Why You Should Take Your Loved Ones on a Christmas Markets River Cruise

Let's take this season to reconnect with loved ones we've missed over the last year.  Both the young and young at heart delight aboard a weeklong river cruise filled with European holiday festivities onboard and ashore.

What is a Christmas Market?

Europe’s fabled Christmas Markets typically open around November 25 and stay operational until December 23rd or 24th. They pop up in the center of town, the square in which the city was built around. These beautiful squares are lit up with decorations, the smell of street food fills the air and there is a feeling of community as locals gather with friends and family. You may even get to experience a light dusting of snow over the scene.

These markets offer an incredible variety of local crafts and wares and – perhaps best of all – delicious local Christmas delicacies. Mulled wine (Gluhwein in Germany) and cider are popular wintertime beverages and are typically sold in these markets as well. There’s no better time to truly embrace local customs than at Christmas.

When you think about Christmas shopping at home you may imagine the crowded stores and fights for parking spaces. But visiting during the holiday season is one of the best times to experience these destinations. What is absent is the throngs of tourists that crowd cities and attractions during the popular summer months. Chances are your exploration time ashore will be more relaxed and enjoyable than in the hot, crowded heat of summer.


Why River Cruising?

If you have heard of river cruising, you may be picturing groups of retirees with white sneakers and headsets, but the river cruise industry has changed dramatically in recent years. River cruising is perfect for families looking to explore multiple cities without the hassle of packing up, lugging baggage through cobblestone streets, and trying to figure out the local transportation. With a river cruise, everything is taken care of for you, and most are all-inclusive experiences.

The modern and comfortable ships have started offering connecting rooms or suites to accommodate families. You only unpack once and the cruise line has developed well organized and engaging activities to fill your days. Unlike traditional ocean cruise ships that can hold thousands of passengers, river cruise ships hold a maximum of approximately 200 guests creating a safer traveling bubble.

While you won’t find water parks or climbing walls, and endless restaurant options, you will find an incredible staff that gets to know your preferences and will help make sure your trip is exactly what you were looking for. River cruising is much less about the onboard experience and more about the incredible destinations. The onboard programs they do have are designed to highlight the places you are visiting with hands-on activities like learning a local craft, performances from locals, and a commitment to using local ingredients to provide destination-specific cuisine. 

A Christmas Market cruise is the perfect way to celebrate major milestones. With so many accomplishments and celebrations glossed over in the past year, there is no better way to make up for missed birthdays and celebrations than an incredible trip. Click here to contact your Bursch Travel advisor for more details!


Sample Itineraries:

Adventures by Disney - Danube River Cruise: 

Ring in the holiday season while sailing through the heart of Europe along the Danube River! Travel to 7 unforgettable destinations in 3 countries on an 8-day/7-night Adventures by Disney vacation. This exclusive sailing with AmaWaterways—a leader in luxury river cruising—will make your holidays very merry. 

  • Salzburg - Explore the city's iconic landmarks, gardens and rolling hills made famous in the film, The Sound of Music.  
  • Lazar Equestrian Park - Delight in the horsemanship displayed in the amazing shows and meet some real Hungarian cowboys.  
  • Christmas Markets - Celebrate the spirit of the holiday season with stops to shop for local crafts and gifts at festive markets.  
  • Passau Walking Tour  -Start the day with a tour of this lovely town with a local expert dressed in 18th century costume.  
AmaWaterways - Christmas on the Rhine: 

Warm up with a mug of steamy glühwein while at the Cologne Christmas Market located in front of its UNESCO-designated Gothic cathedral. Let the "Capital of Noël," Strasbourg, the oldest and largest Christmas Market in France, captivate you the way it has for so many others for centuries. Meander through Heidelberg’s majestic Christmas Market nestled idyllically amongst the historic squares of the Old Town. And while in Gengenbach, marvel at the world’s largest Advent calendar, where every evening at 6:00 PM, the brightly lit windows of the neo-classical town hall open and behind each one is a picture by a famous artist, such as Andy Warhol. Cherish all the glory of the season in grand European style as you cruise along the Rhine.  

  • Cologne
    • Walking Tour - Cathedral Visit and Christmas Markets
    • Kölsch beer tasting OR Cologne bike tour or
    • Cologne Bike Tour 
  • Rhine Gorge
    • Wine Tasting and Christmas Markets
    • Gondola Ride and Christmas Market
    • Vineyards Hike or
    • Guided Bike Tour of the Rheingau and Christmas Markets 
  • Strasbourg
    • “The Gem of the Alsace” tour and Christmas Market or
    • Strasbourg bike tour  

Uniworld - Classic Christmas Markets on the Main: 

Discover villages with fairytale houses and a friendly, festive atmosphere. Share traditional holiday goodies with the people who made them. Watch as modern children abandon their usual electronics and discover the enchantment of hand-carved wooden toys, as scents of cinnamon and roasting nuts fill the air. Sail through Christmas country, trying Frankfurt’s famous apple cider and Nuremberg’s gingerbread. Throughout, cozy up to steaming mugs of glühwein (warm spiced wine) and do as the locals do by collecting different mugs from each stall and town you visit. Embrace the holiday spirit in Germany, the land where many Christmas traditions began, and find the magic of the season in the smiles that you meet along the way.  

  • Nuremberg
    • Nuremberg city tour with Christmas market. Adding to the fun is an area set aside especially for children, complete with a two-tiered carousel featuring carved reindeer and Santa’s sleigh. As you wander through the market, you will certainly want to indulge in some of the city’s famous gingerbread; after all, Nuremberg is known as the “Gingerbread Capital of the World.”
  • Rothenburg
    • Join a local expert for an insightful walking tour, and then wander amongst the stalls at one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets
  • Frankfurt
    • Wiesbaden Twinkling Star Christmas market
    • Choice of Mainhattan walking tour with Christmas market or “Taste of Christmas” Frankfurt walking tour
    • Generations Excursion: Frankfurt’s festive zoo   

Select Dates Feature UniWorld's Generations Program - These sailing offer exclusive activities for kids from 4 to 17 years old and includes dedicated Family Hosts. Enjoy the same industry-leading service and accommodations that you always expect from Uniworld, with additional programs, events and excursions for your travelers in training. Travelers 4 to 17 years old are eligible for 25% off the fare when traveling with an adult.

Let's Travel!

If you are ready to have the vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning and making it happen, schedule a call today. We are here to help busy individuals, families and groups plan, organize, and book the perfect vacation. With Bursch Travel, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how we can help you, schedule your complimentary trip consultation now.  Call 1-800-645-2331 or email us today!