There are tons of incredible things to do this Christmas in Amsterdam. As the Amsterdam Light Festival illuminates the city, you can make your way through the markets, eating as you go and enjoying all of the experiences that this festive season has to offer.
1. Check out the Christmas markets
Amsterdam’s Christmas markets are back in full force this year, post-pandemic. Whether you’re looking for something relaxed like Pure Markt at Park Frankendael, something artsy like the Funky Xmas market or the colossal Winter Paradise, there’s something to suit everybody.
Visiting the markets really is one of the best things to do at Christmas in Amsterdam, especially if you’re into food. It’s the best excuse to eat your weight in stroopwafels.
2. Travel further afield for your Christmas market fix
Let’s face it, the Netherlands is tiny. It takes next to no time to travel to a different city, and it’s well worth it if you’re visiting a Christmas market once you get there.
There are tons of fantastic Christmas markets not far from Amsterdam, including one that floats directly on a canal and another in a literal cave. So, once you’re done sampling Amsterdam’s Christmas spirit, you’ll find more just a stone’s throw away.
3. Marvel at Amsterdam Light Festival
This year marks the eleventh Amsterdam Light Festival and it’s truly spectacular! This year’s theme is Imagine Beyond and it will run until January 22, open between 5 pm – 11 pm every day.
Talented artists have created beautiful works of art for you to gaze at, stationed on or around the canals at Amsterdam Centre East and you can choose to enjoy them either by foot or boat. Walking tickets, which provide a guide using an app, are €7.50 per person and it’s a truly unmissable experience!
4. Go ice skating
Museumplein has once again transformed into Ice Amsterdam, where you can skate right in the centre of the city. The ice rink opens between 10 am and 10 pm, Sunday to Thursday then 10 am to 11 pm Friday and Saturday and tickets are €7.50 per person.
It’s surrounded by a lovely Christmas market and, as usual, the bistro where you can find delicious food. Check out the cheese fondue for an ultra decadent treat!
5. Enjoy a delicious hot chocolate
Amsterdam has some of the best hot chocolate spots in the world (in our opinion). Right now, plenty of the best cafes and dessert parlours in Amsterdam are serving festive themed cups of warming hot chocolate and you can even grab some Christmas gifts whilst you’re there.
6. Indulge in traditional treats
One of the best things to do in Amsterdam at Christmas is to try delicious olieballen. They’re often lauded as the original doughnuts and at Christmas time Dutch residents can’t get enough of them. You’ll find them everywhere – on stalls at Christmas markets and in bakeries across the city, where you will also find appelbeignets.
By the time you’ve worked your way through this list it will be the big day itself already. Christmas time is a time when the city really comes to life and this year will be particularly special – without restrictions, lockdown or social distancing we can finally come together properly for the festive season.