Amsterdam Festival of Lights

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Amsterdam is a beauty with all of its canals, Red Light District, and tulips—but its beauty shines even brighter with the Amsterdam Festival of Lights. Talented artists from the locals and from those who live abroad gather in Amsterdam to showcase their magnificent fairy lights designs, bringing nothing but magic and wonder to the area.

Amsterdam Festival of Lights
Festival highlights

Festival Dates (2023-24)

November 30, 2023 to January 21, 2024

The Amsterdam Festival of Lights has first taken place on the year of 2012. Since then, they hold this festival annually, having lots to show to the locals and the world. Just last festival, Amsterdam held it in between three weeks of December and the first weeks of January.

This means that people are sure to be looking forward to booking a trip to Amsterdam for these lights, because what’s a better way to spend your holidays than sightseeing the majestic blinking Christmas lights and twinkle light trees?

Your holidays will feel magical with the wonder that this festival has in store, too.

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The Amsterdam Festival of Lights is situated just in its city center. Whenever it’s time for the festival, you are sure to expect that every single place and corner in the city center is filled with twinkle lights that will decorate and make every infrastructure more beautiful than it already is.

Whether you check the city center’s canals, bridges, parks, and even the houses—you will be left with nothing but the feeling of amazement as they are embroidered with different colors and designs with the use of fairy lights.

To go to the Amsterdam city center, either the taxi or the train is available to give you the best service. With all honesty, taking the Amsterdam airport taxi will provide you with a faster trip. An estimate of 15 to 20 minutes will be enough to take you to your destination.

Taxis are always available in the Amsterdam airport; however, there are times when the queue gets long, and you would have to wait in line before you could catch a ride.

If you want to be sure about the taxi that you’re getting, then it’s best that you book your Amsterdam airport taxi beforehand to ensure your safety and to save time, as well.

If you prefer public transportation or commuting, however, then the train is always available, as well. The train station is directly connected to the Amsterdam airport, which means that taking the train can assure you that you can arrive at the city center in no time.

Taking the train will take you to the city center in 20 minutes. It’s relatively a lot cheaper than booking or hailing a taxi. Its tickets can be bought from the ticket desks, or you can also go to the arrivals hall and buy one at the automated ticket machines.

Other wonderful lights festivals in Europe are:

Berlin Festival of Lights

Copenhagen Festival of Lights

Festival Hours

When the Amsterdam Festival of Lights is open for the whole world to see, you can sightsee it for six long hours—from 5 p.m. to as late as 11 p.m. If you happen to go or have plants to visit on New Year’s Eve, then you better get there early as it closes around 8 p.m. on that occasion.

You can even visit the city center before the actual festival starts, as Amsterdam is filled with other wonders aside from their light festival.

Take a lot of pictures in the country’s other tourist attractions, fill your stomachs with various cuisines from the restaurants nearby, and basically have fun before the city center sparks into life.

Cost to Visit the Festival

If you are a tourist wanting to sightsee the light exhibition, then be sure to prepare €39 (around $48) for the taxi ride, and an extra €55 if you’re reserving one online. When you plan on taking the train, however, it will cost you only €5.20 (around $7).

When you’re worried about the admission fee to the Amsterdam Festival of Lights, however, then worry no more as it is totally free of charge. You are sure to indulge in more fun as you stroll along with the place, realizing that you get to admire various artists’ works for the Christmas light festival for free!

Be sure to carry a bit of pocket money, as it is with no doubt that you’re to splurge on a myriad of stalls and stores nearby the festival, as well. Who wouldn’t want to buy souvenirs when they’re out on a wonderful trip, anyway?

Weather and What to Wear

As the Fairy of Lights in Amsterdam takes place in between the chilly days of December and January, be sure to pack with you enough winter clothes to last during your stay. You wouldn’t want the cold constantly biting at your skin when you’re supposed to be enjoying the view, would you?

Winter also means that snow is inevitable in the place, so it’s extremely important that you have every single piece of winter clothing in your baggage. During the festival, bring an umbrella with you too, just in case it snows.

