Find your favourite among the best cities in Europe for New Year’s Eve!
As a great fan of New Year’s Eve, I have always spent it each year in a different city, collecting unique memories for every newly started year – and I highly recommend you to adapt such a tradition! Each country has its own style of parties, special NYE dishes, and particular ways to celebrate the new beginning. And the festive atmosphere of this time of the year makes the travelling experience more special. Start the New Year in a place that will stay forever in your memories!
Which are the best cities in Europe for New Year’s Eve?
- Edinburgh – for celebrations lasting 3 days&nights!
- London – for the most massive European NYE!
- Istanbul – for the most exotic European NYE!
- Krakow – for romantic & exciting NYE!
- Amsterdam – for thrills & extreme party!
- Prague – for vibrant & joyful nightlife!
- Lisbon – for spectacular views of fireworks!
- Venice – for dazzling celebrations on water & Kiss Party!
Here you will find out what makes various European cities special as NYE destination, all the highlights and suggestions of extra parties or trips.
1. New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, UK
What makes New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, so unique, is that it is not just one night as elsewhere, but… three days & nights! The great celebration of NYE in Edinburgh is called Hogmanay and it’s absolutely spectacular! The celebration starts on 30 December, and lasts till 2 January.
How is NYE in Edinburgh?
These are the highlights of the NYE in Edinburgh that you can’t miss:
- Street parties and concerts everywhere in the beautiful centre of Edinburgh – in particular Royal Mile and adjacent streets, Princes Gardens and Princes Street;
- Traditional evening procession with torchlights;
- Crazy nightlife in some of the best pubs in Europe (try the areas of Cowgate, Grassmarket or more touristy Royal Mile);
- Splendid fireworks display over the Edinburgh castle
2. New Year’s Eve in London, UK
Arguably, the London NYE is the most massive NYE in Europe. As London is one of Europe’s biggest cities, you may expect that it gets very lively and crowded on this special occasion – over 250,000 people gather at the banks of the Thames River for celebration! That itself places London among the best cities in Europe for New Year’s Eve, but see below what more to expect!
How is NYE in London?
These are the highlights of the NYE in London that you can’t miss:
- Countdown on the famous Big Ben
- Watching midnight fireworks at the banks of the Thames River for 10 minutes of spectacular display
- Find a perfect rooftop bar to book a place in for the dazzling views of this impressive city
- Enjoy the super-vibrant London nightlife to the fullest – check the parties here
- The annual parade on New Year’s Day, featuring a procession of the Queen’s horses
Public transport is free all night, to make it easier to go back home after partying till dawn.
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3. New Year’s Eve in Krakow, Poland
For less frenzy and more charming New Year’s Eve, choose Poland’s most beautiful city – enchanting Krakow. This lovely city offers both great indoor and outdoor parties, and more relaxed options of NYE evening in one of hundreds of its cosy restaurants and original pubs in medieval cellars.
How is NYE in Krakow?
These are the highlights of the NYE in Krakow that you can’t miss:
- Poland’s biggest street party – for free – at the beautiful enormous Main Market Square. Several hours of concerts of Polish and international artists in lovely setting with great atmosphere.
- Over 500 restaurants, pubs and discos to choose from just in the area of the old town!
- Fireworks display over the Main Market Square and close to the Castle.
- Delicious seasonal food and drinks, including fantastic hot alcoholic beverages, such as hot mulled beer(!), hot mead etc.
- Excellent parties in unique underground pubs in medieval cellars.
Find the best hotel deals in Krakow
4. New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Let me tell you, New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam is not for everybody! If you like peace and quiet, go elsewhere. If you are a party animal – it’s a place for you. New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam is like nowhere else – basically it’s like being in the middle of the war! Fireworks are fired everywhere on the streets, petards are thrown to bikes – or passing cars – and some fun-seekers throw them enthusiastically into the crowd of viewers! Thrills guaranteed!
How is NYE in Amsterdam?
These are the highlights of the NYE in Amsterdam that you can’t miss:
- Between 5 pm and 8 pm, watch the fascinating (and free!) Amsterdam Light Festival – the light artworks installed over the canals!
- Watch the fireworks in Dam Square (the most war-like place!) and obligatorily by the canals! Just pass from Dam Square towards the Old Church and go to the canal behind
- Grab a bite of typical Dutch street food
- Dance like crazy in the best discos of Amsterdam
- If you want something different, like tryng a joint in a “Coffeeshop”, check out the best venues here
The major museums of Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum are open also in the NYE period, so you can get a portion of culture before or after the parties. Remember to book on-line (you can do it here), the tickets will be sold out on these dates!
