Top Travel Bloggers Pick Their Most Memorable NYE Destinations

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BOOZE-FREE NYE IN ISFAHAN, IRAN

Iran Tehran by The Crowded Planet - Travel Bloggers Pick their top NYE destinations - A World to Travel

We had wanted to visit Iran for ages, and when a great offer on flights came up, we decided it was about time. There was only one small issue – our travel dates included New Year Eve and alcohol is banned in Iran. We thought it would indeed be a NYE to remember!

We spent NYE without Couchsurfing host in Isfahan and his family. Iranian new year is on March 21st, so that was a night like many others. We visited one of our host’s friends, had dinner all together and then stayed up waiting for midnight. There was no countdown – instead, when our phone showed midnight, we toasted…. With tea!

It wasn’t the craziest NYE but it was certainly one I’ll remember. We fell in love with Iran and its people during this trip and really wish to return soon, maybe for Iranian New Year next time! – The Crowded Planet

 

STARTING A TRADITION IN BOTSWANA

Okavanga

I can still remember that night. It was nine years ago when I was spending the last day of 2005 on a small island of the Okavango Delta, in Botswana.

The day started flying over the river – where I got lucky because I could go next to the pilot! – We arrived at a very small airport where we took a truck to the river. From there, we sailed in a small canoe towards the island. We set our small tent camp under some trees and hoped that the hippos weren’t curious and then, we spent the afternoon sailing the river near the hippos and enjoyed the amazing landscape around us. I never felt New Year’s Eve as a special day, but that day was really something.

After the sunset over the lotus-filled river, we came back to our camp and we started a fire. Sitting around it, we talked about our lives and dreams. And before calling it a night, one of the guides shared with us a bottle of local whiskey. At that time, only a few of us were still awake. The night was quiet, silent, like a dream.

It was my first NYE abroad and after it, I decided that I would never spend that day at home again. Instead, I’d travel each year to a different place. – Viajando Imagenes y Sensaciones

A DREAM COME TRUE IN NYC

NYE in NYC Travel With Bender - Travel Bloggers Pick Their Top NYE Destinations - A World to Travel
One of the most memorable New Year’s Eve experiences I ever had was a dream come true in New York City. We decided on a VIP Top of the World ticket at the AMC Empire 25 building on 42nd Street. It didn’t come with a ball drop view, but it did come with an option to go down to the street to view the ball drop when the time came.
This sounded better than joining the masses of freezing people on the streets of Times Square. The AMC theatre ticket included all drinks, food and 6 floors of cinemas playing movies that you could walk in and out of at any time. Getting to the venue was harder than I thought since NYC practically goes on lockdown on NYE and convincing security we had a legitimate party ticket took all my charm.
We spent the night dancing, eating, drinking and found a balcony with a view of the ball drop at the countdown, where hugs and kisses to all sorts of strangers happened. At 3 am we walked the dirty, lonely streets of New York City back home. It had been everything I expected and more. This year I am heading back for round 2! – Travel with Bender

 

FIREWORKS FROM THE HOTEL WINDOW IN STUTTGART, GERMANY

Five years ago, during a road trip through Germany, I had the chance to witness one of the most unusual NYE nights in my life. In Stuttgart, surrounded by my partner and a group of friends. Over there, those two days are called Silvester (New Year’s Eve) and Neujahr (New Year) and we happened to be in a hotel located by Porsche’s factories.

Usually packed with executives, that night the majority of the rooms were occupied by hundreds of youngsters who would spend the night at some random private party or a close by nightclub. No big parties for us, instead we set up a celebration in our way. We got together in the room with the best views of the city’s skyline and had a dinner based on German sausages, cheese, local beer, and ciders. And oh boy did we enjoyed it!

