5 Places to Spend New Year’s Eve

Written by: Macca Sherifi

See In a Brand New Gap Year

Once again it’s that time of year to party like its 1999. It’s a couple of weeks until New Year’s Eve and parties are being prepared worldwide. More drinks are going to be drunk than a club night at Pasha and more fireworks are going to go off than at a Disneyland parade.

Even though your plans are probably set in stone for this year, we thought we’d give you five of the best places in the world to spend New Year’s Eve, you know, just in case… after all, you may be in Australia or Thailand wondering what there is to do on NYE… and if not, then there’s always next year to plan for!


Times Square, New York, USA

One of the most popular places to be for NYE is Times Square. It’s one of the most traditional places and the Times Square Ball is an icon in itself.

Each year during NYE the Times Square Ball counts down until midnight. The ball descends 23 metres over a minute, coming to rest at the bottom of the pole at midnight, kicking off celebrations for the New Year.

Over one million people gather in Times Square and an estimated one billion people watch the video of the event. If you’re in the USA for NYE then Times Square is the place to be… just make sure you get there early so you can get a good view!

The Rocks, Sydney, Australia

One of the first places to see in the New Year is Australia. Sydney is arguably the best place in the world for NYE, and I’m sure the 1.7 million people that were there last year would agree. Sydney Harbour has made a name for itself for being the place to be on NYE by putting on one of the world’s most spectacular firework displays.

Down by The Rocks you’ll be able to take in Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, making it the perfect viewing spot. Another popular spot to watch the fireworks is in the botanical gardens. For both places you have to get there quite early in the day to reserve your spot, so stock up on food and booze and make a day of it! And one of the best things about NYE in Sydney is that it’s in the middle of summer. Lovely…

Hogmanay, Edinburgh, Scotland

Hogmanay is the Celtic word for “last day of the year” and it’s a party like no other. Tens of thousands of people line the streets of Edinburgh and celebrate the New Year long into the night, with most people partying into the wee hours of the next morning. Some people even party until the 2nd January!

Hogmanay is not just about NYE but about the days that surround the New Year. If you’re travelling in the UK on a gap year than you can’t go wrong with Hogmanay in Edinburgh, so check it out.

Oh, and it doesn’t get more traditional than singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, a practice now seen worldwide.

Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand

The Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan is a party that’s unique in every way, but when it comes to the NYE Full Moon Party it becomes one of the best in the world.

The Full Moon Party is an all-night beach party that started in 1985. Now it’s one of the ‘must-sees’ on a gap year and an estimated 20,000-30,000 people attend each one. Famous for its beach buckets and bars people dance until sunrise the next day.

Situated on Haad Rin beach, if you’re in South East Asia at the moment then the obvious choice is the Full Moon Party, though whatever southern island you find yourself on you’re going to have a night to remember!

Nochevieja, Madrid, Spain

NYE in Spain is called Nochevieja, also known as “the old night”. Tens of thousands of people gather in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol to await the chimes on the clock tower.

It’s traditional to eat 12 grapes, one for each chime of the clock, then to see in the New Year with a glass of champers.

It’s also a tradition to wear a hat, so if you’re in Spain make sure you’re prepared to see in the New Year in style!

Whatever you’re doing for New Year’s Eve, make sure you enjoy it!


About the Author: Macca Sherifi

Marcus Sherifi

Macca is gapyear.com’s travel editor and writes on a myriad of topics, giving the best travel advice in an easy-to-read style that he would describe as ‘cutesy’. His two passions are travelling and writing, which is lucky, because he’s a travel writer. Macca travelled for 20 months non-stop, never settling in one place for more than a week or two, living to travel and travelling to live. In his spare time, he reads about travelling, thinks about travelling, and then travels. If that fails he still harbours hopes of being a professional rugby player…

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