Europeans have had a few centuries longer than us to get the whole New Year’s Eve party thing down. Each city has a unique blend of tradition blended with modernism, and the resultsf are nothing short of incredible. Times Square isn’t the only New Year’s Eve destination you should have on your bucket list.
1. Cinetrip Sparty and Instant Ruin Pub in Budapest, Hungary
Tonight we’re gonna sparty like it’s 1999. Yes, sparty – “spa + party.” Plan on taking an entire week to make room for the pre and post New Year’s Eve parties in the City of Baths. Overlook the city park of Budpaest from the elevated Szechenyi Bath while relaxing in the mineral waters of the geothermal pool. It’s an all-natural pool party with DJs, light shows, and the drinks don’t stop flowing until 3:00 AM.
Once you’ve basked in the thermal baths, head on over for Instant’s New Year’s Week Party. Instant is “an enchanted forest of Budapest’s ruin pubs and bars,” featuring 26 room, 7 bars, 2 gardens and 7 stages. Ruin pubs are all the rage in Hungary and are created when the youth discover an abandoned warehouse, rent it, don’t renovate anything, invite artists and designers to resuscitate the spirit of the ’70s and create a wonderland of contemporary art, build a bar, invite some bands and DJs, and throw a party that doesn’t stop ’til dawn.
Oh, and there’s another Sparty on January 3rd, so soak away that hangover in the cleansing mineral water.
2. Roest In Amsterdam, Netherlands
It doesn’t matter where you go in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve – the entire city is a party. People take to the streets and the drinks don’t stop flowing in the city squares – particularly Nieuwmarkt and Dam Square . There IS a city-sanctioned fireworks show, but with all of the people setting them off in the streets, the fireworks show lasts for well over an hour. If you had to go to Belgium to buy fireworks, you’d want to get your money’s worth, too.
If partying in the street is less your style, check out factory-turned-event-space Roest’s “Het Grote Huisteestje,” which will be dressing up their entire hall like house party, complete with bathtubs full of beer and couches to crash on.
It’s the European warehouse party you’ve always dreamed of. Roest is the champion of theme parties – last New Year’s was Pirate themed. The wraparound outdoor terrace on the beach at Roest is a great place to ring in the New Year.
3. Trow In Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Trow has attained near-legendary status during its tenure, but it’s not going out without a bang. That bang is Tweeduizendtrouw, and the following Trowens on New Years Day. This club was once a printing warehouse, and its as funky as you’d expect a club in a warehouse in Amsterdam to be. It’s the closest you’ll get to Berlin in Amsterdam.
The sound system is incredible and the light show does not disappoint. In addition to being a nightclub, Trouw also houses a restaurant and temporary cultural project space, De Verdieping, which hosts art created with limited means in the wake of the economic crisis.
4. New Year’s Festival In Reykjavik, Iceland
Icelanders kicks off its New Year’s celebration with a festive family dinner, a gathering around brenna (bonfires) with neighbors, then the nationally viewed annual New Year’s Ridicule, a comedy special that satirizes the events of the past year. Then, it’s really party time. Reykjavik knows how to celebrate through its, long dark nights. Nearly 200,000 people (basically all of Reykjavik) sets off 500 tons of fireworks, creating the world’s largest fireworks display.
The nightclubs stay open ’til 5:00 AM in Reykjavik, with live music, singing and dancing going long into the night. There are many Reykjavik New Year’s Northern Lights dinner cruises and tours for a chance to see the aurora borealis.
5. Puerta del Sol and Teatro Kapital in Madrid, Spain
Madrid is a city known for its ability to celebrate with fireworks “just because” on any night of the week, so it’s no surprise that it goes all out for New Year’s Eve. The Spanish have a tradition of eating twelve grapes during the twelve chimes of the clock tower in Puerta del Sol (pretty much like Times Square) counting down to the New Year for good luck. It’s not at all unusual for the parties to go ’til dawn, and in Spain, they don’t go to a greasy diner to close out the night – they finish with a breakfast of chocolate churros from Chocolateria San Gines.
