New Year's Eve is probably the closest thing to a global celebration we've got and spending it in another country on the other side of the globe is a pretty exciting way to enjoy the festivities. But where is the best New Year's Eve celebration in the world? This month we asked ourselves the big question and decided to compile a list of our ten favourites.
Northern Lights - Reykjavik, Iceland
Fireworks displays are pretty impressive, but there's nothing quite like the handiwork of Mother Nature when she lights up the sky with pinks, greens and yellows. The Northern Lights are a huge attraction in Iceland on New Year's Eve, which is the prime time to view the natural phenomenon. Even though it's the middle of winter (and winter days in Iceland make London look like a tropical haven), the Mars-like landscape of Reykjavik creates a strangely beautiful backdrop for the lights - even if you don't see the Northern Lights, there is still an impressive fireworks display by the locals, as New Year's Eve is the one night of the year when fireworks are allowed.
New Year Extravaganza - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Copacabana Beach is one of the most outrageous and lively party destinations in the world on any night of the week, but on New Year's Eve you can expect fireworks - both literal and metaphorical. Everyone comes dressed in white, the colour that represents good luck, for a hair-raising night of good times. In 2011/12 there is a special reason to go there and celebrate, as the logo for the 2016 Olympic Games will be revealed at midnight, during what is expected to be one of the most spectacular fireworks and light displays on the planet. Once the countdown is over, there will be dancing, crazy outfits, mojitos and sore heads following it all.
Street Party - Amsterdam, Netherlands
The city of Amsterdam turns into a big street party on 31 December every year, as bars, clubs and restaurants fill up with people from around the world. Expect big crowds everywhere and remember to book as far in advance as possible if you want to go out for a meal. Otherwise, merely cruising around the street from crowd to crowd is a perfectly acceptable way to spend the evening. As the night rolls on, people end up taking to the streets, lining the bridges and settling on park benches. At midnight a massive fireworks display lights up the sky and turns the black water on the Amstel river into a picture of pastel shades.
Race The Clock - Barcelona, Spain
There is a Spanish tradition on New Year's Eve, Nochevieja, where people eat twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight - one for each time the bell chimes. If you can put your grapes back in time, expect a year of good fortune. If not, at least you will have made a few of your friends laugh. Barcelona hums on New Year's Eve, as restaurants around the city have set menus that cater to families and tourists who celebrate the first half of the evening with a long meal that leads the way towards the countdown (Book FAR in advance if you are there, otherwise you won't find an available table anywhere). Once supper is over, the city congregates at the Plaça de Catalunya for Nochevieja and a fireworks display to kick off a street party that goes on all night.
Beach Party - Goa, India
Slap bang in the middle of peak tourism season in Goa, New Year's Eve is a fitting occasion to head over to India for one of the most outrageous beach parties anywhere (rivalled only by the Full Moon Party on this list). The make-shift shacks and bars dotted around the bamboo forests and the perfect beaches are packed out with travellers from around the world. For more Information, check outwww.welcome2goa.com
Or to experience traditional New Year celebrations around the world, celebrate New Year All Year.
Extended New Year Celebrations - Tokyo, Japan
With Japanese tourism set to boom in 2012, Tokyo is going to be one of the IT places to see in the new year. The capital city makes a meal of the occasion, starting festivities as early as the 29th, with spectacular fireworks displays every night until the fourth - when people eventually start to tire of jollying and have to finally go back to work.
Time To Dream At Sydney Harbour - Sydney, Australia
One of the most impressive cities in the world is responsible for one of the most impressive New Year's Eve shows. Sydney Harbour becomes the stage for a show of grand proportions that will suit everyone, from feisty party goers to families with young kids. Revellers start filling up the restaurants, the Opera House forecourt and every inch of grass around the harbour from early in the afternoon, in anticipation of the night's Big Show. It's mid-summer in Australia, so the weather is perfect. The formalities officially kick off at 6pm, with an aerial show and a water display. At 9pm the family fireworks show will have kiddies looking at the sky with stars in their eyes. The main attraction at midnight, the Harbour Light Parade, has made the city famous as a New Year's Eve destination. For more information regarding accommodation, harbour tours and the best vantage points for the show, take a look at www.sydneynewyearseve.com
New Year's Eve In Las Vegas, USA
It's only fitting that one of the most iconic party cities in the world find its way onto this list. The famous strip in Las Vegas is brighter, livelier and more surreal on 31 December every year, as Sin City counts down the hours leading to the new year. Besides the stock standard gambling and clubbing excursions, the great Stevie Wonder will be performing at The Cosmopolitan, while Will.i.am will be stirring up the crowd at Encore. You can bet your boots the Las Vagas skyline will be lit up by one of the most spectacular displays in the US.
Full Moon Party - Koh Phangan, Thailand
The famous Full Moon party in Koh Phangan needs no introduction. Expect to see thousands of travelling party-goers who are ready for the time of their lives on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Bring your glow sticks, your luminous face-paint and your dancing shoes (or flip flops, more than likely). The beach front becomes a virtual strip of night clubs, where things are certain to go on all night long. www.fullmoonpartykohphangan.com
Watching The Ball Drop On Times Square - New York, USA
The city that never sleeps will host the biggest New Year's Eve bash this year, when the mercurial Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber take to the stage in Times Square as the live entertainment during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest. This is all leading up to the famous New Year's Eve Ball descending on Times Square - a ritual that has been going since 1908. The chilly streets are lit up with Christmas lights that give the already enchanted city a magical edge over any other New Year's destination. Just remember to bundle up! For some great tips on how to get the most out of your night, check out www.nycgo.com.