There’s no doubt about it; the Holidays are a magical time to be in Europe. Add to that the centuries-long tradition of Holiday markets, and you’re in for a unique experience.
River cruises, in particular, are a great way to visit multiple cities and explore different markets with relative ease. Here are 3 reasons to consider taking a Christmas River Cruise this Holiday season.
It’s a calmer time of year
The Christmas season is a busy time for travel in Europe but not nearly as busy as summer and fall. So if you’re looking for a calmer travel experience through Europe, Christmas time is perfect. River cruises are, in general, also a less hectic way to travel. You only need to unpack once!
See multiple destinations
Why settle for one city when you can see multiple? You get to experience multiple Christmas markets in different cities throughout the River Cruise, and you also get a peek at the little villages and towns along the way, all decked out for the Holiday season.
Experience Europe at a magical time
European Christmas markets are a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. There’s just something magical about seeing town squares and popular areas of Europe lit up with twinkle lights, Holiday décor, and bustling with people. You get to enjoy it all with mulled wine in hand.
Picture this — you’re strolling down market stalls surrounded by twinkling lights with a cup of hot cocoa in hand. You’re taking in the sights and sounds — a towering cathedral decked out for the Holidays, the smell of baked goods in the air, and the sounds of bells off in the distance. Sounds magical, doesn’t it?
Now here in Kansas City, the Holiday cheer is magical, but if you’re thinking about taking a hop, jump, and a skip across the pond to Europe to experience the centuries-old tradition of advent markets, here are my best tips for visiting Christmas markets in Europe:
Visit More Than One Market
Almost every European city hosts an annual Christmas Market, and the best part of Europe is that it’s easy to hop between cities. So why choose? Make it a tour and hit up more than one market at one time.
Take the opportunity to explore smaller villages
You’ll find some of the top markets in big cities like Vienna, Prague, Hamburg, and more. But smaller towns throughout Europe also host pretty charming markets too. Christmas time is a great opportunity to go off the beaten path and explore some of these smaller villages.
Know Your Dates And Times
Not all markets in Europe are open at the same time. Some markets open halfway through November, and others in December. Some only run on weekends until a certain point in the Advent season. Before you commit to an itinerary, we’ll work together to make sure the dates and times match up with your trip.
Plan your daily itinerary ahead of time and keep your schedule flexible.
Markets have vendors to see, entertainment, and more. Give yourself time to soak it all up and take in the experience.
Should you visit markets on the weekend or opt for weekdays? And what times of day are best? Some markets are much less crowded during the week and will be more enjoyable. These are insights I can help with as your travel advisor, so you can make the most of your market experience.
Bundle up, wear layers, and show up prepared!
You’ll want to go to Christmas markets armed with cash to buy treats, mulled wine, and trinkets. Some vendors do accept debit and credit card payments, but to be safe, it’s best to go with cash.
You’ll also want to dress warm and wear comfortable shoes. Also, remember to leave room in your suitcase for any trinkets and gifts you’ll want to take home, or bring a foldable duffel bag.
And here’s one last pro tip: Book early!! Christmas Market River Cruises are in high demand. You should ideally begin planning AT LEAST a year in advance.
If you're ready to start planning your next Christmas Market River Cruise, we would love to help! Schedule a time on our calendar and we'll have a Zoom call to get to know you and make sure you get matched to the perfect ship/cabin/river/cruise itinerary for you.
If you are considering a Christmas Markets River Cruise, you definitely need to download our free River Cruise Guide highlighting the Danube River. It's packed full of inspiration and helpful planning information for your trip.
Download that HERE.