A New Year’s Eve to Remember

It’s the same thing every year. You and your friends discuss various alternatives for celebrating New Year’s Eve, in lieu of the same old party with the same old crowd. Suddenly it’s the 31st, nothing is fixed, and you end up at… you guessed it… the same old party with the same old crowd. On January 1st you wake up and swear to be more organized next year. And 365 days later it’s Groundhog Day again.

This year, let us help you plan your New Year’s Eve. After all, it’s supposed to be the craziest party night of the year. It’s time it lived up to its billing.

Germany’s Biggest Indoor Party

“Sensation”, Düsseldorf


The title, “Sensation”, says it all. The biggest indoor New Year’s Eve party in Germany -- which is also the tallest New Year’s Eve party in Germany (and possibly anywhere) -- is sure to promise a lot of them. To begin with, all 30.000+ guests will be dressed in white, due to the strict dress code: Only shoes and accessories are allowed to have color. As for it being the tallest party, the heart of the venue is an enormous dance floor with a stage for DJs and dancing shows. “The stage will be constructed like a big pyramid, with the DJs on top,” says chief organizer Brenda Munsterman. Want more sensation? The highlight of the night is an indoor fireworks display from the stage at midnight.

Our advice: Stay close to the stage; after midnight parts of it will be opened to the public.

Price: 77 Euro

Germany’s Biggest Outdoor Party

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin



More than one million people will attend Germany’s biggest outdoor New Year’s Eve party -- just like they do every year. The street between Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column will be closed to traffic and filled with disco tents and open-air stages for popular music acts. R.I.O., Right Said Fred, Mark Oh and many others are expected to entertain this year’s revelers.

Our advice: Due to the huge number of tourists, hotel prices will be through the roof. Don’t count on a last-minute booking. You can find cheap rooms in advance at www.tourist.visitberlin.de.

Price: Free, though drinks are extra (and no glass bottles can be brought into the venue).

Cruising into 2011

Boat trip on the Elbe River, Hamburg


Germany’s second biggest city is famous for its fireworks. Enjoy the best view of them from the Elbe. A small barge brings you and your friends (maximum 40) to the middle of the river; you stay there past midnight and come back to the harbor at 1:00 a.m, just when the clubs will be hopping.

Our advice: Food and drinks are available on the barge, but if you want to save a few Euros, bring your own; it’s allowed.


Price: 40 Euro


Note: If you have the budget, and are looking for something a little more dignified, 150 Euros will get you a 4,5-hour roundtrip cruise through Hamburg harbor on the boat “MS River Star”. Buffet, drinks and DJ included.


Getting Off to a Good Start

New Year’s Marathon, Zurich



The New Year’s marathon in the Swiss capital will start exactly at midnight. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and, says Munich-based running trainer Harry Grubert, “a special challenge for your body. Do some training runs on cold nights to acclimate your breathing.” You might also want to use special trail or even spiked shoes, given that the ground might be covered in snow. And if running 26 miles on a cold winter’s night sounds a little too ambitious, you can opt for a quarter marathon or half marathon.


Our advice: Most of the race is on marked but unlit country lanes, so wear a headlight.


Price: 45 Euro entry fee


Party Like It’s 1399

Castle party on the Breuberg, Oden Forest


If you want to celebrate medieval-style, join 120-odd fantasy fans for a 2-day party, starting December 30, at Breuberg castle. “It has a very authentic atmosphere”, says organizer Sebastian Oliva: “The Breuberg is a real fortress with walls meters thick and dark vaults. You’ll become part of the history.” Guests sleep in a youth hostel close to the castle. The daily program consists of medieval workshops, tournaments (such as poker) and games. On New Year’s Eve itself, you meet in the castle pub to welcome 2011.

Our advice: Watch out for specters. “The castle is more than 850 years old”, says Oliva. “There must be a few ghosts.”


Price: 99 Euros for two nights, including half board.