New Year’s Eve often promises great things however, it’s usually a big letdown. Maybe it’s time to break the old tradition of cramped nightclubs and get away from it all, writes Paula Burns.
Expectations are often high around New Years Eve. The movies have us believing that we should be at the best party in town. Surrounded by twinkling lights and glasses of sparkling bubbly. The reality is often being shoved into the corner of a dingy nightclub that on any other night you wouldn’t step foot in it but the promise of the ringing in of the New Year being the best one ever causes major lack in judgment.
Escaping Ireland definitely sounds like a good option and with lots of cool European destinations to discover it’s the ideal time of year to try something different.
Travel writer Kevin Gleeson recommends the Hungarian city of Budapest. Just a three-hour flight from Dublin what’s not to like?
“Budapest not only has beautiful architecture and an abundance of historical sights to fill your days exploring but it’s also one of the few remaining European capitals where you can still find exceptional value,” says Kevin.
What to do:
Kevin recommends taking in the incredible views of the city from tramparts of the Fisherman’s Bastion or eating and drinking your way around the Great Market Hall. Afterwards why not indulge in some relaxation.
“After a day of sightseeing there is no better, or chillier, time of year to get acquainted with the city’s famous thermal baths,” he recommends.
Where to stay:
Kevin’s favourite is the neoclassical townhouse Brody House that is now a boutique hotel with 10 rooms filled with works by artists who have at one stage had a studio in the building or collaborated with its artistic owners.
Where to drink:
“Head along to Csendes Letterem on Ferenczy István. This dark, cosy bar with chandeliers and strange memorabilia rang in the New Year during our visit with everyone silently respecting the Hungarian national anthem before raising the roof with a toast. A uniquely local way to ring in the New Year,” says Kevin.
Sarah Slattery of thetravelexpert.ie recommends the Danish capital city of Copenhagen.
“Unlike most major European cities, Copenhagen has a cosy feel. Although full of architectural masterpieces it doesn’t feel like a big city,” says Sarah.
Being voted the ‘Best City for cyclists’ also means you won’t be spending your New Years looking for ways to navigate the city.
What to do:
Strong on Sarah’s must see for the festive period are the Tivoli Gardens.
“The Tivoli Gardens are one of the most magical places to visit over Christmas and New Year. The Gardens are filled with 70,000 Christmas baubles and more than 1,000 Christmas trees completely covered in lights,” says Sarah. “There are 60 Christmas market stalls too. Tivoli Gardens are decorated until the 5th of January so Copenhagen is an ideal choice for a post Christmas break, with or without children,” says Sarah
Where to Stay:
Sarah recommends the Tivoli Hotel that is a short 15-minute walk to the city centre. As part of the Arp Hansen chain of 12 hotels, Sarah found the extra touches and friendly staff along with its location a plus.
Where to Drink:
For a more unique Danish experience away from the tourist areas, Sarah recommends the meatpacking district for drinks.
“Crammed between butchers shops and warehouses are some of Copenhagen’s trendiest bars and clubs. Expect craft beers and tight jeans,” says Sarah.
If you’re looking for hustle and bustle and being at the more centre of things Sarah suggests the Nyhavn area. Thanks to the colourful 17th and 18th century townhouses it’s one of Copenhagen’s most photographed neighbourhoods. However expect to pay higher prices for the Instagram worthy pictures.
Travel advisor on Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder with Ivan Yates, Michelle Jackson recommends a Ski trip to ring in the New Year.
“One of my favourite places around Christmas time is Austria and in particular the Gastein region and town of Bad Hofgastein. When you see bad in front of a town in Austria it is actually good news because the bad means that it is a spa town and built on therapeutic spa water so you don’t need to be on skis to enjoy a New Year break,” says Michelle
What to do:
There is no need to worry if skiing isn’t your forte. Enjoying the atmospheric surroundings of being in the snow-capped mountains is all part of spending New Year away from home.
“I love wrapping up warm with my snow boats and drinking in the icy pure air of the mountains. There are also the glorious little cafes with exceptional hot chocolate usually served with a chocolate on the side and of course the quaint shops with local handcrafts,” explains Michelle
Most people who go on a skiing holiday will tell you that it’s all about the Après Ski rather then the skiing itself. Maybe it’s to do with the altitude but regardless any ski resort, like Bad Hofgastein come to life in the evenings.
“Although I haven’t mastered skiing my Après Ski is pretty good and the atmosphere in the bars in Austria is unique. Age doesn’t matter and everyone mingles in high spirits after a day on the piste!” says Michelle.
New Years Eve:
This winter wonderland will erupt with a free concert from 9pm after a ski event brings local ski schools by torch light into the valley.
For more check Michelle’s Website www.thenoveltraveller.com