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Written by Jenny McWhirter on 11 / 11 / 2016

Gap Year Advice

Around the World by Christmas Markets

The Christmas Count down has begun and to help Santa and his merry Elves, Christmas markets are springing up all over the world.

Traditional, uber or tropical – the world loves a Christmas market, so wherever you are (or heading to) try to incorporate one of these world wide finds into your travel itinerary to launch you into the festive spirit.

Sipping on local wine, tasting local treats and buying locally made gifts in places with amazing back drops… What’s not to love?

Vanocni Trhy in Prague, Czech Republic

Prague - A fairy tale setting for a Christmas market. Get ready to be whisked off to a land of pixies, fairies and all things magical.

Head up to Old Town Square and the aptly named King Wenceslas Square for the biggest section of the market. Here you’ll find the famous locally-made glass, wooden toys, embroidery and scented candles.

Must Try: Head over to the food stalls to reward yourself with roasted hams, trdelnik (sugar-coated pastries) and a glass of mulled wine to sip and nibble as you stroll through this fairytale scene.

Tivoli Christmas Market in Copenhagen, Denmark

World famous for the Christmas decorations at this market. You’ll find around 50 stalls lining the streets selling everything from magical bells to wooden houses to snow-covered trees.

Must Try: To fuel the event try the local's favourite glogg and aebleskiver (mulled wine and traditional pancakes), and head down to the lake, which comes to life every night with a stunning light display, designed by the Tiffany and Co. designer, John Loring.

Think Christmas sparkle - everywhere.

Cusco, Peru

December in Cusco is where it all happens. The Santurantikuy market – meaning ‘selling of the saints’ – (referring to the religious clay figures that are sold for the nativity scenes); is Peru’s largest Christmas market held in the Central Plaza. Stall holders come from all over the world to sell their sculptures, ceramics and woodwork.

Must Try: The local punch, in moderation.

Travel and contribute around the best of Peru before trekking the Inca Trail.

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Skansen Christmas Market in Stockholm, Sweden

Skansen focus’s on all things sweet and delicious from marzipan sweets, jams, gingerbread, cheesecake, saffron pancakes and much more.

Set among historic houses and farmsteads, this market has a stunning traditional Scandi feel to it, with a back drop of choir music.

Must Try: The weirdest looking sweets you can find. Guaranteed to be good.

Tallinn Market, Estonia

Stepping back in time. This market is held in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe.

Famous for their wreaths, lamps, snow sculpture, mini zoo and amazing sheepskin rugs – its cozy and entertaining with musicians and dancers weaving their way through the crowds.

Must Try: Their gingerbread, local honeys and blood pudding with sour cabbage (a somewhat acquired taste) but delicious.

Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremburg, Germany

This is the world’s oldest Christmas market dating back to 16th century. It has a grand opening ceremony on the 29th Nov where the market is declared open by the 'Christkind' who stand on the balcony of the Old Lady Church.

200 plus stalls set up shop in the main square selling traditional gifts, food and decorations. All the produce is locally made and there is even a team of wardens whose job it is to preserve the authenticity of the market.

Must Try: Bratwurst, gingerbread and rum punch. Then hop on a carriage to have a tour of the old town. Best time to go is the week before Christmas to see the beautiful lantern procession through the centre of the market.

Pyrmont Market, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

The ultimate tropical Christmas experience. Head to Darling Harbour in Sydney between the 28th Nov – 24th Dec to find a Christmas market in the sunshine.

Must Try: Free santa movie nights, santa paddle boats, carol nights and fireworks.

Travel and contribute along the East coast of Australia, taking in all the sights as you go.

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Dubai Christmas Festival, United Arab Emirates

From the traditional streets of Nuremburg to something only Dubai could pull off. Rather than the cutesy stalls with locally-made gifts, the Dubai Christmas market offers you concessions from global brands and high-end designers. Of course!

However, this exclusive market is for only three days from the 17th to 19th December in the spectacular venue of the Media City Amphitheatre.

Must Try: Food tasting sessions in the restaurants, Santa’s Grotto, tree lighting ceremony and the Christmas Panto.

Hong Kong Winterfest, Hong Kong

Big, bright and full of Christmas Cheer. Hong Kong puts on a traditional market up against the modern cityscape, over on Lantau Island where the Ngong Pong 360 glittering Christmas village offers stunning views of the Hong Kong skyline, where the skyscrapers are decorated in amazing colours. A real spectacle.

Must Try: Making a wish at the Twinkle Twinkle wishing star and have a photo taken with a Christmas koala.

And so it comes to Christmas...

One thing is for certain - there is a Christmas market for everyone and maybe nearby. Have you stumbled upon a Christmas grotto? Or maybe you’ve got a great story about your Christmas shopping experiences? We love to hear about them, so post them in the comments below.

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