It’s almost summer… ‘Tis the season to book your holiday river cruise.

With summer peeking around the corner, it’s hard to believe travelers are already thinking about their winter holidays. Did you know river cruises operate in Europe the months of November and December too? It’s cold then so why would you want to do a river cruise at this time of year? We have three excellent reasons.

1. Centuries Old Tradition: Europe’s Christmas Markets

November and December in Europe are quite possibly the most magical months there. Imagine cruising the enchanting Danube to explore historical cities such as Budapest, Vienna, and Bamberg or sailing the romantic Rhine sprinkled with medieval castles and scenes straight out of a fairy-tale. Perhaps though, the essence of the magic are Europe’s Christmas Markets.

Regensburg Christmas Market

Thank you to Aaron Saunders of for images in this post.

Anyone who has been to Europe during this time of year won’t disagree.

Nuremberg, Germany Christkindlesmarkt

Nuremberg, Germany Christmas Market.

Providing bright light to medieval town squares with no shortage of jovial and festive spirit, exploring Europe’s ancient towns during this season allows you to rediscover the true meaning of the holidays. Stay warm with some mulled wine, indulge in roasted chestnuts and become totally immersed in the centuries old tradition.

Linz, Germany Christmas Market

The Christmas Market in Linz, Germany in the evening.

2. Less Crowds

As the weather cools down, so do the crowds. You can experience the festivities with less shoulder bumping and take in the scenery with less people in your field of vision. You get to experience Europe in a more relaxing environment, and some would argue, this time of year offers a more authentic experience with less tourists around.

Passau, Gemany

Passau, Germany.

3. Lower Airfare and River Cruise Fares

It’s the off season for travel in Europe so you can expect air prices to be more affordable and because the demand for river cruise vacations is lower in the winter time as well, prices for these are also lower. If a Europe river cruise is on your list and you’d like to save some money, then this would be the best time for that.

Note, the decrease in demand doesn’t mean it’s not a great time to travel. What an experience it is to explore the Christmas markets. How wonderful it is to be truly immersed, without the crowds. And how fantastic it is to spend less on a trip that promises to be unforgettable.

Although summer is just approaching, now’s the time to start planning your Europe river cruise for winter travel. It may seem far away, but river cruise ships are small (at most 190 passengers per ship) so space is limited. To learn more about Christmas Market river cruises, contact us online or call 1-800-565-2784 to speak with a River Cruise Specialist.

We’d like to thank Aaron Saunders of for the photos in this post.

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