A dinner party with friends, a quiet romantic evening with your loved one, champagne and a kiss at midnight – not all of us find this way of celebrating New Year's Eve particularly enticing.
But, who says you have to spend your New Year's in a traditional way?
Embark on an adventure instead and ring in the new year in the most memorable way. Join hundreds of thousands of happy people on the streets of Peru, hike through the most famous trail on Mt. Everest, or salsa your way into the new year in Havana.
All of us adventurers get a little giddy at the thought of an unusual trip, and starting one around New Year’s is a special treat. Even if you don't have an adventure prepared for this year, there's always the next one.
Here are our 7 New Year's destinations for an unforgettable holiday adventure.
What Makes It Special for New Year's: New Year’s Eve is the most important holiday of the year in Japan and the festivities thrown in its honor reflect that. It's the time when people like to spend time with their families, without thinking about work and stress.
Japanese New Year signifies a fresh start and a break from all the worries and problems of the old year.
Traditionally, people visit the temples around the country during the three-day festival. Precisely at midnight, the largest temples ring 108 times to symbolize freedom from worldly desires. Millions of people swarm to the temples to honor this tradition.
This enchanting atmosphere will draw you right in, with people in traditional Kimonos everywhere, music playing on the squares and street vendors selling trinkets around the city.
Your Ideal Company: Your Japanese adventure will be all about fun, holiday spirit and maybe even some adrenaline rush, if that's what you had in mind. So, your ideal company would be a group of fun-loving friends or your family.
There are plenty of party options around the city to satisfy everyone's taste, and if you want to spend your holidays more peacefully, but still want to take your family on an adventure, Japan is an amazing choice.
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Things to Do There: If you're headed to Japan for New Year's, don’t miss the festivities in the city. Join millions of people doing Hatsumode, the visit to the temples around midnight. Buy a lucky charm for the next year, join the crowd in a prayer and try Japanese specialties at the food stands. Enjoy the magical atmosphere as the bells start ringing repeatedly at midnight.
Should you decide to extend your stay, you have to try skiing on Japanese snow slopes. Head to Yuzawa as a day trip from Tokyo, or book a skiing trip in one of the world-class resorts in Hokkaido and Tohoku. Most of these resorts have play zones that make them amazing for families with small children.
And lastly, there is the hike through the gorgeous Kii Hanto. On your way, you will encounter sacred shrines and mesmerizing vistas with waterfalls, streams, rivers and the Pacific Ocean. This hike is an out-of-this-world experience you will never forget.
Mt. Everest, Nepal
What Makes It Special for New Year's: During the winter, Nepal becomes especially enchanting. This country turns into a winter wonderland, with snowy landscapes, frozen lakes and waterfalls and a bunch of things to do to celebrate the holidays.
Although Nepali New Year is actually in October, due to the Western influence, there are various celebrations at the end of the year. In fact, there are seven New Years celebrated in this multicultural country.
December 30th is known as Tamu Lhosar or the Gurung Community New Year. It's when Kathmandu comes alive, with lots of different cultural programs on the streets of the city, with music and traditional food.
Mt. Everest is as stunning and fascinating as ever during this time of year. But it's an ideal challenge if your New Year's resolution is to see the world. You will literally be on top of the world, even if you just decide to trek and camp at the base of Everest.
Your Ideal Company: Conquering Mt. Everest is not everyone's ideal choice for a celebration or something everyone is capable of. That’s why you need to choose your company wisely.
Take a good friend who is a team player and is up for a good challenge. Or you can even go solo on this path of self-exploration and self-discovery. But don't think you will be lonely. There are well-organized expeditions to make sure you stay in good company.
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Things to Do There: There’s no need to introduce Mount Everest, but let's just say you'd be trekking and hiking through the most exciting hiking trail in the world and visiting the most famous Base Camp in the world.
It truly is an adventure of a lifetime.
Of course, you don't have to be a top-notch climber to experience New Year in this thrilling region. You can opt for less challenging hiking trails and just enjoy passing through the snowy scenery, sleepy villages, camps in the meadows and stay in one of the legendary tea houses along the way.
