In Valkenburg, you’ll find a Christmas market that’s unlike any other, set within the marlstone caves of the city.
Known as Christmas Town Valkenburg, this destination draws visitors with its unique underground setting and traditional wooden stalls and festive lights above the ground.
In this article, I’ll provide all the essential details you’ll require for your visit, such as confirmed 2023 dates, opening times, how to buy tickets, and what to expect both above and underground.
In Valkenburg, the Christmas period transforms the town into a festive hub filled with twinkling lights and decorative displays.
It’s a place where locals and visitors alike come together to celebrate the holiday, enjoying a wide array of activities and events that capture the essence of Christmas.
Valkenburg Christmas Market 2023
At Christmas Town Valkenburg, you’ll encounter a rather extensive celebration that lasts for 51 days, significantly longer than the typical Christmas festivities.
The town transforms above and underground, featuring unique markets in the Valkenburg caves, complete with cosy stalls and charming lights.
Activities are listed by date, allowing you to tailor your experience with enchanting options like the Christmas parade, toboggan runs, and nativity scenes.
There are several caves that hold Christmas markets, along with the Christmas in MergelRijk event.
If you’re short on time or don’t want to visit each cave, I recommend visiting either the Municipal Cave or the Velvet Cave and skip the others. Remember to book your ticket online in advance. Full details below.
Dates and Location
Valkenburg Christmas Market dates: 17th November to 30th December 2023 (underground at the Municipal Cave and Velvet Cave).
Christmas Town dates: 17th November 2023 to 7th January 2024 (above ground in the city centre).
Christmas in MergelRijk: 17th November 2023 to 7th January 2024 (underground at MergelRijk).
Winter Wonderland: 17th November 2023 to 7th January 2024 (underground at Wilhelmina Cave).
Location: Municipal Cave (Gemeentegrot), Velvet Cave (Fluweelengrot), MergelRijk and Winter Wonderland at Wilhelmina Cave.
Opening times: Monday to Friday: 11am to 7pm. Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 7pm.
Christmas Eve: 10am to 6pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Boxing Day: 11am to 6pm.
30th December: 10am to 6pm.
Admission: Tickets are required and you book a specific time slot. Tickets must be booked online, in advance. Book here.
Tickets for MergelRijk and Winter Wonderland can be booked at the location ticket office.
Municipal Cave: Adults: €9. Children: €5.
Velvet Cave: Adults: €9. Children: €5.
MergelRijk: Adults: €17.50. Children: €15.50.
Children under 5 are free.
Recommended time to visit: Allocate 1 to 1.5 hours to visit each cave.
Christmas Parade: 18th November to 21st December 2023. Wednesday: 7pm. Saturday: 7:30pm. Free in the city centre.
Christmas Shadow Lights Route: Free in the city centre.
Street theatre: Free in the city centre.
Santa: Yes, at Santa’s Village (above ground). 17th November to 30th December 2023. Free in the city centre.
Culinary walking route: 17th November to 7th January. More information and tickets.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Accessible: The Municipal Cave and Velvet Cave are accessible. MergelRijk and Winter Wonderland are not accessible for wheelchairs, walkers or prams.
Pet-friendly: No, dogs are not allowed underground but can visit above ground.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion. If you must drive, follow the signs to Kerststad Valknburg.
Public transport: Stop at Valkenburg Station and walk 5 to 10 minutes. Face masks are compulsory on public transport. Plan your local journey here or your international travel here.
Reason to visit: Unique underground Christmas market, decorated tunnels, Christmas Parade, Santa’s Village, Lights Route, street theatre, Christmas in MergelRijk experience and Winter Wonderland.
Specialities: Stroopwafels; Dutch oliebollen; poffertjes; smoked sausage; spiced mulled wine; regional cheeses; speculaas cookies.
Where to stay: Hotel Botterweck is a highly-rated hotel, 2 minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Valkenburg Christmas Market
The city centre is the optimal location for easy access to the Christmas market in Valkenburg and visiting the city’s caves. Proximity to local attractions and convenient transportation links make it an excellent choice.
For a well-situated stay, consider booking a room at Hotel Botterweck, known for its location near the Christmas markets.
