london-fireworks

The six best cities to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Europe

How did this happen again? New year is approaching and only a matter of weeks separates you from writing your list of thoroughly thought out, well-intended New Year’s resolutions, and seeing 2012 off with a bang in one of the world’s best cities. Here are six of the best New Year’s Eve parties in Europe for you, your friends and family.

Berlin – Don’t expect the fireworks to wait until midnight in Berlin with locals often choosing to offer their own warm-up displays from balconies or in local parks, where people will sit around small fires or BBQs enjoying a lively Silvester atmosphere. One of the most iconic fireworks displays can be enjoyed at Brandenburg Gate and if you’re feeling up for seeing 2012 off in a more unusual and active way, take part in the Berlin Silvesterlauf, also known as the “Pancake Race” a 10km or 6.3 km run up and down Teufelsberg, which we warn you literally translates as “Devil’s Hill”.

Image © Bby

Image © Robert Agthe

Firework smoke in Berlin – Image © Kaspar Metz

Paris – Spending New Year’s in Paris is worth it just to see the Eiffel Tower glitter and sparkle. The main party will take place along the Champs Elysée but we recommend climbing up to the picturesque Montmartre for a view of Paris lit up with party spirit. Here and in nearby Pigalle you’ll find an equally buzzing celebratory atmosphere but with fewer crowds and less tourists.

Image © Adrien Mogenet

Image © LinksmanJD

London – Despite their moaning about the cold and inevitable rain that will no doubt descend upon London at New Year’s (if not before) the banks of the Thames are always teeming with cheery spirited locals and tourists waiting for the city’s impressive fireworks display and to hear Big Ben’s chimes. London is also one of the best places for themed parties and events like the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park or a Medieval Banquet down in the “dungeons” of St Katherine’s Dock and you can also take advantage of all night free public transport.

At the banks of the Thames on New Year’s Eve – Image © Tahir

Image © Paul Williams

Trafalgar Square, London on New Year’s Eve - Image © Chris Skitch

Barcelona – Take your pick from the beach at Barceloneta, the main drag of Las Ramblas or one of the many plaças as they’ll all be lively, family friendly spots to soak up a special flavour of Catalonia’s party city’s revelry. Our recommendation for NYE in Barcelona is to find a spot near the marina or on Barceloneta beach and await the fireworks that will light up the sky at the far end of the beach. Don’t forget to try cava sangria and freshly cooked churros con chocolate

The Gothic Quarter, Barcelona on New Year’s Eve – Image © [Jim]

Istanbul – Already a bustling, atmospheric and historic city, Istanbul somehow ups its own game on New Year’s Eve with street parties and celebrations taking place throughout the city. Enjoy a traditional Turkish meze dinner in slightly calmer quarters like Bebek or Istiklal Caddesi before joining the revellers on Taksim’s pedestrianised streets. To avoid the crowds and to make this a new year you won’t forget, book a midnight river cruise along the Bosphorus where you’ll have the best view of the fireworks at midnight.

Image © Alexander Ljung

Image © Steve Calcott

Amsterdam – Those crazy Amsterdammers know how to throw a party and every New Year’s Eve they throw a nice big free one for the whole city complete with live music and entertainment. This year’s party is taking place in Museumplein, where music and a giant countdown will see in 2013. The city’s streets will be alive with street vendors trying to sell you some tasty vlamse frites, bitterballen and oliebollen doughnuts which you can eat while watching partying locals sailing slowly along the canals playing music and drinking the local beer, Heineken. Fireworks along the river Amstel will light up the skies and the water so head to Magere Bruge (“Skinny Bridge”) for the best views.

Awakenings, New Years Eve, Amsterdam - Image © Geoffrey de Kleijn

Happy New Year planning from HouseTrip. We hope you pick somewhere wonderful.