New Year's
The fireworks getting ready to go in Aruba for New Year’s

New Year’s Around the World Stop #2 – Brasov

By RJ from RJ on Tour

Celebrating the New Year is a big thing in Brasov, Romania and there’s lots going on. A popular activity is to congregate in the old town square or on the medieval city walls and enjoy a concert, fireworks and drinks. Another popular activity is to celebrate on the top of Mount Tampa overlooking the city. As midnight approaches, one can see a long line of walkers ascending the mountain with torches.

Even private parties in the city for New Years are loud and bright and you don’t need to look further than the window for a light show and hear fireworks. Another local tradition is the Capra, a pagan goat dance performed by young men in the city to a rhythmic drumbeat. Breaking glass is also commonplace to encourage the breaking away of bad luck.

For food, Romanians typically eat celebration dishes, including sarmale and Cozonac. Tuica, a Romanian spirit, is in free flow and there are lots of well wishes between people.

New Year's Around The World In Brasov
Brasov celebrating at midnight on New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Around the World Stop #3 – Dublin

By Agnes from Travel on the Reg

It’s not a New Year’s Eve in Ireland if it doesn’t come with some historical heft. During our trip to Ireland, we wanted to embrace that idea with a night at The Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest pub. 

While the dates depend some on who you ask, there has been some kind of business operating at the Dublin site since 1198. The beer started flowing in the legal sense in 1661, but records show it was operating as such well before then in a more casual fashion.

If you’re here to ring in the new year, expect generous pours of bubbles, party hats, festive decor, and a live Irish band. The party goes until about 2 a.m. or when the crowd starts dispersing, whichever is first. 

Interested in prepping an Irish toast for the occasion? Here’s my favorite: “May we all be alive at this same time next year.” The Irish are nothing if not cheeky!

For those with energy the morning-after, locals love to kick off the new year with vigor. Join them for a cold plunge at the Forty Foot to do the same. 

Agnes And Her Husband Celebreating New Year's Around The World In Dublin
Enjoying New Year’s Eve in Dublin’s The Brazen Head

New Year’s Around the World Stop #4 – Edinburgh

By Sarah from Sarah’s Sojourn’s

I might be biased because I live here now, but I think Edinburgh is one of the best places in the world to visit at New Year. Indeed, it’s spoilt me now, because it’s hard to justify the expense of going somewhere else when I love spending it in Edinburgh!

The most important thing to know is that in Scotland, New Year’s Eve is known as Hogmanay. The events of Hogmanay will last for several days, not just New Year’s Eve itself. The celebrations are great as they are accessible to those both on a budget and those that wish to splurge.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay starts with the torchlight procession. This consists of thousands of people carrying lit torches through the city. You can pay to take part or watch for free. It was cancelled for several years because of Covid but returned again in 2023.

In Edinburgh, and other cities around Scotland, there will be a huge street party on Hogmanay itself. The Edinburgh street party takes place on Princes Street, with stunning views of the castle. For those that love live music, you can instead choose to go to the concert in Princes Street gardens with live bands playing. Either way, at midnight the firework display over the castle will ring in the New Year.

For those on a budget, there are multiple points around the city to watch the fireworks for free – my personal favourite is Castle Street car park which gives great views and is close enough to hear the music playing from Princes Street Gardens. If you’re on the east side of Princes Street, then Calton Hill is a good spot, and for those further out of the city centre, watching from the Meadows is also very popular.

Finally, if after all that you’re able to get up on New Year’s Day, then there is the traditional Loony Dook. This involves going swimming in the Forth at South Queensferry. I’ve yet to take part in this particular tradition but I’m determined to manage it one year! 

New Year's Around The World Edinburgh
Watching the fireworks over Edinburgh at midnight

New Year’s Around the World Stop #5 – Florence

By Sara from Journey of Doing

La Festa di San Silvestro is widely celebrated throughout Italy, but Florence can be one of the most magical places to ring in the New Year. In the evening, there are free performances in piazzas across the city. You can wander freely from square to square to enjoy the spectacle against the medieval city. The city decorates heavily for Christmas, and it feels extra magical on New Year’s Eve. 

If wandering the streets of Florence doesn’t appeal to you, many restaurants open their doors for Capodanno dinners, usually offering two seatings and a set menu. These menus range from traditional Tuscan fare to Michelin-starred experiences so you can ring in the New Year wherever you are most comfortable. (You’ll need to make reservations in advance.) Choosing an early seating will ensure that you are done with dinner in time to watch the fireworks over the Ponte Vecchio. If you opt for the later seating, you are likely to ring in the New Year with prosecco and a decidedly more international clientele.  Celebrations and fireworks continue into the early morning hours, so if you’re a light sleeper, make sure to bring your earplugs!           

