Where to Find the Best European Christmas Market Tours for 2023 and 2024

Get into the holiday spirit with a European Christmas market tour.

Rathaus (city hall) and christmas market in Vienna, Austria - tilt shift
(Photo: Envato/Chalabala)

There are so many reasons to plan a winter trip to visit European Christmas markets. The vibe is cozy, festive, and taps into the holiday spirit like few other places on Earth. There’s always at least one massive Christmas tree decorated to the hilt. They’re the perfect place to shake off the feeling of obligation that comes with buying gifts off an Amazon list. And who can resist the warming drinks and snacks (Mulled wine! Warm roast nuts! Gingerbread!)? 

But for travelers from North America, traveling to Europe for Christmas markets in between Thanksgiving and Christmas can feel daunting. And deciding which European Christmas markets to visit can make it easy to call it quits and stall out on the planning, since they’re spread out all across Germany, France, Italy, and many other popular European tour spots.

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That’s the joy of European Christmas market tours. Offered by a number of land-based and river cruise tour companies, these multi-day guided trips make it easy to visit three, four, or more Christmas markets in Germany, Austria, Hungary, France, Italy, or the UK. And while you’re there, you can sightsee at a time of year when the crowds are significantly smaller at Europe’s top tourist attractions

Where to Find the Best Christmas Market Tours for 2023 and 2024

Guided tour online travel agency TourRadar lists hundreds of Christmas market tours from tour companies including Trafalgar, Travel Talk, Avalon Waterways, G Adventures, Contiki, and Uniworld. 

The online travel agency TourHub also has a ton of Christmas market tour offerings. The site breaks down its list of available Christmas market tours by country, including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, and the UK. At press time, there were still some discounts on 2023 departures.

River cruise operator CroisiEurope has a great collection of Christmas market river cruises. It also lists cruises that take place over the Christmas holiday and New Year’s cruises. Similarly, Avalon Waterways offers Christmas holidays sightseeing tours with a river cruise, bringing guests from city to city (and Christmas market to Christmas market) via the Danube, Rhine, and Main rivers. 

The experts at Cruise Critic have plenty of advice about the best Christmas markets to visit if you’re on a river cruise, too, and it’s definitely worth a read if you’re comparing different itineraries.

Many popular tour companies also offer Christmas market tours for all ages. These include:

Note that Contiki’s trips are geared to under-30s, making them a great option for students studying abroad who want a fun way to celebrate their winter breaks. Road Scholar’s list of Christmas market tour offerings includes European Christmas market tours and other holiday-themed itineraries to destinations around the world; they’re a great travel tour company for seniors in particular.

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Christine Sarkis is the co-founder of Vacationist Media and editor-in-chief of TourScoop and FamilyVacationist.com. She is the former executive editor of SmarterTravel.com, a travel publication owned by Tripadvisor. Her work has been published in dozens of publications including Conde Nast Traveler and USAToday, and she has been quoted in print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also offered tips for travelers on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now.