New Year’s Eve is the perfect occasion to escape your normal routines, book a trip and enjoy the countdown somewhere else in the world. And where better than in a charming European city?
In this post, different travel bloggers from all over the world recommend their favourite New Year’s Eve destinations in Europe and tell you why it is such a magical experience. Whether it is for snow, incredible New Year’s parties or wonderful decorations, every city on this list has something special that will make you want to book a trip this year!
Let these destinations in Europe inspire you to get out at New Year and discover this magical moment somewhere else in the world!
Important tip: make sure to book early for this special time of the year!
The 14 best New Year’s Eve destinations in Europe
Contributed by Zoe from Together In Transit
One place that should be your next New Year’s Eve location for celebrations is Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Rotterdam is a modern, architectural city at only a 40 minutes train trip from Amsterdam Schiphol airport. It’s a great city to visit all year round, with local events and its popular shopping streets. However, for New Year’s Eve, it’s a whole different level of fun and excitement.
The city comes alive with many local bars and clubs selling out around October times, so plan ahead if you would want to party all night long into the new year. The city also puts on an amazing show each year, with huge fireworks and live music being played along the river’s edge. This is thanks to the fireworks being let off from the famous Rotterdam bridge called the Erasmusbrug and a boat. They’ve also previously used drones and large spotlights to make it extra special.
If you don’t want to stand outside in the cold December temperatures, book a night at the nHow Rotterdam hotel with a city view, where you have perfect views of the Erasmusbrug, the city skyline and the surrounding area. It’s so special to enjoy the city this way, as you will see fireworks not only from the main show but from the whole skyline lighting up from locals setting off their own fireworks too.
Contributed by Vicki from Vicki Viaja
Barcelona is simply a great destination at any time of the year. And although the Catalan capital is probably better known as a summer destination, you can also perfectly visit Barcelona in winter. Especially on New Year’s Eve, it is worth visiting the city.
Although there are no big fireworks like in many other European cities, you can be enchanted by smaller fireworks shows. Particularly popular is the midnight fireworks event on the beach of Barceloneta. Since Barcelona is usually much warmer in winter than many other European cities, you can spend the whole night outside without worrying about snow or getting too cold.
Even if you’re not in the mood for fireworks, you definitely won’t be bored during New Year’s Eve in Barcelona. Events take place all over the city. Unsurprisingly, in a city like Barcelona, which is known worldwide for its outstanding nightlife, some great parties are going on every year.
What can’t be missing from any New Year’s Eve party in Spain are the grapes. This is because just before midnight, according to an old Spanish tradition, 12 grapes are eaten. According to tradition, if you manage to eat them before midnight, you will be lucky in the new year.
Contributed by Ali from Berlin Travel Tips
Berlin is well known for parties and clubbing, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the best places in Europe to spend New Year’s Eve. Known as Silvester in Germany, no one does New Year’s Eve quite like Berlin.
The biggest party in Germany is at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Strasse des 17. Juni, the street that runs west of Brandenburg Gate, is closed off between the gate and the Victory Column and hosts this huge open-air party. This is where stages are set up for music and other performances and party-goers celebrate in the street. At midnight, they put on a spectacular fireworks show. Entrance is free, but you must be comfortable with crowds because this is like Times Square in New York.
If clubbing is more your scene, this is the night for it. Clubs all over town have parties to ring in the New Year, some with world-class DJs performing. Rooftop clubs and bars are also a good choice for the views they’ll offer. There’s nothing like seeing the whole city light up from all the fireworks.
Speaking of fireworks, Berlin gets downright chaotic on New Year’s Eve. Fireworks are sold for weeks at various stores – even grocery stores – so tons of people are armed with them. You’ll hear and see them going off all day long, until finally at midnight everyone sets off fireworks full force.
For something a little more low key or something to do during the day before the big festivities, check out Berlin’s Christmas markets. You’ll still find a few running through New Year’s Eve.
Contributed by Elisa from World In Paris
Paris is always a good idea, but the City of Light is even more special during the Christmas holidays until the end of the year. There’s a festive vibe everywhere in the city, the Christmas markets are in full swing, and the main squares and avenues are adorned with Christmas lights and other decorations.
