Holiday Splendor Along the Danube: Christmas Markets & Traditions

Celebrate the holiday traditions and markets of Central Europe during the peaceful off-season for a festive and authentic local experience.
Program No. 23809RJ
9 days
Starts at
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at

At a Glance

Winter may be Europe’s off-season for visitors, but it’s peak season for holiday splendor! Discover millennia old traditions and bustling modern Christmas markets in Central Europe aboard this festive river voyage. Watch as quaint towns and old-world cities come alive with holiday cheer as you sail from Austria to Slovakia to Hungary alongside our experts. Delve into the history behind holiday traditions and learn about the culture that surrounds celebrated Christmas markets, as you voyage from city to city for a truly authentic cultural discovery. There’s no better way to experience Central Europe like a local than during the most wonderful time of the year!
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Discover some of the most celebrated Christmas markets in Central Europe, including Bratislava, Salzburg and Budapest.
  • Dive into the history that shaped modern European holiday traditions with local experts and lecturers, from immigration to religion to politics.
  • Enjoy an elegant string ensemble performance in a character-filled venue in Krems.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Balázs Füzesi
Balázs Füzesi was born and raised in the city of Pécs, in southwestern Hungary. He has earned bachelor’s degrees in communications and in business administration and has also completed a license for leading educational excursions in his native country. He has pursued study and work with members of other nationalities whenever possible, spending a high school year in Denmark and working abroad in Greenland, London and the U.S. He credits his grandmother for his love of travel and exploration; she was an avid traveler throughout her entire life.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image
Balázs Füzesi
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Slovakia on the Road to Independence: An American Diplomat's Eyewitness Account
by Paul Hacker
An account of Slovakia's transition to democracy from the fall of the Soviet Union to the separation of the Czech and Slovak republics, told from the perspective of author Paul Hacker, who witnessed these changes firsthand as the head of the U.S. Consulate in Bratislava.
Eclipse of the Crescent Moon
by Géza Gárdonyi
This 5-part novel tells the story of Gergely Bornemissza, a Hungarian living in the first half of the 16th century, now considered a national hero, and his part in the country’s struggle against the Ottoman Empire culminating in the 1552 Siege of Eger. Originally written by the author in Hungarian in 1899, the book has become an important part of Hungarian literature and is required reading for school children.
Fin-de-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture
by Carl E. Schorske
A landmark study of turn-of-the century Vienna -- one of the key chapters in modern intellectual history. Among its luminaries were Freud, Klimt, Kokoshka and Schoenberg.
Danubia, A Personal History of Habsburg Europe
by Simon Winder
Winder, author of Germania, considers the legacy of the Habsburg Europe in this charmingly digressive history and travelogue.
The Habsburg Empire, A New History
by Pieter M. Judson
With a fresh approach to the Habsburgs' legacy, this panoramic history revises commonly held perspectives on the empire's effectiveness and its echoes in Europe today.
The Magic Lantern, The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague
by Timothy Garton Ash
With a chapter each on Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague, this eyewitness account by an astute journalist and historian shows these vibrant cities during a time of great change.
The Radetzky March
by Joseph Roth, Joachim Neugroschel (Translator)
Magnificently set against the backdrop of the twilight of the Habsburg Empire, Roth's family saga takes in the sweep of history and empire in Central Europe. The richly textured novel opens at the battle of Solferino, when young Lieutenant Trotta saves the life of the Emperor.
by Claudio Magris
Mixing history, personalities and literature, Magris traces the course of the Danube from its source in the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire through the Balkans to the Black Sea in this anything but conventional travelogue, first published in 1986.
A Nervous Splendor, Vienna 1888-1889
by Frederic Morton
A portrait of Vienna at the end of the 19th century, this book focuses on Crown Prince Rudolph, his devastating suicide and the rich texture of gossip and daily life at the Habsburg Court.
Lonely Planet Central Europe
by Lonely Planet
With dozens of maps, color photographs and sections on history and culture, this practical guide introduces Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and their neighbors.
Eyewitness Guide Budapest
by Eyewitness Guides
Featuring handy maps and solid information on culture and history in addition to a detailed overview of attractions. With hundreds of photographs.
The Will to Survive
by Bryan Cartledge
The Will to Survive paints the picture of how the small country of Hungary has survived, despite many tragedies, defying oppressive forces throughout its history, and emerging a sovereign democratic republic in the European Union.
Eyewitness Guide Czech and Slovak Republics
by Eyewitness Guides
Featuring hundreds of photos, maps, and illustrations, this guide provides an overview of these two countries including city guides, culture, and historical information.
My Slovakia, My Family
by John Palka
The author weaves together the history of Slovakia with the story of his family, who had a great impact on Slovak history. The narrative covers 300 years of history, from the era of craft guilds through the end of the 20th century with the fall of Communism and Slovakia's rebirth as a nation separate from the Czechs in 1993. Many important elements are discussed throughout the book, such as immigration, political turbulence, culture, and people, both prominent historical figures and ordinary ones.
Central Europe Map
by Freytag & Berndt
This colorful regional European map, like the sister map Europe Grand Tour, covers from Paris and Amsterdam to Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Rome and Dubrovnik.
A Time of Gifts
by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Fermor effortlessly interweaves anecdote, history and culture in this exuberant account of a walk from Holland, up the Rhine and down the Danube, through Germany, Prague and Austria in 1933. Written not in the moment, but 40 years later, the accumulation of time and experience gives the book particular poignancy.
by Imre Kertész, Tim Wilkinson (Translator)
The autobiographical story of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner, Imre Kertész. This book chronicles the 14-year-old boy’s struggle to make sense of his capture in Budapest, survival in the concentration camps and readjustment to life after the war.
Enemies of the People
by Kati Marton
In this book, Kati Marton reveals the inner workings of the Communist Terror State, using the experience of her family, in particular her journalist parents who were spied on by the secret police and eventually betrayed by those close to them. An accomplished journalist of Hungarian origin (and widow of third husband Richard Holbrooke), the author uses interviews and secret police files to show the lengths that the regime was willing to go to in order to secure their power.
Eyewitness Guide Vienna
by Eyewitness Guides
Take along this handy, compact guide featuring history, culture, color photography and excellent neighborhood maps.
A History of Slovakia, The Struggle for Survival
by Stanislav K. Kirschbaum
A historian from Bratislava traces his nation's roots from the first arrival on the Danubian Plain to Slovakia's declaration of independence in 1993. A particularly solid discussion of the Communist period and the nation's relationship with the Czechs and Hungary.
Vienna, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Donald Daviau
Organized by neighborhood, these 15 alluring tales introduce both the city and its writers, including Arthur Schnitzler, Robert Musil, Stefan Zweig and even Franz Kafka, who had a long and complicated association with the city.
The Essential Guide to Being Hungarian: 50 Facts and Facets of Nationhood
by István Bori
A guide on how to be Hungarian, from daily life, food and customs to philosophy, science and sports. Written by twelve authors knowledgeable in the different facets of this unique country, the book gives readers an idea of what life is like in Hungary and how it developed into what it is today.
Budapest 1900
by John Lukacs
Written by a distinguished historian and native son, this richly detailed portrait of the city at its zenith includes hundreds of illustrations.
The Danube, A Cultural History
by Andrew Beattie
Beattie gives a comprehensive overview of the Danube’s role as a vital shipping artery and a uniting thread through the region’s turbulent history.

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback