From classical concerts in regal palaces to can-can dancers in cabaret halls, Europe knows how to party in style on New Year's Eve.
So whether you want to hit up Berlin's techno clubs or sup pints of Guinness in Dublin's Temple Bar, we've rounded up the best cities to ring in 2024. Get ready for some fireworks!
As the party capital of Europe, Berlin doesn't let New Year's Eve slope off for an early night. Grab tickets for the party at Brandenburg Gate where thousands line up for live music, light shows and banging DJ sets ahead of the boom and cackle of fireworks exploding above The Quadriga statue at midnight.
Or check out Kulturbrauerei for Berlin’s biggest indoor New Year’s Eve party. For 2023, it will host 13 different dance floors, 30 DJs, and live music. All on a single ticket – and that's just one party. Then there are Berlin's techno clubs, historical river boat cruises, classical music galas at some of the city's palaces. the list goes on and on... much like the New Year's Eve celebrations themselves.
Fireworks are integral to most NYE experiences and in Lisbon you have several amazing vantage points to watch them. Thousands will head into the city itself or line the Tagus River. However, the seven hills that surround the capital are best. Portugal’s biggest square, Praça do Comércio is a popular gathering point for celebrations, as is the 16th-century tower Torre de Belém. Expect live music, parties and plenty of espumante (Portuguese sparkling wine) to accompany those views over the Atlantic.
The city is also a foodie heaven, boasting several Michelin-starred addresses, and many hotels and restaurants offer special NYE dinners. Alternatively, you could opt for a private river tour; take in Portuguese traditional music at a live fado folk music show, or embark on a bar crawl. Bairro Alto is the best area in which to experience Lisbon’s vibrant nightlife, with its wide range of hopping clubs and cool bars. If you want to celebrate the dawning of a new year in the traditional Portuguese style, it’s customary to eat 12 raisins, one by one at midnight, accompanied by a glass of espumante.
A trip to Paris is always magical – and on New Year’s Eve, it lives up to its nickname, the City of Lights. Revelers can head to the Champs-Élysées, the site of the city’s official street party, for fireworks above the Arc De Triomphe, or to the Sacré Coeur plaza in Montmartre, which offers an incredible view of the Paris skyline for the midnight display. Paris and gastronomy go hand in hand, so dinner in one of its celebrated restaurants should prove to be as memorable as any fireworks display. Book well in advance.
Enjoying a show is another great option for NYE whether it's at the dazzling Moulin Rouge in Pigalle, or at the Lido2Paris, where you can welcome the new year with a six-course gourmet dinner, champagne and a musical show. (The can-can dancers were canned in 2022.) Rooftop parties, masked balls and an 80s/90s club night are just some of the other thrilling party experiences that visitors can enjoy as they welcome in 2024, the year of the Paris Olympics.
Dublin goes all out for New Year's Eve. Its annual New Year’s Eve Festival, which unfurls across four venues, including the National Museum of Ireland and Dublin Castle, is the focal point. Expect live performers, music, DJs and lots of food options too.
Easily explorable on foot, take in the Irish capital before the clock strikes midnight by seeing some of the city's major attractions. Dublin’s oldest building, Christchurch Cathedral, and the Guinness Storehouse are two of the most popular things to see. Later, a spectacular light display will illuminate the skies above the Liffey to see in the new year. The next day, revellers can head to the bustling Temple Bar area for a pint of the plain to soothe any sore heads, or head to Dublin Castle for a free afternoon concert.
Hogmanay in Edinburgh should be on everyone’s New Year’s Eve bucket list: it’s a street party beyond compare, with ceilidhs, music, fireworks and rousing renditions of Auld Lang Syne. The city’s torchlight procession through the city center, accompanied by pipes and drums, is a memorable experience and each year the Concert in the Gardens draws the crowds: this year Pulp are the star attraction with support from Hot Chip.
There are candlelit concerts in St Giles Cathedral; a giant ceilidh at Edinburgh Castle; and for anyone feeling a little worse for wear in the morning, an invigorating splash in the River Forth with the annual Loony Dook will blow the cobwebs away.
Many Stockholm residents stay home on NYE or have dinner out with friends, but the Swedish capital still has lots for travelers to do, including the annual midnight firework display which lights up the skies above the Royal Castle. Wrap up warm and head to Stadshuset, Fjällgatan or the Västerbron and Skanstullsbron bridges for the best views.
Elsewhere, visitors can enjoy a New Year’s Eve concert at Stockholm Cathedral with musicians performing the songs of Haydn, Judith Bingham and others. The Royal Swedish Opera House will also host a New Year’s Masquerade – dress to impress. Every year, Tennyson’s New Year's poem Ring Out Wild Bells is recited at the open-air museum Skansen. It's also broadcast live on Swedish television. For bars and nightclubs, head to the Södermalm area in west Stockholm to wish your fellow partiers gott nytt år (Happy New Year).
New Year’s Eve, or Nochevieja as it’s known in Spain, will show visitors just how much the Madrileños like to party. Madrid is famed for its lively bars and some of the best clubs in Spain (they don’t close until 6am). Festivities begin to ramp up just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and continue long into the night. Celebrate with the crowds at Puerta del Sol, the historic square from which all Spanish roads are measured and the most popular place to ring in the new year in Madrid. A bottle of cava and grapes is a must, as the tradition is to eat 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of the countdown.
An alternative spot to celebrate New Year is around Templo de Debod, the ancient Egyptian temple given to Spain as a gift and which affords great views of the fireworks. There are hundreds of nightclubs to choose from in the city. Two of the most famous are Teatro Kapital, which has seven dancefloors and live performances on the night, and Joy Eslava, where you can dance your socks off. Be aware that the demand is high so if you are planning on going to one of the better known clubs, buying tickets in advance is advisable.
Finish the night – or morning – with another Spanish tradition of churros for the first breakfast of the year. San Ginés, which has been in business for 125 years, is Madrid’s most famous chocolate and churros shop, and it’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
As the English writer Samuel Johnson once said, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life." Only the most jaded visitor could fail to find London anything but exhilarating on New Year’s Eve. Some 100,000 visitors will line the River Thames to catch a glimpse of the annual firework display, which launch from the London Eye. The event is now so popular that it’s ticketed. Sign up at the official website. Good vantage points where you can see the fireworks for free include Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath.
A boat ride on the Thames is also a popular NYE activity – choose between traditional boat trips with fizz and music, speed boats, or slower river cruises – and some of London's most impressive sights host parties. The Natural History Museum, for example, has live music and a silent disco, whilst allowing ticket holders (over 18s only) to explore the galleries. Then get 2024 off to a joyous start with the annual London New Year’s Day Parade the next day.