New Year’s TrailVienna, Austria
Date: Dec. 31 (from 2 p.m.)
The elegant city center becomes a giant party zone with live acts on stage, DJ sets, show programs and other entertainment. In the afternoon, Vienna’s dance schools offer crash courses in how to waltz, transforming Graden into an open-air ballroom. Fireworks go off above City Hall at midnight. Countless food and drink stands keep partygoers fuelled and warm. From 11 a.m. Jan. 1, a live broadcast of the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Concert is broadcast on a big screen set up in front of City Hall.
Silvester in BerlinBerlin, Germany
Date: Dec. 31 (from 7 p.m.)
Germany’s biggest bash takes place within a mile-long party zone running between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. Stands selling food, drink and trinkets to help see in the New Year line either side of the pedestrian alley. This year’s crop of artists on stage includes Mando Diao, East 17, The Rasmus, Howard Jones and others. The fireworks that go off at midnight and images of the gathered masses are broadcast to households throughout the land. Strolling along the party mile during the afternoon hours may present the chance to catch artists rehearsing prior to the big night.
Cirque du SoleilSAP Arena, Mannheim, Germany
Dates: Dec. 25-29
One of the most recent productions of the world’s largest contemporary circus is titled Corteo, in which the passing of a clown is celebrated with recollections of a life lived to the full. As with all Cirque productions, expect a mix of acrobatics, colorful costumes and energetic soundtrack.
Admission: Ticket prices begin at 59.50 euros for adults and 49.40 euros for ages 14 and under.
Triberger Weihnachtszauber / Triberg Christmas MagicTriberg, Germany
Deep in the Black Forest, Germany’s highest waterfalls sparkle with a million twinkling lights and a variety of entertainment, from pop artists to gospel choirs, is performed on stage. The Children’s World offers puppet shows, live animals and a nativity scene. From 5:30 p.m., fire shows dazzle visitors of all ages. On the nights of Dec. 27-30, fireworks light up the skies.
Admission: adults pay 16 euros, ages 9-16 pay 12 euros, and ages eight and under enter free.
Umbria Winter JazzMancinelli Theater and other venues, Orvieto, Italy
Dec. 28-Jan. 1 (from noon daily)
This postcard-perfect hill town makes the ideal backdrop to a winter jazz festival. The sounds of jazz in all its genres ring out in the city square and other fun venues, from a museum to the elegant rooms of a palazzo. Some 90 events in all are on the docket. Program highlights include a gospel concert following the New Year's Mass in the Duomo and a concert greeting the New Year at the stroke of midnight.
Admission: Concerts are ticketed separately.
New Year’s Eve on the WaterfrontValletta, Malta
Date: Dec. 31
New Year’s Eve festivities in Malta’s ancient capital city feature live bands, roaming children’s entertainment and a grand fireworks display at midnight. A DJ spins classics and pop hits late into the night.
Dates: Dec. 30-Jan. 1
Nobody throws a party quite like Edinburgh, one of the New Year’s party capitals of Europe. Celebrations include a torchlit procession with pipers, drummers and fire artists on Dec. 30, ceilidh bands in the gardens, a massive street party with pop music and DJs on the evening of Dec. 31, and a chilly dip in the River Forth to start the New Year as part of the Loony Dook swim on Jan. 1.
Admission: Tickets to all major activities are essential. Tickets to the street party go for 31.50 pounds.