The 5 best cities for celebrating New Year’s Eve in Europe
If you’re traveling Europe over December and January, you don’t have to forgo your usual festive celebrations. In fact, it’s likely you’ll have an altogether new and significantly more unique celebration than you’re used to. Here are 5 cities to consider if you’re spending New Year’s Eve in Europe – and you can reach them all by train with a Eurail Pass!
New Year’s Eve in Europe
Barcelona is a reveler’s dream at any time of the year. But throw a big occasion like New Year’s Eve into the mix, and you’re in for an unbeatable party. Most bars and clubs organize some form of New Year’s Eve celebration. Chances are it will run well into the early hours of the morning. If you’re up for some outdoor action, you could also take a stroll down the lively Las Ramblas to soak up some of the NYE atmosphere.
Insider tip: One of the best (and cheapest) places to ring in the New Year in Barcelona is at the beach. You may just be treated to a spectacular fireworks display around midnight.
How to get there by train: There are several trains to Barcelona from throughout Spain and the rest of Europe, including overnight trains from Paris and Zurich.
The City of Lights is a magical place to visit at the end of the year. The Eiffel Tower will light up and sparkle with particular fervor as midnight approaches. At 11:30pm a spectacular light show kicks in with enough music and effects to make it a particularly memorable event. If that doesn’t do it for you, head over to the nearby Champs Elysée and wander the iconic street with the bustling crowds.
Insider tip: For a less touristy but equally enjoyable Paris NYE, head over to Montmartre. You’ll have stunning views over the city and a captivating atmosphere in which to immerse yourself.
How to get there by train: There are several trains to Paris from throughout France, as well as overnight and high-speed trains to dozens cities beyond.
Istanbul has fast earned a reputation as one of the continent’s best destinations to ring in the New Year. Kick your night off with a classic Turkish meal in one of the city’s historic neighborhoods. Here celebrations are somewhat quieter, and then build up to a big celebration in the heart of the city. Taksim Square transforms into a hive of activity as residents throw unofficial street parties, and the atmosphere is thoroughly infectious.
Insider tip: Looking for a quieter Istanbul New Year’s Eve celebration with a view? Book a river cruise on the Bosphorus for an incredible perspective of the city as fireworks light up the skyline.
How to get there by train: Trains traditionally run to Istanbul via Bucharest of Sofia, but these may be disrupted by work in Bulgaria. Replacement buses operate from Sirkeci.
Berlin prides itself on being one of the world’s party capitals. If you’re after a full-on New Year’s Eve celebration, then this is one destination that should be on your list. The city lights up with fireworks at the stroke of midnight, and many people head to the clubs to celebrate well into the next morning. Each year millions of tourists descend on the city to ring in the New Year with style. So if large crowds and parties are your thing, then Berlin should be high on your list.
Insider tip: Unsure where to head? The heart of the action on NYE is the Party Mile – a mile long stretch of road between the Victory Column and Brandenburg gate. There you’ll find bars, food, live music, laser shows, and a good view of the fireworks.
How to get there by train: Berlin is a busy rail hub in northern Germany. There are regular trains from throughout the country and to neighboring international cities.
Amsterdam is another European city good for a serious party throughout the year, but come December 31st, and you’ll see a new side to this popular destination. Unofficial parties spill out onto the streets, and the city usually organizes several events in public squares. Fireworks light up the sky throughout the evening and hit their peak at midnight to match the growing celebrations.
Insider tip: Save money and get the best seat in the house by ringing in the New Year on one of Amsterdam’s many bridges – there are few better vantage points from which to view the fireworks and soak up the atmosphere.
How to get there by train: There are several high-speed local and long-distance trains to and from Amsterdam, making it an easy city to reach by rail.
Stockholm may be somewhat of a niche party destination throughout the year, which makes the end of year celebrations all the more special. NYE parties in the Swedish capital escalate quickly and typically end up on the city streets. When midnight hits a famous Swede will read out the poem Ring Out, Wild Bells, which many see as an invitation to take the party to one of the city’s many clubs and bars.
Insider tip: Line your stomach with seafood before heading to your Stockholm New Year’s Eve party at Skansen – it’s been the heart of the celebrations since the late 1800s.
How to get there by train: There are numerous domestic trains from throughout Sweden to the capital Stockholm, as well as long-distance trains from cities further afield.
One of the best things about celebrating New Year’s Eve in Europe is that it doesn’t have to cost you a cent. Many throw free open-air parties or have spectacular fireworks displays visible from throughout city. So if you’re not up for a full night of partying in a packed club, a cold bottle of champagne and a good vantage point will do just fine.