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Why you should experience European Christmas villages by boat

Erica Lamberg
 |  Special to USA TODAY 10Best

Five European Christmas market destinations to celebrate the season

These seasonal wonderlands are some of the best Christmas markets to explore in Europe. Most are open from mid-November through late December.

Scott L. Hall, USA TODAY

If you want to celebrate the festive holiday season abroad, one of the most incredible ways to experience European Christmas markets is to take a river cruise. This season, I embarked on Christmas on the Rhine, an eight-day river cruise, on the Viking longship Sigyn. It began in Basel, Switzerland, and ended in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The itinerary wound its way through the very best of Europe’s festive Christmas villages, each with handcrafted holiday décor and treasures from local artisans. Passengers could wander the markets by day and explore twinkly streetscapes by night. We enjoyed holiday music concerts, sampled regional fare offered by food vendors, and tried mulled wine and craft beers.

Market highlights

Some of the ports along the way included the German towns of Breisach, Mannheim, Rüdesheim, Koblenz and Düsseldorf. We also visited Dordrecht, The Netherlands, and Strasbourg, France. Three of my favorite stops were Strasbourg, Cologne and…

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