Start 2018 in one of the hottest cities of the season. We’re all about those fireworks and wanted to see where US and Canadian travelers were heading to spark up the sky. To figure it out, we dove into our data to find the top 10 destinations seeing the biggest increase in search interest for travel over New Year’s Eve.
Here’s a countdown to the top hotspots for celebrating the New Year.
While fireworks over the Acropolis can’t be beat, you may want to book yourself entrance to a bouzoukia — local music hall — for some NYE merriment. Just expect to pay a premium for seats. Need a place to rest your head after a wild night? Meliá Athens is one of the city’s top trending hotels for NYE.
Enjoy the free fireworks display and celebration over at the Jacques-Cartier Pier. Just be sure to book at least 2 months ahead of travel — that’s when we saw the best deals for flights. With over 70,000 people expected, don’t attempt to drive downtown. Instead, take the subway to the Champ-de-Mars stop. After you’ve hugged everyone in sight at midnight, head over to the skating rink in Old Port. Open until 2am, you can start off 2018 on ice.
One of the most exciting things about Madrid on New Year’s Eve is not how you start the night, but how you end it. Start 2018 off decadently with a stay at the Westin Palace, one of the capital’s top hotels. After tossing back cava and partying til dawn, enjoy watching the sunrise at Templo de Debod. Then, you and your partner-in-life (or just for the night) can head to Chocolateria San Gines near Puerto del Sol. This spot — famous for its churros — is open 24/7.
Celebrate your Bonne Annee by the Champs Elysees. This city of over 2.4 million people saw a 13% spike in traveler interest as a destination for New Year’s Eve. Visit the 20th arrondissement — Ménilmontant — to kick back with artists, writers and other creatives. Wondering what there is to do New Year’s day? While most restaurants and shops are closed, attractions like the Centre Pompidou and Parc Zoologique remain open to visitors.
While the city’s political climate is a bit iffy nowadays, New Year’s Eve is traditionally a festive time for Catalonians. The clubs don’t get started until nearly 2am, well after revelers have stuffed their mouths with 12 grapes at midnight. New Year’s Day is usually a quiet affair, with many locals retiring at home (and resting up). When looking for hotels, expect to pay around $122/night in December and $130/night in January.
Portugal is having a moment. Up 14% in interest for this NYE, it’s pushing past Iceland’s Reykjavik as one of the year’s most popular spots in Europe. Start your New Year by dining at one of the restaurants in the center then heading to St. George’s Castle. You’ll want to grab a spot towards the top of Lisbon’s hills to get the best view of the fireworks at midnight. Just pack a scarf, temps average a balmy 54 degrees in January. After the fireworks, trek to Bairro Alto or Cais do Sodre to party in the streets til the sun rises.
Eat all the oliebollen (doughnuts) and appelflappen (apple fritters) you can imagine because there will be plenty of time to walk it off. On NYE, public transportation generally shuts down around 8pm. While the fireworks at Oosterdok mark the city’s official celebration, we recommend heading to the outdoor parties and winter markets of Leidseplein & Rembrandtplein. Just be sure to book your trip at least 10 weeks ahead — that’s when we found the lowest median fares.
Start the year high up at the rotating restaurant Bellini. New Year’s Eve packages run around $120 and include drinks, a 6-course meal and 12 grapes to eat at midnight. Or, stay on the ground by partying in Zocalo. Enjoy food stalls, drinks and music. Plus, you’ll be set with a great view of the midnight fireworks. Then it’s back to the hotel — like the trending Galeria Plaza Reforma — to sleep it all off.
This trendy party destination is up 33% in interest this year. Celebrate that island life with Harbour Fest. This free and open event not only brings out the best of Jamaican culture, but its family-friendly vibe means everyone’s invited. Watch the fireworks over downtown and let the kids enjoy the crafts and fun in Kiddies Village. If you’re into a more adult scene, Treasure Beach has some of the island’s best parties.
Ball drop — this is it. The hottest destination to ring in the New Year. With a 38% increase in interest, Guadalajara has it. Swap your champagne for some mezcal and dance the night away. The best place to be at midnight? Wherever you see fireworks. In virtually every city square there’s a party to join. However, after all that debauchery, expect a shock on January 1st. New Year’s Day is quite possibly the quietest day of the year. Most shops and restaurants are closed and locals tend to retire at home, recuperating from the night before. If you can swing it, stretch your stay through January 6th — Three Kings Day — where the celebration is even bigger than on Christmas. Just be sure to book your trip one month in advance to score the best flight deals.