Weird and wonderful Christmas markets around the world

Santa Pauli erotic Christmas market, Hamburg

Christmas markets remain festive staples that attract browsers, shoppers and lovers of Christmas cheer every year, but while the likes of Lille, Cologne and Vienna provide excellent locations for a traditional Christmas market mini-break, there are alternative winter street markets that offer quirky gifts and unusual sights. To give you a weird and wonderful Christmas experience this year, we thought we'd pick a few of our favourite unique Christmas markets, from one in a Grand Prix pit stop, to a market just for dogs.

SEE ALSO: Revealed! The cheapest cities for a Christmas market mini-break

SEE ALSO: Britain's best Christmas markets


Visiting these alternative markets won't just allow you to pick up strange things, such as tió logs and naughty Christmas decorations, but can also offer huge savings on your Christmas shopping break.

According to No 1 Currency, with the most popular Christmas market destinations being overpriced and expensive, going off the beaten track is your best bet. For instance, travelling to Calais for the bizarre, must-see Licques Turkey Festival instead of taking a trip to Strasbourg for its famous market is a great way to save money and experience some offbeat festivities.



As 35 per cent of Brits are expected to jet off this December to shop for gifts at European Christmas markets, there has also been an increase in the number of travellers branching out and heading to alternative locations for their festive fix, Escape Travel Card tells us.

Singapore, Wales and Barcelona are just a few locations where you'll find the most unique offerings. Take a look at some of the weirdest Christmas markets to visit this winter and browse our slideshow for more ideas.

Fira de Santa Llúcia, Barcelona

Dating from 1786, Barcelona's Christmas fair set around the city's cathedral offers the most peculiar traditional gifts for Christmas shoppers: tió logs. From 25 November to 23 December, visitors to Fira de Santa Llúcia can pick up the unusual souvenirs that sport smiley faces and typical Catalan cap, the barretina. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, children make the tió log poop presents, sweets and nougat by beating him with a stick. As well as this fun gift, shoppers at Barcelona's Christmas market can buy decorations for the tree, mistletoe and nativity figurines.

Santa Pauli, Hamburg (pictured, top)

Cool, modern and ironic, Hamburg's adults-only erotic Christmas market is a colourful event celebrated against the backdrop of the city's Dancing Towers. Drag queen Olivia Jones traditionally opens Santa Pauli, which takes place from 17 November to 23 December. Christmas time and a party atmosphere go hand in hand here, with nightly strip shows included. The repertoire of Christmas items on sale ranges from hand-crafted artisan pieces and naughty Christmas decorations, all the way to wooden dildos.

Christmas market for dogs in Berlin

Christmas Market for Dogs, Berlin

Looking, sniffing, shopping: Berlin's Christmas Market for Dogs takes place from 3 to 4 December in the garden of the beautiful Forsthaus Paulsborn within the Grunewald forest. Dog lovers and their four-legged friends will find everything at this unique market, including festive dog biscuits and colourful dog collars. Owners can enjoy treats of their own, with food and drinks in the Forsthaus. After completing the stately experience at Forsthaus Paulsborn, you and your pooch can walk back through the forest to the bright lights of the city.

Public Gardens Christmas, Singapore

Held in the unusual location of a pit stop of Singapore's Grand Prix, this annual market with a tropical Christmas theme runs during the festive season and brings together quality brands and unique products. At Public Gardens Christmas, there's lots to choose from including design, stationery, art and jewellery. Located in the heart of town, a short walk from Promenade MRT, and running on 10, 11, 17 and 18 December, the market invites shoppers to avoid the crazy crowds of the city and enjoy an alternative shopping location.

Royal Welsh Winter Fair, Powys

From judging livestock and horses, to a young cattle handler's competition, the Royal Welsh Winter Fair at Royal Welsh Showground provides a variety of sights and sounds. The highlight of the event is watching leading stockmen from all over the UK show off the best of British farming. Taking place from 28 to 29 November, the fair features late night shopping with the best of Welsh produce available and a Christmas Shopping Pavilion to pick up woolly hats, wooden sheep and porcelain cows among an array of festive treats. Don't miss the Monday night fireworks after late night shopping.

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Weird and wonderful Christmas markets
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Weird and wonderful Christmas markets
The UK’s biggest celebration of Japanese culture, cuisine and cool takes place on Tobacco Dock from 24 to 26 November, boasting a variety of performers, food stalls, cocktail shows, creative workshops and kooky gift ideas. Quirky Christmas market HYPER JAPAN is the ultimate destination to discover truly unique presents and when you’re finished shopping, there’s music, magic shows, fashion shows and sumptuous cocktails to enjoy. Stay: Qbic Hotel London City
Cool, modern and ironic, Hamburg's adults-only erotic Christmas market is a colourful event celebrated against the backdrop of the city's Dancing Towers. Drag queen Olivia Jones traditionally opens Santa Pauli, which takes place from 17 November to 23 December. Christmas time and a party atmosphere go hand in hand here, with nightly strip shows included. The repertoire of Christmas items on sale ranges from hand-crafted artisan pieces and naughty Christmas decorations all the way to wooden dildos. Stay: East

Visit Zurich this winter and expect to be enchanted by the Singing Christmas Tree at Werdmuhleplatz's Christmas market from 23 November to 23 December. The vertical stage that appears as an enormous Christmas tree hosts choirs wearing red hats as they spread Christmas cheer with their repertoire of Christmas carols. While watching the unusual attraction, there's plenty of gluhwein and fondue to enjoy while the kids have a ride on the carousel. Stay: Swissotel Zurich

Ever wondered where hipsters do their Christmas shopping? Holy Shit Shopping takes over a former power station (naturally) from 16 to 17 December. Here you'll find young Berlin designers presenting their latest fashion, matching jewellery and fancy artistic works. The pop-up design emporium will also offer mellow beats, drinks and street food for when you're shopped out. Stay: Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Hackescher Markt

Dating from 1786, Barcelona's Christmas fair set around Barcelona Cathedral offers the most peculiar traditional gifts for Christmas shoppers: tió logs. From 24 November to 23 December, visitors to Fira de Santa Llúcia can pick up the unusual souvenirs which sport smiley faces and typical Catalan cap, the barretina. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, children make the tió log poop presents, sweets and nougat by beating him with a stick. As well as this fun gift, shoppers at Barcelona's Christmas market can buy decorations for the tree, mistletoe and nativity figurines. Stay: Hotel Barcelona Catedral

Attracting visitors far and wide with its maritime atmosphere, Emden Engelke-Markt is a Christmas market with a difference. Festively illuminated museum ships and traditional sailing ships welcome shoppers on board from 27 November to 23 December, with the smell of almonds, spices and gingerbread filling the air. In front of the town hall, the Christmas village features an illuminated Christmas pyramid, where mulled wine and punch are on offer. The festive stalls offer delicious delicacies and Father Christmas always appears on the stage of the city garden at 5pm to hand out presents to children. Stay: Upstalsboom Parkhotel
A tradition for over twenty years, Licques' annual Christmas market has the turkey as its star of the show and features many activities including a turkey contest, huge meals and dancing parties. Taking place from 9 to 10 December, the Turkey Festival's Christmas market is perfect for picking up local products, with 2,000 visitors attending the bizarre event each year. The main attraction is on Sunday when the 'turkey fellowship' leads a turkey herd to the top of the village and introduces its new members. Stay: Le Chateau de Cocove

Looking, sniffing, shopping - Berlin's Christmas Market for Dogs takes place from 9 to 10 December in the garden of the Forsthaus Paulsborn within the Grunewald forest. Dog lovers and their four-legged friends will find everything at this unique market, from festive dog biscuits to colourful dog collars. Owners can enjoy some treats of their own, with food and drinks in the Forsthaus. Stay: Louisa's Place

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