There are some magical water and light shows all over the world. It is something I always look forward to going to and we have seen some truly stunning shows around the globe including Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. You can’t go wrong in my eyes when you have colourful dancing fountains choreographed to music!
I was wondering where else we can find these shows and others with a combination of any of the following -colour/light/music/water so I couldn’t resist asking some fellow bloggers about their favourite shows. I am particularly excited about Vivid in Sydney and we are hoping to see it this year.
If you are thinking of planning a visit somewhere in the hope of experiencing one of these shows here we have a guide to the most magical water and light spectaculars around the world!
VIVID – SYDNEY AUSTRALIA by make time to see the world
Vivid Sydney is easily one of the best light shows on the planet and something which sits firmly on any Australian bucket list. Held for around 25 days between May and June each year the city, it’s buildings, harbor and even the zoo(!) are lit up by a range of creative lighting and art installations which combine together to create the largest outdoor gallery in the world.
Artists and engineers are encouraged to let their creative juices run wild and the results are some of the most impressive light displays and shows you’re ever likely to see – the most famous of which are the different designs and effects that adorn the Opera House throughout the festival.
And Vivid Sydney isn’t just about the light, there is also a focus on music and ideas, where an eclectic range of live performances and ground-breaking musical collaborations are hosted alongside an innovative program of speakers and presentations which celebrate innovation, creativity and community.”
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS – BERLIN by worldwide shopping guide
The Berlin Festival of Lights is without doubt one of the best light shows that I’ve been to around the world. It’s one of the largest light shows in Europe, and its growing to be one of the largest around the world.
The event, which has been running since 2005, takes place over the course of ten days throughout October. During that time, iconic buildings around Berlin are lit up with light projections, 3D imagery, and video mapping. Some of the monuments and buildings that are regularly part of the display include the Brandenburg Gate, the Fernsehturm, Berlin Cathedral, the Reichstag, Tempelhof Airport, and the Berlin Victory Column. It’s also a chance to see some references to local German humour. As an example, the Fernsehturm, which is known locally as the the Telespargel (Tele Aspragus) is often lit up in green to look like asparagus.
The light shows take place each evening, starting from 7 pm and lasting until around midnight. As well as the light show, there are also exhibitions by local artists from Berlin and around Germany, live music performances, and plenty of traditional and hearty German street food.
THE MAGIC WATER CIRCUIT – PERU by secret-traveller
One of the highlights of my time in Peru was the water and light show called Circuito Magico del Agua (The Magic Water Circuit) located within the Parque de La Reserva in downtown Lima.
The beautiful water circuit is made up of 13 illuminated fountains spread across the amazing 19-acre park and is one if Lima’s top tourist attractions. The best time to visit the park is after dawn when the fountains start to lit up and the light shows kick off every hour.
I loved strolling through the park, admiring the fountains and getting wet by running through a magic water tunnel. Another fun fountain is the maze – making it to the centre without getting soaked is almost impossible but it’s definitely a lot of fun and will put a smile on your face.
Not to be missed is the Fuente de La Fantasia – a 120-metre-long water and laser fountain show accompanied by beautiful peruvian music. I had heard so many amazing things about the light show and it did not disappoint. The 15 minute show is incredibly colourful and it was the perfect way to end the day in Lima.
In fact, we loved it so much, that we came back on our last night in Lima. If you do one thing in the capital of Peru make sure you check this out!
ST PETERSBURG – RUSSIA by stingy nomads
St.Peterburg is famous for its royal palaces and parks , Peterhof with its baroque palace and hundreds of fountains is one of the most impressive and beautiful parks. Created as a prototype of French Versailles it was a summer royal residence for many years nowadays it’s one of the favourite parks to visit in summer for both locals and tourists. The park is opened all year but the fountains only in summer season from May till the middle September. The fountain season starts and ends with an impressive water and fire show that thousands of people attend every year. The show takes place at the Grand Cascade fountain group and involves music, performance, laser show, fountains and fireworks, all these with the stunning palace on the background and hundreds of fountains around.
It’s something special that you see once and will remember for long time. The opening season show is on 20th May, it starts at 1pm, and every year it has different theme in 2018 it will be “Travel to Spain”. The closing season show is more colourful and impressive as it takes place at night, on 14th and 15th September at 9pm, last an hour or so and ends with big fireworks. To get a good spot from where you’ll be able to see the show it’s better to come a couple of hours earlier.
