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Snow in Amsterdam by the canal

The 20 Best Things to Do in Amsterdam in Winter (2023)

October 31, 2023

Visiting Amsterdam in winter has benefits like avoiding crowds and saving money. And you can still enjoy cultural activities, cosy cafes, and world-class museums without the summer rush. Just remember to dress warmly – as temperatures range from 0°C to 10°C, and follow us to discover the best things to do in Amsterdam this winter!

1. Browse the festive Christmas markets

Amsterdam Christmas market at night
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Amsterdam’s Christmas markets are a delightful winter treat. Adorned with twinkling lights and seasonal decorations, they offer a warm and cosy atmosphere to browse unique gifts, taste traditional Dutch snacks, and sip on mulled wine. There are several Christmas markets in Amsterdam, including the Christmas Village at Museumplein and the Christmas market at Westergas. 

For more information, check our list of the best Christmas markets in Amsterdam

2. Have fun at Winter Paradise

Winter Paradise entrance at night
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Every winter, Amsterdam RAI transforms into an ultimate winter wonderland, where you can go ice-skating indoors or outdoors under a beautiful display of lights, have a thrilling ride on a mega swing, or enjoy stunning views from a giant Ferris wheel. The evening festivities include an après-ski village and a winter party to make the most of the festive atmosphere all night long!

For more information, check their website

3. Enjoy outdoor ice skating

Amsterdam frozen canal in winter
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Outdoor ice skating in Amsterdam is a beloved winter tradition. When the canals freeze, locals and visitors alike don their skates and glide through the picturesque waterways. With the iconic architecture as a backdrop and the crisp winter air, it’s a magical experience that captures the essence of the season. Alternatively, you’ll find several outdoor rinks in the city during winter time.

4. Watch light installations at the Light Festival

Light installation at the Amsterdam Light Festival
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The Amsterdam Light Festival is a magical winter event where the city’s canals light up with beautiful art displays. These artworks make the nighttime streets sparkle, and it’s a fun way to see famous places in a new light during the winter nights.

5. Visit the Willet-Holythuysens Museum at Christmas time

Inside the Willet-Holythuysens Museum at Christmas time
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Visiting the Willet-Holthuysen Museum during Christmas is a delightful experience. The museum, once a grand canal house, is adorned with festive decorations that transport you back in time. Marvel at the elegant holiday displays and explore the historical rooms, offering a unique glimpse into Amsterdam’s aristocratic past during the holiday season.

6. Warm up with a plate of Dutch pancakes

Dutch pancake with raspberries
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When you’re in Amsterdam, try Dutch pancakes called “pannenkoeken” to warm up. You can find them at places like Pancakes Amsterdam, The Pancake Bakery, and Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis. These pancakes come with sweet or savoury toppings and are a tasty way to enjoy Dutch food while staying cosy in winter.

7. Try some yummy Oliebollen

Plate of oliebollens
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Don’t miss trying the delicious Dutch treat called “oliebollen” when in Amsterdam. These deep-fried doughnuts, often dusted with powdered sugar, are a winter favourite. You can find mouthwatering oliebollen at local bakeries like Banketbakkerij Lanskroon, Patisserie Holtkamp, and various Christmas markets throughout the city.

8. Check out the schedule for winter concerts

Inside Royal Concertgebouw
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Amsterdam’s winter season is filled with exciting concerts to enjoy. Keep an eye on the schedule for performances at venues like the Ziggo Dome and the Royal Concertgebouw. Also, consider catching contemporary artists at the iconic Paradiso or Melkweg venues for a memorable musical experience.

9. Cosy up in a coffeeshop

Coffeeshop sign in Amsterdam
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In Amsterdam, cosying up in a coffeeshop is a perfect way to escape the winter chill. These establishments provide a warm, welcoming atmosphere where you can relax, read a book, or people-watch. Enjoy a hot beverage and Dutch pastries while taking a break from Christmas shopping.

Check coffeeshops near Amsterdam Central Station. Alternatively, find one of Amsterdam’s cosiest bars!