New Year’s Day starts as a quieter day because of the late-night celebrations across the city. If you are awake, you can attend mass at one of the city’s many cathedrals, but be prepared for the mass to be in Italian and to stay through the entire service. This isn’t a show for tourists, but a very local experience. In the late afternoon, you’ll see more people out and about, more restaurants are open, and experience a feeling of anticipation for the New Year.

New Year's Around The World In Florence
The Ponte Vecchio at New Year’s

New Year’s Around the World Stop #6 – Geneva

By Anthony from The Bulkhead Seat

Geneva, Switzerland is a fun and festive spot to ring in the New Year. We celebrated a few years ago with lots of fondue, champagne and amazing views of the fireworks over Lake Geneva.

If you’re looking for a prime spot to enjoy all of the festivities taking place at Quais du Mont Blanc without the crowds, book a suite at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix. We had front-row seats for the impressive show lighting up the sky once the clock struck midnight. The hotel is just steps away from Old Town and also offers panoramic views of the Alps. In addition to the fireworks, a free concert was held. We enjoyed listening to the music from our balcony.

For a New Year’s feast (or a nice wintery meal on the nights surrounding the holiday), fondue at Restaurant Les Armures or Auberge de Savièse is always a win.

Even though it was quite cold, we found a brisk walk on New Year’s Day through the Jardin-Anglais to be a nice way to welcome the new year and contemplate everything we hoped to accomplish. After, grab a baguette filled with molten cheese from one of the carts we found around town for the perfect lunch on the go.

Fireworks Over Geneva
Fireworks over Lake Geneva

New Year’s Around the World Stop #7 – New Orleans

By Vanessa from Traveling Ness

New Orleans is a city where music, world-class food, and good times flow all year long but for New Year’s Eve it definitely gets amplified. With rather mild weather, you can enjoy wandering the famous Bourbon Street and the rest of the Big Easy wearing a few layers.

Leading up to New Year’s Eve, the French Quarter comes alive with people arriving in town and live music pulsing that feels like a party before the big night even begins.

Lots of festivities and a parade also surround the excitement of the annual Sugar Bowl. This college football game is a big deal here as it’s been around since 1935 and in some years determines who goes on to play in the NCAA National Championship game.

Although there are a bunch of huge parties, the best part of ringing in New Year’s Eve in New Orleans is getting a drink to-go and watching the firework show along the Mississippi River. And don’t forget to turn around to see the Fleur de Lis drop in Jackson Square at midnight.

New Year's Around The World In New Orleans
The Jax Building seen here hosts a rooftop party on New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Around the World Stop #8 – New York City

By Lisa from Drugstore Divas

Much of the United States spends New Year’s Eve glued to their televisions, watching Ryan Seacrest host Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, asking the youngsters up past their bedtime who the performers are.

But you, my friend, you could be there. In person. In Times Square for New Year’s, watching the ball drop, huddled around strangers, looking for someone to lock lips with at midnight.

New Year’s Eve in Times Square is amazing and electric and something I absolutely recommend you do once in your life. Preferably when you’re young and can hold your bladder because you get stuck in a grid around the flagpole on top of One Times Square (where the ball drops) and you can’t leave for hours. From the back of that grid, where most people are, you can’t see the performances and you don’t get any Planet Fitness swag to wave for the cameras, but you feel the energy.

Midnight in New York is magical and gives you such hope for the new year, a feeling that you don’t get watching through the TV.

What you also don’t experience through the TV is that once the clock strikes midnight, Times Square turns into a Cinderella and clears out almost immediately while the crowd heads to Grand Central Station to find their way home, ready to embrace the new year.

Times Square New York City
Just imagine the throngs of people and the world famous ball dropping here at midnight!

New Year’s Around the World Stop #9 – Paris

By Sydney from Sydney Brown Travels

Ringing in the New Year in the City of Light should be on everyone’s bucket list. Paris is incredibly romantic on any normal day, but on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, the aura of possibility and enchantment is multiplied tenfold. 

I welcomed 2019 in the Pigalle district of Paris, which is not necessarily the most romantic part of the city, but it was surely a lot of fun for partying! Nightlife in Pigalle is known for staying open late, but on New Year’s Eve the bars and nightclubs stay open well past their typical late-night hours. If you’re in the mood for a wild night, you’ll have no trouble finding it in Pigalle. 

I personally recommend an organized event or group tour if you’re planning to tackle Paris on New Year’s Eve. Make your reservations months in advance because New Year’s Eve slots fill up rather quickly. 

I opted to join an organized/ticketed bar crawl alongside a few travelers from my hostel. The ticket cost around €29 and included one drink at each of the 3 bars we visited. This was a great way to meet people and enjoy the festivities in a group setting. As a solo female traveler, I’d argue that group tours and events are much safer compared to doing a bar crawl on your own during one of the rowdiest nights of the year. 

