Looking to take a Christmas Market River Cruise? I was fortunate to enjoy a Tauck cruise in December 2019 (pre-Covid) and couldn’t recommend it more!
Our cruise departed from Nuremberg, Germany so we arrived a day early to see a couple of additional sites before boarding the ship. There is so much to see in this historic city!
Being a self-proclaimed history nerd, I definitely wanted to see the World War II sites in Nuremberg. You can read about these sites in this post.
Nuremberg Christmas Market
One of the prime sites to visit while on a Christmas Market Cruise, is of course, the Christmas Markets! Our first venture to the Nuremberg Market was on a Saturday evening. Oh. My. Goodness. It was PACKED!!! I can’t remember a time I was in as crowded a place. There were so many people, you could barely walk. But the people were all friendly and the atmosphere was jolly. The market itself was beautiful, especially at night. Everything is lit and the lights were so twinkly and pretty.
The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary
In the center of the market is the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church was built between 1352 and 1362 under the direction of Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor. One of the most notable features of the church is the mechanical clock that was installed in the church between 1506 and 1509. The Holy Roman Emperor is shown surrounded by his Prince electors. The clock mechanism is activated at midday, a bell is rung to start the sequence. The trumpeters and drummer move about, followed by a procession of the electors around the figure of the Holy Roman Emperor.
When I visited, I was allowed to enter the church and visit the main areas. I just missed the time where I would be allowed to access the balcony directly under the clock. It was fun to explore the inside of the church. It was beautiful.
Just outside the church, to make the mood even more festive, there was a small musical group playing carols on horns. All the trees surrounding the church were also lit. Between the music and lights and the smells of the market, it was magical.
One not to be missed experience of a Christmas Market is the gluhwein. This is a warm, alcoholic drink. Each market has some and you can get it in a little mug that you pay a deposit on. If you return the mug, you get your deposit back, but you can also keep the mug if you desire. I found the gluhwein SUPER strong but strangely tasty. It’s easy to see how everyone likes it. When it’s cold, it will definitely warm you up. They also have non-alcoholic options and hot chocolate and cider. So many wonderful tastes to choose from!
The market is also the home to many, many stalls with beautiful Christmas decorations. It was like a Christmas explosion. Hand carved nativity sets, wooden ornaments, painted glass balls….so many to choose from. There were also countless stalls with treats, both savory and sweet. From gingerbread to sausage, there’s no way one can’t find something to enjoy!
Nuremberg Sister Cities Market
In addition to the main market there is Christmas Market of the Sister Cities. This square holds stalls from Nuremberg’s sister cities around the world. I was curious to see what the booth from Sister City, Atlanta would have. They had pop tarts and Coca Cola. The pop tarts made me laugh as well as the twinkies. The guy working said the pop tarts were very popular as well as the candy bars.
On Board the Ship
Once on board and en route on the Danube, we did a gingerbread making event. The cruise provided all the fixings we needed to construct our dream gingerbread house. Of course, our design was flawless! I’ve never made a real gingerbread- we always made them out of graham crackers so this was fun. We called ours the House of Gummies.