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Sretna Nova godina!, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, Sawadee Pee Mai – there are many different ways to wish someone a Happy New Year around the world. Perhaps more importantly, there are many different ways to celebrate this immensely popular annual tradition too. Here we take you on whistle-stop tour of the best global hotspots in which to enjoy the New Year’s shindig of a lifetime.
No New Year’s celebration list would be complete without Paris, one of the world’s most romantic cities. Get your evening off to a great start in any one of the city’s world-class bars and clubs, before flocking to the Eiffel Tower to welcome in the New Year with an amazing light show. Better still, Paris is only 1.5 hours from the UK, making it an ideal last-minute getaway for couples and groups alike.
Ah...Hogmanay, a nip of fine Scotch whisky and traditional Scots’ hospitality – Edinburgh is arguably the spiritual home of New Year’s celebrations. If you prefer the party to last, it’s also a great place to get your money’s worth, with three days of revelry beginning 30 December running through to 1 January.
If you fancy a New Year’s with a difference, then check out Dubai’s Desert New Year Party. Featuring a live band, DJ, belly dancing, Sheesha smoking, international buffet and BBQ – this is a party on a huge scale. At 399 AED (around £70) to get in, it isn’t cheap but you certainly get your money’s worth.
With celebrations lasting up to a week, Japan enjoys one of the lengthiest New Year’s celebrations around. Tokyo is where it’s at during shogatsu (Japanese term for New Year), although you can find something going on at virtually every shrine and temple across the country during hatsumode (a tradition marking the year’s first visit to a shrine or temple). The city’s Meiji Shrine is well worth a visit, although as one of the country’s most popular tourist hotspots you can expect a fairly lengthy queue.
Arguably the party capital of the world, Londoners certainly know how to see the New Year in with style. Up to 250,000 revellers regularly line the banks of the River Thames to witness the magnificent fireworks, before joining in for a rowdy rendition of Auld Land Syne. With bars, pubs, clubs and world-famous attractions aplenty, there’s plenty to see and do in the lead up to the festivities too.
How about spending your New Year en piste? No, we’re not talking about imbuing too much of the local liquor, but rather visiting one of Austria’s finest ski resorts. Celebrations this year feature a unique firework display set to music in the Streif ski course region. You can also marvel at the talents of the ‘Rote Teufel’ ski school – all for free! /p>
Pretty much the largest New Year’s celebration in the country, the event marks the culmination of the Winter Festival of Lights, running this year from 5 November – 31 January, 2012. Not only is the event free, but there are no less than two full firework displays set against one of the world’s most dramatic backdrops. This televised event regularly attracts crowds in excess of 30,000, so a party atmosphere is guaranteed. Oh, and there’s a music concert thrown in for good measure.
Fancy celebrating New Year’s under swaying palm trees and a starlit sky? World-famous for its full-moon parties and festive spirit, Koh Phangan is a hugely popular destination for travellers the world over. Of course, New Year’s is no exception. Celebrations on this popular Thai island have been known to attract more than 50,000 revellers. Just don’t forget your bikini and swimming trunks.
Arguably one of the world’s most famous New Year’s extravaganzas – Sydney Harbour provides a truly spectacular setting in which to see in the New Year. It’s fair to say the Aussies know how to throw a party, with highlights including an immense firework display and parade of tall ships across the harbour. If you’re visiting for a few days and fancy a little daredevil action, why not try the world-famous bridge climb? It’s worth noting that the attraction is closed on 30/31 December.
New York, New York – what better place to enjoy the party than the city that never sleeps? Witness the giant ball drop over Times Square (get there early), or simply enjoy an unforgettable night trawling the city’s world-class bars, restaurants and clubs. Things can get pretty hectic, however, so it’s worth planning your accommodation and evening’s itinerary ahead to make the most of this truly spectacular setting – a city that really does have something for everyone.