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This Spanish city has already started putting up its Christmas lights

The mayor of Vigo aims to win the title of ‘world’s best display’ – and boost tourism in the process

Huw Oliver
Written by
Huw Oliver

It may still be peak summer holiday season across Spain, but in one city in the north of the country, preparations are already beginning for Christmas.

Yes, you read that right: Christmas.

For years, the mayor of Vigo in Galicia has been on a mission to win the unofficial title of the world’s best festive light display – and as much of the planet understandably continues to focus on other things, he thinks 2020 could finally be the city’s year.

‘Today we start setting up Vigo’s Christmas lights, which means we’re setting up lights for the best Christmas in the world,’ Abel Caballero told reporters yesterday. ‘We’re going to have ten million LED lights.’

In competing for the ‘best display’ title, Caballero’s aim is to increase tourism to the city. Previous efforts have paid off: every year, visitors flock here from across the country to take in its latest effort, with many hotels reporting full occupancy as it switches on the lights.

Critics, however, say the mayor’s pet project is a needless waste of electricity and money. This year the city is spending €800,000 on the display. And one opposition politician yesterday told the Efe news agency that it was ‘irresponsible’ for Vigo to be focusing on Christmas already as Spain continues to teeter on the edge of a second wave.

Caballero, who has been mayor since 2007, said work had begun weeks earlier than normal as social-distancing protocols would likely slow workers down over the coming months. He also promised that adequate safety measures for visitors would be put in place before the lights are unveiled. 

God knows we’re all misery-guts right now – so perhaps a little festive extravagance could be exactly what we need to see us through the rest of the year.

Here’s what you need to know about travel to Spain right now.

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