Are you fed up of boring Christmas presents like socks or pyjamas? Here are a few brilliant ideas and the best thing about them is that you have to travel in order to buy them!
Here’s the plan: book a getaway with the excuse that you have to do some Christmas shopping. Not only will you discover or revisit cities that you love, but you will also bring home super original gifts that are special because of where they come from. Two in one!
1. The best panettone in the world. From Rome, of course!
If someone you know loves panettone, make sure you give them the real thing. If you travel to the town of Fiano Romano, just 40 minutes from Rome, you’ll be able to get your hands on no less than the winner of the Campionato Mundiale de Panettone, organised by the Federazione Internazionale Pasticceria Gelateria Cioccolateria. Last year the winner was Pregiata Forneria Albanesi from this same town. Once you have stored award-winning panettone safely in your suitcase, you can spend the rest of your trip discovering the wonders of Rome in autumn: if you already know the most important churches, start off the day by visiting some of the “minor” (but no less important in Italy) churches, then head towards the Colosseum, the Forum or Palatine Hill, and end the day by going for a wander round the Trastevere to track down the best pizza.
2. An authentic Scandinavian ornament... from Stockholm!
Anyone who loves interior design and decoration knows that the Scandinavians know their stuff. Their sober and elegant design can be found in their homes and outfits, always with a distinctive touch that makes it stand out. In Stockholm you’ll be able to enjoy winter at its best: wrap up warm with a woolly hat and a scarf in a city that will probably be covered in snow as you mooch around the decoration shops. You’re sure to walk out with something for yourself, too! You can start by picking out a unique gift at Designtorget (the perfect place to find something to brighten up your Christmas dinner table). Then you can go to the amazing Oscar & Clothilde and finally to Svenskt Tenn, which is like heaven for those who love fabrics. You’ll definitely bring something home with you!
3. Outlet bargains... from Barcelona or Madrid!
Imagine a shopping village that sells top brands at low prices. That’s what you’ll find at La Roca Village (Barcelona) and Las Rozas Village (Madrid). They are perfect if you want to spend a day doing your Christmas shopping. There’s something for everyone and to suit all budgets: clothing, accessories, shoes, homeware, suitcases and a good range of restaurants where you can stop to take a break from so much shopping! If you’re looking for a bargain, you’re sure to find it here. What’s more, when you shop at these The Bicester Collection villages, you’ll collect Avios! You know what that means: discounts on future flights with Vueling.
4. Lego from the place it was made... Copenhagen!
Copenhagen is the world capital of Lego (if Billund doesn’t mind us saying so, as they have Legoland) and the Lego Store is a must for adults and children alike. More than just a place to buy any Lego you could think of, this store is also a museum where you can even see a mural of Copenhagen made out of Lego.
5. Art to suit every taste... from Paris!
What could be better for that art lover in your life than a painting, lithograph or original photo purchased at the once cradle of all things Bohemian and the world capital of art? Neither tourists nor globalisation have managed to strip the neighbourhood of Montmartre in Paris of that avant-garde feel that you find in the art galleries and shops. You can start your journey at the prestigious Montmartre Gallery, then visit the Montmartre Museum gift shop, and finally explore Carré d’Artistes, for example, where you’ll find affordable contemporary artworks.
6. Amazing vintage gifts... from London!
Christmas is a great time to go for a wander round the markets in London to look for unique second-hand gifts. Cool vintage glasses, an exclusive scarf or an antique watch are different from any old gift you can get in any shop. Covent Garden, Greenwich or Bermondsey are some of the places where you can find markets, but the best place to find antiques and vintage items, as well as local designers and interesting restaurants, is Spitalfields. It’s impossible to leave empty-handed!
7. A little something from the souk in… Marrakech!
A trip to Marrakech is always a great idea if you love shopping, because the bustling medina (the old town) is full of stuff to entice you. In the souk you’ll find rugs, slippers, crockery, clothing, homeware, candles, candlesticks, handbags and other accessories, as well as spices, perfume and basically anything you could possibly think of. You’ll have to haggle and probably try to dodge overenthusiastic shopkeepers, but it’s impossible not to have an amazing time in the exciting medina of Marrakech.