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5 of the best alternative Christmas markets in Europe

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Everyone loves a Christmas market. Unfortunately, that makes attending some of the most popular markets a challenge for any student with a finite budget. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up five alternatives which will hug you with Christmas joy, without breaking your overdraft.

Birmingham, England

You heard us right, Birmingham. Better known for The Bullring and canals, the German Christmas market in Birminghamis an underrated gem. With over 180 stalls, it’s the largest of its kind outside Germany and Austria and you’re sure to find all the Gluwhein, Bratwurst and Strudel you could ever hope for.

Best of all, it’s open until December 27, so you can avoid the Boxing Day sale crush and pick up quirky presents to bring back to halls for your favourite housemates.

Birmingham German Christmas Market (Credit: Paul Englefield)

Mt Pilatus‏, Switzerland

Europe’s highest Christmas market is also one of its cutest. Situated a shade under 7000 feet above sea level, it’s one of the world’s only markets where you can follow your shopping with a spot of snowboarding.

With a firm focus on handcrafted items, this is the perfect place to pick up all your stocking fillers. Get Mum a beeswax candle and your younger brother more handmade gingerbread than he can eat.

Wenceslas Square, Czech Republic

We all know the carol, but did you know you can visit a square named after its famous saint? Food and drink are the go-to attractions here, with everything from barbecued sausages through to Trdelník', a hot sugar coated pastry on offer.

Shoppers won’t be left out, though you’re as likely to return with gifts to decorate your own home – think traditional ornaments and scented candles, as you are for others

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona isn’t just for summer sun. It also boasts a range of Christmas markets and possibly the oddest Christmas tradition you’ll find this year. We’re talking about Caga Tió, a small wooden log with a painted face and front legs which “poops” out presents for local children. Bring back your own, or just marvel at this local curio.

While you’re there, why not engage in a spot of culture too, by checking out one of the city’s Pesebres – a traditional representation of the birth of Jesus found in churches across the capital.

Ravenna Gorge, Germany

If it’s an authentic German experience you’re craving, but you can’t face the bustling crowds of Munich, then Ravenna Gorge is the venue for you. Situated at the base of a viaduct, this market offers all the staples you can hope for – from local foods and traditional music, through to handcrafted gifts which are sure to wow your loved ones when they find them under the tree.

Want to visit one of these places? Or maybe you’re looking to find your own inspiration for a winter get away? Check out Luxury For Less from Travelex, the easiest way to find your next luxurious get away, which won’t break the bank.

Lead image: Hynek Moravec 

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