Have you ever been to Amsterdam?
We love almost everything about our city: the culture, the friendly natives and the fact that there is so much to do that you could visit a new place every day for a whole year without repeating! It may be tempting to book your trip to our gorgeous city in the summer months, but winter is actually the best time to visit if you can brave the cold.
Visiting Amsterdam? Next to lodging at a comfortable serviced apartment in Amsterdam, here are some of our favourite Winter activities you shouldn’t miss.
1. Catch the Amsterdam Light Festival
The annual Amsterdam Winter Light Festival is one of the best times of the year. The city turns into a cosy, festive outdoor art gallery with light installations popping up all over, from walls and buildings to the inside of the canals!
The festival takes place from November 28 to January 19 and is free for all to enjoy. You can enjoy the art on foot, by bike or by taking a cosy boat tour with a guide talking you through the many installations and artworks and their meaning. Best of all, they serve delicious hot chocolate and mulled wine on board!
2. Enjoy canal walks and cruises
Speaking of canals, one of the best things to do in Amsterdam is simply wandering around our gorgeous canals and enjoy the scenery. Enjoy getting lost in the maze of bridges that look exactly the same as each other, wonder what it’s really like to live on a houseboat and marvel at just how many people ride bikes in Amsterdam!
There are a huge number of canal cruises available too if you don’t want to brave the cold. You’ll find many cafes, coffee shops, bars and shops selling all sorts along the way. It doesn’t happen often but if the weather is cold enough, sometimes you can even skate on the frozen canals.
3. Savor hearty and filling Dutch Cuisine
Hearty, filling and exactly what you need on a cold winter’s day, Dutch food was made for cooler weather. You’ll find many warming dishes you may not have heard of before in the traditional cafes and restaurants dotted across the city, from stamppot (traditional Dutch mashed potatoes) to snert (thick pea and ham soup) and everything in between.
One of the festive delicacies that we only see in winter are delicious Oliebollen. These doughnut type treats are served hot, sprinkled in sugar from a nondescript vendor on the street and are absolutely delicious.
4. Don’t miss the National Tulip Day
Each year, on the third Saturday of January, we celebrate our national flower, the tulip. The colourful flower is grown in its millions here in The Netherlands and is one of the brightest and most colourful indicators of the arrival of Spring.
Each year Dam Square is filled with approximately 200,000 beautiful tulips and everyone is invited to pick a bunch of tulips for free from a specially constructed ‘picking garden’. It has been happening since 2012 and has become a national pastime, celebrating the beginning of Tulip Season. It also gives you the opportunity to take some fantastic colourful pictures if you can’t make it to the real tulip fields.
Amsterdam in the winter looks like a scene from a classic Christmas card, especially when it snows. Everything around us, from architecture to shopfronts is picture-worthy and ‘gezellig’ (a word meaning ‘cosy’ or ‘inviting’ that encompasses our warm Dutch culture). You’ll also enjoy many of our usual attractions without queueing as fewer people visit in the cooler months.
Author Bio: Katie McGarr is a travel buff who writes for PREMIER SUITES PLUS Amsterdam, which specializes in luxury, full-suite serviced apartments in Amsterdam. This frugal young lady believes that traveling shouldn’t be expensive. She loves sharing money-saving hacks on lodging, traveling, and dining.