Let There Be Light: The Best Christmas Displays Around The World

18 November 2015

Did you know there's a mere 38 days until Christmas? It's time to start getting into the festive spirit and decking the halls ... with hundreds of tiny colourful lights!

An long time symbol of the holiday season, fairy lights are strung from trees and buildings around the world to create dazzling displays. And as with most things festive, the more the merrier! Here are 10 cities that take Christmas lights to the next level with amazing displays that simply must be seen.

Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

Celebrating Plaisirs d'Hiver (Winter Wonders), Brussels' Grand Place comes alive for the Christmas season. Along with its traditional Christmas Market, this town square boasts a skating rink, illuminated Ferris wheel and performers. Though, it's the incredible light show projected onto the square's buildings that really delights the crowds!

 The buildings of Grand Place lit in all their glory (Image: Getty)

Callaway Gardens – Pine Mountain, Georgia

When it comes to holiday fun, the USA does it well. Get to any town or city in the States after Thanksgiving and you'll be treated to house after house of bright lights. Though, Callaway Gardens in Georgia amps things up with its Fantasy in Lights. Integrating a number of scenes,  guests are treated to holiday displays through a wooded landscape made up of more than eight million lights!

 Take a trip through a Christmas light wonderland in Georgia (Image: callawaygardens.com)

Central City – Hong Kong, China

As part of the city's WinterFest, Hong Kong lights up (literally) for Christmas. Statue Square, Central  offers a great photo opportunity with a concentration of scenes lit up with the glow of thousands of fairy lights. City skyscapers also get into the spirit, illuminating their facades in custom decorative displays. And don't forget the Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show with exciting audiovisual effects.

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Zilker Park's Trail of Lights –  Austin, Texas

Texas may be short on the snow, but that doesn't hamper their Christmas efforts. Austin is home to the famous Trail of Lights, which includes a two kilometre walking circuit with more than 100 lighted trees. It takes 15,00 hours and the work of 1,500 volunteers to set up the trail, but it certainly pays off when the night is lit up by the more than two million twinkling bulbs.

 Walk the Trail of Lights in Austin (Image: austintrailoflights.org)

Medellin, Colombia

The city of Medellin takes its Christmas lights very seriously. In fact, 'lighting the city' as they call it is a tradition that dates back 50 years. More than 16 million lights go into the making of all the colourful displays that run across the city. Visitors are treated to amazing scenes, with the highest concentration of lights running along the Medellin River and La Playa Avenue.

 Medellin outdoes itself every year with their Christmas displays (Image: Wikipedia)

Vienna, Austria

There's something about the old world feel of Vienna that makes it the perfect spot to celebrate the holiday season. If snow speckled streets and festive markets aren't enough to get you into the spirit, the hundreds of thousands of lights bedecking the city certainly will! The streets of Graben and Karntnerstrasse light up with glowing garlands and chandeliers, while Vienna's City Hall Square is awash with colour. This includes Rathaus (the town hall), which looks like something out of a fairytale!

 Beautiful Vienna brings a touch of glamour to Christmas lights (Image: Getty)

The Boulevard – Ivanhoe, Melbourne, Australia

Australia may be in the throes of summer when Christmas rolls around, but that won't stop the spirit of Christmas. Most capital cities have light displays, but Melbourne has developed a bit of a following thanks to locations such as The Boulevard in Ivanhoe. Colourful displays have been adorning these homes since the 1950s. Visitors can walk down the sidewalks of this neighbourhood, marvelling at the incredible efforts the homeowners have gone to in the name of Christmas.

 Melbourne's Town Hall all lit up (Image: Getty)

Denver Botanic Gardens – Denver, Colorado

Called the Blossoms of Light, the Christmas display at the Denver Botanic Gardens is the stuff postcards are made of. Pine trees are adorned in colourful bulbs and a thick blanket of snow sparkles with the different colours of lights. Thousands of lights go into lighting up the gardens, with sections such as the Romantic Gardens (complete with 'kissing spots') and the grand illuminated O'Fallon Perennial Walk doing their part to spread Christmas cheer.

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 Shiodome Caretta Illumination – Tokyo, Japan

Cities across Japan are quite partial to light displays come Christmas time, but one of the best is in Tokyo. The Shiodome Caretta Illumination combines 24,000 LED light bulbs with stunning light projections to create a light show that many count as the best in the world. 2015 will celebrate the 10th anniversary with a theme of Canyon d'Azur. Shows start mid November and run every 20 minutes.

 There are 24,000 LED lights incorporated into Tokyo's lighting display (Image: japantoday.com)

Ayala Triangle Gardens Light Show – Makati, Philippines

Every year around mid November, the Ayala Triangle Gardens light up in an amazing display of colourful lights and festive music. This beautiful creation combines hundreds of custom-made LED string lights, LED meteor lights, flash pods and laser lights to create an amazing show meant to inspire locals and visitors alike. It's known as the Festival of Lights, with shows running every 30 minutes from 6-10pm each night.

 Custom-made lights give Ayala Triangle Gardens an extra dose of magic (Image: ayalatriangle.com)

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Carlie Tucker

Travelling is for discovering the unexpected. From fantastic meals in ramshackle joints to stumbling upon a best kept secret, I love those fortuitous travel moments that couldn't be planned if I tried.