Although the weather seems to have taken a turn for the worse, we can all feel a little cheerier in the knowledge that Christmas is just around the corner. To really get into the festive spirit there is nowhere better than one of Europe’s fantastic Christmas markets. They are the perfect place to find stocking fillers while sipping a cup of warming gluhwein, all to the backdrop of twinkling lights and carol singing. Most of the markets take place in November and early December when flights to Europe are great value, which also means a more affordable break away. Below is a list of our favourite Christmas markets: Prague Snow is almost guaranteed in the Czech capital in December and combined with the dramatic gothic spires and cobbled streets make this a perfect winter wonderland. The biggest market is held in the busy Old Town Square with rows of colourful wooden huts selling hand-made stocking fillers, including the locally made wooden puppets, jewellery, toys and candles. [caption id="attachment_1951" align="aligncenter" width="580" caption="Prague Christmas Market"][/caption] Vienna In front of the Town Hall the ‘Christkindlmarkt’ is held, possibly one of the oldest and most visited markets of all. Surrounding the market is a park where trees are lit up with festive lights and inside there is a daily workshop for kids where parents can drop them off to make presents and bake Christmas cookies, making this Christmas market one of the most child friendly European breaks. Berlin For a more contemporary feeling market, Berlin is the city to visit. There are actually several markets that take place around the city but the most popular is the one around the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche. The market itself isn’t huge and you can find the usual array of traditional arts, crafts and Christmas decorations, but there is also an interesting selection of more contemporary artworks, decorations and jewellery on offer. Dresden Dresden is a good destination to visit for a very traditional experience. The highlight of the Christmas market or ‘Striezelmarkt’, is the Stollen Festival, held on the second Sunday in December. One giant 3,000 kg Stollen (a cake containing dried fruit and covered with sugar) is paraded around Dresden as part of the festival. [caption id="attachment_1952" align="aligncenter" width="580" caption="Brussels Christmas Market"][/caption] Brussels In Brussels, the market takes over the Grand-Place and has a particular focus on food. Alongside mulled wine are stands dishing out olives, mountains of Belgian chocolates, steaming plates of moules or snails, jars of preserved fruits and gingerbread shapes. In addition, the fish market is transformed into a temporary ice rink in December, offering an added attraction. Copenhagen The Tivoli Gardens hosts Copenhagen’s annual Christmas market. The setting couldn’t be more idyllic with hundreds of Christmas trees and over half a million lights illuminating the stalls and park. The main lake is transformed into an outdoor ice skating rink and there are around 60 colourful, painted stalls, selling locally produced arts, crafts and decorations, such as Copenhagen porcelain or wooden dolls.