Amsterdam is a fun-packed city to visit in December. Bursting with wintry festivities, these are our picks of the top 8 things to do in the Dutch capital, sure to get you into the Christmas spirit…
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1 ALL OF THE LIGHTS, ALL OF THE LIGHTS
Don’t miss Amsterdam’s most lit winter festival. The Amsterdam Light Festival is back again from the 30 November 2017 until 21 January 2018. See the amazing artistic light displays illuminating the city streets, guaranteed to make you feel festive and warm inside.
Dotted across the city, see if you can spot some of the magical light installations and sculptures. To experience the festival in the best way possible, there are two specific routes you can take to follow the trail of lights. One perfect vantage point is from the water with a Canal cruise, and the other is back on solid land at the Marineterrein Amsterdam.
2 WRAP UP WARM AT THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS
To get your festive fix of glühwein (and to weigh down your tummy with sugary treats), head to Amsterdam’s magical Christmas Markets. The main markets can be found on the city’s main squares:
Amsterdamse Winterparade in Amsterdam RAI
There are several other markets sprawled over the city to test out. Wander the different stalls, buy a trinket or two, warm up with a hot chocolate and soak up the bustling atmosphere.
3 DANCING ON THE ICE
Ice Village on Museumplein boasts a glistening ice rink this year. While you glide away on the ice, enjoy the stunning backdrop that is the Rijksmuseum. For 10 euros (price includes skate gear) you can enjoy the ice for 2 hours. Museumplein has transformed into a winter wonderland for 2017, so once you’re off your skates fuel up on traditional Dutch grub, or wander the festive stalls.
You can also skate away to your heart's content at the ice rinks located at Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein.
4 CATCH A CHRISTMAS PERFORMANCE
Fancy an evening at the ballet? The RAI Theater in Amsterdam will host the biggest Swan Lake Ballet this December. And what’s more festive than Swan Lake, a Christmas classic?
You can also catch Sleeping Beauty, ABBA Gold or Disney on Ice.
5 TAKE A WINTER WALK IN VONDELPARK
Kattenlaan 13, 1054 KA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Vondelpark is beautiful at all times of the year; but particularly during the winter months where it’s peaceful and more quiet due to the off-season. Take a winter bike ride amidst the giant trees - or better yet, take part in some winter tennis!
The illuminated weatherproof tennis courts are waiting for sports lovers who aren’t afraid of winter's chill.
6 STUFF YOUR FACE WITH DUTCH CHRISTMAS FOOD
One of the best things about travelling Europe in December is that you get to try all kinds of traditional . There are way too many delicious Dutch wintry treats to sink your teeth into in Amsterdam.
Olieballen - Locals love these raisin studded, deep fried dough balls topped with a dusting of powdered sugar. Appelbeignets - Dutch apple fritters are a firm favourite at Christmas and can easily be found all over the Christmas markets. Poffertjes - these are teeny tiny pancakes sold from street vendors and smothered in melted butter and powdered sugar. Chocolat Letters - buy one as a gift for a loved one (or yourself, that’s perfectly acceptable too) Hot Chocamel - who doesn’t love a delicious hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day? Chocamel is a popular Dutch brand that you’ll see being sold in most cafes. Fondue - nothing beats gooey, molten cheese with bread and a glass of red on a winter’s evening.
You can find these Christmas delicacies sold at street stalls and Christmas markets all over Amsterdam. Our mouths are watering already...
7 ADMIRE THE DAM SQUARE CHRISTMAS TREE
The elaborate 20m tree on Dam Square is truly impressive. Towering high, this tree has been decorated by 4km of Christmas lights. That’s 4000 METRES. Aka the size of the some of the world’s highest mountaintops.
Placed outside the Royal Palace, the tree, grown in the German Ardennes, gleams with energy-saving LED fairy lights. Dam Square in general will definitely get you feeling Christmassy, adorned with lights and a festive atmosphere.
8 A SPOT OF CHRISTMAS SHOPPING
Nine Streets (Negen Straatjes) is the place to head for your Christmas shopping. This is the prime shopping spot in Amsterdam where boutiques and clothing shops line the city’s 3 main canals.
Full of shops from designer stores to chain brands, try not to go to crazy with your euros. The list of shopping opportunities are endless as there are a total of 9 streets to explore after all (we hope you have a big wallet).