Some of the most popular river cruises are stops at the European Christmas market. Although the magical season to visit these markets is very limited – usually from the last week of November to Christmas – the market attracts millions of people from all over the world every year.
Visitors can see all the churches worth visiting in Instagram, buildings and shops are best decorated on their holidays. With the festive brass band and choir as the musical background, they can purchase unique decorations and unique gifts for open-air stalls; taste and smell the aroma of local foods and drinks (eg gingerbread, grilled sausages and mulled wine) And communicate with local craftsmen and other shoppers.
In many towns in Europe, this colorful festival tradition dates back to the Middle Ages. Although these historical markets have much in common, each person seems to have a unique personality that reflects the local culture and its sense of place, forcing visitors to search more than one.
The biggest advantage of visiting these markets on riverboats (as opposed to land tours) is that passengers stay in multiple cities (sometimes in multiple countries) during a week of cruising, without the hassle of scheduling themselves. River cruisers do not need to book hotels and restaurants; arrange local transportation; or pack suitcases in each city. Typically, riverboats are located near the center of the Christmas market destination, and passengers can walk to these destinations without having to negotiate traffic.
The Danube River and the cruises along the Rhine are one of the most popular itineraries for the Christmas market cruises. On the Danube, highlights include the Vienna Christmas Market dating back to 1298 and one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets, the Christkindlesmarkt. The Rhine’s itinerary includes a visit to the Cologne Christmas Market, the Heidelberg Christmas Market, the Basel Christmas Market and the Strasbourg Christmas Market with 98-foot trees.
If you are interested in participating in one of the cruises, it is still too early to see the 2019 itinerary. Most river cruises offer Christmas market cruises.
“Christmas time is a great time to visit the European rivers,” says cruise expert Steward Chiron, who is also The Cruise Guy. How is the timing? When should someone book a cruise? “People should start thinking about these voyages a year in advance,” he said. He added that although there may be opportunities at the last minute, the choices in terms of cabin type and sailing date will be reduced.
In a limited time offer due on November 30, 2018, Viking (which operates more than 60 riverboats around the world) offers special fares on specific river cruises, including Rhine Getaway and Danube Waltz. Tickets for the promotion are priced at $499 and $599 per person, respectively. See more details about the Viking Holiday River Cruise here.