Culture

These Are The Best Places To Spend New Year’s, According To Travel Experts

Two Aussie destinations made the list – any guesses?

What with all the hubbub around having “the best New Year’s ever!”, a whole lot of importance is placed on where you actually end up spending it.

We’ve all had great times at house parties or at the local park, but there’s something to be said about spending New Year’s in completely different surroundings to your everyday life. If watching the ball drop in New York City feels a little too stressful for you, here’s a list of places to think about for your next New Year’s celebration, all approved by the travel legends at Lonely Planet.

They’ve collated a list of New Year’s destinations that are set to expand your horizons when the clock ticks over to 12. Giddy up.


#1 Matera, Italy

This UNESCO World Heritage-listed city is located in the remote rural region of Basilicata and is known for its ample open-air festivals and celebrations. Wander down the town’s labyrinth of narrow alleys to find cave dwellings (some of which are now trendy restaurants) and boutique hotels. Seems seeing in the new year with some Italian charm is just what the doctor ordered.


#2 New Orleans, USA

New Orleans is known for its spirit and vitality – and New Year’s celebrations are no exception. Lonely Planet recommends heading over to Jackson Square to ring in 2017 for an annual party that features live music and a killer view of the midnight fleur-de-lis drop. Be sure to check out St Louis Cathedral and Cafe Du Monde too, a 24-hour cafe serving beignet and chicory coffee.


#3 Melbourne, Australia

Loop Roof

Photo: Loop Roof

Well howdy-do! Melbourne took out third place on Lonely Planet‘s list thanks to its ample collection of rooftop bars that manage to provide front-row seats to some excellent fireworks and celebrations. LP recommends Rooftop Bar at Curtin House, Loop Roof, Naked In The Sky and the new QT Melbourne rooftop terrace to kick things up a notch.


#4 Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

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Photo: azuaje/Flickr

If you haven’t heard of Gran Canaria before, not to worry. Gran Canaria is actually one of Spain’s Canary Islands, located north-west of Africa. Known for its black lava and white sand beaches, Gran Canaria is a great respite from the freezing cold European winter with an average temperature of 19ºC. Mostly frequented by locals, Las Palmas is a fun place to roam without the traditional crowds. Try dinner at Restaurante El Herreño then opt to bar hop along the city’s narrow alleyways. End your night at the city beach Playa de las Canteras for fireworks.


#5 Nassau, The Bahamas

The Caribbean is littered with spectacular New Year’s parties – but none quite like at Nassau. Junkanoo is the country’s biggest and flashiest street carnival, with its greatest celebrations happening on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Early in the morning costumed dancers take to the streets parading through downtown Nassau, blaring horns, drums, whistles and floats. It’s a spectacle to see.


#6 Hangzhou, China

While New Year’s doesn’t hold a crown to Chinese New Year’s celebrations, it’s best to use this time as an opportunity to visit southeast China. The countryside is still remarkably green and vibrant, hence the idyllic city of Hangzhou is the perfect place for a peaceful New Year celebration. Hang out along West Lake, climb the hill towards Yongfu Temple and settle in for an afternoon of tea drinking at the teahouse there. LP recommends finishing your day with a meal at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, which sits on the shoreline of the lake.


#7 Sydney, Australia

Well there you go! Not content with playing second fiddle to Melbourne, Sydney’s made a splash on Lonely Planet‘s list as well. Revel in the glitz and glamour of Sydney Harbour’s iconic fireworks display from the shore – Cockatoo Island is a good pick to plant yourself for the night as they also offer glamping, thereby solving the inevitable long-walk-vs-surged-Uber-ride-home conundrum.

Plan your New Year’s with Qantas.