|The Annaberg-Buchholz Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas market. Photo: Archers Tours UK.|
I am thrilled to welcome my guest Saloni, a travel writer who specializes in luxury travel for a number of online publications. When Saloni asked if she could contribute an article about the top five reasons to take a Christmas market river cruise, what do you think my answer was? Of course my response was an emphatic, jump-up-and-down-in-excitement, yes! She pretty much nailed two of my top five experiences in the world! Without further ado, here's why you should embark on a European Christmas market cruise and you can read more about my guest at the end of the article.
|Warm and inviting, your river cruise ship is donning its holiday best! Viking River Cruises. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
If you’re thinking of travelling over the holidays, there’s few better ways to see a variety of sights than with a Christmas market river cruise. River cruising really lets you get into the heart of a destination, especially when you're travelling down the major rivers in Europe—the Seine, Danube, Rhine or Rhone. Take in a variety of sights, sounds and smells from authentic medieval style buildings twinkling in lights to the sweet delicious aromas of mulled wine and cinnamon that surround you at Europe's traditional Christmas markets. Then sit back and relax in luxury as your river cruise ship sails on into the evening to your next exciting destination. You'll find there's something for everyone. Christmas market cruises are gaining in popularity and therefore sell out quickly, so book early to get the best ones!
Below is a list of my top five reasons to go on a Christmas cruise.
1. Experience a winter wonderland of holiday cheer
|Christmas market chalets are brimming with Christmas decorations. Photo: Archer Tours UK.|
With a majority of Europe blanketed in snow from November onward, you can truly feel the Christmas spirit in a real life winter wonderland. There’s no better to way to embrace holiday cheer than in a picturesque old town square or against the backdrop of an impressive cathedral draped in Christmas decor. Find yourself in a magical world full of decorations and stunning color. Christmas markets provide an exceptional experience, not only allowing you to do some shopping for loved ones, but also dousing your senses in the sights and smells of Christmas. The scent of mulled wine and gingerbread men are a sure way to get you in the mood. With the markets full of magnificent chalets selling all sorts of gifts, from hand blown glass baubles to decorative ornaments, there’s plenty to see and buy.
2. Explore but also sit back and relax
|Christmas market in Colmar, Alsace, France. Photo: WikiMedia.org.|
River cruises are a great way to see a vast amount whilst also travelling in style and luxury. You have the opportunity to visit multiple Christmas markets and scenes whilst also having the time to sit back and relax. For example, Avalon’s Christmas in the heart of Germany cruise allows you to see a variety of Christmastime events from Nuremburg’s famous 'Christkindl' with origins dating back to 1628 to Prague’s stunning market in the Old Town Square with a magnificent Christmas tree surrounded by festively decorated wooden chalets. However, even with all of the sights, you still have time to sit back and reflect on the festive atmosphere and soak up Christmas spirit.
3. Experience the culture of another country at Christmas
|Christmas magic in Vienna, Austria. Photo: WikiMedia.org.|
One of the best things about going away on any holiday is the chance to embrace another country’s culture and history; this is particularly exciting at Christmas. With so much to do and see, there are plenty of festivities to enjoy, from nativity scenes to traditional foods. Experience an authentic mug of glühwein or a frothy hot chocolate to warm yourself as you walk through a magical winter wonderland.
|The Christmas market in Rüdesheim, Germany. Photo: Archers Tours UK.|
There are plenty of chances to buy presents and gifts for loved ones (and yourself!) at the various European Christmas markets. They’re full of various stalls and stands, decorated in traditional Christmas scenes with extravagant displays of their hand made goods, beaming with woodwork, decorations, dolls, candles and everything in between.
5. European Street Food
|Pastries, chocolates, gingerbread and more! Photo: MachtNicht.|
Alongside the various pop-up stands selling their goods and gifts, there are plenty of stalls filled with European street food. Whether you’re looking for roasted chestnuts or traditional German bratwurst, there is plenty of traditional festive food ready for you to enjoy. There is a jovial atmosphere surrounding the food stalls with friends socializing after work, drinking mulled wine and a variety of local beers. The entire market smells sweet with Gluhwein and roasted chestnuts.
|Delicious traditional food is ready for you to enjoy! Photo: Serigrapher.|
In Europe, the weather starts to turn wintry from the beginning of November, meaning many Christmas markets begin in mid-November and remain open until early January. Whether you’re looking to do some Christmas shopping as you cruise along the Rhine or immerse yourself in holiday spirit in Prague, the extended Christmas travel window means that you have plenty of opportunity to find what you’re looking for.
|" ... I knew in a moment, it must be Saint Nick!" Photo: Archers Tours UK.|
Author bio: Saloni is a travel writer for a popular luxury travel blog as well as the digital marketing executive at Avalon Waterways, Archers Holidays and Cosmos Tours & Cruises.