O Tannenbaum: Germany's Christmas Markets

If you like your Christmas shopping with a generous side of tradition (and a cup of mulled wine), take a trip to Germany this winter. The markets start setting up in late November and run through to Christmas Eve, and they're about as far away as you can get from the gimcrack, Frosty-the-Snowman shopping experiences you might be used to.

Here at the Christkindlesmarkt, it's all bright wooden stalls and nativity scenes, carved stars, nutcrackers, gleaming glass Christmas tree balls and the smell of roasting sausage and spicy gingerbread cookies...just as it has been for centuries.

The grandest and most famous markets are held in Cologne and Nuremberg, but the smaller ones are just as fun. Here's a comprehensive list with dates and details.

Can't you just taste that gingerbread cookie already? Grab yourself a flight and get shopping!