EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND: Hogmanay is Scotland's version of New Year's Eve. In Edinburgh, "the world's best New Year celebrations" according to modest party organizers, overeager celebrants usually jump the gun and start the festivities on December 26Â—mostly familiarizing themselves with the city's cozy pubs. The street party gains momentum over the next few days (including a Torchlight Procession and Fire Festival on the 29th) until its crescendo on December 31, when crowds fill the Royal Mile, Princes Street, and every available nook and cranny. After a day of carnival music, street theater, and dancing, the strike of midnight ignites a flourish of kisses accompanied by bawdy choruses of "Auld Lang Syne" and a pyrotechnic's dream firework exhibition from the battlements of Edinburgh Castle. Prepared for the most vengeful of hangovers, Scots have a variety of quick cures to recommend for the first of the year: Loony Dook is a sobering dip in the River Forth near the scenic Forth Bridge (the swimming party usually convenes at Moorings Pub, and the icy water may be extra incentive to drink through your hangover). Another, less numbing option is to sweat it out hiking to the summit of 823-foot Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh's Holyrood Park for an impressive view of the city and its remaining revelers.
GOA, INDIA: Being on the coast and all, the towns and resorts of Goa may not have the city feel, but the parties here are about as raucous as they come. On par with Thailand's Full Moon parties, Goa's New Year's celebrations are all-night seaside bashes. While Goa the state is centered around the inland city of Panaji, Anjuna is the epicenter of the infamous "beachnik" rave scene, and chances are you'll run into an ageing hippy who never quite left after some similar New Year's bash decades ago. Goa is a goldmine for hardcore partiersÂ—if you don't feed off techno-crowd energy, this may not be the spot for you to ring in the new year. But when you do need a breather, rent a motorbike and head north to check out the old Portuguese fort in Vagator, popularly known as Chapora Fort, and nearby fishing villages.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: Another southern hemisphere scorcher, Rio pulls out the festoons and goes all night on the sands of Copacabana. Bands play every type of Brazilian musicÂ—from sambas to rock to old carnival songsÂ—while firework displays blast off from various beaches. During the day, hundreds of people come to the waterfront to pay homage to the Afro-Brazilian Orixa, or goddess, Iemanja, and place offerings in the sea. There's dancing on the beach, in the water, in the streets, and in all the major resorts. Champagne breakfasts, too, start around three in the morning. Forget the "no white after labor day" rule; it's summer in Rio, and religious traditions stand strongÂ—everyone wears white for luck and saints' blessings in the new year.
ROME, ITALY: For those who like a little history with their Dom Perignon, Rome will always be first choice. With more history per acre than any other spot in the western hemisphere, the Romans' progeny return to the wellspring for the year's last (and first) festival; broken crockery is thrown from balconies while merrymakers march through the Forum in old legion style, and then head to a New Year's Eve performance in St. Peter's Square. The Pope traditionally blesses the revelers around the Basilica at midnight. Most of the serious partying on Festa di San Silvestro (the name dubbed for New Year's Eve) happens over the hill, in the Piazza del Popolo. Thousands crowd around the Volver (the piazza's central monument) for the fireworks and midnight "Buene Feste" affection. On New Year's Day, marching bands assemble at the Coliseum and march through the Forum to the Piazza Venezia.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Most of the world is still buttering toast when Sydney transmogrifies itself into one massive nightclub. Basking in the warmth of the southern hemisphere's summer, bars, clubs, and restaurants open their doors to the streets while the world's forerunning city lights up the night sky with two rounds of fireworks: one at nine for the young 'uns, and another at midnight, both illuminating the spectacular backdrop of Sydney's Harbour Bridge and ridge-backed Opera House. A short walk from the harbor, Hyde Park is turned into an amusement park, with rides and live music that run into the wee hours.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
Best Hotels in Edinburgh