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Haarlem, Netherlands

The best cities to visit in the Netherlands (that aren’t Amsterdam)

We all love 'Dam, but there are plenty of other Dutch cities to explore. From Rotterdam to Utrecht, these are some of the best

Fleurine Tideman

When I tell people that I’m from the Netherlands , the first thing they mention is Amsterdam . I get it, Amsterdam is a wonderful city to visit, with plenty to keep you entertained all day and night. However, it’s also becoming far too crowded and disorderly. It seems like a week doesn’t go by without news coming out about overtourism in the Dutch capital , and Amsterdam is now  actively trying to deter tourists .

So why not turn our attention elsewhere? From Ameland to Rotterdam, this country has plenty of other incredible cities to explore. In any case, next time you hear that someone is from the Netherlands, you’ll at least have something else to talk about. 

Fleurine Tideman is a freelance writer who splits her time between Rotterdam and London.  At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our  editorial guidelines  and check out our latest  travel guides  written by local experts.

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The best Dutch cities to visit


1.  Rotterdam

Let me immediately state my bias: I’m a proud resident of Rotterdam . Aside from its thriving art scene, Rotterdam is a foodie’s dream destination, with buzzy food markets like the Markthal and Fenix Food Factory. As a large part of the city was destroyed in WW2, Rotterdam is also home to unique architecture. Many local architects were given free rein when it came to rebuilding the city, which has made Rotterdam the vibrant and unique city it is today, with an aesthetic that seamlessly blends new and old.


2.  Haarlem

If you’re looking to stay close to Amsterdam, Haarlem is your best choice. This quaint city is a 16-minute train ride from the capital, and far cheaper to stay in – many Amsterdam residents end up moving here to commute to the capital, although Haarlem itself has plenty to offer. You can easily spend an afternoon in the Frans Hals Museum learning more about this legendary Dutch painter. Outside of the city, you’ll find endless tulip fields to serve as a backdrop for your holiday photos – just be sure to ask the farmers for permission first!


3.  's-Hertogenbosch

Don’t worry, nobody’s expecting you to be able to pronounce that! Even the Dutch find it too tiresome to say, so we usually shorten it to Den Bosch. The perfect city break for those looking to soak up some history and culture, Den Bosch is known for its great museums, including the North Brabant Museum and Design Museum Den Bosch, as well as its medieval architecture and fortified city walls. People from across the region flock here for the markets on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Be sure to sample a traditional Bossche bol, which is essentially a huge profiterole covered in chocolate –  lekker !


4.  Maastricht

This list wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the south of the Netherlands. Maastricht, with its Gothic spires and cobbled streets, feels like it was plucked straight from the pages of a fairytale. Bordering Belgium, the city offers a unique blend of Dutch and Belgian culture and architecture. My perfect afternoon? Visit Boekhandel Dominicanen to shop for books in a converted medieval church, then head to Bosch Brewery for a tour and classic beer tasting.


5.  Arnhem

Visiting Arnhem will allow you to combine your city break with a touch of nature, as the city is surrounded by countryside and situated beside the Veluwe, one of the Netherlands’ largest national parks. Look out for w ildlife like deer, foxes and Scottish Highland cattle, which were brought here to maintain the heathland. The city itself is known  for its vibrant art scene: Arnhem’s Museum of Modern Art is a must-visit, as is the Netherlands Open Air Museum, which showcases traditional Dutch farmhouses and windmills. Get to know the city by wandering its  shopping streets or joining a guided street art tour. 


6.  Utrecht

Instead of visiting Amsterdam, why not head to ‘Little Amsterdam’ instead? With its rows of cute Dutch houses and terraces perched along the canals,  Utrecht feels like a shrunk-down version of Amsterdam without the crowds of tourists.  The best way to explore Utrecht is through a canal boat tour. During my student years there, I loved taking visitors along the canals and introducing them to traditional Dutch pancakes at Theehuis Rhijnauwen. Visit Olivier for a pint with a twist –  this Belgian beer pub sits within an old church (we do love a church conversion in the Netherlands)!


7.  Ameland

Technically a municipality, Ameland is my favourite of the Dutch Wadden Islands. This tiny stretch of paradise, home to four villages and two nature reserves, feels like it was plucked from the past. Visiting Ameland always makes me feel like I’m the main character in a movie, pensively strolling along sand dunes, marshes and forests. The best part? It couldn’t feel further away from Amsterdam’s overcrowded streets. 

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  • 22 Best Places To Visit In Netherlands: The Perfect Mixture Of Art And Culture

23 Mar 2023

The crown jewel of Europe, the Netherlands is one of the many fascinating holiday destinations across the world that steals away the hearts of all travelers. It’s a treasure trove of rich history, heritage, culture, and art. But where to head to in the Netherlands? Here is a short, crisp glance at some of the best places to visit in Netherlands that will make you pack your bags right away. From endless flower fields and high windmills to beautiful water canals and scenic architecture, Netherlands had got all for you in one place.

Top 22 Places To Visit In Netherlands

This list of the best places to visit in Netherlands is all you need for your trip to this beautiful European country that caters to every kind of explorer – the hopeless romantic, the photography fanatic, the history buff, and the nature lover!

  • Amsterdam : A Beautiful City
  • Delft : Celebrate The Artwork
  • Rotterdam : Perfect Blend Of History & Culture
  • The Hague : For A Vibrant Nightlife
  • Maastricht : With A Medieval-Era Architecture
  • Edam : A Tourist’s Personal Favorite
  • Eindhoven : Explore The Museums
  • Leiden : For A Scenic Experience
  • Utrecht : Explore The Incredible Architecture
  • Giethoorn : For Super Scenic Waterways
  • Leeuwarden : Your Offbeat Destination
  • Haarlem : A Medieval City
  • Groningen : Experience The Splendid Canals
  • Middelburg : An Old Town In Netherlands
  • Volendam : Of The Most Charming Places
  • Kinderdijk : Discover The Rural Village
  • Thorn : A Picture-Perfect Destination
  • Alkmaar : Know More About Dutch Architecture
  • Breda : A Place With A History
  • Gouda : Famous For Its World-Class Cheese
  • Arnhem : An Old Settlement
  • Texel : Dive Into The Culture

1. Amsterdam: A Beautiful City


Image Source

Undoubtedly, one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands, Amsterdam is renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is an awesome package of stunning scenery and significant history, mixed with a great nightlife and a cosmopolitan culture. This is among the most unique places to visit in Netherlands.

Location: North Holland Places To Visit In Amsterdam : The Anne Frank House, Bloemenmarkt, Vondelpark, Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and more Things To Do In Amsterdam : Catch the ferry to Amsterdam North, Take the canal cruise, Discover the world famous shopping streets.

Must Read: Sizzling Nightlife In Amsterdam: 10 Best Clubs & Bars

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2. Delft: Celebrate The Artwork

Delft, centre

Featuring many intriguing artworks, Delft is a progressive town working hard on restoring its antiqued appearance. With its extremely charming water canals, numerous museums and fabulous artworks, the downtown of Delft is among the beautiful places in Netherlands other than Amsterdam. Delft is famous for being the birthplace of famous Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer and also for its blue and white Delftware crockery.

Location: West Netherlands Places To Visit In Delft: The Old Canal (Oude Delft), The Lambert Van Meerten Museum, The Vermeer Delft Museum, Delft City Hall, The Prince’s Court and Prinsenhof Museum and more. Things To Do In Delft: Climb the bell tower in the New Church for incredible views of miles away, Learn the insights of the Delft Pottery at Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles.

3. Rotterdam: Perfect Blend Of History & Culture


Image Credit: Yorick Groen for wikipedia Given its history and beauty, it is the perfect escape for vacationers of all kinds: families, friends, and couples. Located in the South of the Netherlands, Rotterdam is globally renowned for being one of the most beautiful places in Netherlands. Its blend of history, culture, rich architecture, and major city attractions allure visitors worldwide.

Location: South Netherlands Places To Visit In Rotterdam: Rotterdam Central Station, The Euromast Tower, De Markthal, Rotterdam Zoo, Climbing Park Fun Forest and more are some prominent places to visit in Rotterdam Netherlands. Things To Do In Rotterdam: Take part in workshops and tastings at Fenix Food Factory, and also witness the ports of the town with the Rotterdam Boat Tour.

Suggested Read: 10 Best Beaches In Netherlands To Go Crazy & Wild In The Beautiful Country

4. The Hague: For A Vibrant Nightlife

The Hague

The Hague is home to the Dutch government, despite the fact that Amsterdam is the capital of Netherlands. Visitors here love its modern vibe but more than that, they are entranced by its old world charm that can only be felt when you actually visit the city. The city also boasts of its vibrant nightlife with its grounded art and culture.

Location: South Holland Places To Visit In The Hague: Madurodam, Mauritshuis, Binnenhof, Duinrell and Gemeentemuseum Den Haag are some of the most famous places to visit in Hague Netherlands. Things To Do In The Hague: See the sky as a curved surface at the Celestial Vault, Witness some natural wonders at the First Natural Lanzart.

5. Maastricht: With A Medieval-Era Architecture


Image Credit: Turkish414 for Pixabay

If at all there is one thing that you can’t miss on a Netherlands vacation, it is a visit to this historic city of Maastricht. Considered to be one of the best places to visit in Netherlands , it is a must for everyone to witness the stunning package of medieval architecture and modern atmosphere that the town offers.

Location: South Netherlands Places To Visit In Maastricht: Bonnefanten Museum, Mount Saint Peter and the St. Pietersberg Caves, The Old Town Walls and Hell Gate, Natural History Museum Things To Do In Maastricht: Walking in Maastricht: Wilhelminabrug and St. Servaasbrug, Visit the Red Church at Sint Janskerk

Suggested Read: 27 Best Places For Bachelor Party In The World For A Perfect Stag Night

6. Edam: A Tourist’s Personal Favorite


Image Source What makes it a hot favourite among tourists is the Wednesday cheese market it hosts. Edam owes its fame to the fact that it’s the producer of world famous Edam Cheese which is exported to the world. Also, Edam is an important town historically and that is why it is yet another town in the list of places to visit in Netherlands other than Amsterdam.

Location: North Holland Places To Visit In Edam: Volendam Museum, Paard Van Marken, Edams Museum, Edam Cheese Market and more. Things To Do In Edam: Cheese tasting at the Edams Cheese Market and explore this small historic town with the windmills at the countryside.

7. Eindhoven: Explore The Museums


Image Source It is the numerous and varied types of museums in Eindhoven which makes it one of the most famous places among the top 10 places to visit in Netherlands. Eindhoven boasts of its fair share to creativity, technology, and design. It is undoubtedly a must visit on a trip to Netherlands. It is among the famous places to visit in Netherlands.

Location: South Netherlands Places To Visit In Eindhoven: Van Abbemuseum, Philips Museum, DAF Museum, PSV Museum and more. Things To Do In Eindhoven: Visit Speelpark De Splinter for a wonderful day out at this famous picnic spot, You can also do a two-hour design themed tour of the city and guided cycle tours are also available to know the insights of the Eindhoven.

Suggested Read: 5 Bizarre Cruises In Netherlands To Make Your Vacation Happening & Blissful

8. Leiden: For A Scenic Experience


Image Credit: Csupordezso for Pixabay

Housing various tree lined canals marked with old windmills and numerous museums ranging from science and natural history to Egyptian history, Leiden is among the must see places in Netherlands. The scenic canals, abundant wooden bridges and lush covered parks make the city ideal for visiting.

Location: South Holland Places to Visit In Leiden: Museum Boerhaave, National Museum of Antiquities, Hortus Botanicus Leiden, The Molen De Valk Windmill Museum and more. Things To Do In Leiden: Walk on Leiden stones and Visit the world’s second oldest observatory at the Leiden Observatory.

9. Utrecht: Explore The Incredible Architecture


Image Credit: Edwin for Pixabay

Primarily famous for housing the largest college in Holland, the University of Utrecht, it also owes its fame to incredible historic city architecture. An iconic site that has been associated with the medieval period since a very long now and has a plethora of scenic water canals, this one is a must visit attraction for all.

Location: Central Netherlands Places To Visit In Utrecht: The Oude Hortus, Trajectum Lumen, DOMunder, Dom Tower and more Things To Do In Utrecht: Bike tours, Boat excursions

Suggested Read: 10 Castles In Netherlands One Must Visit To Witness The Royal Side Of The Country!