Sure, Paris in the wintertime is cold, but cold days are the perfect excuse for a mulled wine or a hot coffee in good company.
For New Year’s Eve in Paris, there are celebrations everywhere. The French call it réveillon, and it can start with a casual dinner at home or with a more exclusive ‘diner de réveillon’ in a fancy restaurant or sailing the Seine River. Some people like to end the year with a theatre show, or even better, with a Parisian cabaret. Moulin Rouge, Lido, or Paradis Latin, you will be spoiled for choice.
However, the big gathering for the final countdown is at Champs Elysées, from the Tuileries Garden up to Arc de Triomphe. It is uncommon to see fireworks to celebrate the New Year in Paris; the City Council prefers light and music shows. However, a couple of exceptions during the last few years give some hope for the coming New Year’s celebrations.
Contributed by Monique from Trip Anthropologist
Undoubtedly one of the very best places to see out the New year in Europe is the capital of Greece, Athens. The Greek people love travelers, parties, food, and letting their hair down.
On New Year’s Eve, the sky above the ancient Greek ruins on the Acropolis explode with fireworks that can be seen from across Athens.
The most famous of the Greece ruins is the Parthenon and it is lit up in a light show for the evening. The Acropolis is the central focus of New Year’s Eve and parties, and dinners are held on rooftop terraces with views of the Acropolis and the fireworks.
The streets below the Acropolis (in the suburb of Thissio) are pedestrianized and full of bars, cafes and restaurants. This is where people gather early in the evening. There are live music acts and lots of lights and a fun atmosphere. It is where families go to see the fireworks at midnight if they want to spend it on the streets.
Syntagma Square has a large party with well-known performers, DJs and, of course, Greek street food! There are also lots of unique things to do like ice skating in the larger cultural centres around the Acropolis while watching the fireworks.
Hotel recommendation: Athens Gate Hotel (make sure to book an executive view for uninterrupted views of the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.)
Contributed by Ania from The Travelling Twins
Krakow is one of the best cities in Poland to visit and spend new Year’s Eve. Krakow is located in southern Poland, is the second-largest city in the country, and has a population of approximately 800,000 people. Krakow is a university city, so it’s full of young people in their early 20s, 30s ready to have fun.
Since Poles are pretty strong on celebrating Christmas, the town is covered with lights and Christmas trees. You can feel the Christmas spirit and expectation of the New Year on every step.
Krakow has many high-quality restaurants, cafes which are perfect places to celebrate New Year to meet new people. In some of them, you need to book your table in advance, some other pubs and clubs are without reservation. If you want to have a meal I would suggest reserving the place, you if you want just to dance and drink, you don’t have to do it. And in comparison to other European cities, prices in Krakow are still relatively low.
If you live in the centre, there is a tradition to go outside and celebrate New Year’s Eve with strangers outside in the cold, on the Old Market Square, which will help you sober up after a long night of partying. And on the New Year, Since Krakow is in the South of Poland, not far away from Beskidy Mountain Range, you can just drive two hours and ski in the Polish mountains.
Contributed by Tracy from UK Travel Planning
New Year’s Eve or Hogmanay as it is called in Scotland is one of the best times of the year to spend in the capital Edinburgh. Famous the world over as one of the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve thousands flock to the Scottish capital for 3 days of partying. There are so many things to do in Edinburgh over the course of New Year’s Eve that make this such a special time.
Firstly head to the Royal Mile for the iconic Torchlight Procession. The torches and lights in the procession combined with the sounds of the pipes set the atmosphere for the evening.
Afterwards, join thousands of others on Princes Street for the street party of all street parties! At midnight prepare to join hands and sing Auld Lang Syne when fireworks explode over the city to welcome in the New Year. The party atmosphere and revelry make this a night you will never forget.
Book a stay in a local hotel within walking distance of Princes Street. Just ensure to book well in advance and expect prices to be a little more expensive than normal. Experiencing Hogmanay in Edinburgh is on many bucket lists and hotels are booked up months ahead. The Elder York Guest House is our recommended accommodation option. Located only 5 minute’s walk from Princes Street this 3 star B&B includes a hearty full Scottish breakfast. Perfect for the morning after a night of partying in Edinburgh.
