Leiden's Floating Christmas Market – Leiden, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

Leiden's Floating Christmas Market

A market built atop boats is one of the few floating holiday markets in Europe. 


Christmas markets are a popular pastime in Europe and can usually be found in each city. What varies between cities and countries is the size, variety, and location of the markets. The one in Leiden is unique in many ways because it floats on top of the city’s oldest canal. 

There are only a few floating Christmas markets in Europe, and some say that the Leiden market is the best. The cozy attraction boasts nearly 90 stalls that sell various foods, warm drinks, and handcrafted items. You’ll also find a floating ice rink and a small stage with around-the-clock performances.

Visitors to Leiden’s market can also enjoy a boat tour of the old canal. It’s no wonder this yearly affair was awarded the prize for “best Christmas market in Europe” in 2016. 

Know Before You Go

Leiden is about half an hour away by train from either Amsterdam or Rotterdam. The market is open from December 14 until the 25th, all day each day from 12:00 to 9:00. It is a roughly 20-minute walk away from the Leiden Central Station, and about three stops by bus. Access to the market is free.

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