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The 14 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 2019 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 2019? We hear you.

That's why we've collated this list of the most exciting New Year's Eve party destinations around the world for you to ring in the new year.

Our top destinations to celebrate New Year's Eve

Our top New Year's Eve Experience: New York City

Our top New Year's Eve Experience: New York City from Contiki

Ring in the New Year in New York City with a 3-day tour package from Contiki that'll have you celebrating in a private bar complete with champagne at midnight.

  • Includes three nights' accommodation in New York
  • Visit the Statue of Liberty, explore colourful neighbourhoods like Soho and Greenwich Village and party on New Year's Eve
  • Two dinners and two breakfasts included in the package

View details

Sydney.NYEImage: Sydney New Years Eve

1. Sydney

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 yearly.

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, over one million lined the harbour foreshore for a view of the sparklers. 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 which shows you how full each vantage point is.

New Years Eve Opera Show at the Opera House
New Years Eve Opera Show at the Opera House

Experience Oz

2. 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 special guest performers have yet to be revealed but last year we saw the likes of BTW, Nick Jonas, Shawn Mendes and Kelly Clarkson wind up the crowd before the ball drops at midnight.

That famous "ball" is made from 2,699 Waterford crystals and weighs in at about 5,400kg.

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New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop Party
New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop Party

Viator

Times Square and New Year's Eve Ball Drop at Hilton
Times Square and New Year's Eve Ball Drop at Hilton

Hilton Hotels


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3. London

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, the city has now made its New Year's Eve fireworks a ticketed event.

On the positive, tickets will only set you back £10 each and guarantees you prime position on the riverbank. While some areas have sold out, others are still available to book a space in. See here for details.


TourRadar-NYE---copacabana Image: TourRadar

4. 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 waterfront party celebrating reveillon (New Year’s Eve).

The mid-summer festivities along the four 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.


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5. Vienna

Awash with culture and dressed in architectural wonders, the capital of Austria is beautiful to visit whatever time of year.

For New Year's Eve, the Old City transforms into a street party complete with gala events, dancing and, in true Viennese fashion, operas and operettas.

The entertainment runs from 2pm to 2am with the highlight being the fireworks at the City Hall Square as well as the Prater at the stroke of midnight.

Not only does the city know how to party by night, it also knows how to recover by day, featuring a brunch and performance by the Vienna Philharmonic on New Year's Day. This is displayed on a big screen in front of City Hall at the bleary-eyed time of 11.15am on 1 January.

New Year's Eve Gala in Vienna City Hall's Grand Ballroom
New Year's Eve Gala in Vienna City Hall's Grand Ballroom

Viator

Mesmerising expedition from Engelhartszell
Mesmerising expedition from Engelhartszell

CruiseAway

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6. Kiribati

Kiribati is a tiny nation that consists of 33 atolls and islands. It's 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.


7. Edinburgh

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 31 December 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.

6 Night Hogmanay Package with Scotland Tour
6 Night Hogmanay Package with Scotland Tour

TourRadar

UK & Ireland Christmas and New Year tour
UK & Ireland Christmas and New Year tour

TourRadar


AmericanSamoa.NYImage: Lonely Planet

8. American Samoa

Had a good year and want to savour every last moment? Then American Samoa is the place to do just that.

Not to be confused with Samoa, which is 80km away on the other side of the International Date Line, American Samoa is one of the last places to celebrate the new year, 23 hours after Samoa.

American Samoa has roughly half the population of Kiribati, and only about 3,500 people living in its capital Pago Pago. It’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.

NewYork.NYImage: Times Square

Reykjavik---visit-Reykjavik

9. Reykjavik

There are no official celebrations or fireworks displays for the new year in Reykjavik, but the locals don't care. On the eve of the new year, hundreds of thousands of revellers create their own explosion and light up over 500 tonnes of fireworks.

Don't expect to saunter out at a minute to midnight to catch them, either. Icelanders aren't too fussed about time and light up the night sky from around 9pm onward - so get out early to check them out. The best bit? You won't have to push through throngs of crowds to nab the best seat in the house.

New Year's and Northern Lights Adventure
New Year's and Northern Lights Adventure

TourRadar


Bangkok-fireworks

10. Bangkok

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 holidays.

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 and eye on the countdown.


LasVegas.NY.Caesars

11. Las Vegas

If you thought Vegas already had an anything-goes vibe, 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 hotels along The Strip have venues that pump all night long, including Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace and the Palms.

Flights to Las Vegas
Flights to Las Vegas

Flight Centre - International


vanuatu_shutterstock_445736128-450-300

12. New Caledonia and Vanuatu

Seeing the fireworks from the harbour is one thing, seeing them on the open ocean is another.

A number of cruise ships set sail for New Caledonia and Vanuatu over Christmas and New Year's enabling you to celebrate in style on the ocean bound for exotic lands.

While the islands themselves may not boast the largest celebrations, cruise ships aren't beyond throwing a celebration of their own with music, dancing, a countdown and drinks packages.


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13. Tokyo

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 ring and food stalls are set up at the city’s most 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.


Paris.NY

14. Paris

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 didn't stop Paris from being a popular tourist spot.

The Champs Elysées is a magnet for crowds searching to celebrate on the famous Parisian street near the Arc de Triumph.

If you’re looking for more glitz, the Eiffel Tower dazzles in lights at the stroke of midnight. This can be seen close or from vantage points around the city.


Top New Year's Eve travel deals

Otel.com Otel.com

Extra 8% off hotel bookings

Valid on hotel stays worldwide on all dates, including over holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

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Sydney New Year's Eve cruises from just $400

Experience New Year's Eve on Sydney Harbour aboard a cruise that'll get you up close to the midnight fireworks display. Dinner, drinks and BYO options available.

