The 12 best New Year’s destinations to celebrate around the world
From Times Square to Copacabana Beach, here's where you need to be to kick off 2018 with a bang.
Feel like you've exhausted your quota of New Year's Eve celebrations in your home city? Seen it all before and want a new perspective going into 2018? We hear you.
That's why we've collated this inspirational list of the best, most exciting and most innovative New Year's Eve party destinations for you to ring in the new year
Image: Times Square
1. New York City
What better place to ring in the new year than in the city that doesn’t sleep? Surrounded by the bright lights of Broadway, the biggest names in music and entertainment and over one million people, Times Square in New York City is the place to be on New Year’s Eve.
The line-up for the 2017/2018 event hasn’t been announced yet, but last year’s celebration saw the likes of Gavin DeGraw, Silento, and Mariah Carey wind up the crowd before the ball dropped at midnight.
That famous “ball” is made from 2,699 Waterford crystals and weighs in at about 5,400kg.
For a splash of fireworks behind some of England’s most notable buildings, London is the place to be. More than half a million people attend the eight-minute fireworks display along the Thames each year.
That's a lot of people along one riverbank and because of the growing popularity of this vantage point, it the city has now made its New Year's Eve fireworks a ticketed event.
If you’d like access to one of the prime vantage points, you did have to pay out for tickets. Not too shabby for a night spectacular of this calibre.
3. Rio de Janeiro
In true Brazilian fashion, New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro is one big party on the beach.
Crowds dress in white to bring good luck to the new year and flock to Copacabana Beach for a massive seaside party celebrating reveillon (New Year’s Eve).
The mid-summer festivities along the 4 kilometre stretch of sand are filled with samba music, sprays of champagne and a massive 20-minute fireworks display enjoyed by two-million revellers on the beach and on cruise ships.
Never heard of Kiribati? This tiny nation, which consists of 33 atolls and islands, is scattered across 3.5 million square kilometres of the South Pacific and is home to less than 100,000 people. Just west of the International Date Line, the Line Islands and Kiritimati are the first places in the world to celebrate the new year.
It’s not an easy place to get to, so don’t arrive expecting big-city parties. You’ll be spending the first day of the new year surrounded by sandy beaches, blue lagoons and swaying palms.
If you’d like somewhere a bit more on the beaten path, Samoa switched to the same time zone as Kiribati in 2011.
Hogmanay is the name of Edinburgh's massive New Year's Eve celebration. It in, the Scottish capital hosts a three-day bender of traditional events and live entertainment.
On the bill is a torchlight procession where over 40,000 revellers carry torches through the Old Town creating a river of light toward a fireworks finale. That's just on the 30th.
Come the 31st there will be candlelight concerts, a traditional ceilidh of dancing and music and that midnight moment when the clock ticks over and the fireworks crack the night sky.
Image: Sydney New Years Eve
Broadcast around the world as one of the first places to ring in the new year, Sydney sets the bar high for New Year’s Eve parties with around $7 million worth of fireworks exploding off barges and the Harbour Bridge each year.
Not only is it one of the first cities in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve, it’s also one of the largest. Last year, 1.6 million people lined the parks, streets and pathways along Sydney Harbour for a view. Many people camp out the night before to ensure they get their place, and harbour cruises sell out months in advance.
The event has become so big that there’s now an app that shows you how full each vantage point is.
Image: Lonely Planet
7. American Samoa
Had a good year and want to savour every last moment? Then American Samoa is the place.
Not to be confused with Samoa, which sits just 80km away on the other side of the International Date Line, American Samoa is one of the last places in the world to celebrate the new year, 23 hours after Samoa.
American Samoa has roughly half the population of Kiribati, and only about 3,500 living in the capital city, Pago Pago. I’s not somewhere you come expecting a huge party and epic fireworks displays. Instead, start the new year on a peaceful, lush and tropical island.
There are no official celebrations or fireworks displays to ring in the new year in Reykjavik, but the locals don't care. On the evening, approximately 200,000 revellers create their own explosion and light up over 500 tons of fireworks.
Don't expect to saunter out at 23:59 to catch them, either. The Icelanders aren't too fussed about time and start to light up the night sky from 23:30, so get out to check the out. The best bit? You won't have to push through throngs of crowds to nab the best seat in the house.
Bangkok presents a more local celebration for those who wish to ring in the new year outside of Australia but don't wish to venture far or overspend during the holiday period.
Each district offers a different atmosphere of live entertainment and street parties. The biggest is undeniably at Bangkok Central Square where musicians play all night alongside light shows, a beer garden and projection screens to help you keep track of the countdown.
10. Las Vegas
If you thought Las Vegas already had an anything-goes vibe, just wait until New Year’s Eve.
The Strip is closed to traffic, hundreds of thousands of people party in the streets and fireworks make the sky shimmer from just about every angle. About half a dozen hotels host the shows that see about 80,000 fireworks light up the sky.
If partying in a club on New Year’s Eve is more your thing, Vegas has plenty of options. Most of the hotels along The Strip have venues that will be pumping all night long, including Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace and the Palms.
Tokyo isn’t on this list because of its millions of residents, huge party scene and a knack for late nights.
The Japanese do New Year’s Eve a little bit different. Locals partake in hatsumode, which is the first visit of the new year to shrines and temples. Temple bells will be ringing and food stalls will be set up at most of the city’s popular shrines, including Meiji Shrine and Sensoji Temple.
If it’s bright lights and the big city that you’re after, head to the Shibuya crossing for the midnight countdown or find a spot along Tokyo Bay for the annual fireworks display.
Contrary to its namesake, the City of Lights isn’t known for its fireworks displays, although you will find those too.
In fact, up until a few years ago, it didn’t have any official New Year’s Eve events, but that hasn’t stopped Paris from being a popular spot for tourists.
The Champs Elysées has become the place to ring in the new year, with crowds celebrating on the famous Parisian street near the Arc de Triumph.
If you’re looking for a bit more glitz, the Eiffel Tower dazzles in lights at the stroke of midnight, which can be seen up close or from vantage points around the city.
Top New Year's celebration deals
Save up to 25% on Sydney hotels
Get up to 25% with these Flaming Hot Deals at Wotif. They're constantly updated, so get in quick!
Book multi-day Christmas and New Year’s tours
Browse multi-day seasonal tours with Tour Radar.
Spend New Years in Amsterdam with a 4-day package from $605
Includes accommodation, three breakfasts, one dinner and transport from London.