Christmas markets: Netherlands

The Netherlands

Where? There are Christmas markets across the Netherlands, in almost every town and village in the Lower Rhine region, including Arnhem, Duisburg and Nijmegen. One of the biggest in Holland is in Dordrecht, near Rotterdam. At Winterland in Maastricht, there are more than 50 stalls, an ice-skating rink and Ferris wheel.

The big one:Valkenburg aan de Geul, near Maastricht.

Tell me more? This is an incredible one – not because of its size, but because it is inside a cave, which adds to the magical atmosphere.

This will be the 10th year the Fluweelengrot (Velvet Cave), has hosted the Valkenburg Christmas market and the theme is Christmas elves. Colourful lights and Christmas music adds to the festive feel. Past the decorated niches, down the many passages, there are stalls selling seasonal gifts as well as some demonstrating Dutch handicrafts.

In the catering garden in the heart of the cave, visitors can try the local food such as oliebollen, rather like a doughnut but filled with raisons, and poffertjes, or small pancakes, and try Glühwein, a hot, spiced wine.

The market runs from November 16 to December 22, from 12pm to 8pm weekdays and 10am to 9pm at weekends. Entrance is £2.60 for adults and £1.25 for children aged four to 11.

Sample product: Travelscope has a three-night break with a day at Valkenburg Christmas market from £139 per person bed and breakfast in December including coach and ferry travel.

A three-night Valkenburg Christmas Markets river cruise from Liège to Roermond costs from £119 per person bed and breakfast including Eurostar or ferry crossings and transfers.

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