Are you itching to bring in the New Year in European style, but not sure which city is going to best suit you? Check out these five cities with distinct flavors to help you decide.
The Classic Celebration – London
If there is one thing that Brits excel at above all others, it’s pomp and circumstance, and the London New Year’s Eve party is perhaps the best the world (sorry, NYC). Fireworks on the Thames with the London Eye, Big Ben and the House of Parliament in the background? Bring your camera, this is as good as it gets.
Seasoned Traveler Tip: London fills up with skating rinks during the winter months. Our winner for beautiful location is Somerset House.
The Giant Get Together – Paris
If London goes all out to wow with fireworks, Paris does the opposite, naturally. It seems as if everyone in the city comes together on the green in front of the Eiffel Tower (Champ de Mars), but this isn’t a giant party, it’s more low key. Clusters of friends sit around red checkered blankets, drinking wine and musing on what they will do in the coming year. The only fireworks you will see are the ones deployed by small children, but there is a light show on the river, so be sure to be close to the banks when the clock strikes midnight!
Seasoned Traveler Tip: Nearly everyone in Paris is trying to get on the Metro after the show is over. Be prepared to get jammed in with locals or just wait it out and then take a taxi. The Metro runs all night, but only lines 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 14 are served after 2:15 a.m., so check your schedule before heading out for the night.
Power to The People – Budapest
The Budapest New Year’s Celebration is people powered. No big light shows or displays by the government or oversight. There is a strong party atmosphere, but it’s mostly unsupervised. As a result, you will see fireworks set off mere feet from your face as people jam in towards the main town square. If you like your New Year’s night fun with a little bit of danger, this is the place.
Seasoned Traveler Tip: The Szechenyi Baths are a stunning place to visit anytime of the year, but if it’s a party you are looking for, check them out on December 30th.
A Small Town Affair – Amalfi
We love small towns. They create their own fun and quirky traditions, and Amalfi has one of the best. Men and women push a cart down the street while singing and banging on homemade instruments until they make it to the main square at the base. We were all ready for a quiet night until the cacophony coming down the lane dragged us back out into the merry darkness. Everyone gets involved to help usher in the new year.
Spanish Nights – Madrid
The Puerta del Sol fireworks display is so good, people from across the country tune in to watch it live. Want to have a little local fun? Bring twelve grapes to eat during the last 12 seconds of the year. You get one wish per grape, or so the grape growers would have you believe! Classic Spain, any excuse to eat and celebrate is grabbed with gusto.
What city would you suggest for our next New Year’s Party? Leave us a note in the comments to let us know.