Europe Traveler's event picks for Dec. 28-Jan. 1

London's New Year's Day parade includes floats, marching bands and entertainers from around the world. The event starts Jan. 1 at noon.


By KAREN BRADBURY | Stars and Stripes | Published: December 24, 2018

Vierschanzentournee/ Four Hills Tournament

Location: Austria and Germany
Dates: Dec. 29-Jan. 6
This tournament consists of four World Cup ski jumping competitions, with two held in Germany and two held in Austria. Athletes racking up the most points over the course of all four events are declared champions. Jumping takes place in Oberstdorf Dec. 29-30; Garmisch-Partenkirchen Dec. 31-Jan. 1; Innsbruck Jan. 3-4 and Bischofshofen Jan. 5-6.
Admission: standing places in the tribune to the event in Oberstdorf begin at around 16 euros for adults and 8 euros for children.

Silvesterschwimmen / New Year’s Swim

Location: Seepromenade in front of Hotel Post, Pertisau, Austria
Date: Dec. 31 (registration from 12:30 p.m.)
The 40-degree-Fahrenheit water temperature doesn’t put off some 2,000 swimmers who plunge into the pretty Alpine lake known as the Achensee on the last day of the year. A local diving club throws in an additional challenge- climbing over a 13-foot high artificial iceberg and ringing the bell. Other swimmers deck themselves out in creative costumes, sometimes incorporating clever ways to keep warm in their looks.
Admission: Free to watch; 15 euros to swim

London’s New Year’s Day Parade

Location: London, England
Date: Jan. 1 (starts at noon)
This spectacle of floats, marching bands, musicians and other entertainers from around the globe typically attracts a half million spectators. The parade gets underway from Piccadilly and traces a route over Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Parliament Street.
Admission: Free; tickets are needed for grandstand seating.

Neujahrsfackelschwimmen/ New Year’s Torch Swim

Location: Fuessen, Germany
Date: Jan. 1
As darkness falls, up to fifty hardy souls take to the icy waters of the Lech and float along its current while holding lit torches. The swimmers are volunteers from local water safety organizations. From 4 p.m., mulled wine and sausages are available for purchase by the Theresienbruecke, by the St. Mang Kloster. Once the swimmers are safely ashore, fireworks are set off.
Admission: Free

City Biathlon

Location: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Date: Dec. 30 (starts 5 p.m.)
Top athletes take to Garmisch’s prettily decorated city streets to compete in the sport of biathlon, which combines cross-country skiing with shooting a rifle. The winners get their honors at the Spielbank immediately following the race.
Admission: Free

Umbria Jazz Winter

Location: Orvieto, Italy
Dates: Dec. 28-Jan. 1
Some of the finest names in Italian jazz, along with American artists spanning different generations, take to the stage. Many artists create special projects especially for the festival. This year’s edition explores the history of jazz up to its current state, examining the music of Italian cinema; Bud Powell and bebop; New Orleans, the cradle of jazz; and the work of Italian singer-songwriter Fabrizio De Andrea. Many musicians perform on several occasions over the festival’s five-day run. Highlight events include the gospel concert at the end of the New Year’s Day Mass in the Cathedral and the New Year’s Eve parties.
Admission: individual tickets to concerts start from 12 euros

Sao Silvestre Race

Location: Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon, Portugal
Date: Dec. 29 (race starts at 5:30 p.m.)
This 10-km run along the festively decorated major avenue of the Portuguese capital is a rite of the season attracting thousands. The European Athletics has rated this a five star race.
Admission: online registration costs 20 euros for individuals