Hello 2020: Relaxing into the new year

While the whole world parties, sometimes it’s nice to be tucked away in a beautiful setting, simply enjoying a quiet New Year’s Eve celebration. Starting 2020 with a clear and calm mind will give you a head-start that allows you to put more focus on the most important aspect: you.

TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE | PHOTO © PIXABAY

We all know the stress of deciding how to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Should we go to that exuberant party in the newly opened venue in town, plan a trip with friends to one of the party capitals of the world, or spend it with family at home? Whatever you do, it never quite seems to be a simple decision to make, or evening to plan.

So, why not escape all of it this year? Head into 2020 fully relaxed and truly experience a ‘fresh start’ when the first day of January rolls around. There are a range of beautiful spots across the DACH region, where parties and fireworks are consciously replaced by peace and quiet. But don’t worry, there is always room for a cheeky bottle of Champagne, if you so wish.

Celebrating on the German North Sea islands

One of the most beautiful places to celebrate the new year are the German North Sea islands of Amrum, Sylt, Hallig Oland and Spiekeroog. Private fireworks are not permitted here, which also makes this a great choice if you want to take your dog with you on holiday. Think endless and mostly deserted beaches, the sea in all its rough winter glory and plenty of hot drinks from mulled wine and hot toddies to the classic local Frisian tea specialities.

All of the islands offer a variety of concerts, dinner events and some parties, just in case you do suddenly feel the itch to go out celebrating. But you can also mark the occasion in more unusual ways, such as during torch-lit hikes and walking tours across the island’s stunning nature resorts.

There are so many lovely holiday homes, it’s hard to choose where to say. The scenic and very typical thatched houses are probably the most authentic choice on offer, but for those who love a little more luxury and comfort, there are also plenty of superb spa resorts around.

If you fancy getting sporty, you can take part in the New Year’s marathon on the island of Sylt, just before all the celebrations start. Or you can welcome the new year during a little swim in the North Sea on New Year’s Day. With a water temperature of just six degrees, you can expect this to be a much shorter adventure than during the summer season. Still, it is a special way to kickstart January, and people claim to feel truly empowered afterwards.

The following days you can spend detoxing further, with mud packages, long walks, healthy cuisine and various other spa treatments, which all of the islands offer. Once you arrive back home, you will be feeling fully recharged and ready to take 2020 by storm.

New Year’s Eve in the snowy mountains of Austria

Prefer mountains to the sea? No problem: Austria has wonderful places to unwind in Alpine settings and, believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be all about après ski on New Year’s Eve.

Tyrol, for example, has many great spa resorts, where you can enjoy viewing small fireworks above the valleys from the comfort of an outdoor hot tub surrounded by glistening snow. Massages and winter walks in crisp air are what these New Year’s breaks are famous for. A beautiful little gem is the area around Lake Achensee, where a few hotels also offer floatation facilities, and what could be better than to literally float into 2020?

Discover Switzerland’s unique New Year’s traditions

Nestling up by the cosy fire after some delicious fondue or raclette and a glass of white wine sounds like the perfect way to celebrate, and Switzerland, with its classic chalets, has got you covered. There are also a range of peculiar events that make a New Year’s trip to Switzerland pretty special.

In the Appenzell region, the traditional winter custom of the ‘Silvesterchlausen’ (New Year’s Santas) takes place on 31 December. The town of Urnäsch is one of the best hotspots for it. Starting at 5am, groups of Santa-costumed men carrying large bells proceed through the thick layer of snow from house to house, where they wish the families a happy new year. It’s a mystical, enchanted atmosphere, so if you are longing to discover some new traditions, this is the place to be and it’s worth getting up early for it.

Whether you decide to hide away in the Alps or face the stormy breeze on the German coast, rest assured that spending New Year’s Eve away from the hustle and bustle will certainly be a different experience, and it might just be exactly what you need this year, and next!

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