updated 10/9/2008 11:37:16 AM ET 2008-10-09T15:37:16

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: December 24, 2008

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The deal
It's almost holiday shopping time. This year, why not skip the mad dash to the mall and, instead, combine a little retail therapy with a European vacation? If you're thinking a trip to Europe's enchanting Christmas Markets will blow your budget, we've got good news for you —we've found affordable tours that will really stretch your dollar and help you bring home unique seasonal treasures at bargain market prices. So forget the standard stocking stuffers and head to Austria, Germany, France, and more for a seasonal shopping extravaganza. Plus, if you'd rather shop online and just enjoy London or Rome over the holidays, you can also book a festive vacation from $989.

9-Day Christmas Market Tour of Austria, Germany & France from $1,339 
Bring back holiday memories and one-of-a-kind gifts on this special nine-day Christmas Market Tour to the Austrian city of Innsbruck, German cities of Kempten, Stuttgart and Freiberg, and villages within the Alsace region of France. Starting at just $1,339, this tour covers airfare, three nights’ accommodation at a modern hotel in Innsbruck, three nights at a Black Forest Inn in Germany, plus all transfers and gratuities. Valued extras include breakfast daily, carriage rides, and wine tastings. Journeying through Austria’s mountainous Tyrol region, you’ll explore nearby Salzburg, a picturesque city that hosts a 500-year-old holiday craft fair. Other tour highlights include the festive markets and scenery of Germany’s Black Forest and the charming Christmas market villages in France's Alsace region. Keep an eye out for remarkably fine glass wares, unique toys, pottery, and various specialty crafts.

8-Day Christmas Markets Danube River Cruise from $1,599
Get in some holiday shopping via a Christmas Markets Danube River cruise. Gate1Travel offers a six-night holiday sailing from just $1599 with international airfare included! Cruise aboard the sleek MS Symphony in a spacious outside cabin, enjoying guided sightseeing and shopping excursions as you sail from Vienna to Nuremberg. Along the way, you’ll visit the famous “Rathaus” Christmas market (a wonderland for children complete with snow-blowing gargoyles), and sample spicy gingerbread and mugs of mulled wine as you browse the handmade crafts, toys, and candles for sale at the ancient markets in Regensburg and Nuremberg. Seventeen meals are also included throughout this tour, as well as all transfers.

6-Night Holiday Vacations in London or Rome from $989
If you're planning on doing most of your shopping online but want to experience Christmas in Europe, take advantage of these prime holiday vacations to London or Rome. The six-night London offer includes airfare, hotel, and breajfast daily, from only $989. Check out the window displays at Harrods and the non-stop celebrating going on at local pubs. Or, spend Christmas in Rome from just $1,279, including airfare, daily breakfast, and six nights' accommodation. Be sure to stroll Via Veneto for impromtu shopping, stop for a cappuccino at one of Piazza Navona's sidewalk cafes, and enjoy the masterpiece sculptures of Michelangelo and Bernini backed by glittering Christmas lights. Just hurry — these fantastic deals must be booked by October 15.

The dollars
Rates are based on double occupancy. Taxes and other fees not included.

The catch
The more fantastic gifts you buy, the higher your airline luggage fees will climb. See our Top 10 Ways to Avoid the New Airline Fees for our latest travel tips.

ShermansTravel is a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletter which features the best editor-screened deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 4 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.

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