Bogotá buffed up for a bright and beautiful holiday season

“All things bright and beautiful” is a traditional Christmas hymn that resounds from pews across the British Isles, and also rings true to Bogotá as the city puts on a great display of lights with the annual Ruta de la Navidad. Starting December 4 more than 34 locations across the capital are illuminated, and our central parks, Parque Nacional, Simon Bolívar, El Virrey, attracting gleeful onlookers.To follow the lights visit: www.rutadelanavidad.com

Another city-wide event to rouse you from your holiday shopping apathy is the Ciclovía Nocturna – night bicycle ride along the Sunday Ciclovías paths. If you want to burn off some calories while being blinded by the lights, plan to be ready by 6p.m on the 15. And if planning on heading to El Dorado International Airport that same evening give yourself plenty of extra time as many main roads, especially the Ave.El Dorado have reduced lanes in order to give priority to walkers, skaters and cyclists.

On Friday 16, the grand Christmas Concert will be held in the Plaza de Bolívar and illuminated by the Festival of Lights from Lyon, France, to celebrate the start of Colombia – Francia year. The sound and lights show projected on the emblematic buildings that grace this square (Mayoralty, Congress, the Primada Cathedral, Justice Palace), will marvel audiences and a first-ever showing in Colombia of a 150-year old tradition. The Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra (OFB) will perform free concertsin the plaza every evening until the 23.

The city’s District Institute of Arts (Idartes) has prepared 300 different Christmas activities across the city to welcome in the holidays and the tallest tree in Colombia will be unveiled in the Parque Tunal on the 4th. There are concerts, caroling, novenas (with obligatory natilla and buñuelos included) and on New Year’s Eve, the Colpatria Tower will welcome all to shout the countdown to 2017. A large fireworks show promises to be spectacular.

If you want stars (not the Kardashians), the city’s planetarium – Planetario de Bogotá – will host a series of talks on the Star of Bethlehem, and why the Three Wise Men followed this celestial body. There is also an exhibition dedicated to the life of physicist Carl Sagan.

Christmas is a frenzied time of year and tree decorating a real challenge.If you need your own set of lights, wreath, or tinkling star, then Calle 53 is Bogotá’s Christmas Street with shops stacked with accessories. And for a great view of the lights, take the cable car to Monserrate, where you can be guaranteed a city more bright and colourful-than ever.