Magical, musical New Year in Dublin
Not satisfied with a single night of fun, the Irish capital is planning to ring in the New Year with the NYE Festival, a three-day extravaganza of music and entertainment. From December 30th until January 1st, the whole city is in the festive mood and will be hosting an amazing line-up of live gigs, masked balls and theatrical performances. Local band The Coronas, whose first album went platinum in their homeland, will be headlining at the Countdown Concert in College Green on December 31st. And what would a trip to Dublin be without a glass or two of Guinness? Why not visit the legendary Storehouse, Ireland's premier visitor attraction, where you can sample the dark brew in its home and discover the brand's history? They'll be celebrating with a New Year concert, too!
Edinburgh celebrates in style
No one does New Year quite like the Scots, so why not head to Edinburgh for Hogmanay? The chic city is a great destination for gastronomes and fashion fans alike. This Christmas, the Scottish capital is on sparkling form, and all set to keep up the pace through till New Year and beyond. The famous Princes Street Gardens are hosting a Christmas Fair where the rides, presided over by the 33-metre Edinburgh Wheel, will keep turning right through till January 4th. On December 30th, the Hogmanay celebrations kick off when tens of thousands of torch bearers join in a stunning procession, creating a river of fire from the Royal Mile to Calton Hill. And at New Year itself, 80,000 revellers are expected to come together in what's being billed as the world's biggest street party with five live music stages and fireworks set to start 2012 off with a bang.
The holiday season in Jordan
The ancient heritage of the Arab kingdom of Jordan links it inextricably with the Biblical story and at this time of year two particular sites are in the spotlight: Mount Nebo, where Moses was shown the Promised Land, and the site on the River Jordan where Jesus was baptised. As part of the annual Madaba festival, on December 28th participants in the Pilgrimage Marathon will celebrate this religious history by running the 42 kilometres that separate them along the ancient pilgrims' route. Throughout the capital, Amman, there are festive decorations, there are concerts at the Catholic Cathedral of St. George and the Sheraton Hotel, and the Children's Museum of Jordan has special events for for the festive season. Whatever time of year you visit, you should be sure to take a dip in the salty waters of the Dead Sea, and a trip to discover the breath-taking wonders of the rose-red city of Petra.
Sailing to warmer climes
Another warm option to see out the old year is to take a cruise to warmer climes. Norwegian Cruise Line are offering a nine-night cruise aboard the luxurious Norwegian Jade taking in the Canaries and Madeira. You can embark in Malaga on December 24th or Barcelona on the 26th and it's a 'freestyle' cruise which gives you greater flexibility and freedom to enjoy your time the way you want. The ship boasts 16 dining options including Japanese, all-American, and French Mediterranean, two swimming pools, casino, spa, gym, and a wide variety of cabin accommodation, including luxury three-bedroom villa suites over 400 square metres with private garden, hot tub, exercise room and sun deck.
Family fun in Andorra
If you fancy guaranteed snow for the New Year, Andorra's a great choice, as well as being a thoroughly family-oriented location. The principality is one of many European countries where Christmas presents are brought by the Three Kings on January 6th, so the festive season will still be in full swing at New Year. You'll find traditional markets in La Massana, Ordino and Andorra la Vella, a life-size nativity scene in Canillo, and plenty of places to wrap your hands around a mug of a warming hot chocolate. The Ski Plaza and the Holiday Inn at Andorra la Vella are just two of the hotels that offer themed rooms for children, while the 300 kilometres of piste at Grandvalira and Vallnord resorts offer plenty of snowy fun and activities for all ages.