As the clock strikes midnight on 31st of December, salutations are cheered and bottles popped throughout the world as everyone raises a glass to toast to the adventures 2017 holds while remembering all that passed in 2016. Whether you fancy a vibrant party in South America or want to marvel at the firework displays of Iceland, we’ve put together a list of the biggest and best New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Moscow’s Red Square, the cobbled stones encircled with some of Russia’s most stunning architecture deeply woven throughout the country’s intriguing history, has an exhilarating atmosphere on New Year’s Eve. After exploring the mighty Kremlin, learning about the history of the building which housed the infamous tyrants of Ivan the Terrible and Stalin, wrap up warm to head out for the evening festivities. The brightly coloured onion domes and gold spires of St Basils Cathedral are enhanced by the dazzling firework display of the evening, with shots of celebratory vodka needed on hand to toast to the New Year.
Harbin Ice Festival
After enjoying a Christmas Day with a difference on one of the Wonders of the World, the Great Wall of China, travel to the north of the country for the Harbin Snow and Ice World. Those who visit the Sun Island Park will see the skilled sculptors put their final touches on their masterpieces, transforming blocks of ice into replicas of the Great Wall of China, the Emperor’s Summer Palace and Empress Dowager Cixi’s marble boat. After an evening celebrating in a local restaurant with a hotpot dinner and glasses of ‘Maitai firewater’, spend New Year’s Day at Zhaolin Park for the Ice Lantern Show. The sculptures of giant roosters, dragon boats and cupids are illuminated with hundreds of traditional Chinese lanterns, the lights adding a beautiful glow to the enchanting winter wonderland.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Trade in the crowds of city celebrations for the vast and secluded desert of Wadi Rum in Jordan. After exploring the rose city of Petra take a Jeep safari into the lunar landscape, driving through the unspoiled terracotta desert and past the remarkable rock formations to arrive at the remote camp site in the heart of the Wadi Rum Protected Area. In the evening enjoy a traditional Bedouin party with dancing, musicians, fireworks and a delicious buffet dinner and champagne toast at midnight, the pitch black sky above covered in a blanket of stars and constellations.
The world’s most northern capital has developed over the years into a modern cosmopolitan city, perfect for an extraordinary New Year’s Eve celebration. Traditionally Icelanders enjoy a festive family meal before getting everything ready for their maverick firework display. With no official arrangements, the city’s residents take matters into their own hands and at 11.35pm start to release 500 tons of fireworks over the next couple of hours. Once the last one has exploded, the pubs and clubs stay open for partygoers to celebrate in till the early hours.
Red Sea, Egypt
For those looking for some guaranteed heat and sunshine for their New Year, Egypt is the best choice with the added bonus of the world’s best ancient wonders. Whether spending New Year’s Eve soaking up the history of Philae Temple before New Year’s Day exploring Abu Simbel and sailing the Nile or celebrating on the beautiful Red Sea Riveria, Egypt is a wonderful choice.
Essaouira’s coast is the ideal place for thrill seekers to enjoy New Year’s Eve, spending the day surfing the waves of the Atlantic Coast. One of Morocco’s more laidback cities, Essaouira has a medina full of interesting shops selling antiques, art and calligraphy and many coffee houses to stop and unwind in. When it comes to the midnight celebrations, head out for an evening of delicious dinner and drinks toasting to the New Year and all it holds.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Millions of people flock to spend New Year’s Eve on the beaches of Brazil, cheering ‘feliz ano novo’ and popping bottles of champagne as an explosion of fireworks erupts in the sky above them. With New Year’s Eve in the middle of Brazil’s summer and temperatures reaching highs of 29 degrees, the party is moved from the humid sweaty clubs and onto the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Famous for its infectious party spirit, join in with the friendly locals, traditionally dressed in white, dancing till the sun rises on the first day of the year.
Have you experienced the firework display of Russia’s Red Square or partied on Rio de Janeiro’s beach at midnight? Let us know your best New Year’s Eve in our comment section – or check out our range of New Year’s tours and plan a special end to your year.