Christmas markets are open in Europe, and I am fortunate enough to get a chance to finally check them out.
My Viking river cruise on Viking Longship Delling begins Saturday in Nuremberg, Germany.
Let's take a look at what's on tap for the second #VikingSocial cruise.
We board the ship in Nuremberg and have an opportunity to explore the second-largest city in Bavaria while docked overnight and before setting off on the Danube on Sunday.
Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt opened November 28 and runs till Christmas Eve. These are the general date ranges for markets at all the stops we'll be making along the Danube River.
We'll get to explore the traditions and festivities in the towns of Regensburg and Passau in Germany as well as Melk and Vienna in Austria before wrapping up the journey in Budapest, Hungary.
I'm by no means a religious person, but I thoroughly enjoy the feelings of the holiday season and expect it will be a true joy to experience the warmth of these towns during this special time of year.
So, what exactly is a Christmas market?
In short, they are street markets opened to celebrate the Christmas holiday season during the four weeks of Advent.
The festivities and participants are imbibed with the smells and tastes of anise, cinnamon, mulled wines, rum punches, sweets and other treats. Think roasted almonds, chestnuts, gingerbread, sausages, biscuits, Stollen cake and much more.
All set amid the holiday music, twinkling lights and meticulously decorated stalls lining the streets and alleys of the villages. I look forward to it all -- especially the festive spirit and sense of community.
Make sure to follow along starting Saturday here on the blog and with the hashtag #VikingSocial on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Happy travels and happy holidays!