WINTER LIGHTS FESTIVAL – LONDON by The Fashion Matters
Winter lights festival in London is an annual lights show held every January at Canary Wharf for a few days. It includes dozens of dazzling artworks and interactive experience throughout the streets of Canary Wharf. The show provides an incredible interactive experience and is suitable for anyone from families with kids to young couples and friends. The bright lights show is a great leisure activity, especially for art lovers. The show this year will include a cube of light, colourful shadows, and even a graffiti of lights. The festival will be held from 16 to 27 January, 2018 and admission is free of charge.
LIU SAN JIE IMPRESSION LIGHT SHOW – YANGSHUO by Feet Do Travel
When I visited Yangshuo in China, I didn’t expect to watch a show let alone be moved to tears, but that is what happened. But how can a show extract so much emotion?
Created by Zhang Yi Mou who directed the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, you can imagine the special effects that were used for this blockbuster production! It’s not just the artistic use of lazers or the elaborate stage creation which makes this show so spectacular but the stage itself. Set on the Li River, a dozen karst mountains are beautifully lit forming the stunning backdrop. What also makes this show so unique is the performers who aren’t professionals. The 600 strong cast is made up of local fishermen, farmers and school children from the village.
Words simply cannot express how magnificent a masterpiece this is. There was something incredibly moving about this theatrical production. I cannot put my finger on whether it was the angel-like voices of the young girls, the beauty of the surroundings, the light show experience like no other, or maybe it was the simple fact I was in China, a Country I had longed to visit for many years, who knows.
With a show as special and magical as this, it’s one that definitely needs to be seen to be believed. Read “A guide to 3 days in Guilin”
SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS – HONG KONG by Crawford Creations
Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Hong Kong is to head down to the waterfront after dark to watch the light show. There are two main shows in Hong Kong that take place daily. At 7:45 pm is the ICC Light Show, now the second largest light and sound show on a single building, the ICC Tower, and at 8:00 pm is the newly revamped Symphony of Lights, which uses 40 different buildings on either side of the harbor front. Both light shows change with the seasons and celebrations happening within the city.
The ICC Light Show takes place every night at 7:45 pm and 9:00 pm and lasts for 15 minutes. To listen to the music that goes along with the light show you have to either download the ICC Light and Music Show App or head over to the IFC Mall P3 and P4 public terraces where they broadcast the synchronized music. The best spot for viewing the IFC Light Show (other than from the IFC Mall) is along the Central Pier waterfront on Hong Kong Island.
The Symphony of Lights show takes place every night at 8:00 pm and is best viewed from the Tsim Tsa Tsui Promenade (the waterfront in Kowloon) where they broadcast the music, played by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. You can also get a fantastic view of both the ICC and the Symphony of Lights shows aboard a Victoria Harbour Cruise.
BARCELONA MAGIC FOUNTAIN – SPAIN by Two Traveling Texans
The Magic Fountain in Barcelona, also known as Font Magica de Montjuic, uses music, water, and lighting effects to put on a spectacular show. You will want to get to the show early because it is popular, over 2.5 million visitors watch the show every year!
Originally, Carles Buigas built the Magic Fountain for the International Expo in 1929. Then, unfortunately, the Magic fountain was damaged during the Spanish Civil War. In 1955, Buigas worked to get it repaired and back in service. In 1980, they began adding music to the shows. Now, you will be impressed by the wide range of music the fountain show contains.
The fountain can actually do 7 billion different light-and-water combinations. It uses 3600 waterjets which pump out 2600 liters every second. Since 2010, the Magic Fountain has been using groundwater. I also like that they have switched to LED technology to be more environmentally conscious.
The Magic Fountain is located on Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, the street running from the Palau Nacional to Plaça d’Espanya in Montjuïc. We sat on the steps to enjoy the display. The fountain show is free to watch and the schedule varies depending on the season.
CHIANG MAI – THAILAND by Frequent Traveller
For an unforgettable water and light show you can’t go past the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai Thailand.
This combined festival takes place each year on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar (usually around November).
Loy Krathong begins with a swish of glamour as locals dressed in traditional Thai costume dance to the clash of cymbals and drums. Brightly decorated floats add to the excitement as they make their way through the city streets.
Krathong are on sale everywhere, these intricately woven baskets are adorned with banana leaves, flowers, candles and incense. In the evening the Krathong are taken to River Ping and set afloat as offerings to the river. The river comes alive with the glitter of candles as the Krathong slowly make their way downstream.
The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is such a show stopper that inward and out bound flights from Chiang Mai International Airport are cancelled.
