Countdown to Christmas: Cave markets in Valkenburg
Are you willing to venture underground to find that perfect holiday gift?
The caves of Valkenburg, Netherlands provide an unusual Christmas market experience. Head into the municipal caves Nov. 18-Dec. 23 for music, shopping and numerous stands selling crafts in what is claimed to be “the oldest and largest subterranean Christmas market in Europe.” A market is also held in the Velvet Cave. The Wilhelmina Cave hosts an underground nativity scene and sand sculpture exhibit Nov. 18-Jan. 8.
Catch the Christmas parade on Wednesday and Saturday evenings; Santa even makes an appearance! For more details, visit www.kerststadvalkenburg.nl.
Helpful hints: Avoid the stress of driving and trying to find parking in the small city center by booking with an installation organization. RTT Travel is going Dec. 18 and 21.
The caves are open until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. the rest of the week. However, the entrance is closed 45 minutes earlier.
Unlike at most markets, admission is charged. It is 7 euros for adults, 5 euros for children ages 5 to 11 and free for chldren under 5. Order your tickets online to avoid the wait at the box office.
Dogs are not allowed at the markets.
Beyond the markets: From 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov 18, 2016 to Jan. 8, 2017 (except Christmas Day and New Year's Day), you can enjoy a culinary walk on the Valkenburg Route d'Amuse. Stop by participating restaurants that serve amuse bouches, appetizer-sized tastings, of various dishes. There are four options to choose from, each between five and six kilometers in length with five eatery locations. Each walk takes about 4 hours to complete. Tickets are 11.50 euros per person, and children and dogs may tag along. Buy tickets online or at the tourism office (Theo Dorrenplein 5, Valkenburg).
Check back tomorrow to find out which European Christmas markets will be featured next as we continue our Countdown to Christmas!
Read more about Europe's holiday season in the Stripes European Christmas Markets & Shopping Guide.