Europe & Britain | Inspiration

10 spectacular Christmas light displays from around the world

There are so many wonderful things about Christmas, it can be hard to choose a favourite. The food, gifts and spending time with family are all high on the lists of things we love about the holiday season. That said, there is nothing like twinkling Christmas lights, whether they’re wrapped around a tree or a spectacular outdoor light display, to fill you with Christmas joy.

The Viennese Dream Christmas Market – Vienna, Austria

The Viennese Dream Christmas Market (or Christkindlmarkt) is an unforgettable experience for anyone who loves Christmas.

You’ll find an array of booths selling all the Christmas treats you could hope for – roast chestnuts, cream-filled pastries, Victorian-style lollipops, as well as exquisite glass decorations. All of which are illuminated by thousands of lights.

At the heart of the market is the famous Rathaus Christmas tree, gifted from a different Austrian province each year.

Christmas Festival on Red Square – Moscow, Russia

If you’re in Russia this holiday season, Moscow is the only place to be.

The festival starts at Red Square, where dozens of vendors sell traditional decorations, souvenirs and delectable Russian treats 

The GUM department store is festooned with lights, which glitter and glint off the ice rink set up in the middle of the square. No Christmas light display would be complete without a Christmas tree and in nearby Manezh Square, you can enjoy a 56-foot tall light-covered tree.

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Far from the snowy festivals of Austria and Russia, Christmas in Brazil is one of the best parties you’ll ever go to.

There are countless Christmas light displays to see around the country, but a must-see is the 85-meter tall floating Christmas tree in Rio de Janeiro.

For over 20 years, this magnificent structure, which features more than 2 million lights, has floated on the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon for the entire month of December. For the very best view, take a bicycle ride around the Lagoon and enjoy 360 views of the world’s largest Christmas tree.

Royal Castle Square – Warsaw, Poland

If you decide to visit Poland this Christmas, you won’t be disappointed by the array of holiday lights displays around the capital of Warsaw.

If you can only see one display, though, it has to be Warsaw’s main Christmas market located in Castle Square. The lights on the beautiful Christmas tree create a glow that will make your heart grow three sizes.

The lights form lollipops, wrapped candies, and even candy canes, as well as illuminated gifts nestled under the tree. The entire scene looks like it was taken straight from a storybook, making for a heartwarming and quaint light display.

Delve into the history and traditions of Poland on the Best of Poland tour when you travel with Trafalgar.

VanDusen Festival of Lights – Vancouver, Canada

Easily one of the best holiday light displays in Canada; the Festival of Lights takes place every year at Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden.

This winter wonderland is sure to be one of the most magical moments you will ever see at Christmas, with more than one million lights across the 15 acres of the garden. The glittering trees, carousel and eight-minute light shows every half-hour will bring joy to all as you wander along winding paths and enjoy the spectacle.

GET INSPIRED: Christmas traditions from around the world

Medellin Lights Festival – Medellin, Colombia

In 2018, National Geographic named Medellin as one of the top 10 cities in the world to see holiday lights, and it’s not hard to see why.

This festival of lights dates back to 1967 and each year the displays continue to outdo themselves. What is certain is that this Colombian city put Christmas into overdrive with massive displays and millions of lights.

While Medellin is known as the City of Eternal Spring, this is a must-visit destination any winter.

GET INSPIRED: 7 of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Latin America

WinterFest – Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s annual WinterFest is not only a spectacular light display, but is full of so many different events you won’t know where to look first.

The ballet and philharmonic performances are must-sees but the star of the show is one of the most extravagant light displays on our list: Pulse 3D. This luminescent show features glowing and glittering art created by artists from around the world.

Featuring some of the best holiday light displays in the world, Pulse 3D will light up the entire district until New Year’s Day.

Avenue Champs-Elysees – Paris, France

Paris is already known as the City of Lights, but Christmas is without a doubt one of the best times to take in the radiance.

Unlike the other light displays on this list, the most beautiful show in Paris is not an event or festival. Rather it’s one of the most famous streets in the world, bedecked out in thousands of colourful lights.

Over 400 trees glow with Christmas lights, making an already gorgeous location even more bedazzling. This may be the only time you don’t mind sitting in traffic!

Experience the City of Lights when you travel on the Paris Explorer tour with Trafalgar.

Rockefeller Center – New York City, USA

Would any list of the best Christmas light displays around the world be complete without the most famous holiday lights display?

The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is unarguably a New York City institution. At 24 meters tall, this tree may not compare to Brazil’s 85-meter tall floating Christmas tree in height but with 45,000 lights and a large Swarovski star containing 25,000 crystals, it certainly is one of the most magnificent Christmas trees you’ll ever see.

As you wander down to Rockefeller Center, you’ll also find lights around the tree, the fountain and ice-skating rink.

New York is a must-see in any season. Experience the best of the Big Apple with Trafalgar when you travel on the East Coast USA and Canada tour.

Tivoli Gardens – Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens first opened it’s gates in 1843 and has been a holiday tradition for both locals and tourists ever since.

The glorious light shows are just part of the festivities. Fireworks illuminate the sky for miles around, and Tivoli Lake seems to almost glow from within. Lights and other Christmas decorations fill each and every tree in the garden, permeating across the entire area.

There is no better place to get some festive cheer! 

Do you go all out with your holiday lights displays? Has this list of the most spectacular light displays around the world inspired you to up your light game this year? Let us know in the comments below! Or, if you want to experience some Christmas magic, head to our website for the best winter holidays with Trafalgar.

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