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Cairns flights from $204 return

Spend Christmas and New Year's up in Cairns and the surrounding Tropical North Queensland beauty from as low as $204 return with these fares from Skyscanner. Sample price is from Brisbane for departures in December returning in January.

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15% off Sydney New Year's Eve cruise

Valid on 31 December 2018. Includes full cocktail menu, beers, champagne and red and white wine. T&Cs apply.

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Ballina Byron flights from $140 return

Relax in Byron Bay over Christmas and New Year's with flights to Queensland from just $140 return with Jetstar. Sample price is from Newcastle departing in December and returning in January, flights from other cities also available.

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Gold Coast flights from $106 return

Do Christmas and New Year's on the Gold Coast with flights from $106 return with Tigerair or Jetstar. Sample price is from Sydney departing in December and returning in January, flights from other cities also available.

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Brisbane flights from $119 return

Have Christmas and New Year's in Queensland from just $119 return with Jetstar or Tigerair. Sample price is from Newcastle departing in December and returning in January, flights from other cities also available.

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Canberra flights from $161 return

Celebrate Christmas and New Year's in Canberra with flights from just $161 return with Tigerair, Virgin Australia or Qantas. Sample price is from Melbourne departing in December and returning in January, flights from other cities also available.

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Perth flights from $350 return

Have Christmas and New Year's in Perth with flights to Western Australia from just $350 return with Jetstar or Tigerair. Sample price is from Melbourne departing in December and returning in January, flights from other cities also available.

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Sydney flights from $98 return

Celebrate Christmas and New Year's in Sydney with flights from just $98 return with Jetstar or Tigerair. Sample price is from Melbourne departing in December and returning in January, flights from other cities also available.

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Adelaide flights from $104 return

Do Christmas and New Year's in Adelaide with flights to South Australia from just $104 return with Jetstar or Tigerair. Sample price is from Melbourne departing in December and returning in January, flights from other cities also available.

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TourRadar TourRadar

Up to 50% off Europe tours

Valid for travel on select dates, including over Christmas and New Year's, depending on the destination. Destinations include London, Athens, Rome, Berlin, Budapest, Dubrovnik and more. T&Cs apply.

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Veltra Veltra

Up to 6% off Sydney Harbour New Year's Eve cruise

Valid on 31 December 2018. Includes unlimited drinks. T&Cs apply.

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Viator Viator

Sydney New Year's Eve tickets from $299

Sydney Opera House Gala, New Yew Year's Eve fireworks cruises, Sydney Tower dinner with fireworks views and more.

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Groupon Groupon

34% off Sydney New Year's Eve cruise

Valid on 31 December 2018 with Legend Cruises. T&Cs apply.

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Cudo Cudo

59% off luxury Sydney New Year's Eve party package

Valid on 31 December 2018. Includes four-course a la carte menu, unlimited drinks, entertainment and more. T&Cs apply.

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Cudo Cudo

34% off all-inclusive Sydney New Year's Eve cruise

Valid on 31 December 2018. Includes open bar, canapes on arrival and standing buffet. T&Cs apply.

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Fred. Olsen Fred. Olsen

Up to 30% off Christmas and New Year's cruises

Valid for travel from November - December 2018. Destinations include South Pacific, Caribbean and Australia. T&Cs apply.

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TourRadar TourRadar

Up to 77% off Africa tours

Valid for travel on select dates, including over Christmas and New Year's, depending on the destination. Destinations include Cairo, Morocco, Cape Town and more. T&Cs apply.

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Hawaii flights from $762 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Sample fare is Sydney-Honolulu.

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Los Angeles flights from $1,131 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Sample fare is Brisbane-Los Angeles.

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India flights from $786 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Destinations include Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and more. Sample fare is Perth-Chennai.

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Canada flights from $1,277 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Destinations include Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Vancouver.

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Manila flights from $729 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Sample fare is Darwin-Manila.

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Thailand flights from $495 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Destinations include Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai and more. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Bangkok.

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Bali flights from $308 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Sample fare is from Darwin-Bali.

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New Zealand flights from $268 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 20, including over Christmas and New Year. Destinations include Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington and more. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Auckland.

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China flights from $491 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Destinations include Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and more. Sample fare is Cairns-Xi An.

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Budget Car Rental Budget Car Rental

Up to 15% off Taiwan car hire

Valid until 30 June 2019, including over Christmas and New Year's. T&Cs apply.

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Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Millennium & Copthorne Hotels

Up to 30% off stays

Valid for stays until 31 March 2019 including over Christmas and New Year on all participating hotels in Asia. Destinations include Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket and more. T&Cs apply.

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Avis Avis

Up to 15% off USA car hire + US$150 Universal Orlando Resort savings

Valid until 31 July 2019, including over Christmas and New Year's. T&Cs apply.

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Viator Viator

Melbourne New Year's Eve party cruise from US$170

Valid on 31 December 2018. Includes dinner, wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks. T&Cs apply.

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South Africa flights from $1,614 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Sample fare is Darwin-Johannesburg.

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Ireland flights from $1,371 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Sample fare is Perth-Dublin.

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New York flights from $1,456 return

Valid for travel from December 2018 - January 2019, including over Christmas and New Year. Sample fare is Sydney-New York.

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Anantara Anantara

Bangkok: 3-night New Year stay from $1,100

Valid on 31 December 2018. Includes New Year’s Eve Gala dinner, daily breakfast and more. T&Cs apply.

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Alex Keshen

Alex takes care of the travel section here at finder.com.au. If there's a new sale on tours or cruises, discounted flights or hotels, or anything else that can be on offer, she'll fill you in.

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