Amsterdam in winter, it really is worth it. Perhaps even more so than in summer. The city is at its cosiest, the canals are at their most beautiful. As far as we are concerned, there is no better place and time to combine holiday shopping, culture, cosiness and good food and drink.
Of course, we are Amsterdammers, so we are not completely unbiased when we tout our city. But we’d love to tell you why we’re right. Read along, enjoy and cruise along this winter. We are already looking forward to it!
Stroll along the canals, where the seventeenth-century monuments radiate their warmth. The dark water is a perfect mirror for the festive lights that are lit everywhere. Inside, or at one of the street stalls, treat yourself to a hot chocolate, a stamppot, a bowl of snert or give in to a guilty pleasure: the oliebol. And if you really want to go all the way, strap on your skates at the ice rink on Museumplein. The very Dutch word ‘gezellig’ seems to have been invented for wintry Amsterdam.
From the water
The famous ring of canals is a Unesco world heritage site. Therefore, the water is the perfect place to admire Amsterdam in all its glory. You will see details you miss when walking along the streets or having to navigate through the busy traffic. Moreover, our experienced and local hosts and skippers will tell you all the secrets of the city. In fact, a canal cruise is compulsory when visiting Amsterdam.
From 30 November 2023 to 21 January 2024, the canals are even a floating museum, when the twelfth edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival puts the city in lights. Artists from all over the world will place more than 20 light artworks in the water and on the quays. If you sail past them by boat, you will see them even better. Every year there are new works of art and a different route for the festival of lights. And a different theme; this year the artists conjure with light around the theme Technology & AI.
Nice and quiet
It is never completely quiet in a metropolis like Amsterdam, but the winter months do have the advantage of being less crowded. You have space, don’t queue as long (or not at all), can do more in a day and see more. Our canal tours during the Amsterdam Light Festival are also with smaller groups, allowing plenty of time for questions and interaction with the host or skipper.
There is no better city for Saint Nicholas and Christmas shopping than Amsterdam. The range of shops is huge, from the luxurious PC Hooft, the atmospheric Nine Streets and Utrechtsestraat to the hip Haarlemmerstraat. Or the good old Albert Cuyp for bargains. Don’t forget to admire the legendary lighting and shop windows of the Bijenkorf on Dam Square.
You will also find Christmas and winter markets everywhere. These too offer plenty of variety: sustainability, star food and the old-fashioned Christmas atmosphere, they have something for everyone.
All in one during the Amsterdam Light Festival
So plenty of reasons to visit Amsterdam’s warmth and lights during the cold, dark winter months. And as far as we are concerned, grab all the benefits in one go. Enjoy the atmosphere in the beautiful city centre while doing all your shopping. Treat yourself to a delicious lunch and snacks along the way, and then hop on board for an enchanting cruise around our world heritage during the Amsterdam Light Festival. You will want for nothing on the route along the light show in one of our luxurious, semi-covered boats or salon boats, but of course you can always end your day in the capital with a good dinner. Or a drink in one of those famous, Amsterdam cafés. We look forward to seeing you in wintry Amsterdam, welcome aboard!