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How to celebrate New Year's Eve abroad

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2 October 2012 by Alex Stewart

Ever wondered what it would be like to spend New Year's Eve somewhere abroad?

If last year, as you battled to the bar of your local, you decided to make those resolutions stick and to do New Year properly next time, use our round-up of how other countries celebrate December 31 to plan something different.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh New Year's Eve

The Scottish capital celebrates Hogmanay hard, with outdoor concerts, ceilidh's in the Assembly Rooms and wild processions and parties throughout the city that culminate in raucous renditions of Auld Lang Syne. Blow the cobwebs away afterwards with a dip in the freezing River Forth.

Paris

Jubilant crowds gather on the Champs-Elysées to drink champagne, let off bangers and watch the Eiffel Tower disappear in a haze of fireworks and lasers before planting a double kiss on friends and strangers alike and wishing them Bonne Année. For a higher vantage point, climb to the Sacré Coeur on Montmartre and look out over the city's celebrations.

Krakow

Krakow New Year's Eve

New Year is at its most wintry in Poland, with roast chestnuts and glühwein the order of the day along with snow flurries and plunging temperatures. And, fo course, revellers in the main square consuming vast quantities of beer.

Sydney

Sydney New Year's Eve

As the first major city to start the new year, Australia's iconic capital hosts the greatest firework display in the world. Take to a boat and join the flotilla in the harbour with prime viewpoints, otherwise celebrate on the waterfront or retreat to the beach on Cockatoo Island for an alternative vantage point. If you're feeling fresh enough the following day, climb the Harbour Bridge and see where the fireworks were set off.

Goa

If dancing under the stars is your ideal way to welcome in the New Year, then head to Anjuna or Palolem on India's southern coast. Purists might point out that Goa's legendary parties aren't what they once were, but the country's good-time state still knows how to throw a great party. Afterwards, head north to find a retreat and detox with yoga and reiki.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro New Year's Eve

With the city sweltering in the midsummer heat, revellers take to Copacabana Beach, where live music from traditional samba to rock and carnival tunes get the throngs going before a spectacular firework display, launched from boats offshore, ushers in the New Year. Dress in white and float an offering on the sea to ensure good luck for the following year, if the tide takes your offering out to sea then you'l enjoy good fortune.

New York

New York New Year's Eve

Join hundreds of thousands of people in Times Square to watch the famous six-ton ball drop from the flagpole atop One Times Square. Stand in the square with the crowds or watch from one of the hotels on the square that have great views of the Square and the fireworks that erupt just after the drop.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas New Year's Eve

If you can't settle on a city to celebrate in, head to Las Vegas, where you can have dinner in Paris, New Year in New York and a wild after-party in Venice, all the while surrounded by the shows, events, entertainers, pyrotechnics and parties that make the Strip one of the liveliest places to celebrate.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong New Year's Eve

If you can't make December 31, then Victoria Harbour is the place to be to witness the countdown to Chinese New Year. Because the Chinese Calendar consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February. Firecrackers, drums, gongs and cymbals create a cacophony of noise, whilst traditional parades and lion dancers add colour and a carnival atmosphere to the mix. A firework display all along the waterfront finally illuminates the city's skyline and the mountains behind.

Or, to get away from it all...

Alternatively, if you want to avoid New Year, head to Ethiopia - the country uses the Julian calendar, so New Year's Eve is in fact in September and December 31 has no cultural significance. December is a great time to visit nonetheless; the country boasts churches dug out of the rock at Lalibela, the home of the Queen of Sheba at Axum and wildlife and dramatic landscapes in the Simien Mountains, all of which can be seen without a firework or party popper in sight.

So, where will you be this New Year's Eve?

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