Our Favourite Christmas Markets

One of the best things about living in Amsterdam is easy access to some of Europe's most famous Christmas markets. Between Germany and The Netherlands, there are plenty of places to choose from for a magically festive celebration. We've collected The Mamas' favourites for you here.  

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The Netherlands

Amsterdam

There are plenty of options in Amsterdam throughout December. The hands-down favourite with the mamas is the ever-popular Westergasfabriek Funky Xmas Market (doesn't the name say it all?), this year on 15 December, showcasing lots of local foodies and homemade crafts in full Amsterdam-style. 

For additional information on holiday offerings in the city, check this full list of Amsterdam's Christmas markets and festivals

And make sure you don't miss out on any of this month's festive happenings for families in Amsterdam by signing up to the Amsterdam Mamas' newsletter.

Haarlem

One of the largest Christmas markets in the Netherlands, the Kerstmarkt Haarlem has a guaranteed spot in the seasonal top 5. As a backdrop to the hundreds of stalls in the picturesque square, there are live choirs singing Christmas carols.

If you are available in the weekend of 8-9 December and need no further arguments, then just visit the official website to get all the infomation on how to get there: approximately 20 minutes by train or by car from Amsterdam.

The Hague

The fourth edition of The Royal Christmas Fair will once again be hosted at Lange Voorhout.  With more than 80 Christmas stalls, a genuine and dedicated children's fair, thousands of lights and an abundance of heated wine served in pfandbechers this is a Christmas fair that will appeal to the imaginations of both young and old alike.

The Hague is approximately one hour from Amsterdam by car. Regular trains leave from Amsterdam Central station or Schiphol Airport. Check the NS website for details.

Maastricht

Located on the Vrijthof, Maastricht's charming Christmas market is open from 29 November - 31 December and features plenty of stalls, an ice rink and carousel. With gluhwein and oliebollen galore, you'll have a great time. 

Reaching Maastricht by car takes just 2 hours and 15 minutes. Travelling by train takes around 2 hours 30 minutes on ICE. Check the NS website for details.

Valkenburg

This charming town in South Limburg offers a unique Christmas experience – markets in caves! Visit the Velvet Cave and Municipal Cave for all the festive happenings whilst the Wilhelmina Caves are home to the sand sculpture nativity scene. 

Valkenburg is a 2.5 hour drive from Amsterdam. It can also be reached by NS train via Maastricht. Valkenburg station is around 15 minutes' walk from the centre. See the NS website for more details. 

Germany

Köln (Cologne)

Perhaps the most popular of Germany's Christmas markets, Cologne offers several different markets spread throughout the city from the beautiful Old Market in front of the Town Hall to the Market of Fairytales on the Rudolfplatz. Cologne attracts thousands of visitors to its markets, so The Mamas advise to visit during the week when it is less busy.

Cologne is around a 3 hour drive from Amsterdam. You can also take the ICE train straight through, which takes the same amount of time.

Düsseldorf

From late November until the end of December, Düsseldorf offers a number of charming and atmospheric Christmas markets throughout the city. 

Düsseldorf is around a 2 hour and 40 minute drive from Amsterdam. You can also get there in a little over 2 hours by travelling by ICE train

Aachen

Aachen offers a more intimate affair around the Market Place and Katschhof. Enjoy mulled wine, ginger bread and spekulatius (spiced biscuits) as you peruse the many craft and food stalls. 

Aachen is a 3 hour drive from Amsterdam. Alternatively, it can be reached by train in 3.5 hours, with 2 changes. Check the NS website for more details.

Osnabrück

Considered one of the prettiest Christmas markets, the Osnabrück Christmas Market offers kids the thrill of meeting St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) every afternoon. Try the local Käsegriller sausage as you wander around the market. It is set around the town hall, Marienkirche and the Cathedral.

You can reach Osnabrück in 2 hours and 45 minutes by car or in 3.5 hours by ICE train.

Münster

The picturesque town of Münster offers delightful Christmas markets with jewellery, high-quality craftsmanship, toys, lights, delights, and of course, warm, aromatic mulled wine.

You can reach Münster by car in approximately 3 hours or by train with NS International.


This list has been compiled by our editors from the recommendations of our members on the Amsterdam Mamas Facebook group and has been updated for 2019.


photo credit: Pixabay

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