Contributed by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers
Seville is one of the most epic cities to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Europe. While most locals celebrate with their family at home, eating twelve grapes counting down the seconds to midnight watching the “acampanadas” on TV, the streets are still full of people.
The city’s main squares are all filled up with eager expectants drinking champagne and holding their grapes ready to eat one each of the twelve last seconds of the old year to bring good luck to the next. As the countdown begins thousands of people have their mouths full until they congratulate friends and strangers alike as they happily swallow the last grape.
After midnight is when everyone that has celebrated at home ventures out too to join the party! Most restaurants have New Year’s Eve Menus with champagne and big private parties, so you have to book in advance to get a table.
If you have the chance to at least stay in Seville for 3 days, you’ll get the chance to see the main attractions, but if you can stay until the 6th of January, you can combine an epic New Years Eve celebration with an epic local Christmas celebration, Reyes. This is when Spain celebrates the three Holy Kings that came with gifts to the baby Jesus, and the streets are filled with processions.
Contributed by Dymphe from Dym Abroad
One of the best places in Europe to spend New Year’s Eve is London. During New Year’s Eve, a lot is happening in London. There is a large firework show at the River Thames. This takes place next to the London Eye and Big Ben. And these landmarks also play a part in the show. The chimes of Big Ben do the countdown till the new year and the fireworks go off from the London Eye.
What’s great is that you can see the fireworks from many places in the city. For example, there are parks from where you get a beautiful view and The Shard is an amazing place for this as well. Also, staying at the Shangri-La The Shard is great because of these views.
Another great place to celebrate the new year is Sky Garden. This is a beautiful public garden in a skyscraper in the City of London from where you get a view of the city as well. It is also one of the most Instagrammable places in London!
Besides that, there are many clubs and bars that have a special New Year’s Eve celebration. What’s great as well is to go to a restaurant on New Year’s Eve. That’s because many restaurants have a special menu for this evening.
Contributed by Alexander from Travel Your Memories
Many know Amsterdam in the Netherlands which is the capital of the Netherlands. However, Groningen is not that well known among many travelers. Groningen is located in the north of the Netherlands. It is a typical city of the Netherlands that has everything to offer. From their canals to the historical center, It is like Amsterdam only different. The big difference is that Groningen is not so touristy, so you can experience New Year’s as a local in the Netherlands does.
The special thing about Groningen during New Year’s is that a New Year’s party has been organized every year since 1918. During this party, various artists will perform at EM2 on the Suikerunieterrein. Groningen is the student city of the Netherlands which means that many parties are organized to celebrate this wonderful time.
One of the best parties is the yearly NYE special. During this party, only songs from the 90’s & 00’s Classics will be played. This party is organized in Huize Maas. Another typical Dutch tradition is to take a New Year’s dip in the sea at Lauwersoog. During this dive, a fresh start to the year literally begins!
In addition to the parties and the New Year’s dive, Groningen is also an amazing city to discover in the Netherlands. From Amsterdam, you can reach Groningen in 2 hours by train. There are many things to do in Groningen. You can discover the historic center where you can find beautiful churches and squares. You can also discover Hofjes, markets, and local shops. In the area of Groningen are also beautiful things to do discover.
Highly recommended is Best Western in Groningen. This is located on the edge of the historic center so you can enjoy the silence but still discover everything within walking distance. The rooms are very neat, the breakfast is very good and the staff does everything to make your stay very pleasant.
Contributed by Sasha Naslin from The Alternative Travel Guide
Málaga is a wonderful place for the winter holidays and New Year’s Eve. Winter Málaga offers excellent weather, sunshine, flowers, parrots, smiling locals, and delicious food.
If you come to the capital of the Costa del Sol for New Year’s Eve, you must hit the Plaza de la Constitución on the night of December 31. It is the most popular place in the south of Spain where people gather to celebrate the New Year in the true Spanish tradition. The tradition is to eat twelve grapes, and each grape must be eaten with each strike of the chimes.