The Amsterdam Festival of Lights is held in winter isn’t a downside, anyway. In fact, it even makes the event more magical, as if you’re in a Disney movie surrounded by countless lights emitted from the fairies’ wands, all while the snow is softly pouring down, as well.

Where to Sleep

The light exhibition is sure to marvel at you, but you wouldn’t want to deny the fact that after walking around, moving from one exhibit to another, and constantly posing for pictures, you would feel restless and in need of a nice place to stay.

This wouldn’t be much of a thing for you to worry about, as the Amsterdam city center is surrounded by the most friendly and accommodating hotels.

Banks Mansion
The Banks Mansion would surely not disappoint as it tops the list in having the best value among the other Amsterdam city center hotels. It provides you a view of the city that you can gawk at whatever time of the day, maybe while having your meal or a sip from your coffee. On top of that, the staff is known for paying attention to the littlest details of their service and accommodation during your stay.

Radisson Blu Hotel
What makes the Radisson Blu Hotel totally worth checking out is that it’s surrounded by countless attractions that you would want to visit (aside from the festival of lights), making your stay convenient. Famous attractions such as Dam Square or the Van Gogh Museum are just a measly walk away.

What to Eat

You are certainly missing out if you hadn’t tried any restaurants before even leaving the place. Here are a few of the many best restaurants you can eat in a while staying in Amsterdam.

Ashoka – Amsterdam Centrum
If delicious food, great ambiance, and friendly staff are what you’re in search of, then this restaurant would be the best place for you. Its menu is filled with a myriad of food, all ranging from Indian, Nepali, vegan options, gluten-free options, and a whole lot more.

Mortimer Amsterdam
For a rather quaint venue, one where you would like to have your brunch or snack, this café would suit your tastes just well. Enjoy their tasty pastries, along with their splendidly brewed coffee, and you’re sure to think that your stay in Amsterdam would be one of your best trips ever.

More Things To Do In The Area

  1. Anne Frank House: This is one of the most visited museums in Amsterdam and for good reason. The Anne Frank House offers a sobering look at the life of Anne Frank and the history of World War II, with the secret annex being preserved in its original state.
  2. Rijksmuseum: This is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. The museum features a rich collection of Dutch art and history, including works by famous artists like Rembrandt and Vermeer.
  3. Vondelpark: If you’re looking to take a break from the city’s bustling tourist spots, Vondelpark offers a lush, tranquil escape. You can wander through its expansive grounds, rent a bike, or simply relax and people-watch.

FAQ

1. Where can I park during the festival?

While the festival covers multiple locations across the city, parking facilities are available near key venues. We recommend using the Park and Ride (P+R) locations for more economical options. Make sure to check availability and rates before you head out.

2. Is smoking allowed?

Amsterdam has specific smoking regulations, especially in public areas. Smoking is generally not encouraged near the installations to ensure the comfort and health of all visitors.

3. Can I bring my pet along?

Pets are generally allowed in outdoor areas where installations are set up. However, make sure your pet is leashed and well-behaved. Some installations may have specific restrictions, so it’s good to check in advance.

4. What are the best times to go?

The festival usually starts in the evening when it gets dark enough for the installations to be visible. Weekdays are generally less crowded compared to weekends.

5. Are there any food and drink stalls?

Yes, you’ll find various food and drink vendors at key points throughout the festival. Enjoy some local Dutch delicacies or international cuisine as you take in the lights.

6. What should I wear?

Amsterdam can get quite chilly in the evening, especially during winter months when the festival takes place. Dressing in layers and wearing comfortable shoes is highly recommended.

7. Are guided tours available?

Yes, several guided tours are available, both on foot and by boat. These tours often provide fascinating insights into the art and artists behind the installations.

8. Is it accessible for people with disabilities?

Most areas of the festival are wheelchair-accessible. However, it’s advisable to check specific installation sites for detailed information on accessibility.

Sources:

https://iamsterdam.com/en/whats-on/calendar/festivals/events/amsterdam-light-festival

https://facebook.com/AmsterdamLightFestival/

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