RPT-Travel Picks: Top 10 Christmas lights displays

Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:05am EST

(Fixes formatting for screen clients)
    LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - There's nothing like a good
holiday lights display to spark off the festive season.
    Just the thought of a steaming hot drink cupped in your
gloved hands, a woollen cap on your head, a fluffy scarf
wrapping you up tight as you soak up the seasonal spirit in a
city sparkling with the glow of lights has prompted online
travel adviser Cheapflights.com (www.cheapflights.com) to offer
its list of Top 10 Christmas lights displays. Reuters has not
endorsed this list:
1.  Singapore
    In recent years, the magic of Christmas lights has spread
even further afield to countries throughout Asia. Every evening
from November 20 to January 2, Orchard Road and Marina Bay in
Singapore are lit up in full-on seasonal splendor with its
Christmas in the Tropics light display. Singapore's famous
shopping district celebrates with twinkling street lights,
dressed-up shop windows, concerts, musicals and exhibitions.
2.  Toronto, Canada
    In Toronto, the annual Cavalcade of Lights marks the
official start of the holiday season with music, skating,
dancing and a whole heap of Christmas lights. Now in its 46th
year, the Cavalcade was created in 1967 to showcase Toronto's
newly constructed City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square. The
festive usually falls on the final weekend of November when the
Square and a giant Christmas tree are illuminated by more than
300,000 energy-efficient LED lights that shine from dusk until
11pm, November 17 to January 1.
3.  Paris, France
    With a name like the City of Lights you'd expect Paris to
shine at Christmas and it certainly doesn't disappoint. During
the day you'll come across the usual bustle of tourists at the
iconic sites, but night time is when the magic really happens.
With the sparkling Eiffel Tower, glitzy Champs-Élysées and
starry streets, the city feels like a real-life fairy tale after
dark.
4.  Medellin, Colombia
    Christmas in Medellin, Colombia, is a time of families
coming together to celebrate and enjoy the simple pleasure of
looking at amazing decorations. In December, the city's
thoroughfares, roads and parks are covered in thousands of fairy
lights, with the most impressive displays found in Avenue la
Playa and the Medellín River. Every year thousands flock to the
Medellin River to gaze at the million dollar displays, sample
delicious food and enjoy street performances.
5.  Kobe, Japan
    Seasonal illuminations around Christmas time have become a
popular attraction in cities across Japan and none is more
beautiful than the Kobe Luminarie. After the Kobe earthquake of
1995, Italy donated thousands of hand-painted bulbs to the city
and these were transformed into an intricate, gothic-style
luminarie designed by Valerio Festi and Hirokazu Imaoka. The
tradition continues, and every year from December 1-12, around
four million locals and tourists alike come to celebrate Japan's
enduring resilience near Higashi-Yuenchi Park.
6.  Baltimore, Maryland
    For 11 months out of the year, 34th Street in Baltimore is
like any other street in North America, but in the month of
December something truly magical takes place. Now in its 62nd
year, the "Christmas Street" light display sees thousands of
visitors descend on this unassuming neighborhood to view some of
the most fantastic, and quirky, lights in North America. Each
house on the block is decorated in the owner's unique style and
some homes include toy trains on rooftops and hubcap Christmas
trees.
7.  Vilnius, Lithuania
    For the Christmas season, Lithuania's capital city Vilnius
gets covered in colorful garlands of electric lights and the
country's largest 'Christmas tree' (the Vilnius television tower
under a vale of lights) is lit up. In the Old Town Christmas
Markets, taste festive treats and mulled wine;, and then see if
you can spot Santa or listen to carols in one of the city's many
churches. For a dazzling performance like no other, check out
the popular Magic Christmas display. This state of the
production sees the city's cathedral transformed into a colorful
storyboard with a "4D" projection of light, sound, and even
scent.
8.  Vienna, Austria
If experiencing a traditional European Christmas is on your
list, it doesn't get more perfect than celebrating Weihnachten
in Vienna, Austria. From mid-November 10 of Vienna's city
squares are transformed into beautiful Christmas Markets
decorated with bushy trees and strings of twinkling fairy lights
hanging from every available surface. Top this off with stalls
selling crafts, gifts, local produce, season foods and festive
drinks and you've got enough Christmas spirit to cheer even the
biggest Grinch.
9.  Berlin, Germany
    Germany is the home of Christmas Lights so it's no wonder
the country's capital really shines during the holiday season.
When the sun goes down on Berlin, the city's historic buildings,
streets and every available tree branch is lit up with colourful
projections and row upon row of fairy lights. Berlin's
illuminations are such a draw that visitors with a passion for
photography can sign up for special guided tours of the lights.
Within the city squares and boulevards nearly 60 different
Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Markets) provide even more glistening
sights along with all the shopping, food and Glühwein (mulled
wine) you'd expect from a Christmas market. You'll find some of
the best illuminations at the 368m Fernsehtur (TV Tower),
Alexanderplatz Market, Opera Palace, National Opera and the
famous Brandenburg Gate and Charlottenburg Palace.
10. Disney, Los Angeles, California USA
    The happiest place on earth gets even merrier over the
holiday season as Disneyland is transformed into an extravagant
winter wonderland right in the heart of California. Classic
rides such as It's A Small World and the Haunted Mansion are
given luminous festive makeovers, while Main Street is decked
out in the all the best Christmas trimmings. Heralded by
trumpeting toy soldiers, prancing reindeer, joyful gingerbread
men and skating snowflakes, the Main Street Christmas Fantasy
Parade sees all of Disney's most popular characters dressed up
in their holiday best. The centerpiece of this magical display
sees Sleeping Beauty's Castle covered with snow-capped turrets,
shimmering icicles and twinkling lights. Finally, everything is
topped off by a dazzling pyrotechnics and fireworks spectacular.

 (Editing by Paul Casciato)
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.