But traditions are traditions and just before midnight, we turned the TV on as the countdown was starting. Live from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, we accompanied it as the Spanish do, eating a grape for every bell. Following that we could admire a unique performance, thousands of fireworks – Feuerwerk – illuminated the sky for more than one hour as when the main ones were over, the crowds continued launching them here and there till the wee hours. Highly recommended! – DeMiku

 

‘TASTY’ AND WEIRD IN VIETNAM

While Kach and I were living in Vietnam, she joined a reality TV show, designed around getting foreigners to travel around eating the most, let’s say challenging foods that Hanoi and the surrounding area has to offer! The first stage of the show was exploring the city itself and trying all kinds of crazy foods, like intestines filled with congealed blood, developed duck eggs and yes, that Vietnamese specialty, dog! They even came to our house to film Kach cooking Filipino food!
The second segment though was the best, or the weirdest, because, on the day of New Year’s Eve, we drove out to Moc Chau in the countryside in search of the strangest food we could find. Luckily, I was just a spectator along for the ride, because the menu consisted of such delicacies as garden snails extracted from buffalo poo, frog chopped up and stuffed into another frog, then a truly wonderful rat intestine soup (uncleaned!). The latter was finally too much for Kach and she was forced to make use of a convenient little hole in the floor!
At the end of the night, we made it to the little roadside shack just in time to have a couple of shots of Vietnamese rice whiskey as the clock struck twelve and then go back to the hotel to pass out. Our weirdest New Years Eve ever! – 2 Monkeys Travel 

 

TRADITIONAL NYE IN GALICIA, SPAIN

If you’re a lover of the finest cuisines, green and lush landscapes, the sea and its soothing murmur of golden beaches and clear waters, and nature walks, you must come and experience Galicia. If you enjoy a destination in every sense, and take time to travel, here you will have a chance to do so. Connect with people and experiencing firsthand a live culture tied to the sea and the land. Hereby, Galicia is a dream destination to spend New Year’s Eve, a day full of superstitions and unique traditions. Among other things, you’ll have a chance to:

  • Walk through the cobblestone streets of Compostela and admire the majesty of one of the most famous, well-preserved and beautiful cathedrals in the world, a Galicia must see indeed!.
  • Visit our fishing villages where tradition and cuisine will connect you with their inhabitants and their daily lives.
  • See the endless sea from the cliffs of San Andrés de Teixido, the highest in Europe at ‘just’ 612 meters of sea level.
  • Walk along the waterfront of A Coruña, considered the longest in the world due to its 13 km bordering the peninsula.
  • Enjoy Ézaro Waterfall, near Noia and the only in Europe that flows into the sea, a spectacle of nature that you can’t afford to miss.
  • Sail your way to the named best beach in the world by The Guardian: Rhodes beach in Cies Islands. There, one has the feeling of being in paradise. Its turquoise seaside offers the opportunity to see a rich seabed and the species that populate its waters all year round.

Apart from our scenic attractions, we have one of the most famous and recognized cuisines in the world that will make your New Year’s Eve dinner an unique and unforgettable one. Recently, Santiago de Compostela was chosen the 2nd place in Spain where to eat like a king, just behind San Sebastian. And this is only possible because we have excellent chefs and quality products like our world-famous seafood. Convinced? Hope to see you around soon! – Galizeando

 

