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Sally Wilson

Sally is a key member of the MoneyMaxim editorial team. She is a frequent hire-car user and often goes on holiday with her family. With an interest in getting great value for money, Sally shares her hints and tips for travelling and insurance.

Sally Wilson is one of our Team of Experts

Christmas market to visit? Hire a car and make more of a festive trip

Ten Christmas market destinations with more to explore with a hire car

christmas bauble

The twinkling of fairy lights, the smells of chestnuts roasting and sausages sizzling and the sound of people enjoying the festive atmosphere are what you would expect from a traditional Christmas market. The many markets of Germany and France are well known but there are others out there just waiting to be explored. So wrap up warm and let us show you the way.

At the time of writing, all ten of these destinations, in ten different countries, had flights available for less than £100 for 12th-15th December 2016. Combine your flight with car hire to add some extra Christmas sparkle to your trip!

  • Bologna - This charming culture-packed city is undervalued as a tourist spot. This area of Italy has strong Christmas traditions and the market is one of the oldest in Italy. It takes place in front of the 12th century San Pietro cathedral. A hire car can take you to various other Italian cities easily including Florence, Milan and Verona.

  • Innsbruck - There is not just one but six Christmas markets in Innsbruck - all overlooked by a 14m tall tree laden with glittering decorations. Watch the parades, listen to the live music or be transfixed by the Fairytale Performance. Munich, the Bavarian lakes and Salzburg are all within easy reach with a hire car.

  • Edinburgh - For those who want to stay closer to home, there is a Christmas market in East Princes Street Gardens. Get fantastic views from up on the Big Wheel and why not stay for the customary Scottish Hogmanay? Within 2 hours with a hire car you could be relaxing in the Trossachs National Park or strolling by the shores of Loch Lomond.

  • Gothenburg - This market, with its over 5 million fairy lights, is said to be the largest in Scandinavia. It is held in Lisebergs Nojespark, a local parkland which also has rides to enjoy. For a trip away from the busy town, just 45 minutes away by hire car is the beautiful coast at Marstrand.

  • Bremen - One of the lesser known markets in Germany, it spreads from in front of the town hall down to the riverside. The market is just a short walk from Boettcherstrasse where you can buy handcrafted Christmas presents made by local artisans. Hamburg is only just over an hour's drive away but, if you are looking for walks, try the Harz mountains within 3 hours reach by car.

  • Vilnius - The capital of Lithuania offers a Christmas Train as part of their festive celebrations. Watch the Christmas Tale in 3D or take a spin on the ice skating rink all within the stunning setting of this attractive 14th century city. Take a hire car to visit Trakai castle, the hill forts at Kernave or the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai.

  • Mount Pilatus - This Swiss mountain Christmas market is the highest in the world but don't worry you don't have to walk up! Take the world's steepest cogwheel railway and combine it with a sledding trip downhill if it takes your fancy. Fly into Zurich and pick up your hire car there. Why not go for a drive to Lake Lucerne, one of the prettiest lakes in the region.

  • Copenhagen - Set in the marvellous backdrop of Tivoli Gardens, this Danish market has all the stalls you will be hoping for, from delicious local delicacies, to crafts and entertainment. Take a drive with your hire car across the impressive Oresund Bridge and visit Malmo in Sweden where there is yet another Christmas market to indulge in.

  • Budapest - Hungary's delightful capital city hosts its Christmas market in Vorosmarty Square where in the evenings you can be enthralled by the festive light paintings on Cafe Gerbeaud. Budapest is just a two and a half hour drive from Vienna or explore the interesting Northeast countryside of Hungary if you want to stay more local.

  • Madrid - Not the first city you might think of for a festive market but there are a few in the city, perfect if you are not keen on low temperatures. The main market is held in Plaza Mayor in the centre of the city. Escape with a hire car to the coast - maybe Murcia, Alicante or Valencia - for a relaxing break from shopping.

If you plan to take your hire car across a border, make sure the hire car company you are using are aware as some may not allow it. Special rules apply in Switzerland with regard to EU travel.

MoneyMaxim offer a car hire excess insurance comparison service for the chance to save money compared with the excess waivers offered at the car hire desk. Policies through our site also cover the cost of damage to the windscreen, mirrors, tyres, wheels, roof and underbody of the hire car.

Image courtesy of: Pixabay