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European Christmas Market Tour Packing


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We are looking for some advice on what to pack, in terms of clothing, for our December cruise. We are seasoned cruisers but not for winter River Cruises.  Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

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Layers. Pretend like you are in Philadelphia (or NYC) in December. How would you pack if you were going to an outdoor festival in NYC during morning, afternoon and evenings?

 

I did the Danube. We had some rain and I am glad I had a jacket for protection against the rain. I wore gloves at night and did have a scarf with me.

 

Not sure which area you are going but you can have a mild December or a cold December. Be prepared for both. Being where you live, you would probably fare better than someone from FL.

 

I had a mixture of tours that included museums and indoor sights along with outdoor sights. For example, in Salzburg, Austria - I was outside all day except for when I went into a store. In other places, it was walking tours that would include entering churches or museums and then spending time walking outside. Layers are going to be your friend. And a back pack.

 

I had a heavy rain jacket (think of one of those that feels rubbery) that I wore most of the time, gloves, scarf, ear protection and then a winter jacket. Underneath I wore sweaters or sweatshirts. I only wore my winter jacket on the last day. I wore athletic shoes the entire time with normal socks. Some brought wool socks. I live in the midwest and didn't think it was necessary for wool.

Edited by Coral
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   I have been on 5 Christmas Market River Cruises, I love them! I always wear socks that are part wool because when your feet are cold you’re not having a good time. My favorite are Smartwool. I could rinse them out at night and hang them to dry overnight.
   You also need a warm hat. Bring one from home but at your first Christmas Market look at hats in the stalls. Most are much warmer than the ones we get here, with warm lining bands along the ear area. My family of 4 all bought knitted hats at a hat store in Vienna that we refer as our “Vienna hats” that will even keep you warm on a winter trip in Yellowstone!

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9 minutes ago, HoneyJan said:

 My favorite are Smartwool. I could rinse them out at night and hang them to dry overnight.

I too swear by Smartwool. They are comfortable, and they dry quite quickly. Cotton socks, besides taking a long time to dry, get clammy in the cold. Most cushy feeling socks seem to take a much longer time to dry than Smartwool. I also use them for cycling in the summer, and they do a good job of dissipating the heat then too.

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24 minutes ago, HoneyJan said:

   I have been on 5 Christmas Market River Cruises, I love them! I always wear socks that are part wool because when your feet are cold you’re not having a good time. My favorite are Smartwool. I could rinse them out at night and hang them to dry overnight.
   You also need a warm hat. Bring one from home but at your first Christmas Market look at hats in the stalls. Most are much warmer than the ones we get here, with warm lining bands along the ear area. My family of 4 all bought knitted hats at a hat store in Vienna that we refer as our “Vienna hats” that will even keep you warm on a winter trip in Yellowstone!

I saw a warm hat with an interior of fleece that I looked at outside of St. Stephen's Cathedral (at the Markets there) that I thought was cool. Once home, I wish I had purchased it.

 

I should say - I wore Brooks Athletic shoes that were made of Gortex (Brooks Ghost GTX) that were rain proof so my regular socks stayed dry. I had a parent with wool allergies so I have never even tried wool. Always gotten by with out it.

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14 minutes ago, Coral said:

I had a parent with wool allergies so I have never even tried wool. Always gotten by with out it.

 

Not sure if it would make a difference with allergy, but I find that Merino wool has all the good points about regular wool but is not itchy.

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20 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

Not sure if it would make a difference with allergy, but I find that Merino wool has all the good points about regular wool but is not itchy.

Yea - a friend who had lived in Vienna recommended wool socks and I considered buying some at Costco before I left and then I decided a vacation is the worst time to figure out I was allergic to something. Maybe this winter I will buy some and test them out.

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16 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

Not sure if it would make a difference with allergy, but I find that Merino wool has all the good points about regular wool but is not itchy.

 

Alpaca wool is great if you have wool allergies.  They are really warm - my husband wears them all winter in fleece lined winter boots, and he can be out in -30C temps for a couple of hours and doesn't complain about cold feet.  Just make sure you can get washable ones,  the ones we buy can go washer/dryer with regular clothes and no shrinkage, whereas the ones others have bought for him shrink down to a point where even I can't fit them on.  

