(CNN) — From world-famous cities to lesser-known spots, these are the best places on the planet to welcome New Year’s Eve, offering everything from stunning 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 in style!
Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, lit up for New Year’s Eve celebrations in 2017.
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Last year, billions of people tuned in to watch the spectacular fireworks and light show from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, according to its developer Emaar. This year, organizers plan to break new records and the building will feature the world’s largest laser screen, accompanied by fireworks and a synchronized water show from the nearby Dubai Fountain.
NYE sees Taipei 101, the 10th tallest building in the world, light up with one of the most spectacular fireworks displays on the planet. This year’s theme is “Taipei is the future”, and 16,000 fireworks will be set off in five minutes. The show will be backed by laser lights and music, with an A-list of celebrities and local artists leading the countdown.
A New Year’s Eve fireworks light up in Barcelona, Spain, December 31, 2016.
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A city with some of the best nightlife and festivals in Europe is a surefire New Year’s Eve destination. Crowds gather in Plaça d’Espanya to watch the main fireworks display, and to taste a local tradition that’s not for the faint-hearted, head to Plaça Catalunya, where people gather to drink Cava before tossing the empty bottles in the middle of the square.
After two years of Covid restrictions putting a damper on its NYE celebrations, the city’s V&A Waterfront will light up on December 31 with pyrotechnics and parties. Live entertainment begins at 7 p.m. with Table Mountain making a fantastic backdrop for the festivities. The Cape Malay Choirs Parade features music and dancing and starts at 9.30pm on Darling Street, Grand Parade.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Riyadh’s “Winter Wonderland” is seen in November 2021.
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New York City
The quintessential New Year’s Eve spot, Times Square in New York City, gets very crowded on this 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 ball that sits on the roof of One Times Square descends from a flagpole at the last minute of the year, sending crowds into a frenzy.
An aerial view of Tarawa, the exotic capital of Kiribati.
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The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is one of the first inhabited places in the world to be seen on New Years, as it is located so close to the International Date Line. Some of its islands lie within the longest time zone on Earth: UTC+14. Traditional celebrations and events take place on all the islands, with the biggest celebration likely to occur on Kiritimati, the largest of Kiribati’s islands.
This unincorporated US territory, about 3,000 miles (4,830 kilometers) northeast of New Zealand, is one of the last inhabited places on Earth to enter the new year. If you have the stamina and find a way to make the trip on January 1, you can celebrate New Years in Samoa first – an independent country just over 80 kilometers to the west – then travel here and all restart. the next day.
Rio de Janeiro
Despite Covid restrictions limiting celebrations, some revelers still watched the fireworks on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro last year.
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It’s hard to imagine a livelier outdoor New Year’s Eve party than the one that takes place every year on Rio’s Copacabana Beach. Millions of people, many dressed in white, descend on the 2.5-mile waterfront to bask in the summer weather and enjoy the music and food. Then, at midnight, all eyes lift to witness a huge fireworks display – but in a city famous for the party, that only marks the start of the celebrations.
The Icelandic capital’s fireworks display is truly one of a kind: rather than the city having an official fireworks display, citizens are encouraged to purchase their own from local search and rescue teams as part of their biggest fundraiser of the year. So before midnight, the city lights up with thousands of microshows – collectively a sight to behold.
The Arc de Triomphe was illuminated by a laser screen indicating Happy New Year in 2017.
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The flagship event of the aptly nicknamed “City of Light” takes place on the Champs-Élysées. This year’s show returns after a two-year hiatus and will see the Arc de Triomphe once again covered in 3D projections, starting at 11 p.m.
Sydney’s New Year celebrations are some of the most famous in the world, beautifully framed by the harbor and the Opera House as a backdrop. This year, there’s a double dose of fireworks: the first show begins at 9 p.m., inspired by the sea, land and sky and part of a celebration of Indigenous culture, while the event main event kicks off around midnight, with pyrotechnics launched 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 the centerpiece of Nigeria’s New Year celebrations, which are culturally and religiously diverse. This year’s New Year’s Eve will see the city skies come alive with midnight fireworks shows and all-night parties at venues across the city’s Victoria Island. At the island’s NOK by Alara restaurant, guests can enjoy a three-course dinner followed by celebrations starting at 11 p.m., themed ‘African Opulence’.
People celebrated New Year in Istanbul, Turkey on December 31, 2021.
On New Year’s Eve, fireworks light up the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul’s 30-kilometer waterway, and can be watched from a nighttime river cruise or from the shore. However, most people congregate in and around the tourist and nightlife hotspot of Taksim Square, and many parts of the city hold their own street parties and fireworks displays.
Fireworks light up the sky over Edinburgh Castle as part of Hogmanay celebrations on December 31, 2015.
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The iconic London Eye fireworks display marks its return this year, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Only those who manage to score one of 100,000 tickets will attend, but many more will be watching from around the world. The display begins at midnight and will of course be aided by Big Ben, which rings to mark the start of 2023.
Fireworks explode over the waters and canals of Venice in 2016.
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Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand
For lovers of relaxation: A soothing sunset on the beach of Koh Phangan.
This island in the Gulf of Thailand is famous for its monthly Full Moon parties, and New Year’s Eve offers a supercharged version with no limits. Hat Rin Beach is lit up with fireworks and traditional fire shows, with music pounding non-stop from early afternoon until the following day. But a host of clubs in the area will be more than happy to extend the party even longer.
The 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 can opt for a more spiritual approach, visiting a shrine to pray for an auspicious New Year or participating in a ringing ritual at a temple. And if you want to blend in with the locals, catch the sunrise on New Year’s Day on the waterfront along Tokyo Bay.