Set your intentions for the year ahead by starting 2023 on an epic adventure.
From seeing the stars in all of their glittering glory to climbing one of the world’s highest peaks or a breathless snowmobile ride through fresh virgin snow, read on for our guide to the best, once-in-a-lifetime trip for New Year’s Eve.
Partying on a glacier
New Year’s Eves don’t come more epic than this. Party under the Northern Lights in your own bespoke glacier camp. Sip drinks at your private bar, dance to the beat of your own DJ and then spend the next day relaxing in a geothermal spa. Our luxury Icelandic glacier party can be moulded to suit all levels of adventurer. Foodies can feast on gourmet meals served in extraordinary private settings such as a lava tube chamber or a troglodyte cave. Snuggle between thick blankets and sit back in the warm glow of candlelight as you are served the freshest seafood and local delicacies.
The adrenaline junkies in the group can brave the ice-cold waters of the Silfra fissure - the gap between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, where the water is crystal clear. Dive down between the continents, for a view of the Earth as you’ve never it seen before. What a start to the new year this could be.
Machu Pichu - Cusco's Plaza de Armas
The high-altitude city of Cusco is a bright, bustling, cosmopolitan hub of locals and travellers, young and old. It is the starting point for the trek up to the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu, so there is always a buzz of excitement in the air, but this ancient place has a rich history all of its own. Enjoy one of your best New Year’s Eve travel experiences in the Plaza de Armas, Cusco’s main square, which is filled with revellers out to socialise and watch the midnight firework display. Grab yourself a cosy jumper (the shops there are full of gorgeously soft Alpaca-wool knitwear) and sit back with a pisco sour and admire the locals, dressed in their traditional Incan costume. Or head to one of the many nightclubs to let your hair down and dance the year to a close.
As the sun rises on 2023 you can start preparing for your trip up to Machu Picchu. Take the beautiful journey through the Andes by train. Sip cocktails on the viewing deck, enjoy dinner in the dining carriage and watch the breathtaking scenery pass by. Alternatively, make the four-day trek on foot. It’s steep in places but always beautiful, and there are plenty of moments en route where you feel like the only person around. Trek through the clouds, watch the condor float above, and sleep out in cosy tents, to be woken in the morning with a cup of the best black coffee you will ever taste. And of course, there is Machu Picchu too. The incredible Incan city, a place so beguiling that it will have you celebrating the audacity of the human spirit.
Tick off the peak of Kilimanjaro
At 5,895 metres (19,341 feet) Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. The ascent is long and winding, taking you through different climatic zones from dry savannah to rainforest to moorland, snow and more. Each day offers a different experience of the world as if designed to enrich your view of the planet and push you to your limits.
Reaching the summit is the perfect challenge to start the new year as you mean to go on. It takes training, patience, and most of all, teamwork – this is the ultimate bonding experience, perfect for groups of friends or families with grown-up children.
Speed across a volcanic glacier by snowmobile
Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull is the volcano that brought Europe to a halt in 2010 with its famous ash plume. Now officially dormant, the expansive glacier has re-formed across the top, stretching 100 square kilometres (39 sq. mi) into an otherworldly wilderness, with bracing panoramas across the rugged southern part of the island and a sweeping landscape of pure white snow. Spend your new year exploring the ice cap on snowmobiles. Test your driving skills to the limit and push your adrenaline to the extreme as you race across the lunar terrain. See the crater and the dramatic aftereffects of the eruption in the surrounding landscapes, with blackened earth and craggy mountain ridges full of Icelandic drama.
Stargazing in Atacama Desert, Chile
Thanks to its incredibly dry climate (it’s the third driest place on Earth after the North and South Poles) Chile’s Atacama Desert is the world’s best stargazing spot. Cloudless skies, high altitude and near-zero light pollution mean the most famous constellations of the Southern Hemisphere sky are crystal clear. Stare in wonder at the Tarantula Nebula, the Fornax Cluster of galaxies, the Southern Cross, and even the Large Magellanic Cloud - a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.
Hear from the astronomers who work there, using some of the planet’s strongest telescopes to investigate the hidden secrets of the Earth and our solar system. And by day, take in the otherworldly peaks and the salt pans of the Andes, resplendent in rich reds and deep yellow ochres. There can be few better ways to relax, think, and gain a new perspective on the world to help you begin the new year feeling calm, positive, and ready for whatever it throws at you.
For more incredible adventure ideas for New Year’s Eve or any other milestone celebration, browse more Untold Story Travel experiences here.