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Debbie
San Francisco

Debbie from San Francisco asked

What's the best & most budget-friendly European city to spend New Years?

I'll be flying to Germany for the holidays later this month.  My home base will be in Westphalia, specifically Munster, but I was hoping to celebrate New Years in another city.  

I could stay in Westphalia if there's something cool going on, but I was toying around with the idea of spending a few days in Berlin, Prague, or Amsterdam, and I'd be open to something more off-the-beaten path, too.  The only city that I'm ruling out is Paris because I've spent several New Years there before.

Things that I'm looking for:

  • Some place where I can fly or ride the train to with reasonable ease from Munster
  • Where the weather isn't too, too volatile (I know, I know, it's winter in Europe!)
  • Fun and lively city or town, especially during the holidays and New Years
  • Something that's affordable.  It doesn't have to be dirt cheap, but I'm just looking for a place that's not known to be exorbitantly expensive and can be enjoyed on a low- to mid-range budget
  • Bonus points if there are any events, like art shows or music festivals, in the days leading up to or after New Years

Looking forward to your suggestions! :)

Europe   Munster (Germany)   Germany   Berlin (Germany)   Prague (Czech Republic)   Amsterdam (Netherlands)

9 Answers
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top answer by
Debbie from San Francisco

Thanks for all your ideas, everyone!  I had a blast :)  Cologne, AmsterdamParis and London were strongly considered, but we ended up driving to Hamburg, where we spent a night a couple days before new years eve at the very cool Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, which was a forest-themed hotel and this was the view from my room:Unfortunately, concierge recommended Reeperbahn for some reason (maybe because we're young), which was the saddest red light district I've ever been to, but that was redeemed when a local friend told us to check out Rathaus and HafenCity, which were so cool.

Rathaus:

HafenCity:I even got to catch the last of the Christmas Markets there! (most other towns had closed theirs several days earlier)And to spend new years -- we drove to Berlin!  I stayed at a friend's apartment in the very awesome Berlin Mitte area, which has a sick view of the TV Tower:I did walk around the Brandenburg Gate area where the huge new years celebration is, just to see it and to say I've been, but I didn't feel like spending my new years in the cold for hours, so I ultimately rang in the new year at one of the infamous Berlin clubs.On new years day, I just strolled around town.  I went to see the eerily beautiful Holocaust Memorial.Caught some really cool street art at places like the Hackescher Markt.And just in general wandered and took in the city.

Caught the seemingly rare German winter sun on the drive back to Greven.

The trip was perfect. Can't wait to be back already :)  Thanks again for your advice!



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Regan
Awesome, Debby! Happy new year. Hope you had fun!
 
 
 

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  1. Cologne (city)
  2. Amsterdam (city)
  3. Paris (city)
  4. London (city)
  5. Hamburg (city)
  6. Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus (hotel)
  7. Reeperbahn (attraction)
  8. Rathaus (attraction)
  9. HafenCity (attraction)
  10. Berlin (city)
  11. Berlin Mitte (attraction)
  12. TV Tower (attraction)
  13. Brandenburg Gate (attraction)
  14. Holocaust Memorial (attraction)
  15. Hackescher Markt (attraction)
  16. Greven (city)
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answered by
Peter from Munich

Hi Debbie, 

I usually celebrate new year with friends and we have our own little firework going on. 

I spent one new year in Berlin, but I wouldnt recommend it, if you want to be at the main festival at the Brandenburger Tor. To many people, to crowded. shortly before midnight you cant find a spot anyway anymore, but people still try to push to the front no matter of casualties. You have to be super early to enjoy the show. Also in my opinion food and beverages are way overpriced.

I would rather recommend you to spend it in a smaller town, they probably dont have any famous bands on stage, but they will have a firework. its less crowded and more friendly.

I dont know how i spent my new years eve, i want to take some pictures with my new equipment and try out how that turns out. Maybe I will go to Munich or some smaller city like Ingolstadt or Neuburg an der Donau.

If I find more information about special events going on, I will let you know...

