A special one in the south: Magical Maastricht Christmas market
Maastricht is a beautiful place to visit all year round. But at Christmas, the festive fun makes the place extra stunning. The market is open daily from November 29th to December 31st, making it one of the earlier markets to open. Visit this market for typical festive food and drinks and to see the beautiful items on display in the shopping stalls.
- TIP: If you’re coming from afar, book your hotel ASAP. The city can get very busy this time of year.
The Underground one: The Kerstmarkten in Valkenburg
This market is particularly unique because it takes place under the ground! Passageways under the town connect the Municipal Cave and Velvet Cave and are filled with beautiful stands, food markets and displays. So that means that even when it’s cold outside, you can enjoy the fun of the market. You can explore the enchanting market at Valkenburg from 16th November to the 6th of January.
- TIP: Valkenburg is close to Maastricht so if you want to double up on Christmas markets, stay somewhere between the two and head to both in one day!
The one for literary-lovers: The Christmas market and Dickens festival in Deventer
If you’re a book lover (and in particular a fan of Charles Dickens), combine your Christmas market day-out with a trip to the Dickens Festival in Deventer. The Hanseatic city brings more than 950 characters from the author’s famous victorian-era books to life. So you can celebrate some literary genius and follow it all up with a wander around a Christmas market. To combine your market trip with the festival you should visit on either the 15th or 16th December.
- TIP: Get there early as waiting time can be as long as an hour and a half!
The one on the water: Leiden’s Floating Christmas Market
From the 13th - 24th December, Leiden’s canals are covered over and a Christmas market takes their place. Walk on top of the water and have a wander around this pretty little market in the heart of the town. You’ll see 75 chalets of merchandise and can even ice skate on top of the canals.
- TIP: Aim to visit on a weekday if possible, weekends can be overcrowded.
The big one: Winter Village in Amstelveen
If you’re looking to step into a large winter wonderland, look no further than Amstelveen, a town to the south of the capital city. The market is filled with stalls, has an ice skating rink and is the perfect place to do a spot of Christmas gift shopping, followed by some Christmas food eating and drinking.
- TIP: Try some traditional winter foods such as cheese fondue, stamppot or apple strudel at the rink-side pop-up restaurant.
The one for shopping: Winter Fair Ahoy in Rotterdam
If you’re running low on Christmas gift inspiration, this indoor festival in Rotterdam is the place to go. The merchants here sell a wacky combination of products from Christmas lights to massage pillows. The fair has workshops, a fashion show and even hosts games of winter bingo! So if you don’t fancy a day wandering around outside in the cold, head to Rotterdam to check it out.
- TIP: Unlike many of the markets, this one is not free. So be prepared to pay 11 euros at the door.
The historic one: Christmas market in Dordrecht
To soak up some Dutch culture and history, head to Dordrecht for your seasonal fun. The town sits just outside of Rotterdam and is famous for its old architecture and rich culture. The market it hosts is no different. You can come here to watch silversmiths create beautiful jewellery, taste freshly baked bread and view the living Nativity scene. You could even join in on the Christmas carols and truly get into the festive spirit.
- TIP: This market is only open from the 14th to the 16th of December - so visit while you can!
The living fairytale: Castle Christmas Fair at the Beeckestijn Country Estate
Thanks to its location right next to a castle, this Christmas fair in Velsen-Zuid is truly straight out of a fairytale - especially when it snows! It’s considered to be the leading Christmas and lifestyle fair in Holland. No doubt, thanks to its historic setting. The Castle Christmas Fair hosts around 20,000 visitors who come to enjoy the Christmas bazaar and programme which features delicious foods, shows and live performances that take place throughout the day.
- TIP: Buy tickets ahead of time on the Castle Fair website.