What Makes It Special for New Year's: The capital city of Tasmania, Hobart, becomes the place to be during the New Year festivities. Of course, the experience is completely different than anywhere else in the world, considering that New Year is a summer holiday in Australia.
The Taste of Tasmania is this state's most popular event and this year, it takes place from December 28th to January 3rd.
Enjoy the beautiful weather, delicious seafood, great wine and other delicacies from all over the country, along with the musical program, over 100 buskers and local performers.
For those who would rather spend their New Year's Eve partying, Hobart is an excellent and versatile choice. The city is packed with various epic New Year's parties that you can't miss. And when you get tired of partying, embark on the ultimate challenge for the prepared - the South Coast Track.
Your Ideal Company: Your ideal company depends on the type of Tasmanian New Year you want to experience. If you want to join the festivities in Hobart, you can travel with a group of friends and even your family.
However, if you embark on the South Coast Track, carefully choose your company. It’s a trek for the prepared, and you might even want to do it alone.
The challenge and the landscapes will ensure you don't get bored even for a second.
Things to Do There: The South Coast Track is a once-in-a-lifetime treat for the wanderers.
This is a 9-day, 85-kilometer walk through the unspoiled Tasmanian wilderness.
During the trek, you will be challenged to walk about 15 kilometers a day with at least 20kg on your back, and you will be camping at night. We suggest taking a reliable company and a reliable backpack on this trip, such as Patagonia Lightweight Travel Tote Backpack.
This is an amazing path of endurance and self-discovery that will make you push your limits. The peak time to visit it is January, but that doesn't mean you will be surrounded by hoards of people.
Trekking here, you'll be able to take a dip on the most remote Tasmanian beaches, spot rare animal species and immerse yourself in the captivating nature. At the end of the day (or 9 days in this case), this trek is one of the most rewarding experiences you'll ever have.
What Makes It Special for New Year's: If you hate all the fuss around New Year, you will love the idea of spending the holidays at a quiet, non-touristic place where you can celebrate on your own terms.
In fact, the New Year in former Burma is in April, so there won't be many people there in December and January.
But, that doesn't mean you will get bored.
If your idea of a New Year's celebration doesn't include loud parties or anything similar, you will undoubtedly have a wonderful time in Myanmar.
This country's energy, history and spirituality will take your breath away and make you believe you've stepped out of reality. Buddhist temples and stupas reflect the country's religiousness.
Whether you're in Yangon visiting the majestic Shwedagon Pagoda or trekking through pine forests, a trip to Myanmar is going to be enriching and unforgettable.
Your Ideal Company: Bring your partner for a peaceful and romantic time that will bring you closer and become a warm memory. Or, if you decide to go solo, Myanmar will enchant you and recharge your batteries for the new year.
Things to Do There: Don't for a second think that New Year in Myanmar will be boring. There are plenty of things to do here that will make this experience not only enlightening but also wildly exciting.
Firstly, you can't miss visiting the bustling Yangon where the old world meets the new. Explore the Bay of Bengal and wander through nature.
Don’t miss out the chance to see Bagan - the temple town - that holds 4,000 sacred stupas. You can even take a balloon ride and observe the golden pagodas across the green plains of Bagan from above. It will surely be a sight you've never seen before.
What Makes It Special for New Year's: Did you know that Peru becomes the epicenter of New Year celebrations in the world? In fact, Cusco is one of the 10 most popular New Year destinations. So, if you want to see why Peruvian New Year is so popular, head to Cusco and check it out.
Even though the celebration in Peru is associated with parties, drinking and having a lot of wild fun with friends, there’s a lot more to it.
Peruvian festivities are also very spiritual and superstitious, including many interesting customs that make this night unique.
If you decide to celebrate on Plaza de Armas, the main square in Cusco, you will be joined by several hundreds of thousands of people.
Or, you can always organize a little getaway from the crowds and see the magnificent Machu Picchu.