Teatro Kapital is a legendary megaclub in the heart of Madrid. It’s seven floors of different styles of music, with the seventh floor being an open rooftop. The numerous bars and lounge areas capture the aesthetic of Madrid nightlife. Between resident DJs and international DJs, there is always something to discover on each floor. You’re going to need a lot of chocolate churros after celebrating New Years here. Madrid is at such a latitude that you may even be fortunate enough to catch decent weather on New Year’s Eve.
6. Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy
Ring in the New Year with the bell of St Mark’s Campanile, the bell tower of St Mark’s Basillica, and a dazzling fireworks display at Piazza San Marco in Venice. Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and the fireworks display on New Year’s Eve over the Venice skyline adds to the charm. The wildest and most elegant party gathers at New Year’s gathers at Piazza San Marco, or St Mark’s Square.
You’ll want to stick around for the countdown and the bellini brindisi at midnight and a group kiss at midnight. It’s traditional to go swimming at Lido Beach on New Year’s Day, so swim off your hangover the Italian way.
7. Awakenings In Amsterdam
If your New Year’s Resolution is to go on more raving binges, Awakenings is a good way to start off the New Year right. This New Year’s Eve party features some of the world’s most renowned DJs that will play countdown sets, which will turn into late night sets, which will turn into daybreaker sets, which turn into the New Year’s Day party, which rolls on to January 2nd, because why not?
Awakenings is a mecca for EDM fans from all over the world, and the New Year’s Eve Party is the biggest thing in the European electronic music world since the Awakenings Festival over the summer.
8. The Kino International In Berlin, Germany
Watch fireworks light up the sky around the world-famous TV Tower in Alexanderplatz, the historical city center of Berlin, through the panoramic windows at the luxurious Kino. The Kino is an elegant and historic five-floor theater and venue which features numerous lounge areas in the Panoramabar. Fashion designers like Dior, Lagerfeld and Vogue have graced this event space, which has been attracting celebrities since 1999.
This venue has an unmistakable soul. On New Year’s Eve, each floor will feature different music. House & Elektro at golden stair hall, Hip Hop and R&B at Honecker Lounge, Charts & Pop at Panoramabar, Disco Classics & Party at Frosi, and Schlager & Deutschpop at Filmmerkiste.
9. Fabrik Nightclub in Madrid
Just on the outskirts of Madrid is a nightclub that is so wild that it has been compared to the internationally famous Ibiza clubs. Fabrik was once an airplane hangar, and is now a 10,000 capacity venue with four different dance areas and an outdoor terrace. Some of the largest house, techno and trance parties are held here, and this venue has been graced by names like Tiesto, Skrillex and the Chemical Brothers.
Credit: Fabrik Madrid
Three floors or music that goes ’til dawn, right on the river, in this cavernous event space is a night that wont soon be forgotten. The fog machines, light shows and visual screens help to transport you into an airplane hangar dance party paradise. Since this megaclub is on the outskirts of the city, there’s nobody to shut this party down.
10. Amore Festival in Rome
When in Rome, party like the Romans do. The Amore Festival is an internationally renowned electronic music festival that takes place in Rome on New Year’s Eve. For over a decade, this festival has drawn tens of thousands of partygoers from across the world to come ring in the new year. World famous DJs and emerging artists take the stage to keep the music playing ’til dawn.
This is a three-day event, spanning several venues. Come out to groove to house, tehcno and EDM. If EDM is less your scene, Villa Borghese provides a quieter evening, complete with classical music, a traditional Italian meal and a fireworks show. If you still feel like letting your hair down, head down to the Via dei Fori for the New Year’s Eve pub crawl. Centro Storico is where all of the free concerts take place, and one of the biggest gatherings takes place near The Colosseum. Experience a dazzling fireworks show amid breathtaking architecture in an ancient city.
11. NEONSPLASH Paint Party at Columbihalle in Berlin
Ring in the New Year in the most colorful way with Europe’s largest paint party. Because what says “new beginnings” like a Supersoaker full of paint? Top international DJs spinning House, Elektro, EDM, Dirty Dutch and Progressive House, in addition to spectacular acrobats and performers to help you to dance the night away.
