Hi everyone, was looking for some thoughts/advice on options both during and after the cruise. We are booked for a Nov 2020 Christmas Markets river cruise on Crystal starting in Vienna and ending in Budapest. The main purpose of this trip is to see the Christmas markets as we did one on the Rhine a few years ago and were enchanted by the festivities in Germany.
During the cruise stop in Linz, we have the option to choose a full-day excursion in either Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov. I've been to Salzburg on a previous river cruise, but my partner has not. He's not a rabid Sound of Music fan, but I feel like the Christmas markets in Salzburg may be better than Cesky Krumlov? I would prefer to see Cesky Krumlov, but the main goal of this cruise is to see the best Christmas markets. Thoughts?
The second dilemma we have is where to spend a couple extra nights after Budapest. Since the cruise includes an overnight in both Vienna and Budapest, we'll only be adding on 1 additional night in each of those ports before/after the cruise. I'd like to add 2 more nights in one more city after that with the following considerations:
Impressive Christmas markets
Ideally something a bit different than the ports - Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Linz (Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov per above), Krems, Bratislava, & Budapest
Note: I think there will only be Christmas markets available for us in Vienna, Linz (aka Salburg or Cesky Krumlov), Bratislava, & Budapest
Fairly easy to get to from Budapest - open to either train or flight
We can't go before the cruise because Christmas markets won't be open and can't really add more than 2 more nights
I've looked at both Prague and Munich but wanted to get advice from those who may have visited these places during the holiday season before. Or maybe there are other Christmas-filled nearby cities I haven't thought about yet?
Thank you in advance for your ideas and advice!