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The love that many Germans have for boisterous public parties and celebrations is evident in many German festivals, and it comes as no surprise that the country boasts some of the most spectacular public New Year’s Eve (Germans call it “Silvester”) celebrations in Europe. Across the country, millions of people brave midnight’s freezing temperatures to ring in the New Year beneath a sky crackling with spectacular fireworks. Here is our pick of the German cities that pull out all stops to welcome the New Year in style.
Germany’s capital city shows the rest of the continent how it’s really done! The biggest, the snazziest, and the most bombastic New Year’s Eve street party in Europe is held at the Brandenburg Gate starting December 30 and continuing till the morning of January 1. There are live performances, DJs, and stunning light and music shows, culminating in a breathtaking firework show as the New Year rolls in. Between the historic Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column, over a million people witness this spectacle, most hanging around till the wee hours of the morning. Entry is free. In addition to this display, the entire city is bathed in light on Silvester, fireworks are set off from various points, and most clubs hold pulsating parties.
On New Year’s Eve each year, the brisk business city of Frankfurt transforms into a magical land. If there is one activity in Frankfurt that beats standing on one of the bridges on the River Main and watching the sky exploding with fireworks that reflect off the river, it’s taking a river cruise and being right in the center of the brilliant play of light. Hundreds of thousands of people throng the banks of the river, the Old Opera House, and Romerberg Marketplace in search of the perfect vantage point from which to enjoy the fireworks.
There is a reason why hundreds of thousands of people brave the midnight chill and jostling crowds to be present in the streets of Cologne on New Year’s Eve: the sight of the majestic Cologne Cathedral silhouetted against the night sky bursting with fireworks is worth all the trouble in the world. Other great vantage points to enjoy one of the best fireworks shows in Germany are the banks of the River Rhine and the Rheinpark.
Every New Year’s Eve, the gorgeous city of Dresden pulls off an extravaganza that is surely worth writing home about. The city hosts one of the grandest public parties in Germany in Theaterplatz Square, with live-music performances, dancing, delicious food, and – no prizes for guessing – a breathtaking fireworks show. An additional fireworks show is thoughtfully held earlier in the evening for the little ones. Book tickets early.
The bustling city of Munich turns into one huge party on New Year’s Eve. Huge crowds gather at the historic Marienplatz, Olympic Park, English Garden, and Old Town Square to toast the New Year amid gorgeous fireworks. When in Munich, you don’t need to worry about finding the perfect vantage point, as the sky over the entire city lights up with spectacular fireworks at midnight. However, Tollwood New Year’s Eve Party is the hottest and the most happening place to be in the city. This sprawling party promises banging music, delicious food, and endless fun.
Stuttgart is known for its series of extravagant New Year’s Eve parties, but those who want to be in the heart of the action should head to Schlossplatz. This gorgeously illuminated square basks in festive cheer. Cute stalls sell yummy food and drinks under a sky that is ablaze with fireworks, and there is a beautifully lit ice-skating rink in the Schlossplatz.
No matter how you like to spend your New Year’s Eve – watching brilliant fireworks, dancing the night away, gorging on a great midnight buffet, or on a cruise ship – the beautiful harbor city of Hamburg will have something for you. The illuminated cityscape provides a magical setting for the midnight extravaganza of fireworks that are set off over the river. Huge happy crowds welcome the New Year as the sky and the water are flooded with lights. The best way to see the fireworks is from a cruise boat, though the harbor promenade, Jungfernstieg, and Alster are all excellent vantage points, too.