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Amsterdam, the enchanting Dutch capital, is renowned for its vibrant culture, stunning architecture, and captivating festivals. Among these, the Light Festival Amsterdam stands out as a truly magical event.
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In Loving Travel, we will delve into the essence of this annual extravaganza, exploring its highlights, dates for 2023 and 2024, the ticketing process, and ultimately, whether it’s worth embarking on this illuminating adventure.
Light Festival Amsterdam 2023
This year, Light Festival Amsterdam will take place from November 30, 2023 to January 21, 2024. The canal boat tours, which run along the official route of the Amsterdam Light Festival, are available for booking now and the number of places is limited. Book as soon as possible.
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What is the Amsterdam Light Festival?
The Light Festival Amsterdam is a mesmerizing event that illuminates the city’s canals and streets with stunning light installations, transforming the already picturesque landscape into a surreal wonderland. Artists from all over the world showcase their creative brilliance through awe-inspiring light sculptures, projections, and interactive artworks, creating a breathtaking experience for both locals and visitors alike.
The best Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruises
During the Amsterdam Light Festival, the canal cruises run on two routes: a) the classic route b) the official Amsterdam Light Festival route. The number of canal tours dedicated to the Amsterdam Light Festival is limited, so you need to book as soon as possible. Below you will find our favorites for Amsterdam Light Festival canal tours.
Canal Cruise with Live Guide
Boat Tour with Open Bar
Canal Cruise from Central Station
Cruise on a Luxury Salon Boat
Boat Tour with Open Bar DELUX
German, English, Dutch
English, Spanish, Dutch
Heineken, wines, soft drinks and coffee or tea
Wine, soft drinks, cocktails, craft beers, e.g. Moët & Chandon
When does the Amsterdam Light Festival happen?
The festival typically takes place during the winter months, when darkness blankets the city and provides the perfect canvas for radiant displays. In 2023, the festival is scheduled to run from November 30th to January 21st, offering ample time for visitors to immerse themselves in its enchanting ambiance. For those planning ahead, the 2024 dates are yet to be officially announced, but they usually align with previous years, commencing in late November and extending into January. The lights of the Festival are on every evening from 5 to 11 p.m. With one exception: on New Year’s Eve the lights are off at 8.00 p.m.
Do I need to buy a ticket?
The Light Festival Amsterdam is a public event, meaning you can freely explore the illuminated artworks scattered throughout the city.
However, if you wish to enhance your experience, it is recommended to purchase a ticket for one of the canal cruises specifically tailored for the festival.
These cruises provide a unique perspective, allowing you to marvel at the light installations from the tranquil waters of Amsterdam’s iconic canals. Tickets for canal cruises are limited, so it’s advisable to book in advance to secure your spot.
How to explore the Amsterdam Light Festival
- On your own: Download the free and official Amsterdam Light Festival app and get an up-to-date route to the locations where the artworks are installed. Just walk around the historic center and admire all the beautiful lights of the event.
- Accompanied by a Tour Guide: Together with a Walking Tour, either private or shared, you are taken on an optimized route that shows you all the beauties of not only the Amsterdam Light Festival but also the highlights of the city’s Christmas season. Discover the Christmas markets, and the most illuminated streets, and also discover some curiosities about the event and the city.
- On a bike: Of course, Amsterdam could not fail to offer a bike tour of the Amsterdam Light Festival. There is no more authentic way to explore the streets and bridges lit up during the event. Remember that the event takes place during the coldest months of the year, so dress warmly and go exploring in the company of other participants and an expert guide.
- Aboard a Canal Cruise: There is no BETTER way to explore the Amsterdam Light Festival than aboard a canal cruise in Amsterdam. Not only is it the most relaxing and comfortable way to enjoy the event, but you also get a great view of the art installations inside the canals. Upgrade your experience and try one of the nightly canal cruises that offer drinks and meals on board. We have selected the best nighttime cruises for you to enjoy during the Amsterdam Light Festival. Book in advance.
The Best Amsterdam Light Festival Tours
We have selected some of the best tours to explore the Amsterdam Light Festival. Book in advance to guarantee your place.
Amsterdam: Light Festival Bike TourBike Tour in MuseumpleinAdd to myTravel added
From December to January, Amsterdam will take you to see breathtaking works of art. At the end of the year, the Amsterdam Light Festival takes place. Artists, architects and designers from all over the world will produce artworks and light installations, which show Amsterdam’s heritage in a special way.
A-Bike will guide you along the breathtaking artworks of the Amsterdam Festival of Lights. The bike tour lasts 2 hours and departs every weekday at 5 pm.
