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Edinburgh Hogmanay by Love and Road

I can confidently say out loud that Scottish people know how to party! Even better, they know how to throw an amazing New Year’s party, or I should say, Hogmanay. As a Brazilian, I was sure that we have one of the best New Year's Eves in the world, but after Edinburgh Hogmanay, I discovered that we are not alone. Well done Edinburgh!

My year started in a completely different and unique way; cold weather, warm people, and a lot of fire. During almost three years travelling the word, we tried to choose destinations where we can mix local experiences, history, and fun - and Edinburgh Hogmanay was exactly what we were looking for. Actually it was even more, as we didn’t imagine we could have so much fun during the 5 day Hogmanay tour.

I still can’t believe how much we managed to do during our trip to Edinburgh. When I close my eyes I still can feel the smell of the burning wax from the Torchlight Parade, the smell of beer coming from the pubs, the lively music from the Ceilidh, and the shining fireworks that took over Edinburgh’s sky. No doubt Hogmanay is one of the best New Year's celebrations in the world, and I’m glad we were there.

The Torchlight Procession was one of the highlights of Edinburgh Hogmanay. To be in the middle of the procession, walking through the medieval streets of Edinburgh and witnessing the Vikings, the families, and the whole history behind it; that moment was magical. For me, it was a dream come true and I have no shame in saying that I almost cried. It was so beautiful and powerful. Edinburgh Hogmanay is definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

If you like a good party (as we do), the Edinburgh Street Party won’t disappoint. There are so many things going on during Hogmanay that you will find yourself in doubt: should I eat, sleep, or keep partying? If you don’t know what to do, follow the crowds and make friends along the way.

That’s what I loved about Hogmanay, it’s a party where you can choose your pace. Hectic and frenetic if you want, or relaxed and calm if that’s suits you better. Many traditions, a lot of friendly people, a lot of drinking and dancing… Happy days!

Although it’s great fun, to organize a Hogmanay experience is not that easy. During the whole month of December the city is packed music, dance and arts. All the tickets for Hogmanay events tend to be sold out very quickly, and finding an accommodation in the heart of Edinburgh can be a real struggle. Even being seasoned travellers, I’m glad we trusted HAGGiS Adventures to do the hard work, they know better than us.

On the tour they managed to squeeze a lovely day trip to the Highlands where we could see the stunning Scottish nature. We visited Stirling to learn about William Wallace history (the real deal, not the Braveheart romance), and strolled around The Hermitage forest in Dunkeld. We also had a night walking tour around Edinburgh’s Old Town; it was a bit scary as we ended up visiting cemeteries and talking about ghosts!

We loved all the singing and dancing inside and outside the bus. That funny song “Donald wheres your troosers” is now saved on my YouTube playlist and I can’t get over it. Thanks to our Tour Guide Lee – this is now our favourite Scottish song!

If you end up drinking too much on New Year’s Eve, don’t panic - HAGGiS Adventures have the best cure for your hangover! Mix freezing water, a bunch of loonies, and fancy costumes… the result is the Loony Dook. If you go for a chilly dip you are rewarded with whisky and porridge! Rob (the other half of Love and Road) approved the tradition, and he was looking good as giant Pikachu swimming at South Queensferry.

Even the cold weather – which was super cold for Brazilian standards - the rain and the endless amount of words we didn’t understand when talking to Scottish people, I can honestly say that we had a blast! Hogmanay is much more than a New Year’s celebration or party. Hogmanay is an experience, and an unforgettable one at that.

"If you decide to travel to Edinburgh to welcome the next year, do it properly. Spend a few days in the city, book a HAGGiS Hogmanay tour and meet some locals. Learn about Hogmanay traditions, play with fire, drink and dance - because that’s the way to celebrate the best New Year’s in the world!"

Check out all of our Christmas and Hogmanay tours and if you need anymore Edinburgh inspo, we've prepared the ultimate tourist checklist, plus our favourite local gems in Edinburgh Old Town.