Our pick of Europe's top Christmas markets

There is no better time to book a long weekend away. Christmas is just around the corner and the markets are starting to pop up around Europe, providing excellent opportunity to combine Christmas spirit with a quick pre-Christmas break.

Here's our pick of the best destinations this year:

1) Cologne - The city of Cologne offers six Christmas markets in total. Among them are four big Christmas markets - at the Cologne Cathedral, on the Alter Markt, on the Neumarkt and on the Rudolfplatz. Every year these four markets attract almost 2 million visitors. The market at the Cologne Cathedral is the most impressive one of Cologne's Christmas markets due to the backdrop of the imposing Cathedral. A great short break to really get you into the Christmas mood!

2) Copenhagen - visited by nearly 1 million shoppers every year, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen transforms itself into a veritable winter wonderland during December. You'll find everything from Santa's grotto to original gifts, mead, mulled wine and a fabulous city to explore. A must if you've never been.

3) Stockholm - The Skansen Christmas market comes to life during the festive season and shoppers descend en masse for the culinary explosion. A wander around the old town is a true delight, make sure you wrap up warm!

4) Marrakech - not one of the most traditional picks, however if you want a quick getaway somewhere warmer, take a look at this holiday hotspot. It's only a 3.5 hour flight from the UK and although you won't find the traditional Christmas offerings, the Medina is a great place to pick up some original gifts. Perfect if you want to escape the Northern European markets for something a little more exotic.

5) Frankfurt - one of Germany's oldest Christmas market and certainly the largest in Europe. A fabulous outing for the senses! There's been a market here for over 600 years, and it makes quite a contrast to the ever-present Frankfurt Skyline in the background. The Christmas market is located throughout the city-centre at Roemerberg, Paulsplatz, Liebfrauenberg, Fahrtor, and Mainkai.

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