There are different traditions and beliefs, but there is one thing they all have in common: good luck. Because who doesn’t want to leave the bad things behind in the old year to start the new year fresh, with positive energy and good habits? Since everywhere around the world people look back on the year and see the new year as a new chapter, there are also different ways of doing this. And there are some pretty interesting ones! So if you feel like trying something new this year, see if one of these European countries can inspire you, and maybe 2023 will be your luckiest year yet.
In Scotland they call the last day of the year Hogmanay. Just like in Ireland, the Scotts have a tradition when it comes to the people walking through the door: first-footing. The person to walk through the door first is seen as the bringer of good luck and usually brings gifts such as whisky, shortbread or coal. Depending on where you are in Scotland there are other traditions, such as Comrie Flambeaux celebrated in Comrie, where there are 8 people holding up high, lit up torches and are followed by a crowd. They usually play music while celebrating, before throwing the torches into the river Earn. If you spend your Hogmonay in Edinburgh, you will find parties, concerts and more events all related to this tradition.
Where to stay in Edinburgh
Budget - Kick Ass Greyfriars
This funky hostel is located in the heart of Edinburgh.
Mid-range - CoDE Pod - The CoURT
The CoDE Pod - The CoURT is a trendy accommodation that offers sleeping pods in dorm rooms as well as beautiful private rooms.
Luxury - Motel One Edinburgh Royal
This classical hotel is not only located in a very central location but it’s also a sustainable property.
In Spain they have the tradition of the Twelve Grapes or Uvas de la Suerte (grapes of luck). When people start counting down, they eat a grape every second the bell chimes, starting from twelve. So when there are twelve seconds left until the clock strikes midnight, you put one in your mouth, the next one when there are eleven seconds left, and so on, until it is the new year (which means you have to chew pretty fast). The Spaniards do this for good luck, one grape for every month.
Where to stay in Madrid
Budget - Hostal Evoke Madrid
This hotel is located in the heart of Madrid, so perfect to go to after a night out in the city.
Mid-range - Sercotel Gran Hotel Conde Duque
With a tea-room, a gym and an interior like this, you’d be surprised about the price of this hotel!
Luxury - Only YOU Hotel Atocha
This beautifully decorated hotel has a rooftop with a beautiful view.
In the Netherlands you can already smell them on the streets two months before oliebollen. A sweet pastry made of fried dough, served warm and with powdered sugar, with or without raisins. There are stalls everywhere on the streets selling them, and a Dutch New Year’s Eve isn’t complete without having a bowl of oliebollen on the table (although people never seem to finish them and there are always some left for the next day, as just one is already quite filling). Waking up on New Year’s Day and staying in warm to recover from the night before? Many people do so, but there are also many people who take the Nieuwjaarsduik: a New Year’s Dive. No, not in a warm indoor pool, but at the beach. The daredevils of the Netherlands get together at the beach and run into the cold sea to start the year fresh.
Where to stay in Rotterdam
Budget - Stayokay Hostel Rotterdam
Stay your New Year’s Eve in Rotterdam in a very unique way: in one of the Cube Houses!
Mid-range - The James Rotterdam
This hotel has comfortable rooms, for fitness fanatics includes a gym, and is only a quick 10-minute walk from Rotterdam Central Station.
Luxury - nhow Rotterdam
At nhow Rotterdam you can book a room with a view of the sparkling skyline of Rotterdam. Can you imagine seeing the fireworks from here?
Ireland has different traditions and beliefs when it comes to New Year celebrations. One of them is that the first person to walk through the door after midnight could either bring you good or bad luck for the upcoming year. If you want a lucky year you have to make sure a black-haired handsome man walks through your door first. If there is a red-haired lady at your New Year’s party, make sure she doesn’t walk through the door first, as according to the Irish you could have bad luck for the rest of the year.
Where to stay in Dublin
Budget - Abbey Court Hostel
This hostel is known for the friendly staff and comfortable beds.
Mid-range - Wren Urban Nest
This hotel is beautifully designed and located in a central spot like a true nest, so you can sleep quickly and comfortably after celebrating New Year’s in the centre.
Luxury - The Mayson
This beautiful classic hotel has comfortably chic rooms perfect for any traveller looking for a blissful New Year’s getaway!
You might have seen the Greeks do it during weddings, but the Danes do it at New Year’s. They smash dishes that they save throughout the year (for instance if they get damaged) and throw them in front of the houses of friends and family. It sounds kind of aggressive, but they do it to wish each other good luck throughout the year, and the more plates you get, the more luck!
Where to stay in Copenhagen
Budget - Next House Copenhagen
This hotel is so beautifully designed you won’t even believe it is a hostel!
Mid-range - Comwell Copenhagen Portside Dolce by Wyndham
This hotel has a gym and a great restaurant, very close to the subway.
Luxury - Scandic CPH Strandpark
With a beautiful view of the water, this hotel serves a delicious breakfast.
The Italians, like many other countries, have different ways of welcoming the new year and beliefs of how to have the luckiest year yet. Not everywhere, but in some places in Italy, like in Rome and Naples, the Italians like to throw out old stuff, such as old clothes, old dishes and other things that no longer serve them. By this they hope to throw out the old energy, and make room for a new, fresh start. Do this while wearing some red underwear, and you will be guaranteed to have a happy new year!
