Have an unforgettable New Year’s!

by Simone Leonard
Contributing writer

Every year, my husband and I watch the ball drop for the annual New Year’s Eve special in New York City.

Every year we thought this celebration could not be topped until we moved to Europe. Europe has excellent New Year’s destinations that give New York’s New Year’s Eve celebration a run for its money.

Three destinations that are worth visiting for New Year’s in Europe are: Zurich, Switzerland; Paris, France; and Baden-Baden, Germany.

If you love a beautiful city on the lake with an extravagant fireworks show, Zurich is the place to go. Zurich’s New Year’s Eve celebration is definitely family friendly and has events that cater to many different tastes. Zurich’s fireworks show lasts for 20 minutes and is absolutely mind blowing. While watching the show, one can sip on champagne, drink a local beer or eat fare such as bratwurst. The crowds are very friendly and you will pass into the new year with 20,000 other people who are visiting from around the world. Zurich is about a four-hour drive from Germany and has affordable hotels, such as the Holiday Inn Express, located only minutes from downtown where the fireworks show starts. I would recommend going downtown at least an hour before midnight in order to find a spot on the river to watch the show before the large crowds start to arrive.

For more information, visit www.panoramajournal.ch/newyearseve-switzerland/new-years-eve-zurich/newyearpartymagicfireworks/index.html.

For a romantic New Year’s Eve celebration, what better place to spend it then standing with the person you love in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Visitors can go to the Champs-Elysees to party with other people and watch the Eiffel Tower light up with fireworks. This fireworks show is absolutely breathtaking and an experience one will never forget. For a quieter evening, there are dinner cruises along the river, which allow you to eat and enjoy the fireworks display while in the comfort of a warm boat. Two famous dinner cruises are with Yachts de Paris (http://entreprises.yachtsdeparis.fr/) and Bateaux Parisiens (www.bateauxparisiens.com/).

For a night of excitement, luxury and fine dining, Baden-Baden is an excellent choice. Baden-Baden is a spa town nestled near the Black Forest.

The best hotels to stay at are the Brenners Park Hotel and Spa, the Dorint, the Atlantic Park Hotel or the Steinenberger Hotel. There are excellent restaurants within walking distance, including Medici’s Restaurant, which boasts its own New Year’s Eve celebration and a Davidoff Cigar Room or Rizzi-Wine Bistro and Restaurant.

Although New York’s New Year’s Eve celebration is exciting to watch, these places in Europe are also the “it” places to be for New Year’s Eve 2011!