Christmas is less than a month away, and that means many cities across the globe are no longer holding back when it comes to the holiday decorations.
Sure, most cities could throw up a tree, string some lights together and call it a day — but these destinations won't settle for just the bare minimum. No, when it comes to holiday displays, these cities go big, they go bright and they certainly won't want travellers to go home.
And there's a good reason: Next to summer, the most Canadians prefer to do their travel during the winter, according to a survey conducted by Expedia.ca, making the next few weeks prime time to see iconic landmarks transformed into monuments of holiday cheer.
World Famous Landmarks Go Festive For The Holidays. Slideshow text follows below:
Which landmark-turned-holiday display is your favourite? Let us know in the comment section below.
Located between Ontario, Canada and New York in the United States, Niagara Falls is the collective name for the three water falls (Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls) that straddle the U.S.-Canada border. While the Falls are a sight to behold any time of the year, they take on a new light in the winter, particularly in the days leading up to Christmas. It's during this time that the Falls turn into a Christmas light show with three million sparkling tree lights that shine across one giant sheet of water.
Paris' most famous street (and likely one of the most famous streets in the world) features two kilometres of Christmas lights that start at the Place de l'Etoile and the Arc de Triomphe and end at the Place de la Concorde. Throw into the mix a street loaded with designer shops and stores, and travellers visiting France can take in Christmas displays while finishing their holiday shopping at the same time.
For the unfamiliar, the London Eye is a popular landmark used by travellers looking to get a new vantage point on England's beauty. However, it's during the holiday season that the landmark becomes a holiday display in itself, as it gets decked out with a series of lights that turns it into a festive Ferris wheel. Those afraid of heights can take it the spinning display from ground level, next to the 300-square foot ice rink and a 4D cinema.
The Brandenburg Gate may very well be Germany's most famous landmark, but it's one that doesn't exactly brim with holiday spirit. That's of course until Christmas comes along and the ancient gate becomes illuminated and a series of lighted trees create a path where tourists can leisurely stroll around and get a closer view. Throw in an annual tree-lighting ceremony and one of Berlin's 50 Christmas markets nearby, and travellers will see why the city is known for Christmas light tours.
Old Town Square in Prague
You can't have Christmas lights without Christmas markets in Old Town Square. Located in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, Old Town Square becomes the unofficial go-to place for Christmas festivities and shopping in the country. The market — complete with wooden huts — features hand-made goods, jewellery and Christmas ornaments next to stalls selling sweets and drinks, making this a two-for-one destination for those looking for holiday displays and shopping at the same time.
A fully lit Tokyo Tower is one of the many sights Japan has to offer during the holidays. But it's when the lights go off that makes this landmark so unique. Rumour has it that if two lovers are staring at the tower when it turns off its lights at midnight, then they will be granted ever-lasting love. Skeptics, on the other hand, can still enjoy the 30-minute light shows choreographed to Christmas tunes in the evenings during the days leading up to the 25th.
New York's also known as the city that never sleeps, and while the jury's still out on the Big Apple vs. Vegas, the festive transformation at Rockefeller Center may have something to do with it. As one of the city's most famous landmarks, the complex of commercial buildings is no stranger to hosting celebrations, but in the days leading up to Christmas, the centre turns into a massive display of holiday spirit with illuminated displays of angels, strings of lights and capped off one of biggest tree-lighting ceremonies in North America.
For the most part, the Kremlin is a standing testament to Russia's past back when it led a coalition of countries known as the U.S.S.R. Nowadays, it houses Russia's president while overlooking Red Square. But during the winter holidays, Red Square also gets a touch of green, gold and all sorts of other colours as lights and a Christmas tree take over Moscow's centre square.
Stockholm's Christmas Tree
It's rare for a city to have a seasonal landmark, unless that city is Stockholm. For the residents of the Swedish capital, the annual Christmas tree ceremony gives residents a massive display of Christmas spirit. How massive, you ask? Well, in the past, the city's arbour has claimed the title as the world's largest Christmas tree for the last 10 years. Factor in the number of lights needed to light these tree and Swedes have themselves a big, festive landmark.