On December 31, the Plaza de la Constitución turns into a huge stage with thousands of celebrating people. The Spanish are known for their temperament and emotionality, and the celebrating Spaniards are the perfect company to cheer you up. After New Year’s Eve on the square, the party continues in the bars and pubs of Málaga’s historic center until early morning.
Suppose you prefer a more laid-back New Year’s Eve format. In that case, there is an option to go out for a celebratory dinner in a restaurant incorporating traditional Andalusian food, wine, and sangria. Or organize a festive picnic on the beach yourself. All of Málaga is decked out in winter with lights and garlands, and it’s a magnificent sight to behold.
If you want to celebrate the New Year under the palm trees in Europe, Málaga is the place for you!
Related: how to spend 1 day in Malaga
Contributed by Paula from Paula Pins The Planet
Spending New Year’s Eve in Europe is always very special, but some places offer a really unique experience that should be added to your bucket list, and one of the best destinations is Salzburg in Austria.
Visiting Salzburg during wintertime is very special, from charming streets, baroque buildings while surrounded by the Alps covered in snow. Plus, it turns even more special with the lights and smells of the Christmas Markets around the town. Mozart’s city celebrates New Year’s Eve partying without an end.
You can join the crowds that gather together on chilly and crispy nights around the open-air stage on the Residenzplatz. With live music, and the Christmas Market offering local culinary delights and the famous mulled wine. At midnight you can watch the spectacular fireworks over the fortress Honensalzburg, making New Year’s Eve in Salzburg an unforgettable holiday experience.
If you prefer a more reserved New Year’s Eve celebration, you have the option to join the classic gala dinner with music at the Fortress Honensalzburg, with classical highlights from Mozart to Strauss being played between the dinner courses.
A great option for accommodation while visiting Salzburg is the Townhouse Weisses Kreuz, a 16th-century building located in the heart of Salzburg.
Contributed by Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Venice is one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve in Europe and is often overlooked by visitors. If there’s one city that knows how to combine incredible views, delicious food, and an epic party, it’s Venice!
Start your night off by taking a dinner cruise around the city. Enjoy a true Venetian-style dinner while the city gently floats by. You’ll see key locations around the city including Rialto Bridge and ending near Saint Mark’s Square. The party really starts around 10:00 PM in the Piazza San Marco where the annual ‘Love’ event takes place.
Live music and street performers help tourists and locals alike ring in the New Year in this piazza. Bellini is the sponsor of the party and provides a small bottle to all attendees to toast at midnight.
Around 12:30 AM the fireworks begin over the water. They illuminate the skyline of the islands and are a truly breathtaking show. The city parties and dines throughout the night, welcoming the new year with open arms and large smiles.
If you’re a brave traveler, on January 1st, you can join the ‘Auguri di Capodanno sulla spiaggia del Lido di Venezia’ or a polar plunge in the Adriatic Sea. It’s a refreshing way to start the new year!
Contributed by Victoria from Guide Your Travel
Madrid is the perfect place to visit on New Year’s eve. The city is known for its nightlife and wild parties which go on all night. Celebrating the new year in such a vibrant city is an unforgettable experience and will make you fall in love with Madrid.
A Spanish tradition on new year’s eve is to eat a grape every time the clock strikes at midnight so you’ll find a lot of vendors selling little bags of grapes all around the city centre. Wearing red underwear is another common tradition on this day so you might have to stop and buy a pair before you go.
Madrid will have a lot going on New Year including stages all throughout the city with live music and different performances. Most of this entertainment will start at around 9:00 pm and go well past midnight of course. Some clubs won’t even open until 1:00 am so definitely plan to stay up late.
If you’re not the biggest fan of crowded clubs and parties you can also just go out for dinner. A lot of restaurants will have special menus for this day although you need to pre-book a few days or even weeks in advance to get a good spot.
Ready to spend New Year’s Eve in Europe?
I hope all these European cities gave you enough inspiration to plan your New Year’s Eve trip this year! If there are any other European destinations you recommend spending New Year’s Eve, please let me, and the other readers, know in the comments!