The best places in the world to ring in the New Year
Set a giant wooden statue on fire in Bologna, watch fireworks in Sydney or join a massive street party in Edinburgh
New Year celebrations in Sydney. Photograph: iStock
1. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival is a three-day citywide extravaganza culminating in a huge street party on New Year’s Eve. It’s one of the most popular parties in the world, headlined this year by Mark Ronson.
Where to stay You won’t get much more central than Hotel Indigo, on Princes Street. A three-night stay for two, including breakfast and tickets for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party, costs £803 (€1,000).
Get there Aer Lingus has return flights from Dublin to Edinburgh from €156.
2. New Orleans, United States
Everyone should visit the Big Easy at least once, and there’s no better time than winter, as you’ll avoid the crippling summer humidity, constant thunderstorms and prehistoric-sized mosquitoes. Although not quite reaching the chaotic lunacy of Mardi Gras, it’s still a hell of a place to ring in the new year.
Where to stay Dripping in southern elegance, Maison de la Luz is a boutique guesthouse close to the French Quarter. A two-night stay costs $670 (€614) for two, with breakfast.
Get there Return flights via Boston with Aer Lingus costs €842.
3. Berlin, Germany
Berlin goes all out for New Year’s Eve. A million people hit the “party mile” in front of the Brandenburg Gate for one of Europe’s biggest outdoor parties. Clubs stay open for days, and a glorious madness descends over the city. You might want to book a few extra days off work for this one.
Where to stay The ultracool Michelberger Hotel has rooms for €168 per night for two sharing.
Get there Return flights with Aer Lingus over the new-year period cost €224.
4. Cartagena, Colombia
Colombians celebrate New Year’s Eve as a huge family reunion, with everyone spilling on to the streets for dancing and drinking well into the small hours. On the Caribbean coast, Cartagena has a particularly festive atmosphere, with families from all over the country visiting for the holidays. Watch the fireworks from the walls of the old town before heading to Alquímico (alquimico.com) for a rooftop champagne party.
Where to stay Housed in a 15th-century colonial house in the old town, Bastion Luxury Hotel offers two nights’ B&B for €640 for two sharing.
Get there KLM flies from Dublin to Cartagena via Amsterdam and Bogota for €1,505 return.
5. Bologna, Italy
At the stroke of midnight every December 31st on Bologna’s stunning medieval Piazza Maggiore, a giant wooden statue is set ablaze to rapturous cheering. The traditional fireworks display has been banned this year, but there will still be plenty of festivities to enjoy.
Where to stay Around the corner from Piazza Maggiore, Al Cappello Rosso is a gorgeous boutique hotel with 33 bedrooms and 10 apartments. Doubles cost €180 per night.
Get there KLM flies from Dublin via Amsterdam for €324 return. Or fly with Ryanair or Aer Lingus to Pisa or Rome and be in Bologna by train in less than two hours.
6. Sydney, Australia
If it’s fireworks you’re after, one city does it better than anywhere else. This year more than a million people will jostle around Sydney’s harbour for the best view of the breathtaking display. Besides the pyrotechnics, there will be a ludicrous number of parties, from a Gatsby-style bash to a New Year’s Eve cruise.
Where to stay With spectacular views of the opera house and harbour bridge, the Shangri-La Hotel is a perfect place to watch the festivities in your slippers. Over New Year, doubles start at €900 per night.
Get there Emirates and Etihad fly to Sydney via Dubai or Abu Dhabi for about €2,000 return.
7. Reykjavik, Iceland
Most cities opt for an organised and safety-oriented official fireworks display. Iceland’s capital takes things to the other extreme, with everyone and their mother setting off a bonanza of screamers and bangers throughout the night.
Where to stay Nordic Visitor organises a five-night tour of Iceland with accommodation included, as well as a festive New Year’s Eve party, with a gourmet dinner, wine and music for €1,840 per person.
Get there Iceland Air flies from Dublin to Reykjavik for €560 return.
8. Madrid, Spain
Tourist off-season in Madrid runs from December to March, so the best thing about visiting for New Year is that you’ll get to experience it as the locals do. Head to the Puerta del Sol square, where it is tradition to eat 12 grapes, one for each chime of the midnight bell.
Where to stay With a food truck on the terrace, and the check-in desk behind a cocktail bar, Vincci the Mint hotel is stylish and fun. Two nights’ B&B costs €622 for two sharing.
Get there Return flights from Dublin cost €222 with Aer Lingus.