A Christmas Markets River Cruise is a bucket-list item for many travel aficionados. We had the good fortune to enjoy a Christmas Markets River Cruise through France and Germany in 2019, and it was nothing short of spectacular, and even more than we imagined and expected it would be!
This particular Christmas Markets cruise commenced in Frankfurt, where the one of the city’s largest Christmas markets is located just a short walk away from the starting location/Westin hotel, at Römerberg and St Paul’s Square. There is a huge Christmas tree that is brought to the square annually, and its truly one of the most magnificent squares that we witnessed in Germany. Who knew Frankfurt held so much magic!!??
Our group decided to take a few days before the cruise started, to sightsee in Frankfurt and drive to a few nearby Castles, since we were “in the neighborhood!” We always find this is a great way to see some of the local treasures, and enjoy the region, before commencing your actual travel itinerary.
Once we embarked on the river cruise, the celebratory ambiance and magic continued day after day, as we made our way towards Switzerland and our end port of Basel.
Each day we had a choice of activities and included sightseeing tours off-boat to take part in. Each passenger can choose from several different options as to which excursion they wish to take part in, or they can just walk off the ship into town to stroll leisurely on their own. The pace of these river cruises is marvelous and unhurried.
One of the stops along this Christmas Markets cruise is Breisach, which some call the ‘gateway’ to Germany’s Black Forest. The markets here did not disappoint, with offerings of Black Forest ham, links and ridiculously long sausages of more meats than you can imagine, cherry cake (and EVERY every kind of cake and treat you can imagine), and cuckoo clocks galore.
If you’ve ever dreamed of old fashioned Christmastime scenes, Germany and France immerse you in this dreamland, with sights of sugarplum fairies dancing in the streets (no lie!), and the sweet scents of swirling smoke from the chimneys of stalls offering up both mulled wines (Glühwein) and ciders, and smoked meats from the Black Forest. It is everything you can imagine!
In Strasbourg, France, the ambiance is truly magic! That’s the only way to describe it. Strasbourg is home to one of the oldest and finest Christmas markets in Europe—dating back to the 16th century. Take in the aromas of mulled wine, spice cakes, and biscuits.
In Strasbourg you can partake in a tour to the ruins of Heidelberg Castle, which overlooks the city in all its magnificence. At Christmastime, the markets are spread over five town squares and include an ice skating rink at one end, for those who wish to partake. Each day in port winds down to the quiet beauty of the markets in all their twinkling glory at night. Bask in the holiday cheer with Glühwein (hot mulled wine), bratwursts, and other regional delicacies.
Colmar is yet another stop during this XMas markets cruise that is truly fabulous; Colmar’s timber frame houses will fill most passengers with delight, both at the architecture that makes this city so special and the magic of Christmas adoring every doorway!
Almost every building in Colmar was designed to enchant with its medieval, time-style, designed-with-love-and-christmas-magic styling!
We had plenty of opportunities for Christmas trinkets and presents, as well as talking with local tradespeople and craftspeople who design the beautiful Christmas decorations in each stop.
The Christmas Markets of Europe, is surely to be a trip you’ll not soon forget!
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