(CNN) — From world-famous cities to lesser-known places, these are the best places in the world to ring in the New Year, offering everything from breathtaking fireworks and late-night parties to breathtaking views and traditional festivals.
For many countries, this year will mark a return to the wild celebrations of the pre-Covid years – so raise your glass and start 2023 with a bang!
Dubai’s Burj Khalifa illuminated for the 2017 New Year’s Eve celebrations.
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Last year, billions of people tuned in to see the spectacular fireworks and light show at the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, according to developer Emaar. This year, organizers plan to break new records and the building will feature the world’s largest laser display, accompanied by fireworks and a synchronized water show from the nearby Dubai Fountain.
NYE sees Taipei 101, the 10th tallest building in the world, lit up with one of the world’s most spectacular fireworks displays. This year’s theme is “Taipei is the Future” and 16,000 fireworks will be set off over the course of five minutes. The show is backed by laser lights and music, with an A-list of local celebrities and artists leading the countdown.
On December 31, 2016, New Year’s Eve fireworks are lit in Barcelona, Spain.
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A city that boasts some of the best nightlife and festivals in Europe is a surefire New Year’s Eve destination. Crowds gather in Plaça d’Espanya to see the main fireworks display, and to sample a local tradition that’s not for the faint of heart, head to Plaça Catalunya, where people gather to sip cava before heading out throw the empty bottles in the middle of the square.
After two years in which Covid restrictions dampened New Year’s Eve celebrations, the city’s V&A Waterfront will light up with pyrotechnics and partying on December 31st. Live entertainment begins at 7pm, with Table Mountain providing a stunning backdrop to the celebrations. The Cape Malay Choirs Parade features music and dancing and begins at 9.30pm on Darling Street at the Grand Parade.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Riyadh’s “Winter Wonderland” can be seen in November 2021.
Wang Haizhou/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images
The quintessential New Year’s Eve, Times Square in New York is packed with people on the day and the event is even streamed online for everyone to watch. The main event is the traditional Ball Drop. Since 1907, a large, crystal-covered orb, sitting on the roof of One Times Square, has descended from a flagpole in the last minute of the year, sending crowds into a frenzy.
An aerial view of Tarawa, the capital of exotic Kiribati.
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The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is among the first inhabited places on earth to see the New Year because it is so close to the International Date Line. Some of its islands extend into the most extensive time zone on Earth: UTC+14. Traditional celebrations and events take place on all islands, with the biggest party likely to be in Kiritimati, the largest island of Kiribati.
This unincorporated US territory, about 3,000 miles (4,830 kilometers) northeast of New Zealand, is among the last inhabited places on earth to enter the New Year. If you have the stamina and find a way to make the journey on January 1st, you can first celebrate New Year’s Eve in Samoa – an independent country just over 80 kilometers to the west – and then travel here and do it all again the next day.
Rio de Janeiro
Despite Covid restrictions limiting celebrations, some revelers still watched the fireworks at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro last year.
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It’s hard to imagine a livelier, open-air New Year’s Eve party than the one held annually on Rio’s Copacabana Beach. Millions of people, many dressed in white, flock to the 2.5-mile stretch of beach to sunbathe and enjoy music and food in the summer weather. Then, at midnight, all eyes go up to witness a massive fireworks display – but in a city famous for its parties, that just signals the start of the celebrations.
The Icelandic capital’s fireworks show is truly unique: rather than the city hosting an official fireworks show, citizens are encouraged to buy their own from local search and rescue teams in their biggest fundraiser of the year. So, before midnight, the city lights up with thousands of micro shows – all in all a sight to behold.
In 2017, the Arc de Triomphe was illuminated by a laser display reading “Happy New Year”.
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The centerpiece of the event, aptly nicknamed the “City of Light”, takes place on the Champs-Élysées. This year’s show returns after a two-year hiatus and will once again cover the Arc de Triomphe with 3D projections from 11pm
Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are among the most celebrated in the world, beautifully framed by the harbor and Opera House backdrop. This year there’s a double dose of fireworks: the first show starts at 9pm, inspired by sea, land and sky and part of a celebration of indigenous culture, while the main event begins around midnight with pyrotechnics being fired from the Sydney Harbor Bridge, the opera house and barges.
Motorists drive past Victoria Island, Lagos on New Year’s Eve 2016.
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Lagos is at the heart of Nigeria’s New Year celebrations, which are culturally and religiously diverse. This year’s New Year’s Eve, the city’s skies will come alive with midnight fireworks shows and all-night parties at venues on the city’s Victoria Island. At the island’s NOK by Alara restaurant, you can enjoy a three-course meal followed by a celebration themed ‘African Opulence’ from 11pm.
On December 31, 2021 people in Istanbul, Turkey celebrated New Year’s Eve.
On New Year’s Eve, fireworks illuminate the Bosphorus, Istanbul’s 30-kilometer waterway, and can be viewed from an overnight river cruise or from the shore. However, most people congregate in and around the tourism and nightlife hotspot of Taksim Square, and many of the neighborhoods host their own street festivals and fireworks displays.
Fireworks light up the sky over Edinburgh Castle as part of the Hogmanay celebrations on December 31, 2015.
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The iconic fireworks show on the London Eye returns this year after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Only those who managed to snag one of the 100,000 tickets will be in attendance, but many more from around the world will be watching. The show starts at midnight and is of course backed by Big Ben heralding the beginning of 2023.
In 2016, fireworks explode over the waters and canals of Venice.
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Koh Phangan, Thailand
For the chill crowd: A soothing sunset on Koh Phangan beach.
This island in the Gulf of Thailand is famous for its monthly full moon parties, and New Year’s Eve offers an uncompromising, super-charged version. Hat Rin Beach is lit up with fireworks and traditional fire shows, with music blaring non-stop from early afternoon until well into the next day. But a host of clubs in the area will be more than happy to keep the party going longer.
The world-famous Shibuya intersection is usually Tokyo’s equivalent of Times Square on New Year’s Eve, but the 2022 celebrations have been cancelled; Instead, you could opt for a more spiritual approach, visiting a shrine to pray for an auspicious new year or participating in a bell-ringing ritual at a temple. And if you want to mingle with the locals, watch the sunrise on the waterfront along Tokyo Bay on New Year’s Day.