When it comes to ringing in the New Year, some cities do it better than others. From famous firework displays to eyebrow-raising traditions; if you’re planning on visiting somewhere exotic for New Year’s Eve, you couldn’t do much better than the following festive hotspots…
Glasgow residents may beat Edinburgh residents hands down when it comes to Christmas cheer, but that’s because the Scottish capital knows that the real party doesn’t start until December 31st. Edinburgh takes its New Year (or Hogmanay) celebrations very seriously, with a massive street party below the iconic castle featuring music, fireworks and general bonhomie. The most interesting tradition takes place on New Year’s Day, when revellers plunge into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth to banish hangovers and start the year afresh.
Fireworks over Sydney
There’s lots going on in Sydney at New Year, but the true heart of the celebrations is in the fireworks display, which takes place over Sydney harbour, lighting up the iconic opera house. It’s among the most spectacular in the world, broadcast to roughly one billion people around the globe and viewed in person by roughly 1.6 million people. One of the best reasons to visit Sydney at New Year is that it’s also the height of summer, so you can celebrate in short sleeves.
New York, New York
In Britain the New Year is heralded by Big Ben chiming twelve, but in the USA it’s all about the sparkly ball dropping in Times Square. Merry-makers cram into the area between 42nd and 47th street from 2pm, eager to get a good spot to see the famous ball (adorned with 2,688 Waterford crystals) drop at midnight. There’s a jovial atmosphere and music: last year Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber were on hand to entertain crowds.
Spanish party people don’t tend to emerge until after the bells, but there’s always plenty going on in the city’s Plaça Catalunya. Be sure to pack your red underwear: tradition has it that it will give you plenty of luck in the coming year. Also get ready to do as the locals do, and stuff 12 grapes into your mouth at midnight: one for every chime of the clock.
Wherever you’re celebrating this New Year, you can earn great rewards with an American Express credit card. Cardholders enjoy a range of benefits, with the opportunity to get cashback on purchases and receive exclusive membership reward points for virtually every pound spent, which can be redeemed for a host of treats. It takes just 10 minutes to apply online and you can get a response within 60 seconds – faster than you can say “Happy New Year!”