MULTI SENSORY FIREWORKS IN LONDON, UK

IMG_20130101_023138

One of the most epic recent NYE experiences for me was in London during NYE 2013/2014. I was working in central London on Dec 31st and finished work at 4 pm and didn’t really have any NYE plans apart to go to a pub with my flatmates back in East London. Having missed the NYE fireworks show by London Eye the year before, due to being scheduled to open on New Years Day, I really wanted to have that experience since it’s pretty epic and one of a kind. I already knew that this was going to be The World’s first multi-sensory Fireworks show, meaning you could actually smell the fireworks as well as eat some bits too.
I made my way down to Southbank and found a Starbucks and just chilled there for a few hours charging my phone for photos later. Here’s what you need to take with you: A phone and/or a camera, an umbrella and a coat. If I remember correctly there was no charge for the tube on New Year’s Day, but you should, however, wear comfortable shoes because due to some particular tube stations being closed nearby, you will most likely have to do a bit of walking depending on where you want to get to after the firework show ends.
I made my way to the Westminster Bridge pretty early and there we were all given the NYE packet which included a keychain, some candy and gummy bears, and an explanation of the multi-sensory fireworks and the smells and tastes of the particular fruit that we were about to experience. My tip is to arrive around 8-10pm and just have dinner somewhere nearby and drinks, or coffee and then head over to the bridge after that. A lot of the roads were closed, and this was pretty cool to see in London, as there were just people walking around on the streets.
I actually was expecting to be here with someone special for the NYE, but I knew I would most likely end up being alone, which wasn’t a problem, as I didn’t feel alone at all. I was surrounded by so many tourists and travelers from everywhere, it felt amazing! 🙂 The energy was incredible! We were all united and excited to experience this very special NYE in one the top cities in the world. The night was electric! We did get some light rain, but hey that’s London, and it didn’t really matter at all, as most of us had umbrellas.
The show was spectacular! You could definitely smell strawberry, oranges, and other fruit in the air, it was delicious! 🙂 The light show, along with fireworks and music was perfect, and so much fun! We were all watching with such amazement and happiness, and just after midnight, we all wished each other Happy New Year as if we had known each other all our lives. 🙂 This was definitely one of a kind unique show, and back then it was free as there was no entrance fee. I would highly recommend NYE in London to everyone, no matter your age. This is an experience you will never forget in your life, and should definitely experience it at least once in your lifetime! Trust me, it’s amazing! – 100 Days of Sunshine

 

ON A BOAT FROM MOROCCO TO SPAIN

Sin título

I had a terrible desire to get on the boat and get out of that place. The welcome reminded me it was New Year’s Eve. Ridiculous hats, ornaments and an extra share of forced smiles watered with champagne, all perfectly embedded in white uniforms.
I just wanted to find my room and have the shower. We got lost in a maze of corridors till we got to our cabin, opened the door, dropped our backpacks and began to mourn.
The year was coming to an end and so it was our Morocco bound for the 2nd year in a row as we ran away from the madness that Christmas in our country becomes.
This time though, it was slightly different. We met the darker sides of the mostly blue Chefchaouen, the thorough security checks when crossing the border by foot and the massive issues with neighboring Melilla. And so we spent the last evening of the year sitting on the floor, talking to people from other countries, listening to their travel tales, back to back with a golf course and glad of having studied French when we were younger. Those musings remained with me all the way and the faces of the people kept coming and prevented me to fall asleep. Instead of the traditional 12 grapes, we ate cashews. There were no colored lights, Christmas songs or firecrackers. All I could hear was the sea.
The darkness was absolute, and the sea was an endless black surface, only white dotted when the waves hit the boat. The silence was appreciated as I wasn’t intending to think about everything that had just happened, in that sea I could only see sadness and death. A new year was beginning. I wanted to think in positive terms and good vibes but Malaga woke up with wasted hairstyles, broken heels and drunk people seeking for a taxi. A panorama anything but encouraging.
Luckily we found a good coffee and a very quiet car. On our way home, I was still trying to digest all those stories of those who had remained behind the fence, of our Syrian friends trying to reach Germany in Winter, digesting so many stories, those who had remained behind the fence, of everyone pursuing a dream. Because what’s traveling apart from a big dream? – Maruxaina

 

RUNNING THE SAN SILVESTRE RACE, SPAIN

san silvestre 2007

As we get close to the end of the year, I’m aware of the endless choices out there to welcome those cool new 365 – actually 366 this time – days we have ahead of us. That said, one of the things I enjoy the most every NYE is to put on my running shoes and join one of the San Silvestre races celebrated in many places around the country. Pretty awesome thing to do with your group of friends as everyone runs the 3 or 4km at their chosen pace, enjoying the competition.
I took part on the one that is held in Pontevedra many times, to end it celebrating with cider and nougat candy across the finish line. These days, I usually take part in the Cangas race, my home, running around the town center and always ending with a hot chocolate. This year, if I can be on time and work doesn’t stop me, I’ll try not to miss this unmissable appointment! Plus I’m pretty sure there is no better plan to whet the appetite and get ready for dinner and the after party! – Millan Dasairas

