We’ve finally had some snow this weekend. This weekend was also the Dordrecht Christmas market. Each December, Dordrecht hosts one of the most atmospheric Christmas markets in the Netherlands that coincidentally happens to the be the largest Christmas market in the Netherlands. It’s due to the fact that the entirety of the Dordrecht historic city. Read tips for visiting the Dordrecht Christmas market and photos of the Dordrecht Christmas market!
When is the Dordrecht Christmas Market?
I apologize for this late post, but I was waiting until I finally got to Dordrecht for myself. The Dordrecht Christmas market starts on Friday (
Officially, the Dordrecht Christmas market for 2019 will start on December 13th (Friday) and end on December 15th (a Sunday). Put it on your calendar.
How does the Dordrecht Kerstmarkt compare with other Christmas markets in the Netherlands (and abroad)?
I have been to a lot of the Dutch Christmas markets and a few abroad.
Although Dordrecht is technically only one Christmas market, the scale of it and gorgeous decorations around the city reminded me a bit of the Christmas market in Cologne. Day-time was nice, but the market completely transformed itself at night, especially close to the harbor. Simply, I’d say that it’s one of the best Christmas markets to browse for unique gifts that your family members will
Key attractions of the Dordrecht Christmas market
With 2.5 kilometers of stalls, you’ll find enough to keep you occupied for a whole afternoon or more if you’re looking for gifts. Compared to elsewhere in the Netherlands, I found that the Dordrecht Christmas market had some of the best selection of unique Christmas gifts and goods for those looking for last-minute surprises for their loved ones.
Beyond the actual route, which is easy to follow using the signage, there are festive stages all around the city where you’ll have live performances as well as music. I loved the band in Santa costumes that roamed the market while playing holiday favorites.
The performance schedule changes weekly, so check the updated website for information, but
Tips for visiting the Dordrecht Christmas Market
Take out cash before you go! Unfortunately, most of the stalls do not accept cards in any form, so once we ran out of money, we were frustrated as the nearest bank was a bit of a walk. (This includes the gluhwein stands!) We spent about 20 euros between us on food and drinks. I’d say that thirty to forty euros is a safer bet as most meals at the market cost at least 5-8 euros.
Most cafes directly along the Christmas market route will be packed, but you can find a few less crowded cafes as you walk off the main route. To warm up, we stopped into our favorite cafe in Dordrecht: De Tijd.
Gluhwein and Chocomel are the most popular drinks at the Dordrecht christmas market. Chocomel is very similar to chocolate milk although warm with a little whipped cream. Gluhwein is mulled wine. The price was fixed throughout the market although some cafes off the route have less expensive gluhwein!
To avoid the worst of the crowds, come in the early morning or in the late afternoon (4pm). Most people started leaving around 5-6pm and it was so much better than enduring the crowds around 12pm.
Key spots that you’ll not want to miss at the Dordrecht Christmas Market
For the iconic photos of Dordrecht, I recommend coming to this side of the market as it allows you to see the Grote Kerk from across the water as well as the stalls. This area has quite a few stands for food and drinks along with music, making it a pleasant place to take in the views of Dordrecht as the sun sets. There’s something magical about the lights!
It’s hard to ignore the Grote Kerk, one of the symbols of Dordrecht. Surrounding the Grote Kerk (which you can climb!), you’ll find a little miniature forest of Christmas trees, which are beautifully lit up at night. Similarly, there’s a nice selection of food stalls and performances.
Another secret spot for my photographers here. This quiet section next to the toilets is a picturesque place for a selfie with the houses beautifully lit up behind you. I loved the lit-up boats, especially the one with a reindeer!
Getting to Dordrecht
If you’re intent on driving, you can drive to Dordrecht. Dordrecht is shortly outside of Rotterdam. There’s free parking and there’s buses that will take you from A15/A16 to the free parking lots where you can park.
It’s more environmentally friendly to take the train, so watch for NS specials in the coming weeks prior to the market if you live in the Netherlands. (I have the Dal Voordeel, which made it only 5.10 euros each way to visit the Christmas market from the Hague.)
From the train station, it’s a short walk to the city center. Follow the crowds as well as the signs to the Kerstmarkt. From the furthest spot in the Dordrecht Christmas market to the train station, it’s about a twenty minute walk.