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If your two favourite things in the worlds are the holiday season and romantic cities full of history, a Christmas market cruise in Europe might just be what you’re after. Even though you may associate cruising with summertime and sunny weather, a cruise during Europe’s winter provides unforgettable experiences as well.
Imagine you and a loved one zipping through the inland waterways whilst sparking winter wonderlands await you ashore. Visiting a few of the most picturesque Christmas markets in Europe is a unique way to explore the continent. Gift a festive getaway and immerse yourselves in Europe’s traditional Christmas markets.
Christmas markets filled with magical moments
A yearly custom practised in most European countries, nowadays, Christmas markets are popular in other parts of the world, too. However, most traditional ones can only be found in Europe. Small villages of charming huts enchant you with authentic baked goods and craftsmanship. Many European Christmas markets stage visits from Father Christmas, have carollers, offer family-friendly activities, and some ever showcase reindeer! For the more competitive, try your hand at ice skating, curling, or ice stock sport!
Local experiences at Christmas markets
On a Christmas market cruise, you will visit one port of call and one market every day. Each Christmas market has its own style and boasts its own local customs. Not only will you get acquainted with various markets, but you will also be exposed to the local culture of your ports of call. Many world-famous Christmas markets date back to the Late Middle Ages, so the cities are rich with cultural heritage.
Famous sights and shops will surround you as these festive markets usually pop up in the lively historic town centres of these medieval towns. Complete your Christmas market visit with a bit of sightseeing and a leisurely gift hunt whilst taking in the intertwining aromas of fir wreaths, holiday-scented candles, and mulled wine.
Visit Germany – the birthplace of Christmas markets
At a German Christmas market, you can surround yourself with glittering Christmas decorations, festive music, and sparking lights and indulge in seasonal specialities and beverages. Whilst visiting some of Germany’s loveliest historic towns, you can enlighten yourself about regional traditions surrounding Christmas and hunt for unique presents for your loved ones back home.
A Rhine River cruise is the best way to explore Germany’s Christmas markets. Visit the city of Cologne, where the imposing cathedral, the Kölner Dom, towers over the Rhine and greets visitors from near and far. The Cologne Christmas market can be found just a few hundred metres from the riverside, surrounding the Kölner Dom.
Cruising down the Rhine, your next stop will be Bonn, less than 30 kilometres to the south. The hut Glühweinpyramide (mulled wine pyramid) serves up piping hot mulled wine. The hut is reminiscent of the famous folklore Christmas decoration, which takes it shape from the Ore Mountains.
Further down the Rhine is the city of Koblenz. The former Roman city offers more than one hundred huts hawking various food specialities and knick-knacks handcrafted by locals. Take a closer look at the town hall: Its 24 dormers have been transformed into an Advent calendar!
Visit other European Christmas markets
If you embark on a longer Christmas market cruise, you will traverse Europe and hop from Christmas market to Christmas market. Whilst cruising down the Danube River, you can visit Vienna’s many Christmas markets and the Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg. Alternatively, you can sail the Rhine River and peruse the charming Christmas markets in Basel, Switzerland and Strasbourg, France or the festive German Christmas fairs in Heidelberg and Cologne.
Depending on which Christmas market cruise you book, you may also take part in the festivities in Eastern or Northern Europe. Stroll down the enchanted streets of Budapest and explore its magical Christmas market on Vörösmarty Square, right in front of the illuminated town hall. Let the market’s lights enchant you as you zip around the ice skating rink. After working up an appetite, try some traditional Hungarian dishes. Lángos, for example, is deep-fried dough smothered with sweet and savoury toppings.
A Nordic adventure awaits in Copenhagen. The Danish capital hosts a variety of idyllic and charming Christmas markets that will bring more hygge to your life. Make a trip to Tivoli, a theme park right in the centre of Copenhagen. Being surrounding by breathtaking lights and Christmas decorations will immediately put you in a festive mood. And for the kids, Santa can be found in the Tivoli Gardens!
We at Cruise1st want to make your Christmas magical. And what is more special than celebrating the holiday season at Europe’s spectacular Christmas markets? If you have any questions about Christmas market cruises in Europe, ring our friendly cruise experts on 1300 857 345.