Christmas is just around the corner and we’re all pondering the perfect gift for friends and family. Why not treat yourself to a city break or a spot of winter sun – and get your holiday shopping done at the same time? (We like to think of this as the best kind of holiday multi-tasking!) We’ve come up with some of our favourite Christmas shopping cities, all of which offer something different and unique. From glittering Dubai to seductive Seville, you won’t want to miss our fantastic list of top 5 Christmas shopping cities!
Gorgeous Seville is one of the most enticing cities in Europe, with its secret courtyards, sinuous streets, and fabulous tapas bars. A perfect Christmas shopping destination, it has a fantastic choice of shops, from all our favourite Spanish fashion chains to local artisans offering a range of unique items, such as painted silk scarves, beautiful ceramics and fabulous leather bags. For the gourmets in your life, you could pick up some wafer thin Iberian ham or some local olive oil. And, when you’re ready for a break from shopping, you can sit out on a beautiful square and enjoy some lunch, or hit the city’s famous tapas bars after dark.
Why not jet off to Dubai for some winter sun – and get that Christmas shopping done too? This glittering city is a world-famous shopping destination, home to spectacular shopping malls that showcase all the biggest designer brands, and offer plenty of equally jaw-dropping dining and entertainment options too. (How many other malls can boast indoor ski resorts or underground aquariums?) The malls of Dubai are an experience unlike any other, but you could also have a browse through the traditional souks, where you can pick up some traditional crafts or perhaps an assortment of spices, which make wonderful Christmas pressies.
Wrap up in your best woollies, and head to the world’s most iconic city: New York. The Big Apple at Christmas is truly magical, from the enormous Christmas tree and ice-skating rink at the Rockefeller Center to the extravagant window displays of the city’s famous department stores, such as Saks, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Whatever you want, from classic striped candy canes to jewellery from Fifth Avenue or original art and crafts, you’re sure to find it in this endlessly fascinating city. Plus, post-shopping you can hit New York’s famous restaurants and bars – some of the best you’ll find anywhere.
Lisbon is beautiful and romantic at any time of year, but it’s particularly lovely in the winter sunlight. This city of hills and cobbled streets is a gorgeous destination for some Christmas shopping, full of funky shops and inviting street markets selling off-beat and creative gifts. The traditional Portuguese ceramics (including the charming trios of swallows that you’ll see on balconies, and are said to bring luck) and woven blankets make wonderful souvenirs and Christmas gifts. Or you could go for some of the country’s amazing wines, preserves, cheeses and charcuterie if you’re buying for foodie friends and family.
Can’t you just see yourself swishing down the Spanish Steps, or tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain? Then come to Rome, and take your pick of some of the world’s leading fashion and design shops, plus a host of atmospheric craft workshops selling everything from leather goods (a local speciality) to mosaics. The narrow streets are hung with Christmas lights and decorations and there are lots of charming Christmas fairs to visit, including one on Piazza Navona, the city’s most splendid Baroque square. For the fanciest boutiques, hit the Via Condotti; for unique local crafts try Trastevere; and for cool local designs, try the Monti neighbourhood. Why not hire a Vespa and whizz between the shopping districts Roman Holiday-style!