10. Giethoorn: For Super Scenic Waterways


Giethoorn is quite interesting. You ought to love the place anyhow. It allows you spend your vacation among super scenic surroundings of waterways and canals on the village side. The best way to reach Giethoorn is either by a boat or by off roading on a bicycle. It is also called the ‘Village With No Roads’. Set amidst absolute tranquility of nature, Giethoorn is among the best places to see in Netherlands.

Location: Overijssel, Netherlands Places To Visit In Giethoorn: Museum De Oude Aarde, Museum Gloria Maris, The Histomobile and more Things To Do In Giethoorn: Chill and admire the glorious canals and their beauty and spend some quality time with your family.

11. Leeuwarden: Your Offbeat Destination

visit Leeuwarden

One of the offbeat places in Netherlands, Leeuwarden is another stunning tourist place in the league of top places to visit in Netherlands. Leeuwarden’s close proximity to Amsterdam makes it an ideal one day getaway from the capital. The place got a good number of places to eat and drink as well as some galleries and museums which showcase precious artworks.

Location: Friesland, Netherlands Places To Visit In Leeuwarden: Aqua Zoo Friesland, Fries Museum, Natuurmuseum and Keramiekmuseum Princessehof Things To Do In Leeuwarden: Discover the 11 fountains and enjoy the nightlife in Leeuwarden

Suggested Read: 20 Kickass Honeymoon Destinations: Perfect Backdrops For Your Love Story

12. Haarlem: A Medieval City


Located merely 15 minutes away from Amsterdam and Schiphol airport, Haarlem is a medieval yet charming city which boasts of numerous intact medieval structures around the town. The city got some excellent dining options, shopping opportunities, and some great beaches in the close vicinity too. What else does one need when deciding upon the best places to visit in Netherlands!

Location: Northwest Netherlands Places To Visit In Haarlem: Grote Kerk, Frans Hals Museum, Teylers Museum, Ten Boom Museum and more. Things To Do In Haarlem: Climb a landmark windmill, Hit the shops, Discover Haarlem’s hidden courtyards, Cycle to the beach, Go beer tasting in a former church.

13. Groningen: Experience The Splendid Canals


Another Netherlands top attractions is Groningen because it is a hub of history, culture, and art backed by splendid beauty of canals and waterways. If you take yourself as history buff or a nature lover then a vacation in Groningen is perfect for you. The city also boasts of two famous colleges and a vibrant nightlife as well.

Location: North Netherlands Places To Visit In Groningen: Groninger Museum, Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum, Nederlands Stripmuseum and more Things To Do In Groningen: Shop till you drop in Groningen, Discover some of the best restaurants in Groningen

Suggested Read: 10 Churches In Netherlands Which Offer A Glimpse Of The Ancient Structures Of Europe!

14. Middelburg: An Old Town In Netherlands


Image Credit: Djedj for Pixabay

Originally established to withstand Viking attacks, Middelburg is the oldest town which makes it the best tourist places in Netherlands. Middelburg is also one of the best places to visit in Netherlands. You would not want to miss out on this culturally and architecturally rich city on your trip to Netherlands.

Location: South Western Netherlands Places To Visit In Middelburg: Delta Works, Mini Mundi, Zeeuws Museum, Vleeshal Middelburg Things To Do In Middelburg: Bicycle tour, Shopping in Town Hall, Dine in the attractive restaurants in the town.

15. Volendam: Of The Most Charming Places 


Located just 12 kilometers North of Amsterdam, Volendam is a delightful fishing village. This is among the most charming places to visit in the Netherlands other than Amsterdam. Famous for its local delicacies, fish, and cheese, it’s a must-visit for foodies. Leaving Volendam without sampling its tantalizing cuisine would not do justice to your trip.

Location: Northeast of Amsterdam Places To Visit In Volendam: Volendam Museum, Paard Van Marken, Edams Museum, Edam cheese market Things To Do In Volendam: Go fishing and try fishes at various restaurants in Volendam

Suggested Read: 35 Best Places To Spend Christmas In Europe

16. Kinderdijk: Discover The Rural Village


Kinderdijk is an ideal example of a rural village in the Netherlands known for its iconic 18th-century windmills. Enjoy the lush greenery and beautiful countryside scenes that is quintessentially Dutch. The 19 windmills erected in the village, that were used to avoid flooding and keep the soil dry, have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, you ought to check them out. For someone who likes the countryside, will fall in love with the criss-cross bike trails, waterways, and footpaths.

Location: Molenwaard, Netherlands Places To Visit: Museummolen Nederwaard, Museummolen Blokweer,Donckse Forest Things To Do: Check out the windmills, go hiking or biking, explore the village

17. Thorn: A Picture-Perfect Destination


Image Credit: ID 12019 for Pixabay

Every instragrammer and photographer ought to check this placeout in the Netherlands because that is how charming and pretty this place in the Netherlands. The place lies near the Belgium border. it is hard to fall in love with the cobbled streets, white-washed brick buildings, and charming scenery. Don’t miss the tenth century abbey church in the town center.

Location: Limburg Places To Visit: Gemeentemuseum Land van Thorn, Abdijkerk Thorn, Begijnhof Things To Do: Guided tours, visit to the museum

Suggested Read: Amsterdam In March: A Comprehensive Guide On The Beautiful City In Netherlands

18. Alkmaar: Know More About Dutch Architecture


Alkmaar is a very fascinating destination for visitors who want to know more about Dutch architecture and history as it goes back to 900 AD. Once upon a time, Alkmaar was a very important agricultural hub. The place had a floating auction house and farmers came from far off places to sell their produce here.

Location: Netherlands Places to visit: The Broeker Veiling Museum, Piet Windmill, Weighing house, Cheese Museum, and the national beer museum are a must to have on the itinerary. Things to do: Visit the museum, go strolling through the place, visit the marketplace.

19. Breda: A Place With A History


Breda is an interesting medieval city which is also a must-see attraction for people who want to explore the architecture and history of the place. This was once fortified and has always occupied a very important strategic position. It also has a well preserved historic center till date. There are a lot of storehouses and Gastespoort in Port quarter which is one of the famous Breda’s three medieval gates.

Location: North Brabant Province Places to visit: The Breda Castle, the Grote Kerk which dates back to 1920; the Begijnhof, Spaniard’s hole. Things to do: Visit the Breda Museum which is located in a Meat Hall dating back to the 17th century, go hiking, go cycling in Mastbos which is a beautiful woodland near the Bouvigne castle.

Suggested Read: Shopping In Netherlands: A Handy Guide For Bringing Home Everything Chic & Classic!

20. Gouda: Famous For Its World-Class Cheese


Gouda is a popular tourist destination for its world-famous cheese which has been produced in the region for centuries. Cheese lovers and foodies alike shouldn’t miss out on the chance to visit the place on a Thursday (in the months of April to August). This is the time when the city comes to life due to its age-old cheese markets for its tourists to enjoy.

Location: Netherlands Places to visit: Historic Center, Cheese Museum Things to do: Visit the cheese market and take part in cheese weighing, auctioning, making and more, Go for wine and beer tastings, go for canal cruises, take a guided walking tour.

21. Arnhem: An Old Settlement


It is a small old town situated on the place of a Roman settlement. This town is an ideal place for discovering the Gelderland province since they have a lot to showcase. When here make sure to explore the old city center which you can easily tour on foot to see a lot of 15th-century style of architecture along with parts of the beautiful old town walls.

Location: Netherlands Places to visit: Netherlands Open Air Museum, Airborne Museum Hartenstein, Kroller Muller Museum, Wine Museum. Things to do: Go cycling at the National Park de Hoge Veluwe, go strolling through the old city.

Suggested Read: 7 Spectacular Beaches In Amsterdam To Visit On Your Vacation To Netherlands!

22. Texel: Dive Into The Culture


It is the biggest Frisian Island located just off the mainland of northern Holland. It offers travelers a wide range of activities to take part in. This is a great place to take your family for a little vacation since there are a lot of interesting places for dining and shopping here. There are also many museums and other landmarks here which will fascinate the kids and adults alike.

Location: Northern Holland Places to visit: The Whaler’s Cottage, the Shipwreck, and Beachcombing Museum, the Aviation and Wartime Museum, the Local History Museum. Things to do: Get a bicycle and go exploring the 30 km long coastline, visit the beaches during summer months, go kite sailing, enjoy surfing, go swimming, go windsurfing and go catamaran sailing.

Further Read: 10 Most Popular Europe Trips To Plan Your Ultimate Escape

The Netherlands is an amazing city to visit for a vacation. It’s fascinating history, couple with its cozy weather and the innumerable activities which visitors can engage in gives anyone lots of options to explore. All these best places to visit in Netherlands await you for the most unforgettable vacation of your lives! Pick your favorite destination and book for your trip to Netherlands  with TravelTriangle NOW!

For our editorial codes of conduct and copyright disclaimer, please click here .

Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Netherlands

What is Netherlands known for?

The is known for being a small country but having a rich culture and heritage and for the many amazing places to visit in Netherlands. that’s wonderful destination is also known for its great cuisine.

Is Netherlands a safe country?

Yes, indeed. Netherlands is quite a safe country and the crime rate is very low. The law is strictly enforced. at Netherlands rank 16 on the list of world’s safest countries.

What countries make up the Netherlands?

The constituent of all countries which are Aruba, Curacao, Sint Marteen and the Netherlands.

Is Denmark better than Netherlands?

Both Netherlands and Denmark are special in their own ways. Denmark is home to some majestic castles, captivating landscapes and innovative architecture whereas Netherlands is known for its rich history, culture and art.

What can I shop for in Netherlands?

There are many things that you can shop for in the Netherlands. Some of those things are Blond Amsterdam Breakfast set, handmade wallets, Dutch Licorice, customised clogs and bathrobes.

What is the best time to visit the Netherlands?

The country enjoys a temperate climate with milder summers as compared to the moderate winters. If you enjoy the company of tulips blooming, then, the time period between March and Mid May would be the best time to visit the Netherlands, along with other places to visit in Europe.

What are the places to visit in the Netherlands in January?

Winters may not be the wisest time to visit The Netherlands weather-wise, but it surely has a huge number of museums and indoor tourist attractions that might save you from the cold outside. We’d recommend places like Groningen, Haarlem, Leiden, Delft, and Utrecht to visit in The Netherlands in January.

What are the places to visit in the Netherlands in May?

The Netherlands comes to life when the sun is shining. The best places to visit in the Netherlands in May include The Hague, Amsterdam, and Scheveningen. The Netherlands in May is something you should not miss. The most important highlight of the summer in the Netherlands is the Canal Festival.

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17 Places to Visit in the Netherlands That Aren't Amsterdam

By Caitlin Morton and Katherine LaGrave

17 Places to Visit in the Netherlands That Aren't Amsterdam

Amsterdam is probably the first stop on anyone's trip to the Netherlands—and for good reason. But there is so much more to this small country (about one-third the size of Pennsylvania) than its capital city. Think rows of windmills, fields of tulips , and cities bursting with culture and charm. Luckily for you, it's all just a short drive or train ride away from that main city hub. Here's a list to get you started.

This piece was originally published in May 2018. It has been updated with new information.

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Affectionately referred to as the "Venice of the Netherlands," this village's thatched roof farmhouses and wooden arch bridges can be explored via bike lanes or canals—either by boat, or by ice skating during the frozen winter months.

Beemster Polder

Beemster Polder

About thirteen miles north of Amsterdam, the Beemster region is an example of a Dutch polder—a flat piece of green farmland formed by draining a body of water. Aside from its cultural significance (it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999), Beemster Polder is a gorgeous landscape, complete with little canals, windmills, and lush, green fields. Make sure to stop by Middenbeemster, which, like most towns in the country, is impossibly charming.


The canals of Utrecht have two stories, where centuries-old wharf cellars now serve as spots to enjoy food and drinks at water level—something unique to this city. You can also enjoy the towering churches and cozy cafes of Utrecht via cycling, as it's one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. It's also the perfect place for history buffs, with sites like the Dom Tower and Centraal Museum offering glimpses into the country's past.

De Hoge Veluwe National Park

De Hoge Veluwe National Park

This park is one of the largest in Holland, and within its 13,343 acres, counts rare wildlife, some of the most iconic buildings in the Netherlands, and the Kröller-Müller museum, which showcases a collection of nineteenth and twentieth century art in addition to the largest private collection of Van Goghs . Zoom around on a (free) white bike—the park has 1,800 available for rent.

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Many people flock to Delft for its eponymous blue pottery, but don't overlook the unspoiled town's Renaissance architecture and Vermeer Centre museum (the Dutch painter, famous for such works as Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Milkmaid , was born and died here).

