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.
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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, 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.