Whether it’s in extravagant attire or with dancing ’til dawn, start the year as you mean to go on with our pick of the most exciting ways to see in 2016

Rome, Italy

Rome Italy

Planning to see in the New Year in the Italian capital? Just make sure you pack some red underwear. Superstitious Italians believe that wearing daring lingerie on December 31 brings good luck, while enjoying a meal of cotechino con lenticchie (pigs’ trotters with lentils) promises prosperity for the year ahead. New Year’s celebrations here are an explosion of song, dance and fireworks, the biggest gatherings taking place at the Colosseum, Forum, Spanish Steps and St Peter’s Square – making Hotel Art by the Spanish Steps a particularly handy base. Try and save some energy for the following day, when circus shows and family-friendly entertainment draw crowds to Piazza del Popolo, but make sure it’s not all fun and games; according to Roman tradition, it’s important to work part of the day to ensure good times lie ahead.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Australia

New Year’s Eve firework displays are broadcast all over the world, but by far the most viewed is Sydney’s. More than 1.6 million people gather around the harbour to witness the magnificent pyrotechnics, synchronised to music and following a different theme each year. Some spectators arrive 12 hours early to secure a spot, so you’ll need to plan in advance – but it’s certainly worth it for this calibre of show, and the Sydney NYE Telstra app suggests good vantage spots whilst keeping you in the loop about crowding. Public transport is good on New Year’s Eve, but it’s still worth nabbing a hotel close to the harbour – such as Sir Stamford at Circular Quay. Hop to it though, places go quickly.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Scotland

With daring flamethrowers, torch-bearing processions and a sponsored swim in fancy dress, the Scottish capital’s three-day Hogmanay celebrations should be on everyone’s bucket list. On December 30, participants dressed as Shetland Vikings embark on a torch-lit procession from Royal Mile to Carlton Hill. The entertainment continues the following day with the grand Concert in the Gardens and firework displays illuminating Edinburgh Castle. Finally, on New Year’s Day, brave souls take part in the Loony Dook, raising money for charity by taking a dip in the River Forth, before parading through the streets in fancy dress – quite the spectator sport. To be in the thick of the action, stay at The Caledonian hotel on Princes Street, and book ahead; tickets for most events sell out quickly.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Rio life revolves around sun, sea and sand. So it’s no surprise that on New Year’s Eve two million partygoers gather on Copacabana Beach to sip caipirinhas and samba into the early hours, with barges out at sea setting off a flurry of fireworks at midnight. The traditional dress code is white, with many people also bringing white flowers to cast out at sea as part of an Afro-Brazilian ritual to honour Yemanja, Goddess of the Sea. For easy access to the action, and an exquisite spot to recover in, seek the comfort of the beachside Belmond Copacabana Palace hotel.

Madrid, Spain

Madrid Spain

According to Madridian legend, any NY reveller who manages to eat a dozen grapes as the clock strikes 12, making a wish for each one, will have good luck for the 52 weeks ahead – although some suggest the ritual was started in 1895 by farmers who needed to shift a surplus of fruit. Thankfully, there’s plenty of partying to be had in the Spanish capital that doesn’t involve inhaling fruit. In extravagant fancy dress, crowds gather in Puerta del Sol Square, throwing confetti and streamers beneath the imposing eighteenth-century buildings. The sound of popping corks, cheering crowds and car horns continues well into the early hours, with churros and hot chocolate on hand to soak up any of the night’s excesses. Public transport is usually suspended for a few hours and taxis can be hard to find, so it’s worth staying at a hotel close by, like the NH Collection Madrid Palacio de Tepa.

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