There’s plenty of ways to ring in the New Year, but few beat celebrating in far flung destinations.
Each country has their own way of ringing in the new year, and these are some of our favourite picks for 2020.
From feasting on lentils in Venice to revelling on Rio’s Copacabana beach, this is our round up of the 10 best New Year’s Eve destinations for 2020.
1) Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places in the world to ring in the New Year. Start by watching the last sunset of 2019 atop the iconic Table Mountain, before making your way down to one of the city’s many end of year parties. Head to the V&A Waterfront for the biggest party in all of South Africa, or watch the fireworks display from a distance on the picturesque Milnerton Beach. For a more laid-back New Year’s celebration, head to the city’s beautiful Nederburg Wine Estate, where picnics and award-winning wine accompany a delightful orchestral concert.
2) London, United Kingdom
Playing host to one of the most impressive fireworks displays across the globe, London is a great city to celebrate the New Year in. Tickets sell out fast for the area closest to the display, but there’s a number of spots around the capital where you can catch a glimpse. The viewing platforms of the Shard, The Savoy and The Corinthia Hotel offer views from above. If you’re willing to brave the cold, head to Primrose Hill or Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath for more bird’s eye views.
3) Sydney, Australia
Every year, Sydney is the first major city to celebrate the birth of a new year. With a diverse and friendly population, this cosmopolitan city readily welcomes anyone and everyone to the festivities. Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House are the focal points, with more than a thousand fireworks bursting into the sky across the two sites. For the best views, head to one of the harbour’s islands or an inner city park. To round off the evening, stay to watch the iconic Harbour Light parade which sees more than 50 illuminated vessels float through the water.
4) Edinburgh, Scotland
The Scots know how to ring in the new year in style, so it’s no surprise that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations encompass three days of festivities. The event begins with a torchlight procession of Vikings, pipes and drums across the Royal Mile and Holyrood Park on 30 December. Then, the party continues with live music, DJs and outdoor bars in the spectacular setting of Edinburgh Castle. Of course, you can’t celebrate Hogmanay without admiring the world-famous Hogmanay Midnight Fireworks or singing along to Auld Lang Syne. The celebrations culminate with a refreshing fancy dress themed dip in the balmy River Forth on New Year’s Day.
5) Tokyo, Japan
In Japan’s capital city, the New Year celebrations are a little more subdued. Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine is usually the busiest part of the city, as the Japanese tradition of hatsumode signifies visiting a shrine to give the first prayer of the year. The thousands of people that gather here must wait until midnight to approach the shrine, after which everyone waits in line to say their prayers. After you’ve made your offering, warm up with a hot cup of ramen or sip of sake.
6) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio is a city that’s famous for parties, and New Year is no different. Every year, more than two million people make their way to the infamous Copacabana beach to revel beneath smoky lights and illuminated skies. All of the city’s party-goers dress from head to toe in white, making for striking views out over a sea of white from nearby hotels. The colour white is thought to bring prosperity and peace, so don your finest white clothes to reap the benefits of the celebration. To finish the evening spiritually, join locals in offering flowers and candles to Iemanjá, Goddess of the Ocean.
7) Reykjavik, Iceland
With no official firework displays in Reykjavik, Iceland’s New Year’s Eve is a truly local affair. Traditionally, Icelanders begin their celebrations with a festive family dinner, followed by a trip to a local bonfire. The streets become eerily quiet between the hours of 10.30 and 11.30pm, as the entire nation gathers around their TV screens to watch the annual New Year’s Eve comedy show Áramótaskaup. It’s a different story come 11.35pm, when Reykjavik’s 200,000 residents set off a whopping 500 tonnes of fireworks. Once it’s officially the new year, the celebrations continue into the early hours of the morning in the city’s many clubs and pubs.
8) Madrid, Spain
Aside from fireworks and festivities, Madrid has a set of its very own New Year’s traditions. The most famous of which is eating 12 grapes, one for each gong of the bell at midnight. The story goes that if you manage to eat the dozen grapes before the clock strikes midnight, you’ll be rewarded with good fortune and prosperity for the year ahead. The best place to try your luck is at the Puerta del Sol, where revellers fill the square with bottles of cava until the early hours of the morning.
9) Valparaíso, Chile
As the host of South America’s largest New Year fiesta, Valparaíso is the perfect place to ring in 2020. The fireworks display here lasts for a mesmerising 20 minutes, and the impressive show has been known to win the Guinness World Record for the largest fireworks display in the past. Chile’s second city is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so is the perfect setting for watching the beautiful display.
10) Bangkok, Thailand
In Bangkok, there’s plenty of ways to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. If you choose to spend the evening in one of the city’s many rooftop bars, you’ll feel as though you’re on top of the world as you watch local life go by. There’s no better vantage point in the city. For those who’d rather stay closer to the ground, ring in the new year with a cruise along the Chao Phraya River. Whether you visit one of the many restaurants lining the water’s edge for a slap up meal or you simply admire the fireworks from aboard a boat, a New Year’s Eve in Bangkok is sure to be one you’ll remember forever.