Take a break from the stress of the season by booking a trip to some of Europe’s famous Christmas markets this year.
Breathe in the scent of mulled wine as it wafts through the air, warm up with some hot food and stroll past sparkling stalls adorned with fairy lights.
We’ve put together some of our favourite Christmas market holidays, so have a browse through our winter warmers for further information…
Festive Chester short break
Combine a festive short break with a touch of shopping at the Christmas market in the Town Hall Square, Northgate Street, in historic Chester.
Regarded as one of the best Christmas markets in the UK, you are guaranteed to find something for everyone at one of the 70 traditional wooden chalets surrounding the sparkling Christmas tree.
Make sure you sample some of the delicious foods and drinks available, all while listening to traditional carol singers. And when you've finished shopping, this beautiful city has a host of fascinating places to visit and things to do - visit the Roman amphitheatre and stunning cathedral, walk the city walls, go on a river cruise or visit the zoo.
Related: Discover Chester on a short break
Rhineland festive Christmas markets
Germany’s magical cities provide a beautiful backdrop to some traditional Christmas markets.
Depart on a cruise from Southampton and you can make your way through Cologne, Bonn and Koblenz to truly soak in what Christmas means in Rhineland, a region that borders the banks of the Rhine.
Sample local delicacies beneath a magnificent twinkling Christmas tree and make your way around quaint wooden stalls in Cologne, take a romantic horse and carriage ride across the Old Quarter of Koblenz, and admire Bonn’s unusual advent calendar - the City Hall lights up a window each day until Christmas Eve when the whole building is festively lit.
Visitors to these German cities can also pick up arts and crafts, enjoy local music and sip on delicious, hot mulled wine at the events.
Related: Soak up the magical atmosphere in a trio of historic sites on a festive Rhineland river cruise.
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Continental Christmas markets
If you fancy a bit more variety, this continental selection journeys from the United Kingdom to Germany, Holland and Belgium.
Get in the festive spirit at Bremerhaven and pick up some Christmas decorations for your tree, or go skating in Bruges, before a browse through the wooden chalets that border the ice rink.
Excursions from Ijmuiden to Amsterdam allow travellers to stroll beside illuminated canals to a number of neighbourhood markets selling everything from food and drink to toys and clothes.
Related: Step aboard Saga Sapphire for a festive mini-cruise to some of Europe's best Christmas markets.
Spend Christmas abroad
If you really want to experience Christmas abroad, go one step further and spend Christmas Day overseas. Fly to Berlin a few days ahead of time to explore Charlottenburg market, which sits in front of the beautiful palace.
Classic rides will take you back to days gone by, while the big wheel is perfect for views of the city. Gingerbread, stollen and marzipan provide tasty snacks, and the festive atmosphere is quintessentially German.
On Christmas Eve, this tour takes travellers to see Checkpoint Charlie and Bellevue Palace, which is set in the Tiergarten area of the city.
The palace dates back to the 18th century and is now the official residence of the Federal President. Christmas Day is a time for dining in style at the hotel with a traditional turkey dinner, and on Boxing Day visitors can spend a leisurely day in Postdam.
Related: Combine a classic Mediterranean cruise with the festive magic of Christmas.
Whether you're planning in November for December 2018, or you're already thinking about Christmas 2019, a trip to Christmas markets around the world is the perfect way to get into the spirit of the season.
You can pick up unique gifts for friends and family, as well as sampling some of the best local produce around.
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