5 mins

The world's 5 most stunning candlelit attractions

Everything looks better by candle light. Even the world’s most iconic travel destinations...

Aarti ritual, Varanasi (Shutterstock.com)

1. Petra, Jordan

The rose-coloured ruins of Petra are a stunning sight at any time, but at night, illuminated by flickering candles, they will take your breath away.

Petra by candlight (Shutterstock.com)Petra by candlelight (Shutterstock.com)

Held every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evening, your journey begins at the entrance to the Siq, the narrow canyon that leads to the Treasury, and is lit with candles for you to follow. At the Treasury, a traditional band plays – a perfect soundtrack for the flickering shadows to dance to.

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2. Birgu, Malta

Every October, the narrow streets of Birgu are lit up with a gentle glow of thousands of candles of all shapes and sizes, emphasizing and highlighting the architectural beauty of one of Malta’s oldest towns.

Brig by candlelight (VisitMalta.com)

The display is part of the annual Birgufest that also includes historic re-enactments, outdoor concerts and street stalls selling traditional Maltese food.

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3. Varanasi, India

Every night at Dashashwamedh ghat, on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi, Hindu priests gather to perform the ancient fire ritual, Aarti.

Priest performing Aarti (Shutterstock.com)Priest performing Aarti (Shutterstock.com)

Conch shells are blown as hundreds of candles are lit and set afloat on the river, in a bid to bring purification and godly blessings to those who attend.

4. Lyon, France

Every December the people of Lyon pay homage to the Virgin Mary by filling their window sills and balconies with candles. This simple tradition has since grown into an annual Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights) where the streets of the city are illuminated.

Candles on the streets of Lyon (Shutterstock.com)Candles on the streets of Lyon (Shutterstock.com)

The result is a unique spectacle of light, transforming the city’s buildings, waterways and green spaces, illuminating the history and traditions of this French city.

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5. Bournemouth, UK

Every Wednesday evening in August, Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens are transformed into a magical candlelit kingdom as part of the annual Candlelight Nights festival. Visitors help light up displays in the shape of animals, cartoon characters and distinction designs. 

Union Jack in candles (VisitBournemouth.com)

The tradition began in 1896 when Princess Eugiene of France visited the town and her route through the gardens was lit by candlelight. Nowadays thousands of people visit each year to re-enact the visit, enjoying a host of other events in the gardens as well.

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Main image: Aarti ritual, Varanasi (Shutterstock.com)

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