10 light festivals to see in Europe

fête des lumières, place jacobins, Lyon, France

Do you want to take in the sights on your next trip? If so, here are the 10 best light festivals to see in Europe!

Light has always fascinated human beings. We’ve set out to understand it, to measure its speed and to attribute many obscure physical laws to it. But we’ve also paid tribute to it: in Europe, there are legions of light festivals that sublimate it!

They can be found in every country, and have been for many years. Thanks to tourism, these splendid festivities are being showcased (!) all over the world. It’s a race to see who can offer the most grandiose, magical and majestic spectacle to the visitors who come to discover it.

France, the UK, Russia, Switzerland… Wherever you go, there’s sure to be a festival of light to discover! But which one will appeal most to you? To find out, we invite you to read up on the services on offer and the major attractions to discover. Just kidding, we’ve already taken care of that!

Here are some of the most emblematic light festivals on the European continent, carefully selected by Generation Voyage. Turn on the lights!

1. Lyon Festival of Lights (France)

celestins theatre, festival of lights, lyon, france

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Sebarrere

The world-famous Fête des Lumières is a must-see in Lyon!

The capital of the Gauls will be decked out in its finest luminous finery from December 8 onwards. This popular festival has been running since 1989, and attracts more and more people each year. Historic buildings and famous monuments are sublimated by incredible lighting and light shows.

Why not go and see the light festivals for yourself on your next trip to Lyon?

2. Amsterdam Light Festival(Netherlands)

Amsterdam Light Festival

Photo Credit : Shutterstock / Julia700702

The Amsterdam Light Festival is another major European light festival. Exclusive light creations lick the buildings from the streets while highlighting the city’s emblematic canals. Speaking of canals, it would be a shame to go to the Amsterdam Light Festival without admiring them from a boat. Yes, it’s perfectly possible, and we highly recommend it!

Don’t miss this sublime show, which every year seems even more beautiful than the year before. The light shows are constantly renewed by an experienced artistic team. You won’t regret these festivals of light!

3. Gothenburg Christmas City in Gothenburg(Sweden)

Gothenburg Christmas City à Göteborg

Photo Credit : Shutterstock / Paul2015

Ah, Sweden… Spending Christmas there is the guarantee of a magical holiday season. In addition to the often abundant snow, the Scandinavian spirit lends itself well to this family celebration.

For the occasion, check out the « Alley of Light », which transforms Gothenburg’s main avenue into a flamboyant boulevard. It stretches from the harbor to the Liseberg amusement park, which includes a famous Christmas market. It’s the biggest Christmas market in Scandinavia! OK, so it’s not exactly a festival of light. But it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

4. Lausanne Lumières Festival(Switzerland)

Festival Lausanne Lumières

Photo credit: Shutterstock /Andreas Mann

During the festive season, the city of Lausanne is transformed into a vast field of light.

This is the place to discover the works of light of many contemporary artists. During this artistic event, you can visit the luminous sculptures in the streets of the town center and the old town. Exhibited in the streets of the town center and old town, these sculptures are not made of stone, but of light! Their unusual arrangement forms a silent, almost mystical itinerary.

For shopaholics, one last tip: on three evenings in December, stores extend their opening hours. And at this very moment, Lausanne Lumières is focusing its creations on end-of-year shopping!

5. Lumiere London/Durham(England)

Lumiere London

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / ElenaChaykinaPhotography

Wow! Lumiere London is really something.

In January, the festivals of light give the city a new glow. Nearly fifty British and European artists collaborate to create a crazy atmosphere that shines with a thousand lights.

For the occasion, the whole of downtown London is transformed into an exceptional exhibition. On the big nights, people flock to see the lasers dancing on London’s iconic buildings. Don’t miss the banks of the Thames and the spectacular geometric light tunnel. These attractions are now world-famous: go and see them for yourself!

6. Spotlight, Bucharest International Light Festival(Romania)

Spotlight, festival international de la lumière de Bucarest

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Radu Bercan

Romania may not be the first place you think of when you think of the Festival of Light, but it’s true.

But the Spotlight Festival, Romania’s biggest festival dedicated to light, is a local institution. Every year, visitors come to admire stunning video projections, architectural illuminations and interactive art installations.

The event is held in April and has the distinction of selecting a specific theme each year. In fact, the director of Lyon’s Fête des Lumières himself supervised a festival of light edition not long ago. Cock-a-doodle-doo!

7. Luminale Frankfurt(Germany)

Luminale de Francfort

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Circumnavigation

The Frankfurt Luminale… Well, we’ll admit, it’s a bit of a favorite.

The event is held every two years in March in the city of sausage. But that’s not all: every two years, the Luminale attracts some 150,000 visitors to Frankfurt city center. And not for nothing! Everything in Frankfurt is transformed during this extraordinary event. Buildings, trees, structures and monuments are bathed in halos of light, and talented artists use them as creative backdrops.

Pleasant to carry out, the route through the city is well signposted and the itinerary perfectly staged: all the more reason to give it a whirl.

8. Łódź Festival of Lights(Poland)

Festival des lumières de Łódź

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Janusz Baczynski

The Łódź Festival of Lights takes place at the end of September.

The Light Move Festival, the Polish equivalent of Lyon’s Fête des Lumières, is the place to come for fun and excitement. In addition to light shows and laser-drawn frescoes, there are numerous attractions to delight young and old alike. You can even enter a « chamber of light » in the heart of the old town, on the main square!

The city is very art-oriented; in addition to street artists, it’s also home to an internationally renowned film school.

9. Bright Brussels, Brussels(Belgium)

Bright Brussels

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Alexandros Michailidis

Brussels is the proud capital of our Belgian neighbors. Although they can’t quite beat us at soccer, they do have a certain ability to organize fabulous events. Take Bright Brussels, for example: a festival of light taking place on a winding course through the city.

Comprising a dozen grandiose light installations, it stands out for its playfulness and attention to detail. This free event takes place in February and extends to the historic heart of the city. The latter is already remarkable, but illuminated by brilliant beams, what a spectacle! Don’t miss a visit to Place Béguinage. It’s absolutely spectacular!

10. Circle of Light, Moscow(Russia)

Le Circle of Light

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Serjio74

The Circle of Light is an annual event held in the Russian capital at the end of September.

If we’re telling you about it, it’s because Moscow’s emblematic sites are becoming artistic media! The festivals of light are impressive! Aquatic fireworks, lasers and complex pyrotechnic mechanisms dazzle young and old alike. Why not take the opportunity to visit the capital of the land of the Tsars? It’s not yet cold at this time of year, and this could be the perfect opportunity to visit Russia. The highlight? Red Square, of course. Already splendid, the famous buildings are even more beautiful when illuminated in shimmering colors.

So, where would you like to go to enjoy this grandiose spectacle to the full? Don’t hesitate: whichever fête des lumières you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy an unforgettable experience. Guaranteed on invoice!

Light festivals are waiting for you! Spotlights, lasers… you’re in for a real treat!