The hottest spots for a cool New Year’s Eve in Spain
New Year’s Eve, or Nochevieja, is the ideal time to enjoy a truly hedonistic fiesta in Spain. From the big cities to the little towns, there’s fun to be had across the country. For tourists who are visiting, one thing to be aware of is that many Spaniards spend midnight with their families and the bars and clubs don’t open until 12.30 or 1am – so don’t be alarmed if you find things are closed earlier in the evening. Also make sure you don’t attempt New Year’s Eve in Spain unless you are armed with 12 grapes – the tradition is to swallow one grape on each stroke of the clock at midnight for luck, but be warned, it’s harder than you may think! Look out for special New Year’s Eve packs that contain 12 grapes already peeled and de-seeded. Read more about the lucky grape tradition here.
If not at home with family or friends, Madrileños congregate in and around Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol for midnight. The streets are packed and the atmosphere is fun and upbeat, so wrap up warm and be prepared to join the crowds. The ideal is to settle somewhere you can get a view of the clock at the top of the Real Casa de Correos, from where the New Year is officially ushered in. Those who don’t actually make it to Sol tend to spend midnight gathered around a TV watching this landmark clock strike midnight, so it’s a really iconic place to spend the 31st.
The place to head in Barcelona is the Plaça Catalunya. Revellers wear red underwear for luck in the coming year and eat their grapes as the clock strikes midnight. During the day, look out for L’Home dels Nassos who walks the streets and throws sweets to the children. The idea is that the man has as many noses as there are days left in the year, but luckily for him, it's the 31st December so he only has one!
For something a bit different, Pamplona is the place for a NYE to remember. The city celebrates its very own carnival on 31st December, with all residents donning Halloween-style costumes and hitting the streets. The old town sees plenty of action, while Iturrama and San Juan districts are also buzzing with life and well worth exploring.
The place to be is the Plaza Nueva in Seville, where partygoers celebrate until midnight before dispersing to different parties to dance the night away. This makes a nice choice for an alternative New Year party as the skies are normally blue and, while the atmosphere is great, it's not too busy.
In Valencia the crowds gather with their grapes in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento for a magnificent fireworks display at midnight. Carrer de Cavellers and the area around the square are the ideal places to explore for a few drinks after midnight.
Ibiza is the perfect New Year’s Eve destination for clubbers and those looking for a bit of peace and quiet. For those looking to party the night away, Pacha's legendary NYE party is a real highlight each winter season and the club will open its doors on 31 December from 1am. If the clubbing scene doesn't appeal, Ibiza's old town provides a charming backdrop for enjoying a delicious traditional meal with family and friends to see in the New Year together.