Welcome to a Christmas Market river cruise! Twinkling lights wherever you look, towns and cities aglow, the delightful scent of gingerbread in the air and a festive ambiance at every turn. Before you know it, the holidays will be here and you could be spending them in Europe on a special vacation as you journey in luxury to historic and culture-rich destinations.
Immerse yourself in the magnificence of an old-world holiday as you cruise majestic and storied waterways, including the Danube, Rhine and Seine rivers. Meaningful excursions, mouthwatering cuisine, including regional favorites and once-a-year delights will make your vacation festive and memorable.
Ideal for a multi-generational winter getaway, a festive Christmas market river cruise is not only fun, interesting and unique, but hassle-free! Relax and revel in the holidays without cooking, shopping at crowded stores or playing host. Simply glide from one incredible destination to another while being pampered along the way with attentive service, exquisite cuisine and spacious well appointed accommodations – most with a veranda. Imagine having everything done for you, while you are served special holiday dinners in beautifully decorated settings.
Onboard your luxury river boat, holiday lights and a convivial atmosphere will enhance your travels. Take special tours; enjoy music recitals, cocktail parties and celebrations reminiscent of days gone by.
Luxury Christmas market cruises are offered by several lines – most all-inclusive. AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, CroisiEurope, Emerald Waterways, Scenic, Tauck, Uniworld and Viking River Cruises all offer these unique voyages. Meander from large towns to small villages in Austria and Germany, as well as France. Some itineraries may also include The Netherlands and Hungary. Typically offered from November through December, they offer a festivity-filled holiday vacation experience like no other.
Favorite Christmas Markets
Journey back in time to when people gathered on cobblestone squares to buy ingredients for their holiday treats, stayed warm with hot-spiced wine as people played musical instruments and participate in age-old holiday traditions as the locals do. Discover treasures at the markets, which offer everything from hand-carved nutcrackers to beautiful hand-blown tree ornaments, the perfect souvenir. Savor decadent brandy-filled chocolates, fruitcakes and gingerbread, including Germany’s classic heart-shaped delights. Warm up with some with glühwein, the area’s traditional mulled wine, with or without alcohol. Be part of the extraordinary experience and share the holiday joy with the locals.
Filled with hand-made crafts, the Budapest Christmas market on Vörösmarty Square is where a fair and festival are held and you can enjoy such traditional Hungarian foods as kenyér lángos, a bread – like dough with various toppings and rétes, the famous delicious strudel dating back to the 19th century and flódni – a traditional Jewish cake layered with poppy seeds, walnuts and a plum preserve filling. Musical events are often held here along with puppet shows on weekends, adding to the merry atmosphere.
Unrivalled for its beauty, tradition and ambiance, Nuremberg’s world–famous Christkindlesmarkt is one of Central Europe’s oldest and largest holiday markets. Home to about 200 wooden candy cane striped stalls you’ll discover fabulous goodies. Brimming with hand-painted ornaments and toys, you can also ride a carousel and enjoy the joyful sounds of brass quintets. Highlights also include “Nuremberg Plum People,” tiny puppets made of prunes, figs and walnuts, with faces painted on them and gold foil angels, traditionally made to top the Christmas tree.
Boasting several Christmas markets, Cologne’s oldest is Neumarkt, located in the main shopping area. Modern and elegant, the Floating Christmas Market is housed on a riverboat on the Rhine with pagoda tents and roof peaks reminiscent of sails on a ship.
Dating back to the 15th century, Christkindlmarkt in Salzburg is one of the oldest in Europe. Smaller than many with an intimate feel, the historic market features stalls situated under a floodlit baroque stage providing a lovely effect.
Journey along these storied waterways and feel like a child again as you take part in a magical time of year and celebrate the holidays with special yuletide events as you experience the wonder of Christmas like you never have before.