Europe's Christmas Markets Are Coming Back — and These Tours Take You to All the Best Ones

·2 min read

We're inching closer and closer to the holiday season, which means it's time to start shopping for presents for the ones you love most. And there's no better place to do just that than at Europe's famed Christmas markets.

But you don't need to go it alone on a visit to these holiday shopping meccas. From luxury river cruises to personalized tours, these are a few of the best ways to get a dose of European holiday magic that you absolutely deserve.

Holiday-themed River Cruises

See as many markets as possible by hopping aboard a Uniworld Boutique River Cruise. This season, Uniworld is offering six themed holiday season cruises, including a mixture of Europe's most popular and lesser-known markets. Though all the itineraries are stellar, take a closer look at the eight-day Classic Christmas Markets sailing, which takes guests through Germany with stops at Nuremberg to visit the "Gingerbread Capital of the World" and Würzburg to visit the town's renowned market.

Dresden Striezel Market
Dresden Striezel Market

Nico Schimmelpfennig/picture alliance via Getty

Germany, Austria, and Switzerland Christmas Market Tours

Trafalgar, the global guided vacation company, is offering its own tour experience this season with its eight-day German Christmas Markets itinerary. The tour includes stops at the nation's oldest Christmas market and even one located within a UNESCO-protected castle. For those looking for more, Trafalgar is also offering an eight-day tour through the Christmas markets of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. This not only includes guided experiences in the markets but also an authentic Swiss holiday dinner with a local family at their home in Lucerne.

Wine, Beer, and Holiday Cheer

Contiki, a tour company specializing in travel for those in the 18-to-35 age group, is offering its own Christmas Market adventures. Its seven-day German Christmas Markets itinerary is filled with stops at iconic Christmas markets that offer traditional sweet treats and more than enough photo ops to fill an entire Instagram feed. On the tour, guests can spend their mornings cruising the Rhine River and evenings tasting gluhwein in Frankfurt. In Koblenz, they'll get a taste of local varietals at a nearby vineyard. In the morning, guest will make their way to the walled city of Rothenberg with a hot chocolate in hand before heading to Nuremberg to take part in a gingerbread-making class and a tour of the city. The adventure comes to an end in Munich with a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, a night on the town at a traditional beer hall, and one last walk through the Christmas markets for any last-minute shopping. See all the Christmas tour options here.

Want to explore and shop even more? Read up on all the best Christmas markets across Europe to explore this year.