Wow, another year come and gone, and now here’s the night which for some is one of its highlights. If you couldn’t make it anywhere fun for NYE tonight (or even if you could!), for the coming year, here are some favourite Iberia‘s destinations most appealing and/or classic to ring out the old and ring in the new…
Cuzco/Machu Picchu Much more low-key – and some might say mystical – than the big-city extravaganzas below is to fly to Lima, then Cuzco, where locals and visitors alike pack the pubs and clubs, and many whoop it up at the stroke of midnight out on the Plaza de Armas with sparklers and bottle rockets. Then if you’re not too hung over, you can then hop the train out to Machu Picchu to watch the first sunrise of the year over one of the most spectacular sights you’ll ever see. (Alternatively, party at midnight in the town of Aguas Calientes at the foot of the mountain and save the early-morning train trip.)
Edinburgh The canny Scots know how to pull out all the stops on New Year’s Eve, and they’ve even got a special name for it: Hogmanay, which includes traditions dating back to Viking and Anglo-Saxon times. The festivities start on December 29 with a carnival, torchlight procession from Royal Mile to Carlton Hill, fireworks, and the burning of a replica Viking ship by many drunks in blond wigs; on NYE more than 100,000 revelers throng the city center for a street party, concerts, bonfires, and at midnight another burst of fireworks and the famous mass rendition of Auld Lang Syne. All lubricated of course by more than a few wee “cups of kindness yet”. 😉
London The capital on the Thames loves to party year round, but on December 31st it goes into overdrive, with the pubs and clubs staying putting on special celebrations and staying open extra late. A highlight of course is the Mayor of London’s Fireworks Display over the river near Westminster Bridge and the Tower of London. Catch is, because of the crowds, this year for the first time you can only get into the prime viewing areas with £10 tickets, which go on sale in late September and sell out quickly. Then on January 1st, another crowd pleaser is the noontime New Year’s Day Parade from Picadilly Circus to Parliament Square – no tickets required.
Madrid Iberia’s hometown is also party central much of the year, yet also kicks it up a notch for Noche Vieja (literally, “old night”). Some Madrileños go out for a restaurant extravaganza, others play it more laid-back with house parties and families, but thousands gather in downtown’s central square, the Puerta del Sol to mark the turnover of the year. And no matter where they are, the tradition for good luck is to eat 12 grapes, one for each stroke of midnight. https://megustavolar.iberia.com/2013/12/12-grapes-latin-new-years-eve/
Miami South Beach especially is an extraordinary place to be tonight, with the fancy hotels and restaurants of course all in full fiesta mode – and most of the time, everyone outdoors in shirtsleeves! But instead of a downtown central gathering place like Puerta del Sol or Times Square, in SoBe most of the action unfolds on Lincoln Road, the lively pedestrian thoroughfare lined with shops, eateries, and pubs. For the actual stroke of midnight, many head eastward to the beach to watch some fabulous fireworks over the Atlantic.
New York City Ditto in all the five boroughs for pubs, clubs, and restos. But course, there’s nothing more classic on this night than watching the ball drop in Manhattan‘s Times Square with tens of thousands of your closest friends, which of course you can do for free (well, a price of sorts is that you have to get here and stand in the cold several hours early if you want to be right in the thick of the action; the best views are on Broadway between 43rd and 50th Streets and Seventh Avenue up to 59th St.). There are fireworks over the rivers and harbour, as well, and if you’re not in a tall building or at water’s edge, you might consider a party cruise to get the full effect (or a dirt-cheap alternative, the Staten Island Ferry!).
Paris The City of Light is even more lit (in all senses) for St. Sylvestre. There are no organised fireworks at the moment, but pas de problème, the Parisiens are still out and making their own sound and light shows. The main spot to whoop it up is the Champs Elysées starting around 9 pm. For the first time this year, the Arch de Triomphe at the top of the boulevard will be the backdrop for a festive light and video show, and on Jan. 1 the Champs also hosts a parade around 2 pm. Montmartre and especially Sacre Coeur Square are also favourite gathering spots for the big night, while other folks like to spend it on a bâteau mouche on the Seine. And of course from anywhere in the city you can see the Eiffel Tower, which at the stroke of minuit sparkles madly.
Rio de Janeiro The city that throws perhaps the world’s most famous party in February also offers another warm and tempting option for the Véspera do Ano Novo. And even more so than in Miami, the beach – Copacabana, of course (top) – is the epicenter of the hoopla from 8 pm onward, with live music, amped-up merrymakers dressed in traditional white, and plenty of Champagne and cachaça liquor. The climactic moment brings jawdropping fireworks, and while continue to party on the beach, others not packing it in for the night will continue the revelry in the city’s many pubs and clubs.
images | Porto Bay Trade, JP Puerta