Best Places to Celebrate New Year's Eve in the World

The 10 Best Places to Spend New Year’s Eve (2024)

As the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, the world unites in a spectacular celebration of music, fireworks, and hope for the year ahead. The end of the holiday season is an excellent time to travel and discover how the rest of the world welcomes a new beginning. Whatever your ideal celebration looks like, the best destinations for New Year’s will leave you spoiled for choice with activities, attractions, and events.  

Whether you’re seeking an explosive pyrotechnic extravaganza, a tranquil escape into nature, or a cultural immersion surrounded by traditions from around the world, the perfect place for you to celebrate New Year’s Eve in unforgettable style is out there.

Today, we’re exploring the best NYE destinations on Earth, where the arrival of January 1st is celebrated with unparalleled enthusiasm and excitement. From iconic landmarks putting on their annual show and medieval towns with centuries-old traditions to tropical midnight beach parties and fireworks displays you’ll be telling everyone about for years, these handpicked locations offer a diverse range of experiences to make this New Year’s Eve your best one yet!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 10 Best Places to Spend New Year’s Eve

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The 10 Best Places to Spend New Year’s Eve

1. London, UK

Best Places to Travel for New Year: London. UK

For a traditional experience, London is one of the best destinations for New Year’s. Grab yourself a ticket for the city’s incredible NYE show as early as you can (they sell out months in advance), and secure a prime spot along the River Thames, in front of the London Eye. From here, you’ll be able to listen to Big Ben chime 12 times before a sensational fireworks, light, and sound display illuminates the capital’s skyline.

If you’ve left it too late for a ticket, there are still plenty of other things you can do. Sign up for an incredible New Year’s Eve cruise and watch the fireworks from the water, or forget about the fireworks altogether and bag tickets for the larger-than-life NYE party thrown in the Standard Hotel!

2. Edinburgh, Scotland

Best Places to Travel for New Year: Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scottish capital is one of the most incredible places to celebrate New Year’s if you’re looking to change things up a bit. At this time of year, locals throw a spectacular bash called, Hogmanay which goes on for a whopping three days. 

There’s a huge number of events at this time, from live music concerts and street parties to candlelit hymn concerts and silent discos. It’s important to know that many of these activities are ticketed, so get yours as soon as you can.

Don’t have much spare cash? No worries. There are plenty of free things to do for New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, too. There are Christmas markets to explore, countless streets of twinkling lights to wander around, and even a handful of museums (such as the Scottish National Gallery) that are free to enter.

3. Sydney, Australia

Best Places to Celebrate New Year: Sydney, Australia

If you love being the first to do things, Sydney is one of the best NYE destinations for you. Thanks to its easterly time zone, the Australian capital is one of the first places in the world to celebrate the new year. 

Each year on December 31st, more than a million people gather together on the shore and on boats, excited to see the remarkable fireworks display that lights up the Opera House and Harbor Bridge.

Where to Spend New Year's Eve: Sydney, Australia

What makes New Year’s Eve in Sydney even better is that it takes place in the middle of summer. With an average temperature of 71°F (21°C) in December, you don’t have to stand outside for hours wrapped up in multiple layers, waiting for midnight.

4. Madrid, Spain

Best Places to Travel for New Year: Madrid, Spain

Madrid’s biggest celebrations take place in Puerta del Sol, where thousands of people gather for a giant street party. The only problem is that entry to the square is on a first-come, first-served basis, and people start to line up from about 7 pm. 

If you’d rather not stand in line for 5 hours, there are plenty of other places you can celebrate. Parties take place in various bars, streets, and squares throughout the capital, with loads of music, dancing, and a quirky Spanish tradition. 

Best Places to Celebrate New Year: Madrid, Spain

As each bell marking the countdown to midnight tolls, it’s customary to pop a grape in your mouth until you’re chewing on 12 grapes as you roll into the new year. Have a glass of cava handy and you’ll be able to eat them without any problems.

