Brussels, Belgium Photograph by Thierry Roge, Reuters/Corbis During Plaisirs d’Hiver, dramatically lit buildings and piped-in music lift spirits in the historic Grand Place. At the Christmas market, 240 chalets serve Belgian waffles and conical cuberdon candies. November 25-January 11.
Vienna, Austria Photograph by Sandra Raccanello, SIME Advent brings out Vienna’s romantic side: Garlands of bulbs glisten over thoroughfares and shops are decorated with pine branches and silk ribbons (November 26-December 31). Giant chandeliers lead to St. Stephen's Cathedral, and daily Advent concerts take place at Schönbrunn Palace.
Gothenburg, Sweden Photograph by Roberto Rinaldi, SIME The aroma of toasted almonds and glogg heralds the arrival of Saint Lucia to this charming river town illuminated all season long. Five million lights glitter on the buildings and on the 700 Christmas trees at Liseberg Amusement Park’s Christmas Market (Scandinavia’s largest, open November 18). Choirs sing and sweethearts smooch along a three-kilometer Lane of Light leading to the harbor beginning December 9.
Hong Kong, China Photograph by Francisco Martinez, Alamy It’s an over-the-top Christmas in Hong Kong, where lights twinkle along Main Street in Disneyland, the city’s malls try to outdo each other in awesomeness (Roppongi Hills Galleria created a ground-level Milky Way galaxy of lights one year), and the downtown skyline dances with colorful lights and piped-in music. The city center, crowned by a giant Swarovski crystal tree, bustles with carolers, and Victoria Harbour is fantastically illuminated. Stick around for Chinese New Year festivities—China’s traditional family holiday—for more fireworks and action. November 25–January 1.
These are the pictures I liked most from the Holiday lights at National Geographic.com. See them all: