Culture Day trips

7 Christmas markets in The Netherlands you simply must visit

Christmas markets in The Netherlands (photo credit: Marcia Dubbelaar) | Your Dutch Guide

Coming to The Netherlands in winter? It may not sound like a good idea, but trust me: it’s really the best time of year to come for a visit. In my humble opinion. Snuggle up with some hot chocolate and a stroopwafel, visit a fabulous museum and visit a Christmas market or two. I’ve listed the 7 best Christmas markets in The Netherlands for you to visit. 

Visiting Christmas markets in The Netherlands

  • Getting around The Netherlands on public transport is easy. If you buy an OV Chip Card you can use all public transport in The Netherlands. Simply charge the card as you go.
  • You can buy train tickets and check the time tables on NS Online.
  • Plan your door to door trip by pubic transport in The Netherlands on 9292ov.nl.
  • Of course, you’ll be more flexible if you just rent a car when visiting The Netherlands in winter. The roads will mostly be clear, so don’t be afraid to drive in December.
  • Check out the most fun winter festivals in The Netherlands.

Christmas markets The Netherlands

A small disclaimer about Christmas markets in The Netherlands. In Germany Christmas markets are up for the advent period, but this is not always the case in The Netherlands. Some markets are up for the whole advent period, some just for a weekend or a few weeks. I will provide the links to all Christmas markets, so you can double and triple check when these Christmas markets take place.

Haarlem Christmas Market

Haarlem Christmas Market | Your Dutch Guide

On the second weekend of December, the heart of Haarlem will turn into one of the cosiest Christmarkets in The Netherlands. You can shop, sip mulled wine and grab a bit to eat at one of the over 300 stalls scattered on and around the Grote Markt in Haarlem. All over the city, you’ll be able to enjoy choirs and beautifully lit historical monuments.

Read more about Haarlem

Amsterdam Christmas Market

Amsterdam Christmas Market | Your Dutch Guide

Amsterdam may be a little disappointing when it comes to Christmas markets. What can I say: us Dutch don’t really have a Christmas market tradition. Having said that, you don’t have to be mulled wine deprived when visiting Amsterdam in the holiday season. Hop on a tram (or a rental bike) to the Rijksmuseum where you can find a large ice ring, it’s really beautiful. During Ice*Amsterdam a whole winter village is built on Museumplein. Rent a pair of skates and swoosh over the ice and treat ourself to some hot chocolate afterwards.

Things to do in Amsterdam in winter

Valkenburg Christmas Market

Valkenburg Chistmas Market | Your Dutch Guide

A Christmas market in some ancient caves? Am I kidding you? No! From mid-December the caves of Valkenburg in the most southern tip of The Netherlands are probably turned into the most stunning Christmas markets in The Netherlands. They’re really like fairytales. The caves are filled with stalls selling handmade presents, like hats, gloves, beauty products and Christmas lights. In one of the caves, you van even see some sculptures and cave paintings. If this sounds a little claustrophobic to you, don’t worry. The Christmas market above ground is also really worth a visit.

  • It’s easy to combine a visit to the Valkenburg Christmas market with a visit to Maastricht, The Netherlands.
  • Since Valkenburg is about a 2,5 drive from Amsterdam and there are some lovely things to see and do in the south of The Netherlands I thinks staying the night is a great plan. Check out the loveliest hotels in Valkenburg around Christmastime.

Maastricht Christmas Market

Maastricht Christmas Market | Your Dutch Guide

The Maastricht Christmas market is one of the most popular Christmas markets in The Netherlands. And truth be told: Maastricht is a fantastic place to visit at any time of year, but especially so around Christmas time when the beautiful central square Vrijthof has been turned into a winter wonderland village. Kids can hang there wish in the wishing tree, you can take a spin on the ice ring or go shopping in Magic Christmas World an don’t forget to visit the most beautiful bookshop in the world, it’s set in a 13th-century church. Read all about winter in Maastricht.

Utrecht Christmas Market

Utrecht Christmas Market | Your Dutch Guide

I will do anything, yes anything, to lure you guys to Utrecht. As this is my hometown. But since it’s only 25 minutes from Amsterdam by direct train, why wouldn’t you come and visit the Utrecht Christmas market. I mean, it’s just so gezellig! The second weekend of December there is a Utrecht Christmas market in a historical windmill, you don’t want to miss that. Or visit the Country and Christmas fair the end of November in The Netherlands largest castle, a stone’s throw away from Utrecht city centre.

Read more about Utrecht

Leiden Christmas Market

Floating Leiden Christmas Market (photo credit: Visit Leiden) | Your Dutch Guide

When you say The Netherlands, you say canals. Right? So how about visiting a floating Christmas market in the Netherlands? Oh yes, you can. From the second week of December up until Christmas a real floating Christmas market arrises on the Nieuwe Rijn river. Now that’s a perfect place to order mulled wine, hot chocolate and some bratwurst. There’s even a floating ice ring! You’ll also be treated to live music.

Christmas markets in The Netherlands
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Christmas markets in The Netherlands, 7 Christmas markets in The Netherlands you should visit | Your Dutch Guide

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Allison
    October 11, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I’m always up for a good Christmas market. I love learning about all the little touches that makes each market different than the others.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    October 11, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    These look so beautiful!! I would love to visit the Netherlands during the Christmas season. Now I have even more reason to do so!

  • Reply
    Garth
    October 14, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Wow what a great list of places! I’m feeling festive already! We’ve always just gone to Germany for a Christmas market break, but you’ve now put the Netherlands on our radar!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    October 14, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    They all look wonderful! I love Christmas markets, though I of course rarely get to them. A trip to the Netherlands in December sounds like a great idea!

  • Reply
    Sharon
    October 14, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    How I would love to go to a Christmas market in Europe! Looks like Amsterdam would be my first choice in the Netherlands. Maybe someday!

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