New Year’s Eve firework displays light skies across the globe as clocks strike midnight, but which cities—or waterfalls—boast the best pyrotechnics?

Sydney

Sydney fireworks

The original, the earliest—due to its proximity to the International Date Line—and generally considered to be the best, Sydney’s £4million waterside spectacular sees 50,000 lances, comets and mines fizzing above the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Other numbers are equally dizzying: the bridge’s rope lighting stretches over a dozen storeys high, while more than a billion worldwide viewers will watch the display.

 

London

London at New Year's Eve

A new ticketing area on famous Waterloo Bridge will allow an extra 13,000 people to watch London’s famous year-ending display in 2015. That means over 110,000 will gather on and along the Thames waiting for the chimes of Big Ben.

After its twelfth clang, some 400 different types of fireworks launch from pontoons and the London Eye. Accompanying them is choreographed pop music, creating a raucous atmosphere.

 

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Sin City never takes it easy and especially not on New Year’s Eve. While many revellers flock to A-List concerts and casino bashes, the party on the Strip is just as boisterous.

Bombastic fireworks launch from seven rooftop locations to a deafening musical soundtrack, the kitsch factor is turned up to 11 and most people carouse until sunset.

 

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

A million merrymakers line Rio’s Copacabana beach on 31 December for open-air party Réveillon.

They come to dance to live bands, to throw flowers into the sea (to honour goddess Yemanjá) and to gasp at the rockets and Roman candles, released from mile upon mile of barges.

Wearing white, like local Candomblé priestesses, is reckoned to bring good luck for the coming 12 months.

 

Dubai

Dubai

The emirate of Dubai is synonymous with superlatives, so you won’t be surprised to learn that it boasts the world’s largest pyrotechnic display, as certified by the Guinness Book of Records.

Two million are expected to attend in 2015 as a cacophony of fireworks are set off during the short blitz, many from the Burj Khalifa—which is, yes, the world’s tallest building.

 

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

For something different, how about taking in fireworks above the world’s most famous cascades? Taking place next to Canada’s Niagara Falls are two successive demonstrations of firepower.

After an early display for families at 9.00pm, the Horseshoe Falls and adjacent Queen Victoria Park are then lit up by a gunpowder-inspired light show at midnight. Concerts by local musicians taking place before and after.

 

Edinburgh

Edinburgh fireworks

Using Edinburgh Castle as a beautiful backdrop, the Scottish capital’s renowned Hogmanay celebrations see its skies light up seven separate times in a sensational set piece.

Before that comes a torchlight procession, a family-friendly block party on Princes Street and some cannon fire to mark the arrival of midnight.

 

Berlin

Berlin fireworks

Nights out in Berlin generally revolve around famously bohemian clubs. Not New Year’s Eve, though, when the annual Silvestre celebrations instead entail a busy blend of homemade firework demos and organised displays.

Among those, the best occurs besides Brandenburg Gate. This is the world’s largest NYE open-air party, with live bands, electro DJs, laser shows and near-limitless food and drink adding to the fun.

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