Different regions and families have their own holiday traditions, and one of the most enticing European traditions is the Christmas Market. In fact, each year thousands of travelers visit European Christmas Markets, but what exactly are they, and how can you go?
WHAT ARE EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS MARKETS?
Throughout Europe, the tradition of Christmas Markets has persisted for hundreds of years. It is said that these markets go back to the late-middle ages, around 1300, and originated in German-speaking areas, like Germany and Austria. Today, the Christmas Markets can be found throughout the European continent, with most running from late November through Christmas or New Year’s Day.
WHAT CAN YOU FIND AT TODAY’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS?
The most prominent aspect of a Christmas market is the vendor stalls. Businesses and individuals sell a variety of wares from these stalls, usually items that are traditionally made in the area or are related to the Christmas season. Market mugs, handmade cards, ornaments and hand-carved wooden artwork, like nutcrackers, toys, and wall art to name a few items
Along with handmade and traditional goods, one of the best parts of a Christmas market is the food! Gingerbread hearts, punch, mulled wine, and other regional specialties are favorites among visitors who are looking to dive into a location’s food scene. Many markets also feature Christmas displays, ice skating rinks, and musical performances to entertain guests while they shop, eat, and explore the market.
HOW CAN YOU CRUISE TO EUROPE’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS?
An Avalon Waterways river cruise is one of the best ways to visit Europe’s Christmas markets. The Danube River and Rhine River have many popular Christmas market cities, such as Vienna, Budapest, Basel, and Strasbourg, along their banks, giving you the chance to visit cities that have been hosting these markets since their founding well over 500 years ago. With tradition on their side, the markets in this region are some of the best you will find anywhere in Europe, particularly those in Germany and Austria.
Avalon Waterways hosts a variety of cruises on both the Danube and Rhine River ranging in length and activities. Some cruises are as short as four days while others, like Christmastime from Budapest to Basel, are 17 days long with the option to add cruise extensions.
Along with their stellar Christmas market cruises, Avalon Waterways’ onboard experience brings a new level of relaxation and convenience to your vacation. River cruising allows travelers to experience the scenery and culture of Europe without the hassle of repacking suitcases and making travel arrangements. Instead, you sail in the evenings or while you sleep. This also means that you get to spend more time in port exploring the cities and markets.
And Avalon’s ships are suite! Their Panorama Suitessm offer the offer floor-to-ceiling windows so that you can take in the view from the comfort of your bed. The Avalon Fresh program brings local flavors for the chefs to prepare regionally-inspired dishes with the freshest ingredients possible.
Along with their onboard experience, Avalon offers three types of excursions for guests to choose from, Classic, Discovery, and Active. This variety means you can customize your experience while being sure to receive the quality of experience guests expect with Avalon.
Are you ready to experience one of these amazing Christmas markets for yourself? Let’s start planning your exceptional vacation with Avalon Waterways today! We will help you manage pre- and post-cruise hotels and travel logistics to ensure every moment of your trip is taken care of.