If you’re looking for a festive vacation in a Christmas wonderland, then look no further than a European Waterways Christmas Markets Cruise in the region of Alsace & Lorraine. The air is filled with scents of mulled wine or vin chaud, gingerbread, and sweet chestnuts cooking over embers to get you in high spirits, as well as fairgrounds, ice rinks and chalet-style Christmas stalls galore. And, if you’re lucky, you may even see snow!
Our Christmas Markets Cruise Destinations
When you think of a traditional Christmas market, it’s the jovially decorated scenes Alsace’s market towns that spring to mind – even if you haven’t heard of the region yet! Famed for its fusion of German and French cultures and traditions, the Alsace & Lorraine region has a distinct festive atmosphere, unlike anywhere else in the world. Our Christmas Markets Cruises visit a selection of the very best Christmas markets in Alsace & Lorraine, taking you on an unforgettably magical journey aboard hotel barge Panache.
Colmar has a total of six amazing Christmas markets that are spread out across the town. During the festive season, stunning timber-framed buildings sparkle with Christmas lights and huge fir trees with baubles bring Christmas cheer to its winding avenues and squares. A trip to Colmar’s Christmas markets offers the opportunity to explore the town, walking the historic, cobbled streets and looking up at towering real-life chocolate box houses! Colmar really is a very special place to visit, especially during the Christmas period.
Strasbourg Christmas Markets, known locally as Christkindelsmärik, brings in around two million visitors every year as Europe’s oldest and largest markets. With its grand total of thirteen Christmas markets sprawled across the Old Town, you’ll be spoilt for choice. From sweet treats to hand-blown trinkets – you’ll have no trouble collecting all the items on your Christmas shopping list! Wander the many historic quarters of the city such as Place Gutenberg and la Petite France (Little France), and keep your eyes peeled for the enormous Christmas tree in Place Klébler that towers above decorated chalets and an ice rink. You’ll find quintessentially festive seasonal stalls at the Strasbourg Christmas markets, offering souvenirs, gifts, and delicious delicacies such as vin chaud (mulled wine), christolle (a traditional brioche made with candied fruits and almond cream) and perhaps a slice of another local delicacy that is gingerbread. Strasbourg is affectionately known as the ‘Capital of Christmas’, and it’s easy to see why.
The village of Riquewhir is so pretty that it has been included as one of France’s Most Beautiful Villages. Located in the heart of the Vins d’Alsace Wine Route, the half-timbered façades of this typical Alsatian village are bedecked with twinkling lights and festive ornaments which are a joy to see at Christmas time. Head to the village centre to wander among the boutique shops, cafés, and traditionally Alsatian ‘winstubs’, before making your way to the pretty Christmas market where an array of charming chalet-style stalls vend their local wares from handmade souvenirs to festive delicacies including traditional spice bread, bretzels, and more.
Luxury Hotel Barge Panache
Your Christmas Markets cruise will be hosted on 12-passenger hotel barge Panache. Limited to only twelve passengers, this luxurious boat is both spacious and exclusive. Fitted with a communal seating area containing cocktail bar and swanky leather sofas, its hardwood floor, mahogany fittings, and brass fixings give this room a classic saloon-like feel.
Unwind on the deck with a mug of hot chocolate, or perhaps by taking a soak in the heated spa pool as you enjoy the views of twinkling Christmas lights and the sound of choirs in the air. After your dip, enjoy a hot walk-in shower in your own en-suite bathroom. Attached to each of six double cabins, each bathroom boasts twin hand-basins so that you and your roommate don’t have to share.
With her own chef on board, guests aboard Panache are treated to gourmet meals throughout their stay,and wine pairings with every meal. Onboard bicycles give the option to cycle up the frosty towpaths on a crisp winter’s morning before exploring the magic of the Alsace Christmas markets during the day.
Hotel Barges for Christmas Market Cruises
Panache is a deluxe, 12 passenger hotel barge that offers Christmas Cruises in Alsace in late November and December
Christmas Markets Cruise Highlights
Panache cruises between Plobsheim and Hochfelden through the Alsatian countryside, taking the winding canal. You will slow travel to the most exciting Christmas markets in Alsace and soak up all the scenery on the way.
With so many overwhelmingly brilliant markets to explore on our Christmas Markets Cruise, it’s hard to pick the best bits of our itinerary. Here’s just some of the highlights you can look forward to when you book your winter cabin on Panache:
- Visit the colourful Christmas markets of Colmar and admire the fairy tale medieval town dressed in a dazzling display of lights and decorations
- Visit the world-famous René Lalique collection
- Roam around the incredible Christmas markets of Strasbourg, which swirl from the centre of the historic town, featuring hundreds of stalls and Christmas trees
- Taste the silky sweet chocolates made at a local chocolate atelier, and watch seasonal candy being made in the workshop
- Visit the pretty village of Riquewhir with its charming Christmas market
- Experience the magic of glass blowing at Meisenthal Glass Bauble factory, which is the birthplace of the bauble!
- Try Alsatian ‘Flammekueche’, also known as tarte flambée, aboard Panache. Freshly prepared by the chef, this traditional bread dish is topped with crème fraîche, thinly sliced onions and lardons
Why Book a Christmas Markets cruise?
Book your Christmas Markets cruise with European Waterways to fully immerse yourself in quaint European festive traditions in style and elegance. Glide the glistening canals aboard luxury hotel barge, Panache, and relax in luxury, waited on by our exceptional crew.
Enjoy being chauffeured between the most beautiful towns in the Alsace-Lorraine region and take time out on board to soak in your surrounds. Our December cruises to Alsace & Lorraine provide views of frost-bitten towpaths, misty early mornings, and picture-postcard medieval half-timbered buildings, all from the comfort of your own private cabin.
You’ll enjoy being wined and dined in extravagance and be indulged with the very best food from the Alsace-Lorraine region. With a chef that sources local ingredients from artisan suppliers , you’ll be crafted regionally inspired dishes every day. We can assure you that you’ll taste Alsace & Lorraine at its most authentic on your trip with us.
A winter cruise to visit the Christmas markets of Alsace & Lorraine really is the best break you can book if you’re looking for a winter holiday. To guarantee your place, then please fill out the form below…
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FROM THE LOCK-KEEPER BLOG
Christmas market cruises capture the true spirit of the holiday season, introducing travellers to Alsace and Lorraine at their most festive Read More