You wouldn’t think it would be a difficult task to select our 2017 Christmas destination this year, but we did have a bit of back and forth with several destinations. We want to thank everyone who made suggestions via comments, email and Facebook. None of your suggestions will go to waste, but some may have to be for a future trip. It is a double destination holiday for us, so keep on reading to find out where.
As you recall, we had certain requirements for our Christmas trip this year. You can read all about it here in our Where is the best European Christmas Vacation destination? As it turns out we didn’t exactly meet all of our criteria, but we are very excited about our plans. We’ve also decided to add a few extra days and an extra destination. The experiences we have planned are quite unique and we are counting the days until departure.
Where are we going for 2017 Christmas?
After a great deal of research and family discussions, we have selected Amsterdam as our 2017 Christmas destination! I can’t tell you how excited we are. Alan and I have visited Amsterdam numerous times and the kids have also been a couple of times, but this will be the first time for Grandma Linda. It will also be our first time in the winter, so I am sure we will be in for a bit of a shock with the weather.
Where will we stay?
That said we are so very excited about all that we have planned. We have rented an apartment for the week, which has plenty of bedrooms, a canal view, fireplace and even a decorated Christmas tree! We will be just on the outer edges of the city center, so it should be a great location to experience the city easily. We often use Vrbo, find your vacation rental now.
These are the great tools we use to find self catering rentals, hotels, or house sits.
- Home Away Apartments & Villas – Click here for deals
- Flip Key Apartments, Villas, & more – Click here for availability and pricing
- Booking.com Apartments, Hotels & more – Click here for availability and pricing
- Airbnb – If you are new to Airbnb and are looking to either rent a room or the entire place, use this code to receive a $29 USD discount on your first booking.
- Agoda – check out the deals
- House sitting – Stay in luxury homes worldwide free of charge
What’s the plan?
What I typically do for any trip is create a lovely spreadsheet loaded with activities and links. I try to do all of my research before we go and then once we are there, I can see what we are in the mood to actually do. It is a bit of extra work to have a list to choose from, including what part of the city it is located in, but it really saves time and stress while we are on the trip. Some of the things we hope to experience are:
Over The Edge
The kids saw this on the Travel Man with Richard Ayoade. We just love that show, but a few weeks ago it was all on Amsterdam. When they spotted this rooftop swing, going over the edge of the A’DAM Lookout building, it was quickly added to the to do list. I am not sure if they will freeze, but we will see if we can do it.
This is what Lars and Anya are really looking forward to. It seems to have become a Christmas Tradition for the kids to go ice skating. I think their first time ever was our Christmas in Paris and it has continued!
Festival of lights
We just love lights and light shows and I can’t wait to see this. Amsterdam offers a festival of lights, which looks amazing. We plan to go on a cruise to see the lights on the canals.
Winterparade – Our 2017 Christmas Dinner
This is going to be our Christmas dinner experience! Okay I’ll be honest we really aren’t sure what to expect, but I am sure it will be amazing. It is dinner with about 500 people with the wait staff and a show on our dinner table! Oh and there is a silent disco too! I have to admit, I am showing my age. I had to look up what the heck a silent disco was. Well, hopefully we will capture some video for you, so you can see it too. We can’t wait to see what this has to offer, but the Winterparade Amsterdam should be a blast. Have you been before? We can’t wait to share our experience with you!
Of course we will head to some of the museums and partake in the Christmas markets and loads of food! I can’t wait to check out the Foodhallen and possibly try a Dutch drink called Fockink. Grandma Linda will head home after Amsterdam and the Wagoners will continue the Christmas spirit and bring in the New Year on another adventure!
What about New Years 2018?
We will be hopping on the train at Amsterdam Central and heading to Brussels for New Years Eve! We have a hotel right near the Grand Place and it was free! Yep, we booked it with airline points, so hopefully it is all worth it. Alan and I haven’t been to Brussels in about 18 years and the kids have never been to this city, so we are very excited.
We don’t have too much planned for Brussels yet, but we do plan to use the Brussels card with the hop on hop off bus. That usually gives us access to many free museums and a great way to get around the city and drop us at the important sites. I am sure we will also use public transport and do plenty of walking as well.
2 Celebrations in One!
We will still catch the tail end of many of the Brussels Christmas activities, with a day or two of their Christmas markets and lights at the Grand Place. We will certainly be doing more ice skating and of course experience the Atomium. Here is a video showing what we should experience.so we plan to make the most of it.
We are also going to end 2017 with happy bellies. This is what the kids are most excited about, our Belgian chocolate workshop and Belgian waffle workshop! Okay I will admit Alan and I are pretty excited too! We can’t wait to tell you all about it, but we will get to make our own waffles one day and the next will be all about making chocolate candy delights! Then later that night we will welcome in the new year. There are supposed to be magical viewings of fireworks right from central Brussels, so we can’t wait to experience New Year’s Eve!
Organized Tours & Amsterdam Attractions
If you are trying to figure out what to do in Amsterdam, there are also many organized tours for you to enjoy. From being active on walking or biking tour, to enjoying a food or wine tour. There is so much to do and Viator has so many great offers for you. Click here to see their latest Amsterdam Deals!
Okay that sums it all up. We would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for us. We don’t like to pack every day full of activities, as we need to just hang out and have some hot chocolate too. We are so excited, so follow Wagoners Abroad on Facebook to see live videos and photos during our holiday travel schedule 22 December – 4 January.