There is no better indicator that the Christmas season is underway than the opening of Christmas markets across Scotland.

From the country's biggest cities to its many charming towns and villages, there are plenty of Christmas markets to check out this winter — whether you're keen to pick up some local crafts or chow down on delicious seasonal food and drink.

Across Scotland, there is no market more iconic and popular than the one in Edinburgh, which is part of the capital's enormous Edinburgh Christmas celebrations — running all the way from November 17 to January 6. People far and wide flock to the city each year to soak up the Christmas atmosphere.

This year, Tourism Writer and Edinburgh local Alexander Smail wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so he headed down to the Edinburgh Christmas Market at East Princes Street Gardens on opening weekend. Here are his thoughts...

Despite living in Edinburgh, it's been a good few years since I had checked out its iconic Christmas Market, so when I headed over to Princes Street on Sunday morning I was interested to see if it was just as magical as I remember as a kid.

I was actually expecting to have to queue to get into the market area, so was pleasantly surprised when I was immediately let in without a long wait. Although it was a November morning, there was a decidedly wintry chill in the air.

Edinburgh Christmas Market
There were some decorations scattered around, but overall the atmosphere wasn't as Christmas-y as I was expecting

The first thing I noticed about the market was just how noisy it was. This is hardly a surprise, of course, and it will no doubt only get busier as we move into December, but it is worth bearing in mind if you struggle with large crowds and loud sounds.

One thing that was immediately disappointing was the general lack of festive ambience. There were wreaths and trees scattered around, but the decorations didn't exactly take my breath away — and the Christmas music blaring out of the loudspeakers didn't do much to help.

That is when I remembered that half of the charm of a Christmas market is its twinkling lights. Anyone keen to experience the Edinburgh Christmas Market should definitely consider heading there after dark when the atmosphere is no doubt a bit more magical.

I decided to get a good look around the stalls and see what sort of thing was being sold. I was expecting prices to be sky high and while they were hardly what I would call cheap, many products were not too expensive.

Edinburgh Christmas Market
I was definitely tempted to pick up a scarf at what I think is a very reasonable price

One of the stalls that caught my eye in particular was one selling scarves, blankets, and gloves. Scarves were available for as little as £6, which to me seemed like a pretty good deal and I was strongly considering picking one up.

Next, I decided to try some of the food available. The Edinburgh Christmas Market sells everything from mac and cheese to donuts and crêpes, but it was the churros that piqued my interest.

Edinburgh Christmas Market
The churros were perfectly fine — but don't expect anything mind-blowing

I paid £7.50 for a small box of five churros with chocolate sauce. They were perfectly serviceable, though to be honest I'm not sure they were worth the price.

After the churros, I was feeling thirsty, and there is nothing festive than a cup of hot chocolate — so I hunted around to see if I could pick some up. I eventually did find a stall serving it, but was disappointed to find out it cost £5.80 for a 'deluxe hot chocolate'.

Edinburgh Christmas Market
I'd be lying if I said the hot chocolate wasn't tasty, but whether it was worth the £5.80 price tag is another matter

My curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to pay up rather than buying the slightly cheaper £4.80 standard hot chocolate. The drink — which was served with whipped cream, marshmallows, and a flake — was undeniably tasty, but considering how quickly it disappeared, almost £6 seemed awfully steep.

I then walked around the market some more, heading over towards the rides. Before arriving, I was keen to potentially try out the Big Wheel, but after finding out that it cost £10 for one ride, I decided against it.

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As I made my way to the exit, I walked past the Helter Skelter, where some kids looked like they were having the time of their life as they dropped down the festive slide. If you have young ones, this definitely looks like it's worth a go.

Another thing I liked about the Helter Skelter was that, around the back of it, there was a bar built into the structure itself. If it were a bit later in the day, I might have picked up a pint because it looked like the perfect spot to stop and take a breather.

Edinburgh Christmas Market
Having a bar built into a Helter Skelter is very cool, and is the type of magic I was hoping to see more of

After walking out of the Edinburgh Christmas Market, I felt ultimately underwhelmed. There were some nice stalls selling some interesting items — some of which were very reasonably priced — but all in all my main takeaways were that the market was just kind of noisy and expensive.

I think I might head back in December after dark, when I'm sure the atmosphere will feel a lot more festive. But on opening weekend, the Edinburgh Christmas Market was a disappointment.

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