 

AS A LOCAL IN COSTA RICA

Silhouettes in Arenal
My 2013/2014 New Years Eve wasn’t exactly what I would call epic, but it was surely interesting and definitely as local as it could get. Back then, I was in Costa Rica, during one of my big backpacking trips across Central America, and I had pretty much decided that, before resigning to be an unsuccessful backpacker, I would try my best to do everything right. I thus joined a WWOOF program and started “volunteering” at a farm in the outskirts of Tucurrique, a small village about one hour away from Cartago. The place was charming: I was surrounded by nature. Pity that the work wasn’t so much volunteering but slavery, and I was actually starved for food.

On New Year’s Eve I decided to go to the bar next door (the very same bar that my employer despised) and have a meal that did not consist of just mango and seeds. Calling it “proper” is probably an overstatement, because it was most likely a ready-frozen meal that had just been heated up. But just the fact that it was warm made it tasty to me. I gulped it down with several beers, knowing that until the next time I would be allowed out I would not be able to have a drink (there was a no alcohol policy in the house, as well as no meat, no dairies, and well pretty much no life).

I spent the rest of the evening talking to the two or three drunk locals that went to the bar too and made it back before it was even midnight. The day after, I packed my backpack and hitched my way back to San José. My new year’s resolution was to never allow anybody to enslave me and starve me again and to accept my identity of unsuccessful backpacker. – My Adventures Across the World

 

FEASTING IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Manila in NYE by Girl Unspotted - Travel Bloggers Pick Their Top NYE Destinations - A World to Travel

When people ask me about the Philippines, my first response is usually to avoid Manila. However, new year’s eve is an exception to that. Contrary to my strong feelings against the chaotic city where traffic is unmerciful and people aren’t as lovely, Manila’s new year’s eve celebration is on another level. Here is a city where fireworks are legally allowed, so expect a really loud one.

People start lighting their fireworks as early as new year’s eve morning, sometimes, even days before that. By the time the sun sets, noise becomes more clear not just from firecrackers, but from different types of noisemakers as well. If in most countries, the elaborate night sky from brilliant fireworks doesn’t usually begin until fifteen minutes before midnight, in Manila, it begins early enough and the sky stays lit up as late as 2 am.

After the fireworks, Filipinos also like to start the new year by doing one of their favorite traditions– a feast with the entire family. To make the most out of this wonderful celebration, get invited by a local! But even if you’re a tourist visiting, there are plenty of variety of parties to hit up to celebrate appropriately. Imagine the loud noises of war, but in a very good way, complete with the right pleasant energy. Having grown up in Las Vegas, I’ve seen the marvelous firework displays– but nothing compares to the way Filipinos welcomes the new year. – Girl Unspotted

 

WITNESSING THE LEGENDARY NYC BALL DROP

New York at Night


Last year, in 2014, I certainly had the New Year experience of my life. Me and my better half were standing in the middle of Times Square in New York City, with the company of millions of people from around the world, to see the legendary BALL DROP.

It was as windy as it could, and the shimmering crystal ball, in reality, was like a tiny dot in the sky. I wasn’t that impressed on the face of it, but will I remember the night for the rest of my life? Hell, YES! Finding a permanent place in most Traveler’s Bucket list, the event is certainly one of a kind, with the media raving about it for years.

