Due to the Christian holiday traditions, European cities tend to dominate the most popular Christmas shopping destinations, but as consumers look for more unique gifts and experiences, they’re trying new places too.

Christmas traditions still prevail

Europe’s famous Christmas markets continue to be a huge draw, and the quainter the better. Ledbury, a small market town in England has been named as one of the top Christmas shopping destinations for its range of independent retailers, cute cobbled streets and relaxed vibe. Munich offers one of the purest German Christmas markets, while Cologne’s festive appeal is accentuated by its status as the home of mulled wine. Ancient, atmospheric cities such as Prague, Strasbourg, Tallinn, Ljublana and Vienna combine fairytale architecture, twinkling decorations, quaint traditions and charming markets.

Popular city-break destinations are hanging on to their popularity through to Christmas, as their combination of great shops, culture and food makes a great value Christmas trip. Lisbon’s combination of specialist stores and foodie treats, Lille’s antiques markets, Amsterdam’s canals and cafes and Copenhagen’s stylish stores have great festive appeal.

For stylish gifts, London, Paris and Milan draw festive fashion shoppers. Major department stores such as London’s Selfridges or Galeries Lafayette in Paris put on a real show at Christmas, creating an immersive experience for shoppers. Harrods is attracting big-spending Christmas shoppers to London with its exclusive grotto, which is only available to its best customers. Meanwhile, the proximity of historic sites to key shopping areas in each city – like Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II and the Duomo in Milan – justifies a weekend trip that’s satisfying for both fashion and culture.

Towards new Christmas destinations?

Meanwhile, Morocco might not seem like the most obvious place for festive shopping, but its famous souks and wide range of crafts and tasty treats – as well as its winter warmth – are turning cities such as Marrakech and Fez into new festive destinations.

While Christmas is not the biggest winter festival in Asia, Hong Kong is a key shopping hub for those wishing to celebrate. The city-state now hosts an array of Christmas markets, gift fairs and classic festive entertainment, as well as events and promotions from major global retailers.

As gifting patterns change – with an increased focus on practical, experience and self-care gifts – new destinations are emerging, meaning that the most appealing Christmas shopping destinations are not necessarily the most traditional or picturesque. Those which offer an array of unique gifts and cultural experiences offer busy shoppers the best value for time – and money.