The holiday spin on Eurocore
Did you indulge in posting summer selfies, sipping espresso in an Italian piazza, or toasting champagne by the Eiffel Tower? If you did, kudos! You have joined the latest #EUROCORE craze. The TikTok trend has racked up an impressive 123k views to date with Eurosummer and many variations. Continuing on the momentum, the travel industry stands to promote the holiday season with numerous European Christmas Markets River Cruises. As a bonus, you can visit several markets on these cruises and limit packing and emptying your luggage only once. The self-proclaimed “River Cruise Queen” offers advice on booking the perfect European Christmas Markets River Cruise. You got interested in learning more? Continue reading!
Festive travel spin firmly rooted in traditions
Europe’s annual Christmas markets originated in Germany hundreds of years ago. They evoke memories of simpler times, with stalls selling hand-blown glass ornaments, toys, artisanal crafts, and the scent of mulled wine and fresh bread cooking over embers. “Germany hosts some 3,000 Christmas markets, and the Alsace-Lorraine region – which once belonged to Germany now to France – carries on the tradition,” noted Derek Banks, Managing Director of European Waterways. “The region is renowned for its bright and festive Christmas markets, as well as its picturesque castles and France’s oldest wine road – all of which form a part of European Waterways’ Christmas Markets Cruises.”
These cruises offer a perfect opportunity to sample seasonal treats like vin chaud, mulled wine, gingerbread, and christstolle—a brioche filled with almond cream and candied fruits. Along with Gothic churches, Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmärik, welcomes millions of visitors as the capital of Alsace and “the capital of Christmas.” The city also hosts one of the oldest and largest markets in Europe. Visitors can wander historic quarters like Place Gutenberg and La Petite France (Little France). They can also watch craftsmen making seasonal chocolates at the Musée du Chocolat or chocolate museum.
Best of the river markets cruise offerings
While primarily situated along the Danube River and scattered along the Rhine, small and large European cities capitalize on this age-old holiday event. Some cruises cater to adults, others to offbeat destinations and singing and dancing cultural celebrations. U.K. The Times voted Tui, Cologne their favorite for three adult-only ships. The center of Cologne’s most famous market (there are seven) features a giant twinkling Christmas tree. The Tui line offers five and seven-night festive itineraries. Uniworld’s tour of Germany and Austria remains their second choice for adults, with Nuremberg known as the “gingerbread capital of the world.”
For a family-friendly experience, Disney offers an 8-day Danube cruise featuring iconic Salzburg landmarks from The Sound of Music. The recommend a minimum age of 5, and suggest children from the age of 8+ to join. They also offer programs for teen “Adventurers.” Popular travel YouTuber stars, like Two Bad Tourists (generally known for warm weather trips), are curating their Danube itineraries. You could also opt for the extended 14-night AmaWaterways “Grand Danube Cruise.”
New Developments for 2023 and beyond
Did you know the Christmas Markets River cruise scene has been moving past predictable routes? In recent years, Portugal’s Douro River, which features a vibrant wine scene, has been drawing AmaWaterways with AmaDouro sailings. Due to the extended weather season, the 2024 “Enticing Douro” itinerary will run from March through late December. If you’re stateside, in 2024, American Queen Voyages partners with Natchez, Mississippi, for new U.S. Christmas Markets cruises along the Mississippi River.
With holiday nostalgia, luxury accommodations, daily excursions, fine wine, and gourmet meals, Christmas Markets River cruises keep attracting fans. Share your favorites in the comments below!