Celebrate The New Year Alice In Wonderland-Style On This European Island

What's better than ringing in the New Year in Europe? A themed party, of course. And what's even better than that? A themed party in a beautiful hotel on the picture-perfect, magical Portuguese island of MadeiraNEXT Hotel in Funchal (the capital city of Madeira) is hosting an "Alice in Wonderland" themed celebration to ring in 2024. The hotel goes all out for New Year's — each year has a different theme (2022 was intergalactic, a media rep for NEXT Hotel told Explore). But "Alice in Wonderland" holds a special place in the hearts of many, so the party is sure to be a lovely mix of New Year's fun and nostalgia.

The holiday season is also considered by many to be the best time to visit Madeira. Dubbed the "Island of Eternal Spring," the weather is perfect in winter, whereas Portuguese summers are sweltering. And a visit during the holiday season offers the opportunity to experience Madeiran traditions. From early December through New Year's, there's a plethora of festivities. The streets of Funchal are adorned with beautiful lights, accompanied by live music from a variety of artists. 

About the 'Alice in Wonderland' party

As Alice said, "If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense." Well, expect that from the party. So, what exactly can one expect at an "Alice in Wonderland party?" Ingesting a "Drink Me" potion that fails to include the caveat that it'll cause you to shrink in size? Don't worry — you can rest assured that your height will stay the same, and you won't be forced to swim in a pool of your own tears. (But ensure to enjoy the hotel's rooftop pool!)

According to a press release, NEXT's party will have an array of special guests, décor, and visual lighting designed to evoke Wonderland, welcome drinks and canapés, and a fantastic dinner menu. But that's just the beginning — after dinner, you'll head to the rooftop bar for drinks and music carefully selected by DJ Nelson Caires. And as for those special guests? Get excited because The Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, the March Hare, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Chat, and the Blue Caterpillar will make appearances at various events throughout the evening.

"Everything will be prepared down to the smallest detail to explore the surreal and imaginary world of Alice in Wonderland," notes the press release. "There will be live entertainment, eccentric hosts, iconic characters, and, of course, vibrant decor that will transport guests into a world of colors and sensations, card games, and 'mad' teas that will make the Mad Hatter dance with pride."

End the night on the rooftop for fantastic fireworks

The rooftop of NEXT offers a 360-degree panoramic view (per the press release), making it the ideal place to watch Madeira's incredible New Year's fireworks. The fireworks shows began back in the 17th century — so they've had hundreds of years to perfect the tradition, which certainly shows. Today, the eight-minute fireworks show is spread over several fireworks sites in Funchal's Amphitheatre Bay. In 2006, The Guinness Book of Records named Madeira Island's fireworks display "Largest Pyrotechnic Performance in the world."

"Not only are The New Year's Eve fireworks fantastic ... Funchal is just made for the most spectacular firework display you will ever see. The natural amphitheatre of the city overlooking the ocean, the rapidas at the back of the city all lit up, 7 or 8 cruise ships in the bay with lights blazing, countless illuminated small boats – truly a wonderful experience not to be missed [SIC]," wrote one reviewer on Tripadvisor. Continuing, "the anticipation as midnight nears is palpable ... as the date changes the cacophony of sound and spectacular firework display, you won't see or feel anything quite as wonderful as this anywhere else."

The NEXT rooftop's prime viewing location means you won't have to leave the comfort of the hotel or deal with crowds on the streets. It's the perfect way to end a night full of "Alice in Wonderland" magic that, in the wise words of Alice herself, promises to be "Curiouser and curiouser!"