You don’t need to travel far to experience something new on New Year’s Eve. Here’s our round-up of alternative celebrations in our home continent, from plate smashing in Denmark, to running down the street in your red undies in Valencia, Spain. Yes, really…
The locals of this beautiful German island have the right idea, preferring to see in the new year from the comfort of a wicker beach chair. Find a spot on the beach to watch fireworks over the sea, with a warm cup of something boozy.
Stay at: Hotel Imperial *** – prices per night range from £80 – £115 for a double room with balcony and sea view
Join them. It’s safer than running with the bulls…
Fly to: Región de Murcia International Airport or Valencia Airport
Stay at: Villa de Biar **** – average price £78 per night for bed & breakfast
Fireworks are illegal for most of the year in Iceland, but around New Year, the ban is lifted for all, and the skies are filled. It’s customary to visit one of the 10 bonfires in the capital city, lighting time is 8.30pm. The tradition of bonfires dates back to local fisherman in the Middle Ages, who would clean their house of the old, and burn everything in a big fire to make way for the new.
LOCAL TIP: The best place to watch the fireworks fill the sky is from Öskjuhlíð Hill, where you can see almost the whole of Reykjavík and the neighbouring towns.
Fly to: Keflavík International Airport
Stay at: for the best location besides Reykjavic’s Cathedral and Icelandic parliment, stay at the Hotel Borg
Fly to: Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport
Stay at: The Telegraaf Hotel, just 1 minute’s walk from the main square in Old Town
Get to Edinburgh one day early for the start of their 3-day Hogmanay celebrations. The first night is unmissable, an atmospheric viking torchlight procession through the streets of Edinburgh, attended by tens of thousands each year. Continue revelling through to New Year’s Day, when you can join hundreds of loons [people] in fancy dress for a ‘refreshing’ dive into the freezing cold water of Firth of Forth.
Fly to: Edinburgh Airport
Stay at: The Principal Edinburgh George Street ****, Edinburgh’s oldest hotel, from £91 per night
With their reputation as innovators in global gastronomy, you’re guaranteed a good meal. To top the night off, you’ll witness a truly unique experience. The locals save up their cracked crockery throughout the year with the sole purpose of smashing them against their friends and family’s front doors on NYE; a sign of luck, the more mess you have to clean in the morning, the more popular you feel.
Fly to: Copenhagen Airport
Stay at: Hotel SP34 in the lively Latin Quarter, prices start at £111 per night
Trust the most amorous city in the world to welcome the New Year with a communal kiss. Prepare to pucker up at the public celebrations in Saint Mark’s Square; after kissing lovers, the Venetians will be kissing friends and strangers, welcoming the new year with love and peace. Followed by a Prosecco toast. What’s not to love?
Fly to: Venice Marco Polo Airport
Stay at: The Novecento Boutique Hotel, a stone’s throw from Saint Mark’s Square, tucked in a quiet alley for a peaceful sleep. Prices start at £99 per night
The Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, Moulin Rouge. Do you need another excuse? Jump on the Eurostar, walk the city streets, feel good. You don’t even need to book a hotel, pull an all-nighter and get schedule your return for the morning after.
Fly to: Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Stay at: Hotel Crayon Rouge, a retro chic affair in downtown Paris, complete with it’s own wine bar. Prices start at £115 per night.
Tornio in Finland, and Haparanda in Sweden are separated only by the River Torne, a short walk will take you from one to the other. Crossing the bridge not only takes you into a new country, but into a new time zone. Countdown in Tornio, then hop over to Haparanda, wind back the clocks and do it all again an hour later.
Fly to: Kemi-Tornio Airport (Finland) – there is a connecting bus service if you want to base yourself in Swedish Haparanda
Stay at: Hotel Mustaparta, conveniently close to the river border between Finland and Sweden for all the NYE action. Prices start at £105 per night, including breakfast.
In Vienna’s old city centre, the streets are portioned off into different party zones for New Year’s Eve. The Graben Quarter transforms into an open-air ballroom where the city’s dance schools offer free crash courses in the Waltz. Pack your best dancing shoes.
Fly to: Vienna International Airport
Stay at: Grätzl Hotel – their designer suites are renovated spaces in old retail units around the city, choose from ‘The Tobacconist’, ‘The Confectioner’, and ‘The Button-maker’ to name a few. Prices start at £106 per night.