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Texel Island

Texel is the largest and most populated of the West Frisian Islands, also known as the Wadden Islands, due to their location in the Wadden Sea. The island offers landscapes unlike anything else on the mainland, including sweeping sand dunes, salt marshes filled with lavender , and beaches lined with bungalows.

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Beloved by photographers and available to rent on Airbnb, the Piet Blom-designed cube houses are reason enough to visit the country's second-largest city. But so are the bars and restaurants, soaring Erasmus Bridge, and LED-lit Market Hall.

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The village of Kinderdijk is probably what comes to mind when you imagine a bucolic Dutch countryside—in other words, lots of windmills. The 19 monumental mills were built in the early eighteenth century to prevent flooding and keep soil dry, and the mill network has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997.

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Located in the province of Limburg (near the Belgian border), Thorn is postcard-pretty with cobblestone roads and white-washed brick buildings. Its can't-miss attraction is the tenth-century abbey church in the town center.

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Zaanse Schans

If you're looking for a snapshot of Dutch history, head to Zaanse Schans: Here, in this collection of windmills and houses, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are brought to life. Don't miss the cheese factory .

The Hague

Amsterdam may be the capital, but the Dutch parliament meets in this stunning city on the North Sea. Within its Gothic Inner Court lie some of the country's best museums , including an homage to M.C. Escher and the Mauritshuis (which houses Girl with the Pearl Earring ).

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Alkmaar has many intriguing museums and lots of medieval architecture worth checking out, but most travelers flock here for one reason: cheese . The town is known for its traditional cheese market, which takes place on Friday mornings from April to early September.

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Often dubbed "Little Amsterdam," Haarlem has all the appeal of the capital city with none of the crowds. Make a point to visit Jopenkerk , a brewery housed in a converted fourteenth-century cathedral.

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You can't visit Holland and not expect to see some technicolor tulips. There are many places around the country to view the beautiful flowers , but the Keukenhof Gardens (open from March to May) and sprawling fields around the town of Lisse are a sure thing.


This picturesque fishing village is Holland’s best-known for a reason: it's filled with colorful wooden houses, bobbing fishing boats, and seafood stall after seafood stall dishing up fish and chips, smoked eel, and pickled herring piled high with onions.

Wadden Sea

This coastal wetland—a UNESCO World Heritage site , and the "largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world"—is home to a number of animal species including the harbor seal, grey seal, and harbor porpoise. There are some 50 islands here; the Netherlands "owns" five of them.


If you like technology and design, head to Eindhoven. Don't miss the Van Abbemuseum (modern and contemporary art), Strijp-S (a creative and cultural center housed in an industrial park), and the Inkijkmuseum (a micro museum located in a former washhouse). Looks can be deceiving: Cutting-edge Eindhoven is one of the oldest cities in Holland.

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My Path in the World

25 Best Towns and Cities in the Netherlands to Visit in Your Lifetime

If you’re looking for the best towns and cities in the Netherlands to visit in your lifetime, you’ve come to the right place.

The first things that come to mind when you think about this country are probably canals, windmills, tulips, museums, and stroopwafel, but it is so much more than that.

It’s also where I found kind locals, a welcoming atmosphere, and an abundance of charm I cannot explain in words. So if you’re ready to learn more about this incredible destination, here’s a must-save bucket list.

* This post may contain affiliate links from which I earn a commission (for more info, read my disclosure ). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

* I try to keep the information on this blog as updated as possible, but I still recommend consulting the latest prices, opening hours, and other details on the official website of each site, hotel, and tour, as well as checking the updated public transport routes and timetables.

Table of Contents


Starting with the obvious, a trip to the Netherlands has to include at least a couple of days in Amsterdam.

Beyond its picturesque canals, internationally famous museums, and historical landmarks, people fall in love with its laid-back vibe and inviting atmosphere.

The highlights of this beautiful city include the Royal Palace, Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt House Museum, and Oude Kerk (a 13th-century church/art center and the oldest building in Amsterdam), but you’ll literally find dozens of museums in Amsterdam and other fun things to do and see.

Amsterdam also offers a fantastic food scene and buzzing nightlife (there are literally dozens of pubs, clubs, and rooftop bars in Amsterdam ), and it’s a great base for exploring other towns and cities in the Netherlands.

Last but not least, it might seem like it’s only a popular destination for groups of friends, but you can also visit Amsterdam with kids .


By Kat from Wandering Bird

Volendam is a tiny but popular village built on the shores of Markermeer Lake and is one of the most charming places in the Netherlands. 

It’s famous for the colorful wooden houses along the lakefront and the cute shops. There’s a museum – home to paintings, sculptures, and pottery from the past 200 years, as well as a mosaic made from millions of cigar bands!

It’s also known for the local cheese – be sure to try some from one of the stores which make and sell it. 

You can get to Volendam by public transport or tour on a day trip from Amsterdam, but the best way to visit is with your own vehicle.

This will allow you to stay longer and enjoy the evening atmosphere once the crowds have gone, as well as watch the beautiful sunset from the beach by the lake.

If you’re  motorhoming in the Netherlands , there’s a wonderful campsite right on the beach. There are also several hotels and BnBs to choose from.


By Sam from  My Flying Lea p

When you think of the Netherlands, tulips and windmills are the iconic images that come to mind.

The best place to see windmills is Zaandijk, a village in the Dutch countryside that’s just a short train ride north of Amsterdam.

Zaandijk is known for its specialty museum, Zaanse Schans. It’s a recreated Dutch village with picturesque windmills and brightly painted wooden homes. In Zaanse Schans, you can step back in time to the 17th and 18th centuries and tour the windmills. 

Go on a canal cruise, learn how to make the famous Dutch wooden shoes, tour a bakery and cheese shop, and try a freshly-made stroopwafel with coffee. One taste of the melted caramel, and you’ll wonder how you ever did without them.


Though there’s much more to the town of Gouda than just cheese, if you decide to visit this charming place, you have to immerse yourself in some cheese-related activities.

These include learning about it at the Gouda Cheese Experience, visiting the De Goudse Waag (the weighting house), and witnessing the rituals of the traditional Cheese Market (taking place in front of the old City Hall on Thursday mornings from April to August).

Other visit-worthy places in Gouda are the Sint-Jan Church, Syrup Waffle Factory (perfect for stroopwafel addicts like me), and Museumhaven – an open-air museum preserving old Dutch ships (located in one of the city’s canals).

By Samantha from  Sam Sees World

Haarlem is one of the best city breaks in the Netherlands for its beauty and unmistakable charm.

It has been dubbed a “mini Amsterdam,” and it offers a welcome escape from the busy streets of the Dutch capital. The less-touristy environment makes Haarlem the perfect place to visit if you want to see a real and vibrant Dutch city.

One of the top things to do in Haarlem is to visit the famous Grote Markt. It is located in the center of the city and is full of great restaurants, charming cafes, and stunning landmarks.

After this, you can walk to Molen de Adriaan, which is an iconic Dutch windmill in the city center. As one of Haarlem’s most famous landmarks (that has been around since the 18th century), it is a must-visit!


By Emma from Emma Jane Explores

Kinderdijk  is a UNESCO-listed village in Molenlanden, located near the city of Rotterdam. This gorgeous area is famous for the rows and rows of windmills that pump water and essentially stop the region from flooding.  

The windmills here are also home to the village residents and have been on the land at Kinderdijk since the 1700s.

There are many walking and cycling trails that make the town easy to explore at your own pace, and for those wanting to take a peek inside, there is even a museum in a preserved windmill that gives a sense of what life is like here.

Here, you’ll see glimpses of real Dutch life, from millers working hard with wooden clogs on their feet to farm animals and livestock in the fields, all against the backdrop of the remarkable windmills. It’s hard to imagine a more quintessentially Dutch scene.

Top cities in the Netherlands - Kinderdijk

By Nicole from Bucket List Lists

One of the best towns to visit in the Netherlands is Lisse! Visiting this town is something you can easily add to your  Amsterdam bucket list  because of how close it is, about 16 miles (25.5 km) away.

Getting to Lisse is quite easy if you are based in Amsterdam. You can take the bus, and the ride is just under an hour, or take a car for about 30 minutes, traffic dependent.

Lisse is notable as the most beautiful place to see tulips in the springtime . There are millions of tulips to see here in the famous Keukenhof Flower Garden, usually from the end of March to the middle of May.

Other places to visit in Lisse include Castle Keukenhof and Sint-Agathakerk.

Keukenhof Gardens

By Nichola from Globalmouse Travels

Rotterdam is a great city to visit at any time of the year. Extensively bombed during WWII, Rotterdam can’t rely on picturesque beauty like Amsterdam, Utrecht, and so many other Dutch towns.

So it has imaginatively reinvented itself, and everywhere you go, there are interesting buildings and quirky architecture to delight in.

There’s plenty to see here from Mini World to the Maritime Museum, and if you’re visiting  the Netherlands with kids , don’t miss the wonderful Plaswijckpark, which is huge and full of fun activities and play equipment to enjoy.

There’s a great emerging foodie scene in Rotterdam too, making it the perfect place to linger over meals and try different food. It’s somewhere very different from the usual offerings in the Netherlands, and there’s so much to enjoy here.

You can easily get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam by train.


By Jennifer of  Family Trip Guide s

The town of Wassenaar is just 14 miles (22.5 km) from The Hague and 33.5 miles (54 km) from Amsterdam, but it feels like a world away.

In the spring, you can drive and walk around the beautiful flower and tulip fields that are protected from the ocean by the dunes surrounding Wassenaar.

The main attraction in the town is the delightful Duinrell Holiday Park. It was opened in 1935 but has been modernly updated. It is located in a beautiful forest near the dunes, a kilometer from town.

There is an endless supply of fun for all ages at Duinrell. It has the largest waterpark in the Benelux with 21 slides. Also, the amusement park includes over 40 different attractions.

On your way back, make sure to drive through the most expensive street in the Netherlands, Groot Haesebroekseweg, just south of Duinrell.

flower field in Wassenaar

By Constance from The Adventures of Panda Bear

Leiden is a quaint college town, located approximately 40 minutes away from Amsterdam by train. Home to Leiden University, it is famous for being Rembrandt van Rijn’s birthplace, as well as its plethora of museums. 

As Rembrandt’s hometown, you’ll find Rembrandtpark in Leiden, which includes a statue and a mural commemorating the life and work of the great Dutch artist. It is a relaxing spot for a short stroll and is the perfect place to eat lunch or take in the views of the nearby windmill, Molen de Put. 

You’ll also find a few interesting museums in Leiden, including the National Museum of Antiquities, Naturalist Biodiversity Center, Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, and Museum of Ethnology.

The National Museum of Antiquities has an especially large collection of antiquities from Ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome. It is well worth the visit if you’re a history buff. 

You’ll definitely want to add  Leiden to your Netherlands itinerary ! 


Although it’s the third-largest city in the country, the Hague might not come to mind when thinking about beautiful places to visit in the Netherlands. But, in fact, it can be a wonderful day trip from Amsterdam.

First of all, the city is home to must-visit art museums like Mauritshuis, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, and Escher in Het Paleis.

It’s also where you’ll find unique museums like the Children’s Book Museum, Prison Gate Museum (Museum de Gevangenpoort), and my favorite – Madurodam – an impressive open-air miniature park.

In the Hague, you can also wander the streets of the city center and visit places like the old town hall, Peace Palace, and Noordeinde Palace.


Thanks to a compact yet utterly enchanting historic city center, Amersfoort is a must-visit on a trip to the Netherlands.

Some of its highlights include the Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren (the third-tallest church tower in the Netherlands), Koppelpoort (a picturesque medieval watergate), St George’s Church, and Mondriaan House.

To enjoy Amersfoort’s true charm, take your time and roam its maze of streets, alleys, and canals, which will make you want to move there. Don’t miss out on the circular street of Muurhuizen, which is where the city walls used to stand.

Best cities in the Netherlands - Amersfoort

By Nichola from Family Hotel Expert

The picturesque city of Utrecht is just a forty-minute drive south of Amsterdam, and here you will find an incredible selection of activities to entertain everyone.

Start at the Nijntje Museum (or Miffy Museum), which celebrates the work of illustrator Dick Bruna who created the bright and colorful rabbit Miffy, perfect if you’re on a  family holiday to Holland .

Take a stroll along the canals and over the bridges of Utrecht to take in the city’s uniquely sedate way of life before climbing the Dom Tower in the heart of the old town (where you can get spectacular views of Utrecht’s historic architecture).