Your Ideal Company: If you're headed to one of the biggest parties in the world on the main square in Cusco, you might want to have your most enthusiastic party people to keep you company. It takes some serious dedication to handle this enormous celebration, so friends are your best choice.
However, you don't have to be in the midst of it all. You can visit Peru and spend your New Year's in a quieter way, sightseeing and honoring Peruvian traditions. For that kind of a holiday, why not share a romantic couple of days with your SO?
Things to Do There: Count down to zero with hundreds of thousands of other happy people on Plaza de Armas in Cusco. Get ready for a night full of music, flowers, confetti, fireworks and tons of fun.
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Don't forget to honor at least some of the Peruvian traditions.
Wearing something yellow means you will have luck in the new year while carrying beans in your pocket means you'll have money. Peruvians also eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight for luck, each grape for one month of the year.
If you decide to stay for a bit longer, visit Machu Picchu which is just outside of Cusco. This awe-inspiring historic site doesn't need any introduction. You simply can't miss trekking through Machu Picchu if you find yourself in the area.
What Makes It Special for New Year's: It’s impossible not to have an unforgettable New Year's Eve in India.
India celebrates several New Years, but the one on January 1st is the most popular celebration in the country.
Bustling cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi or Bangalore become the centers of parties with concerts on the main squares. Famous Bollywood stars and other celebrities entertain the crowds at the shows, and thousands of people spend the night with friends, family and loved ones.
If that’s not your thing, don’t fret – your Indian experience can be completely different.
You can spend a beach vacation on a secluded beach in Gokarna, trek among the frozen hills of Gangtok, or raft through the white waters in the Himalayan foothills.
Your Ideal Company: No one could possibly get bored in India! There’s something for everyone. But, if you decide to spend the vacation in one of the cities, travel with a group of energetic friends.
If you’re into a more active celebration, like a hiking or a rafting trip, take a friend or a partner. And if you imagine your New Year’s trip as more of a beach vacation, then you can easily make it a family holiday.
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Things to Do There: We suggest you extend your stay and indulge in another adventure or two while you're there.
One of the coolest experiences in India is white water rafting in Shivpuri.
Don’t miss the thrill of rafting in India. There are numerous packages to choose from with easier and tougher challenges and camping options for the ultimate experience.
A fun camel safari Jaisalmer is another interesting option if you want to explore the Indian desert. Or try a jeep safari in the Kanha National Park and let Indian wildlife fascinate you.
What Makes It Special for New Year's: Cuba is absolutely charming all year long, but there's something about Christmas spirit and New Year festivities that makes being in this lovely country even more special.
Holiday traditions in Cuba really are incredibly colorful. Singing carols and putting up Christmas lights is nothing compared to how Cubans do it.
Cubans need to make sure they are through with the old year. Don't be alarmed if you see them throwing dirty water from their balconies, dragging their suitcases around the block or burning effigies in their backyards. Even if you don’t fully understand it, make sure you join in the fun.
Cuba welcomes its visitors with exceptionally warm and friendly people, electrifying music and dancing, exotic cuisine and altogether an incredible, vibrant atmosphere you won't find anywhere else in the world.
Your Ideal Company: Expect a relaxed and charming vacation in Cuba, with even a little bit of romance. Beautiful Havana checks off all the criteria for having a romantic vacation with your partner.
Truth be told, Cuba is just as great a choice if you were planning on spending holidays with your family. In fact, New Year in Cuba is all about family. There are plenty of options for families with children, especially because of the country's fun-loving spirit and warm climate.
Things to Do Here: Havana becomes one huge party over the winter holidays thanks to the Charangas de Bejucal festival. Expect inspiring street performances and traditional Cuban food everywhere you look.
And, you can forget about crazy New Year’s parties. Cuban holidays are centered around family.
Still, you can fill your vacation with all sorts of fun activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and scuba diving. And, don't forget to experience hot salsa rhythms in the capital of this passionate dance!
If one of these destinations has been on your bucket list for a while, New Year’s is the perfect time to check it off. So, pack your bags and get ready for the holiday vacation you will never forget!