It's beginning to look a lot like you know when... World's Best Christmas Markets

For me, there are four enormously persuasive reasons why Christmas market shopping is simply the most satisfying holiday option during the run-up to the festive season.

This is where to find some of the world's best Christmas Markets.

Firstly, I want to speed through my shopping for Christmas gifts with ease and originality – and there's nowhere better to do so than at a Christmas market in a beautiful city, where the combination of modernity and tradition can supply all I could possibly want. Berlin Christmas Market is huge and varied, selling art, toys and sophisticated gifts as well as the usual Christmas market trinkets, decorations and treats, Zurich boasts the world's largest indoor Christmas marketBrussels has a Christmas market chalet village and Cologne has several Christmas market options, but besides offering Christmas goodies galore, these cities also have fabulous arrays of department stores and designer shops.

Secondly, I've always wished I could enjoy choosing and buying Christmas gifts for my favourite people instead of descending rapidly into a state of stress-induced resentment and unseasonal gloom as I trawl the same old shops for unique, affordable items in vain – and the merry Christmas market holiday solves this problem, too, since some of the most satisfyingly nostalgic and regionally specific Christmas market delights are to be found where currency differences yield great value. OsloBudapestKrakowRigaPrague and Tallinn are great examples.

Thirdly, what is Christmas all about if not food? I'm quite sure I've never gone longer than ten minutes without eating or drinking something heavenly whilst wandering the aisles of a Christmas market, and the seasonal specialties vary depending on where you are, so each one has afflicted me with a new addiction.  Bad Reichenhall Christmas Market is operated by the Reber chocolate company, one whole Christmas market out of Edinburgh's myriad is dedicated solely to food, Ballyvaughan's Christmas market sells both Irish and German delicacies and in Vienna, the strudel just refuses to vacate your line of vision.

Lastly, but most importantly, it's the festive atmosphere of each different Christmas market that makes me want to up and leave dismal, tendentially snowless London as soon as they put the commercially sponsored lights up. As a little girl, I used to gaze in wonder at the sparkling Dickensian Christmas market street scenes on television, sigh as I stencilled fake snowflakes onto the windows and peep from the window on Christmas morning at a distinctly brownish-grey garden, but so much Christmas market action occurs in towns where they have real snow or romantic medieval architecture that, now I'm a grownup, I can live my festive fairytale every year if I choose. You'd have to be very unlucky not to see snow at a Christmas market in Helsinki or Turku, and Baden-Baden,Nuremberg, Mulhouse, StrasbourgInnsbruck and Salzburg will live up to anyone's picturesque Christmas market dreams.

A bright carousel, a colossal, sparkling Christmas tree in the middle of the market square, carol singers and a hundred perfect snowflakes on my mittens... it doesn't get any better.

If you have your own favourites let me know below so I can head over...

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