Light Festivals in Europe

Light Festivals to Visit in 2018

As the summer sun fades away into early autumn evenings, a whole host of fantastic light festivals are gearing up to put on quite the display. Taking place across Europe over the next few months, these shows reveal the magical side of their host cities – illuminating iconic buildings, winding cobbled streets and even the lengths of Amsterdam’s famous canals.

So even if you’ve visited these destinations dozens of times before, get ready to see them in a whole new *ahem* light this year. Here are some of our favourite light festivals to visit in 2018.

Glow Eindhoven 2018 – 10-17 Nov

‘Every picture has its shadows. And it has some source of light. Blindness, blindness and sight,’ so sang Joni Mitchell, providing the inspiration for the theme of this year’s GLOW festival: shadows and light. 30 local and international artists have joined forces to create the 5km-long trail through the streets of Eindhoven. Stroll the route solo or take a guided tour to learn more about the artists and the story behind each installation.

Amsterdam Light Festival 2018 – 29 Nov-20 Jan

Home to one of the world’s most famous light festivals, each year Amsterdam is transformed into an even more magical destination fit for the pages of a fairy tale. During the event, giant dandelion seeds hover over the canals, ethereal starscapes float between the trees and lively characters dance along the walls of historical buildings. There’s no better place to let your imagination run wild than in this world of playful wonders.

Magical Maastricht 2018 – 1-31 Dec

Light Festivals - Maastricht
Photo by Filip Mishevski

When you reach Maastricht, head straight to the heart of Vritjhof Square for a quite extraordinary sensory experience. Strings of fairy lights will lead you to some of the city’s most wonderful landmarks, cosy bars await with the warming glow of giant stars to guide your way, and the local Christmas market will also be on hand to provide the most enticing tastes and smells to round off your trip. Don’t leave without taking in the birds-eye view from the Ferris Wheel.

Fête des Lumières 2018 – 6-9 Dec

This unique light festival can be first traced back to 1852, when Lyon residents lit their homes with candles to celebrate the installation of the Virgin Mary statue at the top of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. The golden figure still stands today, and the extravagant festivities continue to draw visitors from across the globe. In fact, it’s now the third most attended world event after Carnaval de Rio and Oktoberfest in Munich.

Ready to explore Europe’s best light festivals for yourself? Take a look at our ferry crossings today.

Feature photo by Wilhelm Lappe