New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest events of the year, with parties all across the world to celebrate the start of the next 12 months.
While a UK NYE is sure to be an exciting one, 2016 could be the time for you to try something different and head overseas to celebrate 2017 in style.
With some cheap flights available this December, it could be less expensive than you think, too. Here are some of our top picks for a thrilling December 31st.
Gibraltar is the perfect location for those hoping to head overseas without losing Britain’s party culture.
The island is full of expats from the UK and boasts a wonderful party atmosphere every NYE. Casemates Square is the place to be on December 31st, with plenty of bars fuelling a fantastic family-friendly event. Live music starts from 10pm from local group JetStream, ahead of the traditional countdown at 11:59pm and stunning fireworks from midnight.
If you would like to continue the festivities into 2017, there are a few clubs with special New Year’s celebrations, while those looking for a more peaceful start to January could simply relax on the mesmerising Catalan Bay.
As one of the most desirable cities in the world, Barcelona is a tremendous option for a NYE trip abroad. There are parties organised all over and, with stunning architecture and incredible restaurants dotted around the region’s neighbourhoods, a holiday to the Catalan capital could make for an excellent start to 2017.
The official New Year’s Eve party takes place at the Montjuic Magic Fountain and is totally free of charge. The festivities begin here at 11pm and include the phenomenal Son et Lumiere show, ahead of the chiming of the bells at midnight as 2017 starts with a flurry of breathtaking fireworks.
What’s more, there are some interesting traditions across Barcelona that coincide with the New Year. One of these is the superstition of eating twelve grapes during the midnight chimes. No one is entirely sure how this started, but it was popularised in the 19th century and it is said that those who manage to eat all 12 without choking will be blessed with good luck in the year!
Well-regarded as one of the world’s most romantic destinations, Rome could make for a magical start to 2017.
The Italian city is home to some of Europe’s best restaurants and architecture, and it looks absolutely resplendent in the cosy winter atmosphere. Perhaps the best place to visit on December 31st is Circo Massimo, where a free concert is held every year. Live music starts at 9:30pm and goes on until midnight, when the city’s skies will be lit up with stunning fireworks.
An excellent alternative is the New Year’s Eve Opera Gala, which takes place at the beautiful Methodist Church of Italy. The event kicks off at 7pm and sees some of the country’s best soprano and tenor soloists cover songs from operatic legends such as Rossini and Mozart.
Perhaps the largest celebration takes place at the Colosseum, where live music performances start at 10pm, before magical fireworks light up the sky above one of the world’s most recognisable structures.
Visitors to Lisbon are spoilt for choice on New Year’s Eve, as amazing festivities take place throughout the city. The biggest event is at Comercio Square, where thousands of people enjoy spectacular fireworks reflecting onto the Tagus River, creating a jaw-dropping start to the new year.
Another popular spot for NYE is Torre de Belem. As one of the most historic monuments in the city, it is a marvellous sight on its own, but when you add fireworks and a sensational view of the Atlantic Ocean, it is truly magical.
Of course, if you’re not interested in the firework displays, you can always enjoy a delightful meal at one of Lisbon’s many top restaurants. Restaurante Belcanto’s deluxe menu of Portuguese cuisine is a top pick, while the seafood of Sea Me is hard to turn down. Just remember to check opening times and book a table in advance to avoid disappointment.
Lisbon also has a unique New Year’s tradition of its own – eating 12 raisins after midnight. It is said to bring good luck.
As one of the most photographed cities in the world, everyone has been charmed by Venice’s stunning architecture, and there’s no better time to see it in person than December 31st.
The iconic St Mark’s Basilica will host the countdown to midnight, which will be followed by wonderful fireworks. Whether you brave the crowds at ground level or watch the display from a local bar, you will never forget it.
Elsewhere in Venice, the New Year’s concert will take place at the Fenice Theatre and run from December 30th to January 1st. The event includes performances by Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, alongside some of the best soloists and choir singers in Italy. On New Year’s Day, the event is televised across the country and has grown to become a national tradition.
You can even start 2017 in style in Venice by joining in the fun at the Blue Moon Beach Festival at Lido Beach, where people begin the new year with a dip in the water!