Seek out the Museum Speelklok, where ancient mechanical musical machines sit alongside Dutch street organs, before grabbing a pancake or two at De Muntkelder, one of the finest local pancake houses.

End your day with a peaceful pedalo ride along the canals for a unique view of this endearing city.



By Daniela from Exploring the Netherlands

They call Maastricht “the pearl of the South,” and indeed, Maastricht is one of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands. It’s also a popular day-trip destination among the locals.

One of the  most famous attractions in Maastricht  is the Dominicanen Bookstore, located in a former Gothic church. For the best views of the city, climb the tower of St John’s Church.

Afterward, relax at one of the cafés on the famous Vrijthof Square. In the winter, the most magical Christmas market in the Netherlands takes place in this square, and in the summer, the world-famous conductor André Rieu and his orchestra are having performances.

Stroll along the cobbled streets and discover the small squares scattered around the old town. Take a look at the ramparts, and walk along the oldest bridge in the city – St Servatius Bridge. If you love modern art, visit the lovely Bonnefanten Museum.

Best cities in the Netherlands - Maastricht

Super scenic and rich in history, Middelburg has to be on your Netherlands bucket list.

It’s one of the oldest cities in the country and home to countless landmarks, including the Long John Abbey Tower, Town Hall, and Middelburg Abbey.

You’ll also fall in love with its picture-perfect old harbor, historic center packed with restaurants and shops, and weekly market, taking place on Thursdays.

On paper, it might seem similar to other cities in the Netherlands, but Middelburg has its own charm, and visiting it is a great way to explore the country off the beaten path.


Located in the province of North Brabant near the border with Belgium, Breda is one of the top cities in the Netherlands. From the city center’s bustling streets to museums to historical buildings, there’s plenty to do and see here.

Visit landmarks like the Breda Castle, Bouvigne Castle, and Great Church, explore the quirky Bierreclame Museum (Beer Advertising Museum), and have a cup of coffee or a beer at one of Breda’s many restaurants and cafes.

Located about half an hour by car and less than 45 minutes by public transport from Breda, you should also visit the incredible Efteling theme park. It’s where beloved fairytales come to life in the most majestic way, and even as an adult, I guarantee you’ll get excited like a kid!

By Frans from Ask the Dutch Guy

Eindhoven  is the fifth biggest city in the Netherlands. Besides the Philips Museum, which is one of the most renowned attractions in the city, it’s also a vibrant center of creative design.

There are a lot of museums and modern architecture worth seeing when you’re in this part of the Netherlands, and Eindhoven was even named as the world’s most innovative city by Forbes. 

Eindhoven is also a foodie paradise! There are many places to eat here, and you can find almost anything here, whether you fancy Dutch food or you’re looking for some Asian fusion. 

While you’re here, make sure you stop by at the Strijp-S, a former warehouse turned into a creative area filled with independent shops and quirky architecture to enjoy. Indeed, there’s something here for everyone, and you should definitely experience it!

Most beautiful cities in the Netherlands - Eindhoven

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By Lotte from Eschbach Consulting

Leeuwarden is the capital of the province of Friesland, found in the north of the Netherlands. As the European Cultural Capital of 2018, it should come as no surprise that Leeuwarden has plenty to offer!  

The historic city center is very walkable, and there are several worthwhile attractions to be found here. Climb to the top of ‘de Oldehove,’ Leeuwarden’s very own tilted tower.

Families with young kids are advised to park their strollers at the bottom of the tower and carry their children up. While there is an elevator to the first floor, you’ll have to climb some stairs to get to the next level, which has the best views.  

Follow the Miniature People Route and discover little puppets hidden all around the city center. Or visit the Natural Museum of Fryslân where you can learn more about the history of the area and the surrounding nature.


By Victoria from  Guide Your Travel

Groningen is a mid-sized Dutch city located in the north of the Netherlands.

This is a popular student city with vibrant nightlife and plenty of things to do (and surprisingly, even some expats choose to live in Groningen ). You should come here for beautiful architecture, a laid-back atmosphere, and great bars and restaurants.

Definitely stop by the Groninger Museum, which has an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures.

For an experience closer to nature, head to the Lauwersmeer National Park, which lies just outside the city. This is a beautiful spot to watch wildlife and enjoy hiking or bike rides.

You’ll also love the city’s many landmarks like the Aa-Kerk, the Groningen Synagogue, the Martinikerk, and the impressive Martinitoren.

You should spend at least a weekend in Groningen if not more to see all the important sights. Don’t forget to pack your camera!



By Paulina from Paulina on the Road

The protected city of Nijmegen is the oldest in the Netherlands and will remind you of Roman times. It is a great place to visit as it is full of magnificent historic buildings and plazas that are centuries old.

Plus, it is the home to the country’s oldest shopping street, the Lange Hezelstraat. It also offers a bunch of things to do and see. 

Start with visiting the Museum De Bastei to discover the nature and the phenomenal history of the river region, from ice-age animals to water management. Followed by it, soak up centuries of historical stories at the Wijchen Castle.

Apart from the popular landmarks, the city also has exciting nightlife offers from cozy pubs to hip clubs. Don’t miss out on shopping for  hemp clothing brands  from the city’s oldest shopping streets. Surround yourself with lively parks, squares, and cafes.

By Dymphe from  Dym Abroad

One of the best cities to see in the Netherlands is Zwolle. It is a wonderful place to visit with its historic center and the interesting buildings within it. Its houses have a beautiful architectural style, and the city’s history goes back almost 1200 years!

What’s also fun is that Zwolle is a smaller city that is not visited by many tourists. That means that you can better experience what local life in a Dutch city is like here.

There are some great things to do and see in the city, including the Grote Kerk, the Sassenpoort Gatehouse, and Museum de Fundatie. Besides that, Zwolle is home to many restaurants serving delicious food!


Also known as the Dutch Venice, Giethoorn is what dreams are made of. Seriously, I would pack my bags and move to this picture-perfect village if it hadn’t become such a popular touristic place.

Packed with adorable houses, narrow canals, and colorful boats, Giethoorn’s beauty is best enjoyed in spring and summer, but if you’re looking for tourist-free spots in the country, this is not it.

By Cosette from KarsTravels

Deventer is an old city situated in the Northeastern of the Netherlands. Being one of the oldest cities in the country and one of the most important cities in the Hanseatic League, Deventer has a rich history.

You can discover it at Museum de Waag, a monumental building from the Middle Ages that now functions as a museum.

On a city walk, you can admire other historical buildings, like the oldest park (Worpplantsoen), the oldest stone house, and the oldest scientific library (the Athenaeumbibliotheek).

Other things you shouldn’t miss in Deventer are the Speelgoedmuseum Deventer (Toys museum) and a visit to the famous Deventer Koekwinkel, where they sell Deventer koek – a cookie made with a recipe from the Middle Ages.

When visiting in December, don’t miss the  Dickens Festival , when Deventer turns into a village from a Dickens story.

Best cities to visit in the Netherlands - Deventer

By Frans from Badass2go

As a born citizen of Steenwijk, I know every ins and outs of the city. It lays down in the middle of the Weerribben National Park with the beautiful villages of Giethoorn and Kalenberg next door.

The biggest attractions in Steenwijk include the square market with all its restaurants and shops, the Hildo Krop Museum, and of course, our own Sint Clemens Church.

This church is 87 meters high, and you definitely need to climb this one because from up there, you have a superb view over Steenwijk and its surrounding. The entrance fee is €2,50.

An insider tip is to rent an electric scooter by  Badass2go  to explore the city and its surrounding. This electric scooter looks like a Harley Davidson, and riding a bike like this is an experience on its own.


By Shobna from Just Go Places

Arnhem has to be one of the most beautiful towns in the Netherlands. Right when you come into the Arnhem train station directly from Amsterdam, you can admire the station itself, which is an award-winning architectural marvel.

Many sites in the town center are within walking distance. Make sure you see the Eusebius Church, which has recently been rebuilt after heavy bombing during WWII. There is a glass elevator that whisks you up to the top of the church tower, which has fabulous views over the surrounding countryside.

Much of the medieval town center was destroyed during WWII because the Allies launched an attack on the Nazi forces in this town. Called Operation Market Garden, the attack failed because the Nazis heavily defended the town since  Arnhem  is located at the border near Germany.

The story of Operation Market Garden is told in two war museums, including a small one near the John Frost Bridge, which was the primary objective of the attack.


Click here to access the My Maps interactive map that includes all of these places in the Netherlands.

Tip: After accessing the map, you can also open it on your Google Maps app. Simply open your app, tap the ‘saved’ icon at the bottom, scroll down and tap the ‘maps’ icon, and choose the MyMaps map you want to see (you can do the same on your computer).

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I'm a passionate traveler obsessed with traveling in Europe and discovering hidden gems in each place I visit. For me, it's not about ticking destinations off the bucket list but experiencing each one of them to the fullest. Read more about me and my story.

cities to visit in netherland


30 Best Places to Visit in The Netherlands

cities to visit in netherland

Are you planning a trip to the Netherlands? Then this list with the most beautiful places to visit is exactly what you are looking for. Find below a map with all the tourist spots of the Netherlands and pick the ones you like for your next trip. The Netherlands has a wide variety of tourist attractions and this extensive list has some off the beaten path destinations that you won't find in any other Netherlands travel guide.

It’s not a surprise that the worldwide Corona crisis has put a stop to all our travels. Some awesome trips abroad got cancelled and had to be rescheduled. In the meantime the Traveltomtom team had time to check out the beautiful tourists attractions in the Netherlands. With some borders being closed, and a negative travel advice for most of the outside world, Traveltomtom started looking into sightseeing in The Netherlands. We found out that Holland, our small little country has so much to offer. For some reason we rather travel as far away as possible. But the Corona crisis made us reconsider to visit some Netherlands tourist attractions.

Holland has 12 provinces and the Traveltomtom Team has traveled to all of them. We visited all the tourist hotspots around our country, some during the recent global Covid pandemic. On top of all that we visited some unique hidden gems which we want you to discover too. Are you ready?

When traveling to the Netherlands stay connected and buy a local sim card for the Netherlands . Flying to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam? Don't buy your sim card for the Netherlands there. Why? Here is your guide for buying a sim card at Amsterdam Airport and decide yourself!

Join us on a journey along the best things to in the Netherlands. With this list of the most amazing tourist attractions I am sure you make the most out of your Netherlands trip.

Map of the beautiful places to visit in Netherlands

best places to visit in the netherlands 2021

1. Amsterdam

canals of amsterdam

Our capital city! I love Amsterdam, in fact, I think it’s one of the best capital cities in the world. And I assure you, Amsterdam is so much more than the red-light district and legal drugs.

Amsterdam became quiet during the Corona crisis, for months museum, restaurants and bars had to be closed. Residents of Amsterdam loved the peace and quiet in the city. Normally for the best things to do in Amsterdam like the Anne Frank House, it’s almost impossible to get tickets. There are always massive queues lining up alongside the museum. When things started to open up again, but tourists were still not allowed into the Netherlands, we thought this would be the perfect time to visit our capital, and visit all the places we normally don’t get the chance for.

Amsterdam netherlands

My top recommendation for Amsterdam is the Anne Frank House. A very important part of our history, which they turned into an interesting and impressive museum. Find out where she and her family hid, and where she wrote her famous diary.

Explore Amsterdam by foot as much as possible, walk through narrow alleys, discover Amsterdam at its best! Another recommendation I would like to make is a boat tour on the canals of Amsterdam. They usually last for about an hour, and you get to see some pretty nice and new sights of Amsterdam. During the tour commentary will be provided in multiple languages.

Some other must do’s for Amsterdam: rent a bike and explore the Vondelpark, walk through the most expensive shopping street of the Netherlands, the PC Hooftstraat, visit the Rijksmuseum and the famous Nachtwacht painting, take the free ferry-boat behind the Central Station and visit the A’dam Tower (amazing Amsterdam views guaranteed!).

Where to stay around Amsterdam? The Traveltomtom team lately tried out the brand new Van Der Valk Amsterdam Zuidas Hotel , with the most magnificent views over the Amsterdam business district for sure. Want to stay in a more central hotel in Amsterdam then have a look at the Volkshotel in Amsterdam Oost . Their uniquely designed rooms, Canvas rooftop bar bar/restaurant and a hot tub with views over Amsterdam make it a unique hotel in Amsterdm.

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2. Kissing Couple XXL

kissing couple amsterdam netherlands

Located on the North side of Amsterdam, right at the point where you take the ferry to Zaandam, they installed something pretty cool. The Kissing Couple XXL in Delfts blue colors. I stumbled upon it though social media, and immediately thought, I have to add this to my Netherlands sightseeing tour.

