Lonely Planet Writer

5 tips: New Year's Eve in Europe

New Year's Eve. A time to muse over the year gone by. To dream about the year to come. To celebrate with family and friends. To get tiddly and kiss strangers.

Except it doesn't always go to plan, does it? New Year's Eve is one of the trickiest nights to get right.

If you've got a big night planned in one of Europe's capital cities, we want it to go well. While we can't promise your evening will run without a hitch, these tips should help:

1) Wrap up warm

It goes without saying that if you're spending New Year's Eve in Europe, it's going to be cold. Just how many layers you'll need to put on depends on where you'll be and how much standing outside you're planning on doing. Moscow will likely see night time temperatures down to about -10°C (14°F), while Athens looks positively balmy at about 10°C (50°F).

2) Have a big lunch

There are a few reasons for this. Unless you've booked a table well in advance, your chances of just popping in for something to eat are low. Restaurants everywhere charge a hefty rate for a set menu and require booking. With a long lunch you can get away with snaking and save plenty of cash. And, if your New Year's Eve is taking the usual alcohol-involved route, then we want to make sure you've had something to soak it all up.

3) Ask a local

Don't know where to go for the countdown to midnight? Start chatting to the locals and you soon will. Whether it's the bus driver, a waiter in the coffee shop, or the hotel concierge - if they're local then they'll know where to find the best spots. Be sure to mention your likes and interests for a personal recommendation.

4) Go out late.

Leave late, stay late. Follow this motto to help make sure you don't peak too early. An ideal time to leave your accommodation is around 10PM - this will give you a couple of hours to find your bearings before the big countdown, and then the rest of the night is all yours. If you're not used to such a late start, have a sleep earlier in the day.

5) Don't plan much for January 1st.

The morning after the night before. You may want to keep exploring, but don't expect much to be open. If you're lucky then there'll be a local park that you can visit for a brisk walk to blow away the cobwebs. Failing that, a strong coffee and a big breakfast should help. If you can't find anything to eat, aim for a multicultural neighbourhood, Asian and Middle Eastern locations rarely close on public holidays.


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