10 Reasons to Visit Amsterdam in Winter

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer”
– Albert Camus

Exploring destinations in winter adds an inexplicable charm to the whole experience altogether. Even if you hate winters from the bottom of your heart, you can survive a day or two at a place like Amsterdam in winter. Make it a week! It won’t be the usual, comfortable, all-day sunny Amsterdam that you must have seen. Sun won’t come up before 9am and is too damn adamant to go down before 5am. The nip in the air, snowflakes in your hair… and the world? no care!

Here are the 10 reasons I give you to visit Amsterdam in winter.

10 Reasons To Visit Amsterdam in Winter

1. Snow

Amsterdam in winter

Snow blizzard!

Amsterdam in winter snow

I thought it wouldn’t snow in February in Amsterdam but it did and it did so beautifully Red heart Though we missed the snow blizzard that weekend as we were in Bruges, we did experience the soft and light snow fall that draped itself on Amsterdam in layers. The trees that once looked barren without leaves and flowers, looked as though they got a perfect makeover! I mean, I could go on and on. This is one of the perfect reason for visiting Amsterdam during winter. Amsterdam receives fair share of tourists during winter as well and especially during holiday season, so book your tickets and accommodation in advance!

2. Food

Restaurant Kamasutra Amsterdam

Restaurant Kamasutra!

Restaurant Kamasutra Red Light District

As a vegetarian, I can hardly recommend you any dish. But Dutch dishes in itself do not hold any particular place in foodie bloggers’ list as far as I have read and learnt. But there still are a couple of Dutch dishes and desserts that one must try. For example, there is a dish called Ollebollen (a dish that makes its way up only during winter). There are also loads of unique dessert options that one can try. Do I even have to mention that there is a no dearth of beverage options here? From coffee to hot chocolate, beer to wine, you crave one, you will definitely have only the fine Red heart

For Indians who are craving some Indian food (Smile with tongue out), or others who would just like to try Indian food, you have many options near Centraal Station. We really liked the one near Red Light District called as Restaurant Kamasutra Winking smile. Lovely staff and food.

3. Lights

Amsterdam in the night

Twinkling Amsterdam in the night

Amsterdam is well known for its Light Festival that happens during January of every year. The dark and dull days of winters are spent with merriment through events such as these. The lit-up-like-a-new-bride side of Amsterdam is surely a sight to be hold.

4. Ice-Skating + Europe’s highest swing

Jaap Eden Ijsbaan (icerink)

Ice Skating!

Wake up adventure-seeking souls. This won’t be yet another rant for you about snow, light, romance and magic in the air. Here are things that Amsterdam has to offer for the adventurous ones like you.

Ice-skating: A 15 minute train ride from Centraal towards East will take you to the largest ice-skating rink in Amsterdam, Jaap Eden IJsbaan (Jaap Eden ice rink). Even if you are a total newbie and haven’t stepped on ice ever, you could still give it a try like we did. If you are an amateur, you shouldn’t even step into the main rink where skaters will be going at an ungodly speed! There will be a training rink beside where you can practice around. At Jaap Eden, there were walkers for initial acclimatization as well. On one of the colder nights in Amsterdam, your nose might turn crimson, but the experience will be etched clear as ice in your mind.

Jaap Eden Ijsbaan (Icerink)

The gang!

Entrance fee (for adults): EUR 6.6
Skates rental: EUR 6 (A valid ID – like a driver’s license – is mandatory)

Swinging on Europe’s highest swing: Amsterdam-Noord is the proud host to the Europe’s highest swing at over 100m perched atop ADAM’s lookout. A must-do for that adrenaline rush with harsh cold winds slapping your face. It even rained while we were there.

Entrance fee: EUR 12.5 for entrance + EUR 5 for the swing ride.

Skating: All skating enthusiasts should check out Friday Night Skate held every Friday throughout the year (unless weather doesn’t permit for skating on the roads). The skating tour starts from Vondelpark with an overall distance of around 20 kms throughout Amsterdam and is free of charge. If you are not into tours and into hardcore skating, check out the many skateparks in and around Amsterdam (near Museumplein, Olympiaplein etc).

Go-karting/ Formula One: Nope? Are you a Need For Speed kinda person? Then head to Race Planet for Go-karting.

5. Shopping & Flea Markets

Waterlooplein Flea Market Amsterdam

Exploring Waterlooplein Flea Market

There are three big flea markets in Amsterdam. Here are ones that are worth to check out:

Waterlooplein Flea Market: Right beside the Rembrandt house, this flea market is the one to be chosen if you are looking for affordable winter/regular wear. Bags, jackets, beanies are too good to let go. You can find second-hand clothing as well. There are few shops that sell vintage storage cases and boxes. They are too darn cute!

