Lifestyle & Travel
Dec 1, 2014
Around the world for New Year's Eve
It's the end of the winter holidays and the beggining of a new calendar. But it's also one of the great opportunities, every year, to join together with friends and family for a unique celebration.
We'll take you around the globe for the best New Year's celebrations known to man. From Caroline Island to Rio de Janeiro, from Dubai to Madeira Island, the world is full of festivities, happy people and countries that deserve your visit, at leat once in your lifetime.
Caroline Island, Kiribati
Discovered during the 17th century, Caroline Island is the first place in the world to witness the changing of the calendar, due to a Date Line realignement back in 1995. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just beside the International Date Line, this is one of the most exquisite places to be for New Year's Eve, simply because you'll be the first among humans to be in the new year. The island is actually an atoll, part of the Republic of Kiribati and since the country's indeopendance from the UK, in 1979, the island has remained as one of the most untouched tropical islands in the world. The access for New Year's Eve celebrations is hard and expensive. There are no hotels in the island, but there are a few places to stay around Kiribati. The best choice is to sleep in one of these hotels, get a boat ride to Caroline Island on December 31st and then come back to your hotel room during the 1st of January. You'll see no special fireworks, decorations, street lights or people dressed as clowns singing happy songs. But you'll be among the chosen few who were actually first to celebrate the new year.
It's the mandatory opening for tv news around the world while waiting for their countries to enter the new year. The amazing celebrations that take place each year on Australia's largest city are among the best known in the globe and also one of the most envied. To be able to watch this grand celebration is like a fesat to the eyes and a reason to brag about it for the rest of your life. Every year Sydney Cove is the center of the festivities. And every year a new theme is chosen for the massive party. Also, a Creative Ambassador is chosen to take that theme across new artistic boundaries, that take everyone in the city out to the streets. Set around Circular Quay and having the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Botany Bay as scenario, organizers are extremelly careful on every detail, so they can provide the world with a unique visual experience. At 9pm and midnight, the City of Sydney's fireworks will light up the harbour and Sydney Opera House, illuminating the night sky with a kaleidoscope of colour. There's also time for the spectacular Harbour of Light Parade where imagination, creativity and rope lights combine to produce an amazing parade of illuminated vessels. There are plenty of hotels in Sydney, available to every type of visitor, including the main luxury hotel chains in the world. All of them have a special place for you to watch the show.
One of the most exquisite place to spend New Year's Eve is Dubai. The oil driven country in the Middle East is packed with celebrations for every taste, and every party has it's own crowd. If you don't like the rumble on the streets you have the options of the lavish hotel parties or the infinite beaches at the Palms. Before midnight you can stroll trough downtown Dubai, watching a wide range of spectacular dance performances as well as choreographed musical performances. The highlights of the street shows are however the performance of the musicians on the Burj steps of the Burj Khalifa and also the Gala that will be held on the Burj Lake. Sparing no expense, the small country attracts visitor's from all over the world to witness some of the most grandiose and spectacular fireworks, most of wich are created solely for this unique occasion. As you look into the ocean your eyes will feast with the luxurious yachts shimming under the light coming from Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on the planet, wich erupts into a beautiful tower of colorful fireworks. One truly amazing sight. Dubai also has some of the most luxurious, expensive and incredibly designed hotels in the world. Where to stay only depends on the size of your wallet.
Every year Moscow welcomes the biggest New Year's celebration in Russia as thousands fight the cold and come out on the streets and filling the Red Square, cheering and wishing for a great year to come. As St. Basil's bells ring for midnight and the fireworks light the buildings at the Kremlin, a new calendar has atarted and it is welcomed in joy by everyone. New Year's Eve in Moscow is an unforgetable experience, as you walk along the streets with the crowd or get yourself into one of the many discos, bars and clubs, you witness the biggest party in Russia. After the party you can stroll around the city visiting beautiful Gorky Park, buying a curios at Ismailovsky Street market or just watch the calm winter waters of the Moscow River.
The City of Lights is the quintessential place to spend New Year's Eve in Europe. Amazing shops and restaurants, the most romantic spots, the people and the grand celebrations held during the holiday season make it one of the places to be on December 31st. Throughout the day you can feel as Paris prepares for the celebration of the new year. Although the traditional fireworks show around the Eiffel Tower has been replaced with a spectacular light show, you can still witness different private groups who keep the tradition alive, by making their own fireworks shows around the city. As the clock runs into the night, everyone is invited to be a part of the street celebrations all over Paris, while you drink a flute of champagne or delight with the local pastries, chocolats, cheeses or wines. Hotels are ussually fully booked months in advance, so you should make your reservations as soon as possible.
Madeira Island, Portugal
The New Year's Eve celebrations at the portguese island are second to none and have been described as "the biggest fireworks show in the world". Taking advantage of the natural amphitheatre where the city of Funchal lies, the fireworks launch points are assembled to display the entire show as a unique art piece. And it's stunning! Thousands gather downtown, close to the ocean or at the port, to watch in awe as the magnificent show takes place for over ten minutes. You can also watch it from the middle of beautiful Funchal Bay, onboard one of the more than fifteen cruise ships that every year provide their passengers with an unforgetable New Year's Eve. You can dance the night away on one of the many discos and clubs in Funchal, or choose a more traditional celebration at Casino da Madeira or one of the great hotels around the city, while waiting for the sun to come up for the first morning of the new year. Hotels in Madeira are fully booked for the New Year's Eve season and you should make your reservations months in advance. Regular flights into the island are also limited and there's not much space for private planes at the airport.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Every december the "wonderful city" welcomes it's second biggest celebration, after Carnaval. New Year's Eve is a night to party and celebrate the beggining of a new calendar. During the evening hundreds of people gather by the sea and present offerings to Yemanjá, goddess of the seas, in thanks for a blessing during the old year. Close to midnight, Rio's inhabitants dressing in white as a token of good fortune, flock to Copacabana Beach and watch as the fireworks explode over the bay, while shaking champagne bottles and dousing the crowd. Being wet by champagne is considered a good omen among brazilians and the visitor's are welcome to join the tradition. After the fireworks you can walk into one of the many clubs around Copacabana, or you can join the masses out on the streets watching live concerts, "capoeira" demonstrations or simply dancing on one of the many balls that brazilians held during New Year's Eve. As one of the world's top destinations, Rio de Janeiro has hundreds of hotels to offer and rooms are usually avalable on short notice. Nevertheless New year's Eve attracts visitors from all over the world and you should book your hotel at least a couple months in advance.
New York, USA
The Big Apple is one of the world's icons when it comes to New Year's Eve celebrations and newyorkers are experts on partying as no one else in the world. Either you choose to watch the ball drop among the mob in Times Square, or you are only interested on clubing with the best DJs in the world, New York can provide you with anything. Literally, anything. From street parties to theatre plays and musicals, special movie sessions or unbelievable street performances, "the city that never sleeps" has it all available during the first night of the year. Have a dinner on one of Manhattan's restaurants, mingle with the crowd as they walk around the city or join one of the parties on every corner, the choice is your's. Be sure it will be a night to remember and a tail to tell. As for accomodation, New York has thousands of places to stay, but if you're in town for New Year's Eve, better stay in downtown Manhattan.