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8 off beat ideas to celebrate New Year's Eve in style across Europe

New Year is at our doorstep, and you might be planning parties and celebrations with family and friends. But if you’re looking for a different New Year, in new environments, new landscapes, and new cultures, these are some of the best destinations to kick off the new year!


Ireland - Cork City

Cork City by night, Ireland

The Irish city of Cork is known for its nightlife and music scene. And there are plenty of pubs and clubs around town that celebrate New Year’s Eve in style. If you’re looking for something more refined, then head out to the charming countryside in county Cork in South Ireland where you will find several top-class hotels that are perfect for a luxurious New Year’s Eve.

Those who are in for an Irish adventure week must include New Years day in their stay. In many counties in Ireland, annual New Years swims are held for those who dare to make a dip in the cold ocean waters. Probably the busiest (and most famous) spot is at Forty Foot in Dublin, but if you like something calmer, head to the picturesque cove Myrtleville, south of Cork city.

Sicily

Sweet treats Sicily, Italy

New Year's Eve in Sicily is full of rituals. So if you are interested in authentic local experiences, put Sicily on your travel list. New Year's Eve - just like Christmas - Sicilians spend at the table with friends and family to savor many traditional dishes, one of which is lentils. Lentils are considered to bring good fortune as they resemble coins… As well you will find on the table Caponata and Sicilian fish specialties. The long dinner ends with a wide choice of sweets from cassata and torroni to cannoli and dried almond pastries. So prepare yourself for a night full of delicacies!


Iceland - Reykjavik

New years fireworks Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland's capital Reykjavík is an amazing town to spend New Year. During the day you can explore the incredible winter landscapes and enjoy amazing outdoor adventures from glacier tours and husky rides to snowmobiling and lava cave excursions.

Then, eat early and wrap up to look for one of the city’s bonfires where (new) friends and families gather to celebrate the last day of the year at the glowing fire. Keep yourself warm and stay awake for the glorious firework at midnight. Even Iceland’s Northern Lights are on New Year's Eve outdone.

Bonfires (called Áramótabrennur) are part of a long Icelandic tradition and were seen as a way to “clean the year” (or burned away) and start a new year afresh.


Norway

Lightning sparklers, new years eve, Norway

New Year celebrations in Norway are an important part of their rich traditions and heritage, which are followed by the Norwegians for hundreds of years.

Celebrations traditionally start with the Norwegian King addressing the nation before dugging into a hearty meal of Turkey or fish.

Besides, the celebrations in Norway are stylish! It is common to see families and friends dressed at best to celebrate this special evening, whether for dinner or for a drink waiting for the countdown for the fireworks which start at midnight.


Portugal - Porto

For a lively New Year, Northern Portugal's city of Porto is to put on your list.

The town gathers at the riverbanks to listen to live music, and concerts or celebrate in the bars, restaurants, and nightclubs downtown. Many people join the countdown in front of the city hall and watch the amazing firework show at midnight and enjoy the street parties afterward.

New years, fireworks over Porto city center, Portugal

Celebrating New Year in Porto is as well a great way to taste various traditional dishes and learn about local traditions. Portugal has many New Year’s traditions, so you might see the locals do one of the following at midnight:

  • With a glass of champagne in one hand, jump 3 times with one leg at the 12 strokes

  • Eating 3 raisins and making three wishes

  • At the 12th stroke, hold some money in your hand

  • And for those who dare, on the first day of January, dive into the ocean!

If you want to celebrate New Year in calmness and style, should look for a Douro Cruise, a wonderful experience to kick off the year.


Scotland - Edinburgh

New Year's Eve - the 31st of December - is a big night in Scotland. The event is so important that the Scots have given it a specific name Hogmanay. Its origins reach back to the celebration of the winter solstice among the Vikings with parties starting in late December.

New years fireworks over Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Hogmanay is celebrated across the country, but the capital city of Edinburgh steals the show. The events can last up to 3 days and there’s a lot going on across the city. Expect street parties, XXL fireworks, open-air concerts, and festivities until the early hours.


Did you know?

A national custom linked to Hogmanay is "first-footing". The first person to enter the home of a friend or neighbor on New Year's Day is seen as a bringer of good luck! Don't forget to bring a gift such as a whisky or shortbread biscuits to share with your best friend.


Madeira - Funchal

The small island of Madeira is home to the biggest firework show in the world. So if you are looking for sparkling celebrations, be sure to add Madeira to your list. Fireworks are launched from different corners of the island and illuminate brightly the clear night sky, but the unmissable event is taking place in the bay of the capital Funchal.

Besides the town is full of Christmas markets selling local crafts, sparkling decorations, and folklore music and you might even meet Father Christmas in the street. On New Year’s Eve, the bars are open all night and you can join many parties.

New years fireworks over Funchal, Madeira

The best thing about visiting Madeira is its climate. You will experience mild temperatures allowing outdoor activities in the sun from Levada hikes and mountain biking to kayaking and canyoning. Also, you will find many family-friendly adventures like dolphin and whale watching or searching for the most beautiful waterfalls.


The Azores - São Miguel

The island of São Miguel on the Azores is the perfect destination for a family adventure. São Miguel is home to beautiful nature with an abundance of hiking trails, a wild coastline that is ideal for outdoor adventures such as kayaking and coasteering, and friendly villages to explore. The capital Ponta Delgada combines a rich historical past with modern facilities, restaurants, and shopping streets. On New Year’s Eve, Ponta Delgada comes alive with fireworks, festivities, and public concerts.

The day after, relax in one of the natural thermal spots near Lagoa do Fogo or Furnas, and don't leave the island without tasting the typical Christmas cake: Bolo Rei, filled with almonds and colored candied fruits. Sure that the whole family will love it!

New years fireworks

No matter where you choose to spend the turn of the year, we hope that you are able to spend it in good health and surrounded by family, friends and loved ones. We hope we will be able to help you with your adventure plans for next year and are looking forward to hearing from you.

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