IjHallen Flea Market: Located in the north of Amsterdam, this is the largest of all the flea markets with over 1500 stalls. It also offers you free parking space! Given that entrance fee is EUR 5, this doesn’t come as a shock but you can spend almost an entire day here (probably more). You can find anything and everything on earth here.

Noordmarkt Flea Market: You can find antique jewelry, rings, sunglasses, clothes etc along with locally grown organic food. Stock up well from here if you are cooking dinner Winking smile

Also during every year during King’s Day (April 27th – King’s birthday) you can find stalls everywhere on the streets! The whole Amsterdam turns into a huge party scene during King’s day.

If you want to shop from the top bands, you are in the right spot. Just head to Dam Square near that is walkable from Centraal Station. There are several malls and exclusive outlets of multinational brands such as De Bijenkorf, H&M, Primark, Burberry, Celine, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and so, so many more!

6. Romance in the air

Amsterdam Canals Houses

Amsterdam – Picturesque and outright gorgeous

You are in a city where it’s probably snowing. Its winter. The lit-up canals are reflecting the glorious city. The aroma of food from each of those restaurants will make you slow down, albeit slightly. It would need one heck of an effort to not feel romantic there!

Stop for a coffee or two, feel the magic in the cold air, lengthen those cozy romantic dinners, stroll around the peaceful streets of Amsterdam hand-in-hand with your special one and you would want to live longer just so you could tell the tales to your grand-kids Red heart

7. Canals

Alluring Canals of Amsterdam

Bruges is called as the Venice of Western Europe but Amsterdam’s canals are no less. They might not provide as surreal sight as those in Bruges or Venice, but the beauty lies in sailing through the city that too, within the jam-packed city! At night, these canals look even more lovely and lively when they are all lit-up. Long exposure photography should get you some great shots here! If you are photographer, you are in for a delight in Amsterdam during winter Smile I can assure you that because I turned into a photographer for this city, even though I am usually the one in front of lenses more than behind. Stay for longer, you might turn into a poet as well Smile with tongue out

If you can afford it (or interested in it), hire a boat and go on a romantic sail yourself (with a guide of course). That way, you can not only get to know Amsterdam intimately, you will also learn about Amsterdam more from your guide. Not to mention the romantic time you will get to spend with your loved one(s).

8. Bridges

Magere Brug Amsterdam

Magere Brug Amsterdam

Where there are canals, there will be bridges? Duh.

Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) – Legend has it that couples who kiss on or under this bridge that is over River Amstel will be blessed with everlasting love. It is also called as Skinny bridge because it was a very narrow bridge that let one bike or one person cross at a time only.

Alluring Canals of Amsterdam

And there are soooo many other bridges as well. Canals imply the presence of bridges as means of connectivity. If you are photographer dying to get some nice shots, you can do so by exploring Amsterdam beside the canals and bridges. There is also a place (accessible only via boat) where you can 7 bridges back to back together! That’s something. I saw it during a regular canal tour (took it near Centraal Station).

9. Coffee

Amsterdam Coffee Shops

Europe and coffee usually go hand-in-hand. Especially in Netherlands. That too Amsterdam Winking smile You could spend days just trying to find the best coffee spot in Amsterdam (Spoiler Alert: Might be very difficult).

Beware: Cafe` shops are where they serve coffee. Coffee shops are where you will get cannabis as well. So pick your choice accordingly to avoid surprises Open-mouthed smile If you want to avoid the smell of cannabis, visit only cafes instead.

10. Minus The Crowd

Amsterdam off season

And you get to enjoy all these minus the crowd! Winter is the best season to visit Amsterdam as you get to enjoy all the above perks of Amsterdam with so few crowd. Museums, cafes, restaurants, canals, bridges, name anything and you will get to peacefully enjoy till your heart’s content. Do not comprehend that the city would be tourist-less. You would still see a lot of tourists. It just means, what otherwise would have taken you 3 hours to get an entry to museum during peak time, will take you well within one. Also, another plus point is you will get to interact with locals well. They won’t be as busy as they will be otherwise during peak touristy seasons.

 

There are probably umpteen more reasons to visit Amsterdam during winter but aren’t these 10 enough for you to book and pack for Amsterdam right away?

Have you been to Amsterdam in winter? If yes, how was it? Leave a comment! Subscribe to us below and you will never miss another post that could be a potential source of travel inspiration for you Smile

 

Need an itinerary for Amsterdam? Read, Bookmark & Share: Top Things To Do In Amsterdam – A Complete Guide

Initial impressions of Amsterdam (with some fun facts: Amsterdam – A City That Fascinates You

 

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Anuradha

A techie by profession and an ardent traveler & reader by passion. Wife to an equally travel-bug-bitten husband. Together finding solace in traveling.

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