Aside from bar crawls and nightclubs, there is so much more to enjoy in Paris on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! In Pigalle specifically, cabaret shows are a fun way to celebrate the holiday. Moulin Rouge is the most famous option in Paris, so be sure to do research ahead of time to see if you can secure tickets on New Year’s Eve! 

If fireworks are your thing, you might enjoy watching the fantastic display along the Champs-Elysees with an illuminated Arc de Triomphe at center stage. It’s one of the most popular and memorable ways to ring in the new year in Paris, and it’s a wonderful show to witness in person!

A cruise along the Seine would be another amazing way to kick off a new year either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day! You really can’t go wrong with a drink or a meal on the Seine any time of year, but it’s even more special during the iconic New Year’s holiday.

Notre Dame At New Year's
Notre Dame Cathedral in the holiday spirit

New Year’s Around the World Stop #10 – Sydney

By Clazz from An Orcadian Abroad

One of the best places to celebrate New Year’s is also one of the first in the world to ring it in. While New Zealand is the first major country to reach the new year, you can’t get much bigger than the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia.

The fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge have become an iconic sight synonymous with the New Year as the rest of the world prepares for their own celebrations.

As someone from the northern hemisphere, it feels remarkably strange ringing in the New Year in the middle of summer, but it’s a bucket list experience and undoubtedly one of the best places we’ve spent New Year’s Eve.

There are various vantage points along the city’s waterfront to find a spot for the event, such as the Botanic Gardens, and you need to choose wisely, get there early and make a day of it. The atmosphere is unbeatable, and the fireworks are spectacular so it’s totally worth the wait!

Australia knows how to put on a fireworks show, and there’s no better time to experience it than New Year’s Eve in Sydney.

New Year's Around The World In Sydney Australia
Fireworks going off over Sydney

New Year’s Around the World Stop #11 -Tokyo

By Colin and Mitch from Very Tasty World

If you visit Tokyo towards the end of the year, this vibrant, exciting and gloriously neon city will be further adorned with glittering fairy lights and festive decorations. Although Christmas day is a normal working day in Japan, New Year’s is one of the country’s most important holidays.

Tokyo has plenty of options for seeing in the New Year and loads of great customs. It is traditional to eat noodles on New Year’s Eve because long noodles represent a long life, so we enjoyed a delicious soba set meal.

We saw in the New Year at the Meiji Shrine, one of the most important shrines in the country. Everyone is welcome – of all religions and none. Hatsumode is a tradition where people visit a temple and make prayers for the year ahead. We arrived at around 11:30pm and joined the throng. Just before midnight, 108 bells rang out and everybody cheered, albeit gently because we were at a shrine. On reaching the shrine we threw a coin into the offering box, bowed, clapped our hands and made our wishes for the year ahead. A final bow then we exited to enjoy the festival area in the park.

When we later arrived back at our hotel, they had opened a celebratory barrel of sake and invited us to partake in a cup. Kampai!

Meiji Jingu at New Year's
Meiji Jingu lit up for New Year’s

New Year’s Around the World Stop #12 – Vienna

By yours truly, me from Paul Passing Through

New Year’s Eve in Vienna means one thing whether you’re a visitor or resident: the Silvesterpfad! The Silvesterpfad is the name of Vienna’s annual New Year’s Eve Trail that runs through most of the city’s historic center.

The Silvesterpfad winds through Vienna’s Old Town with several stops along the way. At these stops, you can find live music, DJs, food and, of course, plenty of drinks. It’s crowded and a bit hectic, but there’s such an excited buzz in the air that it never feels overwhelming.

Of the different stops, the two most popular are at Stephansplatz and the Graben. At Stephansplatz, a stage is set up where different groups play classical music with St Stephen’s Cathedral as the backdrop. At midnight, St Stephen’s iconic Pummerin bell rings in the new year.

While that stop is fun, the Graben is where absolute magic happens. Vienna dubs this Europe’s biggest ballroom. Whether that’s accurate or not, it’s a special place to spend New Year’s Eve. A DJ plays music over loudspeakers spread across the Graben throughout the night. At midnight, the Blue Danube Waltz comes on and everyone happily waltzes along to the music under dozens of brightly lit chandeliers. Everyone is just happy to be right where they are in that exact moment.

New Year’s Day was a pretty sleepy affair in Vienna after the long night of revelry just hours earlier. You’ll be able to find some things open, but make sure to check ahead of time if you’re planning on saving this day for anything specific. Yet, because of this, New Year’s Day is a pleasant way to stroll around Vienna’s Old Town without the throngs of people from the days leading up to the holiday.

Michelle And Me In Vienna Celebreating New Year's Around The World
Michelle and me right after getting our waltz on.

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