Christmas in July blog

Travels for the Holidays: Christmas Markets and River Cruising

3 minute read

July might be the earliest I have ever started seriously thinking about Christmas. But here we are, getting a head start on the excitement of the holiday season because when it comes to planning travel, that wonderful time of the year is just around the corner.

Have you ever thought about visiting the traditional Christmas markets of Europe? Even though the German Christmas market concept has spread to U.S. cities and towns, I still yearn to experience the real thing. For an inside scoop on this festive tradition as found throughout Europe, check out Episode 15 of Collette Talks: Exploring Christmas Markets. In it, Toni Serka, Collette Global Contracting Manager, shares his take on what makes Christkindlesmarkts as well as river cruising in Europe so special during the holidays. 

Here's a brief orientation to European Christmas markets from Toni’s talk:

  • Striezelmarkt in Dresden, Germany dates back to 1434, giving it claim to the title of oldest Christmas market in the world.
  • The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is one of the biggest Christmas markets in the world, attracting over 2 million visitors each year during its 4-week span.
  • Strasbourg, France is the self-proclaimed Capital of Christmas with its long-held holiday traditions and old-world charm.
  • Along with the mulled wine, mulled gin drinks have become popular at Christmas markets.
  • Ornaments and nutcrackers are traditional Christmas market finds that make great keepsakes, but be sure to sample regional delicacies, from Christmas stollen to bratwurst, while you’re exploring, too.

Visiting centuries-old Christmas markets around Europe is an experience worth its weight in gingerbread – not only for the chance to feel the joy of the season someplace new, but also to immerse yourself in new cultures and unique traditions celebrated only at this special time of year. On a European Christmas Markets tour (dates available starting 2023), you’ll visit Dresden’s famous market as well as explore throughout Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. On a Classic Christmas Markets tour, you’ll visit the big one in Nuremberg and so much more, taking in the history, culture, and flavors of France, Austria, and Germany.

River cruising is another luxurious route you can take at Christmastime, escorting you through a region’s many unique markets and holiday traditions. On a Christmas on the Danube tour, enjoy a 6-night river cruise and get into the holiday spirit with every port of call in fairytale towns.

It’s certainly not too soon, nor too late, to plan a festive adventure for this year. Collette offers amazing wintertime tours in Europe – Christmas spirit included. Ready to get holly-jolly? Check out our Christmas in July sale! Book by July 18th to save on Collette tours (for travel September 2022 through April 2023).

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