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Amsterdam in winter - Top 5 Things to See & Do

Chris Butler October 31st, 2018 2,611 views

Amsterdam is a city that needs no introduction. The Dutch capital is a European heavyweight travel destination, offering visitors an eclectic mix of attractions for every kind of personality. From the city's world-renowned museums and art galleries, its beautiful scenery, famous cafes and well…some other things, there’s plenty to see and do all year round. However, the festive period is a particularly special time to visit Amsterdam, here’s why…

Amsterdam Light Festival

The 7th annual open air Amsterdam Light Festival begins at the end of November, showcasing 30 installations throughout the city by artists, designers and architects from across the globe. Last year saw work on display from renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, which was met with great acclaim from critics, locals and tourists alike. This year is destined to be no different, and captivating works will be found spread across bridges and hanging over canals throughout the city.


Christmas Markets

Along with the open air light festival, many Christmas markets will be omnipresent throughout the city at this time of year too. The Rembrandtplein market has gained a reputation as one of the best of its kind, selling a range of traditional Dutch pastries and chocolates, mulled wine, and other festive gifts. The market inevitably attracts thousands of visitors each year, and is a must-visit for all festive holiday-shoppers. Alternatively, you can head to Amsterdam-Noord, a short ferry ride north from behind the train station. Here you will find Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt, another respected market set amongst an industrial warehouse, where you're likely to find live music, great food and some festive alcoholic beverages!

Ice Skating

Earlier this year, the weather in Amsterdam was so cold the canals froze over. This naturally led to locals dusting off their skates and heading to the iced over waterways for some scenic skating sessions. Whether the weather will be cold enough to repeat those antics in the coming winter remains to be seen, but fear not, Amsterdam has man-made ice rinks anyway! Each year at the Museumplein, you will find a fantastic family-friendly ice rink set up directly outside the Rijksmuseum - an ideal backdrop for appreciators of great architecture. Here you will also find market stalls and even an ice bar! Entry is free if you bring your own skates, or you can rent a pair for €5!


Valentine’s Day Treat

Often considered one of the most romantic cities, Amsterdam is the perfect destination to take your loved one for a cosy Valentine's treat. The beautiful setting (especially when its coated in snow) is full of charming activities to swoon your lover with. Popular ideas include romantic cruises down the old city canals and hiring a tandem bicycle to see the city in sweet dual style. You can even head to A’DAM Tower, Europe’s highest swing, which provides stunning panoramic views across the city (although it is perhaps inadvisable for those afraid of heights).

New Year’s Eve

If you’re young enough (or feel it) to make an event out of New Year’s Eve this year, spending it in Amsterdam is as good a place as any. The city comes alive with dance events, fireworks and a generally infectious atmosphere that many would say is unparalleled across Europe. For any techno heads, the Awakenings NYE bash is a safe bet if you're hoping to dance off those Christmas calories - these DJ's aren't messing around!

With thousands of package deals to Amsterdam across our site, there's no excuse not to book a trip this winter - you won't regret it! You can also head to our Instagram for more travel inspiration!

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