New Year’s Eve can be a divisive subject: some people go out all night, others limit their celebrations to a party popper in front of the TV.
Whatever your stance on donning a hat and singing Auld Lang Syne, it pays to keep your options open at this time of year. So if you’re bored of the local pub or dreading your neighbour’s fancy dress party, there are plenty of European cities that are guaranteed to start 2014 off with a bang.
(And if the mere mention of New Year’s Eve makes you shudder, just think of it like a city break with added fireworks.)
Here are some of our favourites.
The Dutch certainly know how to party, so where better to kick off your new year than in Amsterdam (pictured above). The official celebrations take place in the city’s Oosterdok area with plenty of fireworks, although Dam Square is also another popular option that can get quite lively with its many beer tents and live shows. If you want to enjoy the fireworks without the debauchery, there are also some family friendly celebrations. Head to one of the spots overlooking the canal such as the Magere Brug bridge – arrive early to grab a good spot!
The Colosseum in Rome is pretty spectacular at the best of times, and it’s even better when lit up by fireworks. There are many places in the city where you can celebrate, including areas around the Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps, but the Piazza del Popolo is widely recognised as the main area to go. There, you’ll be joined by hundreds of thousands of revellers enjoying music, dancing and of course, the firework finale.
The Germans love a good drink, and as you might expect, there are loads of events around the country that involve beer. Berlin is the place to be if you want to celebrate New Year’s Eve – or Silvester as the Germans call it – in style. If you like fireworks and don’t mind the crowds (over one million people celebrated here last year), the famous Brandenburg Tor is where the main festivities take place. Here you’ll be able to enjoy music, stages and plenty of bars to ensure you have a drink in your hand when the clock strikes midnight.
A popular destination for a romantic city break, Prague is also a fantastic option for ringing in 2014 whether you want to dance until the early hours, enjoy a relaxing meal or simply stand and watch the amazing firework displays. Areas overlooking the river such as Charles Bridge or Petrin Hill are arguably the top spots to catch the pyrotechnics, or head to one of the main squares and soak up the festivities.
Istanbul is a lively and vibrant city at any time of year, but on December 31st it really comes to life. Celebrations take place all around the Turkish capital but Taksim Square and Istiklal Street are the places with the best atmospheres. Many people choose to watch the spectacular rocket displays on the Bosphorus Bridge, but if you want to escape the crowds, a midnight dinner cruise along the river is also a cracking idea.