Have you ever dreamed of ice skating through Amsterdam, enjoying classical music performances or seeing the Amsterdam Light Festival? In the spirit of Christmas and the magic this holiday brings with it you can do all that and so much more, including visiting Amsterdam's famous museums to get a dose of culture.
The Christmas spirit is reborn in this beautiful city on the 16th of November. Dam Square is illuminated along with fireworks and a show of acrobatics. Following the "Turn on the Lights" event is no other than the infamous Amsterdam Light Festival from the 30th of November till the 21st of January. Amsterdam's streets, squares, and canals as well light up to bring the magic of Christmas in the city. Sculptures, projections and art installations illuminate the city with the festive walking route taking you through all the amazing artwork. And the best part? It is free of charge! You can admire all this beauty and take a couple of pictures along the way for free! Of course, there are more ways to enjoy the Light Festival, including a romantic canal cruise of 75 minutes starting from €21,50!
After lighting up the city is time to light up a Christmas tree!! On the 8th of December, children, adults and elder people crowd Dam Square to whiteness that magic moment when the lights of the enormous Christmas tree are turned on, accompanied by Christmas carols and of course tasty food!!
While a huge Christmas tree is pretty much all you need to get you excited and into your Christmas spirit, it wouldn't be complete without Christmas markets. From the 17th till the 30th of December, the Amsterdam Museum Square is dressed in its finest as it welcomes people from all over the world to celebrate Christmas. To transform the square into a Christmas Village they turn the pond into an ice rink and give people the chance to try some of the most popular Dutch winter sports. To take things to the next level, they even include a mini version of the Skinny Bridge! But of course, they don't stop there. All around the pond, they set up a Christmas market filled with stalls. The stalls offer Christmas gifts, souvenirs and Christmas treats from not only the Netherlands but also from Germany and Belgium.
If you are a Christmas Market enthusiasm and the Netherlands is on the list for Christmas destinations then Dordrecht is a must! There you can visit the largest Christmas market in the Netherlands. While it is big; 200 stalls, it doesn't last for long, this year it takes place from the 15th of December till the 17th of December. Cozy, large, enchanting and festive are some of the ways to describe it. Fill your stomach with tasty Christmas treats, stuff your hands with gifts for your loved once, dance your heart out on the ice rink, and enjoy yourselves with the live entertainment!! With a route of 2,5km leading through the historic city center, it is a happening not to be missed!
Known as not only the largest and oldest underground Christmas market in Europe bus also as the most visited one, the 32nd Christmas market Municipal Cave is sure to amaze you! Set up in a labyrinth of passages of caves beautifully decorated, with a room full of presents and Santa's reindeer sleigh. What's more magical is the fact that your ride there is a special Christmas Express train, running regularly between Simpelveld and Valkenburg. Opening up its doors from the 17th of November till the 23rd of December, this is a once in a lifetime experience!
Copenhagen in Christmas shines as bright as ever. The gorgeously illuminated streets awaken the Christmas spirit, accompanied by Christmas markets to complete the magical and festive atmosphere. Every year Tivoli Gardens amusement park, the second oldest amusement park on the planet turns into a spectacle! Christmas light displays, wooden stalls, a Christmas carnival, a light show over Tivoli Lake an ice palace and exciting rides make up a proper winter wonderland!
With lots of options to choose from how will you spend your Christmas? Maybe take a stroll along the district of Nyhavn, admire the spectacular decorations, visit the Christiania Christmas market or take part in the Royal Christmas table tradition of Copenhagen. It is a 50-year-old tradition, with six designer Christmas tables, each holding its own history and importance. Or maybe walk along an illuminated Stroget, the longest pedestrian shopping street, or enjoy a horse-carriage ride around Kronborg Castle and wander around the Nyhavn canal! Choices, choices, I wonder if I could ever choose just one of them!
If you happen to be at Copenhagen during the Christmas holidays, don't forget to try an Aebleskiver. It is a traditional Danish pancake ball, filled up with applesauce; a delicious treat for Advent!
Christmas in Russia is celebrated in January, on the 6th and 7th, based on the Julian calendar. During this time, in Izmailovo Park, they hold the Russian Winter Festival. Christmas in Russia can be an epic adventure! From a two-hour boat cruise down the Moscow River, while not only admiring the beauty of Moscow dressed in its winter cloak but also enjoy a tasty lunch or dinner. It can also be a unique experience, as you will be left spellbound by the ice sculptures –part of the Winter Festival -. Such beauty comes with a price, of 350 rubles to be exact. Opened daily from 11 am to 8 pm, the ice sculpture museum is ready to amaze you! Keep in mind to wear something warm, you don't want to freeze, the sculptures are maintained at –10 degrees Celsius!!
Have we managed to help narrow down your Christmas destination?
Emily from StayPlanet