In December, European cities transform into fairytale winter wonderlands, drawing thousands of eager tourists. Although images of enchanting Christmas markets may come to mind, Europe offers much more during this festive time of the year. If you’re planning a Euro-trip in December, don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate New Year’s, one of the biggest party nights of the year, in some of Europe’s hottest cities. This year switch it up and travel somewhere new to experience New Year’s traditions in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Here are the top New Year’s Eve destinations to make all of your holiday Euro-trip dreams come true.
Champagne is the international New Year’s libation of choice and there couldn’t be a better place to enjoy it than its birthplace. If you find yourself traveling through France during the holidays, make your way to the City of Lights for an incredible New Year’s Eve experience. Paris is overflowing with a variety of unforgettable experiences and the possibilities are endless. Book a breathtaking cruise on the Seine River and enjoy a delicious Parisian dinner under the stars while passing the Notre Dame Cathedral and other notable monuments. Once its close to midnight, join the Parisians and say Bonne Année at the New Year’s lighting of the Eiffel Tower at the Champs de Mar at the Trocadéro. After the countdown, enjoy the energy of Paris with the rogue fireworks on the streets and the many New Year’s parties.
New Year’s Eve, or Nochevieja, is a one of a kind glimpse into some of Spain’s hundred-year-old traditions. Every year Madrileños and tourists flock to the Puerta del Sol in the heart of the city to partake in the traditional Twelve Grapes ceremony. The Spanish eat 12 “lucky” grapes for each month of the upcoming year. When in Spain, swap champagne for unlimited glasses of cava, a sparkling Spanish wine, as you say goodbye to the year. After the grapes, the Nochevieja festivities pour into the wee hours of the morning in both the streets and nightclubs.
Madrileños are no strangers to a good time and during New Year’s Eve, you can get a good taste of that. Nochevieja is only one part of back-to-back Spanish holidays, starting with Christmas Eve or Nochebuena, and ending with Three King’s Day or Los Reyes Magos on January 6th. The unique traditions of Spain make it a top New Year’s Eve destination that you won’t want to miss.
Every December tourists come out in droves to celebrate the holidays in this enchanting Central European city. Prague resembles a winter paradise with breathtaking, colorful views around every corner of the city. Although Prague is famous for its mesmerizing Christmas markets, the days leading up to the New Year are just as exciting. The city is surrounded by the Vltava River, providing optimum viewpoints of the city, watch fireworks and enjoy party cruises. For the more adventurous revelers, groove into the New Year at one of the biggest nightclubs in Europe, Karlovy Lazne, a 5-story club boasting five different DJs and endless hours of dancing.
Your winter Euro-trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the historical Hungarian capital. Budapest is home to stunning castles, steaming thermal baths and known for unique traditions to bring good luck in the New Year. For the foodies, be sure to try a typical New Year’s meal before the long night of partying. Budapest is full of exquisite international restaurants with special menus for the holidays, but if you want to go the traditional route, choose a menu with roasted pork, lentil soup, and cabbage rolls.
Additionally, Budapest is ideal for travelers who may cringe at the thought of cramped clubs on New Year’s Eve. Skip the expensive nightclubs by heading to one of the free street parties at Vorosmarty Square, Oktogon Square, and Eiffel Square. Revel in the final moments of the year with live music by Hungarian bands, champagne, and spectacular fireworks shows. Whether you’re into clubbing or not, Budapest has something for every personality making it a top New Year’s Eve destination.
Whether you’re watching the fireworks show at the Brandenburg Gate or partying in a nightclub in artsy Kreuzberg, Berlin has something for everyone. Berlin is an eclectic city where anything goes and New Year’s Eve is not for the faint-hearted. It is a playground for adventurous music lovers and uninhibited dancers. The city, most known for its vibrant techno music scene and world-class DJs, is home to hundreds of parties that will cater to your specific interests. Dance the night away at the exclusive Berghain nightclub or enjoy cocktails overlooking the Spree River as you usher in the New Year. The contagious energy in the streets and the surprises around every corner alone is enough to make New Year’s in Berlin your best one yet.
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