Germany at Christmas

We just booked a Christmas cruise. We are leaving Frankfurt on December 22 and arriving Nuremberg 7 days later. We have started to hear that at this time the Christmas markets will be closed, and many of the restaurants and site-seeing opportunities in the towns along the way will also be closed. Did we make a mistake booking at this time? Thanks

Posted by Carrie
Simpsonville, SC, US
51 posts

The Christmas markets usually close for good on Christmas Eve. And in Germany, there are 3 days of Christmas (24, 25, and 26), which would limit the availability of sight seeing. Have you checked with your river cruise company regarding excursions and what will be running?

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4770 posts

Actually, most of the Christmas markets will be closing on the 22nd or possibly the 23rd. Very few are open on the 24th, and even fewer afterwards, though there are some. Speyer for example is open on the Christmas holidays, but not sure which days. Has your cruise promised you Christmas markets? If so, I would look at the cities or towns they have promised you this, and check the city websites. They should have their Christmas market dates listed, as they are pretty much the same each year. Museums over the Christmas holidays may or may not be open, as well as other tourist attractions, though most restaurants do a booming business on the 25th and 26th if they are open. Again, what has your cruise promised you that you were going to visit or see?

Posted by Dana
Richmond, VA, usa
4 posts

Thanks for the fast reply. We are concerned because the itinerary we have has us in Würzburg & Rothenburg on Christmas day, touring the town and going to Christmas markets. I am fairly certain that is not happening on Christmas day. We are using Viking River Cruises does anyone have any experience with them?

Posted by Jeff
Taunusstein, Germany
234 posts

Pretty much at the end of the season but you can catch the Frankfurt Market before you depart. Check this site MARKET SCHEDULESome markets closing this year on 22 December, many on the 23rd and Berlin and Hamburg through 31 December. If you went for the Christmas Markets you have made it would seem, a marginal decision. Christmas in Germany otherwise...have fun!

Posted by Michael
Griffith, IN, USA
440 posts

Rothenburg and Wurzburg close on the 23nd of December and Nurenburg on the 24th.

Posted by Dana
Richmond, VA, usa
4 posts

I just talked to Viking cruise, and they seemed surprised that the Markets they advertise in the itinerary will be closed when we are there. A supervisor is supposed to get back to me within the next day with what our "updated itinerary will be" Seems like a bait and switch to me.

Posted by Carrie
Simpsonville, SC, US
51 posts

Would you be able to take the 15th sailing? I would be very hesitant to take your specific sailing because I'd hate to spend all the $$ to get over there and be very limited in your experience.

Posted by Dana
Richmond, VA, usa
4 posts

Thanks everyone for all the great information. Below is the Itinerary for day 3-5 that they sent us, as you can see by the dates and activities, I have my doubts. Day 3 (December 24, 2013)Wertheim- December 24, 2013 Sail into Wertheim, located at the confluence of the Main and Tauber Rivers, while you are finishing breakfast. During your morning walking tour, experience life in a typical small German town. Take some free time to visit Wertheim's Christmas market or explore the town before returning aboard for lunch. This afternoon, see an interesting demonstration of Wertheim's traditional glassblowing art. We sail into the evening, docking at Würzburg in the wee hours of the morning. (B, L, D) Day 4 (December 25, 2013) Würzburg & Rothenburg
Disembark after breakfast for a full day in two of Northern Bavaria's most charming destinations. A walk through Würzburg and a tour of the Bishops' Residenz, a beautiful baroque palace with many paintings and frescoes, give you a sense for this extraordinary town. Then, ride in a deluxe motorcoach along the Romantic Road to Rothen Day 5 (December 26, 2013) Bamberg Sail through the morning; after lunch, visit Bamberg, with its medieval city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your walking tour includes a visit to the magnificent 11th-century cathedral, reworked in late-Romanesque style in the 13th century, and the picturesque city hall built on an island in the middle of a river. We remain docked well into the evening, so feel free to walk around Bamberg or visit its traditional Christmas markets, especially beautiful when lit up after dark. You can also follow Bamberg's popular "Route of Nativity Scenes" to view diverse crèche displays at a few dozen churches, museums and other public spaces. (B, L, D)

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

Hi Dana, It addition to the itinerary, you need to check the notes to the schedule very carefully. I've had a look at similar itinerary statements and in all cases the notes state that the markets close at the end of the third week in December. Which has been my experience too in the past. Jim.

Posted by Laura
Drexel Hill, PA, USA
133 posts

One more issue - the website says the Residenz in Würzburg is closed on December 25, Will make it tough to tour it that day ! Frankly, I'm surprised that Viking has so many things wrong here ...

Posted by Beatrix
1974 posts

There is one advantage taking a river cruise over the Christmas holidays in Germany: you do get meals and entertainment on board - without worrying which restaurant would be open on shore or where to buy picknick supplies. However, the opportunities for sightseeing on land are limited. Looking at the itinerary it seems that Viking is rather misleading. Neither the Christmas market in Wertheim nor the one in Bamberg will be open on the days you are docking there. With regards to the tour of the of the Bishops' Residenz in Würzburg I would get written confirmation that this one is specially organized for your group as the building is closed to the general public on that day.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2612 posts

If you want to experience the Christmas Markets (which are delightful) I would cancel this trip and try to book one that is earlier and visits a number of the best markets, or just plan the trip on your own with the help of all the experienced people here. It would be a great disappointment to travel to all these towns and realize what you have missed by just a few days. (Look at GoAhead Tours which has a few specifically for the markets)