Winter Illuminations: 7 Magical Christmas & Holiday Light Displays

Winter illuminations featured photo of Nabana no Sato at Nagashima Resort & Spa Land in Kuwana, Japan

Spring might be right around the corner, but it’s not too late to find winter illuminations! Whether you’re relaxing by the waterfront at Luci d’Artista in Salerno, Italy, or bundling up on Mido-suji Avenue in Osaka, Japan, winter illuminations make the winter season a whole lot brighter!

Herb Island Light Festival_Pocheon_South Korea_winter illuminations

1. Herb Island Light Festival | Pocheon, South Korea

A day-time arboretum with romantic Christmas illuminations at night, the Herb Island Light Festival in Pocheon, South Korea is one of the longest-running winter illuminations in Asia. Enjoy a pink wish tunnel, selfie spots and a brightly-lit pathway to Santa’s Village. Visitors also have opportunities to make their own Christmas soap, rent Santa costumes and watch Venetian performances.

Christmas illuminations: November to April

Hours: 5 to 7 p.m. daily

Tickets: 6,000 won, individuals; 4,000 won, special ticket

Map to Pocheon Herb Island Winter Illuminations

How to get to Pocheon Herb Island from Seoul

Take the subway from Seoul Station to Soyosan Station. Cross the street to find Bus 57, which leaves every two hours for Samjeong-ri, where you can catch a local ride to Herb Island. The journey takes about one hour and 45 minutes.

Check In to Sunny Terrace, Step Out to Pocheon Herb Island

Sunny Terrace_winter illuminations

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Osaka Festival of Lights_Mido-suji Illumination_Osaka_Japan_winter illuminations

2. Osaka Festival of Lights – Mido-suji Illumination | Osaka, Japan

Stroll down Mido-suji Avenue in its prime during the Osaka Festival of Lights. Also known as the Mido-suji Illumination, the festival features rows of brightly-lit gingko trees and colorful building facades. Follow the lights from Namba Station to Higashi-Umeda Station. The 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) stretch is one of the longest illuminated streets in the world. Capture a stunning Instagram shot from the Miotsukushi Promenade.

Winter illuminations: November 4 to December 31

Hours: 5 to 10 p.m.

Admission: free

Map of Osaka Festival of Lights

Check In to Hotel Wing International Select Osaka Umeda, Step Out to Osaka Festival of Lights – Mido-suji Illumination

Hotel Wing International Select Osaka Umeda_winter illuminations

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3. Place Masséna & Promenade Des Anglais | Nice, France

Receive some bonus scenery during December in Old Town Nice, where visitors can ogle seaside illumination throughout Place Masséna and the Promenade Des Anglais. Regardless the time of year, both venues are considered one of the best things to do in Nice, but during winter, visitors get a bonus view while strolling to popular attractions like the Cours Saleya market, Gallery Ponchettes and the Palace of the Dukes of Savoy (Palais de la Prefecture).

Winter illumination period: December

Time: sunset

Admission: free

Map of Promenade Des Anglais

Check In to Hotel Vendome, Step Out to Place Massena

Hotel Vendome_winter illuminations

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Jena Markt_Jenaer Weihnachtsmarkt_Jena_Germany__winter illuminations

4. Jena Markt (Jenaer Weihnachtsmarkt) | Jena, Germany

What’s not to love about a Christmas festival that kicks off by cutting a 13-foot-long (4 meters) fruit cake!?! Winter illuminations in Jena take place in the downtown square Christmas market, known as Jenaer Weihnachtsmarkt and sometimes just Christkindlmarkt. If you can’t pronounce either of those, just ask for directions to Jena’s Christmas Market and prepare for a 5 p.m. trumpet call, loads of dancing in the streets and one of the most festive town squares in the country.

Winter illumination period: November 26 to December 23

Admission: free

Map of Jenaer Weihnachtsmarkt

Check In to Apartments Ilmtal-Jena, Step Out to Jena City Center

Apartments Ilmtal-Jena_winter illuminations

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5. Luci d’Artista at Salerno Municipal Garden | Salerno, Italy

Visitors never know what winter illuminations they’re going to get when they visit Salerno during winter. Based on a different theme each year, the City of Salerno’s light show takes place at Luci d’Artista in the Salerno Municipal Garden. Past illuminations have included galactic wonderlands and Roman gods. Take in the spectacular production from a seat on the City Eye (Ruota Panoramica Salerno), a giant Ferris wheel in Piazza della Concordia.

Winter illumination period: second week of November to mid-January

Admission: free

Map of Luci d’Artista and Salerno Municipal Garden

Check In to Hotel Montestella, Step Out to Municipality of Salerno

Hotel Montestella_winter illuminations

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6. Winter Fest OC at OC Fair & Event Center | Orange County, California, USA

Watch Santa and his reindeer fly overhead, solve a light maze and enjoy ice tubing down a 150-foot-tall (46 meters) mountain in one of Southern California’s coolest winter illumination festivals. During Winter Fest OC at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, visitors can enjoy nightly Christmas tree lighting celebrations, ice skating and more than 20 amusement park rides. Fresh snow is blown into the venue each day, creating a winter-like atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else in SoCal!

Winter festival dates: December 20 to January 6

Admission: 6 to 38 USD, depending on activities

Map of OC Fair & Event Center

Check In to Residence Inn Costa Mesa Newport Beach, Step Out to Winter Fest OC at OC Fair & Event Center

Residence Inn Costa Mesa Newport Beach_winter illuminations

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7. Nabana no Sato at Nagashima Resort & Spa Land | Kuwana, Japan

Walk through a stunning light tunnel coined as “the world’s most spectacular view” in the garden of Nagashima Resort & Spa Land in Kuwana, Japan. The famed Japanese lights in the flower garden known as Nabana No Sato span more than 328 feet (100 meters) and wow visitors each year with themed exhibits that have featured everything from Mount Fuji to the northern lights (aurora borealis).

Winter illumination period: mid-October to early May

Admission: free

Map of Nabana no Sato at Nagashima Resort & Spa Land

Check In to Garden Hotel Olive, Step Out to Nabana no Sato

Garden Hotel Olive_winter illuminations

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