Where to stay in Bolzano
Budget - Ottenkellerhof
Located 4 kilometres from the city centre, this hotel has a beautiful view of the mountains.
Mid-range - Stay COOPER | Laubenhaus
Stay in a wonderful penthouse apartment in the middle of the city centre.
Luxury - Stadt Hotel Città
The wooden floors in this beautiful hotel can’t help but make you feel cosy.
Dinner For One is a British short film, and while many people in the United Kingdom don’t know about its existence of this, Germans watch the sketch on the last day of the year. Since 1972 German television has been broadcasting it: a lonely, 90-year-old woman who gets served by her butler and pretends to have dinner with her deceased loved ones. While the movie is playing, families and friends get together and have a cosy dinner that usually consists of cheese fondue, raclette and/or lentils.
Where to stay in Hamburg
Budget - CAB20
This hostel is designed beautifully and everything is smart and contactless, making it an easy stay for everyone!
Mid-range - Motel One Hamburg
Motel One Hamburg is clean, comfortable and has a beautiful design.
Luxury - Boston Hotel HH
This elegant hotel is situated in a central location. Watch Dinner For One before celebrating in the beautiful centre of Hamburg!
In the region of Appenzell in Switzerland, twice a year the Silvesterchlausen appear: one on the 31st of December and one on the 13th of January. The Silvesterchlausen dress up with branches and huge cowbells and yodel and sing, to ring the new year. The reason they do it twice a year is that the 13th of January is when the new year used to be during the old Julian calendar, which they used in Switzerland back in the day.
Where to stay in Zürich
Budget - Zurich Youth Hostel
This hostel serves traditional Swiss breakfast, a perfect way to start the new year.
Mid-range - Hotel Hottingen
This comfy hotel is located in a quiet area but very close to public transport.
Luxury - Boutique Hotel Seidenhof
This beautiful hotel has a bar and a wonderful garden.
In Hungary they want to end the year right by scaring away the evil spirits. They do this by making loud noises with horns and in this way manage to start the year fresh and positive. Another tradition the Hungarians have is preparing 13 dumplings of which 12 will be filled with pieces of paper with names on them. The girls throw them in hot water and the first one to come up is the person the girl will marry. If it is the empty dumpling, the girl will be single for the year. If you celebrate New Year’s Eve in Hungary, don’t throw out the trash on the first day of January, as you will also throw away your good fortune for the new year.
Where to stay in Budapest
Budget - Dormero Hotel Budapest
This comfy hotel has a great location.
Mid-range - Hotel Oktogon Haggenmacher
This fancy-looking hotel has a bar, a wellness centre and wonderful views of the city.
This design hotel has a long history: it was opened in 1696 but renovated in 2016.
Though most people seem to be broke at the end of the year, make sure if you celebrate New Year’s in Portugal you have some cash in your pockets, otherwise you could have empty pockets for the rest of the new year… Similar to the Spanish, the Portuguese eat one raisin each time the bell chimes before it is midnight: one raisin for each month. After this, they scare away the negative energy with pots and pans, whistles and hores, similar to the Hungarians.
Where to stay in Lisbon
Budget - Lisb’on Hostel
This hostel is located in a beautiful old, classical building.
Mid-range - Zurin Charm Hotel
A beautiful hotel located in a calmer area but not too far from the city centre.
Luxury - Hills Hotel Lisboa
This luxurious hotel is located close to public transport to make it easy to visit the city centre.
If plates are a bit too much for you, try getting a fortune the Greek way. In Greek Orthodox families the man of the family goes to church and takes a pomegranate. The pomegranate is blessed in church and when the man comes home, he knocks on the door, so he will be the first person to walk through the door in the new year. The family then gathers outside and throws the pomegranate on the front door. The more seeds on the floor, the more fortune you will have in the new year.
Where to stay in Athens
Budget - City Circus
This wonderful hostel is located in a neoclassical building and from some rooms you can even see the Acropolis.
Mid-range - LUX&EASY Acropolis Suits
LUX&EASY has wonderful, fully equipped apartments, a hot tub and also a view of the Acropolis.
Luxury - The Residence - Christokopidou Hotel & SPA
There is no way you don’t leave this place relaxed, as it has an indoor heated pool, a hammam, sauna and rooftop bar with views of the Acropolis.
Bonus between Europe and Asia: Turkey
Just like the Italians, the Turkish people believe that wearing red underwear brings good luck if you wear it on New Year’s Eve. Many places sell red underwear around this time of the year, and it sells out fast. Besides wearing red underwear, they run the tap and let the water flow as this should bring abundance and prosperity to your home. If you want to bring more money in your life, make sure to open a padlock when the clock chimes twelve. So wear red underwear while running the tap and open a padlock at midnight, so you will have the best year!
Where to stay in Istanbul
Budget - Cheers Lighthouse
This nice hostel has a wonderful view of the ocean.
Mid-range - The Halich Hotel Istanbul Karakoy
Here you can book a room with a view of the city, and the hotel even organises a New Year’s Event!
Luxury - Rast Hotel Sultanahmet
This beautiful hotel has a great Turkish breakfast and a roof terrace with a view of the famous Blue Mosque!