Although usually we write more about music-festivals, there is one festival in Berlin which has nothing to do with music but is still on top of our list with recommendations: It’s called the Festival of Light. During this 10-days event in the beginning of October the city of Berlin literally lightens up. Millions of people from all over the world visit Berlin to experience the largest open air gallery in the world during the Festival of Light 2019.
10 Days of Light Art Festival
But what exactly is this Festival of Lights? It is is a yearly light art festival in which over 100 locations all over Berlin will be illuminated in a special and creative way. Historical places, attractions, landmarks, large buildings and famous squares will be illuminated by national and international artists. The images in this article are probably the best way to explain how impressive this can look. The Festival of Lights turns the whole city of Berlin into one free exhibition and spectacular event.
The 15th Edition in Berlin
This year the Festival of Lights will be organised for the 15h time in Berlin. The first illumination festival was organised in 2005 and since that year the amount of visitors have been increasing rapidly. Last year, more than two million visitors came to Berlin and over half a million extra hotel-bookings were registered. The Festival of Light in Berlin can definitely be called one of the most successful illumination-events in the world.
Daily illuminations all over town
This year, visitors can enjoy the Festival of Lights from the 11th till the 20th of October 2019. The illuminations normally start around 7 PM and end around midnight. You can see more than 100 different illuminations during the Festival of Lights in Berlin: From Potsdamer Platz to the Berliner Dom and from the Brandenburger Tor to Alexanderplatz, Berlin will be the main actor in its own show. A full list of all the illuminations of the Festival of Lights will be published on the official website.
Start of the festival: Lights-On
The first few times I visited the Festival of Lights, the grand opening was organised on Potsdamer Platz on the first official day of the festival. But since the last couple of years the organisation decided in favour of a collective lights-on moment, where all the illuminations will light up at the first time. This will be an impressive moment on the 11th of October at 19.00. Although it is not the main spot for the grand opening, the Potsdamer Platz is still a great spot to be during lights-on because there are several impressive buildings at one location. Make sure you mark the date and experience the moment that Berlin is illuminated for 10 days in 2019.
If you are looking for an organised experience, you can decide to use one of the many tours of The Festival of Lights. You can enjoy the illuminations by boat, bus, air-balloon, foot and even on a segway. Obviously, the tours differ in price, destinations and starting point so it is probably best if you take a look at the section on the website of the festival of lights.
Paradise for photographers
The Festival of Lights is the perfect stage for anybody who likes to use a camera. You will see a lot of professional photographers but as you can see in this article, even a hobby-photographer can take a few quite solid photos during this event. All attractions in Berlin, which are already impressive during the rest of the year, will blow your mind during the Festival of Lights. Make sure you find yourself a nice spot before it gets busy and a standard is also useful to keep your photos steady (it is dark in the city after all).
Tips for Festival of Lights 2019
Personally I really love the Festival of Lights and because the events takes about 10 days, it is not hard to find some time to visit the event at least a few times. During the last couple of years I have gathered some tips which might be useful if you are planning to visit the Festival of Lights 2019:
- The most busy time of the evening is between 19.00 and 21.30 (especially during the week). If you are in Berlin as a tourist you probably do not mind to stay up a bit later so you can visit the most popular illuminations after 22.00.
- The main touristic attractions like Brandenburger Tor and the Berliner Dom can be quite crowded. Therefore it might make sense to visit a less famous place, like the Märkisches Viertel or the Humboldt University. These locations are also very impressive and normally less busy.
- The festival of lights is totally free. It is also allowed to bring your own drinks and food. This enables you to have a nice picknick with your partner with an illumination in the background. Landmarks like the Berliner Dom and the Reichstag offer plenty of space to sit on the grass.
- Besides the official website, you can also have a look on Facebook if you want to get the latest information about the Festival of Lights 2019. If you want to see some videos you can also check out their Youtube-Channel.
My photos of the Festival of Lights
The last couple of years, the Festival of Lights has been a great success. For 10 days, most of the landmarks in Berlin were even more impressive than they normally are. Obviously I enjoyed the great illuminations myself as well. Some of the better photos you could see above already but here are a few more: