This is the time of year when thoughts turn to Christmas. Many of us will have already started our shopping, others may have even finished, but there will also be some who are planning one last holiday before the stress of the festive period takes hold.
But why not combine your preparations for Christmas with a relaxing trip abroad by taking a Christmas Markets river cruise? These usually take place along the Danube or Rhine and are a great way to visit a variety of different markets in one holiday. You can grab some last-minute gifts, try some of the local delicacies and warm your heart with a massive drop of festive cheer. Here are some of the best Christmas markets on Europe’s riverbanks.
One of the most popular ports on Rhine river cruises, Cologne is also one of the best places in Germany for Christmas markets. There are no less than ten different markets taking place across the city, with the largest situated in front of the iconic Gothic cathedral. One of the most magical markets is the one erected in the Old Town which is dedicated to the ‘heinzelmännchen’ – little, elf-like creatures whose story is woven into the folklore of the city. There is also an angels Christmas market, a maritime event around the harbour and an LGBT market on Christmas Avenue.
The capital of Austria is synonymous with winter and really comes to life during the Christmas period. There are many different markets all over the city and, whilst the main one is held outside the town hall, there are festive villages at both Schönbrunn and Belvedere Palace, as well as Maria-Theresien Platz. Along with handicrafts, there will be a rink for ice-skating and curling, gingerbread decorating and plenty of attractions for the children. Be sure to try some of the fabulous Lebkuchen biscuits.
The waters around Amsterdam can take you all the way to Basel, meaning a festive Dutch and Belgian waterways cruise can also show you the sights along the Rhine. Once again, there is a wide range of Christmas markets to choose from, ranging from the quirky ‘Funky Christmas Market’ on December 11th 2016 – focusing on art, fashion and design – to the ‘Pure Christmas Market’ from the 11th to the 18th December 2016 – selling organic produce and sustainable gifts. The main area of stalls will be inside the Stadshart Amstelveen shopping centre from the 24th of November 2016 until Boxing Day.
A festive Danube river cruise can take you all the way to the beautiful city of Budapest. As well as the markets on Liszt Ferenc square and in front of St Stephen’s Basilica, the main area of interest is in the heart of the city, Vörösmarty Square. Here you will find carollers, traditional Hungarian crafts and local cuisine such as the delicious chimney cake. The smell of mulled wine will also whisk you off your feet and beckon you to sit down at one of the many stalls.
Christmas markets like these can be found all over Europe and our festive river cruises can take you there. For more information on the various itineraries we have available, contact our team today.