European Christmas Markets
Christmas Market in Colon, Germany
European Christmas markets create the sense of an angel-like "spirit of Christmas."
We visited several Christmas markets while cruising the Rhine river through Germany and France. Our favorite market was in Colon, Germany, where they have seven different markets. The Christmas market tradition started in Germany which still boasts many of the most popular markets, such as in Frankfurt and Nuremberg.
Vienna currently holds 20 different Christmas markets and Vienna's Christmas World market on Rathausplatz near the Rathaus, Vienna’s historic city hall, draws 3 million people each year and includes 150 unique stalls.
Popular attractions at the markets include the Nativity Scene (a crèche or crib), Zwetschgenmännle (figures made of decorated dried plums), Nussknacker (carved Nutcrackers), Gebrannte Mandeln (candied, toasted almonds), traditional Christmas cookies such as Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread), Bratwurst, and for many visitors one of the highlights of the market: Glühwein, hot mulled wine (with or without a shot of brandy), or Eierpunsch (an egg-based warm alcoholic drink). Both help stave off the cold winter air which sometimes dips below freezing. More regional food specialties include Christstollen (Stollen), a sort of bread with candied fruit in Saxony, and hot Apfelwein and Frankfurter Bethmännchen in Hesse.
River cruises on the Rhine, Danube and Main rivers provide excellent access to the markets and you can visit a different market every day! Let's work together to find the right holiday vacation for you.