Amsterdam in Winter Guide: Things To Do, Travel Tips

Amsterdam in Winter Guide: Things To Do, Travel Tips

Amsterdam is an amazingly friendly and welcoming city in the Netherlands that is worth visiting even in the winter. European winters tend to be relatively comfortable and the efficient public transportation system shields tourists from staying outside for too long. Here, you can enjoy lively nightlife, one-of-a-kind art pieces, unique historic sites and iconic canals alongside picture-perfect facades. In this guide, let’s explore the hidden gems of this wonderful Northern city and find the best things to do in Amsterdam in winter.


Amsterdam Winter Weather

If you decide to spend winter in Amsterdam, the temperature comes to mind. In the months of December and January, the temperature fluctuates typically between 0°C and 6°C (32°F to 42°F). But does it snow in Amsterdam? Snow does not fall too often here but you might witness a thin layer of it on the ground. Visitors who prefer to explore destinations mostly on foot should pack some warm clothes to stay comfortable outside. Bring thermal underwear and socks, a sweater, warm pants or even underpants and winter shoes. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to have a scarf and beanie ready as well as a pair of cozy gloves or mittens. All in all, Amsterdam's Christmas weather is quite comfortable if you pack appropriate clothes and hop on the subway or bus when you get cold. 

Amsterdam Winter Weather. Amsterdam in winter

Things to Do in Amsterdam in Winter

In the winter, the city becomes enchanted with Christmas decorations and celebrations, ice skating rinks and various seasonal festivals. In this section, we will offer you the ultimate guide to Amsterdam with multiple options that will help you find suitable activities for you and your friends or family. 


Amsterdam Christmas Tree

A 20 meters tall Christmas tree is located on Dam Square and illuminated using 40,000 LED lights which amount to a whopping 4 kilometers-long string of bulbs. The centerpiece of the square, the tree is surrounded by musicians, performers and food vendors that keep the public entertained. If you decide to take a look at the tree, taste the poffertjes, Dutch pancakes, and oliebollen, local doughnuts. 

msterdam Christmas Tree. Amsterdam in winter

Christmas Markets in Amsterdam

Much like most of Europe, Dutch also celebrate Christmas by hosting markets across the town. There are a few Christmas markets in Amsterdam, some of which are traditional and others more creative. 


Funky Xmas Market

Hosted at the Westergasfabriek, this market opens its doors on a Sunday in December (this year, 18 December from 12 pm to 6 pm) and offers authentic artworks and jewelry, delicious local food and even fashion designs. But don’t worry if you missed it, the same organizers host monthly markets all over the city. You can find designer clothes every third Sunday of the month at the Museum market as well as local arts and crafts at the old depot in Amsterdam West every second Sunday. All events are completely free of charge. 

Funky Xmas Market. Amsterdam in winter

Christmas Market Rai

The annual Amsterdam Winter Paradise is hosted by the Christmas Market Rai and attracts thousands of tourists and locals. Covered by 3,400 square meters (36,500 square feet) of ice, the venue will astonish you with talented performances, a large amount of winter activities for all ages and delicious food. Explore the enormous ice rink on skates, gaze at the breathtaking views on the Ferris Wheel ride and get cozy at the apres-ski lounge after a skiing session during the Amsterdam snow season

Amsterdam Winter Paradise. Amsterdam in winter

The event is accompanied by famous local artists that go on stage in the evenings. The venue is at Europaplein 24 in Amsterdam and opens its doors at 9 am every day for the ticket price of €26.50 per person. The closing times differ depending on the day from 1 am to 2 am. 


Christmas Market Museumplein

Starting the 14 December and until the end of the month, the Christmas market on Museumplein offers 45 stalls with delicious food and warming beverages. The market is free of charge and runs every day from 11 am to 8 pm. The central location allows visitors to take advantage of the cultural aspect of the city and visit multiple museums, galleries and other attractions. Right next to Museumplein, you will find ICE Amsterdam, a large ice rink that appeals to children and adults. 

Christmas Market Museumplein. Amsterdam in winter

Light Festival Amsterdam 2022/23

Another prominent yearly tradition, the Light Festival turns the entire city into a magical wonderland. Tourists visiting Amsterdam in December or January will be happy to know that the festival launches on the 1st of December and ends on the 22nd of January. During the two months, the city hosts a number of Dutch artists that illuminate the canals under a unique theme. This year, the festival runs under the theme Imagine Beyond and invites visitors to take a journey into the future using their imagination. The best way to explore the illumination is by taking a boat ride through the canals. 

Amsterdam Light Festival. Amsterdam in winter

Ice Skating in Amsterdam

Cannot think of what to do in Amsterdam in December and January? A Northern city, Amsterdam in winter is home to multiple ice skating rinks that invite locals and visitors to explore their skills on ice while sipping on hot choco. On the aforementioned Museumplein, you will find the Ice Amsterdam ice rink (€14.50 per person) decorated with lights and Christmas trees. Even if you don’t enjoy skating, come by for appetizing snacks and delicious beverages. Nearby you will discover another skating rink on the Rembrandtplein, also decorated with holiday illuminations. For a fair price of €10 including the skates, you will get a magical experience of gliding on the ice in the middle of a gorgeous square. 

