Christmas Lights Around the World: Whose Burn the Brightest?

If there is one thing we never fail to get excited about, it is seeing London’s Christmas lights finally erupt with illumination. They seldom fail to disappoint.

On 6 November 2014, X-Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini will flick the switch to turn Oxford Street into a glittering wonderland of Christmas spirit. More than 1,700 glowing orbs will hang over the street like oversized stars, while a whopping 750,000 energy-efficient, LED bulbs will power the spectacular display.

London isn’t the only city to put on a show with its Christmas lights, however: there are plenty of cities across the globe that go the extra mile with their festive lighting. But whose lights is the most dazzling?

Vienna, Austria


If you thought everyday Vienna was romantic, you haven’t seen it at Christmas time. Giant chandeliers and glittering tendrils hang between ornate buildings, while shop windows entice passers-by with displays of pine branches and silk ribbons. Elsewhere, trees are covered in glowing orbs. You cannot help but stop and stare.

Brussels, Belgium


The historic buildings surrounding Grand Place, Brussels’ most beautiful square, are impressive enough when it isn’t Christmas. They really come to life when it is though, with the Town Hall in particular playing host to a dramatic display of colourful, dancing lights. The whole square becomes an enchanting winter wonderland; the waffles at the Christmas Market also come highly recommended.

Kobe, Japan


Not a country renowned for subtlety, it is no surprise that Japan made it onto this list. There is a more serious reason for this stunning light display near Higashi-Yuenchi Park, however. After a serious earthquake in 1995, Italy loaned the city a collection of thousands of hand-painted bulbs, destined to form intricate gothic structures. The tradition and sense of Christmas spirit endure to this day, to the delight of locals and visitors.

Gothenburg, Sweden


Gothenburg embraces its chilly winters with quintessentially festive lights. Five million individual lights form the ‘Lane of Light’, which stretches from Gothenburg’s harbour, almost two miles to Liseberg Amusement Park. There, a Christmas market alive with the sweet scent of almonds awaits. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it!

Niagara Falls, Ontario


This natural wonder is impressive enough all year round, never mind at Christmas. Its December transformation isn’t to be missed – the Winter Festival of Lights fills four miles of Ontario’s Niagara Parkway. Three million vibrant, multi-coloured lights create a rainbow of Christmas colour, while the Falls themselves light up in an eerily beautiful spectacle.

Whose Christmas lights do you think burn the brightest? Let us know using the comment box below.

Image credits:

Miroslav Zachoval / 

(this image has been adapted from the original, and the border removed)

Sunny Ripert /

terrykimura /

Guillaume Baviere /

Thaddeus Quintin /

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