Leiden is beautiful year round, but in December it is extra special. The city turns into a twinkling and magical place with lots of Christmas and winter festivities across the old city center. The ‘Winter Wonder Weeks’ and the many pop-up restaurants will make you experience Leiden in a totally different way. What to do and see? Here’s my top 6 list:
Dickens style Christmas festivities
December 15 and 16, Leiden’s Pieters quarter is transformed into a Dickens style winter scene. Scarcely lit alleys, street fires, Scrooge and other ‘Christmas Carol” tale figures will walk around, taking you back to Victorian times.
The largest floating Christmas market
Leiden has the largest on water floating Christmas market in Europe. The canal Nieuwe Rijn in the historic center is from December 14 – 25 all cheer and magic with the many wooden stalls selling gifts and artisan products, glühwein vendours, and hot soup kitchens. Adjacent is an ice skating rink and there’s daily live music. The skating rink is open till January 6.
Pop-up Tipi restaurant Bårr
After visiting the floating Christmas market and skating it’s time to warm up and still that appetite you built up. Pop-up Tipi restaurant Bårr is a unique Scandinavian concept; it’s a pop-up restaurant in Norwegian Viking tents. Inside you will find winter cosiness, a warm fire, wooden benches with bear hides and of course good food. Bårr is inspired by the Sami people from Lapland and moves from place to place with three giant teepees. Two tipis are used as a restaurant, where the menu is inspired by products from the season. In the warmth and cosiness that the teepees offer, you can enjoy a quick lunch to an extensive three-course dinner, or you can just pop in for a drink and bites. I recommend the mushroom soup as a starter! So delicious! Reservations are not required here, but are recommended via http://tipibar.nl/
December 7 – January 6 2019, 12-11 p.m. Stadhuisplein 1
Femme Fromage pop-up restaurant
Another pop-up restaurant that is worth a detour is Femme Fromage, a pop-up cheese fondue restaurant. The restaurant is only open three days a week from Friday till Sunday 6.30-9.30 p.m. and lasts until February 23, 2019. – Nieuwe Beestenmarkt 10
Christmas store Faas est.2016 Flowers and More
The Christmas shop Faas est.2016 Flowers and More is a household name for people in Leiden and has been popular for 10 years now. From November until January Helmi Faas turns her flower shop into a Christmas shop like none other in the Netherlands. It’s a fairytale world full of Christmas trees, lights and beautiful Christmas decorations. There is something special for every taste: contemporary or traditional, hip or stylish classic. Trends and traditions come together at Faas est.2016 Flowers and More. The Christmas shop of Helmi is therefore known far beyond Leiden. Go and admire the Christmas trees, original Christmas decorations, exclusive Christmas gifts and beautiful accessories for richly decorated Christmas tables. – Breestraat 119
Fom December 14 till January 6 there’s a nostalgic whimsical fair on the Hooglandse Kerkplein. Hot coco and warm waffles, merry-go-rounds and candy canes abound.