Christmas markets

There are so many fabulous Christmas Markets, there’s definitely one to suit you – but which one? With more than 35 towns and cities featured in destinations including Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Finland, Fred Holidays has put together a quick Christmas market guide so you choose the perfect one.

Best for ‘first time’ Christmas visitors – Brussels: Prices start from £239 per person for a two-night Christmas market break to Brussels – including return rail from London, two nights B&B at the three-star Hotel Ibis Ste Catherine (based on a twin-room share). The city makes an excellent introduction to the Christmas market short break concept!

Best for ‘off the beaten track’ – Rothenburg ob der Tauber (above): Each year, this charming medieval town is transformed into a winter wonderland and the town’s Christmas Market, known as the “Reiterlesmarkt”, is one of the oldest in Germany dating back to the 15th Century. The narrow winding streets, historic squares and the smell of traditional German cooking makes this a unique Christmas Market experience while its location is truly off the beaten track.

A short break to Rothenburg ob der Tauber priced from £439 per person to include return flights between London and Frankfurt, return second class rail tickets between Frankfurt and Rothenburg and two nights B&B at the Hotel Reichskuechenmeister. Based on two people sharing, from November 29 – December 23.

Best for ‘all the family’ – Dresden: With its elves’ house, Santa’s grotto and puppet theatre, Dresden’s ‘Striezelmarkt’ is one of the best in Europe for families and it even features a children’s bakery serving a range of festive delights. There’s also the charming medieval market with its costumed stall-holders and medieval re-enactments providing fun and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.

A short break to Dresden costs from £419 per person to include return flights between London and Dresden and two nights B&B at the Hotel Holiday Inn Express City Centre. Based on two people sharing,  from November 27 – December 24.

Christmas markets

Best for ‘hand-made Christmas gifts’ – Eisenach (above): In the old stone courtyard of Wartburg Castle, which is perched on a steep hill overlooking the picturesque town of Eisenach, this medieval themed Christmas market is perfect for those looking to find that extra special gift. Watch glass blowers, stone cutter and candlemakers at work as they create unique gifts that you won’t find anywhere else.

A short break to Eisenach, priced from £379 per person includes return flights between London and Frankfurt, return second class rail tickets between Frankfurt and Eisenach and two nights B&B at the Hotel Eisenacher Hof. Based on two people sharing, from November 25 – December 21.

Best for ‘Foodies’ – Freiburg: Close to the Swiss and French border and located on the western edge of the Southern Black Forest, one of Germany’s most popular holiday regions, Freiburg is a lively university city with a very charming atmosphere during Christmas time. And because of its location, it offers an excellent choice of wine from the region, plus the world-famous ‘Black Forest Gateaux’ which adorns every café window!

A short break to Freiburg, priced from £309 per person includes return flights between London and Basel, return second class rail tickets between Basel and Freiburg and two nights B&B at the Intercity Hotel. Based on two people sharing, from November 25 – December 23.

Best for ‘history & culture’ – Budapest: Explore Hungary’s vibrant capital city and enjoy the many historical sights and attractions it has to offer. The enchanting Budapest Christmas Fair in Vörösmarty Square features more than 100 wooden stalls selling a unique array of arts and crafts which reflect Budapest’s rich and dynamic cultural heritage. You can also enjoy delicacies such as mulled wine, sweet Hungarian pastries, roasted chestnuts and other market snacks.

A short break to Budapest, priced from £255 per person, includes return flights between London and Budapest and two nights B&B at the Best Western Orion. Based on two people sharing, from November 16 – December 30.

See www.fredholidays.co.uk