With the chiming bells of the new year getting closer by the day, it’s time to think about how to celebrate. A cosy night in? A crazy night out? A new year calls for a new start, so why not plan a quick New Year’s Eve break instead?
At Birmingham Airport, we help our customers say Hello World by offering great airport service and frequent flights to destinations all over the globe. This New Year’s Eve, say Happy New Year in four of our favourite European cities. Watch fireworks, experience local traditions and ring in the new year in style.
Living up to its title as one of the most exciting European capitals, a New Year’s Eve spent in Madrid will not disappoint. A city proud of its heritage and customs, the madrileños will be keen to show you the traditional celebrations and then take you out on the town afterwards.
Find the fireworks: Be part of the tradition and join the thousands who flock to watch the countdown and fireworks on Madrid’s central plaza, Puerta del Sol. The historical Real Casa de Correos towers over the plaza and the chime of its clock marks the official start of the new year.
Party until the morning: If you like to go big or go home, Madrid’s nightlife won’t let you down. The discotecas offer New Year’s Eve deals with discounted entry and drinks included, so you’re guaranteed a good time. Kapital is a madrileño hotspot, boasting seven floors of music and karaoke, as well as a ‘kissing room’.
Eat the grapes: A quirky – and yummy – Spanish tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight to bring good luck in the 12 months of the new year. Wash them down with a glass of cava, the Spanish sparkling wine.
Although popular at any time of year, Prague shines brightest during winter. Known for its beautiful architecture and fairy-tale charm, the city transforms into a snow-dusted wonderland with stunning Christmas celebrations. New Year’s Eve is no less spectacular.
Find the fireworks: Rather than watch from crowded spots like Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge, be adventurous and climb Petřín hill or head to Dvořák embankment on the river’s right side. You’ll get great views and fewer people.
Cruise into the new year: Enjoy a relaxed experience aboard the top deck of a river cruise. You can drink and dine against the backdrop of the Old Town and Prague Castle, while watching the fireworks light up the sky.
Dine on lentils: It might seem strange but eating lentils is part of local tradition, said to bring lots of money in the year to come. Try some other dishes typically served on New Year’s Eve, such as vepřový ovar, a dish of boiled pork with grated horseradish and apples.
Following the French tradition of each day corresponding to a saint, New Year’s Eve is known here as ‘La Saint Sylvestre’. Close to the Pyrenees, Toulouse is an unexpected choice for tourists celebrating this holiday, so you can expect a relaxed ambiance and affordable accommodation.
Find the fireworks: Fireworks in Toulouse are a casual affair, set off by local businesses and families. A good spot to catch them is on the banks of the Garonne River. Afterwards, soak up the buzzing atmosphere in the popular Place du Capitole square.
Explore The Pink City: Toulouse’s nickname, “La Ville Rose,” comes from the blush-toned stone used in its architecture. It’s also an indication of the city’s character and charm. Soak this up by wandering through the old quarter’s winding streets to see 17th century grand mansions and the Romanesque Basilique St-Sernin.
Eat a traditional meal: As with most French holidays, food takes centre stage. The French partake in a feast fit for kings, known as Le Réveillon – similar to Christmas dinner, but with champagne. After rich dishes like oysters and foie gras, there’s dancing until the early hours.
Reykjavík is like another world in winter, when the city is covered in a blanket of snow and gets only a few hours of sunlight each day. It’s no surprise then that people take any opportunity to party and celebrate during the season. New Year’s Eve is a great example of this – the capital truly comes alive.
Find the fireworks: Unlike most cities, Reykjavík embraces a carefree attitude towards fireworks – huge displays are put on for the people, by the people. As midnight approaches, local landmarks such as the Perlan and Landakotskirkja church are surrounded, as they offer they best views of the fireworks around the city.
Heat things up: Reykjavík is famous for its geothermal hot springs, and no trip to the city is complete without a good soak. The air might be freezing and snow might be falling, but the water is always warm. Blue Lagoon, Laugardalslaug and Sundhöllin are all popular spots.
Dance around a bonfire: Join in a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages and gather around a brenna, or bonfire, to symbolically burn your troubles in preparation for a new year. With music playing, sparklers shining, and people singing and dancing, you’ll feel festive in no time.