Exploring Christmas Markets On The Best River Cruises In The World

Right from the first Sunday in Advent up through Christmas Eve, you will find the best Christmas markets across Europe while you are traveling on the best river cruises in the world. 


Magical Christmas markets are all springing up across the Danube and Rhine rivers, allowing you to have a slice of luxury aboard the river cruises and a slice of fun in these markets. Celebrate Christmas in style and authenticity, get closer to the places where Christmas, the holiday traditions were first created. 


The very best way to travel back in time and explore these markets the traditional way is to take a river cruise through the towns of Austria, Hungary, Germany, and other such idyllic locations on some of the most luxurious and best river cruises in the world.


There are dozens of Christmas markets across these regions in Europe for you to explore aboard the best river cruises in the world. You can decide from various ways to explore and experience these markets during the holiday season. Whether you choose the Christmas market river cruise with Vikings, Crystals, Uniworld, AmaWaterways, or Tauk, you are in for a surprise. 


Aboard the best river cruises in the world, be ready to be dazzled by Christmas traditions, bright lights and colors, handcrafted souvenirs and gifts, authentic flavors, melodious children’s choirs, and intense Christmas aroma in the air. All during the most festive time of the year. Read on to discover the best Christmas markets you need to explore aboard the best river cruises in the world. 


1. Nuremberg, Germany

- Christkindlesmarkt



Right in the middle of the medieval square in Germany is a little town of cloth and wood. You will find it in the heart of Nuremberg’s Old Town. This legendary “Christmas City” is the oldest Christmas market in Germany. This large market can be explored right from the comforts of some of the best river cruises in the world. 


The market is known for its festive atmosphere, approximately 200 stalls, and bright shining lights, and its traditional holiday decor, which you might not find anywhere else on the planet. 


What should you buy?


One of the most unique and popular items you can get from this Christmas market in Germany is “zwetschgenmännle” or “the prune man.” The prune man is a small figurine made out of dried figs and prunes. You can choose from hundreds of options of these prune men in the market; they are hand-crafted and well-loved by everyone who visits the market. They are said to have been invented by the Nuremberg wire drawer in the 18th century and sold in the market for well over 200 years now. 


Things to Try

While you are here in the market in Germany, you will find the atmosphere filled with enticing smells of mulled wine, roasted almonds, rum punch, and gingerbread. Everything festive will fill your lungs and your bellies. Save room for them and some more! You should definitely munch on the delicious drei im weggla, which is three small Bavarian bratwursts served on homemade, warm rolls. 


2. Vienna, Austria

- Schloß Schönbrunn



While you can find hundreds of Christmas markets in Vienna, one market particularly stands out - the one in front of the baroque Schönbrunn Palace. This elegant market has a huge Christmas tree, which overlooks the entire market square and all of its stalls. The market is known for its gorgeous handmade items that are native to Austria.


You will find hung lanterns all across the trees in and around the market to uplift everyone’s Christmas spirits, while you can hear pleasant church choirs in the background. If you are lucky, you will also find a light dusting of pristine snow showering the market, making it more magical. This is truly one of the most beautiful sights to see aboard the best river cruises in the world. 


What should you buy?


While in Vienna, buy their handcrafted items that you will not find anywhere else in the world. Buy a few hand-painted, pressed-tin ornaments. Vienna is also one of the best places to find the original Viennese snow globes. Vienna was the place where snow globes were invented in 1900. The first snow globe design, the Basilica of Maria Zell, contained real snow made from the Viennese ground ice. 


Things to try 


When you are here in the market aboard the best river cruises in the world, you should definitely give the Austrian vanilla crescent cookies a try! You should also try their authentic hot, rum-spiked fruit punch that fills the air with a rich and pleasant aroma in the most wonderful, festive way. The tastiest treat to try out here is perhaps Baumkuchen, the traditional cone-shaped pastry rolled and baked with nuts and sugar. 


3. Budapest, Hungary

- Vörösmarty Tér Christmas Fair



Perhaps the oldest and the most acclaimed Christmas market in Hungary that nobody wants to miss out on. You will find the market in the heart of Budapest while you are traveling here aboard the best river cruises in the world. This Christmas fair is said to be one of the busiest Christmas markets in all of Central Europe. However, at the same time, no other Christmas market can be so magical at the same time. The products sold here in the market also come with a guarantee from traditional hand-crafters here in Hungary. 


What should you buy?


When here in the market, you will come across an array of carved wooden products, one-of-a-kind ceramics, and beautiful handmade pottery items. However, suppose you want to take home something extremely extraordinary and unique. In that case, you should definitely lay your hands on gorgeous Hungarian folk art pieces or a classic folk-music instrument hand-crafted right here by local craftsmen. 


Things to try 

You will definitely want to try and get a taste of Hungarian street food. Stuffed cabbage, grilled Hungarian sausages, and goulash should be on your priority list. While munching on these delicacies, you should flush these down with a glass of cinnamon-scented apple punch infused with the Hungarian fruit-based pálinka brandy. However, everything said and done, the one thing you definitely need to taste here in the Christmas market is the Hungarian “Chimney Bread,” also called kurtoskalacs here. These are cylindrical “cakes” grilled over an open fire and then rolled in ground almonds/coconuts, cinnamon sugar, and chopped walnuts.


4. Passau, Germany

- Christkindlmarkt



Located along the Danube river, in the beautiful town of Lower Bavaria, also known as “the city of three rivers” or Dreiflüssestadt is the famous Christmas market that attracts thousands across the globe every year, traveling aboard the best river cruises in the world. 


The market is set in the heart of Passau’s enchanting and mesmerizing Old Town, against the backdrop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The market will definitely take you back in time while you are here. You will discover thousands of varieties of Christmas gifts for yourself and your loved ones, boasting time-honored craftsmanship, regional delicacies, and inspirational art. Wherever you look, you will find creativity and magic laden with lights and festivity. 


What should you buy?


In this Christmas market, you will come across multiple locally produced beeswax candles and honey jars which should be on your must-buy list from here. You should also look forward to getting your hands at some extremely beautiful ceramic salt cellars and blown-glass ornaments. While you are here, do not forget to check out the hand-crafted wooden Bavarian nutcrackers, which you might not find anywhere else in the world. They are an iconic and traditional symbol of the Christmas season here. 


Things to try 


While traveling here on the best river cruises in the world, you should get a bite of their authentic and delicious lebkuchen, a German gingerbread. However, the best thing to eat here in the market would be the sengzelten, a freshly-baked rye flatbread covered with locally sourced ham and cheese. The bread is also topped with chives and sour cream, a delight to taste! 


Final Words

Come Christmas 2021, get on board some of the best river cruises in the world to experience Christmas naivety, traditions, and authenticity. The magic of Christmas that you might not have experienced anywhere else before. Explore the majestic markets to discover tasty delicacies, one-of-kind treasures, and some of the most iconic, hand-crafted gifts for yourself and your loved one. 


Cruise through a timeless journey across Europe and discover these Christmas markets; you will fall in love with the Christmas spirit all over again! 


Happy holidays to you! 


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