Christmas in Holland

If you want to do something different this Christmas, take Stena Line’s ferry to Holland to explore both the famous and lesser known Dutch Christmas Markets – with no luggage restrictions, you can take back as many presents as you like!


Winterland Maastricht 

Winterland Maastricht has a lively festive atmosphere. For six weeks, the Vrijthof in Maastricht will change into a festive square, with a Christmas Market, an ice-rink, a Ferris wheel, a carousel and a variety of other seasonal attractions.

Browse over 50 stalls for seasonal food and drink, such as oliebollen, poffertjes and Gluhwein. So whether you’re looking for exciting Christmas gift ideas or traditional Dutch Christmas fare, Winterland Maastricht is sure to grant you your Christmas wishes.
Christmas Market Fluweelengrot in Valkenburg

The international Christmas Market Fluweelengrot (Velvet Cave) in Valkenburg is the most anticipated annual Christmas event in Holland. Constructed around a distinctly fairy-tale like theme, “Christmas around the world”, it presents Christmas scenes from various spots around the globe.

The caves where the Christmas Market Fluweelengrot is set lend the event a wonderful atmosphere, harking back to ancient legends of Valkenburg’s legendary history. A walking tour through the market will lead visitors to an illuminated Christmas Cave, in which they’ll find an impressive 18th century chapel.

Dordrecht Christmas market

Dordrecht is only a 45 minute drive from the Hook of Holland and with over 300 stalls, it has Holland’s largest Christmas market. The entire historic city centre is decorated and the gardens of the Grote Kerk (Large Church) are transformed with Christmas trees and a manger.  There are also musical acts to entertain the crowds as well a traditional nativity scene

Head to Holland with Stena Line from £79 one way, and no restrictions on Christmas shopping…

Categories: Shopping | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amsterdam shopping guide

This week we have invited Ashley Howe from Amsterdam Blog to contribute some of her local knowledge.

“If you’re on your way to Amsterdam to shop until you drop but don’t where to start, then this shopping guide will help you find your way around, whatever your budget.

De 9 Straatjes (The 9 Streets) is one of my favourite shopping areas in Amsterdam. Full of boutique shops, you can also find a lot of vintage clothes shops here. Situated in the Jordaan area of Amsterdam, near the Westerkerk, there are also plenty of places that you can grab a bite to eat. My favourite shops include LOMO, a store dedicated to Lomography, Pompadour for delicious chocolate, Spiegelbeeld for their designer vintage clothing and Episode for second hand clothes.

How to get there: It is a short walk from the Westerkerk. Trams 13, 14 and 17 all stop at Westermarkt.

De Bijenkorf is a huge department store, selling hundreds of different items from women’s clothing through to books and electronics. It is more expensive than the high street stores, but you can find some really nice things in here. On the top floor there is a cafe which sells great food at a reasonable price.
How to get there: The Bijenkorf is on Dam Square near the monument.

If it’s high street names that you are looking for then head to the Kalverstraat. With shops like River Island, Zara and Marks and Spencer there is bound to be something here that you will like. My favourites include Cheese & More where you can try before you buy, Lush for it’s delicious cosmetics, and the Store for Brands, which is a pop-up concept and every few weeks (depending on who is in the pop-up) the shop changes to something different.
How to get there: The Kalverstraat is just off from Dam Square and is really easy to find

Haarlemmerdijk and Haarlemmerstraat were voted the best shopping streets in 2011, and 2012 and you can see why. Firstly there are some really pretty buildings on both of these streets. Secondly there are a lot of independent retailers and speciality stores, from fashion to delcatessens, these two streets have it all. Some of my favourites on the Haarlemmerdijk include Store Without a Home , an independent design boutique and Papa Bubble – the BEST place for buying sweets (and you can watch how they make them at the back of the shop). My favourites on the Haarlemmerstraat are Het Grote Avontuur, which sells a mixture of vintage, new and hand-made items and is great for gift-hunting, and Stout, a small cafe restarant with a cosy atmosphere.
How to get there: It is a short walk away from Central station. The Haarlemmerstraat leads onto the Haarlemmerdijk.

P.C Hoofdstraat and Van Baerlestraat are the places for high-end designer shops including Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Gucci and Chanel. If you’ve got some money burning a hole in your pocket, this is the perfect place to spend it. The P.C Hoofdstraat is one of the most exclusive shopping streets in the Netherlands, and combined with the Van Baerlestraat, it is certainly a place to be seen flashing your cash.
How to get there: Trams 3 and 12 stop off at Van Baerlestraat. The P.C Hoofdstraat is just a short walk away.


Utrechtsestraat is another street that is full of boutiques and independent shops, which starts at Rembrandtplein and ends at Frederiksplein. Don’t miss Pata Negra for their delicious tapas.
How to get there: Get the tram to Rembrandtplein and it’s just a short walk away.”

Ashley can be found blogging about Amsterdam at, or you can follow her on Twitter at @amsterdam_blog

If you’re heading to Amsterdam, why not head with Stena Line? Taking your car or our Dutchflyer service means you can shop ‘til you drop without worrying about luggage allowance!


Categories: Amsterdam, Budget travel, Ferry good ideas, Fun facts, Shopping | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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