If that hotel is fully booked, then this guide to hotels near Valkenburg Christmas Market has several other excellent options.
Location of Valkenburg Christmas Market
Christmas in Valkenburg
This video provides a glimpse into the Valkenburg Christmas Market experience.
To plan your trip effectively and discover other holiday destinations, I recommend reading my guide to the best Christmas markets in the Netherlands.
Christmas Specialties in Valkenburg
Kerststol: It’s a traditional Dutch Christmas bread containing dried fruits, nuts, and marzipan filling. The bread is usually dusted with powdered sugar and has a decorative shape, often resembling a log.
Oliebollen: A customary treat for New Year’s Eve, oliebollen also make their appearance during the Christmas season. They’re essentially Dutch doughnuts — deep-fried dough balls, sometimes filled with raisins or currants and dusted with powdered sugar.
Speculaas Cookies: These are spiced shortcrust biscuits, often decorated with images from traditional stories. Speculaas cookies are deeply associated with the holiday season in the Netherlands and have a distinctive flavour from a mixture of spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, and white pepper.
Limburgse Vlaai: A staple from Limburg province, where Valkenburg is located, Limburgse vlaai is a traditional tart. The pastry is filled with various ingredients, such as fruits (apple, apricot, or plum), rice pudding, or custard. Some versions are suitable for vegetarians.
Poffertjes: Small, fluffy pancakes that are a staple at Dutch Christmas markets. They’re traditionally served hot with a dollop of butter and a dusting of powdered sugar.
Patatje Oorlog: Literally translating to ‘war fries’, this dish consists of Dutch-style fries served with a combination of mayonnaise, peanut satay sauce, and chopped raw onions. Despite its unusual name, it’s a beloved fast-food dish in the Netherlands.
Bratwurst: A nod to the international influence, Bratwurst is a type of German sausage made from pork, beef, or veal. It’s a common sight at Christmas markets across Europe, and Valkenburg is no exception.
Roasted Chestnuts: A classic snack for Christmas markets all over Europe, the nutty aroma of roasting chestnuts often fills the air at the Valkenburg market. They are served in paper cones and are a delicious, warming treat to enjoy while browsing the stalls.
Glühwein: This is a warm, mulled wine often spiced with cinnamon, cloves, star anise, citrus, and sugar. It’s a common beverage at European Christmas markets, perfect for sipping to ward off the chill while exploring the market.
For more information on exploring the city or the Limburg region, consider visiting Zuid-Limburg; it provides a wealth of practical information for visitors to this part of the Netherlands.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Valkenburg at Christmas.
Use Renewable Energy: When booking your accommodation, prefer those utilising renewable energy sources for their operations. For instance, Thermae 2000, a well-known spa near Valkenburg, uses geothermal energy for its facilities.
Reduce Food Waste: Try only to order or purchase what you can finish at the Christmas market. Dutch cuisine is delicious but can be quite filling, so be mindful of portion sizes.
Ethical Consumption: Seek out stalls or local businesses that sell fair-trade or ethically sourced products. For instance, the Wereldwinkel Valkenburg is a fair-trade shop where you can buy unique, responsibly sourced gifts.
Sustainable Diets: Opt for locally sourced food and vegetarian or vegan options when possible. The Dutch cheese and fruit available at the market are often produced nearby, and vegetarian food stalls are usually available too.
Sustainable Transport: Valkenburg is a compact city, and many of its attractions are within walking distance of each other. Opt for walking or cycling over using a car. If you need to travel further, the city has excellent public transport links that you can utilise.
The Valkenburg Christmas Market dates are from 17th November to 30th December 2023. The Christmas markets are held in the city’s underground caves. Above ground, Christmas Town dates are 17th November 2023 to 7th January 2024.
The location for the Christmas markets in Valkenburg are within the city’s unique underground caves. This includes the Municipal Cave and Velvet Cave which is situated beneath the historic castle ruins.
Valkenburg Christmas Market opening hours are Monday to Friday: 11am to 7pm. Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 7pm.
The city centre of Valkenburg is compact, making it easy to walk or cycle to most attractions. Public transport, including buses, and trains are available for further distances.
If you would like to leave a review of Valkenburg Xmas Market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Valkenburg, Netherlands. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.