It’s the one night of the year where the whole world is celebrating – but where’s the best place to be when the clock strikes midnight? From Copacabana beach parties to impromptu bonanzas on the streets of Amsterdam, we’ve rounded up the best ways to ring in the New Year around the globe…
Spend New Year’s Eve in Sydney and you’ll be one of the first to enter 2019, due to its location and time zone. You’ll also witness the largest fireworks display in the world, set against the striking backdrop of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. More than a million people gather on the foreshore to watch, while others choose to spend the countdown on a boat with friends or at one of the city’s many waterfront restaurants. The festivities also include an air and water show featuring aerial acrobatics, a parade of more than 50 illuminated boats sailing down the harbour and an Aboriginal smoking ceremony said to cleanse bad spirits.
Amsterdam has its party hat on all year round, but on New Year’s Eve the fun-loving city kicks things up a notch with a mixture of impromptu street frolics and organised festivities. Just about every public space is bustling with merrymakers, incuding Rembrandtplein, Nieuwmarkt, Museumplein and Dam Square, while firework displays pop up across Amsterdam, best viewed from one of the city’s many bridges.
Renowned for being one of the world’s best party cities, it’s no surprise New Year’s Eve is particularly wild in the German capital of Berlin. One of Europe’s largest outdoor celebrations takes place between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column, while their infamous techno clubs keep hardcore revellers happy with non-stop, open-for-days parties.
New York City, America
Not the most original recommendation, but there’s no denying New York City has an atmosphere few cities can rival on New Year’s Eve. Over a million people gather in the world-famous Times Square, where a 12-foot crystal ball weighing nearly 12,000 pounds drops, signalling the start of the New Year.
Cape Town, South Africa
The V&A Waterfront is the centrepiece of New Year’s Eve celebrations in the vibrant city of Cape Town. Dancing, fireworks and live music take place amid striking views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic shore. This year’s theme is Mother Earth, kicking off with a parade and continuing through the night with pop up performances, food and non-stop entertainment. On New Year’s Day a colourful parade takes place through downtown Cape Town, featuring over 10,000 performers dancing and singing through the streets.
In the Scottish capital of Edinburgh the New Year’s festivities go on for three days at their famed Hogmanay extravaganza. It all begins on 30 December with a Viking-style torchlight procession down the famous Royal Mile, which culminates in a fireworks finale. On New Year’s Eve itself, the city comes alive with street parties and outdoor concerts, including their huge open-air Kelidh (traditional Celtic party). Then, as the clock strikes midnight, fireworks light up the sky over Edinburgh Castle while the streets ring out with the sound of ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ On New Year’s Day, brave souls fight hangovers by jumping into the ice-cold waters of the River Forth, while others enjoy dog sledding across the lovely Holyrood Park.
Rio De Janerio, Brazil
Every year in the exotic Brazilian capital, around two million revellers gather on the 2.5 mile long Copacabana for the world’s largest New Year’s Eve party, known as Réveillon. Locals dress head to toe in white and cram onto the beach to dance, drink Champagne and watch the fireworks, while enjoying oceanfront music and performances live from the waterfront.
Koh Phangan, Thailand
Home to the world’s most famous full-moon party, popular travellers destination Koh Phangan hosts one of their wildest beach parties on New Year’s Eve. When darkness falls upon Sunrise Beach, the festivities begin, continuing all the way through to the following afternoon.
In classic Spanish style, celebrations in Barcelona don’t begin until late – and once they kick off, they go on until the early hours. At around 11pm crowds gather at Plaça d’Espanya to watch the midnight pyrotechnics on Montjuïc, while enjoying music and live performances. After joining in with the local tradition of eating 12 grapes before the 12 strokes of midnight come to an end, locals then flock to clubs to party the night away. A number of open-air parties spring up across the city too, such as open-air architectural museum Poble Espanyol, which hosts a massive dance party until 6am.
Hong Kong, China
At the strike of midnight, Hong Kong’s famous city skyline is lit up with a spectacular pyro-musical display over Victoria Harbour, complete with lasers, fireworks and LEDs. Many watch from the waterfront while others escape the crowds in swanky rooftop bars. Elsewhere in Times Square shopping mall, a ball drop takes place, paying homage to New York City’s famous tradition.