With its crisp skies, outdoor ice rinks, beautiful light displays and unusual ice festivals, Holland is a veritable winter wonderland. Plan a magical seasonal break that celebrates some of the best sights, smells and sounds Holland has to offer and chase those winter chills away.
Skating under the stars
When the temperature drops, the population of Holland tends to dust of its ice skates. From the picturesque beauty of The Hague’s De Uithof skating track to the amazing city canals in Amsterdam, which have been known to freeze over on occasion, there are some breath-taking spots to enjoy when the weather is right. But don’t worry if it’s not quite cold enough for ice to form naturally, Holland’s major cities all offer amazing artificial rinks too.
Show off your skills on outdoor rinks offering you beautiful city views when the sun goes down, such as the simple yet gorgeous Museumplein in Amsterdam. Stretching out alongside Rijks museum, it’s the largest temporary ice rink in the city and is wonderfully atmospheric. Another top rink to visit is Ice on Zuid in Rottterdam, which pops up during the December Winter Festival and features special treats for children and hot drinks for adults.
For a glimpse into a real winter wonderland, pack some woollies and pay a visit to the amazing Ice Festival in Zwolle. Every year, ice sculptors from around the world gather to create a magical collection of figures and tableaux, all crafted from solid ice. The festival follows a new theme every year and guests can choose to immerse themselves completely in the experience, by staying at the temporary, yet lovely, ice hotel created for the event.
Another winter extravaganza well worth a visit is the city’s Christmas Canal Parade. Dozens of beautifully decorated boats take to the canals in a themed procession. The parade is accompanied by lovely light displays projected on to the building banking the canals and as the sound of lesser-known Christmas songs, sung by carollers stationed on the city’s bridges.
Cosy cultural trips
Take advantage of the cheaper air fares to Amsterdam and smaller crowds to visit some of Holland’s greatest cultural attractions during the winter season. Stay cosy as you tour the work of the Dutch Masters at the Amsterdam Museum and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Mauritshuis in The Hague or the Vermeer Centre in Delft and you’ll leave with a new appreciation for these amazing artists of yester year.
For a family friendly fairy tale adventure, you could also book a stay at The Efteling, a charming theme park between Rotterdam and Utrecht that’s only becomes more beautiful when the weather is chilly. Winter is also a great time to soak up Rotterdam’s culture, thanks to the city’s Film and Art festivals, which take place in January and February respectively. Be sure to book your hotels in Rotterdam well in advance though, as these events have a huge national and international draw.
If you’re booking a holiday in Holland this winter, be sure to pick up a Holland Pass. Offering free and discounted entrance to popular museums, attractions and public transport throughout Holland, it’s a great card to have in your pocket while you’re discovering this winter wonderland.
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