green christmas tree with string lights

Europe’s Most Festive Cities, According to Christmas Light Data

With the festive season just around the corner, spirits are running high, and celebrations are just not complete without some dazzling Christmas lights to set the mood. But which European city shines the brightest in the month of December?

Inspired by the festive spirit, the experts at were curious to uncover the European cities that are most obsessed with Christmas lights. After investigating the brightness increase of each location based on NASA’s Black Marble night-time lights dataset, they can now reveal all!

The Results:

 CityNight-time Lights October (nWatts·cm-2·sr-1)Night-time Lights December (nWatts·cm-2·sr-1)Percent increase
1Milan, Italy55.8094.4569.25%
2Istanbul, Turkey52.1588.2169.14%
3Ljubljana, Slovenia13.7923.1167.57%
4Stockholm, Sweden39.0458.3049.33%
5Oslo, Norway50.5975.1548.53%
6Frankfurt, Germany24.1634.4042.37%
7Dublin, Ireland40.1556.9241.76%
8Amsterdam, Netherlands32.9946.4340.73%
9Athens, Greece80.81108.0133.65%
10Andorra, Andorra6.048.0132.56%

In first place as the city that uses the most energy through their Christmas lights during Christmas is Milan. With a whopping 69.25% increase in the brightness of the city at night-time, it is clear that December festivities are running high in Italy’s fashion capital. Despite recording the highest increase in energy usage overall, the Italian city comes second to Athens in average brightness during the month of December with 12% less light emissions.

Despite placing third for their overall brightness in December, Turkey’s capital Istanbul has the second-greatest increase in energy usage of all cities analysed at a whopping 69.14%. The historical city’s average brightness in December is the third highest in the top ten, falling 7.1% behind Milan in radiance and 36% behind Athens.

In third place is Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana, with energy usage increasing 67.57% over the Christmas period. Even with the city’s increased power usage for the festive season, Ljubljana’s average brightness in October is among the lowest in Europe – only 26.2% of Istanbul’s in the same month.

Andorra’s brightness in tenth place

In tenth, with a brightness increase of 32.56% during the festive month is the principality of Andorra. Andorra’s brightness in October is third lowest in all of Europe, at only 6.04 nWatts·cm-2·sr-1. In comparison, Andorra’s neighbouring city, Barcelona, is 1258.1% brighter – the most illuminated European city of all analysed.

Sarah Bloomfield, energy expert at advises on how to sustainably light up your Christmas:

“Your Christmas light display choice and size of bulbs, whether incandescent or LED, could have a significant impact on your energy bill. LED Christmas lights will consume 80-90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, so choosing these should affect your energy bill the least over the festive period.

We’ve compiled three top tips for saving on your energy bills this Christmas:

  1. Save money by turning lights off during the day when they don’t have much impact, and before bed and leaving the home. You can also opt to buy lights that have a timer, which will allow you to set a schedule.
  2. Ensure you choose low energy lighting, such as LED bulbs. They tend to cost more money, but they use less electricity and last longer over time.
  3. Compare the energy rating of the lights you’re planning on purchasing before you buy. This will let you know whether they have a low or high energy consumption, which will inform the impact on your energy bills.”

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