Ice Amsterdam Ice Rink. Amsterdam in winter

Jaap Eden Ice Rink is further from the center and tends to be calmer and less touristy. The oldest active rink in the city, it was opened in 1961 and continues to bring joy to locals and visitors to this day. The entry price for adults is €8.50 and the skates can be rented for €7 per day. Finally, you can indulge in multiple Amsterdam winter activities at the Glijfestijn Olympic Stadium. Besides ice skating, you can try curling, tube sliding and even running through a maze. 

Glijfestijn Ice Rink. Amsterdam in winter

Winter Walking Tours in Amsterdam

The city of Amsterdam is highly walkable and local tour guides create incredible and informative walking routes for visitors. One of them is called Your Own Holland: Amsterdam and depicts the journey across the entire city, including the flower market, the Royal Palace, spots for picturesque views and local food delicacies. If you are on the lookout for an unusual Amsterdam center tour, consider booking a scavenger hunt. Tours like these offer more freedom to the participants by allowing them to explore the city on their own using hints and riddles. 

Your Own Holland: Amsterdam. Amsterdam in winter

Winter tours specifically include stopping by Christmas markets, partaking in the Light Festival and locating the best holiday treats. You can also find free tours in Amsterdam in case you are low on budget yet would like to discover all the hidden gems of this marvelous town. 


Amsterdam Boat Tours in Winter

In the winter, the ordinary canal cruise turns into the Light Festival boat ride that depicts every light installation along the bank. While moving through the adorable canals, you can learn the history of the city, including architecture, past events and cultural significance. On the boat, you will receive a pair of headphones that you can connect to a port near your seat and select any language, English, German, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin and much more. During the cold months, the boats stay covered to keep the passengers warm while taking the one-hour ride. 

Amsterdam Boat Tour. Amsterdam in winter

AMAZE Amsterdam

Amaze in Amsterdam is an immersive art experience that has been expanded and enhanced in the last 30 years. The venue comprises seven rooms that display various interactive shows that include lights, lasers, smoke, sound, dance, visual and new media art and other incredible effects. Here, you can enjoy a cocktail or another drink while immersing yourself in the Dutch art scene. You can interact with the exhibition using sensors and cameras. The venue is not suitable for children under 10 years old and people with epilepsy due to the high risk of a seizure trigger. 

Amaze Amsterdam. Amsterdam in winter

Icebar Amsterdam

Amsterdam is too warm for you and you’re still craving the cold of the Northern winter weather? The city has a solution called Icebar, an ice construction with temperatures going below minus 10°C. For the ticket price of €27.5 per person, you will receive a welcome cocktail and two drink vouchers as well as full equipment to help you endure these temperatures: gloves, safety vest and jacket. 

Icebar Amsterdam. Amsterdam in winter

The entire structure is built from 35 tons of ice, including the surroundings like the furniture, drink glasses and other amenities. Although inside the Icebar itself you can only remain for 20 minutes, you can move to the lounge area afterward where you will be met with more beverages and delightful tunes. 


Museums at Museum Square

If you ever get tired of Amsterdam's winter weather and decide to spend time inside, you will not be disappointed. Amsterdam is widely known for its art galleries and museums that keep masterpieces safe and sound. On a museum tour, you will not only dive into the centuries-long history of Dutch art but also learn about past events that shaped the current country of the Netherlands. 


Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh is probably one of the most famous Dutch of all time and a good portion of his works are preserved right here, in the heart of Holland. The museum holds more than 200 paintings and 500 drawings of the renowned artist and hosts temporary exhibitions. The current temporary hall showcases the works of Gustav Klimt, an Austrian artist who drew inspiration in the paintings of Van Gogh. 

Van Gogh Museum. Amsterdam in winter

Anne Frank House

Anne Frank is a German-born Jewish girl who kept the most detailed diary that documented the life of a Jewish family under the Nazi regime. In July of 1942, Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in the building at Prinsengracht 263 where her father, Otto Frank, had his business. The family was sneaking into an annex behind the cleverly constructed bookcase but was betrayed in 1944 and sent to the concentration camp in Germany. 

Anne Frank House. Amsterdam in winter

The room where Anne Frank and her family hid is well-preserved by the Dutch government and still conveys the atmosphere of the past. The museum is updated with a multimedia space where visitors can take a virtual journey through the house accompanied by background information about the events. 



Dutch art did not begin with Van Gogh and goes back at least 600 years to Early Netherlandish paintings with names like Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Hieronymus Bosch. In the Rijksmuseum, you will discover more than 8,000 artworks from Middle Ages through the Golden Age all the way to the modern day. At the museum, you can also book a guide in almost any language, including sign language. 

Rijksmuseum. Amsterdam in winter

National Tulip Day

National Tulip Day takes place every year on the third Saturday of January and kicks off the season of tulips. On this flowery day, head to Museumplein and partake in tulip picking from a bottomless 200,000 tulip garden absolutely free of charge. Amsterdam has been known as the tulip capital for centuries and takes this wonderful tradition into the new year. The event usually gets crowded but while you are awaiting your turn, you can enjoy the tunes of a local orchestra. 

National Tulip Day. Amsterdam in winter


Amsterdam is a truly magnificent city with beautiful architecture, friendly faces and myriads of activities. Pack your warmest socks and sweaters and embark on this incredible winter adventure. 
Better Features in the App
cashless tips
Cashless Tips
cashless tips
Google / Apple Pay
cashless tips
Nearby Map