I have the perfect solution and we leave in 52 days.
After the last 18 months, maybe you’ve lost your zest or excitement for the Christmas season? Maybe even that sadness comes from knowing any gift giving you want to do this year will be even another challenge as those cargo boxes are sitting on ships out there in the ocean. Is this going to be a year of crazy?
How about immersing yourself in historical Europe for 7 nights and visiting Christmas Market after Christmas market along the Danube? We will be visiting over 8 Christmas Markets.
The top four Christmas Markets in Europe are the Nuremberg Market, Vienna’s Schonbrunn Christmas Market, Munich Christmas Market and Cologne! Of those four top markets, we get to see two of them!
This market is one of the largest in the world with over 100 canvas topped booths selling toys, ornaments, gingerbread and more.
Christmas Markets are one of Germany’s brightest and merriest customs – and one of its longest running ones too. Each city puts its own unique and sometimes quirky spin on them (sometimes several different spins). But Nuremburg’s markets always take center stage. They’re a bit like the holidays themselves – a gift that keeps giving.
Dating back to at least the early 1600s, with the first record of it in 1628, the Nuremberg Market draws in both locals and tourists from near and far. Over 180 wooden booths, blanketed with red and white striped cloth, offer up artisanal goodies of all kinds. One of the most notable are the Prune Men and Women. Hundreds of years before Barbie, GI Joe and iPads were available, kids would play with these figures, made with wire, walnuts for heads and dried prunes for bodies. They come in hundreds of action poses — kissing couples, cooks and waiters, skateboarders and piano players. An old Nuremberg saying goes “With a prune man in your house, money and happiness stay, too.” Often presumed to have been invented here, these figurines can be found throughout many of Germany’s markets and are a national toy craze that has lasted through the centuries.
Visitors can take another kind of nostalgic trip through the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt with a horse-drawn ride in a stagecoach. Sip warm cocoa or mulled wine as you listen to holiday music and cozy up in scarfs and blankets because as Dean Martin once crooned, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
Music is performed live on stage, as opposed to being piped through speakers, to encourage a quaint feeling of years ago. Plastic decorations and machine manufactured gifts are banned. Only fresh pine boughs and handmade crafts are allowed here. Along with the Prune Figures, favorite gifts include Schwibbogen candle stands with yuletide artwork and Springerle biscuits, a Nuremberg specialty cookie that are almost too beautiful to eat and are often used to decorate the tree. And of course, figurines of the Christkind – the angel that is thought to bring gifts to children in Germany on Christmas Eve.
An old-fashioned carousel, ferris wheel, steam train and nativity scene trail are other can’t-miss spots while you’re here. And a sighting of the angelic Christkind, played by a blonde-haired young woman in a magnificent gold and white robe, will warm your heart as much as the second helping of strudel. The Christkind opens the market with a grand party on the first night and then greets visitors in the weeks that follow.
Merry Christmas – or as you might want to exclaim when you arrive “Frohe Weihnachten!”
Visit the beautifully decorated Schobrunn Palace and Chirstkindlmarket, one of Vienna’s most magical Christmas Markets on the Danube.
Under the royal backdrop of the majestic Schönbrunn Palace, one of Vienna’s most splendid markets glows with an intoxicating blend of holiday cheer, nostalgia and romance.
A twinkling tree, the stunning glow against the Palace, lively and festive concerts, handmade gifts and traditional Christmas markets – these are why a million people visit Vienna’s stunning Christmas Market at Schönbrunn (aka Weihnachtsmarkt Schönbrunn). And don’t forget the food – Victorian-style candy and sweets, candied fruits, traditional gingerbread and cookies, strawberries dipped in hot chocolate, melted cheese on dark bread, roasted chestnuts, delicious pastries, cotton candy, Christmas punch, mulled wine, piping hot waffles, crepes and sausages are a delicious and tempting taste of the market. Two specialties include the fragrant Vanillekipferl – a delightfully light, crescent-shaped biscuit with icing, sugar, vanilla and almonds. Yum! And the sweetest way to combat the cold is with a swig of traditional Christmas Punsch (aka Weihnachtpunsch). There are numerous variations – but it is often some combination of either mulled wine or tes, spices, sugar, rum and brandy.
Each year, somewhere between 60 to 80 exhibitors turn out with small wooden stalls teeming with traditional handicrafts and workshops. An intricately hand-carved manger sits in front of the lit-up Christmas tree. And in a throwback to another era, traditional artists of all sorts – everyone from candlemakers, glass blowers, wood carvers and stonemasons – come together to sell their crafts. Homemade beeswax candles are popular gifts here — along with handmade ornaments, nativity sets, jewelry, notebooks, toys and snowglobes (fun fact: snowglobes were invented in Vienna in the early 1900s!). Visitors also enjoy live open-air concerts or Mozart wafting through speakers (Vienna was of course Mozart’s home base!)
The history of Vienna’s Christmas Markets can date back to 1298 and the founding of its early precursor, the ‘December Market.’ At the time, King Rudolph I (no relation to the famous reindeer) granted his son, Duke Albrecht I, certain rights and privileges, including the ability to hold a December Market (or Krippenmarkt). Since then, Vienna’s markets have grown in number and activities. The addition of the ‘huts’ were chronicled for the first time in 1626, and the sale of gingerbread, baked goods and confectionary treats. By 1764, there was already a mention of a second market. By the 1870’s, the term ‘Christmas Market’ was widely used.
Nowadays, there are at least six popular markets in the city. Other popular markets here include the Viennese Christmas Market (located on the square in front of City Hall), Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace, Christmas Village Maria-Theresien Platz (located between the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art), Christmas Market at Spittelberg (behind the Volkstheater) and the Christmas Village in the Former General Hospital.
Personally I have traveled to so many different markets in Europe when my children were small. So many memories of them hanging out in our child carriers as we walked through the markets. I try to host a Christmas Market Cruise every 2 years and this year is even more special than ever before.
You should join us. We still do have a space on the beautiful AmaVerde sailing Dec 12 to Dec 19, 2022. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more. Or you can even click here and check out our itinerary
I am a lucky lady to have the honor to work side by side with Lisa Collins. Ocean Cruise phenom and lover of all things Ocean Cruising. Together we are the Lisas.
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