Vienna Christmas Markets

Discover the Magic of Christmas in Europe

Christmas in Europe evokes a magical image of glistening fairylights and charming market stalls, paired with the glorious smell of roasting chestnuts and spiced Glühwein. Recapture the nostalgia, romance and merriment of Christmas by journeying to some of Europe’s most enchanting Christmas markets on a Scenic river cruise. You will find the Christmas spirit alive in its purest form without the typical holiday gift guides and commercialism. From listening to heartwarming carols and sampling delicious festive delicacies, to spotting unique, handcrafted gifts for your friends and family, Europe’s Christmas markets are sure to reignite some magic into next year’s holiday plans.

Experience a sense of community and connection

Dating back to the Middle Ages, Christmas markets gave townsfolk an opportunity to stock up on goods to see them through the holiday season and tough winter months. This idea spread along trading routes and still survives for locals and travellers alike with much of the authentic charm. Today, you can still discover timeless Christmas traditions, set against some of Europe’s most historic buildings and famed landmarks. 

What makes Europe’s Christmas markets so special is their warmth and sense of community. It’s this welcoming atmosphere which brings people from near and far together every year. Christmas at Europe’s traditional marketplaces is a pared-back affair that eliminates over-the-top light displays, overt commercialism, and photo opportunities on Santa’s lap. Instead, the sincere nature strikes to the very heart of the holiday – a time of year for friends and family to reunite and celebrate.

Step inside a traditional winter wonderland

What could be more magical at Christmastime than being among a winter wonderland scene? Many of Europe’s traditional markets are set against picture-postcard backdrops. Towns and cities come to life in a wintery glow, draped in baubles, handmade wreaths and garlands, complemented by the melodic sounds of carols and classical music – as well as a sprinkling of snow, if you’re lucky. 

Whether it’s the markets in front of Budapest’s grand St Stephen’s Basilica cathedral or Vienna’s opulent Schönbrunn Palace, some of Europe’s major cities are all the more enchanting this time of year. Meanwhile, the gothic architecture and medieval timber-framed buildings of lesser-known destinations like Regensburg, Nuremberg and Heidelberg helps to elevate a traditional old-world charm at Christmas.

One-stop Christmas shop

The Christmas markets provide a unique shopping experience. Championing local artisanship, the markets bring together all kinds of makers, including artists, bakers and craftsmen. From old-fashioned handmade wooden toys and hand-painted ornaments, to traditional sweet treats and hand-knitted clothing, you will find unusual and one-of-a-kind gifts to delight your friends and family – and perhaps a gift for yourself too.

Wander among the stalls and take your time browsing the fine mix of trinkets. One of the pleasures of Europe’s Christmas markets is how friendly and relaxed the vendors are; it is easy to converse with the owners to learn more about their creations and the love that goes into the process of creating their wares.

Savour delicious delights

While a photograph can capture the magical winter wonderland scene of the Christmas markets on film, what a photograph can’t do is capture the delicious smells and bustling sounds. You’ll be met with an abundance of wonderful aromas, including the warming spices of gingerbread and mulled wine (Glühwein), the sizzling sound and wood-fire smells of cooking sausages, and the treacly sweet scent of waffles. There is sure to be a traditional delicacy to whet your appetite, whether you’ve got a sweet or a savoury tooth.

Discover the magic of Europe’s Christmas markets with Scenic

When it comes to Christmas, there is no better way to experience it than on a Scenic river cruise through Europe. Spending the days leading up to Christmas amid some of the world’s most renowned Christmas markets will be the proverbial icing on your Christmas cake. Celebrate the festive period in a magical winter wonderland scene, filled with time-honoured festivities, delicious delicacies and a heartwarming atmosphere. Treat yourself to a Christmas you will always remember by planning your 2022 Christmas markets river cruise. View the full collection online.