Travel Editors Laura Botia and Eva Hunt give a run down of Europe’s best New Year’s Eve celebrations
Since 2014 London’s firework show has been ticketed, and this year is no exception to the sell-out event. If you really want to see the fireworks and have missed out on a ticket, here are a few of our favourite spots to catch a glimpse of the magic. London in general will be very busy on the night, so try not to bring a large backpack, and maybe leave the heels at home.
Primrose Hill is a 76m hill that looks across the whole of London – get here early and don’t forget to bring a hip flask.
Watching the fireworks from Tower Bridge couldn’t get more “London” if you tried. The atmosphere is always amazing, but it can get a little crowded. Standing on any bridge will be windy and cold, so don’t forget to wrap up warm.
The Clapham summer festival South West Four is making its New Year’s Eve debut, hosting a club event at the O2 Academy Brixton. Headlines include Nosia, My Nu Leng b2b Redlight, Dimension – all of which are favourites among UoB students. Tickets are currently totalling £42.81 after booking fees, so not a cheap night but a guaranteed great time if you are into that type of music.
The London New Year’s Day Parade starts at 12 noon, January 1st on Piccadilly, and boasts over 10,000 participants from across the globe to perform for a street audience of more than 500,000 people. The Parade features performers such as the City of London Brass Band, Donkey Breed Society, and American Cops and Classic Cars – just to name a few. There will be a Street Food Village at Waterloo Place at the junction of Pall Mall, offering global cuisine from 11am until 4pm. The Parade is proud of its fundraising for London charities, and has raised or donated over £1.5 million since it started.
Transport for London are offering free travel across London from 11:45pm on New Year’s Eve until 04:30am on New Year’s Day. There will be a special all-night service on most underground lines, with tubes running every 2-8 minutes in central London and every 5-15 minutes in outer areas.
Germany’s capital city is known for its world-class nightlife, therefore it will come as no surprise that it is one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve.
Known widely as one of the biggest street parties in Europe, this free event sees the descendants of thousands of Berliners and tourists alike to enjoy the New Year’s Eve celebrations. The festivities take place on a two-kilometre stretch between Brandenberg Gate and Victory Column. A firework display kicks off the New Year at midnight and the party continues through until 3am with live music, light and laser shows, DJ sets and food stands from all around the world. This event is free of charge, therefore it comes as no surprise that this is the most popular way to spend New Year’s in Berlin.
However, if you’re fed up of fireworks and want the party to continue all night long then try one of Berlin’s famous clubs. Offering unlimited drinks and music until dawn, Haubentaucher is starting off their party with prosecco on arrival from 10pm. Expect a fusion of House, RnB, Hip Hop, etc. to bring in the New Year.
Plaça d’Espanya hosts Barcelona’s official New Year’s Eve celebration. This free event starts at 11:30pm and lasts 30 minutes to bring in the new year at midnight. People flock in their thousands to watch the spectacular firework display around the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc.
The tradition in Spain is to eat twelve grapes in time with the twelve dongs at midnight – it is a lot harder than it sounds! The saying goes that if you can finish all twelve in time then you will be blessed with good luck for the new year.
To continue the New Year’s celebrations head over to Poble Espanyol who will be celebrating their 30th year of hosting the New Year’s Eve celebrations with three different rooms offering food and music until dawn. Alternatively, the biggest club in town, Razzmatazz, is also offering something for everyone this New Year’s Eve with five rooms, different DJs and a roof terrace. There are two ticket types for this event – one starting at 10:30pm and one starting at 12:01am, meaning you can either spend the whole night there or get there after the fireworks.
Although there is no official firework display in Reykjavik, there are thousands of private firework displays that are put on all across the city. The fireworks generally start at 11:30pm and continue through to the New Year, with approximately 200,000 people getting involved in the spectacle every year. As well as fireworks, bonfires are also an Icelandic custom on New Year’s Eve usually lit in the lead up to midnight and enjoyed with Iceland’s traditional liquor, Brennivín. Only a stone’s throw away from the centre, Öskjuhlíð and Skólavörðuholt are the best places to watch the city light up at midnight.
Iceland’s temperatures can drop as low as -19 degrees in the winter so be sure to wrap up warm!
Hogmanay is the Scottish celebration of the New Year starting with a traditional Torchlit Procession on the 30th December. Torch carriers walk from the historic Royal Mile to Calton Hill where the fireworks are lit and the procession ends.
On the 31st, around 80,000 people descend upon Princes Street under the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. They attend the iconic Concert in the Gardens which, this year, will feature Franz Ferdinand. As well as incredible live music, there is also DJs, outdoor bars, food, not to mention the world-famous Edinburgh Hogmanay Midnight Fireworks that light the sky above the Castle. At midnight, the cannon on Edinburgh Castle is fired on the stroke of midnight and is immediately followed by the firework display.
Bear in mind that all these events are ticketed. As they are on different days, they require different tickets for each, therefore you might have to buy multiple tickets if you’re planning on attending all of the celebrations.
New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam starts with the traditional countdown to midnight, followed by a firework display over the River Amstel. Crowds gather from 9:30pm onwards in the main squares: Dam Square, Rembrandtplein and Nieuwmarkt, although many people head out onto the streets at midnight and set off their own fireworks, so wherever you are you will inevitably see the sky being lit up.
Festivities then continue all across town, with street parties lasting well into the night, however the Awakening’s party at the Gashouder is the most distinctive venue, for a New Year’s you will definitely never forget. It takes place in an industrial gas holder built in 1902 and features multiple international DJs. Tickets are priced at €46.25 which is fairly reasonable considering you can party on until 8am on New Years Day.