A Christmas market river cruise in Europe may be the very best way to capture the magic of the season. Our Viking Christmas on the Rhine river cruise from Switzerland to the Netherlands took us to four countries, each with its own Christmas markets, traditions, flavors and specialities. 
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE with highlights of some of the best Christmas markets on a Viking Christmas on the Rhine river cruise!
On our Viking “Longship,” we sailed from Basel, Switzerland, into a mediaeval town in Germany’s Black Forest, to Strasbourg, France, back into Germany where we visited large cathedral towns and night markets – each with distinct character and charm, with illuminations, traditional decorations, regional twists and handmade gifts perfect as souvenirs or to take back with all your holiday shopping complete.
The spirit of the season comes on board, too, with tree trimming and carol singing parties, cooking demonstrations and festive décor.
In fact, Viking celebrates Christmas on river cruises throughout Europe. Christmas markets generally begin in the last week of November and run up until Christmas Eve, so you can plan ahead to get into the holiday spirit in authentic markets in small towns and large cathedral cities in countries like Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, and more.
In fact, the cruise line keeps introducing new Christmas market voyages. Imagine yourself sipping a glass of mulled wine, nibbling on a festive sweet and stocking up on handmade gifts on any of these holiday river cruises:
  • Christmas on the Rhine & Moselle– New in 2023 is Viking’s scenic 12-day cruise tour that lets you browse through stalls full of local delicacies and handicrafts at the charming Christmas markets of Trier, Koblenz and Mannheim and admire the festive seasonal displays in Paris.
  • Christmas on the Main & MoselleViking has also introduced another newrivervoyage in 2023 that will immerse you in French, German and Czech traditions. Explore Christmas markets in quaint German towns, like Heidelberg and Cochem, sample tasty yuletide dishesin chic Paris,and visit castles and cathedrals that are adorned with festive displays.
  • Christmas on the Rhine– This 8-day voyage is a joyful celebration of festive cheer. Guests journey through storybook villages, while sampling tasty yuletide treats and browsing colorful stalls for handcrafted ornaments. Be charmed by the twinkling lights of Cologne and soak in the festive atmosphere along the entire Rhine Valley.
  • Christmas on the Seine –This 8-day voyageexplore Paris, France’s twinkling “City of Light” at its most festive and cozy time of the year. Sail through the snow-covered landscapes of Normandy, and admire the scenes of fairy-tale villages along the way. Onboard festivities include regional dining specialties, seasonal treats, and more to celebrate the holidays.
  • Christmas on the Danube – Discover medieval towns and quaint villages along the “Blue Danube.” Guests stroll among the stalls at Budapest’s Christmas market, become immersed in the cheerful atmosphere of Vienna as you shop for handmade decorations and visit the fairy-tale village of Regensburg. 
  • Danube Christmas Delights – Passing through Europe’s most enchanting countries, this festive season river cruise explores cultural capitals and fairy-tale villages, where you can savor Austro-Hungarian cuisine, admire the Wachau Valley’s beauty, and take part in other central European holiday traditions.
  • Christmas Along the ElbeDuring this 10-day cruisetour, you get to take part in time-honored European holiday traditions. Celebrate the season in Berlin’s festive atmosphere, shop for handmade porcelain in Meissen, delve into Prague’s Jewish history and visit its  famed Christmas market.
Video: Lynn Elmhirst, cruise/ travel journalist and expert.
Images: Viking
All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be copied, re-published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.