Christmas is just around the corner, and what better way to get into the festive spirit than with a visit to a magical Christmas market? It's an opportunity to wrap up warm, sip on mulled wine, gaze at the fairy lights and eat as many frankfurters as your heart desires.
With Christmas markets popping up everywhere these days, here's a selection of some of the world's most enchanting Christmas markets for inspiration.
The self-proclaimed 'Capital of Christmas', Strasbourg has been hosting its Christmas market since 1570. Located in the picturesque region of Alsace, Strasbourg boasts fairy-tale good looks all year round, but really steps things up a notch during the festive season. The pretty half-timbered houses are draped with lavish decorations while the quaint cobbled streets are illuminated with twinkly fairy lights.
Each year, Strasbourg invites a guest country to show off their traditional festive wares; 2018 is Iceland's turn, with an Icelandic village located at Place Gutenberg.
The Strasbourg Christmas Market will run from November 23 - December 30, 2018.
The old-world charm of Munich makes a visit here a must for anyone who loves all things quintessentially Christmas. The Bavarian capital takes the yuletide season very seriously, putting on an impressive 24 markets in total.
Head to The Munich Christmas Market in Marienplatz in the city's main square for traditional handmade crafts, plenty of Glühwein, pretzels, bratwursts and schnitzels. In addition to all the usual Christmas market goings-on, there is live music every evening on the balcony of the town hall.
The Munich Christmas Market in Marienplatz will run from November 27 - December 24, 2018.
Birmingham may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a Christmas wonderland, but the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham is the biggest in the UK and the largest outside Germany and Austria.
More than 120 alpine-style cabins set up shop in the city's main square selling gifts, jewellery, decorations and handmade toys. To tempt your taste buds, you'll also find delicious German fare like pretzels, schnitzels and roasted almonds.
Alongside the markets, there's an open-air ice rink and giant Ferris wheel on Centenary Square.
The Birmingham Christmas Market will run from November 15 - December 23, 2018.
The birthplace of the 'Good King Wenceslaus', where better to soak up some yuletide cheer than Prague? In the square named after Wenceslaus himself you will find one of two main markets in Prague, the other being located nearby in the Old Town Square. There are also many smaller markets dotted around the city showcasing Bohemian crafts and Czech delicacies such as trdelnik, a sweet pastry wrapped around a metal stick and grilled over an open flame.
Don't miss the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Old Town Square which occurs every evening at 4:30pm and is accompanied by traditional festive music. Then peruse the many stalls while enjoying a warming mug of mulled wine or a crisp Czech beer.
The Prague Christmas Markets will be open from December 1, 2018 - January 6, 2019.
Add some Scandinavian sparkle to your Christmas with a trip to the Skansen Christmas Market in Stockholm. Located on the island of Djurgården, the market is held in the Skansen open air museum.
With stalls selling Swedish crafts such as Christmas ornaments, candles and hand-knitted mittens, you're sure to pick up the perfect Christmas present for that special someone. Once you're tired out from shopping, be sure to sample the traditional treats on offer such as Swedish meatballs, pepparkakor (gingersnaps) and glögg (mulled wine).
There's plenty going on for families with children, too. Families can dance around the Christmas tree at the Bollnäs Square and enjoy a ride in a horse drawn carriage. In the artisan village, you can watch as craftsmen demonstrate their trade, then make your own Christmas decorations in the Christmas workshop.
The Skansen Christmas Market will run from November 24 - December 16, 2018, but is only open on weekends
As you'd expect, New York goes all out at Christmas. And celebrating the festive season in the 'Big Apple' just wouldn't be complete without a visit to the magical Winter Village at Bryant Park.
A lively open-air market in the heart of the city that never sleeps, you'll find over 170 holiday shops offering one-of-a-kind treasures, handmade jewellery and specialty foods. All of this surrounds a vast 17,000-square-foot outdoor ice rink where you can circle for hours underneath the sparkling Manhattan skyline.
Once you've worked up an appetite, pop into the rink-side pop-up restaurant 'The Lodge' and sample delicacies ranging from Polish pierogi to All-American pancakes.
The Winter Village at Bryant Park opened on the 27 Oct 2018 and will run until 2 Jan 2019
Wherever you decide to spend the run-up to the big day, a trip to a Christmas market is sure to fill you with festive cheer. But before you head off on your winter getaway, make sure you're covered should the unexpected happen. After all, we're sure lost luggage or a hefty medical bill is not on your Christmas list this year!
We've made finding and comparing travel insurance quick and easy. Our online quote form is simple to use, and our travel guides are full of helpful information to answer any questions you may have about purchasing the right policy for your Christmas holiday.
Love it or loath it, Christmas is on its merry way! Festive markets will be opening their doors and we've collected some of the UK's best for inspiration...
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