Join in the fun and launch a lantern, it’s trickier than you think, locals and visitors laugh as lanterns fail to take off and breathe a sigh of relief and cheer as lanterns recover and take to the sky.
Finally, the sky fills with the glow of thousands of lanterns that stretch out across the horizon, a sight that will leave you spellbound and breathless, an unforgettable experience.
COPENHAGEN – DENMARK by Oregon Girl Around the World
Come to Copenhagen she said! Even with shorter days and dark nights, the city has reason to lighten up this February. The brand new Copenhagen Light Festival is celebrating the Danish love of design and good lighting. All month long interactive installations will illuminate the classic canals and architectural icons around the city. Light has long been used to help the Danes find hygge, that quintessentially Danish communal feeling of cozy contentment that helps make them one of the “happiest” countries on earth.
During the dark winter nights when most want to stay indoors, the Copenhagen Light Festival encourages people to bundle up and get outside. Special guided canal cruises and walks help visitors and locals get a better perspective about the individual artists’ intentions and execution. In a Scandinavian city that isn’t exactly known for a bevy of winter activities, the Copenhagen Light Festival is a fantastic way to enjoy the capital outdoors. Want to go ice-skating under twinkly lights? You can do that too. Take the Light Festival and add the first ever winter season at Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park and Copenhagen is winning at winter this month.
There are basically three types of light shows in Singapore which are a must do. These include the stunning OCBC Garden Rhapsody at Gardens by the Bay, Wonder Full at Marina Bay Sands and the majestic Crane Dance at Sentosa. Do not miss any of these. But if you are short of time, you can visit Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay as they are close to each other.
The laser show at Marina Bay Sands actually stands out. After visiting Marina Bay Sands at daytime, we had decided to watch the laser show there at night. A wonderful convergence of light, music and sound combining both electric lights and laser effects left us captivated. These 15 minutes of visual display by the waterfront is very popular with both locals as well as tourists. With stunning cityscape of Singapore lit up in the backdrop, I loved how the dancing colourful lights from the roofs of the Marina Bay Sands were reflected on the water.
At Gardens by the Bay dazzling display of multi-coloured lights to the sound of well-known original compositions is really a thing to experience. Huge man made trees that shine bright across the city. These shows make great entertainment for all the family.
GIZA PYRAMIDS – EGYPT
Have you seen the James Bond film starring Roger Moore and Jaws at the pyramids? It always springs to my mind when I think about light shows and to my mind this show has THE best setting you could wish for – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the wonders of the Ancient World.
The light show at the pyramids is told by the Sphinx and will transport you through history to learn about these amazing and quite frankly bind boggling creations.
Find out about the Pyramid of Khufu also known as the great Pyramid and was completed about 2000 years BC.
If you are in Egypt why not head to the other light shows which can be found at Abu Simble, Thebes and Philae.
KUALA LUMPUR – MALAYSIA
If you are staying in KL one destination that will definitely be on your radar with be the Petronas Towers. In KLCC park at the base of the towers is a lake which is where you will find a magical spectacle of water, colour, light and music every evening. It is one of the main attractions in Kuala Lumpur.
The lake symphony show runs nightly between 8pm and 10pm. It is the most colourful display I have ever seen and is quite beautiful. The water dances and changes colour in a perfectly choreographed dance to music.
At the Burj Lake at the foot of the Burj Khalifa you can experience one of the most hauntingly beautiful water and light shows in the world. Located behind the Dubai Mall the fountain shows can be viewed during the day and evening.
It is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system and is 900 foot in length. This show will quite simply take your breath away!
Find out more at the Dubai Fountain.
NIAGARA FALLS – CANADA/USA
One of the most magnificent waterfalls in the world has to have a light show to show off all that water! At dusk watch the falls transform into a myriad of colours – during the winter as the falls freeze the lights will illuminate the beauty of the frozen winter wonderland.
The “Illumination of the Falls” has been on-going since 1925! (With significant improvements over the years!)
Check out the website for up-to-date timings for the nightly show!
This is not a definitive list of all global laser, water and light shows but certainly covers 15 of the best. Are there any others you would include?
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THE MOST SPECTACULAR WATER AND LIGHT SHOWS AROUND THE WORLD
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Tracy is your expert expat!
She has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)
Through down-to-earth stories, tips and advice (based on her own extensive knowledge and experience of life as an expat) she aims to support new and prospective expats to survive and thrive in Australia.
With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.