On the shortest day of the year, we’d like to spotlight a few great destinations that come alive in the dark. Put these nighttime experiences on your travel list, and tell us about your favorites!
Very simply put, you can’t see the Northern Lights when the sun’s out, so the short days of winter are a blessing for aurora chasers. Pro tip: You’ll have a 95 percent chance of a sighting if you head to the beautiful Finnmark coastline in the Norwegian Lapland, between December and March. The weather is cold, but the clear, dark skies offer great opportunity.
The illuminated skyline is nothing short of spectacular. In fact, Wendy’s favorite hotel suite in the world is her favorite because it looks onto that mesmerizing skyline across Victoria Harbour. During the nightly sound and light show, A Symphony of Lights, colored lights and laser beams dance over 40 buildings, all choreographed to music.
When you spend the day in a place as beautiful as Greece you’ve got a lot to celebrate come nightfall. And that’s what happens every evening on Mykonos. Spend the day soaking up the sun, but when it sets, finish in typical Mykonos manner: with a night of partying at clubs like Jackie O, Rock n Roll, Guzel, Astra, and Caprice—or a casual nightcap at a small bar called Joy.
Like you when you don your finest evening wear, some places are just prettier at night—and Monte Carlo is one of those places. When the sun goes down, everything lights up: the boats in the harbor, the casinos, the glamorous Hotel de Paris, and all the fabulous people who frequent them. It’s like something out of a James Bond movie.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Southeast Asia’s night markets are an experience. Some are crowded and touristy, but Chiang Mai’s “Street of Walking People” is one of the best. Every Sunday, rain or shine, most of Chiang Mai turns out for this market, which lasts from 4 p.m. until midnight, starting at Thapae Gate and running the length of Ratchadamnoen Road through the heart of the Old City. The street is closed entirely to vehicular traffic, allowing locals to meet, browse, socialize, haggle, and enjoy. The market is a real showcase of the art and craftsmanship of northern Thailand.
Hvar Town, Croatia
Hvar Town, on the island of Hvar, is magical at night in season (June through September). The harbor sparkles with all the beautiful yachts that are lit up—and with all the chic Europeans strolling and dining along the waterfront. The whole scene is electric and lively: You can spend the night popping into bars and concerts, and sampling great little restaurants.
When all the palaces and historic monuments light up each night, St. Petersburg is a sight to behold. Moscow may have the Bolshoi, but St. Petersburg has three venues now for the Mariinsky Ballet, offering much more in the way of world-class evening entertainment. On top of that, cruising at night on a private boat along the city’s canals is about as romantic and beautiful as it gets.