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Ger­many is renowned for sen­sa­tional Christ­mas mar­kets. You’ll ex­pe­ri­ence one of the coun­try’s most fa­mous and old­est fes­tive mar­kets in Nurem­berg, where the abun­dance of bratwurst, brass bands and spiced beer will put you in sea­sonal good spir­its. Neigh­bour­ing Bel­gium has a host of pretty city mar­kets too, and a scenic river cruise is an ex­cel­lent way to tour sev­eral of them. The River Cruise Line’s 8-day trip along Bel­gium’s wa­ter­ways (de­part­ing De­cem­ber 20, prices from £799 in­clud­ing re­turn travel from the UK) will take in the fes­tive chalets and stalls of Christ­mas mar­kets in An­twerp, Has­selt and Ghent, plus ex­cur­sions to Bruges and an in­trigu­ing un­der­ground mar­ket in the caves be­neath Valken­burg in the Netherlands. RIVERCRUISELINE.CO.UK

If win­ter sun­shine beck­ons then Madeira’s sub­trop­i­cal cli­mate could suit. Pres­tige Hol­i­days is of­fer­ing 7-nights B&B plus Christ­mas Eve gala meal at Quinta das Vis­tas, a hill­top manor house close to the is­land’s cap­i­tal, Fun­chal (de­part­ing 19 De­cem­ber, prices from £1,058 in­clud­ing flights and trans­fers). WWW.PRESTIGEHOLIDAYS.CO.UK

Sunny Christ­mas in Madeira

Sea­sonal shop­ping

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