It’s official! There are less than 2 shopping weeks left until Christmas and soon enough shoppers will start to crowd the high streets and toy stores on the hunt for this season’s hottest gifts. If you’re looking for a more adventurous shopping experience this year, why not head to one of Europe’s greatest shopping capitals to really get you in the Christmas mood. Whether you want to take an afternoon out in London town, pop to Paris for the day, head to Prague for the weekend or visit Istanbul for a mini break, there are different ways you can now make Christmas shopping less monotonous. Fancy a change of scenery this year? Here are five of the top festive shopping destinations around Europe.
With a wide range of famous shopping landmarks, there is something for everyone whether it’s hunting for vintage goods at Portobello Market, strolling around Harrods department store or keeping the kids entertained at Hamley’s toy store. If you prefer to shop for everything in one place then visit Westfield London Shopping centre in Shepherds Bush. It has over 275 shops, 700 brands and a great selection of restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world at which you can treat yourself to a much-deserved lunch.
Nothing could be easier than hopping across the Channel and exploring Paris’s famous market stalls, boutiques and antique shops. With regular Eurostar services and flights under 60 minutes away, you’re much closer to Paris than you think. If it’s high-quality goods you’re after, this is the ideal city to splurge. As one of the fashion capitals of the world, you can marvel at the dazzling designer shops along the Champs-Elysées or hunt for bargains at the famous Les Puces flea market.
It might not be the most obvious choice for a Christmas shopping destination but Istanbul is unbeatable when it comes to finding great bargains and unique gifts. As one of the fastest growing retail destinations, you’ll have a great experience at the famous Grand Bazaar which is one of Turkey’s oldest covered markets boasting of over 4000 shops. Look out for unique leather items, shawls and wraps, glassware, beaded slippers and, of course rugs and carpets.
As a globally renowned city of style, Milan is a Christmas shopping must if you are a label-lover. Home to famous Italian designers like Armani, Gucci and Prada, Milan is one of the foremost fashion hubs in Europe. If your purse strings don’t quite stretch to the luxury brands there are numerous discount outlets that sell last season’s stock at 50% or less. If designer labels do nothing for you, then you can shop at more alternative stores on Corso di Porta Ticinese where you will discover a mesmerising choice of vintage clothing, quirky jewellery and street style fashion.
Set in the 12th century town square, Prague’s Christmas market is a magical place to shop over the festive period. There are a number of different markets operating in the city centre, all within about ten minutes’ walk from one other. The city’s main Christmas markets are located at the Old Town Square where you can hunt for beautiful stocking fillers like handmade soaps, dried flowers, wooden toys and natural cosmetics. If you’re looking for a bargain check out the Fashion Arena Outlet Centre where you can get top quality brand name products at 30%-70% off high street prices.