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Small Christmas Markets To Visit On A River Cruise

25th September 2018

As the festive season draws ever closer (there are now less than 100 days to go), thoughts turn to the magical Christmas markets taking place all over Europe. These festive events will add a dusting of joy and joviality to your holiday and provide a fantastic chance to grab some last-minute gifts.

Markets in large cities such as Berlin and Vienna make headlines for being the biggest and best, but that doesn’t mean you should skip the smaller ones. Usually, these provide a more intimate atmosphere and play host to unfamiliar local specialities and niche items you may not see elsewhere.

Here are four smaller markets you can enjoy on a river cruise this Christmas.

Riquewihr, France

Riquewihr Christmas Market

Supposedly the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, this town in Alsace has definitely earnt the right to be described as fairytale. During the festive period, lights are strung from the buildings along the narrow streets and stalls take over the centre of the old town.

As you stroll along the cobbles, musing over Alsatian specialities, you will half expect a villager to open a nearby window and start to sing ‘bonjour’. The fact that Riquewihr is on the Alsatian Wine Route also means there will be plenty of opportunity to sample a glass or two.

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Visit Riquewihr Christmas market on an excursion from Breisach during AmaWaterways’ ‘Christmas on the Rhine’ itinerary.

Passau, Germany

Passau Organ

Passau may not be a town, but its Christmas market doesn’t reach the scale of other cities and is unlikely to be the first place that comes to mind. However, the stalls situated around the stunning St. Stephen’s cathedral have many charming handicrafts on offer.

Don’t miss the organ concerts played on the world’s biggest cathedral organ every Wednesday and Saturday, accompanied by a traditional choir. Also, live music performances take place daily on the covered stage. That’s if you can tear yourself away from the lebkuchen (gingerbread) and bratwurst that will tempt you with their delicious scents.

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Visit Passau Christmas market during Emerald Waterways’ ‘Festive Delights of the Danube’ cruise. Plus, special guest Merry Berry will be on board to host cooking demonstrations and Q&A sessions.

Saint-Nazaire, France

Ice Skating

A Christmas market may be a relatively recent addition to the festive celebrations in Saint-Nazaire but the event gets bigger every year. Usually, there are fairground rides, an ice rink, a petting zoo for the young ones and a Christmas parade through the streets. Culinary specialities include barbe à papa (candy floss) and chichis (churros) – both of which are a great way to treat yourself during your time in this part of the Loire Valley.

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Enjoy the festive atmosphere in Saint-Nazaire during CroisiEurope’s ‘Christmas on the Loire’ river cruise. This itinerary actually takes place over the Christmas period and includes an enchanting midnight mass service in Ancenis on Christmas Eve.

Speyer, Germany

Speyer Old Gate In Flames

As one of Germany’s ‘Romantic Cities’, you can instantly tell what the atmosphere is going to be like in Speyer. Set in front of the Old Mint and close to the UNESCO-listed cathedral, the Christmas Market showcases regional handicrafts such as mangers and hand-knitted jumpers, as well as culinary delights like marzipan figures and hearty potato soup.

However, in Speyer, you don’t just get to choose from local produce. Stalls from around the world offer an insight into the nine cities that are twinned with this Rhineland gem, including Ravenna, Italy; Chartres, France; and Rusizi, Rwanda. Another highlight will take place on 7th and 15th December when the Old Gate is bathed in red courtesy of a light show and fireworks.

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You can stop off to explore the Speyer Christmas market on Amadeus River Cruises’ ‘Magic of Advent on the Rhine’ sailing.

If you would like to know more about our Christmas market river cruises or book any of those mentioned above, you can call our team on 0800 954 0064. Alternatively, contact us through the website by clicking here.

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