Hold on to your (woolly) hats, Christmas market season is here. Traditionally rooted in Germany and Austria, Christmas markets are now widespread across Europe, with each country giving them its own twist. If you fancy seeing more than one market or trialling a few in different countries without breaking the bank, then a Christmas market cruise may just be for you.
To see how the Germans do it, try this 7-night cruise along the Rhine, with free daily tours. You’ll cruise to Breisach, Speyer, Koblenz and Cologne, which is home to six Christmas markets -- the biggest is held in front of the Cathedral. We recommend eating the Rievkooche (potato fritters) with apple sauce, washing it all down with a cup of gluhwein. Yum.
For a taste of Scandinavia, you could plump for this week-long sailing to Gothenburg and Copenhagen on the luxurious Queen Victoria. Gothenburg’s Liseberg market is the largest in Scandinavia and is adorned with a whopping 5,000,000 twinkling lights. In Copenhagen, the main event is held at Tivoli Gardens and has something of a fairytale theme, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen. The gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland, with rows of brightly painted wooden huts selling homemade Christmas decorations and traditional Danish slices.
You can tick several Christmas market cities off your list with this 10-night P&O cruise to Zeebrugge (for Bruges), Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo and Hamburg. The sailing starts and ends in Southampton and includes all meals, snacks and onboard entertainment. Or if you’re short on annual leave, try these 2-night cruises to Bruges -- the city’s cobbled streets and medieval buildings are a perfect backdrop for the market and open-air ice rink.