An Alsace Barge Cruise Adventure

by | France

Nestled at the very heart of Alsace, where town squares glisten with the warm glow of lights, where the melodies of brass bands dance on the air, and where the enchanting aromas of mulled wine and gingerbread gracefully waft from charming stalls, a captivating winter narrative takes shape: Christmas in Alsace.

Christmas Markets Cruises in Alsace: Embarking on a Barge Adventure

The answer lies in the European Waterways Christmas Markets Cruise through Alsace & Lorraine for those seeking a festive retreat in a Christmas wonderland. The air resonates with scents of mulled wine, gingerbread, and roasting chestnuts, accompanied by lively fairgrounds, bustling ice rinks, and charming chalet-style market stalls. And, if fortune smiles upon you, a dusting of snow may complete the magical setting.


Hotel Barge Panache - European Waterways

Hotel Barge Panache – European Waterways


A Fusion of Culture and Tradition in Alsace

The concept of a traditional Christmas market conjures images of Alsace’s charming market towns— a picturesque scene that lingers even if the region’s name is new to your ears. Renowned for its seamless blend of German and French heritage, Alsace & Lorraine boasts a festive atmosphere that is truly unparalleled. The Christmas Markets Cruises take travelers on an unforgettable journey, exploring the finest Christmas markets aboard the Panache, a luxurious hotel barge.

Colmar: A Fairytale Illumination in Alsace

Colmar plays host to six remarkable Christmas markets that sprawl across the town. Amidst the holiday season, timber-framed buildings come to life with a symphony of lights, and towering fir trees adorned with baubles infuse the streets with festive cheer. The Christmas markets invite exploration, guiding visitors along cobblestone paths that wind past historic landmarks and beneath the watchful gaze of charming chocolate-box houses. Colmar, particularly during Christmas, radiates an enchanting allure.


Colmar, France traditional christmas items for sale

Colmar, France traditional Christmas items for sale


Strasbourg: The Epitome of Christmas

Strasbourg’s Christmas Markets, christened locally as Christkindelsmärik, draw a staggering two million visitors annually, claiming the title of Europe’s oldest and most significant markets. Thirteen distinct needs adorn the Old Town, each offering a treasure trove of sweet treats and handcrafted trinkets. Strasbourg, the beloved ‘Capital of Christmas,’ captivates with its historic quarters like Place Gutenberg and La Petite France. The monumental Christmas tree in Place Kléber, soaring above decorated chalets and an ice rink, beckons visitors to indulge in the festivities.


Place Kléber Christmas Tree in Strasbourg

Place Kléber Christmas Tree in Strasbourg


Haguenau: An Alsace Tradition

The Haguenau Christmas market is a testament to Alsatian tradition. Nestled throughout the town are temporary wooden chalets that offer an array of Christmas delights. The Christkindl, a cherished German Christmas angel, graces the scenery, embodying the season’s spirit. An awe-inspiring nativity scene, stretching sixteen meters in length, serves as the pinnacle of Haguenau’s festive splendor.

Christkindl is the symbol of Christmas

Christkindl is the symbol of Christmas.


A Cruise Through Tradition and Time: Highlights of the Christmas Markets Adventure

Intrepid travelers are welcomed aboard the elegant Panache barge into a journey that meanders through the picturesque Alsatian countryside. Slowly drifting between the idyllic towns of Krafft and Niderviller via the enchanting meandering canal, the cruise unravels a tapestry of natural beauty and cultural wonders. It’s a voyage where the serene waters mirror the vibrant spirit of the season, offering a unique vantage point that encapsulates the essence of Alsace.

Within this voyage lies an array of enchanting moments that define the essence of the Christmas Markets Cruise. As the barge gently glides through the waters, it carries with it the promise of captivating encounters and unforgettable experiences. Each turn along the canal presents an opportunity to immerse oneself in the heart of the region’s Christmas magic, where traditions come alive against charming landscapes. Every bend holds the anticipation of discovering new markets, local flavors, and the rich history that threads these towns together. As the gentle rhythm of the barge becomes a familiar companion, the allure of the journey is only matched by the anticipation of the treasures that await at each destination along the way.

Delight in the Season’s Offerings

With an array of splendid markets to explore, pinpointing the pinnacle of the itinerary proves to be a delightful challenge. A glimpse into the highlights of this winter escapade aboard Panache unveils:

  • Explore Colmar’s resplendent Christmas markets, where medieval charm meets a symphony of lights and decorations.
  • Immerse yourself in the renowned René Lalique collection, a testament to masterful craftsmanship.
  • Traverse the captivating Christmas markets of Strasbourg, spanning the heart of the historic town and brimming with stalls and festive trees.
  • Indulge in the rich flavors of Musée du Chocolat and witness the artistry behind seasonal confections.
  • Ascend the unique Arzviller boat elevator, guiding Panache upwards along the mountainside.
  • Experience the authentic Alsatian ambiance at Haguenau’s Christmas market, complete with its expansive nativity display.
  • Discover the enchantment of glass blowing at the Meisenthal Glass Bauble factory, the birthplace of the iconic bauble.
  • Savor the exquisite taste of Alsatian ‘Flammekueche,’ a traditional dish gracing Panache’s menu.
  • Embark on a candlelit cruise through the Arzviller tunnels en route to Niderviller, a voyage of enchantment.


A Luxurious Approach to Christmas Exploration

Booking a Christmas Markets cruise with European Waterways through Inspired Travel Designs unfolds a journey into the heart of European festive traditions, coupled with elegance and refinement. The voyage meanders through glistening canals aboard the luxury hotel barge, Panache, offering a tranquil respite overseen by a stellar crew.


Luxury Afloat: The Panache Experience

Guests are greeted with luxurious living aboard the 12-passenger hotel barge, Panache. The Panache vessel combines spaciousness and exclusivity. The communal area boasts a cocktail bar, plush leather sofas, and an ambiance reminiscent of a classic saloon. Mahogany accents, brass fixtures, and a hardwood floor evoke a timeless elegance.

Panache - European Waterways

Panache – European Waterways


Gourmet Indulgence

A dedicated chef curates gourmet meals accompanied by wine pairings, immersing guests in a culinary journey through the Alsace-Lorraine region. Bicycles on board provide the means to cycle along frosty towpaths during crisp winter mornings before immersing oneself in the wonder of Alsace’s Christmas markets.





Embarking on a journey where Christmas traditions come alive, visitors are invited to explore the charm of Alsace’s Christmas markets while aboard the luxurious Panache barge. This enchanting voyage promises to transport guests into the heart of festive magic, offering an unrivaled perspective of the season’s wonder. Let’s talk!


Produced by Inspired Travel Designs with European Waterways