Best Cities For New Year's Eve
Dom Herrera, 23.10.18
Alterative Destinations: 7 min read
With New Year’s Eve fast approaching, why not end 2018 in the most spectacular way possible and go abroad? We know what you’re thinking — ‘the world is a big place! How will I choose?’ And with New Year’s Eve only coming round once a year, you’ll want to make sure that you pick a new year destination that’s worthy of the biggest party of the year.
Don’t worry — Alternative Airlines has you covered. We’ve compiled a list of some of the world’s best places to celebrate New Year’s, with each one sure to make your 2019 start off with a bang.
When is New Year’s Eve 2018?
31st December, of course! This year, New Year’s Eve falls on a Monday, which means New Year’s Day will be on Tuesday 1st January 2019. Although, not every country celebrates New Year’s on 31st December. For example, Chinese New Year 2019 falls on Tuesday 5th February 2019.
Due to time zone differences, different countries will be celebrating New Year’s Eve at different points in time on 31st December. So, while you’re waking up in 2019 with a dry mouth and a pounding headache, people on the other side of the world might only just be starting their new year countdown.
Which country celebrates New Year’s Eve first?
In the Apia time zone, the countries of Samoa and Kribati celebrate New Year’s Eve on 31st December before any other country in the world.
Which country celebrates New Year’s Eve last?
Many of the US Minor Outlying Islands celebrate New Year’s Eve last, this includes islands such as Howland Island in the Hawaii-Aleutian Standard time zone and Baker Island in the Wallis & Futuna time zone.
Where to go for New Years Eve?
Best places to spend New Year's in Europe
Head to Central London for UK’s most impressive firework display of the year. Watch London's best new years fireworks as the sky lights up with a million different colours as Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the London Eye are illuminated in the backdrop. London’s firework display is a ticketed event, with a DJ and six different viewing areas. If you don’t fancy paying the £10 GBP for entry, we recommend heading to Primrose Hill where you can join the thousands of others that congregate at London’s best location for viewing the fireworks for free!
Take me to London
The best airport to fly into if you’re travelling to London is either London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW). British Airways is the national carrier of the United Kingdom. You can also fly into London on airlines such as easyJet, Norwegian, Flybe and Virgin Atlantic.
Photo credit: Gigglin Gigi
Vörösmarty Square has a fantastic atmosphere and is a great place to eat and drink at any time in the year. But New Year’s Eve is when Budapest’s main square really comes alive. Dance the night away at one of the many street parties, and if you’re in Budapest over Christmas, Vörösmarty Square also has a beautiful Christmas market!
Take me to Budapest
One of the ‘must-visit’ cities in our local’s guide to Germany and now a ‘must-visit’ in our best places to spend new years. Berlin is the techno capital of the world, so if you’re into techno, we recommend spending new years at one of the many techno clubs across the city. If you don’t like techno, don’t worry — there’s plenty more to do!
One of the most popular places to celebrate New Year’s in Berlin is at Brandenburg Gate. Brandenburg Gate has everything you could want from a public New Year’s street party — live music, a 3am closing time and free entry!
Whatever you choose to for Berlin New Year's Eve, just be prepared for one of the best new years eve parties in the world!
Take me to Berlin
Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) is the main airport in Berlin. The national carrier of Germany is Lufthansa. You can also fly into Berlin on airlines such as Eurowings, Germania, Correndon Airlines and KLM.
Best places to spend New Year's in North America & Central America
New York City
It’s an obvious choice, but we simply couldn’t exclude the Big Apple from this list. You might have seen pictures, videos or scenes in movies. But trust us, New York City at New Year’s in person is as iconic as it gets and a surreal experience that will live with you forever. Join the million of people that watch the ball drop at Times Square each year or take a cruise around the New York Harbor!
Take me to New York City
The main airport in New York City is John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). You can fly to New York JFK on airlines such as American Airlines, Delta, Interjet and Ukraine International Airlines.
Photo credit: Anthony Quintano
Niagara Falls, Canada
Celebrate New Year's Niagara falls with Canada’s longest running New Year’s party at Queen Victoria Park. Queen Victoria Park has a massive outdoor concert, a wide variety of food and drink stalls and is capped of with a magnificent midnight firework display at the Niagara Gorge.
With an all Canadian line-up, let the likes of James Barker Band, Jess Moskaluke, Simple Plan and Marianas Trench send you into the new year. And, we nearly forget to mention — entrance is completely free!
Take me to Niagara Falls
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is the main international airport serving Toronto and the best airport to fly into to reach the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and Queen Victoria Park. The national carrier of Canada is Air Canada. Other airlines that fly into Toronto Pearson International include Air Transat, Air France, WestJet, Flair Airlines, Sunwing Airlines and WOW air.
