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 Year’s Eve festivities start at about 6 pm, with locals attending mass at Reykjavik’s 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 city’s happening nightclubs and pubs.
Acknowledged to be one of the world’s 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 all—fantastic skiing, superb scenery and great nightlife. New Year’s Eve celebrations in Kitzbuhel are characterised by gala dinners in the town’s 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.