Explore the magical wonder of the holidays on this unforgettable Christmas markets cruise to four countries and some of Europe’s finest Christmas markets. Uncover the historically rich and vibrant cities of Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, and Budapest with memorable experiences and a luxury river cruise along the Danube River.

Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary with Ker & Downey

Suggested journey at a glance: 14 days/13 nights including eight nights on a luxury Danube River cruise and a pre-cruise extension in Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna

Austria Travel - Luxury - Ker Downey

This suggestion is just one of many ways to see the European Christmas markets on your own customized Ker & Downey journey. Our designers are at their best when crafting a journey unique to you; contact us to get started planning, and read on to see one example of what’s possible on our Christmas Markets Cruise.


Your journey begins in Munich, a city of “laptops and lederhosen,” located in the southernmost state of Germany. City tours will take you to some of the major sites such as Cuvilliés Theater—considered the most important rococo theater in Germany—and Nymohenburg Palace, the former residence of the Bavarian kings where the current Duke of Bavaria still lives today. An exclusive visit to a famous porcelain manufacturer (usually closed to the public) lets you witness German craftsmanship in perfection. Walk to the medieval Christmas Market stalls on Wittelsbach Square to see Bavarian crafts and traditional gifts in the shadow of city hall’s famous Glockenspiel.

Munich - Luxury Germany Travel - Ker Downey

The beautiful city of Regensburg, sometimes referred to as the most Northern Italian city, is just a quick train ride from Munich. Visit the romantic Christmas market in the courtyard of the imposing facade of St. Emmeram, the castle of the family of H.H. Prince of Thurn and Taxis. Spend some time walking the the narrow alleyways of the old part of town—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—before taking a break at the oldest sausage kitchen in the world, Historische Wurstküche.


Head to Salzburg, a stunning center of musical creativity, most widely known as the birthplace of Mozart and the setting behind the beloved film, The Sound of Music. A horse-drawn carriage through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Town Salzburg sets the perfect tone before visiting the enchanting Christkindlemarkt located at the Residenz Square. Explore the beautiful Getreidegasse, Mozart’s birthplace and his home for the first 17 years of his life and Nonnberg Abbey, the oldest nunnery north of the Alps and one of the settings for The Sound of Music.

Eurpean Chrismas Markets Cruise - Luxury Danube river -Ker Downey

Travel by train to the dynamic city of Vienna, the cultural, political, and economic center of Austria. There’s much to see and do in the city. Explore the history of the Hapsburg family with a visit to the Kapuziner Gruft (the family tomb) and a private escort through the Hofburg, the former residential palace of the Habsburg dynasty, where you will visit its famous white Lipizzan stallions at the Spanish Riding School on site. Wander through museums like the historical Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Belvedere Museum, which houses some of the most coveted paintings of the Vienna Secession and Art Nouveau styles, including Gustav Klimt’s Kiss.

During your time in Vienna, you have ample opportunities to explore the romantic Christkindlmarkt in front of Vienna’s town hall, a site especially magical in the early evening hours when the entire market is illuminated.

Danube River Christmas Markets Cruise from Austria to Hungary

You’ll board the luxurious all-suite Crystal Mahler in Vienna for your Danube River Christmas markets cruise. The Crystal Mahler is redefining luxury river cruising with Michelin-inspired farm-to-table cuisine, exceptional service with a staff to guest ratio of 1 to 1.6, and panoramic windows to take in the serene countryside from the comfort of your suite.

Relax as you make your way from Vienna to Budapest. Shore excursions offer a chance to explore the history of the storybook cities, walking through cobblestone streets to some of Europe’s great medieval squares, cathedrals, and monasteries. Sample wines in the robust wine-growing regions along the Danube. A live performance in a restored 17th-century Capuchin monastery led by violin master Barbara Helfgott and her Rondo Vienna ensemble is an unforgettable way to take in Krems, one of the Danube’s prettiest towns. Experience the magic of the season by visiting some of Europe’s most festive Christmas markets along the Danube as you make your way to your final port in Budapest.

Budapest Travel - Luxury Danube River Cruise - Ker Downey

Custom River Cruises to Western Europe

Ker & Downey is happy to customize each river cruise with the services of a private vehicle and English-speaking guide for a European Christmas markets cruise experience that is wholly your own. Contact a Ker & Downey designer to customize your own journey to Western Europe. Read more about the seasonality and pricing on the Ker & Downey Difference.