Rhine Christmas Markets River Cruises

This week we have been inundated with requests for river cruises to visit the German Christmas markets along the Rhine river.

Christmas markets river cruises

Taking a Christmas markets river cruise is an amazing and easy way to immerse yourself in the ambiance of Germany’s traditional Christmas feativities with their host of unique gifts.  Together with the stunning Rhine scenery it really is a winter wonderland.

Strasbourg Christmas Market

What is a Christmas markets river cruise like?

Just by strolling off the ship, you will walk straight into the heart of the towns and cities along the Rhine and find yourself wandering around the gingerbread house-like stalls. Why not sample a warming glass or two of Gluhwein (Mulled Wine)?  Each market has its own special Glühwein mug. For a small fee, it is yours to keep and re-use. Not only are refills cheaper, you’ll have a great souvenir!

Don’t forget to check out the free concerts in churches and palaces surrounding the markets as the music is usually superb.

Ginger bread at Christmas markets

When is the best time to go on a Rhine Christmas markets cruise?

Most of the markets start towards the middle of November and run up to just before Christmas.  It is worth checking with us as which we know which ones to visit when. Some markets do stay on over the actual Christmas period and finish as late as New Year’s Eve.

Also the best time is in the evening when it is dark when you can immerse yourselves in the traditions and sounds as you wander around.  Taking in all the festive lights and ambiance. But it will be colder in the evening, so do wrap up warm.  If you are really lucky there may well be snow to really put you in the Christmas mood.  Even if you only have a few days, there are river cruises from 3 nights to up to 7 nights long.  And at this time of year flights tend to be inexpensive compared to the warmer months.

Kaysersberg at Christmas in Alsace

Cologne Christmas Markets

Take a stroll around one market or if you have time, take in all seven Christmas markets on offer around Cologne! Each has its own special atmosphere.  Angels and Saint Nicolases, Elves and Father Christmases as well as twinkling stars and the aroma of roasted almonds and Glühwein invite you to browse in the festively decorated centre of Cologne.

Frankfurt Christmas Markets

On the Roemerberg,  a beautifully decorated fir tree reaches toward the skies. Frankfurt’s historical old town is brightly illuminated by thousands of fairy lights reflecting off the windows of the square’s traditional half-timbered houses.

The scent of baked apples, chestnuts, gingerbread and mulled wine fills the air.  If you’ve ever wanted to experience the wonderful wintertime charm of the old world, then the Frankfurt Christmas Market is the place for you!

A special addition to the traditional Frankfurt Christmas Market is the ‘Pink Christmas Market’ at Friedrich Stoltze Square with the focus on the LGBT customer.

The little market’s stalls and Christmas trees glow in bright pink. The rustic wooden booths serve hot cocktails, homemade soup, gingerbread and much, much more.

Rudesheim Christmas Markets

Christmas traditions from all over the world merge at Rudesheim Christmas Market. Featuring over 120 stalls,  from twelve nations bringing their products to the market in Popular ‘Drosselgasse’ area in the historic city centre, on this famous street which is festively decorated with sparkling lights and decorations.

Our Opinion of Rhine Christmas Market Cruises

Christmas markets are only a part of your cruise, relax on board whilst a kaleidoscope of riverside views drift past in all their wintery glory.

Wrap up warm and take in the invigorating air on the top deck whilst taking in the stunning views of the world famous Rhine gorge.

Nutcracker Christmas market toy



Forget Christmas Day Cooking!

This week’s problem solved by a little travel savy: how to avoid cooking on Christmas Day.

No Washing Up This Christmas

Chatting to a customer the other day, we both realised that as summer was “over”, then it was straight onto talking about Christmas. “It’s my turn this year” she bemoaned, “but something always goes wrong with the oven and you don’t get any time to enjoy the children opening the presents. And before you realise what has happened, everyone has fallen asleep in front of the telly and left you to do the washing up! I need to do something different this year or I’ll go mad!”

Christmas River Cruise

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Join in the festivities on a Christmas to New Year river cruise

We are already looking ahead to the Christmas season at Global River Cruising and we are excited about the river cruises at New Year and Christmas that we have available. From Christmas to New Year, you can enjoy the beautiful sights of winter across Europe, drink as much gluwein as you want on Christmas Day and see the fireworks on New Years’ Eve.

enjoy a river cruise at New Year and Christmas on the Rhine

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Explore the markets on a Christmas market cruise

Christmas is a magical time of year, and though it is only June, we are already looking ahead to the Christmas season. Even if you are preparing your summer holiday, look ahead to how you want to spend Christmas. If you want to make that time of year special, why not book a spectacular Christmas river cruise through Europe?

explore the markets on a Christmas river cruise

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The Best Christmas Markets River Cruises

Christmas markets river cruises allow you to sample so many different locations and some of the best of Europe’s oldest markets.  If you have the time, here are the best Christmas market river cruises to do.

Aerial view of Nuremberg Christmas Market

Nuremberg Christmas Market

17 Different Christmas Markets to Choose From

I have spent the last week going “aaah” over the beautiful sparkly lights and snowy scenes of Europe’s best Christmas markets. Looking through the lovely itineraries we have to suit all budgets, I have so far counted a choice of 17 different ones covering France, Belgium, Holland, Austria and Hungary.

Bruges Christmas market

Bruges Christmas Market

Christmas markets run from mid November through to Christmas or even up to 3rd January in some areas. They came to the UK a number of years ago and I have eaten many a Bratwurst in Albert Square in Manchester when we used to live “up north”.
For repeat river cruisers it is a chance to visit places that you may have already been to, such as Vienna but without the need to join the organised excursion or encountering the same crowds and to simply wander the streets a bit, taking in the new smells and sparkles and then always knowing there is a cosy welcome awaiting you back at the ship. Has hot chocolate with brandy ever tasted so good.

Cologne Christmas Market

Cologne Christmas Market

Food Choices at Christmas Markets

So, why not enjoy a short Belgium cruise with all your food and drink included and match it with some low cost flights. Or enjoy a Kurtosh Kallach traditional Hungarian pastry, washed down with mulled wine in Budapest’s Vorosmarty Square.

Hungarian Sausages at Xmas Market

Budapest Christmas market


Or instead of a bar crawl, go on a sausage crawl to compare which area has the best – always an extreme local riviary. Regensburg prides itself on its bratwurst above all other areas.

Whatever your wish this Christmas, we can find a cruise that will fit the bill!