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Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Experience the delights of a European Christmas when you board an APT cruise! 

The start of a tradition 

Come now as we journey back in time to Monday, 22 December in the year 1434 and the German city of Dresden. We are here to witness the beginnings of the Striezelmarkt, Dresden’s beloved Christmas market which will celebrate its 590th birthday in 2024. 

Picture the scene: the crisp winter air nipping at your cheeks, the cobblestone streets around Dresden’s centre busy with locals preparing for the weeks ahead, the crunch of fresh snow sounding out under each footstep. And in the large market square known as Altmarkt (Old Market), comes the sound of lively chatter of merchants and shoppers.  

The market opened for a single day and consisted of just a handful of stalls selling meat and other provisions for Christmas Day and the cold months ahead. 

These days, Striezelmarkt is a month-long extravaganza attracting almost three million people from around the globe, keen to peruse the market’s 250-plus stalls and experience the cheery atmosphere of one of the grand traditions of Christmas in Europe. 
A luminous affair 

Striezelmarkt is now a most luminous affair. A bright and joyous celebration in a wintry wonderland of fairy lights, colourful carousels, and the world’s largest Christmas pyramid. It offers a feast of seasonal food and drinks, from grilled sausages and hot apple cider to mulled wine and the famous Dresdner Christstollen, a delicious local sweetbread filled with fruits and nuts. Striezelmarkt was one of the world’s first Christmas markets. Today, such markets take place all over the world, from San Fransisco to Shanghai, but like the festive season itself, nowhere quite does it like Europe. 

Most of us dream of experiencing at least one white Christmas or welcoming a new year in one of the world’s great cities. For years, APT has been turning those dreams into reality with a broad range of luxury festive escapes to Europe, filled with all the pageantry and traditions of the season. 

You can traipse through the history of Christmas markets over 22 days on APT's Festive Christmas Markets with Magnificent Europe tour, visiting markets in Prague and Berlin as well as the aforementioned Striezelmarkt. You’ll also visit Vienna, Budapest and Amsterdam – iconic cities that come alive with festive splendour – and be immersed in European culture, from the grandeur of Vienna's architectural wonders to the hidden gems of Budapest. 
Christmas season with APT 

You’ll visit fairy-tale towns and villages as you meander along the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers accompanied by some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes, including the winding passage through the World Heritage-listed Rhine Valley, a 65-kilometre stretch of river of utterly ravishing beauty flanked by rolling green hills, vineyards and valleys.  

Or celebrate the season on APT's 15-day Magnificent Europe with Christmas and New Year's Eve luxury river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, with Christmas Day in Passau, Germany, and New Year's Eve cruising through the Rhine Valley before landing in Koblenz. 

You'll indulge in days of exploration, share toasts beneath champagne sunsets, and spend your evenings in joyous celebration. 

Like the season itself, APT’s Christmas and New Year itineraries are worth celebrating, ensuring your festive season is not just merry but extraordinary. 
Like the season itself, APT’s Christmas and New Year itineraries are worth celebrating, ensuring your festive season is not just merry but extraordinary.