Looking to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit?
Make your way to these dazzling light displays. December is almost here, and the cities of Europe are beginning to twinkle with holiday decorations. From Covent Garden to the Eiffel Tower, iconic landmarks are being adorned with festive lights, drawing massive crowds.
But if you’re seeking the Christmas vibe without the hustle and bustle, visit these tranquil parks and botanical gardens for enchanting light trails and festive decorations. London:
Wander through magical forests at Kew Gardens London, which is bustling with visitors indulging in stunning lights and holiday cheer, from Carnaby Street to Winter Wonderland.
Venture a bit outside the city center and discover a delightful display that evokes a feeling of serenity rather than the typical holiday bustle. Each year, Christmas at Kew turns the Royal Botanic Gardens in southwest London into a dreamlike setting with glittering forests and artistic installations.
This year’s showcase started on November 15 and includes candle-lit pathways, captivating fountain shows, and vibrant projections promoting environmental awareness. The 3-kilometer trail is free of disposable plastic, and most of the lights are energy-efficient LEDs.
Come hungry and thirsty, as there are food stalls offering delectable treats such as Yorkshire pudding wraps and mince pies, in addition to bars serving mulled wine and hot chocolate. There’s even a fire pit for toasting marshmallows and a small amusement park for children.
Christmas at Kew will be running until January 7, 2024.Paris: Lose yourself in a luminous tropical jungle at Jardin des Plantes While Paris shines with lights along the Champs Elysées, ice skating at Tuileries Garden, and festive window displays on Avenue Montaigne, nothing quite compares to the Jardin des Plantes’ Festival of Lights.
This year’s light exhibition, commencing on November 22, will feature grand illuminated sculptures celebrating the jungles of Asia, Oceania, South America, and Africa. Traverse through glowing tropical forests for a respite from the winter chill, and don’t miss the chance to take photos with larger-than-life bugs, flowers, and animated displays.
Even though the festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every winter, tickets are allocated for specific dates and time slots to ensure it doesn’t become overcrowded. The Festival of Lights will be open until January 21, 2024.Berlin:
Immerse yourself in a cheerful atmosphere at Botanischer Garten Berlin Germany is synonymous with Christmas, with its famous markets setting the standard for celebrations worldwide. While the best way to experience them is by visiting picturesque towns like Heidelberg, the vibrant capital city, Berlin, offers an abundance of winter cheer.
If you prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of Winter World and Potsdam Platz, the Botanical Garden of Berlin offers a more serene alternative. It unveiled its illuminated circular trail on 17 November, featuring beautiful light installations synchronized with seasonal soundtracks.
With countless opportunities for striking photos along the path, the garden is hosting a festive photo competition, with a trip to the 2024 light show at Windsor Castle in England as the prize.
Tickets for the Christmas Garden are available until 14 January 2024.Madrid: Step into a radiant world of insects at Enrique Tierno Galván parkYou may not experience a snowy Christmas in Spain’s capital, but the festive spirit is undeniable.
From the end of November until the beginning of January, Madrid’s streets, buildings, and squares are adorned with colorful lights and luminous nativity scenes.Once you’ve admired the tree at Plaza de España and witnessed the lit-up arches at Plaza Mayor, elevate your experience by visiting Naturaleza Encendida.
Traditionally held at Jardín Botánico, the annual light exhibition will be relocated to Enrique Tierno Galván park this year. Last year’s showcase paid homage to fungi, and this year’s edition will celebrate the marvelous world of insects. The ticketed event kicks off on November 21 and continues until January 22, 2024.
Rome: Engage in a contemporary Christmas experience at l’Orto Botanico di RomaFrom the nativity scene in St Peter’s Square to the Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican, Rome captivates crowds seeking the true essence of Christmas.For a modern spin on the festivities, head to l’Orto Botanico di Roma, where you can explore a multi-sensory, immersive light-art exhibition.
Rome’s annual ‘Trame di Luce’ (Textures of Lights) showcases illuminated sculptures, 3D installations, and special effects complemented by music. Wander through the botanical garden’s enchanted woods, LED tunnels, and enchanting caves before indulging in Roman street food and cocktails.The event began on 16 November and will run until January 7, 2024.