It’s very easy to visit by car, as there is a carpark right next to the Kissing Couple. But there is another fun way of getting to the Kissing Couple XXL. You can easily visit it by bike. From Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station just follow the blue dot route to the Hempont Ferry. The Kissing Couple can’t be missed. Need more information on the bike route? Check it out here .

For a unique place to stay in The Netherlands check out the Clock Tower Suite in Weesp . It is near Amsterdam and you get a chance to sleep in the tower of an old church! Click on the link for a complete review of what is called one of the best hotel rooms in The Netherlands.

3. Zaanse Schans

zaanse schans netherlands 1

The Zaanse Schans, one of Netherlands top things to do, I had wanted to visit this place for such a long time. But it’s normally crowded with tourists there, a very popular spot. I guess that has always kept me from visiting. After visiting Kinderdijk earlier this trip, where we were pretty much the only one around, I had high hopes for the Zaanse Schans. Often the parking lot tells a lot about how busy the place you’re visiting is. The parking lot at the Zaanse Schans was empty, which made me very enthusiastic.

The Zaanse Schans is an amazing place to visit, full of windmills, handcraft shops and museums. The Zaanse Schans is actually a residential area, keep in mind, people actually live here! The Dutch 18th and 19th centuries are brought alive here. It feels like walking through an open-air museum.

zaanse schans netherlands 3

This place is a unique part of the Netherlands. Where else will you find wooden houses, mills, barns and workshops? Every part tells its own story.

Walk around, buy some cheese, clogs as a souvenir or chocolate, visit a windmill and learn about what they still do there. The Zaanse Schans is a fun day out, and super easy to visit from Amsterdam. It’s located right next to Zaandam, a lovely place with a very relaxed city center with some more classic Dutch architecture to discover. De Zaanse Schans definitely is a must visit place in the Netherlands.

A great place to stay near de Zaanse Schans is the Boutique Hotel STAATS in Haarlem . The Traveltomtom team checked it out, read the full review in the link.

4. Volendam

dijk volendam

We had been to Volendam before, more than once even. It’s always a great day out and I love the atmosphere is this quaint town, even on busy and crowded days. However, we got curious to what Volendam would be like these days during the Corona pandemic.

I was shocked, as I had never seen Volendam as empty as it was this June. The famous Dijk was completely empty. A few tourists, but mostly locals were around, so nice. But that was of course due to the pandemic.

From Amsterdam you can easily take a daytrip to Volendam. Consider taking the bus, as this popular Netherlands tourist attraction is located just over 30 minutes from the city center of Amsterdam.

Volendam is a classic Dutch charming harbour village. The Dijk is the most famous part of the town full of shops and restaurants, along the water. All located in traditional wooden buildings. Looking for that cheesy photo in Dutch costume? Volendam is your place to be!

hoorn city center 1

Tourists often only visit Amsterdam, or maybe Volendam if they stay longer, but often don’t explore more of the Zaan Region, just above Amsterdam. We knew there was much more to explore in this region than just Volendam and Amsterdam. The Zaanse Schans for example, but also don’t skip the city of Hoorn. A great little Dutch town, with a huge history to it.

Hoorn, the city of the Golden Age. Hoorn is located directly by the water and was very prosperous during the Golden Age. Hoorn turned out to be the perfect location for the trading routes of the Dutch East India Company. This rich history of Hoorn nowadays lives on in monumental buildings, grand architecture and museums full of historical treasures.

hoorn city center 2

Hoorn is one of the overlooked places to visit in Holland, but totally worth visiting.

Best place to stay around Amsterdam

Hotels in Amsterdam can be expensive, especially in the city center. If you’re keen on exploring both the city of Amsterdam, but also the Zaanse Schans, Hoorn and Volendamand many other highlights to visit around Amsterdam, we might just have the perfect place for you.

Our Netherlands tip for this region is Van der Valk Amsterdam-Oostzaan Hotel . This hotel is located just outside of Amsterdam, along the highway, so it’s very easy to get there. It’s located within half an hour max of the tourists attractions such as Amsterdam, Volendam, Hoorn, Zaanse Schans and Muiderslot. Your perfect gateway to this beautiful part of Holland.

van der valk oostzaan 1

Additional benefit is the free parking offered by Van der Valk Oostzaan. Staying that close to Amsterdam, yet being able to park your car for free, that’s a real bonus!

Another benefit this hotel offers its guests is the shuttle service. No hassle, make sure to book a spot for this service, and they bring you to the city of Amsterdam! They drop you at a free ferry, from where you cross the water to the center of Amsterdam. During the holidays this service is offered on a daily basis, with multiple departure times available.

van der valk oostzaan 2

Looking to explore this region by bike? Good idea, the Van Der Valk Oostzaan hotel offers bike rental and some very interesting and fun bike routes. Just ask at reception for more information.

Van der Valk Amsterdam Oostzaan opened its door to the public just a few years ago, a rather new hotel this is. Something new hotels of the Van der Valk Group have in common is the wellness and fitness areas, often located on the top floors of the hotel. The Amsterdam – Oostzaan hotel is no exception. Make sure to check out the pool, gym and sauna. If you want to do so, please keep in mind that a reservation is required nowadays.

6. Muiderslot Castle

muiderslot castle

Muiderslot Castle is one of the oldest and best-preserved castles of the Netherlands, it was built in 1285. Back then they had just one goal in mind when building this castle, defence!

This famous Dutch castle is located just outside Amsterdam, and therefore really easy to visit. It’s considered one of the must see places in the Netherlands. Reason enough to put it on our itinerary.

Visiting this castle is not free of charge, tickets for Muiderslot Castle are 15,50. This 700-year-old castle is surrounded by water and some beautiful historic gardens. Behind the castle you’ll find the plum orchard of the castles famous resident and writer P.C. Hooft. When the plums were ripe and sweet, he gladly invited his guests to the Muiderslot. He closed his letters with the, now famous phrase ‘Until plum-time!’.

Muiderslot Castle obviously also had to close its doors due to Corona, but they have opened up again, ready to welcome visitors. In fact, they have come up with something really cool and one of my best Netherlands travel tips.

During summer you can camp right next to the castle, how cool is that? You arrive in the afternoon, and have the castle all to yourself. You’ll get a tour through an empty castle, gather around a campfire, and have breakfast delivered to your tent.

If camping is not your thing then I can highly recommend you to check out the Van Der Valk Utrecht Hotel . The Traveltomtom team stayed here, check out the review in the link. Also close by the Muiderslot Castle is the city of Wageningen where you can find the unique Hotel de Wereld where in 1945 the capitulation of Germany troops was signed by Colonel - General Blaskowitz. Here you can relive history, a unique place to stay in The Netherlands!

7. Heeswijk Castle

heeswijk castle

Heeswijk Castle is located in the South of the Netherlands, just over half an hour from the city of Eindhoven. It is considered the most beautiful castle of the Brabant province and one you won’t often find in a Netherlands travel guide.

The castle is very easily accessible, just follow the signs to the free parking facilities, and walk up to the castle. You can walk all around the castle for free. If you want to visit the castle and see it if from the inside. Tickets for the Heeswijk Castle cost €11 .

The castle is surrounded by woods with plenty of walking tracks around the castle.

Heeswijk Castle has played an important role during World War II. During the massive operation Market Garden, paratroopers were dropped to secure the route of advancing British ground forces. There are multiple information signs around the castle telling you about the history. You can even follow the Liberation Route and learn all about it.

Looking for places to stay around the Heeswijk Castle then try the Hotel Modez in Arnhem . The Traveltomtom team stayed there and came up with 6 reasons why to book this hotel. Read the review in the link. 

8. Fort de Roovere

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Fort de Roovere is located in the far west corner of the province of Brabant, close to the border with Zeeland. It is an earthen fort, constructed as part of the Dutch Water Line, the Hollandse Waterlinie, a series of water-based defenses.

In recent years extensive renovations have been done to the fort, as it had fallen into major disrepair.  What got me really curious to visit this place is the Moses Bridge. This bridge appears to divide the water, so we know where it gets its name from. It seems like this bridge crosses through the water, something unique.

fort de roovere 1

Looking for some aerial views? Just recently the Pompejus watchtower was added to the area and opened to the public. Fort de Roovere for sure is an off the beaten path tourist destination in the Netherlands away from the crowds.

9. Kinderdijk

kinderdijk netherlands attraction

Kinderdijk is probably as Dutch as it gets, this tourist attraction is why people visit the Netherlands, and Kinderdijk is how people think of and see the Netherlands. No wonder this UNESCO World Heritage site is a popular place to visit, that attracts thousands of tourists every year.

The Kinderdijk windmill complex is unique in the world, you won’t find this anywhere else in the world. We Dutch have always struggled with water, these windmills and pumping stations have been keeping the soil dry here for centuries now.

kinderdijk netherlands things to do

You can actually walk around here for free, no entrance. If you want to visit the museum mills or sail along the windmills, you would need to buy an entrance ticket, which you have to do prior to your arrival to Kinderdijk. This is one of these Dutch tourist hotspots that is crowded in any given normal situation, but due to the corona crisis there were only a handful of people, perfect!

Best place to stay around Kinderdijk

Our recommendation for a place to stay when visiting Kinderdijk is Van der Valk Hotel Dordrecht . It is located at cycling distance from the Biesbosch National Park, and just a short 10-minute drive to the city center of Dordrecht. You can rent bikes from the hotel to discover the highlights in Dordrecht, even cycle to Kinderdijk which is a 19 kilometer bike ride. All easy and flat terrain and the best way to visit Holland anyway. Stay active!

van der valk dordrecht 1

Van der Valk Hotel Dordrecht is conveniently located right next to the A16 highway, which makes this hotel very easily accessible.

van der valk dordrecht 2

Next to that, and because the Netherlands is just a small country, it is also located within reasonable distance of attractions like Kinderdijk, the Deltaworks and the beaches of Scheveningen, all within an hour drive of the hotel.

This hotel has an amazing wellness center right at the top. This wellness center offers a pool, fitness area and sauna. Also located on the top floor of the hotel is the skybar. It’s one of Dordrecht best bars to have a drink. Perfect to enjoy a drink on a summer evening, while enjoying the views from up here.

10. Dordrecht

dordrecht city center

Dordrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, and with the Biesbosch as its backyard, Dordrecht is a great place to stay and explore.

The city of Dordrecht is full of monuments. The town hall for example was built in the 14th century. One of the biggest highlights of the city is the Grote Kerk. The famous church of Dordrecht is often listed as one of the top places to visit in Netherlands.

From monuments to modern shops, Dordrecht offers it all, yet not too busy like its bustling neighbour Rotterdam for example, which makes it a great day trip when visiting the Netherlands.

11. National Park the Biesbosch

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National Park the Biesbosch is one of the many national parks in the Netherlands. It’s spread over two provinces, Zuid Holland and Brabant, however, most of the Biesbosch is located in Brabant. The Biesbosch is the largest fresh water tidal zone in Europe, which means you can find many streams and willow swamps here. Going deep into the Biesbosch the area looks just like a jungle.

Most of these areas are only accessible by boat. The Biesbosch is a paradise for nature lovers, you’re surrounded by nature and wildlife. The possibilities to explore the Biesbosch are endless, by boat, walking or cycling. Go out, explore and experience this National Park a great thing to do in The Netherlands.

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There are 2-hour boat tours into the jungle of the Netherlands that cost €15. Boat tours are not every day. Click here for more info about the Biesbosch .

12. Deltaworks Neeltje Jans

neeltje jans delta works

The Delta Works are one of the most renowned works in the world, and the largest storm surge barrier in the world. In the Zeeland province they call it the Eighth Wonder of the World, which emphasizes the importance of the Delta Works to the Netherlands.

The Netherlands, and the province of Zeeland in particular, is largely located at or below sea level. The Delta Works were built to prevent a repeat of the 1953 flooding disaster. You can visit and explore these huge storm barriers. Walk across or get toured around. Tickets for Neeltje Jans cost €25 .

But there is much more to see and do here. Have some fun in the waterpark, visit Zeeland’s largest aquarium, visit seals and sea lions or go on a boat trip on the Oosterschelde.

13. Parkstad Limburg

snowworld landgraaf

Parkstad Limburg is the fastest growing tourist destination in the Netherlands. It has the largest indoor ski park in Europe, the longest staircase in the Netherlands, the largest home-improvement boulevard in Europe, the most modern and innovative zoo in Europe and the largest world-themed gardens park in the Netherlands. If this is not enough reason to visit this region, then what is? This region is located in the very South of the Netherlands, close to the Heuvelland region, Maastricht, and the borders of Germany and Belgium.

