Best Places in Europe to Ring in the New Year

Last updated on: May 5, 2020

(Last Updated On: May 5, 2020)

Revelers looking to ring in the new year in style have several top European destinations to choose from. From the big-hitting parties taking place in London and Paris, to giant firework displays lighting up the skies above mid-Atlantic islands, Europe has it all when it comes to bringing in the new decade.

Related post: Best Places for Christmas Market Breaks in Europe

Let’s take a look at some of the most famous venues, before unveiling a few hidden gems that you may have been – until now – blissfully unaware of.

London, Paris, and Berlin

It’s only right and proper that three of the continent’s biggest cities have New Year’s celebrations to match their status.

Whilst London has one of the most famous firework displays on the planet – kicked off every year by the chiming of the ancient bells of “Big Ben” – the after parties are usually un-ticketed affairs spread across each little borough and district. Perfect for those of you who like to play fast and loose with plans.  

London - Ring in the new year

Paris is the so-called “City of Lights”, and there won’t be many individuals who would be annoyed at ringing in the new year under a brightly-lit Eiffel Tower.

Celebrations are slightly different here, with no official firework display. However, with fireworks legal across the city, you’ll see more than your fair share of them lighting up the Parisian sky.

Much like London, parties are available across the city. From club nights, to high-brow affairs in museums and galleries, how you decide to celebrate is up to you.

By contrast, Berlin operates a “one party for all” system. Celebrations are directed to one huge 2km-long street party running between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. This area has everything you could ever want to celebrate the passing of another year.

Live bands, DJs, and one of the biggest fireworks displays in the world all help to kick off the new year in style for locals and visitors alike.

But what about those lesser-known destinations that take new year even more seriously than the major capitals? Here’s the best places to celebrate new year that you might not have even thought of.

Madeira, Portugal

The tiny volcanic island of Madeira is 1,000km from the European mainland, but is part of Europe by extension of its Portuguese ownership.

Despite being 520 kilometers from any other land mass, the island entertains 1.4 million tourists a year – a great of which arrive on a cruise ship to the port of Funchal, the capital of Madeira.

Madeira - Ring in the new year

Despite its remote location, Madeira puts on one of the biggest firework displays around. The capital, Funchal, is surrounded by steep volcanic hills which makes a great naturally-occurring amphitheater for enjoying the show.

Thousands of lights are also strung along the city’s main avenues, making this-already picturesque location even more delightful on this special night.

Reykjavik, Iceland

If you though Madeira was committed to their fireworks, Reykjavik takes it to a whole new level. Not because there is an official celebration as such, but because the 200,000 local citizens manage to set off a staggering 500 tons of fireworks each New Year’s Eve.

Yes, you read that right, 500 tons. Who said living on the outskirts of the Arctic circle couldn’t be fun?!  

No matter where you ring in the new year in Iceland, you are bound to take in an almost never-ending display of color lighting up the night sky.

Better still, since January in Iceland means almost 20 hours of darkness a day, it’s a great idea to take a Northern Lights tour.

Iceland - Ring in the new year

If winter in Iceland is not for you, check out our guide on spending 7 days in Iceland in summer.

Edinburgh, Scotland

New year in Scotland is not even called new year. It’s called Hogmanay, and the celebration of it lasts over two days! Festivities start on the 30th, before carrying on through into the early hours of the 1st of January. There are all kinds of official celebrations packed into the historic town of Edinburgh.

Scotland - Ring in the new year

Whether you choose to attend Hogmanay in the Gardens headlined by huge global stars such as Mark Ronson, or prefer to experience the cultural phenomenon that is the Ceiledh Under the Castle, there’s something to get your teeth into. Of course, like all good New Year’s Eve celebrations, midnight on the 31st signals the start of a spectacular firework display which takes place above the famous Edinburgh Castle.

Try Something Different in Europe to Ring in A New Decade

The imminent arrival of the 2020s may have you wanting to head to somewhere completely different to celebrate the dawn of a new decade. Whether you opt to join the rave-like street party of Berlin, or you choose to sit back and watch monumental firework displays whilst being thousands of kilometers from anywhere else, it’s up to you to decide where to mark this special occasion.

One thing is for sure though, you’re spoilt for choice. 

Where will you ring in the new year? Will it be in one of these places?

Author Profile

Joe Gratton
Joe is a full-time digital nomad who is based in Manchester, UK. He has lived or worked in countries such as the United States, Italy, Greece, France and many more destinations since quitting his job in 2017. You can keep up with his journey on the Advantaged Life blog.

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