The fact is – The Ball itself is way TOO small and is nothing like they show on TV or in YouTube videos. The following concert is way better if you watch it on TV, or if you are right in front of the stage on the 42nd Street. Anything between the 45th and 52nd street is a waste as you will hardly be able to even hear it. But then again, why should you do it at least once in your life? Because to be a part of such a varied crowd, from almost 100 different countries, all gathering together on a single day to witness a single moment – is legendary in itself. Also, it is not another party, but it is an experience. Live it. And simply because, New York can never feel more alive, hyper and energetic than this day! So visit it in style! – Street Trotter

 

A DIFFERENT NYE IN MOROCCO

Morocco - Marrakech Djemaa el Fna
Not a lot of people think of Morocco (or any Muslim family) when it comes to New Year’s Eve BUT that doesn’t mean it should be completely disregarded. Marrakech might just be the Las Vegas of North Africa and a worthy destination for anyone who is interested in clubs or parties. If however, you’d rather get away from this crowd, you can also easily do this.

For our family, New Year’s Eve is a night at home, and that’s how most Moroccans spend it. It’s our son’s birthday as well as the day we met! Moroccan families make a special meal this night, invite extended family over and have cake. If you’re visiting spend a quiet night in the riad or head to the coast for a city like Taghazout or an overnight in the Sahara desert. There won’t be fireworks but the twinkle of the stars are nature’s way of ushering in the new year. – MarocMama

 

KEEPING IT WARM IN BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA Action is the highest perfection

If you are looking for somewhere to enjoy an epic New Year’s Eve experience, look no further than Brisbane, Australia. After bringing in the New Year in 2013 in ‘Brissy’ as it is referred to by the locals, we can honestly say that this is one of our favorite spots to enjoy the seasonal festivities.

The beauty of enjoying the New Year in Australia is that you will be one of the first nations to enjoy the celebrations, plus you likely won’t have to worry about freezing temperatures as you do in the Northern hemisphere.

Where do you celebrate the New Year in Brisbane? Well, you are literally spoiled for choice but a couple of our favorite spots are the Victoria Bridge and the South Bank area by the Brisbane River. We spent the majority of the evening on the Victoria Bridge and had the perfect vantage point to enjoy the spectacular firework display.

Brisbane offers two different firework displays on New Year’s Eve, one primarily for families who want to enjoy the celebrations without having to stay awake until Midnight and of course one at the traditional time for everyone wishing to party the night away. Dinner cruises are a popular event and another great way to enjoy the fireworks but be sure to book well in advance as these are quickly taken.

Our best advice for enjoying New Year’s Eve in Brisbane is to wear comfortable attire. Shorts and t-shirt are common as it is still pretty warm after the sun goes down. This is a location for everyone including families, couples, and even solo travelers. Mingle with others and relax Aussie style because they certainly know how to bring in the New Year Down Under! – A Brit and a Southerner

 

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  1. Heather Cole

    Never even thought about what NYE would be live in half of these places, although I’d love to visit Iran someday. Would be cool to time it to coincide with something like NY. Fireworks in London is as far as I’ve ever got!

  2. Aileen Adalid

    Great compilation! It’s great to see all the different locations that everyone have been to for celebrating their NYE 😀 Last year was my first time to celebrate it in a foreign country (Belgium) and it was fantastic!

  3. Els Mahieu

    Some great, original stories here! I never spent NYE abroad, probably because I’m not really bothered about NYE in the first place 🙂 To me, it’s like an ordinary Saturday night out with way too many (drunk) people, haha

  4. amyrbutler

    The fireworks in Germany look amazing! Not sure where we’ll be this year for NYE — I think Hoi An.
    I grew up in New York City but I’ve never done NYE in Times Square! We used to go to the corner of Central Park West and watch the fireworks. We’d drink sparkling apple cider from champagne glasses and wish happy New Year to anyone who walked by. It was extremely special!

  5. whenbrazilmetgreece

    Amazing post!

    Thiago spend mainly his New Years Eve in Rio de Janeiro, at the famous (and overcrowded) Copacabana Beach! They have around 2 Million people there every year with fireworks along more than 6 km coast from Rio. It’s crazy, beautiful and probably stressful while coming back home. We both spent once our NYE in Berlin too, and God! People are really crazy there, the city looks like a war field during the date.


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