In Parkstad Limburg you will also find Heerlen, the street art capital of the Netherlands . The murals in Heerlen appeal to the imagination internationally.

There are so many cool things to do in Parkstad Limburg and it’s not just the region that is award winning here, how about the award-winning Gaia Zoo? Opened in 2005, ever since its opening this Zoo has won one award after the other. Among many other awards, it’s been awarded Best Zoo of the Netherlands, and for years in a row now it’s also been awarded Best Day Out in the Netherlands.

Want to know more about this region and the street art capital of the Netherlands? Check out our blog about the best things to do in Heerlen . Best place to stay in Parkstad Limburg

The Parkstad region isn’t that large, but still has a lot to offer. So when visiting this region, be sure to visit for more than one day. We did the work for you and found you the best place to stay in Parkstad Limburg.

Van der Valk Hotel Heerlen offers the perfect location in the heart of Parkstad, and close to all the highlights this region has to offer. It’s located along the N281 motorway, so very easily accessible. From this hotel you can explore the Street Art Capital of the Netherlands by foot or by bike. Attractions like Snowworld and the Gaia Zoo are only a very short drive away.

van der valk hotel heerlen 1

Hotel Heerlen is part of the estate of Terworm. Estate Terworm is a nature reserve offering various possibilities for relaxation. Very suitable for jogging, walking, cycling, with routes from 4 to 7 kilometers. So after a long and active day out, this is the perfect place to enjoy and relax.

Another great place to stay in Zuid - Limburg is the Heuvelland, the only place where Holland is NOT flat! Check out the most beautiful scenery and viewpoints of Holland when staying at the Hotel Klein Zwitserland  in the picturesque little town of Slenaken.

14. Pyramid of Austerlitz

austerlitz pyramid

In the weeks before our Netherlands roadtrip I did some research. I knew a lot of places to visit in Netherlands, but I was also looking for some unknown, never heard of spots I wanted to add to our Netherlands itinerary.

One of these places to visit I had never heard of before, is the Pyramid of Austerlitz. I thought pyramids only existed in Egypt, but I know now that we actually have a very cool one in the Netherlands too.

While the Pyramid itself was still closed during our visit, due to the Corona crisis, we could actually get quite close. If you want to climb the pyramid you have to buy a ticket, but like I said, you can get really close, and walk all around it without buying a ticket as well.

The Pyramid of Austerlitz is tucked away in the forests of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. Absolutely a great location, hidden away, a short walk through the forest before the pyramid appears.

The Pyramid of Austerlitz was built in 1804 by Napoleon’s soldiers, they chose one of the highest points of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. The Pyramid is a national monument, and a must do when visiting Netherlands. Not classic Dutch, but it will surprise you! This pyramid is located only a short, 25-minute drive from Utrecht.

Not directly nearby but within 45 minute drive you will find another great place to visit in Holland: Den Bosch. In this city you can sleep in an old crane and the coolest thing: it is still working! This old crane is converted into a hotel room and from your bed, you can turn your hotel room 360 degrees if you want. NO JOKE! Check out the complete blog about the Bossche Kraan Hotel , one of the most unique places to stay in the Netherlands.

15. Wadden Islands - Texel

texel netherlands tourist attraction

Travelling the Netherlands isn’t complete without visiting one of our Wadden Islands. The Netherlands have five inhabited Wadden Islands: Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. With Texel being the largest and most populated of our Dutch Islands, we decided to add Texel to our itinerary along the best places to visit.

It’s very easy to get from the Dutch mainland to Texel. Drive all the way up to Den Helder, which is actually quite an interesting place itself to pay a visit to.

Den Helder is home to the Netherlands main navy base. This all dates back to 1811, when Napoleon Bonaparte visited Den Helder, and was impressed with the towns strategic location. So impressed that he ordered the construction of a fort and naval dockyards. In 1947 Den Helder officially became the Royal Netherlands Navy’s main centre of operations. An interesting museum to visit when in Den Helder is the Dutch Navy Museum.

So, from Den Helder the Royal TESO ferryboat service operates between the city and the nearby Wadden Island Texel. You can see Texel from the mainland when waiting for the ferry.

Insiders Netherlands tip: Travel to Texel on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, if you do so, you’ll receive a 30% discount on the ferry.

When docking in at Texel, they can’t be missed, the Texel sheep. The Texel is a breed of sheep, originally from, yes the Island of Texel. Everything made of wool can be bought in shops across Texel.

The dune landscape on Texel is unique and a great habitat for wildlife. About one third of the island is a protected nature reserve. The best way to explore Texel is by bike, but you have to withstand the sometimes strong winds. You can rent bikes all over the island!

Often seen as the symbol of Texel is the red lighthouse at the northern end of the island. You can also climb the lighthouse.

Views from up there include the North Sea, the Wadden Sea and the next Wadden Island Vlieland. When it’s dark, the light of this lighthouse can be seen from as far as Leeuwarden.

De Koog is the so-called seaside town of Texel. Just a few dunes separate the village from the ocean and the beach. De Koog is a nice place to spend a few hours, it has a great shopping center, some lovely restaurants and some nice beach clubs.

Den Burg is considered the capital of Texel, nearly half of the population of Texel live in Den Burg. This lovely little town has a lot to offer. Great shopping opportunities, plenty of terraces to have a drink, it’s just a great little town to walk through. There is more than enough things to do when visiting Texel, perfect for a day trip, but enjoying a sunset and a sunrise here is even more magical.

16. The Afsluitdijk

afsluitdijk netherlands

After visiting Texel it was time to do something that had been on our so called Netherlands Bucketlist for a very long time. It may sound stupid, because this is often seen as ‘just’ a highway connecting two provinces, but the Afsluitdijk is so much more than that!

The Afsluitdijk is a major dam in the Netherlands and famous place to see, completed in 1932. This means the Afsluitdijk has been protecting the Netherlands from the force of water for nearly 90 years now. The total length of the dike is 32.5 km. The dike is more than just a water barrier. It’s a motorway connecting two Dutch provinces as well. Everyday thousands of people use the A7 motorway to travel between Noord-Holland and Friesland. The Afsluitdijk was the initial demonstration site for a 130km/h speed limit in the Netherlands.

The Afsluitdijk is currently under construction, to make it even more future proof, for many more years to come. Once construction works are done, the Dijk will be stronger, higher and more robust looking. There is so much to see, not just the Afsluitdijk itself. Here is the Afsluitdijk Wikipedia page for even more info.

Enjoy the Wadden Sea, visit the Afsluitdijk Wadden Centre or the monument right in the middle of the Afsluitdijk. Part of the construction works and upgrades to the dike are a new cycle and walking path, imaginable with endless views on the Wadden Sea.

waterpoort sneek

One of the first major cities you’ll come across after crossing the Afsluitdijk into Friesland is the city of Sneek. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend as much time in the city as I wanted, one has to make choices while travelling, which means we only had time for a brief stop in Sneek. However, Sneek has an amazing relaxed and laidback atmosphere.

Sneek is one of the Friese Elf Steden (eleven cities). The Elfstedentocht, or eleven cities tour, is a long-distance ice-skating event in the province of Friesland. It’s almost 200 kilometers long and passes all eleven historical towns of the province. The Dutch haven’t had an Elfstedentocht for years, the last one was in 1997. Even King Willem Alexander participated and finished!

Sneek is well known for its canals and of course for the Waterpoort, the symbol of the city. Visiting Sneek in the summer? Try to visit the Sneekweek, Europe’s biggest sailing event.

If you want the best photos of the Waterpoort from the best point of view, don’t go towards the end of the day. The sun sets behind the Waterpoort, which is not ideal for getting the best photos!

18. Groningen

martinitoren groningen

Groningen, both a province and a city in the Netherlands. Both well worth it and great things to do in Netherlands. In this blog we talk about the city of Groningen. It is the largest city in the north of the Netherlands. Even though Groningen isn’t actually the biggest city, it has an important role as the main center of the northern part of the Netherlands. Besides that, Groningen is a real university city, which really contributes to a diverse cultural scene for the city.

Our reason for visiting Groningen was to explore the city everyone always says you just have to visit when traveling to Netherlands, and to see the famous Martinitoren.

Located at the main market square in Groningen, this symbol of the city can’t be missed. The Martinitoren is Groningen’s famous church. It’s one of the main tourist attractions of the city. You can actually climb the tower and enjoy some great views over the city and surrounding areas.

groningen city center

The center of Groningen, surrounding the Martinitoren and the main market square is absolutely worth a visit. There are plenty of shopping opportunities in the nearby streets. Done shopping? Try one of the many restaurants and bars, a great time guaranteed in this bustling city.

19. Vesting Bourtange Fortress

bourtange vesting

From the city of Groningen, move east towards the German border for a real hidden gem of the Netherlands. This was also one of these things I had never heard of before and never found in a Netherlands travel guide. But when I came across it on the internet, just had to add it to our Netherlands itinerary.

Bourtange fortress is a unique historical defence work. Meet Fortress Bourtange, the fortress that was never taken. Have a look at the Fort Bourtange website , it looks amazing from above.

From the seventies until the nineties last century massive reconstructions took place at the Fortress Bourtange. Digging the canals again, forming the ramparts and reconstructing the many buildings, all in the style of the past. They did this massively with the help of old maps and drawings. Welcome in the year 1742, that’s certainly what it feels like when walking through Bourtange, stepping back in time.

20. Hunebedden

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The Hunebeds, prehistoric tombstones, are the oldest monuments in the Netherlands. They were actually transported to Drenthe during the Ice Age, can you imagine?

There are actually 52 Hunebeds to visit in a 30-kilometer radius. So, doing them all might be a bit too much. Thankfully Visit Drenthe has come up with the ‘Big Five’, just for you to discover the best of the prehistoric history in Drenthe in one fell swoop.

Great idea! And that’s why we decided to do the Big Five and discover the best of the Hunebeds. Part of the Big Five is the largest Hunebed (D27) of them all. When visiting the largest Hunebed, you’ll pass the Hunebed Visitor Centre, which is definitely worth a visit! It gives you an idea of how the people who built these Hunebeds used to live.

hunebed netherlands

Visiting the Hunebeds is often listed as one of the top things to do in the Netherlands.

21. Camp Westerbork

Probably the most impressive place we visited on our Netherlands tour was visiting Camp Westerbork. Hidden away in the woods, it makes sense why they chose this location for such a horrible place. Camp Westerbork was known as the foyer of Hell during the Second World War. It was a transit camp to concentration camps like Auschwitz and Sobibor.

When it was built in 1939 it was first used as a refugee camp then turned into a transit camp. A total of 93 trains left from Westerbork, eventually killing 102.000 people.

ssThe camp itself is accessible free of charge. You can’t get to the camp by car. You’ll have to park your car at the museum’s carpark. From there it’s roughly a 2.9km walk to get to the camp. Normally there is a shuttlebus running between the camp and the museum, however due to Corona, that service is currently not running. The museum entrance fee is €10 . But it is well worth a visit, where you will learn a lot about Westerbork’s history.

22. Radio Sterrenwacht

radio sterrenwacht

We parked our car at the Camp Westerbork museum and made our way towards the camp. It’s a nice walk, through the woods. All of a sudden, we bumped into 14 huge satellite dishes. Apparently, we ran into the Westerbork Synthese Radio Telescope.

This telescope, built in 1970, is one of the most sensitive telescopes in the world. It consists of 14 satellite dishes, each 25 meters in diameter.

The walk from the Westerbork Museum to Camp Westerbork will guide you along this telescope. In fact, this walkway is called the Milkyway-walk. It’s a very interesting, fun and beautiful walking route on which the fascinating world of the universe and the largest radio telescopes in Europe play a central role and are explained. Both young and old learn about the operation of these enormous satellite dishes.

23. TT Assen Circuit Tour

One of the biggest events of the Netherlands is the MotoGP at the TT Assen. The TT Assen is a circuit mainly used for the MotoGP, but also for numerous other events and activities. You can visit the track on one of the many events taking place each year, or you can book a tour, and get a look behind the scenes.

Into Moto GP? Then this could be very interesting for you. They have the so called ‘Tour de TT’ in Assen. The Tour de TT is 65 kilometers long and takes you to the two old street circuits. Have a taste of what the circuits used to be back in the days as street circuits and enjoy and explore the surrounding areas.

