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The World's Best New Year's Eve Celebrations

Author: Lauren Curd

Arguably one of the biggest social events of the year around the world, New Year's Eve is a time to get together with groups of friends and family to bid farewell to the year gone by and welcome in a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead. If you fancy a change from the usual party in your local, why not pack your suitcase, grab your passport and jet off to a fascinating new destination? From the traditional to the more unusual, we’ve rounded up some of the world’s greatest New Year’s Eve celebrations...


New Year’s Eve is huge in Tokyo and celebrations span several days, with incredible firework displays every night until the 4th January. New Year’s Eve in Japan is a time for reflection as well as parties, with the tradition of “Hatsumode” drawing crowds into the city’s temples and shrines with 108 bell rings at midnight.

Abu Dhabi

For a completely unique and unforgettable New Year adventure, head to Abu Dhabi and join a desert safari tour into the sandy wilderness where you’ll find a Bedouin camp. Spend the night under a blanket of stars enjoying a BBQ buffet, belly dancing, an alcohol bar, camel rides and quad bikes, if you’re feeling really brave.

Rio di Janeiro

Copacabana beach is THE place to be on the 31st December in Brazil, as more than two million people join together on the sands from late afternoon and wait for festivities to commence. The headlining acts are kept a secret until the night itself but usually include some of Brazil’s biggest pop stars. After a Samba-style carnival, a spectacular 15 minute firework display lights the skies to ring in the New Year.


Hogmany (translated as ‘last day of the year’) sees revellers join together for a three day event that kicks off on 30th December. Celebrations include a street party, a resolution concert and a 35,000-strong torch procession from Parliament Square to Carlton Hill, the highest point in downtown Edinburgh, from where the New Year’s Eve firework display can be seen at midnight. Those suffering from the effects of overindulgence can shake their hangovers with a dip in the icy cold waters of River Forth on New Year’s Day.

New York City

The Big Apple’s Ball Drop is one of the most famous of all the New Year celebrations around the world, a tradition that dates back to 1907. Approximately one million people fill the city streets from 42nd right up to Central Park and at one minute to midnight; the sparkly sphere begins its 70 foot descent down the flagpole at the top of One Times Square. When the clock strikes twelve, confetti rains down on party-goers as January arrives.


New Year’s Eve falls right in the middle of the high season for tourism in Goa so it goes without saying that the atmosphere on the beaches on the last night of the year is electric! Fairy lights adorning the palm trees set the scene for an unforgettable night as crowds dance on the sand and admire the fireworks.


The Aussies sure know how to throw a party and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Sydney is another one of the world’s most famous celebrations, with Sydney Harbour offering a spectacular backdrop for the mammoth fireworks that illuminate the sky at midnight.


For an unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebration a little closer to home, look no further than the South Bank in London. This hotspot on the shores of the River Thames offers superb views of the London Eye fireworks as they are launched from the enormous Ferris wheel and river barges at midnight. New Year’s Eve 2014 is the first year that the capital’s fireworks have been a ticket-only event but if you haven’t already booked, you can still soak up the atmosphere and watch the event on one of the big screens in Trafalgar Square or Parliament Square.


**This blog post was previously published on Medway Leisure Travel, now trading as Pettitts Travel**

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