Winter in the Benelux
A Senior travel guide
The Benelux countries - Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg - have a lot to offer seniors throughout the year, with accessible cities, full of historic architecture, canals and museums. Then in winter, there's plenty to warm your insides, from hot chocolate and waffles, to beers and mulled wine. So don't let the thought of feeling cold stop you from trying out the recommendations we have for you, once we can travel again.
Besides being an economic union, the Benelux countries are united in a One Country Pass - the Benelux Pass. So you can visit all three countries in one seamless Eurail or Interrail experience!
Brussels was the first city in Belgium to be named a World Health Organization Age-friendly City. Brussels invites seniors from around the world to come and discover the city’s cultural treasures. Don’t think for a second that this changes in the winter.
Head to Parc du Cinquantenaire. Planned by King Leopold in the late 19th century, this park contains imposing monuments including the Triumphal Arch, Exposition Halls and the Bordiau Halls, which house the prestigious Museum of Art and History. This is a great park to visit and a really good way to get away from the busy streets of Brussels to unwind for a bit.
When visiting Bruges, you will fall in love with the town’s medieval canals and charming cobblestone streets! Bruges in winter is a romantic destination for couples and a wonderful place to spend Christmas. However, a visit to Bruges is not complete without a mini-cruise on the aforementioned medieval canals. Make sure to bundle up warm, hop on and sit back and enjoy Bruges by boat. You will be able to admire little bridges, hidden gardens and picturesque views.
Feeling a bit cold after your charming cruise? Warm up by enjoying some delicious hot chocolate - the best you might ever have, depending on who you ask!
Head to the Jaap Eden Ijsbaan to watch pro skaters, or even skate around the track yourself, as if you were competing in the Winter Olympics. If you’re lucky and the weather turns super cold, you can even see Amsterdamers gliding across the city's canals. Although the canals don’t freeze over as much as they once did, it’s been a rather strange past couple of months, so let’s just assume that anything is now possible.
It seems that most of this year's Christmas markets are cancelled, however even without the markets, Amsterdam has plenty of gezelligheid to offer during the festive season. You will come across beautifully decorated shop windows, and the small streets and canals sparkle with the holiday spirit, making your city walk a memorable one.
Looking for specific places to walk? Head over to the Negen Straatjes, the Utrechtsestraat or De Bijenkorf’s amazing window displays at Dam Square. Whilst there, don't forget to stop by the beautiful big Christmas tree just across from the Royal Palace to take a snapshot.
Looking to get away from the busy streets of Amsterdam? Head over to the province of Gelderland where you can take a stroll in the Veluwezoom National Park. We suggest you take the train to Arnhem and from there a bus to one of the entrances of the park.
If you like nature, you will appreciate the woodland trails, with evidence of wild boar, deer, horses and Highland cattle. Listen to the peaceful bird song and realise there is not a hum of traffic and few, if any, plane sounds either. You can also rent bicycles to tour around the park with ease.
Since you are already in the province of Gelderland, it would be rude of us not to mention that the province boasts 7 castles and manors, where you can step back in time. Discover the life, architecture and art of yesteryear. Tip: Use the app NatuurRoutes to find the best routes in the national park.
Must-Do: Travelling to the Netherlands before New Year? Don’t forget to try dutch Oliebollen. These are a traditional Dutch delicacy eaten during winter. Oliebollen, literally translated as ‘Oil Balls’ are also known as Dutch Doughnuts. They are some sort of deep-fried fluffy bread, filled or not with raisins, in the shape of balls
Discover a multicultural city, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg's capital and the seat of many European institutions. Between tradition and modernity, you are bound to be surprised by its many tourist sites, its UNESCO World Heritage monuments and the numerous museums and squares. In winter, there's plenty of snow, which gives the city an outstanding and charming look; and the lighter crowds mean more freedom and less time spent in queues.
You don’t have to stay inside because it's cold. Don hats, scarves, gloves and a warm coat, and make the most of the natural beauty of the Winterlights Festival of Luxembourg.
Discover the regions around Luxembourg City. Enjoy different landscapes of the nature parks in the Luxembourg Ardennes, but also medieval castles and numerous hiking or mountain biking trails throughout the region...
A charming and yet historic destination is the Schiessentümpel. The sandstone bridge was built in 1879 and although it has no practical function in terms of mobility in Luxembourg, unlike other large bridges, it has been the symbol of the Mullerthal Region (Luxembourg's Little Switzerland), since 1879.
Head to Mullerthal to discover caves and icicle-laden waterfalls. Kalktuffquelle is an attraction in the Mullerthall village where two sets of waterfalls turn into large icicles when the temperatures fall below freezing.
In Berdorf, the Hohllay Caves were once a mining site in medieval times. The caves were constructed in the middle ages when millstones were cut from them. It's quite a mysterious-looking places that gives you an amphitheatre vibe at the same time. Go ahead and scream from the top of your lungs and hear your echo on a quiet winter morning.