Cruise through the heart of Europe during the most festive time of year and you’ll experience the timeless tradition of its magical Christmas markets. Browse colorful market stalls filled to the brim with whimsical handicrafts and take in the aromas of cinnamon-dusted almonds and Lebkuchen gingerbread as you sip a mug of hot mulled wine beneath endless strands of twinkling lights. Most markets are open from the last week of November through December 22nd.
Our Favorite Holiday Markets
The Budapest Christmas Market is Hungary’s largest, overtaking the cobblestone of Vorosmarty Square. Its strict “handcrafted-only” policy makes it an ideal shopping spot for one-of-a-kind gifts. Typically open from late November through New Years.
Situated in front of Vienna’s impressive 19th-century town hall, Christkindlmarkt boasts awe-inspiring decorations that illuminate the city, as well as festive choir music and more than 150 vendor stalls. Typically open from mid-November through New Years.
Strasbourg—the self-proclaimed “Capital of Christmas”—has the oldest, largest and most famous Christmas market in France, the Marchés de Noël, chock-full of stuffed storks, a cherished icon of the city. Typically open from late November through New Years.
One of the largest and most popular in all of Europe, Nuremberg’s 400-year-old Christmas market offers live music, distinctive hand-crafted souvenirs, a nostalgic carousel and a children’s steam train. Typically open from late November through Christmas Eve.
With its fairytale-like turret, the 18th-century Thurn und Taxis palace is the backdrop of Bavaria’s most romantic Christmas market. Fresh dumplings in vanilla sauce are a not-to-be-missed seasonal specialty. Typically open from late November through Christmas Eve.
Mouthwatering pan-fried Reibekuchen—potato pancakes served with applesauce—is a specialty at Cologne’s Christmas market, twinkling in the shadow of the city’s elaborate landmark cathedral. Typically open from late November through Christmas Eve.
In addition to the wonderful experiences and amenities available during your river cruise, both on board and ashore, our holiday cruise traditions help make memories you will savor forever.
Shoes for St. Nick
On one special night during each cruise, guests are encouraged to leave slippers we provide outside their stateroom door, just as children do throughout Europe on St. Nicholas Day. Upon waking up the next morning, they’ll find their shoes filled with treats by some elves!
Tinsel and garland and baubles, oh my! Guests are invited to help adorn onboard trees with festive décor. The first to find the glass pickle ornament within the tree wins a prize!
A festive assortment of seasonal cookies awaits guests in their staterooms on Christmas Eve.
New Year’s Eve Countdown
Following a jovial gala dinner, guests will have the opportunity to attend a party on board and participate in a countdown to the new year, complete with champagne for the official “cheers.”