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AttilaTheFun

Xmas cruise advice - Salzburg vs. Cesky Krumlov & Prague vs. Munich

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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!

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What date is your cruise?

 

I went in 2018. We were in Linz for 2 days (Nov 23 and Nov 24). We had 3 all day excursions as options for the 2 days. One to Salzburg, one to Cesky Krumlov and one to the Lake District in Austria (added on the ship).

 

The Salzburg markets were great and so were the Lake District in Austria (St. Wolfgang and Saint Gilgaen). 

 

There were 2 guides in Salzburg - one didn't mention anything about Sound of Music, the other did not emphasize it but if we passed something that was used in the movie, he briefly mentioned it (I went with him in Salzburg). The day we were in Salzburg, was the first day of Christmas Markets. We did a quick tour of Salzburg and then had a lot of free time on our own.

 

The reason I mentioned my dates was that the Christmas Markets in Cesky Krumlov were not open (even though our tour tickets said they were) when we were there. Thus, I changed my tour to the Lake District. Maybe you can google Ceksy Krumlov and see when the Markets open. Though one of the places we went (Regensburg), the markets opened that evening (after we left).

 

In Vienna, only half the markets were open on November 20th but they were all open when we returned on the 29th. We were in Munich on November 25th and the Markets were not open yet there either. We had luck in Austria but not Germany. Hopefully Crystal figured out marketing and checked their dates before having another "early Christmas Markets cruise".

 

Our Christmas Markets in Bratislava were somewhat disappointing IMO. On top of that (as I had time to see them), one of them caught on fire so that ended one market. They had 2 major ones. One was mostly food and the other was a combination of food and other items. It was the combination one that one stand caught on fire but it was close to a building and the building caught on fire.

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I would spend a couple extra days in Budapest as there is plenty to see there and keep you busy and lots of great markets. Also I would not miss the opportunity to visit Prague and Cesky Krumlov. 

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Salzburg's  market is one of the best I have ever seen.  We have been on 4 Christmas market cruises and loved this one and the one in Nuremberg.  The items in Salzburg were just beautiful, didn't see any commercial items. The handpainted bells are lovely.

Budapest has 4 markets easy to get to on the metro.  Vienna also has more than the one at the Rathhaus(sp).

Prague has the main market and a few small neighborhood ones.

Thinking about this makes me want to see more Christmas markets, but the next will be a land trip to Berlin and Dresden, naybe next year. Pat

 

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"Thinking about this makes me want to see more Christmas markets, but the next will be a land trip to Berlin and Dresden, naybe next year. "

 

Dresden is spectacular!  Leipzig was a close second to Dresden! Second and third picture are from Leipzig.

IMG_3875.jpg

0-21.jpeg

0-22.jpeg

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second seating, now I really want to go to Dresden.  Stopped there on a river cruise 14 years ago when there was water in the Elbe.  Loved the city. Pat

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Cesky is a not to be missed site IMHO. It’s quite a magical place even without the markets. Salzburg is nice but Cesky is a fairyland over the holidays. If you have not been there before I would not miss any chance to get there. 

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14 hours ago, mhb1757 said:

Cesky is a not to be missed site IMHO. It’s quite a magical place even without the markets. Salzburg is nice but Cesky is a fairyland over the holidays. If you have not been there before I would not miss any chance to get there. 

Same here. We enjoyed Salzburg but it was very crowded and Cesky is just pure magic.

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Regarding Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov, I’d recommend the latter. It’s a very attractive town with many mediaeval structures.  You’ve already been to Salzburg and it doesn’t seem that your partner is set on it.  I wouldn’t go just for the Christmas market.  

 

As to a city to visit after Budapest, if your aim is an impressive Christmas market, then you must see the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg. I assume that your cruise does not include it. It’s one of the oldest, biggest and certainly most impressive in Germany if not all Europe.  Munich would also be a good choice. I can’t speak for Prague as I’ve never been there at that time of the year.

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On 1/14/2020 at 7:19 AM, Coral said:

What date is your cruise?

