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Christmas Markets 2020

My adult daughter and I would like to see European Christmas markets next year. I looked at the RS Munich, Saltzberg Vienna tour but my daughter’s work schedule would mean we would arrive the morning of Day 2. Not a complete showstopper but makes me wonder if we should go on our own itinerary. We have been on 3 RS tours but we haven’t seen these 3 cities before. We could manage the travel on our own I think. On the other hand, it might be way more fun to be part of a group, especially if there were any other younger people my daughter’s age (20s-30s) on the trip. Thoughts?

Posted by
577 posts

We love the Xmas Markets and we go every other year. One GREAT way to see them is a Xmas Market River Cruise - we've done 4 and have another booked for 2020 and 2021. We didn't care for the Market in Munich, but we like the town - loved Saltzberg, Vienna, Passau, Regensburg, Rothenburg, Nurnberg. If you only have a week, may want to consider a River Cruise. PM me if you have questions. We do a week on the River Cruise and then stay another week on our own. You are in each town all day long, so you have plenty of time to eat and shop.

Posted by
1261 posts

I did that tour in December 2027, and thought it was a great way to get a feel for the locations AND visit Christmas Markets. The age range was pretty wide, there were people your daughter's age. Since it's such a short tour, I'd hesitate to join if I couldn't be there at the beginning, though.

I've not done a river tour, but friends who have say they skew quite old.

Posted by
1884 posts

We just returned from the Christmas markets, and we planned the trip ourselves. Pls read mine, and the multitudes of reviews here on the various markets. It is a wonderful experience.
Regarding a river boat cruise, I please consider the wonderful food and drinks at the markets. On a cruise, you are paying for food, obviously. But one of the many joys of the markets is eating at the markets! Also, I like the morning and later evening peace of the markets; many cruises are in port during the busiest, and most crowded times.
Safe travels and I hope your wonderful trip goes well.

Posted by
2945 posts

I vote for plan your own trip. I think it's hard to be part of the group on a tour if you arrive late and miss the "opening ceremonies" where people get to know each other. Transportation between and in the 3 cities is reasonably easy. If you haven't seen it, don't miss Emily's excellent review of the Vienna markets:

Posted by
1172 posts

I just did the Christmas Markets of Prague, Vienna and Salzburg on my own in December. Planned it on my own as well. I had an amazing time. I think it would be an amazing mother-daughter experience. I flew into Prague, took the train to Salzburg and Vienna and flew out of Vienna. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks Everyone!! The peeps on this forum are so helpful! If anyone wants info on a great place to stay on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica for a rainforest adventure, PM me and I’ll return the favor. That was our Dec trip this year.

Posted by
694 posts

It may depend on what you want from Christmas markets - participating in a town's celebration and being a "temporary local" ala RS, shopping, or seeing how other folks celebrate Advent (that is actually what it is about). Do you want big and "commercial" {Nuremberg] or more local. They are all fun, but different kinds of fun. The smaller ones are only open from dusk (4/5 pm) until 10pm because the locals have to go to work the next day. The large ones from noon till 10 pm. I went to a lot of them while we lived in Germany and I would recommend a mix of big and small.

You can definitely do it on your own, but group dynamics can be fun too. Northern Germany is vey different from Southern Germany. Best do your homework, and maybe ask more questions on the forum over the summer when you have a better idea of when you are available and what you want to do,

Posted by
8064 posts

There are 100's of Christmas markets in Germany as well as other countries, but the small towns may only have them on one weekend, often at the beginning of Advent. It isn't true that the small towns first open at dusk, they are open in the day time too. The stands will open in the larger cities around 10:00. This is the time to shop if that is something you want to do. It is dark by 16:00 and the lights come on then which is great for photos.

Once you get your dates set, then look for the Christmas Market dates of the small towns.

I have visited tons of markets, and my favorites are Stuttgart, Esslingen, Strasbourg, Limburg, Colmar, Idstein, Burg Ronneburg, Büdingen, and Mainz. (yeah, I like Frankfurt too)

Posted by
64 posts

I have done 5 river cruises during Nov./Dec. to visit the Christmas Markets and I highly recommend them. I have done the Rhine twice, the Danube twice, and this year I did the connection between them, the Maine Danube Canal. For your first time I would go on the Danube or the Rhine. Don’t go too early in December as the advent season starts around our Thanksgiving.