"There's a magical festive feel as I stroll through the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen surrounded by thousands of twinkling fairy lights that light up the dusk like a winter wonderland," saysSara Macefield in The Times. It's a scene straight from the pages of Hans Christian Andersen, an enthusiastic supporter of the theme park when it opened in 1843. Amid the genteel ambience of the Yuletide stalls sits a clutch of classic fairground rides, the oldest being a wooden roller coaster dating from 1914. They may look tame, but you'll soon find they are just as stomach-churning as their modern-day equivalents. Settle your stomach with a €4 comforting cup of glogg (Denmark's answer to mulled wine) before browsing the stalls stocked with festive trolls and advent goodies in stylish Danish designs. The Tivoli Gardens is billed as one of the highlights on Saga's Scandinavian festive markets cruise, and it doesn't disappoint.
Festive Hamburg cruise from £860 per person, see Saga.co.uk/ocean-cruises
Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market runs until 31 December.
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A Bavarian bargain
Munich's main Christmas market is around the Marienplatz, where shoppers will find festive treats and traditional handicrafts. There is also a magical Christmas village in the Residenz and a medieval market on Wittelsbacherplatz. For those suffering from a bout of heimweh (homesickness), "romantics" can take a carriage ride through the English Garden. Or you can do as I did when I visited Munich at the end of October and make a beeline for the famous Hofbruhaus. A stein (or more properly a Makrug) of frothy beer is just the thing to go with the Bavarian suckling pig on offer in the Brustberl dining rooms.
Munich Christmas Market runs until 24 December, see Muenchen.de
Warm Croatian cheer
Croatia is perhaps better known for its warm summer weather and its beaches bordering the Adriatic. But it's also an ideal destination for the festive period, says Anissa Hezzaz in Belgium's Le Soir newspaper. Zrinjevac, one of the most beautiful public gardens in the capital, Zagreb, is this year playing host to a number of magical attractions, such as shows for children and live music concerts. The Zagreb Christmas Market has been voted the best in Europe by users of website European Best Destinations for the third-year running, notes Cecilia Rodriguez for Forbes. High-quality crafts, a friendly atmosphere, ice-skating rinks and affordable prices Zagreb has it all.
The Zagreb Christmas Market runs until 6 January, see InfoZagreb.hr
Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.
Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.
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