Sailing to a Dutch Winter Wonderland!

christmas winter | No comments

One of the best times of the year to visit The Netherlands is of course Christmas. Generally, there tends to be fewer tourists which makes visiting the Christmas Markets, museums and galleries a much more relaxing experience. If visiting a loved one who lives locally, it is truly magical taking winter walks around the countryside, towns and cities.

We’ve got some great tips to get you through the festive month and into the new year!

Even if you’ve been a million times and are very familiar with local events the winter season and Christmas can be experienced in more ways than you know, the different places to visit and hidden spots are endless from the assortment of Christmas markets, Dickens festival, shopping, the locals sounding the horns Amsterdam, the light festival or Scheveningen for New Year’s. If you’ve missed the Christmas boat, well winter doesn’t end there, there’s great things to do in the months of January and February!

Our top picks

The Hague is located just under a 40-minute drive from the Hook of Holland, this medieval city has the beautiful Royal Palace’s and courts, not to forget it’s the home of Vermeer’s the Girl with the Pearl Earring painting! This is perfect for adults and children, after enjoying a bit of sightseeing, make a pitstop for something to eat at The Penthouse, a famous Dutch restaurant and try the local dishes like scallops in a white chocolate and bacon sauce. For families driving from the Port, The Hague’s Scheveningen waterfront resort located on the coast is perfect for the kids – There are other great hotels and resorts in the area for families and couples for a Merry Christmas in this beautiful city and to continue the celebrations into the New Year with events like the Scheveningen New Year’s Dive, music nights and day trips to the museums.

The Hague is a good mix of authentic local experience and tourist attractions from the palaces to great hidden cycle routes and winter beach activities, when you book local accommodation there will be plenty of information to help you get around the area. Discover Hotels>

Amsterdam, visiting this famous popular city-destination during winter is ideal, during spring-summer you’ll see huge crowds of tourists, though it’s still a popular tourist destination during winter it is less crowded and gives you more room to enjoy some of the busier attractions during quieter tourist months from December up until March for an authentic Dutch experience. The canals and waterways during winter when the temperature drops turn into the perfect skating surface, you can skate your way along the canals and take in the scenes instead of taking a boat ride, cycling or a bus tour.

For New Year’s there are the usual exciting activities from lovely evenings at the restaurants, music events, shows and clubs, if you buy your tickets in advance for club and show entries you could save on the cost of tickets. For a family friendly night there are loads of great restaurants and small venues to suit kids and adults as well as fireworks displays, the city has loads of safety measures like a first aid post at Dam Square and local law enforcement presences so you feel more secure walking down some of the more infamous spots with loved ones.

Rotterdam is an all year-round destination, it’s beautiful architecture like the Erasmus bridge and Overblaak Development is perfect too look at on a sunny backdrop or a snowy day.

December is an extra special month to visit Rotterdam, it’s jam-packed with lots of fun activities and events around Christmas. Coolsingel, Rotterdam’s main street is beautifully decorated and light up so if you haven’t already booked a trip for this Christmas you could save your trip for Valentine’s Day and enjoy the enchanting illuminated city.

Sales in most shops in Rotterdam city centre start before Christmas and you will be able to catch some of the sales in January. The Winter fair at the Ahoy venue is the best place to get into the Christmas mood, while you’re there why not take the Waterbus to the historical town Dordrecht to visit the biggest Dutch Christmas market!

Rotterdam’s clubs and bars tend to all host special Christmas parties on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as well as the New Year, Valentine’s Day and more. Visiting Rotterdam in the New Year doesn’t mean there will be less things to do, it’s like any other major cities that doesn’t sleep with a whole host of events and a good nightlife, the best part about it is you get all the perks of cities like Amsterdam without the price tag, so why not save your trip for the end of winter as the spring starts to sprout?

Don’t forget to check out some of these cool bars – De Witte Aap: Dark-wooden corner bar, De Witte Aap (The White Monkey) on Witte de Withstraat. Café LaBru: LaBru is a huge attraction with the hipster crowd. There are bars, restaurants, clubs as well as something for the family like the famous zoo (Diergaarde Blijdorp), stroopwafel-making and the famous cube houses. Rotterdam is also perfectly so that you can escape the city and enjoy windmills, beautiful parks, canals for a bit of nature like Kinderdijk, Zuiderpark, Museumpark and Kralingse Bos.

About your trip…

Make your sailing more comfortable by booking a night crossing,

sleep onboard in an ultra-comfy cabin and wake up feeling refreshed in Holland. Onboard services >
From there you can drive direct to several destinations. Car + driver fr. £59>
If you decide to travel as a foot passenger why not try our Rail & Sail fare >