BOOZE-FREE NYE IN ISFAHAN, IRAN
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’s Eve and alcohol is banned in Iran. We thought it would indeed be a NYE to remember!
We spent NYE without the 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 the Iranian New Year next time! – The Crowded Planet
STARTING A TRADITION IN BOTSWANA
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.
A DREAM COME TRUE IN NYC
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 enjoy 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.es
‘TASTY’ AND WEIRD IN VIETNAM
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 experience 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 a unique and unforgettable one. Recently, Santiago de Compostela was chosen as the 2nd place in Spain 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.com
MULTI-SENSORY FIREWORKS IN LONDON, UK
ON A BOAT FROM MOROCCO TO SPAIN
RUNNING THE SAN SILVESTRE RACE, SPAIN
AS A LOCAL IN COSTA RICA
My 2013/2014 New Year’s 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 on 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 dairy, 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 as an unsuccessful backpacker. – My Adventures Across the World
FEASTING IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES
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.
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 fireworks displays– but nothing compares to the way Filipinos welcome the new year. – Girl Unspotted
WITNESSING THE LEGENDARY NYC BALL DROP
Last year, in 2014, I certainly had the New Year experience of my life. I 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 be, 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 42nd Street. Anything between 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?
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
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 that 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 is nature’s way of ushering in the new year. – MarocMama
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 fireworks 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 in Aussie style because they certainly know how to bring in the New Year Down Under! – A Brit and a Southerner
What are your plans for NYE?
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