24. Giethoorn

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Giethoorn is known for its bridges, waterways and punts, no wonder it is called the ‘Venice of the North’ and one the most famous tourist attractions in the Netherlands.

This idyllic village is located in the Weerribben-Wieden National Park. There are countless thatched farmhouses, built on small islands, connected by more than 170 wooden bridges. The best way to explore Giethoorn is by foot or by boat. There is plenty of time to do both in one day!

Walking along these pretty houses gives you the opportunity to have a look at the many shops and restaurants. You can go on organized cruises on the waters of Giethoorn, where you will be told a lot about the history and the present of Giethoorn.

giethoorn netherlands 2

I would advise to rent a boat yourself and explore the place at your own pace. Boat rents start from 1 hour to a full day. I rented one for an hour, where you cruise through the main canals of Giethoorn and over the Bovenwijde lake.

giethoorn netherlands 3

Giethoorn was one of the top highlights of this Netherlands trip, something I had never seen or done before, unique to the Netherlands. Tourists were still staying away when we visited, keep in mind that this place gets packed any other time!

Where to stay around Giethoorn

Assen and the Drenthe province really surprised me. A lot of nature, forests and national parks, something I really like, the outdoors. As there is so much to do in this region, looking for a centrally and perfectly located hotel was important and a challenge. So I was extremely happy when I found the Van der Valk Hotel in Assen , right in the middle of it all!

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It’s the ideal place to stay when discovering the Hunebeds, the TT Assen, Camp Westerbork and Giethoorn, all within short driving distance of the hotel. Drenthe is pre-eminently a walking and biking province. There are so many walking and cycling routes and opportunities.

Hotel Assen warmly welcomes you to have the best time in Drenthe. Hotel Assen has bikes for rent, your start to a thousands of kilometers signposted cycle route network. The hotel has their very own kitchen garden. Herbs, vegetables and fruits fresh from the garden to their restaurant. People working in this kitchen garden are people that are distanced from the labor market and by doing this they gain more relevant work experience.

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This hotel is currently working on a new wellness center. Soin the near future you can enjoy a relaxed time at the new wellness after an active day outdoors.

25. Rotterdam - One of World's Biggest Ports

rotterdam euromast

Rotterdam, the 2nd biggest city of the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. It has so many cool places to visit and exciting things to do, I don’t even know where to start really.

From the iconic Erasmus Bridge, the icon of the city, to the cube houses, the market hall and the bustling center, these are some of the best Rotterdam activities.

Even if you only have a short amount of time in the city, make sure the Euromast is part of your visit. The Euromast offers you the best 360 degrees views of the city. Overlooking the Erasmus Bridge, the ss Rotterdam and the famous port of Rotterdam.

rotterdam euromast view

When visiting the Euromast, you can combine your visit with a fun 18-hole midget golf course, right next to the Euromast. It’s a very popular thing to do in Rotterdam, and I have to admit, playing some (midget) golf in the center of a city like Rotterdam, that is pretty special.

Another Amazing place to see is the ss Rotterdam. This former ocean liner and cruise ship can be visited nowadays, where you can tour this ship and get to know all about its history and present. Keep reading because I have a great recommendation that has something to do with the ss Rotterdam.

Check out my article on the best things to do in Rotterdam for even more recommendations when traveling to Rotterdam.

Rotterdam is one of the largest ports of the world, how cool would it be to explore this port? Well, you actually can! Spido Rotterdam offers a wide range of port tours and cruises where you get to explore and learn about the importance of the port.

Where to stay in Rotterdam

As second city of the Netherlands Rotterdam obviously offers plenty of accommodation opportunities. However, I have found a unique place to stay, it’s a gem

My top recommendation for places to stay is the ss Rotterdam . You can actually sleep in former cabins of this steamship, and experience how ocean life was like back in the days. Close your eyes and let your imagination run wild, it almost really feels like you’re actually cruising the ocean!

ss rotterdam hotel

The ss Rotterdam is located in the center of the city, and very easily accessible. You can leave your car at the carpark right next to the ship. You can also arrive by water taxi, as they have special platforms for arrival and departure with these unique taxis.

ss rotterdam netherlands

Looking for the most unique and special place to stay while visiting Rotterdam, stop looking, because it doesn’t get any more special than the ss Rotterdam. Quickly check out their rates and start booking , because a trip to Rotterdam is waiting for you!

26. The Pooping Man & The Batavia

the exposure giant man lelystad

Sometimes you pass some amazing things just by chance. That happened to us when we were travelling the Netherlands and by sheer coincidence passed the amazing sculpture the Exposure, also known as the Crouching Man. Freely translated they also call him the pooping man in the Netherlands, I can see why. This statue is located on a breakwater at the Houtrib locks in Lelystad, overlooking the Markermeer, a shallow lake.

On September 17, 2010 it was unveiled by the artist, and since then it has been a curious sight, but also very popular place to visit in the Netherlands for tourists to take their Instagram shots.

We were actually visiting the Bataviastad Fashion Outlet in Lelystad, when all of a sudden I saw this famous sculpture in the far distance. We jumped back in to our car and drove out to see it closer.

Bataviastad Fashion Outlet is the first ever Outlet Center in the Netherlands, located at the Markermeer in Lelystad. De outlet was named after the Batavia ship from 1628, of which you can find a replica nearby at the Bataviawerf.

The shopping center is an imitation of a fortified town, complete with a heavy city wall, three city gates, pedestrianized cobblestone streets and a series of individual wooden shop buildings with a quasi-authentic architectural appearance. It is partly inspired by the small town of Marken, partly by the West Indian colonies.

batavia replica flevoland

As mentioned earlier, right next to this shopping center you’ll find the impressive Batavia, a replica of the Batavia. You can actually visit and explore this ship and discover what life at sea was like in the 17th century. It’s an impressive sight for sure.

27. Tulip Fields in the Bulb Region

tulip fields netherlands

The Dutch Bollenstreek (Bulb Region) with its gorgeous flower fields is by far one of the most famous and popular places to visit in the Netherlands. It is located in the Western parts of the Netherlands. The region became famous for its bulb cultivation. Nowadays the flower fields in this part of the Netherlands attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. It’s a fun and diverse region to visit, offering cities, lovely villages, beaches and of course perfect opportunities to take incredible pictures. Therefore the tulip fields are regarded as one of the most Instagrammable places in the Netherlands.

The most famous tourist attraction of the Bollenstreek has to be the Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe. They host a world renowned 8 week tulip display. It’s one of the largest flower gardens in the world.

Another big thing in the Bollenstreek is Bloemencorso, an annual flower parade and flower spectacle. It follows a 42km itinerary from Noordwijk to Haarlem. Along the route you can enjoy some of the most amazing creations and beautifully designed floats, full with narcissi, hyacinths, tulips and other flowers!

When visiting the Bollenstreek simply explore by foot, car, bike, scooter, whatever you choose, go out and explore the many tulip and flower fields this region has to offer. It’s what the Bollenstreek became famous for, and what still attracts many tourists to this part of the Netherlands. Some flower fields actually look like rainbows, very impressive and magical!

Check out our extensive blog post about the Bollenstreek for 9 tips when visiting the Tulip Fields in the Netherlands .

28. Achterhoek

achterhoek castle huis bergh

The Dutch Achterhoek is a large area in the east of the country, close to the German border. For some reason it’s an area that isn’t visited that often, and that’s a real shame! Before we visited the Achterhoek I had little expectations, just because I simply didn’t know the area that well and didn’t know what to expect.

Now that I have visited the Achterhoek for 5 days I actually really like the area. I would sum it up as: castles, vast nature, big farms, small quaint and picturesque villages and narrow country roads. Perfect ingredients to add it to this list of best places to visit in The Netherlands.

One of the best places to visit in the Achterhoek is the smallest city in the Netherlands, Bronkhorst. It’s literally a church, a main street, a few houses, some shops and restaurants, that’s it. It takes you less than 5 minutes to see all of Bronkhorst, but it’s on top of our list of things to do in the Achterhoek. It feels like stepping back in time. No cars are allowed in the little village, so make sure to park your car just outside.

Castles really define the Achterhoek. You can easily visit the Achterhoek for a few days and visit multiple castles each day. We selected a few of them to visit as we love visiting these unique places but also tourist attractions. Our top castle recommendations for the Achterhoek are: the Ruurlo Castle and Huis Bergh Castle. Another recommendation is the Eight Castle Route . This one starts from the Vorden Castle, and is a lovely cycling route along eight castles in the area. A great way to explore and experience the area.

The Achterhoek is also well known for its tea gardens. Locals welcome you to their tea garden to enjoy their homemade delicacies. It’s also the place to be to buy regional products. You can also do some lovely shopping in towns like Zutphen or Doetinchem.

Want to know more about the Achterhoek? Check out the website of the local Tourism Board to find more things to see and do and hotspots to visit and places to stay in the Achterhoek. The people at Achterhoek Tourism are happy to help you out with a full itinerary.

29. National Park de Hoge Veluwe

national park hoge veluwe

The Veluwe region is a large forest-ridge area in the province of Gelderland. It stretches 60km from North to South and reaches heights of up to 110 meters, which in Holland is high. The Veluwe features many different landscapes including woodland, heath and some small lakes. You can also find Europe’s largest sand drifts in the Veluwe and therefore, definitely worth mentioning in this list of awesome places to visit in The Netherlands.

Within the Veluwe region there are a few National Parks: de Hoge Veluwe National Park and the Veluwezoom National Park. These National Parks are perfect places to truly enjoy the beauty and the nature sites of the Netherlands. You can visit the Hoge Veluwe National Park by car, but the best way to explore them is to go by foot or by bike, as you see much more, and cover areas that are away from the main roads. It’s also the perfect place to spot wildlife, but as always with wildlife, you have to be lucky. If you’re lucky though, you might spot deer, wild boar, mouflon, foxes and highland cattle.

The largest city to visit within the Veluwe region is Apeldoorn. Apeldoorn is probably most famous because of some famous and popular tourist attractions, like Royal Palace 'The Loo', Apenheul Zoo and theme park Koningin Julianatoren. It’s also a good base if you want to visit the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The Veluwe region has a couple other things to do beside visiting the National Park. Here are some of our favorite places to see in the Veluwe.

The Netherlands is a very flat country, but even for a flat country there is a highest waterfall to visit. The Loenense waterfall is the highest waterfall in the Netherlands, and when visiting the Veluwe, absolutely worth a stop. It’s located in the forest, so you can even explore the area a bit more if you like.

Something we didn’t know, but found quite cool once we visited is the exact center of the Netherlands. It is located in Lunteren, in the middle of the forest, so it could be a little search. But once you reach it there is a stone marking the exact center of the country, which I think is quite cool!

Radio Kootwijk is a national monument, and was used as a communication facility between the Netherlands and the colony of Dutch East Indies. Nowadays it is used as a venue for several cultural events and productions, including the American film Mindhunters in 2004. It’s also a popular place to get married in The Netherlands, and for us a must visit for the Veluwe!

Where to stay in the Veluwe?

Van der Valk Apeldoorn is located right next to the A50 highway, and therefor super easily accessible. It’s a lovely and quiet hotel, surrounded by nature, it really feels like being in the middle of the Veluwe already. They have a vegetable garden, chickens and an apiary, they’re really busy with nature and natural products. It’s a great and affordable option when visiting the Veluwe, and easily to combine with a day of shopping in Apeldoorn.

The Traveltomtom recently also stayed in Wageningen at Hotel de Wereld , and fell in love with this place and the story to it. A true icon in the Netherlands where in 1945 the negotiations took place for the liberation of the Netherlands during the second world war. Read more about it in the link.

Last but certainly not least we highly recommend Hotel de Sterrenberg if you’re into the nature and planning on visiting the Hoge Veluwe National Park. Hotel de Sterrenberg is an adult only hotel, and is located only 500 meters from the gates to the Veluwe National Park.

30. Deventer | East Holland

deventer city the brink

Thinking about doing a city trip in the Netherlands, not many people would come up with Deventer in the East side of the country. But when visiting Veluwe National Park and the Achterhoek region, the city of Deventer is pretty much the perfect city to visit.

It is a small but charming city and visiting Deventer for 1 night is enough. It is worth it though and since it has such a nice and great vibe it might want to make you stay longer. Let’s start with the best place to visit in Deventer to see its skyline. Cross the water by bridge or by ferry and you will have a lovely view of Deventer’s skyline.

deventer skyline

Town square the Brink is the bustling center of Deventer. We visited on a weekday, and were surprised how crowded the restaurants and terraces were, very lively and great atmosphere.

