Out with the old, in with the new. 2017 is edging to a close, and in its place will come a newer, shinier, more optimistic and a more inviting year by the name of 2018. What will the new year hold? Will we stick to our New Year’s Resolutions this year? Probably not, but there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of ambition.
There is the small matter of New Year’s Eve to get out of the way first of course. Many will be looking to get away from home for the big night, and the traditional party centres of Edinburgh, London and Paris will likely be jam-packed with people paying over the odds for drinks and queuing far too long for toilets. Looking for an alternative getaway for the final night of 2017? You’d be wise to consider one of the following.
Slovenia’s magical little capital is completely deserving of the Disney adjective attributed to it in the second word of this sentence, and its compact nature is perfect for an immersive New Year experience. With the somewhat manic Christmas lights still up and in full form, the fireworks above the castle make for a phenomenal way to bring in 2018.
From a small European capital to a major African city in the south of the continent, Johannesburg is going to be very much alive on December 31. Parties will take place all over the city, but Lebo’s New Year’s Camp and Afropunk Joburg 2017 get our official nod. Soweto Theatre’s New Year’s bash also promises to be a wildly colourful celebration. Simply put, you are spoiled for choice in Jozi.
Hurtling back towards the north of the globe, the Latvian capital of Riga is seeing massive increases in winter tourism every year and it isn’t exactly shocking. A lot of the New Year’s parties will sell out quickly, but why go to an overpriced bash when you can get an inexpensive tipple or four at a local pub and enjoy free live music along the river? Public transport is free on December 31 and January 1 too, which is a nice touch.
For those willing to plan ahead, Zurich promises to be an immensely rewarding destination for bringing in the new year. The city is undeniably gorgeous, and the firework display that rings in the passing of time is one of the continent’s most impressive. Make a reservation ahead of time at one of the city’s top restaurants, before engaging in a bit of bar hopping to bring 2017 to a close.
Krakow is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the heart of Europe, and it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to variation on December 31. The city has eschewed fireworks in favour of live music and other forms of entertainment, with a four-stage festival of sorts taking place all over town. Tickets are required despite the event being free of charge, so head to our site for more information.
Estonia turns 100 in 2018, so you can bet your bottom kroon that the little Baltic nation is going to herald the arrival of the celebratory year with aplomb. The appropriately-named Freedom Square is the place to be, as the fireworks will be accompanied by live music and a speech from the President himself. 2018 is going to be a year of jollification in Estonia – get in on the fun from the very start.
Estonia’s 1918 independence saw the state wrestle itself away from Russian rule, but the fate of Tallinn will be far from the minds of revellers in St. Petersburg on December 31, 2017. That is one of the most important dates on the calendar as far as Russians are concerned, and anyone looking to drink way too much champagne needs to get themselves to the Venice of the North, pronto. 2018 is going to be a big year for Russia – it is bound to get off to a heady start.
The Romanian capital is another city gaining more and more tourist attention as the years pass by, and 2018 isn’t about to ruin that run. The city will be well and truly alive on NYE, with Hilton throwing three separate parties to usher in the new year. Hilton has even taken the trouble to set out a children’s area for the kids, leaving parents plenty of breathing space for one last 2017 shindig.
New Year’s Eve is obviously one of the busiest nights of the year, and the mass of crowds and chaos isn’t for everyone. Sheraton’s Polskie Smaki restaurant in the coastal city of Sopot has taken this on board, creating a special 6-course menu for the night complete with champagne and canapés, allowing visitors to watch the mass of humanity on the pier outside. The food promises to be spectacular, and being able to enjoy it without bumping shoulders with masses of people may be worth the cover alone.
Rounding out our selection of alternative New Year’s Eve getaways is the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, a city slowly proving all the naysayers very wrong indeed. Bulgarians know what they are doing when it comes to celebrations, and December 31 isn’t going to pass without a lot of fun and a whole lot of madness. New Year’s Day itself will provide a touch of calm, as conductors from all 28 states of the European Union (well, 27 and the United Kingdom) will come together for the annual concert at the National Palace of Culture, as Bulgaria takes over the presidency of the EU Council.