I was reading about Iceland should be amazing for new years, if you have a great clear sky you also can see the northern lights....but that is just what i was reading, never experienced it myself so far...:(


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Debbie
I'll be making it to Berlin at some point during this trip, though I don't know if for New Years specifically or not, but that's good to know. And I've never heard of those two smaller towns before, but I'll look into it because I definitely love more off-the-beaten-path spots! Thank you so much, Peter! :)
 
 
 

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answered first by
Regan from Brooklyn

Berlin is quite budget friendly considering how beautiful, fun and sophisticated it is. But check out artsy Krakow, Poland or Tallinn, Estonia. Budapest is also a good value with beautiful people and vibrant nightlife.


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Debbie
Oooh, I've actually been dying to visit Estonia! Mostly for the summer, but I'll look into it for the winter. These sound great. Thank you, Regan! :)
 

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Regan
In the interest of full disclosure, I've not been to Tallin, but friends went for Christmas last year and LOVED it--said it was out of a story book with horse drawn sleighs, everything strung with lights, great food and nightlife. Let me know what you choose!
 

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Debbie
Ooooh, that sounds magical!
 
 
 

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answered by
Brett from Eindhoven

I was in Nuremberg for New Year's Eve two years ago, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Hotels were affordable, even on New Year's Eve morning itself when I decided to stay for the extra night for the fireworks vs. heading back to the Netherlands. The fireworks were incredible, and the vibe was quite nice.  You can easily spend a daytrip in cities like MunichRegensburg, or Bamberg as well.  Like seeing some of the suggestions here though, as I still have to decide where I'm going to head this year as well!


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Debbie
Thanks for all of these suggestions, Brett! Just rented a car for Germany, so I'll keep all these in mind :)
 
 
 

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answered by
Jim

Sounds like a great trip. I've been in Berlin and Amsterdam for New Years and both proved to be amazing. I would also suggest Munich, I was there for Oktoberfest and had a great time both sightseeing and drinking beer with the locals. You should also consider Prague or Budapest where your dollar will definitely go a further. 


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Debbie
Thanks so much, Jim! I'm considering the first 4 cities, and now Budapest is noted! :)
 
 
 

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answered by
Stephen "Sven" from Florida

Based upon my experience. You could pick almost any city. Edinburgh, Scotland or Frankfurt, Germany or Stuttgart, Germany all fit your requirements. If you don't mind going further south the Vienna, Austria or Naples, Italy are great places too. Oh, you have never partied until you have partied in Dublin, Ireland.


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Debbie
Danke, Sven! Beyond London, I hadn't really thought to go to the U.K. during this trip, but it could be fun.... :D
 

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Stephen "Sven"
London is an amazing place to spend New Years as well as Liverpool. But it is not very budget friendly.
 
 
 

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answered by
Joachim from Mönchengladbach, Germany

In Germany the most vibrant city is definitely Berlin (3.5 hours by train). From Munster to Amsterdam is not too far either (3.5 h by train). Cologne is always great, and quite close (2 hours by train). Paris is actually also within reach from Münster within 6 hours by train via Cologne (check the Thalys Train from Cologne to Paris). If you want something close with many possibilities for party and culture I would opt for Cologne...I think it has the best ratio of distance, culture, nightlife and costs. Think Cologne=smaller, nicer, more relaxed version of Berlin . And - well, Germans argue about it - but, I love the local type of beer in Cologne (Kölsch)!!! 


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answered by
Kenneth from Germany

I've spent New Year's in a few cities, and they all seem like a lot of fun...  Fireworks like you won't believe, a fun festive environment, and alcohol...  Copenhagen is a blast, but it's also expensive.  Munich always seems to be a good place for New Years.  Berlin is a very inexpensive European Capital, but I've never spent New Years there so it may be crowded.  I can't say the best, but I'd bet on Munich or any midsize city. Hope it helps.


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Debbie
Thank you, Kenneth!
 
 
 

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answered by
Asan from San Francisco

A. Berlin

B. Istanbul 

C. Lyon 

D. Vienna

 

Different alternative places


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Debbie
Thank you so much, Asan! I'll definitely hit up Berlin, and I'll look into the others. By the way, I'm a community manager here and I've helped you highlight the places in your answer on a map! In the future, you can do this yourself as you answer a question by simply typing the @-symbol followed by the name of the place. Take a look at your map next to your answer :)
 
 
 

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