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
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 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
- Read all you need about Winter in Amsterdam
- Visit the Amsterdam Light Festival
- Follow the footsteps of Rembrandt in Amsterdam
- Visit the Van Gogh Museum behind the scenes
- Take a winter walk in Amsterdam
- Plan your trip using my Alternative guide to Amsterdam
Valkenburg Christmas Market
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
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.
- Maastricht is about 2.5 hours by direct train from Amsterdam. So it’s really easy to get to, yet it deserves more than just a day trip. In my article Maastricht: where to shop, eat and sleep, I tell you about the best places to visit.
- But if you’re pressed for time, just read my guide to One day in Maastricht, a 24-hour guide.
Utrecht Christmas Market
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
- The ultimate craft beer guide to Utrecht
- Discover Utrecht by foot, bike and boat
- Utrecht: inside Rietveld-Schröder house
- Caravaggio inspired street art in Utrecht
Leiden Christmas Market
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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