Every year has to end, and we’re usually more than grateful for the chance for a new beginning – even if it’s just in our heads. After the quiet, contemplative Christmas season, some people like to stay cozy and warm, while the others say goodbye to the year with a wild, boozy party. Those of you who like to finish out the year with a trip may face more than your fair share of difficulties in finding a destination: London, Berlin and Paris have long since sold out of affordable flights and accommodations. But that’s no problem, since we’ve sleuthed out a few European destinations that are still up for grabs where you can enjoy a unique and memorable New Year’s celebration!
The “Golden City” is particularly lively around New Year’s. Prague is full of bars, clubs and restaurants, and it’s a perfect destination to ring in the new year. On New Year’s Eve, a huge open-air event with concerts takes place in the famous Wenceslas Square. Before you disappear into one of the city’s bars or clubs to party away the last night of the year, make a stop at the Vltava riverbank, where a magnificent firework display lights up the walls of the old city. A tip for families: A second firework display takes place on New Year’s Day at 6:00pm!
The capital city of Scotland is renowned for its deeply-rooted New Year’s festivities. The festival Hogmanay is celebrated here each year. This celebration marking the last day of the year dates all the way back to pagan times. Of course, the celebration has evolved with the times, and Hogmanay now features a 3-day festival featuring a lineup of internationally renowned musicians. Fire and light is at the center of the festivities: we recommend an early arrival for the torch procession on December 29th, at the end of which a Viking ship is burned. The “Loony Dook” on New Year’s Day is the perfect wake-up call: jumping into the freezing cold water is guaranteed to awaken even the sleepiest revellers, but if you’re feeling timid you can watch the spectacle from the safety of dry land.
The New Year’s Eve festivities in the polish city of Krakow are particularly musical. An imposing stage is constructed every year in the market square in the city centre, featuring a wide array of musical talent, both from Poland and around the world. And the classical and operatic genres are also well represented, filling the streets with the sound of music throughout the evening. The moment when one year gives way to the next is celebrated with the ringing of the bells of St. Mary’s Church.
On the German Baltic Sea island of Rügen, you can greet the new year with a romantic celebration by the sea, far away from the loud parties. The many New Year’s events beneath the wide open sky, which Rügen is famous for, ensure that you won’t be bored during your stay. In every village you’ll find a unique tradition, with events taking place in the harbor, on the beach, or even in a lighthouse. And as you enjoy the music, you can feast on a magnificent assortment of culinary specialities.
New Year’s Eve can be cold in Europe – so where better to celebrate than in the only capital city in the EU that boasts its own thermal hot springs? In this metropolis on the Danube, you’ll still find traditional bath houses from the Turkish period, such as the Széchenyi, Lukács or Király baths. But even outside the city, Budapest offers a picturesque backdrop for the turning of the year. You can mix in with the locals on one of the city’s many beautiful bridges or public squares before heading to one of the countless bars to continue the festivities.