Dreaming of warmer weather, delicious local cuisine and above all, a brilliant New Year’s Eve party? If so, from far-flung destinations to European city breaks, here are seven of the best places in the world to ring in 2017.
Australia’s glitziest city puts on an extravagant show by utilising its best asset – Sydney Harbour. In the run-up to the big fireworks display, vessels of all shapes and sizes decked out in dazzling white rope-light dance across the water to the sound of live music. The arrival of midnight triggers an eruption of pyrotechnics from no less than seven barges dotted along the harbour, not to mention the world’s most famous coat hanger, the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
New Orleans, USA
New Orleans adds a unique flavour to everything it does, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Head over to Jackson Square to ring in 2017. The annual party there includes live music and a great view of the midnight fleur-de-lis drop to usher in the new year. The St Louis Cathedral, one of the best examples of French architecture in the US, serves as a regal backdrop for an impressive fireworks display over the Mississippi River.
Located in the remote rural region of Basilicata, Matera is preparing for the limelight as European Capital of Culture in 2019. But why wait? See in the new year in this jaw-dropping Unesco World Heritage-listed city, which hosts a range of open-air festivals and celebrations. Explore the town’s labyrinth of narrow alleys, and look out for the Presepe Narrante Di Matera, a ‘live nativity scene’ spread over 5km featuring 150 costumed performers.
If Sydney is the golden child for New Year’s Eve in Australia, then Melbourne is the spunky sibling. Hole up at one of the city’s renowned rooftop bars for a balmy summer night’s tipple and front-row seats for the fireworks.
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Partying in Europe at this time of year usually involves several layers of thermal underwear, but temperatures in the Gran Canarian capital of Las Palmas are a balmy average of 19°C. And while elsewhere the island is dominated by big resorts, this is a proper Spanish city mostly frequented by locals – particularly on New Year’s Eve, when clubs and bars fill up with Canarios.
Nassau, the Bahamas
Nearly every town in the Caribbean throws a New Year’s bash, but Nassau does so with a particular flair. Junkanoo is the Bahamas’ biggest, flashiest street carnival, and while it takes place multiple times a year, the largest celebrations happen on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. In the wee hours of the morning, elaborately costumed dancers take to the streets with their troupes, parading through downtown Nassau to ring in the new year with horns, drums, whistles..
Visit the idyllic city of Hangzhou for a peaceful way to see in 2017. Follow the footpath alongside West Lake in the morning to see the mist covering the water, then climb the hill to visit Yongfu Temple. Spend the afternoon sipping tea at the teahouse there, surrounded by a grove of tea trees. Finish off your day with a slap-up meal in the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, which stands on the shoreline of the lake.