With the festive season fast approaching, Stena Line’s crossings between Harwich and Hook of Holland are ideal for travellers wanting to visit Holland’s Christmas markets. Particularly useful for reaching Holland’s more out-of-the-way markets, including a Christmas market in a cave, is Stena Line’s dutchflyer rail and sail service, which includes train travel from London Liverpool Street, ferry crossing and train travel on to the Dutch city of your choice. Plus, no luggage restrictions mean holidaymakers can bring back their body weight in chestnuts, crafts and clothing and relax onboard.
Funky Xmas Market in Amsterdam
Fast becoming a Sunday institution with locals and visitors alike are the ‘Funky Markets’ at Westergasfabriek, an atmospheric industrial site overlooking a canal to the north of Amsterdam. Now running a festive edition, the ‘Funky Christmas Market is the place where shoppers can find the trademark quirky craft stalls and food stuffs, as the old gasworks are decked out with cheerful decorations and fresh pine.
The Funky Xmas Market is on 18 December, from 12:00 to 18:00. Free entrance.
Winterland Maastricht Christmas Market
Maastricht may not be well known by UK visitors, but this ancient town, dating back from Roman times, is famous for its Christmas market in Holland, when the cobbled streets around Vrijthof Square are rechristened ‘Winterland’ for a few weeks – hosting a skating rink, a Ferris wheel and hundreds of traditional market stalls selling local sweets, handicrafts and all manner of festive treats.
Visit between 16 November 2012 and 6 January 2013.
The Christmas Market Velvet Cave in Valkenburg
Considered to be the largest and oldest underground Christmas market in Europe, the Velvet Cave Christmas market, hosted in the municipal caves of Valkenburg, is perfect for shoppers looking for a market with wow-factor. Spacious, with all of the festive decorations and stalls you’d expect from a traditional Christmas market, visitors can also enjoy mural paintings, sculptures, the unique 18th century chapel inside the cave, buy old Dutch trade artefacts, and see Santa in this very original grotto.
Visit between 16 November and 23 December 2012.
Dordrecht Christmas market
Just a 45-minute drive from the Hook of Holland port, ferry travellers can enjoy Holland’s largest Christmas market with over 300 stalls. Over Christmas, the whole of the historic city centre is decorated and the gardens of the Grote Kerk (Large Church) are transformed with Christmas trees and a manger. There are also musical acts to entertain the crowds as well a traditional nativity scene.
Stena Line operates twice-daily six-hour return crossings between Harwich and the Hook of Holland, starting from £59 per person one way from Harwich with a car. Fares for Stena Line’s dutchflyer rail and sail tickets start from £39 one-way, including Harwich-Hook of Holland crossing and onwards rail travel to any Dutch station.
For more information or to book, visit stenaline.co.uk or
call Stena Line on 08447 70 70 70 or visit your local travel agent
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