 

In Vienna, only half the markets were open on November 20th but they were all open when we returned on the 29th. We were in Munich on November 25th and the Markets were not open yet there either. We had luck in Austria but not Germany. Hopefully Crystal figured out marketing and checked their dates before having another "early Christmas Markets cruise".

 

Thank you for the info!  Our cruise departs from Vienna on Nov 25 and I noticed on the Crystal site that our sailing is called Danube Serenade while the very next cruise (Dec 2) is called Danube Christmas Dreams, so they are maybe managing expectations on Christmas markets?  I hope that we are not going too early now and missing the actual Christmas markets this whole trip was planned around!

 

The Cesky Krumluv excursion is on Nov 28.  I searched and their markets didn't open until Nov 29 in 2019 but that may have been because in 2019, Advent started on Sun, Dec 1.  I've read that some Christmas markets in Europe open the Fri before Advent starts, which would match this schedule.  In 2020, Advent starts Nov 29 so maybe the markets would open Fri, Nov 27 this year?

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41 minutes ago, AttilaTheFun said:

 

Thank you for the info!  Our cruise departs from Vienna on Nov 25 and I noticed on the Crystal site that our sailing is called Danube Serenade while the very next cruise (Dec 2) is called Danube Christmas Dreams, so they are maybe managing expectations on Christmas markets?  I hope that we are not going too early now and missing the actual Christmas markets this whole trip was planned around!

 

The Cesky Krumluv excursion is on Nov 28.  I searched and their markets didn't open until Nov 29 in 2019 but that may have been because in 2019, Advent started on Sun, Dec 1.  I've read that some Christmas markets in Europe open the Fri before Advent starts, which would match this schedule.  In 2020, Advent starts Nov 29 so maybe the markets would open Fri, Nov 27 this year?

 I hope you come back and report back about your experiences.

Edited by Coral

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12 hours ago, AttilaTheFun said:

 

Thank you for the info!  Our cruise departs from Vienna on Nov 25 and I noticed on the Crystal site that our sailing is called Danube Serenade while the very next cruise (Dec 2) is called Danube Christmas Dreams, so they are maybe managing expectations on Christmas markets?  I hope that we are not going too early now and missing the actual Christmas markets this whole trip was planned around!

 

The Cesky Krumluv excursion is on Nov 28.  I searched and their markets didn't open until Nov 29 in 2019 but that may have been because in 2019, Advent started on Sun, Dec 1.  I've read that some Christmas markets in Europe open the Fri before Advent starts, which would match this schedule.  In 2020, Advent starts Nov 29 so maybe the markets would open Fri, Nov 27 this year?

The Christmas Market is open 29th. Nov 2020 - 6th. Jan 2021:

 

http://www.ckrumlov.info/docs/en/atr784.xml

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We spent a couple of days in Munich prior to a Budapest to Passau Christmas market cruise and found the Christmas markets there to be some of our favorites. It would be a great place post trip and easy to fly home from. Have a great trip. 

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3 hours ago, AttilaTheFun said:


I only see 2019-2020 dates on that site. There is no mention of 2020-2021 dates yet.

I was just testing to see if anyone actualy reads my links.🍻

 

The actual dates are:

 

27.11.2020 - 06.01.2021 

26.11.2021 - 06.01.2022

 

Here is the new link, scrill down to Advent and Christmas in Český Krumlov

 

http://www.ckrumlov.info/docs/en/atr176.xml

 

PS.

Český Krumlov , is a fabulous place, especially in winter, but it is worth visiting anytime of the year. We were there two weeks ago for a family outing, will be there again in March.

PPS. No we are not on two Danube cruises, we live near Passau and it is only a two hour drive.

Edited by G.M.T.

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Anyone going to Munich during the Christmas season should see the windows at Galeria Kaufhof! I Have been there two different years and the windows were done in Steiff animal winter scenes!

Second seating

 

755897771_IMG_2339(1).thumb.jpg.5c328348c55c5dfa0d3411173ccf4bbf.jpgA

Edited by Second seating

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