The Christmas Markets are about to get under way throughout Europe. These open-air festive monthlong celebrations offer a wonderful chance to experience the ages-old holiday traditions that bring a delightful warmth and charm to the holiday season.
One of the best ways to check out the Christmas Markets is via a river cruise. This way, you get a chance to see multiple markets in several cities and villages. The river cruise itineraries along the great rivers like the Rhine and Danube give you the full scope and scale of what the Christmas season is like in Europe.
Plus, you get to travel in comfort, unpack once, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow cruisers and dine and drink on scrumptious regional cuisine and holiday fare. The ships are all decked out with garland and Christmas trees, and the onboard entertainment revolves around music of the season and performers in traditional garb.
For lovers of the holidays, you really can't find a more immersive way to celebrate.
I took a Christmas Markets cruise on the Danube River with Viking Cruises a few years ago and have been longing to return. I really enjoyed joining fellow visitors and the town residents in soaking up the singing, dancing and decor in the town squares and along the cobblestone streets of great destinations like Nuremburg and Vienna. I also soaked up several mugs of gluhwein (a mulled wine) and pastries along the way, too.
If you're interested in making plans to head to Europe to kick off your holiday season, check out these top Christmas Markets you can visit on a Viking River cruise.
The famous Lebkucken, or a German gingerbread with a glaze, has been baked in Nuremberg for more than 600 years. At the Christmas markets, you can buy Lebkucken with a chocolate, sugar, or strawberry coating.
Berlin is home to one or more Christmas Markets in each of its 12 districts, giving tourists a variety of options for exploration.
The Christmas tree at the Strasbourg market is 98 feet tall and strung with lights over four miles long! Selling hot wine, traditional bredele or biscuits, and decorative white storks signifying local folklore, the Strasbourg Christmas market has more than 300 vendors.
In Austria, Vienna's "December Market" can be considered a forerunner to Christmas markets, dating back to 1298.
The Cologne Christmas market is great for families, offering an ice rink for the children (and kids at heart) and the famous gluhwein.
Have you been to any Christmas Markets in Europe or elsewhere around the world? What did you think?
Thanks for reading, and happy holidays.