Party getaways

If you want to travel for New Year’s Eve, Prathima Ananth Narayan reveals the world’s most exciting parties

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Berlin, Germany Brandenburg Gate

If you’re looking for the ultimate rush, then Berlin is the place to be for New Year’s Eve, or shall we call it Silvester as the Germans do (signifying the feast day of St Silvester). Germany’s capital goes all out on December 31, hosting the longest party in the world. And by long we’re not talking about the fact that it lasts until the wee hours of the morning (which it does), their New Year’s Eve bash is spread across two kilometres (or 80,000sqm of open air space to be precise). From the Strasse des 17 Juni between Brandenburger Tor and Siegessäule, you’ll find tent after tent of food (don’t forget to pick up some schnitzel ) and entertainment from a range of international and local artists and DJs, for a party hopping experience unlike any other. More than a million people celebrate in Berlin each year, with more than 2,000 fireworks set off into the night to commemorate a fresh start, so raise your glass and wish the world ‘Guten Rutsh!’
For more information, visit www.silvester-berlin.de.

Getting there: Lufthansa flies from Dubai to Berlin with a stopover in Munich or Frankfurt starting at Dhs3,080 return, www.lufthansa.com/ae.

While you’re there…
Catch the sights and sounds of Berlin on a Segway. Sign up for a tour online on your preferred dates by visiting www.citysegwaytours.com/berlin.

Edinburgh, United Kingdom Hogmanay

Get a head start by beginning the celebrations a day early in Edinburgh. The three-day festival of Hogmanay marks the New Year celebrations in the Scottish capital. Starting with a torch procession on day one, there’s a mad street party on the second day where you can jam with international artists at Concert in the Greens, and put on your dancing shoes to take part in the Scottish traditional dance called the ‘Céilidh’. As the clock strikes 12, watch the sky light up with a magnificent display of fireworks. If you’re not feeling too worse for wear on January 1, take part in the Loony Dook, where everyone jumps into the freezing River Forth. The day doesn’t end there – head on over to Edinburgh’s old town and get involved in an array of sports and games.
For more information, visit www.edinburghshogmanay.org.

Getting there: British Airways flies Dubai to Edinburgh with a stopover in Heathrow starting at Dhs3,370 return, www.britishairways.com.

While you’re there…
Get away from the city life to the quiet Edinburgh countryside and enjoy long walks along the canal in Linlithgow, the fishing village in Cramond or the hilly Pentlands

New York, USA Times Square

Counting down to the New Year in the heart of dazzling New York City is legendary. If NYC is where you’ve decided to spend New Year’s Eve, it without a doubt has to be at Times Square. Millions gather every year to leave behind the old and start afresh, watching larger than life musical performances (Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are scheduled to perform this year) and the lighting of the custom-made New Year’s Eve ball – a tradition that has been carrying on for 107 years! Just before the gala begins, write down your wish for 2012 on a piece of confetti and post it on the New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall at Times Square Visitor Centre. As the clock strikes 12, a blizzard of this confetti is released on to the excited crowd. You know you’ll be raving about this epic bash for the rest of your life.
For more information, visit www.timessquarenyc.org/events/new-years-eve.

Getting there: Emirates flies direct from Dubai to New York, starting at Dhs6,950 return, www.emirates.com.

While you’re there…
Don’t miss out on soaking up some of that famous New York culture. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art or catch a Broadway show. For a rundown of all that’s on over New Year, visit newyork.timeout.com.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Copacabana

The Brazilians definitely know how to party, and New Year’s Eve at Copacabana will appeal to those looking for carnival fun. What to expect? A 4km long white beach, stunning scenery, live music, outstanding food and millions of excited revelers dancing in abandon and counting down to the end of a year and the beginning of another. The 20 minute fireworks at the stroke of midnight are said to be one of the best in the world. Don’t try to stand out, dress in white like the rest because the locals believe wearing white on New Year’s brings good luck (and we can all use a bit of luck, right?). You’ll revel in the Brazilian culture as Copacabana raises the festivity stakes with a party that you’ll wish never ends.
For more information, visit www.timeout.com.br/rio-de-janeiro/en.

Getting there: Air France flies direct from Dubai to Rio de Janeiro with a stopover in Paris starting at Dhs8,741 return, www.airfrance.ae.

While you’re there…
Sign up for a Favela Tour – a walking tour of the slums of Rio. We get that it might sound a little unpleasant, but the shanty towns are welcoming and the tour is an amazing insight into the daily lives of the locals and throws light on a completely different facet of Brazilian culture, its people and lifestyle. www.favelatour.com.br.

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