With less than two weeks left until Christmas, cities and towns across the world are aglow with stunning light displays. Though each is special in its own way, some are truly outstanding. Here are a few that made our list of 2018’s most noteworthy.
On December 1, 2018 thousands of locals and visitors gathered around the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon to watch the lighting of Rio de Janeiro’s famous floating tree and the accompanying fireworks show. Standing 230 feet (70 meters) tall, the massive metal structure, which sits in the middle of the water, is illuminated by more than 2 million lights. It will continue to delight visitors every night, until January 6, 2019.
Luci d’ Artista (“Artists Lights”) is one of the most anticipated annual events in Salerno, Italy. The dazzling festival, which runs from early November through mid-January, comprises themed installations created by local and international artists. This year’s show, which honors marine life, features intricate creations emulating the ocean’s waves, complete with fish, coral, shells, and other undersea inhabitants, resulting in a mesmerizing aquarium of lights. Visitors will also be able to admire an impressive 98-foot (30 meters) tall Christmas tree, as well as Nativity scenes sculpted from sand.
While the five-week-long Christmas in Vilnius festival features a variety of festivities and surprises, the highlight is the massive Christmas tree that sits in the city’s historic Cathedral Square. Voted Europe’s most beautiful tree by “Europe Best Destinations“ in 2017, the impressive 90-foot-tall structure is lit by 70,000 bulbs and decorated with over 900 toys.
The annual Medellin Christmas lights display, also known as Los Alumbrados, or Alumbrados Navideños, is an age-old tradition that dates back 51 years. This year’s theme, “Colombia, a magical paradise of light at Christmas,” pays homage to the country’s natural beauty with displays modeled after native birds and flowers. Thanks to budget cuts, the 2018 show is not as elaborate as previous years. However, it still comprises 6 million LED lights, 35,000 hand-woven figures, and 11 tons of metalized paper.
While the city’s modest officials refer to it as "the most spectacular light show in New Zealand," Christchurch’s Christmas Light Show, most likely, ranks as among the best in the world. Open to visitors from November 30 through December 30, it comprises over 400,000 lights that are synchronized to music. This year, visitors will be able to groove to the beat of a variety of genres including rock, country, and even classical tunes while admiring the dazzling spectacle.