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Find out about travel in Europe

Winter Weekend in Salzburg

View across to the old town

Only 1 hour 40 minutes’ flying time from London, Salzburg in Austria is an ideal quick-getaway destination for a short break at any time of year. Mum and I chose a weekend in Salzburg for our annual Christmas Market pilgrimage. We discovered this beautiful, riverside city has a wonderfully, festive atmosphere.

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Christmas Market Survival Guide

Munich Christmas Market, Survivor's Guide to Christmas Markets

It has become an annual tradition for Mum and I to eat, drink and shop our way around a European city every December. We’ve visited a Christmas market in Europe every year for the last 12 years or so. With all this experience under our belts, I’ve put together my 10 top tips for getting the most out of your Christmas Market break: a Christmas Market Survival Guide.

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Top 5 Christmas Markets in Europe

Lille, Top 5 Christmas Markets in Europe

Mum and I have visited a European Christmas market every year for the last 12 years or so. Having become somewhat something of a Christmas Market connoisseur, I’ve put together my guide to the Top 5 Christmas Markets in Europe.

While a lot of people think visiting Christmas Markets is all about shopping, for me it’s the food and drink that draws me in. Every one of these markets has the evocative smell of mulled wine wafting through the air. Depending on the location, this often mingles with the scent of hot sausages, roasting chestnuts or melted cheese. Over the years, we have worked our way through countless mugs of glühwein, along with hot chocolate mit rum, bratwurst, waffles, gulaschsuppe, crêpes, raclette, tartiflette and, one of my favourites so far, hot wood-smoked salmon.

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Me and Mum on a Cooking Holiday in Italy

Making soffrito

Mum and I usually plan an overseas trip together once a year. Considering one of our favourite mother and daughter holiday pastimes is seeking out the best places to eat, or wandering around markets to try out local produce, why wouldn’t I think a cooking holiday in Italy might be just the ticket?

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Finding Myself in Venice

Venice at Dusk

I’d been to Venice before. That time, my travelling companion got most upset that I’d not sought comprehensive directions to our hotel and we got lost. Very lost. We traipsed up and down streets and up and over canals in the darkness. It was my birthday and he just about managed to forgive me in time to share a pizza on our balcony overlooking a little square. That was my most vivid memory of Venice.

Vague, hazy memories of the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square only came back to me, in a déjà vu sort of way, when I returned, now almost 15 years later. This time, I was determined to get to know the city a little better.

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