Photo credit: TranceMist
Best places to spend New Year's in South America
Traditionally, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Colombia is spent with family. But that’s not to say the Bogota New Year's Eve is short of parties! In the south, Piaza Bolivar has fireworks, food stalls and live music. Or there are plenty of bars and clubs in the north of Bogotá that host New Year’s celebrations — head to Zona Rosa, enjoy a meal and dance salsa!
Travelling around Bogotá at New Year’s, you might notice a large number of human-sized dolls for sale. These are called Año Viejo dolls. The doll is meant to symbolise all the bad times in the year just past. In Colombia, it’s tradition to stuff these dolls with fireworks and gunpowder, set them on fire and watch them explode as you say goodbye to all the negativity heading into the new year.
Find out more about Bogotá in our local’s guide to the city.
Take me to Bogotá
El Dorado International Airport, or Bogotá airport, is the main airport serving Bogotá. Avianca is the national carrier of Colombia. Other airlines that fly into Bogotá include Lufthansa, Iberia, Aeromexico, Spirit Airlines, Satena and United Airlines.
Photo credit: Andreuchis
The Copacabana beach is the place to be at New Year’s Eve in Rio. Rio’s most famous beach has an electric party atmosphere on 31st December and boasts Brazil’s biggest firework display. The beach starts filling with people from 2pm onwards and is jam-packed when midnight strikes.
If you want to enjoy the fireworks away from the crowds, we recommend buying tickets to an event hosted by one of the many beach-front hotels on the Copacabana. Most of these hotels will have a viewing area for the new years eve Copacabana beach fireworks display. Make sure to buy your tickets well in advance though — these events sell out quick!
Take me to Rio
Photo credit: PortoBay Hotels & Resorts
Best places to spend New Year's in Asia & Oceania
The Thai new year isn’t actually until April, but Thailand — and Bangkok in particular — pull out all the stops on 31st December.
Whether you’re at a street party down Khao San Road, celebrating at Asiatique on the river front or looking over the city's firework displays at one of the many rooftop bars — Bangkok has a New Year’s experience for everyone.
Take me to Bangkok
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport are the two main international airports in Bangkok. Thai Airways is the national carrier of Thailand. You can also fly to Bangkok with airlines such as EVA Air, Emirates, Bangkok Airways, Oman Air, Jetstar Airways and Cathay Pacific.
Photo credit: Nik Cyclist
If you’re looking for a beach party this New Year’s that’s a little different to the chaos of the Copacabana, head to Sri Lanka and visit either Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna or Mirissa. Each beach hosts an amazing party with a full firework display enjoyed by a mix of travellers and locals.
We recommend booking as early as possible for these areas, as accommodation fills up fairly quickly around New Year’s Eve!
Want to know more about Sri Lanka? Take a look at our local’s guide.
Take me to Sri Lanka
Colombo International Airport is the main airport to fly into when travelling to Sri Lanka. SriLankan Airlines is the national carrier of Sri Lanka. You can also fly to Sri Lanka on airlines such as Gulf Air, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines.
Sydney is undoubtedly one of the best places to go for New Years Eve with an unforgettable firework display at Sydney Harbour and an array of bars and nightclubs hosting parties late into the night. With around 1.5 million people coming to Sydney for its New Year’s Eve firework display each year, New Year’s at Sydney Harbour can get really busy!
But, fear not! There are 50 different vantage points in the area that you can watch the fireworks from, all of which are listed in this handy guide found on Sydney New Year’s Eve’s official website.
Take me to Sydney
The main airport in Sydney is Sydney Airport. The national carrier of Australia is Qantas. Other airlines that fly into Sydney Airport include Virgin Australia, Delta, Jetstar Airways, Tigerair Australia, Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
The most popular place to spend New Year’s Eve in Cape Town is at the the V&A Waterfront. It has a family friendly New Year’s atmosphere with fireworks, live performers, plenty of food and drink, plus live music!
If you’re looking for something a little left-field this year and don’t mind travelling outside the main city, Kinky Summer NYE Festival promises the ultimate party. Formed by Kinky Disco and We Love Summer, Kinky Summer is a day festival that promises all things weird and wonderful in a night filled with live DJs, cutting-edge fashion and a whole lot of good vibes.
Take me to Cape Town
Cape Town International Airport is the main airport in Cape Town. South African Airways is the national carrier in South Africa. You can also fly to Cape Town on airlines such as Ethiopian Airlines, KLM and Air France.
Photo credit: Olga Ernst
Cheap flights for New Years
Decided which city you'll be celebrating New Year's Eve 2018 in? Use Alternative Airlines to search for cheap flights to your destination. Don’t forget to check our offers page for the latest deals and discounts!