Cruising Europe’s Christmas Markets

Sponsored by Viking River Cruises

Captivating. Enchanting. A feast for the senses. Those are just some of the words that are commonly used to describe the wondrous Christmas markets that can be found all across Europe during the holiday season.

Filled with amazing local handicrafts, these seasonal popup markets are the perfect place to find unique gifts, souvenirs and decorations. They are also an excellent destination for sampling regional cuisine and drink.

Plus with all of the delicious aromas that fill the chilly winter air at the various Christmas markets, you are sure to have a great time celebrating the season.

While you could just visit a single market, it would give you a very one-dimensional view; these markets differ quite a bit from country to country and even from town to town, in what they sell and the food you might enjoy.

In Nuremberg, for example, you’ll find vendors selling “plum or prune people,” which are small “dolls’ crafted from dried plums, raisins, figs and various nuts. If you’re there on opening night you can enjoy seeing the town light up as a local choir sings Christmas tunes.

In Vienna, Advent markets have been a tradition since the Middle Ages. Today, you’ll find more than 20 official Advent markets scattered around the city, each boasting its own particular identity and atmosphere. The Karlsplatz market for example is famous for selling amazing crafts that must meet certain requirements; each piece must be made by the vendor and be approved by a qualified jury. So you know that you will be getting a high-quality souvenir at this particular market.

In Prague, you can enjoy watching a large ham be roasted on the spit in the Old Square and then snag a piece to enjoy as you peruse the brightly decorated wooden huts stocked with handmade crafts from dolls to Christmas ornaments.

Take the Wateryways

One of the best ways to visit several festive Christmas markets during a single trip is by gliding comfortably from town to town aboard a Viking® ship. With a river cruise, you won’t have to haul your luggage from hotel to hotel, and you’ll only have to unpack once. Plus, on board you’ll enjoy holiday-related activities, such as making gingerbread houses.

Tips for Visiting the Christmas Markets

  • Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. You’ll be strolling for long distances as you check out the various stalls.
  • Dress warmly and in layers. Almost all of the markets are outdoors and winter nights can be very cold in most of the locations where Christmas markets are held.
  • Bring some cash, especially small bills. Though many of the vendors accept credit cards, some do not.
  • Go early if you don’t like crowds. Or if you want to truly enjoy the beauty of the Christmas markets, go at night when they are ablaze with twinkling lights and the air is more festive.
  • Check out as many as possible for the greatest variety. Each one has a different flavor and unique offerings.

A cruise to the various Christmas markets is a wondrous way to experience the foods, crafts and culture of the various destinations.

Experience more of the land down under with the help of a certified river cruise specialist.