Avalon Waterways has announced it will be increasing the number of Christmas Markets river cruises on offer for the 2017 winter season, adding five brand-new itineraries to its lineup. For the 2017 winter season, Avalon will offer a total of 16 Christmas Markets river cruises along the waterways of Europe, ranging from five to 15 days in length.
“In addition to increasing our Christmas cruise departures to cater to the growing popularity of festive cruises, we are also offering travelers more diverse itineraries from which to choose the perfect Christmas cruise,” said Patrick Clark, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “Now, they can experience the Christmas traditions found along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers.”
The five new river cruises on offer for 2017 include a five-day Christmastime in Alsace and Germany sailing that operates between Frankfurt and Basel; an eight-day Christmas in the Heart of Germany sailing from Prague to Frankfurt; the spectacular 12-day Christmastime from Prague to Basel; the 12-day Christmastime from Frankfurt to Vienna, and its return counterpart, Christmastime from Vienna to Frankfurt, also 12 days in length.
With these new itineraries, Avalon Waterways will have tripled the amount of Christmas Markets departures it operates compared with five years ago.
Christmas Markets voyages have surged in popularity in recent years, as travellers look to experience a different side of European river cruising. The markets – which typically operate between November 25 and December 24 each year – are a tradition in countries like Germany, Austria and France dating back hundreds of years. Even the smallest village will typically have one Christmas Market, located in an open square, exposed to the elements.
So how do you stay warm? By imbibing copious amounts of hot, mulled wine known as Gluhwein, or by indulging in a little spiced apple cider (kinderpunsch) if you prefer your beverages on the non-alcoholic side.
Then, there are the copious warm baked goods. Candies. Treats. Fresh salted pretzels that nearly melt in your mouth. Hot potato soup served in a bread bowl. Spätzle. It’s a culinary journey through Europe’s favorite winter comfort foods.
There are other advantages to Christmas Market river cruises. Europe’s main attractions are far less busy than they are during the chaotic summer months, while airfares and hotel costs ratchet noticeably downward.
With these new departures, Avalon is giving river cruisers even more opportunities than ever before to sail down the picturesque rivers of Europe, with the chill of the Holiday spirit in the air. Having been several times, we can say this: once you do one Christmas Markets sailing, it will almost certainly not be the last.