Top Cities to Celebrate New Year’s

With another year coming to an end talk of New Year’s plans are stirring.  There are many cities across the globe that hold amazing New Year’s festivities, the first to come to mind is Hogmanay in Edinburgh but there are plenty of others to choose from. To help you with ideas of where you should spend this New Year’s I asked 9 travel bloggers where their favourite place to celebrate is and the following are their top picks.

Edinburgh HogmanayEdinburgh, Scotland from Kate at This Could Lead to Anywhere

The traditional of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay goes back hundreds of years and is still important to Scottish people today. There is a torchlight procession which was originally celebrated by Vikings. Warm light from the torches glows in the frosty air and people march through the city the day before the end of the year. The fireworks, music and good spirit of Edinburgh’s NYE party in Princes Street and the Grassmarket can’t be beaten. Hearty food, hot toddies and lots of singing marks the occasion. If you want tradition, history, a great party and to sing and dance Auld Lang Syne into the new year, this is the best place to do it.

Zagreb Zagreb, Croatia from Sarah-Jane & Mate at Chasing the Donkey

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia and the place to be for NYE when in Croatia. What I love about bringing in the new year in Zagreb is that the city is in celebration mode. Zagreb celebrates Advent for the entire month of December with the festivities culminating on NYE. The city is decorated with lights and there are performances happening in all the major squares and parks.  We spent NYE in Ban Jelačić square a couple of years ago where some of Croatia’s best artists performed. If you have small children and want to enjoy NYE somewhere a little more low key, head to Zrinjevac Park, which is just a 5 min walk from the main square. In Zrinjevac Park, you can enjoy yourself all evening, watching the performances from the old music pavilion well past midnight into the New Year. There is plenty of room to spread out and to keep an eye on the kids. Zagreb is a city that has something for everyone on NYE.

Bangkok New Year'sBangkok, Thailand from Stefan & Sebastien at Nomdic Boys

Last year we celebrated New Years in gay Silom in Bangkok, one of our favourite gay scenes in the world. A night out there always gets messy, particularly at NYE. The ladyboys and drag shows are at their peak with some of the best outfits ever and everyone is always in such a happy party mood that you’re guaranteed a super night out.

We love Bangkok, particularly at New Years!

London New Year'sLondon, England from Odoardo at Queidue

Our favourite place to spend New Year’s Eve is one of the most visited destinations in the world: London. This all-year-round destination is particularly charming during winter time, when the cold weather and the possible snow create a fairy-tale atmosphere. It is considered the economic and cultural centre of Europe during the rest of the year, but during New Year’s Eve it becomes the place to be if you want to experience the best parties of the globe.

Celebrating New Year in London is something everyone should experience once in their life time. Midnight has to be spent watching the fireworks over river Thames and one of the most crowded and partying spot is Trafalgar Square, where the statues of Admiral Nelson and his lions seem to monitor all the people that gathered there to celebrate.

When the fireworks end and the sky reclaims his black colour, it’s time to meet your friends in one of the thousands of bars/pubs/clubs of the city. You can find every sort of bar, every type of music, every kind of people: in other words you can find exactly what you like and you can wait New Year’s dawn having the best party of your life.

BrazilRiviera São Lourenço, Brazil from Chantell at Adoration 4 Adventure

Riviera São Lourenço, Bertioga is a two hour drive from downtown Sao Paulo by car (without traffic) and I had been invited there by a Brazilian family to celebrate New Year’s Eve. At the time I was living and teaching English in Brazil however the customs of Brazilians were still very new to me. We spent a week at their beach side villa, gorging non-stop on delicious meals, cracking beers soon after breakfast then dragging our beach chairs and umbrellas to the sandy. On the night of New Year’s Eve, after another mouth-watering feast the group marched down to the seaside to count down to the New Year. At the stroke of midnight everyone embraced each other and wished “Feliz Ano Novo”. Champagne was poured and handed round. Then to complete the experience, I took part in the Brazil tradition of jumping over seven different waves while making my New Year’s wish.

