Party Like it's 1999... Sort of.
December 8, 2011 5:19 AM   Subscribe

Mediterranean Getaway for New Year's Weekend? Morocco or Barcelona or Istanbul or Athens or... argh!

I'm considering a quick surprise getaway, just me and the chick, to somewhere fun and real for New Year's. Anywhere in the Mediterranean is within striking distance, thanks to nifty airfare deals right now.

(It's too big-city and corporate here. We're not really $400 champagne and tuxedo dinner party people. Also, the girl needs a change of scenery for a couple days.)

We'd enjoy live music (all kinds), interesting architecture, and street culture: lots of real regular people preferably celebrating out in the streets would be best, a casual general festive/fun atmosphere. Fancy hotels not needed.

Northern and Central Europe is a bit far and citified, so London and Paris and Berlin and Prague, though I love them all, are out. We can survive in seven languages between us (okay, five for her and two for me, sigh) and visa and travel is pretty free and open to all of the EU and most of the rest. Too many choices, though.

We've already done Beirut more than once, and that's actually a good example of the vibrancy we enjoy: real people, low inhibitions, generally safe and fun atmosphere. (Yes, I just called Beirut safe. It is, in that way.)

So... Morocco? Barcelona? Istanbul? Athens? Odessa? Bucharest?

Who has enjoyed a great New Year's somewhere like this, and which choices am I not thinking of?

I'm dizzyingly wide open here. Help me narrow it down.
posted by rokusan to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
I love Istanbul and I think it covers all your bases. It's a fascinating place and such a crossroads of cultures, being the only large city in the world that spans two continents (Europe and Asia). The food is absolutely amazing and the music is out of this world. Try to get a copy of this documentary and you'll see how special the music is, again due to the influences of both east and west.

In terms of Morocco, Casablanca is ok but Marrakech is over-rated in my opinion. Athens and Barcelona would also be great choices although maybe more citified than what you're looking for. Bucharest is also a fairly big city but I enjoyed it less than I did Athens or Barcelona. Finally, I haven't been to Odessa so I can't comment there.
posted by hazyjane at 5:25 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by elizardbits at 6:40 AM on December 8, 2011

If it helps, I celebrated New Year's 2009 in Istanbul and it was just OK. I mean the city is great, we stayed in a lively area, and there was a lot to do. But we were in Taksim Square at midnight and there was not much happening in the way of a celebration. There were lots of people milling about, some seasonal lights were up, but no countdown of any sort, and nothing was organized. Maybe we were just in the wrong place for that sort of thing, but Taksim Square is supposed to be "the heart of modern Istanbul." So in terms of "lots of people celebrating in the streets," you won't get that. But everything else on your list is covered in spades.
posted by zerbinetta at 8:21 AM on December 8, 2011


If you can tolerate the Atlantic, Lisbon might be fun.
posted by carter at 8:55 AM on December 8, 2011

Pound for pound, Morocco is your best bet. It’s cheaper than anyplace better and better than anyplace cheaper.
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 11:45 AM on December 8, 2011

Alexandria and Cairo.
posted by mdonley at 12:52 PM on December 8, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the input, gang, but I'm gonna squish this whole idea for now and maybe revisit it for February or so, with these ideas in mind. Maybe I'll repost with more warning next time.

(Unexpectedly, I just got tickets to the Coldplay concert on New Year's Eve. The girl likes Coldplay. Surprise mini-vacation achieved.)
posted by rokusan at 2:18 PM on December 18, 2011

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