Travel & Living

Five Beautiful (and Unexpected) Places to Ring in 2018

by Douglas Greenwood
12.29.2017
Did your destination make the list? Maybe it's time to start planning for next year —make it somewhere unexpected.

The run-up to New Year's Eve is always a flurry of changing plans, cancelled parties and splitting your time between five different places. If you spend it at home, there's this horrible fear that you'll bail on all of your plans to be boring and have a chilled night. Or, you'll head out to the same reliable nightlife spot you've been to a thousand times before.

To escape the mundanity of spending the last night of the year in the same place, why not set your sights on somewhere further afield? From the chic streets of Paris to the tranquil beauty of a remote island in Scotland, these are the most beautiful places you can head to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Fukuoka, Japan

Overshadowed by the prolific reputations of Tokyo and Osaka, few people really focus on Fukuoka as a New Year's destination. That being said, the beautiful juxtaposition of the tech-forward city and the humble countryside around it make for a really versatile way to spend your last night of the year. 

Fukuoka nightlife is renowned for being relentless and lively, and the fireworks displays are meant to be mesmerizing to boot. However, if you want to experience NYE the traditional way, join the locals for Hatsumōde, a three-day ceremony in which worshippers visit Shinto shrines to ensure good luck and prosperity in the new year. 

Stay at the With The Style Hotel, $550 a night. 

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The Amazon Rainforest, Peru

Imagine waking up in 2018 in the heart of the Amazon, surrounded by birds of paradise and lush green foliage, feeling fresh? That's a far cry from waking up hungover in your city centre apartment at four in the afternoon.

Nowadays, it's possible to spend your New Year's Eve with friends in the tropical temperatures of the world's biggest rainforest. You have a couple of options depending on how adventurous you are, too: either camp for 10 days by the banks of the river with friends, or bouge it up a bit with a four-day riverboat cruise, where you can spot the rare, pink amazon river dolphin in its natural habitat. Expensive, but a special way to spend your holiday.

Stay at the Treehouse Hotel in Iquitos, Peru, at $895 for 3 days /2 nights. 

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Foula, Scotland

If the idea of celebrating on December 31st is your worst nightmare, how about spending the evening in one of the most remote places in the world, where New Year's isn't celebrated until halfway through January? Foula, a tiny island off of Shetland, is one of a handful of places where the Julian calendar is followed, so New Years Day falls on our January 13th. 

That means if you manage to cross the sea in the final days of December, you'll experience the new year as if it wasn't even happening. Stay in one of the two small lodges, speak with one – or all – of the 30 people who live on the island, and feel literally hundreds of miles away from the hysteria of inner-city parties. 

Stay in a modernized croft house (farm house) on Airbnb, at $65 a night. 

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Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Wherever you are, one of the surefire signs that it's New Year's Eve is every bar, street and landmark is teeming with people. So what if you were to head to a place so remote that the possibility of encountering a crowd was impossible?

Most people are beguiled by fireworks, but it doesn't get any more beautiful than the sight of Morocco's Atlas Mountains, as the sun starts to set and the sky turns dark blue in winter. In the warmer months, it's possible to head out into the mountains and camp under a clear sky of stars. While it's a little frostier though, you'd best stay indoors, and nothing says new beginnings quite like a rejuvenating stay in Kasbah du Toubkal: a quiet, private retreat two hours from Marrakesh. 

Stay at the Kasbah du Toubkal, at $356 a night. 

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Paris, France

Paris has a reputation for being showy and commercial come New Years Eve, but if you look deeper than the celebrations staged on the Champs Elysées and beneath the Eiffel Tower, you'll find a city that rings in the new year in serious, eclectic style.

Often mocked for its clubbing culture being behind cities like Berlin and Amsterdam, this year marked the city's first 24-hour license being awarded to Concrete, a house and techno haven moored on the River Seine. If you enjoy soaking up the beautiful vibes of dance music lovers, you can head along there this New Years. See if you can stay until the music stops at midday, by which time a frosty, strangely empty Paris will be yours to explore. 

Stay at the Relais Christine, at $560 a night.

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