This Amsterdam Light Festival Bike tour travels along the route that will focus on the most impressive works of the event. During the bike tour, which will depart from the A-Bike City Center, we will guide you along the highlights of exhibitions. The multilingual guides tell you all about the amazing artworks and inspiring artists.
Amsterdam Winter Walking TourWalking Tour in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
This Shared Walking Tour takes you to see the highlights of the Amsterdam Light Festival and the Christmas season. Accompanied by a guide on a 2-hour walking tour, you see the highlights of the city, the Nine Streets and the Jordaan Quarter, while listening to the secrets of the city told by a local guide in the language of your choice.
This walking tour is conducted with a live guide in English, German, French, Italian, Dutch
Discover Spui Square with its history and cozy terraces, stroll along the beautiful and picturesque Nine Streets and taste a delicious Christmas snack and feel the folklore of the Jordaan Quarter. End your visit near the Noordermarkt in the Jordaan neighborhood, where you can warm your hand with a tasty Gluhwein or hot chocolate.
Private Amsterdam Walking Tour Christmas Lights and Festive DelightsWalking Tour in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
This private walking tour will take you to experience the Amsterdam Light Festival with a Dutch or English-speaking guide who will tell you all about the event and the city.
During the 3 hour walking tour, you will follow the unique route of the Amsterdam Light Festival to see the dazzling art installations made of colored lights that are placed over the canals, illuminating the water with beautiful colors.
In addition, the Walking Tour travels to a Christmas market, delighting you with some local delicacies, warming you up with a hot wine or hot chocolate and perhaps buying some unique Christmas gifts to take home.
This private walking holiday tour in Amsterdam offers:
- Private and personalized experience
3 hours with a local host
1 alcoholic or soft drink per person
Transportation during the tour
Pickup from your accommodation
- Private and personalized experience
Highlights of the Light Festival in Amsterdam:
- Illuminated Artworks: Prepare to be spellbound by the ingenious light sculptures and projections created by talented artists. Each installation tells a unique story, evoking emotions and awe as you stroll through the illuminated streets.
- Canal Cruises: Embark on a magical journey aboard a canal cruise, gliding through Amsterdam’s waterways while being surrounded by dazzling light displays. This vantage point offers a one-of-a-kind perspective, allowing you to witness the city in all its illuminated splendor.
- Walking Routes: Lace up your walking shoes and follow the designated walking routes, which lead you through the most captivating areas of the festival. As you meander through the streets, you’ll encounter a myriad of illuminated surprises, making every corner a delightful discovery.
- Interactive Experiences: Some installations encourage visitor participation, allowing you to engage with the artwork and become an active part of the spectacle. These interactive experiences add an extra layer of excitement and make the festival a truly immersive adventure.
Is it worth visiting the Amsterdam Light Festival?
Absolutely! The Light Festival Amsterdam is a truly captivating experience that should not be missed. The festival breathes new life into the city during the winter months, infusing it with a magical aura. Whether you are an art enthusiast, a lover of unique experiences, or simply seeking beauty and inspiration, this festival will leave you awe-inspired and enchanted.
How to best experience the Amsterdam Light Festival
- Plan Ahead: Research the festival’s official website for the most up-to-date information on installations, walking routes, and canal cruise options. Create an itinerary that allows you to explore both the major highlights and hidden gems.
- Dress Warmly: As the festival takes place during the colder months, make sure to bundle up in warm clothing, including a good coat, hat.
- Book your Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise in advance. As many of the art installations are mounted on the canals, sailing through the festival on board a barge will give you a unique experience.
Frequently asked questions about the Amsterdam Light Festival?
Is the Amsterdam Light Festival worth it?
Yes, winter in Amsterdam offers a unique experience precisely because of the Amsterdam Light Festival. However, as the event only comes to life at night, during the day Amsterdam still offers visitors the traditional activities and sights.
What is the schedule for the Amsterdam Light Festival?
The Amsterdam Light Festival starts at 5 pm and goes on until 11 pm every day during the event season that runs from mid-November until mid-January.
When will Light Amsterdam take place in 2023?
This year, Light Festival Amsterdam takes place from November 30, 2023 to January 21, 2024.
Is it necessary to buy a ticket for the Amsterdam Light Festival?
No, the Amsterdam Light Festival is a city event that is free and open to the public. However, the best way to enjoy the Amsterdam Light Festival is aboard a Canal Cruise. Canal Cruises during the Amsterdam Light Festival must be booked in advance.
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