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Celebrate in style! Best cities to see in the New Year revealed by Lonely Planet

From all-night parties to engaging in esteemed traditions with friends and family, New Year is the ultimate time to celebrate in style. 

While some people might prefer to enjoy it from the comfort of their own home, others are keen to see the cultural differences of how the New Year is welcomed around the world. 

If you are looking to plan a getaway for the upcoming period around New Year, Lonely Planet has revealed some of the best cities in which to celebrate the occasion. 

Read on below for the full list.  

8. London

Fireworks light up the London skyline over Big Ben and the London Eye just after midnight on January 1 2023

From a boat trip along the Thames to an immense firework display, London has something for everyone when it comes to its famed New Year’s Eve celebrations. 

Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and the Millennium Bridge are always popular spots to catch a glimpse of London’s firework display.

Anyone keen to get on their dancing shoes and party through the night can head to any of the capital’s iconic nightclubs, like Cirque le Soir or Ministry of Sound. 

7. Madrid 

Hundreds of people gather at midnight during the traditional New Year’s Eve Chimes on the last day of 2022 in Madrid, Spain

The Spanish party scene follows a slightly more unconventional time format compared to what Brits may be used to. 

Whereas many nightclubs in the UK often tend to close around 3am, it is not uncommon for those in Spain to stay open until as late as 7am, making Madrid the perfect place to party the night away on New Year’s Eve. 

Local traditions you will not want to miss include eating 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of the countdown to the New Year, and finishing the night off with the Spanish specialty of hot chocolate and churros. 

6. Stockholm

New Year’s Eve celebrations with fireworks over the Skepsbron street in central Stockholm at midnight on December 31, 2013

While it is traditional for many Swedes to spend New Year’s Eve indoors with family and friends, there is a plethora of activities to choose from if you are brave enough to venture out into a cold Scandinavian night in Stockholm. 

Lonely Planet highlights the annual midnight firework display, which illuminates in spectacular fashion above the city’s Royal Castle. 

The best views for the display can be found from Stadshuset, Fjällgatan or the Västerbron and Skanstullsbron bridges, the guide says.

Other highlights include a New Year’s Eve concert at Stockholm Cathedral, with musicians performing the songs of Haydn and Judith Bingham. The Royal Swedish Opera House hosts its traditional New Year’s concert as the country brings its Golden Jubilee year to a close. 

5. Edinburgh 

A general evening view over Princes Street as Edinburgh

What better place to welcome the New Year than partaking in traditional Hogmanay celebrations in the Scottish capital with ceilidhs, music, fireworks and rousing renditions of Auld Lang Syne?

The torchlight procession through the city centre, accompanied by pipes and drums, with the annual Concert in the Gardens – featuring Pulp and Hot Chip this year – attracting huge crowds.

Elsewhere, you can witness a serene candlelit concert in St Giles Cathedral, a giant ceilidh at Edinburgh Castle, or take a dip River Forth with the annual Loony Dook to cast away your New Year’s Day hangover. 

4. Dublin

Members of the Dublin Circus Project dressed as angels and devils perform on Dublin’s Grafton Street on New Year’s Day

When it comes to welcoming in the New Year, few do it with more spectacle, style and stamina than the Irish. 

Before taking on a smooth and creamy pint of Guinness in one of the many pubs across the capital, the city’s New Year’s Eve festival is certainly worth exploring. 

Although the Temple Bar is a conveniently-located spot, revellers can also head to John Kavanagh’s pub – located by Dublin cemetery – for a pint of plain that is arguably the best in the city. 

3. Paris

Fireworks explode above the Eiffel Tower as part of the annual Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, on July 14, 2023

If you are seeking a romantic getaway this New Year, then Paris may just be the place to go. Incredible views of Paris can be found from the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, but make sure you arrive early enough to climb the steep hill up to the cathedral. 

Of course, you will not want to miss out on any of the famed local cuisine, so book in advance to make sure of a spot in what is, naturally, a hectic and busy period for restaurants.  

2. Lisbon

New Years Eve fireworks at Cascais Bay near Lisbon, Portugal

Despite many tourists being put off walking around Lisbon thanks to it notoriously steep incline, the plus-side of everything being uphill is that you have amazing views of firework displays. 

You can check out the busy and bustling Praça do Comércio or the 16th-century tower Torre de Belem for celebrations.

The best party scene can be found in Bairro Alto and if you want to celebrate the dawning of a New Year in traditional Portuguese fashion, eat 12 raisins, one by one at midnight, accompanied by a glass of espumante, Portugal’s superb take on champagne. 

1. Berlin 

Berlin’s famous landmark Brandenburg Gate is illuminated during New Year’s celebrations in the city

The top spot as revealed by Lonely Planet goes to what is viewed by many as the party capital of Europe. 

Marvelled the world over for its famous techno dance clubs – with raves lasting long into the early hours – it is hard to beat Berlin when it comes to parties. 

Kulturbrauerei hosts the city’s biggest indoor New Year’s Eve party and will play host to a whopping 30 DJs across 13 different dance floors, with numerous other celebrations occurring in a city that has a rich musical history. 

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