Winter is a magical time in the Leiden region: as the days grow shorter and the evenings darker, festive lights warm up the streets. However, with the temperature lowering and the wind whirling under our coats, lights might not be enough to heat you up. The solution? A warm drink or a bite to eat at one of the region's winter hotspots!
Plan a visit to the Nostalgic Christmas Market in Leiden between 13 and 17 December. The chalets are not only perfect for hunting for the best Christmas gifts, but also offer warm winter snacks, hot chocolate and mulled wine! If you are late to the event, don’t worry, a fun Winter Fair will go on from 16 December to 7 January.
Would you rather be inside? Leiden offers a good selection of cozy hotspots where you can enjoy a good time with your friends and family.
Brasserie De Poort is located at the intersection of the Oude Rijn and the Singel: a quiet location with a splendid view, which can be enjoyed from the conservatory in the colder months. The ‘gezellig’ atmosphere is coupled with good coffee and bites, as well as a selection of homemade cakes. The place is also perfect for a nice dinner! Be sure to check the opening times because Bresserie De Poort will be closed from 25 December to 1 January.
Walking down the Oude Rijn you will reach the most central part of the city of Leiden, where the Nieuwe and the Oude Rijn meet. Here you can stop by Dende for a cup of tea or nice cocktails with bites. The place is quieter than the rest of the bars on the Nieuwe Rijn, so you can really enjoy your time in company. And if it's a clear day, you can sit on the boat terrace with a blanket to warm you up.
Not far from Dende is the Burcht, the historical heart of Leiden. Once you have enjoyed the view from the old fort, you can relax at Grand Café de Burcht. This historical location is right in the center of Leiden and offers (warm) drinks and a lively atmosphere. Often times Grand Café de Burcht hosts live music and performances, as well as pub quizzes: the best way to spend your winter nights.
If your belly is asking for more food, another option you must check is Hudson. Bites, cakes, lunch and dinner: the offer is ample and the atmosphere is warm. The location is also quite central: with a view on the Lammermarkt, Hudson is close to central station: the perfect solution if you or your friend have to catch a train after. Note that Hudson will be closed from 24 to 26 December!
Want to explore the Leiden region in the winter? Then we suggest you to make a stop at Bij57 in Voorschoten to refill your energy with coffee and delicious cakes. The cozy place is filled with design furniture, and it's (almost) all for sale! The perfect place to shop for gifts if you don't like crowded stores. Do you want to be in contact with nature during your winter outing? Then Boerderij 't Geertje is the place for you. Located in the Geerpolder in Zoeterwoude, this family-run farm offers tasty meals and a lot of activities in contact with animals and the sourrouding nature.
For many winter time equals hot chocolate, so here are a couple of Leiden's best! First, all chocolate lovers should check out Kopie van Leiden: they offer a great selection of hot chocolates, as well as other warm drinks and – most importantly – delicious homemade cakes! Finally, you want to try Brownies&DownieS for a great, melting, hot chocolate. The location has a nice garden for when the weather is good, and offers all kinds of warm drinks and desserts.