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We've been on several Christmas market cruises, and we often wore silk underwear such as a silk turtleneck under a sweater.  The silk washed easily, dried quickly in the bathroom, and looked good under a sweater.  When it was really cold, we wore silk long johns under pants.  We also preferred merino or cashmere sweaters because of the light weight and easy packability.  We always wore Smartwool hiking socks outside and never found them too hot even in warmer weather.  I wore fleece mittens and earmuffs instead of gloves and a hat, but those are personal preferrences.  I had a longish rain resistant jacket with a zip out lining and often didn't need the lining over the silk and wool layers.  On a December cruise on the Mediterranean in 2019, I usually wore a thin down vest under a rain jacket instead of a coat with a liner.  We had waterproof walking shoes (alternated with regular walking shoes) but didn't feel that waterproofing was really necessary on our trips. 

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Hopefully the Christmas markets will operate.  I was surprised that Oktoberfest was cancelled and hope that it is the last event to be xld in Europe in 2020. The Christmas Markets are mobbed and shoulder to shoulder (since you are from Easter. PA think way more crowded then the Bethlehem Xmas Markets)

 

If they have them I am pretty sure they will be very scaled back and probably roped off to allow for crowd control.  Funny thing is I always found that all the people at the markets were part of the fun.  That and the hot mulled wine!

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I live in a state that gets pretty cold in the winter. I have never worn long underwear or silk underwear. I see this frequently posted on Alaska boards for people coming from warmer climates. I didn't find a need for either of these on my Christmas Markets trip. I don't wear these at home when it gets below zero either. We did have some rain on ours so I was glad to have Gortex athletic shoes.

Edited by Coral
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We did the Rhine in December of 2018. We traveled the week after the drought broke and it rained a good deal . We are from Colorado and did not find it to be particularly cold even in Amsterdam where is snowed lightly. other than one day, which was actually the sunniest day we had but was quiet windy.  I was very glad for my waterproof shoes because of the all the rain we saw.  We wore layers under rain slickers the entire week-usually a long sleeve Microfiber T with a sweater over-pretty much what we would wear to the mountains on a winter day. We took silk underdrawers but never wore them. We are faPirly outdoor people and with just a few exceptions opted for out door tours inspite of the rain.  I hope you have a marvelous time! We are actually booked for a December Prague to Budapest cruise but i have xcel for any reason insurance and have only paid the deposit. Giving serious consideration to moving my deposit to a Dec 22 trip as I think international travel will still be problematic, at least for us due to professional restrictions, this year and I'm not sure the Markets will be quiet the same. We already have a family trip planned in the fall of 21.

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Layers and more layers of natural fibres. Silk socks are lovely and silk underwear I.e. long johns and tops. The added advantage of being ultra light and pretty as well. It’s what’s got me through winter camping over the years not recently though I’m a bit passed that I like my luxury that’s why I river cruise. CA

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We have do many Christmas Markets, two on river cruises. I have ankle boots I purchased in Munich one year at a shoe store that have a warm lining, add to that smart wool socks and feet are sorted. I wear a hat, scarf, gloves with a lined rain coat. Since river cruises are pretty casual, layer sweaters with silk undershirt or turtleneck, at night keep same tops and change to a black pair of pants (some people wore jeans all day and night but I like a nice pair of elastic waist pants for comfort in the evening).  In all my trips it only snowed once in Vienna, most places were mild (40's) but cold at night(30's). Enjoy

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layers of clothing that can be added or subtracted depending on temp.  Waterproof walking shoes of some sort - critical.  Packable rain gear.  warm hat.

 

It can be cold at night in some towns, but rarely snows.  

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36 minutes ago, tfred said:

layers of clothing that can be added or subtracted depending on temp.  Waterproof walking shoes of some sort - critical.  Packable rain gear.  warm hat.

 

It can be cold at night in some towns, but rarely snows.  

We had snow. And there was evidence of snow in some of our ports before we got there. I guess I am surprised that it "rarely snows"

 

Vienna averages 6" of snow in December and 3" in November.

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32 minutes ago, Coral said:

We had snow. And there was evidence of snow in some of our ports before we got there. I guess I am surprised that it "rarely snows"

 

Vienna averages 6" of snow in December and 3" in November.

we have been there 3 times in November and December .  It may snow, but it isn't going to be a Dr Zhivago experience on a sleigh - except at higher elevations.  If it snows, it is generally dusting plus and then melts. 

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