10. See the city from the comfort of a heated boat

Cruise on a canal in Amsterdam at night in winter
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Explore Amsterdam’s charming canals from the comfort of a heated boat during winter with popular companies like Stromma and Blue Boat Company. As you glide along, you’ll witness the city’s picturesque views and historic architecture while staying warm and cosy. Canal cruises offer a unique perspective of Amsterdam’s beauty, making it a must-do activity for any visitor, even in colder weather.

11. Get warm in one of Amsterdam’s top museums

The Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam
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Amsterdam’s top museums provide a cosy respite during the winter months. Places like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Anne Frank House offer a captivating journey through art, history, and culture while sheltering you from the cold. It’s a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in Amsterdam’s rich heritage while staying warm indoors.

Check out our list of the best museums in Amsterdam

12. Sample Dutch comfort food

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Indulge in Dutch comfort food during the winter season in Amsterdam. Try hearty dishes like erwtensoep (pea soup), stamppot (mashed potatoes with various toppings), and bitterballen (deep-fried meatballs). These warm and savoury flavours are a delightful way to experience Dutch cuisine while keeping cosy during the chilly months.

13. Visit the Keukenhof indoor gardens

Keukenhof indoor garden
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While Keukenhof is famous for its springtime flower displays, you can still experience its beauty during the winter months. Keukenhof’s indoor gardens offer a delightful escape from the cold, featuring exotic plants and flowers. It’s a serene oasis where you can enjoy a touch of springtime magic in the heart of winter.

14 Celebrate National Tulip Day

National Tulip Day on Dam Square
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National Tulip Day is a vibrant celebration in Amsterdam, usually held on the third Saturday in January. Dam Square is transformed into a colourful tulip garden where visitors can pick their own tulips for free. It’s a joyful event that marks the start of the tulip season and showcases Amsterdam’s deep-rooted love for these beautiful flowers.

15. Take a winter walk

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Take a walk in Amsterdam during winter and enjoy the festive sights. In Vondelpark, you’ll find cool street art and sculptures. The streets are all decked out with Christmas decorations and pretty lights, making it a lovely way to see Amsterdam’s winter beauty. And if you’re lucky, it might even snow!

Check the best Amsterdam street art spots

16. Do your Christmas shopping

Inside a shopping centre in Amsterdam in winter
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Christmas shopping in Amsterdam is a delightful experience. Explore the famous “9 Streets” (De Negen Straatjes) district, a charming area lined with boutique shops and stores offering unique gifts, fashion, and Dutch specialties. It’s the perfect place to find thoughtful presents while soaking in the festive atmosphere of the city during the holiday season.

17. Try some yummy Pepernoten

Pepernoten and sweets out of a bag
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Indulge in the delightful Dutch treat called “pepernoten” when in Amsterdam. These small, spiced cookies are a winter favourite. You can find them at traditional Dutch bakeries like Van Stapele Koekmakerij and Tony’s Chocolonely Super Store, adding a sweet and spicy touch to your Amsterdam culinary experience.

18. Catch the Chocoa Festival

Chocolate stand at the Chocoa Festival
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Don’t miss the Chocoa Festival in Amsterdam, a delicious event dedicated to all things chocolate. Held annually at the end of the year, it features chocolate tastings, workshops, and discussions about sustainable cocoa farming. It’s a dream come true for chocolate lovers!

19. Take part in the Christmas tree bonfire

Christmas tree bonfire in Amsterdam
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Participate in the Amsterdam Christmas tree bonfire, a unique and vibrant tradition in early January. Locals and visitors gather to bid farewell to the holiday season by tossing their Christmas trees onto a giant bonfire at various city squares. It’s a festive way to welcome the new year and share warmth with the community.

20. Do something romantic on Valentine’s Day

Locks on a bridge in Amsterdam
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Celebrate a romantic Valentine’s Day in Amsterdam by taking a canal cruise under the twinkling lights, sharing a cosy dinner at one of the city’s charming restaurants, or enjoying a stroll along the picturesque canals. Amsterdam’s enchanting ambiance offers the perfect backdrop for a memorable and intimate Valentine’s Day experience.

Planning a trip to Amsterdam this winter?

Stay with us at ClinkNoord or visit our group accommodation page to find out more about our rates and best deals.