On December 31, millions of people around the world get together to celebrate the chiming in of the new year in their own ways. On this one evening, many European cities are lit up with fireworks and lights and stay awake until the early hours of the morning to celebrate with good music, food and company in tow. If you’d like to bring in the new year from a different city, or even a different country, here are four European cities that offer a spectacular night to remember.


The Arc de Triomphe is lit up with an incredible 3D show in the countdown to midnight.

Watch the skies light up in Paris

Known as the City of Lights’, Paris sure knows how to celebrate New Year’s Eve in its own très chic way. The long Champs-Elysées stretching all the way from the Louvre and up past the Grand Palais becomes a gathering place for street parties and musicians as people wait for the real show to begin: the 3D light projections that illuminate the Arc de Triomphe.

For a more classic night in the French capital, many flock to the legendary Moulin Rouge in Montmartre to see its vaunted New Year cabaret. Alternatively, for a show that combines both incredible illusions and this traditional Parisian performance style, head to the Crazy Horse near Pont de l’Alma (just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tour). This world-renowned cabaret uses modern lighting techniques to set the scene for performers bedecked in dazzling jewels, costumes and plumes of feathers. There’s plenty of champagne and caviar to go around, too.


Take a river cruise down the Danube to see fireworks from both Buda and Pest. Credit: Picfair.

Have a winter pool party in Budapest

The Hungarian capital loves new year so much it opens its festivities a few weeks before December 31. Vörösmarty Square in the city centre hosts music concerts ranging from traditional Hungarian folk to classical performances in and around the annual Christmas Market. Equally, the Danube’s many river cruises embrace the festive spirit with themed events, including a New Year’s Eve party, piano jazz or folk evening. Enjoy a tender duck leg confit with a glass of full-bodied Viktória Pinot Grigio as you drift through the centre of the illuminated city.

For a unique experience of one of Budapest’s famous institutes, head to the Szechenyi Baths in the old grounds of the Vajdahunyad Castle. On either December 30 or 31 each year, these indoor and outdoor baths throw a gigantic pool party in their warm waters. Both the palatial outdoor and 15 indoor pools are transformed using music, bright neon lights and floating decorations for the occasion.


Visit Rome’s Piazza Venezia to see traditional nativity scenes and a vibrant parade. Credit: Getty Images.

Watch bustling parades and concerts in Rome

Both Christmas and New Year festivities are steeped in religious tradition in the Italian capital. Expertly crafted nativity scenes, or presepe,’ pop up all over the city and the Pope himself even visits the traditional manger scene in Piazza San Pietro around this time. On New Year’s Day, make sure you catch the colourful parade of marching bands that wind through the city – for a good viewing spot, head to the Via della Conciliazione.

Rome is packed full of free concerts on the night itself, like the ones held at Centro Storico and Circus Maximus, where you can hear contemporary music performances before joining in the countdown to midnight. Alternatively, for a smooth drink in a historic setting, head to La Cabala near the Ponte Umberto for a cocktail or two on their 15th-century terrace.


Hunt down a spot on Prague’s Charles Bridge for the best fireworks view. Credit: Getty Images.

Join the revellers by the riverside in Prague

With spectacular fireworks lighting up the skies above Wenceslas and Old Town Square in Prague, this is where you’ll find the majority of revellers on New Year’s Eve. For sweeping views of the explosions, head to the banks of the River Vltava or wander over the historic Charles Bridge.

To make the most of the scenery without having to brave the weather, the Cloud 9 Sky Bar in the Hilton Hotel Prague in the Czechia district of the city is the place to be. The expansive rooftop terrace overlooks the river and the glittering city skyline, making it a perfect alternative spot for catching the fireworks with a cocktail in hand.

Make the most of your trip away with our travel guide to Prague, tips on what to see in Budapest, what to do in Paris and Rome’s top attractions.

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