6 New Year’s Eve Bucket List Destinations
You've got to do one of these at least once in your life.
Every year around this time I frantically search the web for last minute deals to destinations far and wide so I can escape the sometimes unavoidable fate of spending yet another New Year’s Eve in my hometown. Have you ever seen the episode of How I Met Your Mother where the group hire a limo on New Year’s Eve in the hope that it will make their celebrations the best yet? Well, I’m kind of like Ted Mosby in that episode – that is, I am on the never-ending quest for amazing New Year’s Eve experiences.
If you’re like me and the tune of Auld Lang Syne brings up even a slither of NYE FOMO or you’re itching to explore and find inspiration for where to see the clock strike midnight, then here are six places where you should spend New Year’s Eve – at least once in your life.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Dutch love a good party and New Year’s Eve is certainly no exception. As midnight edges closer people pour out of the clubs and bars taking the fun party atmosphere to the streets. Keep warm with traditional Dutch treats like olliebollen (fried dough with apple sprinkled in powdered sugar), poffertjes (mini pancakes) or friet (french fries with mayo). You could choose to bring in the new year at one of the many events at Rembrandtplein, Nieuwmarkt, Museumplein or Dam Square where musicians and some of the world’s best DJs entertain the crowds until the wee hours. The festive atmosphere is abundant in the streets of Amsterdam so you are bound to stumble upon some excitement no matter where the night takes you.
Prague, Czech Republic
Around this time of year the capital of the Czech Republic looks like it stepped right out of a fairy tale. With its stunning scenery, gorgeous buildings from another time, twinkling traditional Christmas markets, bars and fantastic nightlife Prague is certainly not going to disappoint you.
Just before midnight everyone heads down to the banks of Vltava to watch the sky erupt in a sea of colour. For those seeking something a bit more adventurous head to Old Town or Wenceslas Square. Keep in mind this is not for the faint hearted. Fireworks are available to purchase in local shops around Prague so every few minutes you will find people randomly setting off crackers and Roman candles in the street.
New York City, USA
No list of places to spend New Year’s Eve would ever be complete without paying homage to the quintessential experience that is New York City. Join the crowds watching the ball drop in Times Square, home to countless movie scenes and millions of midnight kisses. Celebrity entertainment abounds with world class acts keeping the crowds pumping. Each year people from around the world share wishes for the future on pieces of official Times Square New Year’s Eve confetti, either submitting them online or in person. The wishes for the new year are then added to the one tonne of confetti that rains down over the city at the stroke of midnight.
Revellers can bask in the festivities that include an eight minute pyro-musical display that lights up the skies over the city and is a complete sensory extravaganza. The show begins with the Symphony of Lights display that illuminates 45 buildings in the Hong Kong skyline each night – yet on this night it all culminates with the grand finale of fireworks and Hong Kong’s very own Times Square countdown at midnight. To get the best views of the Victoria Harbour fireworks as they ignite the sky, take to the water by boat or head to the Avenue of Stars Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon.
Koh Phangan, Thailand
Party on the beach with the sand between your toes as you get ready to say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new. This island is renowned for its Full Moon parties. New Years Eve festivities on this beach in Thailand are the mother load of all Full Moon parties. Be sure to find accommodation away from Sunrise Beach if you want to get a good night’s rest – the party atmosphere has a way of lingering on. If you are looking to pace yourself head to dinner and cocktails on the Sunset Beach side of the island. You can then saunter on in and join the party just before the clock strikes midnight.
Sydney sure puts on a show and it’s right in our own backyard. The warm summer weather is perfect for a low key picnic by the waterfront, but be sure to scope out your vantage point early to avoid the hundreds of thousands of other people who might have the same idea. You could even book a table at one of the many restaurants that line the waters edge or secure a spot on a boat to ensure an uninterrupted view of the iconic waterfront. Being one of the first major cities to usher in the New Year with a massive fireworks display means that people flock from all over the world to celebrate in Sydney. When the clock strikes midnight the harbour ignites in a magical display of pyrotechnics that sees the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House take centre stage as stars of the show.
(Lead image: gigi_nyc/Flickr)