For a place covered in ice and snow most of the year, it might seem like a strange spot to bring in the year. Yet, for most Europeans between 19 and 35 years of age, Reykjavik has become increasingly popular any time of the year because of its fabulous nightlife. Since there is so little daylight in Iceland, the locals have stepped up the action and brought it indoors. With little more than four hours of daylight during December, the New Years Eve festivities start at about 6 pm, with locals attending mass at Reykjaviks principal cathedral. For outsiders, this is the time to hit one of the many restaurants for a typical Icelandic meal, which mainly consists of seafood and the local liqueur, aquavit. At New Year, there will be stuffed goose and pork items. Locals have a tradition of a family dinner followed by a neighbourhood bonfire (brenna), which visitors are welcome to join. At midnight, a brilliant fireworks display lights up the sky, which the entire population of the city (around 2,00,000) turns out for. Once the display is over, everyone congregates in the citys happening nightclubs and pubs.
Acknowledged to be one of the worlds top ski resorts and the place where the European elite gather over New Year, Kitzbuhel is best enjoyed in late December when the snow is ideal for skiing or snowboarding. It is a small medieval town in Tyrol, Austria, with a population of 8,204, which almost doubles during the ski season. The town is situated in the Kitzbuhel Alps, about 100 km east of the state capital of Innsbruck. The reason it is so popular is because it has it allfantastic skiing, superb scenery and great nightlife. New Years Eve celebrations in Kitzbuhel are characterised by gala dinners in the towns hotels and restaurants, horse-drawn sleigh rides on traffic-free cobblestone streets and a traditional torch journey that takes place on the slopes. Spectators of the race can enjoy apres ski hot-spiced wine, while they take in the fireworks display, which coincides with skiers crossing the finish line.
Las Vegas, US
No other city throws a party like Vegas, and it gets taken to a whole new level over New Year celebrations. Most times, the fabulously-themed Vegas casinos and nightclubs will feature celebrity names from the world of music and entertainment, but for this special time of the year, the headline acts include the biggest names in the entertainment industry. There are also laser shows, live bands and pyrotechnic displays on the Strip and Fremont Street, while nightclubs, and bars turn up the volume and, of course, ticket prices. Vegas legendary hotels and casinos offer their own private parties that often include discos, concerts and amazing firework displays, but the biggest party is Downtown Countdown, where the main street is closed to vehicles and the crowds gather for the midnight countdown.
Toronto has been steadily gaining ground among the jet set as a hot New Years Eve city destination. The less adventurous will settle for a dinner cruise around Toronto harbour complete with fine wines and the best seats to watch the fireworks, but the hottest tickets in town are to be found at Nathan Phillips Square, where thousands gather to watch live performances from Canadas biggest music stars. For those who have a thing against crowded spaces, theres also the option of a slower-paced celebration in the citys Distillery District, a lively area of restored Victorian industrial buildings, cafes, galleries and bars.
New York, US
Everyone is familiar with the New Year ball drop in Times Square at the stroke of midnight and the cheering crowds, but if you havent experienced it yet, its not too late. While Times Square is probably the most cliched place to be in on New Years Eve, the citys restaurants, bars, parks and squares are filled with people celebrating and enjoying the special events that are organised for New Years Eve.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio has become the cynosure of all eyes because of the upcoming World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, but its always been one of the hottest places to bring in the New Year, with its love for festivals and parades and glamour. The centre of the action is the famous Copacabana beach, where all the major festivities take place. There are giant stages set up along the beach, laser shows and firework displays, which attract a crowd of over two million. Everyone wears white (locals believe it brings good luck for the year ahead) and champagne bottles are opened at a frantic pace. The dances get wilder, as the samba beat quickens leading up to midnight, when the main event takes place.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
For those in the know, this is the place to be on New Years Eve. On the days leading up to New Years Eve, the city hosts a series of glamorous events. Most of the action takes place at San Juans exotic hotels located in the beach-front Candado district. Outside the hotel scene, there are bars and restaurants that rival the best in the world. The most legendary one is Oceano, an ocean-front bar that offers beach tepees, so you can enjoy the midnight fireworks in tented comfort. Local tradition insists that everyone eats 12 grapes, starting 12 seconds before midnight to receive good luck for the coming year.
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Punta del Este is a luxury beach resort located on the southern tip of the country. The week leading up to New Years Eve attracts thousands of elite tourists and jet setters. New Years Eve in Uruguay takes place during their summer, so the party crowd is generally scantily-clad and looking for a good time. Those in the know, head to the area of La Barra, the liveliest place in the city, with its restaurants and bars, while those looking for a luxurious experience, head for Jose Ignacio.
Goa has become famous the world over for its laidback ambience and its New Years Eve party atmosphere and action. Fun, food, beer, frolicking, parties, music, sun, sea and sand are the elements that make up a holiday in Goa over Christmas and New Year. For the younger crowd, the hottest ticket in town is Sunburn, the biggest party festival in Asia, that usually takes place on December 27 each year. There are also the shacks on the seafront, the five-star hotel parties or luxury cruises on traditional boats or the floating casinos that offer amazing food, drinks, music and dancing.
This city is known for offering the best and biggest display of fireworks in the world, which takes place over Sydney Harbour. The first big city to welcome in the New Year because of its location, Sydney draws a crowd of more than one million people who crowd the streets to watch the spectacular display of fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge. For visitors, the in thing is a boat cruise around the harbour, while the fireworks explode overhead.