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Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Iceland

Iceland was recently rated as one of the best places to spend Christmas, much to the surprise of many Icelanders. It’s not that the Icelandic people don’t get festive during the Christmas holidays – they certainly do. But most Icelanders celebrate the Christmas holiday in the comfort of their own homes, and many shops, restaurants and public services shut down completely over December 24 and 25. A better holiday on which to visit Iceland is New Year’s Eve.

If you thought Reykjavik partied hard on the average Friday or Saturday night…well, you haven’t seen anything yet. On New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik, many people dine with family, while others book a table at one of the city’s best restaurants. Then, at midnight, it seems the whole town lights off fireworks at the same time. During the rest of the year, average folks need a special permit to light fireworks off on their property. This is the one night of the year they are free to go wild with the fireworks, and they certainly do! Looking out over the city at midnight is a magical sight to behold, as seemingly thousands of fireworks shoot up into the night sky Once the fireworks have fizzled out, partiers take to the clubs, dancing and drinking the night away, often until 5am the next day.

I don’t know about you, but I’m dreaming of going back to Iceland, and New Year’s Eve sounds like the perfect time  to go. With cheap flights in Europe so readily available, it’s easy to plan a budget trip to Iceland, especially during winter off season when prices are even lower.  And who wouldn’t want to ring in the New Year away from home? Forget the stress and annoyance of throwing the perfect party for your friends or spending hours trying to secure the perfect dinner reservation. In Iceland the party is right there in the streets, and the big fireworks show costs nothing to watch.  Ringing in the New Year in Iceland, your biggest concerns will be what to wear in Reykjavik…and maybe how many Icelandic hot dogs is too many at 5am.

Photo by Kristin Sig

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Spend New Year’s Eve in France

New Year’s Eve is, for some, one of the craziest party nights of the year. Others see it as a more romantic holiday, a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the new year with a loved one. No matter which stance you prefer, France can be an ideal New Year’s holiday destination.

Go dancing and clubbing with friends, of hit the street parties at the Champs-Elysees and Montmarte if you’re with a group.  Check out the large crowds and midnight fireworks around the Eiffel Tower or head to the Sacre Coeur Cathedral plaza in Montmarte for a more laid back street party.  Looking for a more romantic experience for your New Year’s Eve in France? Book early and snag a table at the perfect candlelit bistro and you can be clinking champagne glasses with your lover at midnight.

France is December is cold, but the holiday lights make the city beautiful no matter what the temperature. Prices aren’t exactly low around the holidays though. If you can’t quite swing the cost, check out some French gift ideas for the Francophile in your life and then plan a trip once the holiday rush is over.

Photo by stevec77