Christmas and New Year is the most magical time of the year, with beautiful lights, decorated trees, mulled wine and carols, it’s a time for family, friends and loved ones to come together. And what better way than embracing the festive season with a winter getaway? You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to cultural, festive breaks in Europe that will get you into the spirit of Christmas and New Year…and we have some great ideas!
SOAK IT ALL UP ON A RIVER CRUISE
Why visit one city when you can explore and discover a new destination each day? A festive cruise on the Rhine and Danube gives you the chance to call into a number of cities on route, getting a glimpse into their individual characters and charm – and most importantly, stroll through the magical Christmas markets.
One of our favourite stops is Vienna; its quaint square transforms on the lead up to Christmas with stalls selling hot punch and beautiful tree decorations, and not to mention the gorgeous aroma of baked goodies – so make sure you try some! The City Hall square is a spectacle worth seeing too – warming drinks, carousels and craft workshops for the kids are all waiting, plus the trees surrounding the City Hall park are beautifully decorated in a sea of lights, that you definitely won’t want to miss!
Another hotspot in Vienna is the cultural market at Schönbrunn Palace. As well as selling the usual arts and crafts, festive decorations and yummy goodies on sale, you’ll find Christmas concerts here, making it that extra bit special. It’s also well known for its romantic setting, so be sure to take your loved one.
But there’s plenty of other worthy cities that you’ll visit that need a mention on a cruise through the Rhine and Danube: Budapest, Melk, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Amsterdam…and more! Each with something different that’ll add to your experience.
And even better, when you’re onboard the fun continues. Most river cruises include all of your meals – and sometimes the drinks too. Not only that, the ships are small and intimate, meaning an expert staff member will never be far away. River cruises also offer excursions, giving you the choice to join a tour each day or set off on your own exploration.
FESTIVE RIVER CRUISING WITH SCENIC
Everything’s included on a festive river cruise with Scenic; all meals, complimentary beverages, Scenic Freechoice activities and even butler service, so there’s no doubt that you’ll be looked after on and off board.
We love Scenic festive river cruises – and there are a lot to choose from! Take a look at their video to find out more, which we’re sure will inspire you.
TAKE A UNIQUE TOUR TO CELEBRATE NEW YEAR
A destination that perhaps doesn’t spring immediately is Transylvania. But its history, forested landscapes, medieval villages and ancient monasteries are just out this world – which is why we think a tour here over New Year is just the ticket!
As well as just catching the Christmas markets, we recommend you take plenty of time to explore the gorgeous scenery and get to know the local culture too. The medieval citadel of Sighisoara, where Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Count Dracula was born is a must! It’s ancient facade dates back to the 13th century, with towers and bastions which help keep its medieval charm. Plus, join a tour and you’ll be lucky enough to try the local brandies in the town’s wine cellars.
What we love about this part of the world is the colourful and cheerful celebrations over New Year. With a mix of pre-Christian rituals, folklore, costumes and theatrical dances showcasing the passion and excitement the locals have for this time of year. And we think, there’s no better way than getting stuck in by spending New Year’s Eve in a traditional village or by attending the New Year events organised for the occasion.
To find out more about the festive river cruising and touring holidays available, contact us today by popping into store, emailing us or giving us a call.