5. New York City, USA

Where to Spend New Year's Eve: New York City

Undoubtedly one of the best places to visit for New Year’s, New York City is one destination you’ve absolutely got to visit at least once in your lifetime. Time your trip for the end of December, and not only will you get to visit one of the most vibrant cities in the world, but you’ll also have the chance to see an iconic New Year’s Eve tradition in person.

Best Places to Celebrate New Year: New York City

Just seconds before midnight, a giant illuminated ball descends onto the roof of One Times Square, marking the beginning of the new year. Thousands of people cram into Times Square to watch the symbolic event. If you’re not one for crowds, you can grab a ticket for one of the high-end parties that take place in various hotels and buildings in the area and watch the event from there instead.

6. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Best Places to Travel for New Year: Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you’re looking for somewhere warm and sunny to bid farewell to the year, Chiang Mai is one of the best places to travel for New Year’s. During December, highs reach a balmy 84°F (29°C) and rain is practically unheard of. 

But the blissful weather isn’t the only reason to visit the dynamic Thai city. Every year on December 31st, thousands of paper lanterns are released into the night sky, creating a sensational view unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere.

Best Places to Celebrate New Year: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Releasing a lantern is a symbol of new beginnings and is said to bring good luck. So see if you can get your hands on one and release it yourself. 

7. Tokyo, Japan

Where to Spend New Year's Eve: Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is the best place to be for New Year’s Eve if you’re a foodie. The Japanese capital boasts a host of NYE traditions, a number of which include amazing eats. 

One classic dish which is often enjoyed at this time of year is toshikoshi soba. This special noodle dish has been around since the 13th or 14th century and is said to melt away the hardship of the old year and welcome a brighter, happier new year.

Best Places to Travel for New Year: Tokyo, Japan

Toshikoshi soba is made of a rich broth filled with soba noodles, dried seaweed, kamaboko fish cake, and scallions. It’s packed with amazing flavors and textures and can be found all over the city. Kanda Matsuya, established way back in 1884, makes some of the best in all of Japan.

8. Reykjavik, Iceland

Best Places to Celebrate New Year: Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik may not have its own official fireworks display, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any fireworks at all. One of the best places to go for New Year’s if you like to get hands-on, the Icelandic capital celebrates New Year’s Eve with countless amateur fireworks displays put on by almost every local living in the city.

Things to do in Europe in December: Reykjavik, Iceland

If you’d like to get involved, head to ICE-SAR (Iceland’s search and rescue department) and buy all the fireworks you can get your hands on. Find a safe outdoor location and let them off at the stroke of midnight. This way, you’ll be funding the worthy institution for another year while also being part of one of the widest-reaching fireworks displays in the world. 

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

Where to Spend New Year's Eve: Copenhagen, Denmark

One of the best New Year’s Eve destinations if you love non-traditional celebrations, Copenhagen does things a little differently than many other cities. While most European capitals are throwing parties and putting on fireworks displays, locals in the Danish capital are bidding farewell to the year by throwing plates at their neighbors’ doors.

Best Places to Travel for New Year: Copenhagen, Denmark

The more plates you break, the better luck you’re said to have, so get smashing! After all the crockery commotion, head down to the waterside, where you’ll find a sensational (and much more traditional) fireworks display to welcome in the new year.

10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Where to Spend New Year's Eve: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Copacabana Beach is definitely one of the most spectacular places to ring in the new year. The weather is wonderfully warm, the sea is the perfect temperature for swimming (even at midnight!), and the coastal fireworks display is beyond incredible.

Best Places to Celebrate New Year: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

If you could do with a little extra luck in the new year, join in with one of the Brazilian traditions. Make sure you’re dressed entirely in white on December 31st and jump over seven waves at midnight. Even if there’s nothing to it, being barefoot and splashing in the sea at midnight in December is bound to make you feel like one of the luckiest people on the planet.

That completes our list of the 10 best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the world! Where is your favorite place to celebrate New Year’s Eve? Comment below so we can add it to the list!

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  • Nicola Quinn

    Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since.

    From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places.

    The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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