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5. New Year’s Eve in Istanbul, Turkey
The most exotic European destination (yes, Istanbul is on the European side of Turkey!) – splendid Istanbul offers an experience to remember. During The New Year’s Eve in Istanbul, you can see how this special moment is celebrated in a totally different culture, yet with enough familiar elements to make it easy. There will be festive evenings in restaurants, parties in bars and of course the fireworks. And all that with a trully unique atmosphere of this great city.
How is NYE in Istanbul?
These are the highlights of the NYE in Istanbul that you can’t miss:
- Exquisite typical Turkish dinner (even 6-7 courses!) in one of the fabulous restaurants of Istanbul, such as Ruby (by Bosphorus)
- Fireworks over Bosphorus – the best possible way to see them is to go for a cruise and celebrate the New Year on water! Check out here
- In alternative, enjoy the NYE on one of the rooftop terraces like Sunset
- Or go for a disco with live concert in IF Beşiktaş
Try not to move between distant areas – the city is huge and crowded and on NYE it get very chaotic, so better stay in one area and enjoy the evening to the fullest!
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6. New Year’s Eve in Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is famous as a romantic destination, so what makes it also one of the best cities in Europe for New Year’s Eve 2019? The answer is easy: the vibrant, dynamic nightlife of the city, its fantastic pubs and discos, and the beautiful setting for watching the fireworks!
How is NYE in Prague?
These are the highlights of the NYE in Prague that you can’t miss:
- Eat some great street food at the Christmas/NYE markets at Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square
- Have a dinner in one of the charming restaurants to try the typical Czech food
- Party with the locals in the famous pubs in Prague
- And continue at the outdoor gatherings at Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square
- See the fireworks on the banks of the river or from the bridges, with the fabulous setting of the Castle of Prague and Charles Bridge, or over Letna Gardens
- And continue the party in the crazy, super-fun discos of Prague!
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One of the things that make the New Year’s Eve in Lisbon very pleasant, is the lovely mild weather you can enjoy there in winter. It’s almost always sunny and temperatures never drop low, so you can enjoy the outdoor activities more than in many other parts of Europe. Including enjoying fantastic – and very cheap – drinks in numerous Lisbonese bars!
Another factor that makes Lisbon special are the multiple miradouros – viewpoints in this hilly, multi-layered city. They give you plenty of opportunities to see the city with its winter lights – and the fireworks – from different perspectives!
How is NYE in Lisbon?
These are the highlights of the NYE in Lisbon that you can’t miss:
- Mingle with the happy crowd at the beautiful main square – Praça do Comércio
- Have a dinner in one of many restaurants along Rua Augusta and nearby streets – possibly outside, if the weather permits
- And then go for cheap generous drinks where the locals go: to Bairro Alto – Lisbon’s fun district (to Rua do Diário de Noticias and around) – people stand outside the pubs in the narrow streets, socializing – and the atmosphere is great!
- Watch fireworks from one of dozens of city’s miradouros – viewpoints.
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Last, but certainly not least: Venice is a perfect place for a celebration in style. It guarantees aestetically beautiful and refined passage into the New Year.
How is NYE in Venice?
These are the highlights of the NYE in Venice that you can’t miss:
- Stroll in the labyrinth of the magically illuminated canals
- Feast to the fullest on the world-famous Italian cuisine. Most of restaurants will have a special “Capodanno menu”. A curiosity: it includes lentils for good luck, as they are a symbol of plenty of coins!
- Forget champagne, here you should toast with the local much-loved sparkling wine: prosecco!
- Piazza San Marco – St. Mark’s Square – is the place to be, especially around midnight! Stay on the side of Piazza closer to water to admire the fireworks from different parts: over the Piazza and over the Canal Grande!
- Venice has the world’s most romantic NYE tradition called “Festa con il bacio” (“Kiss party”) or internationally “Love event”: at Piazza San Marco couples gather so at the exact moment of midnight, they kiss passionately – all at the same time, with the soundtrack of traditional Venetian music and fireworks, and following with the toast of sparkling wine. Will you take your loved one for that Venetian kiss?!
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How to make the most of your New Year’s Eve trip in Europe?
- Stay in a city you choose for NYE for at least 3-4 days to fully enjoy the party without haste, to rest and to have time for sightseeing. Check hotel deals here
- If you want to see some specific monuments, check beforehand here if they are open at these dates. Most monuments are closed on 31st December and 1st January, some also on the 2nd January. However, it really depends on the specific city.
- If you want to go to a club, check beforehand the availability and book in advance to avoid disappointment. Many guest lists open a few weeks before NYE.
- Book in advance tickets to tours or parties of your choice – tickets to NYE always sell out quickly!
Share the article with your friends! Have you been in any of these places for NYE? Did you like it? Would you add anything?