Picture massive Christmas trees decorated with thousands of lights, centuries-old traditions, whimsical handmade gifts, merry entertainment –and the intoxicating aroma of roasted chestnuts, gingerbread cookies, and hot cocoa. Mmm! Experience Europe’s most magical Christmas markets when you sail on an Amawaterways Christmas Market river cruise and discover what makes each celebration unforgettable.

A Romantic Winter Wonderland

Kiss your love under the mistletoe in France at one of Europe’s oldest and most beloved Christmas markets. The idyllic and fairytale-like setting of this Strasbourg holiday scene takes place right near the city’s cathedral, where you can enjoy twinkling lights and festive decorations. Foodies and wine lovers can enjoy delectable treats like pretzels, roasted chestnuts, and mulled wine, while lovers can delight over the breathtaking light show,100-foot Christmas tree, and overall charm of this romantic village.

Blue Danube White Christmas 

Navigate your way throughNuremberg’s bustling Christmas market (or, “Christkindlesmarkt”) and have a jolly ‘ole time rekindling Old World traditions and festivities with the ones you love. Here, you’ll join in on some of Germany’s merriest customs by collecting the area’s original trinkets (like Prune men and women), hopping aboard a horse-drawn carriage for a ride around town, or indulging in some hot cocoa and delicious cookies. Other popular attractions here include the old-fashion carousel, Ferris wheel, steam train, and nativity scene trail.    

Seasonal Sparkles in Switzerland

Enjoy the seasonal sparkle of Switzerland with one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe. Stay cozy and warm as you explore Zürich’s Hauptbahnhof Train Station, which is fully decked out with 150 beautifully decorated market stalls. Here, marketgoers can enjoy the city’s traditional fruit loaf and homemade gifts like holiday ornaments, jewelry, and candles, or sing along to some of your favorite Christmas carols. And it only goes up from here –literally. Visitors also love to ogle over the 50-foot Christmas tree that wears nearly 7,000 Swarovski crystals and ornaments! Curious what’s happening outside? Then, take a stroll down Christmas lane for some shopping, singing, and good eats!

Make a List, Czech it Twice

Embrace new holiday traditions with some time-honored folklore of the Czech Republic! The city’s two largest markets are held at the Old Town and Wenceslas Squares, which are located in the heart of the city, about five minutes from each other. Make your way through Prague’s lively Christmas markets for delicious regional foods (like the traditional breaded carp, potato salad, and apple strudel), artisanal crafts, music, and so much more! 

A Gothic Winter Wonderland

Watch the entire city of Cologne come to life at one of the largest and most spectacular events of the year in Germany! This Christmas celebration welcomes seven markets, each with their own distinct character to entice guests of all ages to partake in a range of holiday festivities and cheer. From books and toys to Santa, eggnog, live shows, food, lights, and more –this Christmas celebration is arguably one of the most extravagant in all of Europe! It’s also set near the city’s most beautiful gothic cathedral, making it one of the most iconic Christmas market scenes of all time. 

The Queen of Christmas Markets

Considered to be one of Budapest’s oldest and most magical scenes, The Christmas Market in Vörösmarty Square is filled with charm and family-friendly festivities. For the dessert-lovers out there, you’ll want to take advantage of some Hungarian staples –like their famous Christmas fondant candies, sweet cake rolls, and chimney cakes. You also might be fascinated with the city’s variety of winter warmers, like the apple cider or blackcurrant rum punch, along with hundreds of Christmas souvenirs, decorations, and more!

Christmas market river cruises book a year an advance, so now is the time to start planning! For a list of featured itineraries for any of the celebrations above, contact me today to get started. Happy holidays!