Join us on a festive break to remember as we take you on a 3-day seasonal odyssey from Amsterdam to Cologne’s magnificent traditional Christmas Markets, and finally to the unique subterranean winter wonderland bazaar held in the Velvet Cave, Valkenburg.
Immerse yourself in this lovely city for a few hours of festive sight-seeing or browsing - you will only have time to experience a taste of what Amsterdam has to offer, but you can always come back another time! If culture is your thing you will find a wealth of museums and art galleries to choose from, or you may simply prefer to soak up that special Amsterdam atmosphere. The best way to experience the city is either on foot or by canal boat.
If shopping is more your style, Amsterdam is the shopping capital of the Netherlands and whether your taste is traditional, high-end or eclectic, you will find a shopping area to suit you. For high street brands and familiar names try Kalverstraat, or the Dam Square area with its Di Bijenkorf department store. If designer labels appeal then head for Hooftstraat, and for quirky, vintage wares try ‘De 9 Straatjes’ (The Nine Little Streets). An added shopping bonus during the festive season are the numerous Christmas Markets which pop up throughout the city.
Considered to be Germany’s cultural city, Cologne provides a beautifully cosmopolitan backdrop to the season’s festivities. At Christmas time it plays host to a total of eight different Christmas Markets in a variety of locations around the city, including a nautically-themed market located on the waterfront! The central area around the Cathedral has well over 160 traditional wooden pavilions selling a wide selection of gifts, crafts and edible fare so you are sure to find plenty to tempt you.
Watch street entertainers and artisans at work as you select fine hand-crafted Christmas gifts for your loved ones, from brightly coloured children’s toys to incredibly delicate glassware. Nearby is the Christmas Market on the Alter Markt, located in the Old Town, which has a romantic, nostalgic feel with its narrow-gabled houses and half-timbered stalls. After all that retail therapy, you may wish to indulge in some of the delicious local delicacies stollen or gingery lebkuchen washed down with a glass of hot glÜhwein makes a tasty festive treat!
The delightful Dutch town of Valkenburg aan de Geul is home to one of Europe’s most unique and spectacular Christmas Markets, held in the Fluweelengrot (Velvet Cave) beneath the ruins of Valkenburg Castle, the country’s only hilltop edifice. Open for the 26th time this year, twinkling fairy lights reflect off the walls and soft Christmas music gently permeates the serene atmosphere as you make your way through the labyrinth of passages and caverns where over 40 stallholders display their wares in this festive wonderland. Offering a diverse range of Christmas gift items and seasonal edible delights, as well as giving demonstrations of old Dutch trades and handicrafts, this subterranean bazaar will give you gift ideas aplenty!
Discover too a treasure trove of impressive wall murals, inscriptions, strange sculptures in the soft marlstone walls and a romantic chapel dating from the 18th century. Outside, the streets of the town hum with Christmas cheer, and as well as choirs, bands and music groups playing on a stage in the centre of town, you will find a further tempting selection of stalls, shops and restaurants to complete your festive shopping experience.
This tour is organised and operated by Omega Holidays plc ABTA V4782 ATOL 6081