How does Europe celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Published on 1 January 1970 by Raffick Marday

With December 31st speeding towards us, it is time to start planning how you will see in the New Year if you haven’t already.

New Year’s Eve The UK does a pretty good job at seeing in a brand new year. The capital hosts a spectacular fireworks display against the stunning backdrop of the river Thames, the London Eye and Big Ben.

Edinburgh is renowned for its New Year celebrations, with revellers out in their thousands to take part in the two-day party that is Hogmanay.

Fireworks and celebrations aplenty are a trend throughout Europe as the continent celebrates New Year’s Eve – but each country also has its own unique traditions for this special night.

‘Nochevieja’ in Spain

Rather than hit the pubs and clubs early, Spaniards tend to stay home until midnight, where they listen to the clock from Puerta del Sol in Madrid from their TVs. As the clock strikes midnight, they pop a grape into their mouths – and do the same for each stroke of the clock. The ritual is believed to bring good luck for each of the twelve months of the New Year.


The Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square host the biggest New Year celebrations, with these areas crammed with numerous Euro revellers. In a stark contrast to London’s organised display, fireworks are let off willy-nilly and champagne bottles are smashed as 2013 touches down in the city.

‘Szilveszter’ in Budapest

The last evening of the year draws out crowds in their thousands as they gather in the main squares of the city. Champagne and fireworks follow the national anthem when the clock strikes midnight – but for those who struggle with the wait between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Vörösmarty Square hosts a three-day celebration from 30 December to 1 January.

Save money on travel

If you are thinking of a last-minute getaway to Europe over the New Year, it could be worth obtaining a travel moneycard prior to departure. These are prepaid cards which permit travellers to take an appropriate amount of money away without facing the security risks of carrying potentially high figures in physical currency. They also help you stay on top of your budget, meaning that financial worries will not spoil the celebrations.


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