The 3D visuals and special effects will make this an unforgettable night. It’s the Dayglow of Europe (and we all know Europe is usually a step ahead of us on these things, whether or not we’d like to admit it).
12. The Eiffel Tower and Le Batofar in Paris, France
Have a champagne toast like never before on the rolling green Champ de Mars, right in front of the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower presents a dazzling light show at midnight, and the fireworks make the scene even more romantic. Bis-a-bis with beautiful Parisians and then head out to experience the Parisian nightlife.
Le Batofar is a unique experience: it’s a nightclub on a boat. There are multiple levels connected by ladders and stairs, several bars, one stage, and several DJs that will play into long into the morning. After the party is the after party, that rages from 6:00 AM ’til noon.
13. Glitterazi Bash at Paradiso in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Get ready to get glam rock for this New Year’s Bash at Paradiso, a “Cosmic Relaxation Center” that opened its doors in 1968. It’s the #1 pop temple in The Netherlands, maybe even the world. It’s a crucial part of Amsterdam’s history that you’ll want to experience firsthand.
The dress code is for Glitterazi “dressed down and glittery.” Glamrock and disco will play ’til dawn. Come ready to party in such a way that would David Bowie proud.
14. Skylounge at ewerk in Berlin
ewerk was once a power generator building and is now an urban event space and the home of the largest New Year’s Eve party in Berlin. This club is also located close to the Brandenberg Gate where the official New Year’s Eve countdown is shown, so you’ll have a front row seat to the fireworks show from their rooftop terrace.
The rooftop overlooks Postdamer Platz and the TV Tower and offers a 360-degree view of the city. ewerk’s rooftop and sky lounge has beeen called the best in Berlin. Below, there are two floors of house music, R&B, disco, Ibiza chill, and more.
15. Wenceslas Square and the Party Boat in Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is a city that knows how to put on a good fireworks show. Viewing the fireworks from the banks of the river, the hillside, Charles Bridge is a more relaxed and spacious New Year’s experience. However, the heart of the action is in Wenceslas Square. The wildest crowd congregates in this square, and many fireworks are set off in the crowd itself. Wenceslas Square is not for the faint of heart, but partying hard in general isn’t, either, sooo…
Many boats offer New Year’s Eve cruises, which have been called the “best way to do New Year’s in Prague.” These boats congregate at Charles Bridge during the fireworks for a toast and the New Year’s countdown. The Boat Party in particular draws the rowdiest youth and the experience is nothing short of epic. Plus, the view of the river and the skyline is great.
16. Room 13 in Warsaw, Poland
Defilad Square draws the crowds for New Year’s with live music and revelry. Warsaw puts on a spectacular fireworks show, which many view The Old Town Square, to watch the fireworks show light up the Vistula River.
1500m2 is one of the most raved about nightclubs in Poland. Like any good nightclub, it is housed in a re-purposed post-industrial warehouse and is a cultural space that encourages social activism and artistic expression. DJs spin long into the morning light nearly every night of the week. New Year’s Eve will surely be a night not soon forgotten, if spent at 1500m2.
Room 13 is in the center of Warsaw and is throwing a New Year’s Bash that will rage ’til dawn. It’s only been open since 2012, but it has quickly become one of the most popular clubs in the country. The ambiance is an elegant yet edgy balance of artistic and modern. There are clouds painted on the ceiling, angels adorning the walls, and dirty beats that wub long into the night.
It’s an up-and-coming club and the hottest place in town. Come out to ring in the 2015 with the beautiful people.
17. Font Màgica de Montjuïc and Poble Espanyol in Barcelona
The New Year’s Chimes celebration is held in Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina at the “Magic Fountain of Montjuïc.” The celebration will feature a performance by Catalan theatrical group, La Fura dels Baus, with their 50-foot high iron man sculpture. In addition to a theatrical performance, there’s music, a firework show, a light show in the fountain, and a countdown to midnight.