GoaGoa, India from Anna at Global Gallivanting

Want to end the year with a specular sunset over the Arabian Sea and party at midnight with your feet in the sand? Then Goa in India is a perfect place to celebrate New Year’s Eve!

Tropical Goa is India’s most laidback state and with over 100 km of coastline there is something here for everyone. Spend New Year’s Eve either relaxing in a luxury resort on a serene beach, doing yoga at sunset or you could spend the night partying at a nightclub or under the stars at one of the legendary raves on one of the beaches popular with backpackers and hippies in North Goa. Christmas and New Year’s is pretty busy in Goa with perfect warm seas and sunny days. North Goa is generally busier than South Goa so head north if you want to party and south if you just want to relax. As well as great beaches, fiery fish curries, the unique charm of the colourful Indian culture, lively nightlife and funky markets Goa is also an amazingly affordable destination, so you can relax and enjoy your holiday without feeling the pinch in January!

New York City New Year'sNew York City, USA from Toni at Enchanted Serendipity

My favourite New Year’s Eve destination is hands down New York City. In 2012, I did the Times Square Ball Drop. I waited 13 hours for that ball to go down the pole. But it was worth all the pain, the icy weather, and not being able to go to the bathroom the entire time I was there. The energy of a million people in one place, counting down that last minute of 2012 was incredible. I will never forget that feeling. It was the most electric moment in time and hasn’t been beaten since. A definite once in a lifetime experience to celebrate the New Year.

MummersPhiladelphia, USA from Suzanne at Boomeresque

My favorite place to celebrate New Year’s Day is in my hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States when Philly hosts the annual all day Mummers’ Parade up Broad Street. Clubs from around the city compete with elaborate costumes of sequins and feathers. They perform their own music as they do the “Mummers’ Strut”.  Nothing can be motorized, so they push their floats along the parade route until they reach the judging platform where they do a themed performance. Various mummers’ clubs from around the city compete. The clubs often have members from multiple generations of the same families. The first mummers in Philadelphia were Swedes in the 1600’s. The official parade has been a Philadelphia New Year’s day fixture since 1901.

Chiang Mai New Year'sChiang Mai, Thailand from Stu & Eloise at Am I Nearly There Yet?

We spent New Years 2013 in Thailand’s 2nd city – Chiang Mai! When we arrived, we had literally no plan or agenda as we’d just completed a marathon bus journey from Laos – 16 hours cooped up like chickens, and actually with some chickens, in the back of a minibus.  Fighting off the urge to nap, we headed out with our travel buddies to see what Chiang Mai had to offer…

Wandering into the city, we noticed a couple of lights in the sky, like aeroplanes in the distance. We started noticing more, then as we came around the corner onto one of the main streets, we couldn’t believe what we saw…literally thousands of people preparing sky lanterns! Like a mini mall hot air balloon made of paper! The festival is called ‘Yi Peng’  (lantern festival) –  The sky literally transforms into an epic and surreal sea of lanterns floating away into the night. Then to top it off, at midnight fireworks lit up the sky. Incredible stuff! The sight was truly mesmerising. Everyone was getting involved, locals, foreigners , young and old! It was so impromptu and unplanned, and to think we nearly went straight to bed! If you’re in Thailand over New Years, definitely head north to Chiang Mai for a once in a lifetime visual treat!

Where’s your favourite place to celebrate New Year’s?

Top Cities to Celebrate New Year's


I'm a Canadian gal with a passion for wildlife, the great outdoors and travel and hope to inspire others to feel the same way! Travelling mostly solo I love to explore Ontario Gems in my own backyard as well as exotic cities around the world.

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6 Responses

  1. Patti says:

    I celebrated New Year’s at Times Square years ago and it was so much fun! Luckily, the weather was warm that year.

  2. Samantha at Our Traveling Blog says:

    I really want to be in NY on year on NYE. It looks and sounds amazing. Finally made it to NY in Oct, and it only fed my fever to want to go back. Maybe we will make it one year! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful NYE experiences.

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