11 top things to do in winter in Amsterdam

 While spring and autumn are the most popular seasons for vacationing in Amsterdam, there are a plethora of perks awaiting those who visit during the winter. 

In addition to cheaper prices on everything from airfares to accommodation, winter travelers can enjoy crowd-free museums, canal skiing (if it's cold enough), and winter culinary delicacies.

Visit during December or early January to see the magic of Amsterdam glowing with festive lights, charming Christmas markets and more fresh flowers than you can count on National Tulip Day. 

Don't worry, it won't freeze. Amsterdam's temperature rarely drops below 34 degrees, even in February, and highs hover near 44 degrees. Wear two layers, and you'll be totally comfortable.

11 top things to do in winter in Amsterdam

Plan your visit to the beautiful Dutch capital with our list of the best things to do in winter in Amsterdam.

1. Be Wowed by the Amsterdam Light Festival

11 top things to do in winter in Amsterdam

If you thought the city's architecture is impressive, just wait until you see the wonderful Amsterdam Light Festival. A massive open-air fair kicks off in the city during December and January, flanked by its canals and winding streets with giant light sculptures so impressive, you'll gasp with delight.

The first festival was held in 2012 and has evolved into the much loved and highly anticipated event today. Approximately one million visitors arrive annually to enjoy the exquisite light sculptures first hand.

From a giant house of cards to life-size models of people sitting on a park bench to a display of bacteria that fight the Escherichia coli virus, visitors will be amazed at the innovative creations that light up the capital every winter. Some are even set to music.

Each year, displays vary in size and subject matter. A walking path invites guests to explore the dramas on foot, while a canal path entices them to travel by boat to marvel at the intricate performances in, around, and over the romantic waterways.

While you never know exactly what to expect at the Amsterdam Light Festival, you are sure to be mesmerized. You'll never look at festive lights the same way again.

2. Pick a Free Bouquet on National Tulip Day

11 top things to do in winter in Amsterdam

While many tulips associate them with the coming of spring, those in Amsterdam love to appreciate this delightful flower so early in the year. The third Saturday in January hosts National Tulip Day, or Nationale Tulpendag, as it is known in Dutch.

At 8 a.m., locals begin unloading their trucks and arranging over 200,000 tulips in a makeshift garden in Dam Square. 

At 1 pm, they open the garden to the public and give everyone the opportunity to pick flowers for free. Watching the setting is almost as fun as picking the flowers yourself, so arrive early.

Insider tip: Be prepared to stand in line (sometimes for an hour or more) if you're hoping to leave with flowers.

If you're craving more beauty, head to Keukenhof, a gorgeous Keukenhof castle property located just 30 minutes outside of Amsterdam. Its colorful spring flowers bloom spectacularly, but they won't open until the end of March.

3. Skate on a Canal or an Outdoor Rink

11 top things to do in winter in Amsterdam

While skating on one of Amsterdam's famous golden canals is one of the most romantic ways to get around the city, this rarely happens. 

Sections of the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals froze enough to support the skiers' weight during the "Big Freeze" in March 2018. Prior to that, the canals had not frozen in more than six years.

If you're not lucky enough to be visiting during the deep freeze, stroll around one of the city's winter ice rinks. 

ICE* Amsterdam offers outdoor skating in one of the most picturesque places: Museum Square, a great place to skate. Skiers enjoy great views of the Rijksmuseum from mid-November to March 1st.

Leidseplein also boasts an outdoor skating rink from mid-November to early January. Skates are available for rent at both the rink, as well as hot drinks and snacks, which you can enjoy before and after the session.

For a more professional experience, slip your shoes on at Jaap Eden Ijsbaan, which is open from October to March.

4. Get Inspired (and Warm) at the Museums

Get Inspired (and Warm) at the Museums

Amsterdam is home to some of the best museums in the world, which are generally crowded during high season. Winter travelers get to experience their wonderful exhibits without disturbing the crowds.

Take advantage of the relative calm and explore the unforgettable Rijksmuseum (also known as the National Museum) in the heart of picturesque Museum Square. This historic building houses a large collection of ancient and modern art and antiques.

While you're in town, don't miss the Van Gogh Museum. Art buffs will be captivated by both the building itself (a modernist creation designed by Gerrit Rietveld) and the stunning paintings by Van Gogh himself. 

Home to the largest collection of artists' works, you'll find lettering, engravings, and paintings on display.

The Anne Frank House is another must-visit. This unforgettable museum is located in Prinsengracht, in the house where the Frank family hid from the Nazis during World War II.

Inside, you'll find the hidden staircase leading to their living quarters and other things that remained as they were when Anne and her family hid here.

5. Hop aboard a Canal Cruise

Hop aboard a Canal Cruise

Dubbed the "Venice of the North", Amsterdam is perhaps best known for its romantic tree-lined canals. 

And what better way to explore the city's twinkling stars than up close and personal - on a boat trip? Book one for New Years Eve and you'll be in for an unforgettable night!

With over 100 kilometers of canals (also known as grachten) winding their way through the city, there is no shortage of places for cruises. 

However, the most popular (and touristy) canals are Prinsengracht, Herengracht and Keizergracht. Many cruises include hot chocolate to warm your fingers, although most boats are heated, so you shouldn't get too cold.

Several cruise companies (over 120 to be exact) have done a good job of taking visitors between Amsterdam's tourist attractions or just taking a tour around the waterways, pointing out architectural marvels and enlightening them about the history of the area along the way. You will have a lot of options to choose from,..

