European Christmas Markets

Christmas on the Danube


The Danube. The flowing river that passes through stunning European landscape, history and culture. With the riches of the Hapsburg Empire and the Holy Roman Empire of Germanic Nations, the cities and towns along the Danube became architectural beauties and inspired artists, writers and musicians. Castles, abbeys and cathedrals rose from the medieval times. Music of Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss filled the streets and concert halls. The cities of the Danube are particularly spectacular at Christmas. With their Christmas markets filled with local crafts and food, and holiday lights and activities, a visit to the cities along the Danube at Christmas are a magical experience. As we travel along the Danube, from Budapest, Hungary, to Passau, Germany, we see magnificent cities, learn of their histories, see their major sights, and visit their Christmas Markets. As we watch, we listen to the classical music created for the season. A truly marvelous Christmas treat!

Our Danube journey starts in Passau, with lovely buildings constructed along the Danube and a commanding cathedral in front of which we find its charming Christmas Market.  Here we visit the Simon bakery to see how the traditional gingerbread is made.  Next we visit the magical town of Salzburg at the base of the alps on a snowy day, and enjoy the many Christmas activities there.  We also visit the commemorative site of the church where the most famous of Christmas carols, Silent Night, was composed and first performed on Christmas Eve.  Then off to fabulous Vienna, brightly lit for the holidays and with its many Christmas Markets, including the Christmas Market that sits in front of its Gothic Town Hall, decorated as an advent calendar.  We complete the Austrian portion of or trip with a visit to a lovely abbey situated right on the Danube river.  We make a stop at Bratislava, one of eight country capitals located right on the Danube river, and see a country reclaiming its culture.  A finally, the impressive Budapest, revealing its magnificence as we approach from a bend in the river and view its imposing Parlimanet building.  Budapest is filled with history and a folk-filled Christmas Market.