Last minute Christmas markets
Christmas shopping is much less stressful with a glass of mulled wine in your hand.
Throughout December some of Europe's most beautiful cities host traditional Christmas markets. They provide the opportunity to escape the hectic shops and over-crowded public transport at home - and immerse yourself in all things Christmas.
Rows of wooden stalls in cities such as Prague, Cologne and Budapest are filled with original crafts, gifts, homewares, Christmas decorations and hot festive food and drink. Live music, fairgrounds and ice-skating add to the "winter wonderland" atmosphere.
Record numbers of British shoppers are combining their Christmas shopping with a winter city break according to discount holiday company, Alpharooms.com.
Gareth Hockey, Alpharooms.coms online marketing manager, said: With great deals to be had on flights and accommodation, a December break is now more affordable than ever and people relish the opportunity to escape the frantic shopping centres in this country.
Rather than being restricted to UK prices, people see that a real bargain can be had by going abroad and want to make the most of the opportunity to buy truly original gifts for their loved ones.
Prague Christmas markets run daily from 1 December to 1 January. The main markets are at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Cologne hosts six markets across the city, open from 26 November to 23 December. Budapest Christmas Market takes place in the heart of the city, Vörösmarty Square, this year from 29 November to 24 December. Easyjet flies to Cologne, BMI flies to Prague and Opodo flies to Budapest, all from various UK departure airports.
Written by: Maxine Clarke
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