Plan your cruise during the Amsterdam Light Festival for an unforgettable trip.

6. Fill Your Belly with Classic Winter Dishes

Fill Your Belly with Classic Winter Dishes

Cozy, inviting cafés line the streets of Amsterdam, urging visitors to step out of the cold for a warm bowl of soup (Snert is a thick and hearty pea soup served with rye bread), stamppot (mashed potatoes and vegetables served with meat), fondue, or broodje (known as Also called sandwich).

Once you've finished your meal, it's time to enjoy some of the most delicious food on offer in Amsterdam. Oliebollen is the most popular winter dessert and is only available at this time of year. 

Eating delicious and fried balls of dough is a delicious and beloved New Year's tradition. They are cakes covered with powdered sugar, and sold at stalls known as oliebollenkramen, scattered all over the city.

Appeltaarts (apple pie), Dutch pancakes, and Poffertjes (a pancake-like dessert dipped in powdered sugar and butter) are also available. Wash it all down with a mug of hot chocolate, and you'll be re-energized for a day of sightseeing.

7. Shop the Boutiques along the 9 Straatjes

Shop the Boutiques along the 9 Straatjes

Engage in some retail therapy among the eclectic boutiques at Amsterdam's 9 Straatjes (also known as Nine Little Streets). 

This unique shopping district consists of nine scenic streets, which are located within the city's most prominent districts: Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. 

Each neighborhood includes three streets. Part of the fun is crossing the bridges over the canals to get to the other side.

No matter what you're looking for, you'll find it here. Every street is lined with art galleries, designer stores, cafes, restaurants, and vintage clothing stores. You'll also find jewelry stores, book stores, and flower shops. 

Also, Amsterdam wouldn't be without design stores and a host of stores selling lingerie.

Around Christmas, the streets are beautifully decorated, which adds to its picturesque appeal. Make sure to bring a camera.

8. Tour Amsterdam's Christmas Markets

Tour Amsterdam's Christmas Markets

There is no shortage of festive markets in Amsterdam in winter. Featuring handcrafted crafts, delicious sweets, and an skating rink, these markets make for a fun factor for any cold-weather Dutch holiday. 

Some of my favorites include Ice* Village Amsterdam, which surrounds the skating rink at Museum Square and features vibrant lights and dozens of vendors selling festive goods and merchandise.

In pure Amsterdam style, the traditional Sunday market in Westergasfabriek has been transformed into a one-day Funky Xmas market in mid-December. Twisted handmade goods are featured by unique sellers.

Pure Winter Markt Amsterdam is the perfect place for the eco-conscious shopper. Sustainability is the theme here, which is what makes this a rewarding place to visit. 

In addition to guilt-free gift shopping, the market—with 70 percent of its space dedicated to food vendors—features fresh, local dishes. This is a mobile market, so check their site to locate them when you are in town.

For a true Dutch experience, head to Leiden, a wonderful town about 40 minutes away, from the floating Christmas market. 

Numerous stalls and food stations are located on a floating platform on the Nieuwe Rijn, creating a majestic festive aura.

9. Step Back in Time at the Museum of Willet-Holthuysen

The Willet-Holthuysen Museum is a fine example of a historic canal house, located in Herengracht. 

The last home of Abraham Willett and Louisa Holthusen, the museum serves as a charming example of what life was like for the wealthy in Dutch society (and their employees) in the mid-19th century.

From December to early January, the house is transformed into a festive 19th-century wonderland as part of the Christmas Fair. 

The museum is decorated with ornaments and festive decor from the time of its last inhabitants. An exquisitely decorated Christmas tree, complete with unwrapped baby gifts, makes a stunning centerpiece.

Visit during the last week of December and you'll enjoy live music, including Christmas carols, and reading Christmas stories. Coffee, tea, and board games are available during these times, which will tempt you to extend your stay.

10. Catch a Performance of Wereldkerstcircus

The World Christmas Circus (also known as Wereldkerstcircus) is a much-loved tradition that has been celebrating the Amsterdam stages since it began as a solo show with circus actor Oscar Carré in 1887. Locals flock to watch this exciting performance at the Royal Theater Carré every holiday season.

Much larger and more diverse than its original show, today's Christmas Circus includes stunts featuring circus performers from all over the world. If you are used to attending Ballet The Nutcracker or performing Hands Christ to get in the holiday spirit, you will be amazed at the fun you will have this season at this entertaining event.

Hold your breath as you watch the trapeze performers fly through the air and acrobats fling themselves around the stage. Among the featured works are deniers, jugglers, clowns, and the "Italian Horse Whisper".

11. Sled, Ski, or Snow Tube at Winter Paradise

Every December, RAI and its surroundings are transformed into a wonderland of winter goodness. We're talking real snow, tube slides, skating, curling, and multiple skating rinks (indoors and outdoors).

No matter the weather, winter in Amsterdam (also known as Het Amsterdamse Winterparadijs) brings the best parts of the season to its guests. Ride the 40-meter giant Ferris wheel for a great view of the city, cross-country skiing around the Christmas trees or have a snowball fight with friends. Need a rest? Put your feet up as you enjoy a Christmas movie at the Christmas Cinema.

When you're hungry, grill marshmallows over the fire, or grab a bite from one of the pop-up restaurants or cafés.

إرسال تعليق

أحدث أقدم



نموذج الاتصال