The month of December is dominated by the holidays at the end of the month. For many people this is a reason to head out for a day trip. From Schiphol Airport, Eindhoven Airport or Rotterdam/The Hague Airport, you can reach a wonderful German Christmas market, charming Belgian town or cozy Dutch city by rental car easily, to enjoy the holidays to the fullest. We created a list of the top five destinations to visit during the holidays in and around the Netherlands.
1. The city of Utrecht
From Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven it is only an hour to hour and half drive to the historic city of Utrecht. Park your rental car in one of the (underground) parking lots of the inner city and explore the city on foot. Utrecht has repeatedly been chosen the prettiest canal city in Europe, trumping cities such as Amsterdam, Venice and St. Petersburg. Recently, the influential travel guide Lonely Planet placed Utrecht sixth in a list of unsung places around the world. All of this is for a reason, as this historic 'Oude Gracht' (Old Canal) in the city centre comes straight out of a fairytale. It is not necessary to drive your rental car for hours if Utrecht is just around the corner.
2. Enjoy charming Bruges
Bruges can be reached from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven in about three hours. The entire city centre of Bruges is UNESCO World Heritage, which is quite special. Bruges is characterized by cozy Belgian pubs, beautiful architecture and an atmospheric market square. While driving your rental car to Bruges, it may be worth your time to stop by in Antwerp or Gent, two Flemish cities that are certainly not any less beautiful than Bruges.
3. The biggest Christmas market of Germany in Düsseldorf
The famous German Christmas markets real need no explanation. Cosy little stalls with delicious food and of course traditional mulled wine. In a little bit less than 2,5 hours Düsseldorf can be reached by rental car from Amsterdam and Rotterdam. If you have the option to choose however, it is more convenient to rent a car upon arrival at Eindhoven Airport. From Eindhoven, you can drive to Düsseldorf in less than 1,5 hour. If you prefer a slightly smaller Christmas market, almost any medium-sized Germany city is an option. For example, Cologne only takes you about 45 minutes extra to reach.
4. Winter Efteling with the family
With family visiting the Netherlands during the holidays, the Winter Efteling is a fun day out for everyone. For decades the Efteling has been the most successful theme park in the Netherlands. During winter, the park is transformed into a beautiful fairytale winter paradise. The Efteling is located in Kaatsheuvel and most easily reached when renting a car at Eindhoven Airport. From other Dutch cities, such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, the Efteling can be reached within one to a maximum of two hours.
5. Ice sculptures exhibit in Zwolle
From December 12 until January 24, the Dutch ice sculpture festival is held in the NS-loods near Zwolle train station. Renting a car at Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam/The Hague Airport or Eindhoven Airport, you can drive to Zwolle in about one and a half to two hours. At the exhibit, you will see stunning ice sculptures created by the world's finest ice artists. From ice cars to planes to even life-sized elephants, one ice sculpture is even more impressive than the other. If you decide to take the rental car to the ice sculpture exhibit, make sure you take enough warm clothes with you. To prevent the ice from melting, the temperature in the exhibit hall is just -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit).