Don’t let the mashup of “solo” and “Christmas” fool you—solo travelers certainly won’t be spending Christmas alone on our Christmas market tours! These Yuletide fetes are the best places to travel alone on tour with us if you want to get into the holiday spirit alongside like-minded travelers. There are shared feasts with new friends, glasses of mulled wine galore, and moments of awe that are all for you. Here are a handful of reasons why all solo travelers should visit Europe’s Christmas markets on our guided tours.
Amsterdam, Prague, Innsbruck, Berlin, Copenhagen—it seems every European city has its own handful of Christmas markets, and there’s something special about each one. With so much variety, it can be hard to know which markets to visit, and where to go once you’ve arrived. That’s where our experts come in.
“I had such an incredible time on this trip!” said solo traveler Lindsay, who saw it all on our Christmas Markets of Germany, Switzerland & Austria tour. “This Christmas markets tour was my first experience outside of the country, and Go Ahead made it SO EASY! Jumping from country to country, there was so much to do and see, and everywhere we went was fantastic. The Christmas markets were beautiful and lively, full of irresistible food and Christmas gifts, and in some places it seemed like there was a new Christmas market around every corner!”
Even travelers who don’t go solo can appreciate how our experts get you from point A to point B at these glittering events. “Go Ahead offers such a huge variety of European Christmas market tours,” said traveler Barbara, who’s been on—count ‘em—four Christmas market tours with us. “So many European countries and cities celebrate the Christmas season in brilliant outdoor venues, and Go Ahead deftly manages to visit an enormous amount of them within even just one tour.”
The markets are most definitely the best Christmas destinations for solo travelers, but it can be tricky to know where to go during free time due to all the excitement. There will be so many festivities, pop-up stalls, and holiday revelers mulling about. But, your expert Tour Director is there every step of the way, with tips and tricks for skipping past the crowds and into your own moments of holiday wonder during free time.
“My Tour Director, Ildi, was phenomenal and was always available to help point me in the right direction when I was going somewhere alone,” said solo traveler Cassandra after her Christmas Markets of Budapest, Vienna & Prague tour. This is important to me since I am a young woman (in my 20s) traveling in a foreign country. It is helpful to have someone to point me in the right direction so I’m not wandering the streets for hours trying to get somewhere.”
Traveler Barbara has also managed to uncover her own favorite memories amidst all the holiday happenings on her Christmas market tours. “It’s always about the hustle and bustle, the excitement in the air, the dazzling decorations, the festive music, the delicious food and drink, the fun of walking from stall to stall admiring an immense amount of crafts and wares for sale, seeing whole families out and about celebrating the season,” she said. “I’ve attended many a Christmas concert in venues like cathedrals, museums, castles, and country manors with Go Ahead. Same for wine tastings and dinners.”
Wondering what to do on Christmas alone? Make new friends, of course! The Christmas markets are some of the best places to travel alone as a solo traveler because the spirit of the season will bring your group together. There’s something so special about making merry with brand-new friends who are just as captivated by all the festivities, and who love travel just as much as you. That’s why of all the best places to travel solo, Europe’s Christmas markets top the list.
“Being a solo traveler, I felt very lucky to have made friends among my fellow travelers who wanted to spend time with me,” said traveler Anne after returning from her Christmas Markets of Budapest, Vienna & Prague tour. “The local tour guides were very well-chosen, and so was Alex, our knowledgable Go Ahead guide.”
Even better than making friends on tour? Staying friends once you return home, and seeing the world together on future trips! “On my very first Go Ahead Christmas market tour, my sister and I became friends with a few fellow travelers and toured Christmas markets again with them in subsequent years,” said traveler Barbara. Talk about a full-circle moment.
The holiday season and large meals shared with friends and loved ones go hand-in-hand—and traveling solo on our Christmas market tours doesn’t mean you have to give that up. You’ll never eat alone (unless you want to!). “The six included dinners were perfect,” said traveler Merle after his Christmas Markets of Germany, Switzerland & Austria tour. “I liked the idea of having dinner with the entire tour group whenever we stopped in a new town. The hotels were nice, clean and comfortable. Some hotels had tiers of Christmas cookies for hotel guests, which were absolutely scrumptious!”
Solo traveler Jill also loved the option to share meals, and then to find her own eats when she felt like it. “This was my first trip with Go Ahead and my first time travelling on my own (female in my 30s), so I was pretty nervous, but everything was great from start to finish!” she said after her Christmas Markets of Germany, Switzerland & Austria tour. “Everything was well organized, the group was great and I loved travelling on my own. … I liked having group dinners in all the new cities, but also that we had flexibility to organize our own thing other nights.”
There’s no better spot to pick up holiday souvenirs for friends and family than Europe’s Christmas markets—and on a Christmas solo trip, there won’t be any curious peeking at all your surprises! You’ll find everything twinkly, musical, hand carved, and sweet at these festive events, so we suggest saving some room in your suitcase for all the goodies you bring home.
“If you like shopping, then the Christmas markets tour is for you,” said traveler Suzanne after her Christmas Markets of Budapest, Vienna & Prague tour. “What a great way to get in the holiday spirit and see some amazing cities all in one trip!” Traveler Barbara was right there with her. “My favorite souvenirs are usually of the edible sort,” she said. “I LOVE gingerbread, stollen, sausages, Glühwein, chestnuts. I love to browse in the local grocery and department stores, where I can always find simple and uniquely European Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and cards and bring them home to my friends, kids, and grandkids.
Plus, who doesn’t love Christmas shopping where the scenery is just as exciting as the gifts? “Going to the Christmas markets was always fun and truly a unique experience,” said traveler Lynda after her Christmas Markets of Germany, Switzerland & Austria tour. “Many Christmas gifts were purchased. The snow that fell on the trip made it feel like I was in a snow globe. Magical and beautiful!!”
Okay, we’re saying this with a laugh—you can dig in just as much as your heart desires even when you’re traveling with a group of friends and family, of course. And you won’t get any judgement from us when it comes to holiday snacking (we’ll be snacking right alongside you!). All we’re saying is that you can stall-hop through the Christmas markets tasting everything in sight, and nobody will be counting how many holiday cookies or glasses of mulled wine you’ve had.
“I drank mulled wine almost every day—served in a lovely ceramic mug that is unique to each city—and enjoyed fresh gingerbread, a variety of sausages, and roasted chestnuts,” said traveler Missy of her Christmas Markets of Germany, Switzerland & Austria tour. “My favorite excursion was dinner and the Mozart concert in a former abbey. It was beautifully decorated and a most memorable evening. In fact, every aspect of this trip was well-planned and went like clockwork. We waited for nothing. I really like being catered to and Go-Ahead always satisfies.”
The Yuletide markets are the shining star of our Christmas market tours, of course. But, the countries you’ll visit are full of their own year-round wonder, too, and your Tour Director will be there every step of the way to help you soak it all in.
“This was my first Go Ahead tour and it was a blast!” said solo traveler Rebekah after her Christmas Markets of Historic Germany tour. “I am so glad that I was able to enjoy the beautiful Christmas markets, the many gorgeous cities and towns, and the unforgettable countryside! It was a great mix of history AND fun! The tour guide, Paula, was fun and professional and took great care of us all from the moment we landed to the moment we left. Thank you Go Ahead for making my first trip abroad a memorable one!”
Solo traveler Rebekah striking a festive pose on her Christmas Markets of Historic Germany tour