Although the Xmas season means different things to different people, there is no separating shopping from the festivities. Xmas is a big shopping season worldwide – from South Korea to Chile, retailers pile up their inventories well in advance in order to maximize profits from the expected masses of anticipated shoppers.
The following 5 are some of the cities that provide a distinct shopping experience:
Prague, Czech Republic
Picturesque Prague is not just a great place to visit because of the Prague Castle – the largest contiguous castle in the world. Xmas shopping is big in the Czech Republic’s capital with the action centred on the Wenceslas Square with its rows of elaborately decorated huts selling all types of Xmas gifts. The market place at the Old Town Square also has a number of gift shops. It remains lit throughout the night from 5pm all through December.
Cologne’s seven Xmas markets attract close to 2 million shoppers each year. Of the seven, the most scenic is the one just outside Cologne Cathedral where the 160 stalls sit under the largest Xmas tree in the Rhine region. Other must-visit markets are the Alter Market, the market at Rudolfplatz and market that is adjacent to the Church St Aposteln.
Many people instinctively recoil at the thought of shopping in London – after all, the UK capital has for decades been near the top of the most expensive cities to live in worldwide. But there is a lot of great, reasonably priced shopping alternatives in London. And given that London is such a major international shopping destination, you are unlikely to miss anything you are looking for.
The Marche de Noel in Lille ranks among France’s largest Xmas markets. With a tradition going back a number of centuries, the Xmas market kicks off on 18th November and operates for 1 month. There is a giant Ferris wheel at the market’s centre which can serve as a welcome break as you look for unique gifts.
Boston, United States
Boston is a large city with many options for Xmas shopping. But the Sowa Holiday Market with its array of original works done by artisans from the greater New England region is one of the best places to get a unique Xmas gift.