Once the more family-friendly events have concluded, there is plenty of nightlife to indulge in. Poble Espanyol, a Spanish village on Montjuïc hill walking distance from the fountain, has held the title of the biggest New Year’s party in Barcelona for nearly 30 years. There’s plenty of grapes to eat at midnight, music that goes long into the night, and large outdoor event spaces – the weather isn’t too bad in Barcelona on New Year’s.
18. Stephenplatz in Vienna, Austria
To celebrate New Year’s Eve the traditional Vienna way, hit the “Silvesterpfad,” or “New Year’s Trail.” The city center turns into a massive street party, with more than half a million people who come out for the party. Live bands and DJs will carry you through the night. At midnight, Austria’s largest bell, the Pummerin, rings in the new year as people dance to Donauwalzer (“The Blue Waltz”) and fireworks explode. Step from one year to the next in front of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
There are many clubs in the area to celebrate the New Year long into the night and then into the morning. The nightlife is kept alive at nightclubs like U4, Flex, or Volksgarten.
19. KOKO and Fireworks on the South Bank in London
New Year’s Eve in London kicks off with the New Year’s Eve parade, which features everything from marching bands to acrobats to floats to cheerleaders, meandering for two and a half miles and ending at Big Ben. The best places to view the fireworks at midnight are from the Victoria Embankment, or one of the bridges such as the Jubilee, Westminster, Waterloo or the Millennium Bridge. The show lights up the entire London skyline and is reflected in the clear waters of the River Thames.
Head out to KOKO, the premier live music venue in London for the party. This beautiful historic theater is four stories high and seats thousands. Superfood and Prides will be playing this New Year’s Eve, as well as DJ Eric Wilder. The acoustics are amazing. This is one of the poshest and hippest places to celebrate the New Year in London.
20. Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party is one that you should definitely add to your bucket list. The celebration is held with music playing long through the night and early into the morning with backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. It once held the world record for the largest crowd at a New Year’s Eve celebration, with 400,000 revelers. The Hogmanay Festival dates back to pagan times, and the tradition is still kept alive as fire and light still are a key part of the celebration, with a torchlight procession and the swinging of fireballs.
You could head out to check out the nightlife, but Hogmanay in and of itself is enough of a party. It’s “not recomended for persons under the age of 16.” So, the Scots know how to get down. Oh yeah, and there are Vikings and dragons. Probably the most metal way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the world.
21. NYE Croatia in Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb is known for its beauty, but it is a little known fact that Zagrebians know how to party. Croatia is kicking off the new year with a two night run of international DJs. You can make a whole stay of it and hang around to appreciate the beauty of the Adriatic Sea. There are plenty of brand new hostels in the area to stay, to complete the European experience.
22. Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark
For a truly unique New Year’s Eve experience, head to world-famous Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli Gardens is an amusement and “pleasure park.” This 150-year old park is the second oldest in the world and it is a picturesque and romantic place to watch the fireworks at midnight. The rides are open on New Year’s, as well as shops and restaurants. There’s nothing wrong with the celebration at Town Hall Square, but there certainly aren’t any roller coasters there.
For the after party, plan on making the scene at Culture Box, the most prominent venue for electronic dance music in Denmark. Dance the night away to electronica, bass, house music and techno.
Credit: Culture BoxDK
23. The Blitz Party in London, England
Pin up your victory rolls, bust out your red lipstick and dust off your medals to head on down to this wartime party. Ring in the New Year in an air raid shelter and party like it’s 1939. This retro party will bring out the most dapper gentlemen and fabulous ladies in town. Swing-dance your way to the live band into the New Year, complete with a stand-up bass and brass section.
Credit: B&H Events
If you’d like to step back in time before you move forward into the New Year, there is no better place on Earth to do it. The Blitz Party is a retro experience like none other, The exclusivity and secrecy of the party is part of the charm. If you’re lucky enough to score some tickets, it’ll be a night you can brag about for the rest of your days on Earth.
Featured Image Credit: Chris Chabot