It’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas – especially when shops are already piled high with festive goods.
Take the sting out of high street drudgery by buying all your gifts at one of Europe’s Christmas markets, and turn the activity into a relaxing short break.
Travel during November and December can be pricey, so take advantage of these packages, which are available to book now.
Cruise into the festive season
Fred Olsen offer an eight-night Christmas Markets of Germany & Denmark cruise on the Balmoral, visiting three traditional yuletide cities. Pick up handicrafts in Bremen and Hamburg, sail along the Kiel Canal and admire the attractions at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. Departs Southampton on December 13. Pay from €797pp (saving 40%) if booked before October 17. Based on two sharing.
Market hop in Germany
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Germany boasts some of the best festive markets in Europe, with glühwein, steamy bratwurst and gingerbread hearts on tap. Trafalgar’s eight-day German Christmas Markets trip visits the famous Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg; the Eisenach Christmas market in the UNESCO World Heritage Wartburg Castle; Erfurt’s medieval market; and Dresden’s Striezelmarkt, Germany’s oldest Christmas market. Departs November 29 and costs €1,256pp (was €1,478pp), including four dinners, coach transportation and private door-to-door airport transfers in the UK. Based on two sharing. Flights extra.
Spend Christmas in an ice hotel
Those looking for something a bit different should try the white Christmas at Sweden’s Icehotel, where festive ice sculpting and other events will take place on the frozen River Torne. Discover the World offer a three-night break, making use of their direct Iceflight on December 23. Spend Christmas chasing the aurora, sledding with huskies and joining a torchlight procession through Jukkasjärvi village for a traditional carol concert. Prices from €1,415pp (two sharing) on a B&B basis, with two nights in a warm room and one night in an ice one, flights and airport transfers.
A touch of class in Vienna
Enjoy elegant festivities in Vienna, where a Christmas village is set up in the grounds of the Belvedere Palace and it’s possible to ice skate at the City Hall Park. British Airways Holidays offer a two-night B&B stay at the Allegro Hotel from €123 (two sharing), including flights from Gatwick on December 17.
The stuff of fairytales in Budapest
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Colourful treats on sale at the Budapest Christmas market 🇭🇺#instatravel #travelawesome #travellingtheworld #wanderlust #photographer #globetrotter #igtravel #voyage #frequentflyer #passportready #travelblogger #vscocam #vscogrid #canon5d3 #budapest #hungary #budapest2016 #budapesthungary #thisisbudapest #insta_budapest #welovebudapest #budapeste #budapestagram #budapestgram #budapestlife #budapestmoments #budapestcity #budapest_hungary #christmasmarket #christmas
Budapest’s historic city centre tranforms into a magical kingdom from November, with more than 100 stalls selling a range of festive arts and crafts, and a giant advent calendar erected on the façade of the Gerbeaud building. Wexas offer a three-night city break from €553pp (two sharing), including B&B accommodation and flights from London Gatwick. Valid for travel from November 27 – December 20.- Press Association