The best way to explore Deventer and get to know the city is by doing a city walk. The local tourism office organizes these walks every day and will show you the best of Deventer during a 1.5 hour walk. Pre-registration is required to participate in this tour and the costs are €6 per person.

Deventer is also known for its Deventer Koek (a bit like gingerbread) and something you must try when visiting Deventer. Make sure to take a look at the authentic shop at the town square. This Charles Dickens-esque little shop full of delicacies from grandmother's time will make your mouth water. Of course you will find all original products here. Fresh Deventer Koek is also baked here.

Our top recommendation to stay in Deventer is most definitely Hotel Huis Vermeer . This unique boutique hotel is located in the center of the city which makes it your perfect base to enjoy and explore Deventer. To find out more about this hotel, check our full blog post: Hotel Huis Vermeer Review. 

Netherlands travel blog

Traveling the Netherlands, our own backyard, has been a blast. Especially because it was quiet everywhere due to the Corona pandemic. We visited tourist hotspots, top attractions and must-see places that normally would see hundreds of people a day, and we were actually the only one walking around now. Shooting photos for this Netherlands blog has never been this easy.

This blog was written by travel writer and Traveltomtom team member Ashley . She explored the Netherlands on behalf of Traveltomtom, seeking for the best tourist attractions and some unique off the beaten path destinations and hidden gems. Have a look at her Instagram .

I hope all these Netherlands travel tips were helpful for your next adventure. Safe travels!

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World of Wanderlust

7 Cities & Towns you Must Visit in the Netherlands

My time in the Netherlands came and went in a flash. But if we’re being particular it lasted 8 days and 7 nights, all of which were jam-packed. So if you’re wondering which cities you must visit in the Netherlands, these are my top picks.

Throughout my time here in the land of bicycles and miniature pancakes I was eager to see, do and taste as much as possible. Although I didn’t quite get to every pitstop I had planned, I did manage to see and do everything I wanted in each of the cities I did visit, making up for quality over quantity.

Let’s dive in!

Cities and towns you must visit in the Netherlands

An obvious starting point: Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most visited cities and with one picture or postcard, it isn’t hard to see why. This city, built on canals with wonky houses, would have to be one of the world’s most photographed cities if not  the most.  Be sure to wander around at leisure and leave yourself three days here (minimum) as there’s  a lot  to see and do. In terms of museums make sure you don’t miss the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. Elsewhere be sure to visit Singel Canal, Keizersgracht Canal, Vondelpark and Jordaan neighbourhood.

My next stop in the Netherlands was to catch the (30 minutes-ish) train ride to The Hague , which is better known to the Dutchies as  Den Haag.  As the centre for global judiciary decisions, I had been eager to visit since my first two years of law school (of which I dropped out of to complete a political science degree). This city was as grand as I had envisioned, with beautiful architecture and perfectly manicured gardens at every turn.


image via Flickr

You can reach Leiden by train from Amsterdam in less than 30 minutes, or by train from The Hague in just 10. Pronounced “LIE – DEN”, this city is a great pit stop if travelling between one Dutch city and another, dropping your bags at the train station and exploring for a day. With canals and quintessentially Dutch architecture, this is a great alternative to the tourist-heavy streets of Amsterdam.

By far the cutest city I came across in all of the Netherlands and even one of the most charming in all of Europe, I cannot believe it has taken me so many years of travel to discover Delft! Just a few minutes by train from The Hague, Delft has the charm of a small town with the benefits of a sizeable city nearby (not to mention some of the world’s best gelato!)

Described to me as Amsterdam’s cooler little sister, Utrecht is a city like no other in the Netherlands and perhaps even in Europe (though it kind of reminded me of the effortless coolness of Antwerp and Ghent in Belgium). Utrecht doesn’t have many sights or attractions, but has plenty of cool cafes, eateries and boutiques to discover. Its the kind of city you can visit and feel like a local within minutes.

Image via Flickr

Perhaps the “coolest” city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam is in a league of its own. Modern and design-focused, Rotterdam was completely wiped out by the Germans in in 1940 as a sign of power to the rest of the country who might similarly meet the Germany army with resistance. For this reason Rotterdam is extremely unique to the Netherlands, as it does not have an old town centre or appear alike any of the other cities in the country, though it does have a widespread reputation for architecture and design.

Well and truly in the south of the Netherlands is Maastricht, another interesting city I discovered on my travels through the country and one that I found a great base to explore from. With a unique location near to the Belgium border and not far from France or Germany, this is a great city to base yourself in for day trips to explore nearby Cologne, Liege, and you could even travel down in to Luxembourg! The city itself warrants a couple of days to explore – Maastricht iss a beautiful city with a well-deserved gastronomic reputation. Of all the cities you must visit in the Netherlands, I think Maastricht is the most underrated.


Brooke Saward founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen, with a particular weakness for French pastries.

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


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10 Best Places to Visit in the Netherlands

Last updated on February 5, 2024 by Touropia Editors - 11 Comments

No visit to Holland is complete without a visit to the capital city, Amsterdam; however, there are so many more thrilling sites to see in the Netherlands. From the classic windmills and magnificent fields of flowers to historic town centers laden with museums and sights, Holland has much to offer visitors. These places to visit in the Netherlands are not to be missed, and most are easily accessible.

10. Gouda [SEE MAP]


Gouda is a typical Dutch city with lots of old buildings and pretty canals, and is a popular destination for a day trip, thanks to its great rail- and highway connections. The city is famous for its cheese, its stroopwafels (syrup waffles), candles and its clay pipes.

Attractions in Gouda include the beautiful 15th century town hall and the amazing glass windows in St. Janskerk. The compact city center is entirely ringed by canals and is a mere five minutes’ walk from the station.

9. Rotterdam [SEE MAP]


Once a mere 13th century fishing village, Rotterdam is the Netherlands most modern city today. Very bike friendly like Amsterdam, Rotterdam boasts several districts for visitors to explore. The popular Delfshaven district is where the pilgrims launched sail from in 1620, and the summertime festivals and carnivals there attract visitors from nearby European countries every year.

Erasmus Bridge is highly unique and imposing, but highly regarded as a work of art, as it soars over Europe’s largest harbor. By far, the most popular visitor stop is at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, where artworks on display span from the Middle Ages to modern times, including masterpieces by Dali, Van Gogh, Bosch, and Rembrandt.

8. Groningen [SEE MAP]


This culturally diverse university city is small but boasts two colleges, making it the main place to visit in the northern part of the Netherlands, especially concerning the arts, business, and education.

Museum lovers never tire in Groningen, as the Groninger Museum is one of the most innovative and modern in all of Holland, and there is additionally a graphical museum, comics museum, maritime museum, and a university museum. Music and theater abound in Groningen, and many street cafes feature live entertainment.

Because of its high student population, nightlife hotspots are a huge attraction, with The Grote Markt, the Peperstraat, and the Vismarkt being the most popular.

7. Haarlem [SEE MAP]


The center of the tulip bulb-growing district, Haarlem is unofficially dubbed Bloemenstad, which means ‘flower city’ and is naturally the home of the Annual Bloemencorso Parade. This quiet bedroom community lies along the shoreline of the Spaarne River and boasts numerous intact medieval structures around town.

Visitors enjoy shopping and perusing the stunning architecture and museums along the Grote Markt city center. Popular museums in Haarlem include the oldest museum in the country, the Teylers Museum, which specializes in natural history, art, and science exhibits. Art aficionados find themselves drawn to the Franz Hals Museum where many Dutch masters’ works rest.

6. Utrecht [SEE MAP]


The rich Middle Age history of Utrecht is very apparent in the city’s architecture, with its most unique feature being the inner canal wharf system that was created to stave off parts of the Rhine River from invading the city center. Utrecht’s claim to fame may be the fact that it boasts the largest college in the Netherlands, the University of Utrecht.

Another notable visitor attraction in Utrecht includes the awe-striking Gothic Cathedral of Saint Martin, a 200-year structural feat that began in 1254. Architecture and museum enthusiasts should not miss the Dom Tower, the Rietveld Schroder House, and the Museum Speelklok, which boasts a vast collection of striking clocks, music boxes, and self-playing musical instruments.

5. Maastricht [SEE MAP]


Best known for its dynamic city square, the Vrijthof, Maastricht in southern Holland is home to the impressive Saint Servatius Church, the Saint Jan’s Cathedral, and the old fortifications, or Vestigingswerkens, are huge draws for visitors here.

Many annual festivals take place at the Vrijthof, with local favorites arriving in autumn and winter, and this bustling town square also boasts amazing cafes, hip bars, and interesting galleries and shops. Other popular attractions in Maastricht include the St. Pietersberg Caves and the Helpoort, the oldest surviving town gate of its kind in the Netherlands.

4. The Hague [SEE MAP]

The Hague

Best known for the contemporary art exhibits at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague is arguably one of the most extraordinary places to visit in the Netherlands. Known as the Royal City by the Sea due to its Dutch Royalty citizens, visitors often enjoy spending time along the North Sea in the warmer months at the sea town of Scheveningen.

Several notable monuments and historic districts are easily traversable in The Hague, and travelers can peruse the luxury department stores, cozy shops, and international art galleries with ease. The Binnenhof, the seat of the government of the Netherlands is also located in The Hague even though Amsterdam is the capital. Other attractions in The Hague include the miniature city, Madurodam and a 360 degree panoramic view of the Scheveningen Sea in the 19th century at Panorama Mesdag.

3. Delft [SEE MAP]


From the Renaissance style City Hall building on the Markt Square to the city’s traditional Holland canals, architecture, and vibe, Delft is a progressive town that has worked diligently to restore its antiquated appearance. This unspoiled town is an ideal day trip destination or vacation destination if the busy streets of Amsterdam are undesirable for a long stay.

Popular sites include The Prinsenhof, where the bullet holes still remain from the death of William of Orange. This museum tells the tale of the Eighty Years’ War and also features many intriguing artworks. Those looking for a Johannes Vermeer souvenir or print cannot miss stopping by Vermeer Centrum in Delft.

2. Leiden [SEE MAP]


The picturesque city of Leiden is a great place to visit for its scenic, tree-lined canals that are marked with old windmills, wooden bridges and lush parks. A boat ride down one of these lovely canals makes for an unforgettable experience. Attractions in Leiden include the numerous museums that range from science and natural history to museums dedicated to windmills and Egyptian antiquities.

The Hortus Botanicus offers sprawling botanical gardens and the world’s oldest academical observatory. Visitors can also admire the beautiful architecture of the 16th century Church of St. Peter and check out its association with several historic people, including the American pilgrims.

1. Amsterdam [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In The Netherlands

One of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, Amsterdam is widely known for its party atmosphere, cannabis practice and the red light district. However, this capital city of the Netherlands offers so much more for all travelers such as its beautiful canal ring, historical buildings, world-class museums and famous attractions like the Anne Frank House, Vondelpark and Bloemenmarkt, the floating flower market.

Located in the province of North Holland, Amsterdam is a sprawling city with many districts, but getting around is easy with public buses, trams, metro lines and bicycles. At the heart of Amsterdam is the old city center.

See also: Where to Stay in Amsterdam

Surrounded by an elaborate canal system that features dozens of islands and hundreds of bridges, the center is where most tourists spend their time enjoying canal cruises, sightseeing, visiting impressive art museums such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, and attending performances at distinguished concert halls like the Concertgebouw.

The city has several street markets, of which Albert Cuyp is the most popular. The Prinsengracht area is one of the best places for shopping, gallery viewing, pub crawling, and checking out the unique coffee shops in Amsterdam. For dining, tourists will find a large diversity of restaurants offering a smorgasbord of cuisines. Dutch cheese, Ossenworst sausage and bitterballen (fried meatball) are tasty local specialties to try.

Map of the Netherlands

Netherlands Map

The Netherlands Travel Video

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Reader interactions.

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March 14, 2018 at 2:04 am

Don’t forget Giethoorn and nearby are the 53 megaliths “hunebedden” built by humans 3000 bc.

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May 22, 2017 at 8:16 am

Beautiful pictures! Would love to visit those places with family 🙂 🙂

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May 10, 2017 at 8:59 pm

To make it even more correct, Amsterdam is the constitutional capital. The Royal Palace in Amsterdam was built as the city hall during the 17th century and got it’s today’s role as the official Royal Palace in The Netherlands beginning of the 19th century, when The Netherlands became a kingdom in stead of a republic. This to serve as the official place in an otherwise really empty capital indeed. The Hague was originally the place where the count of Holland resided. Before the rebellion against the Spaniards the center of power was most of the time Brussels, today Belgium. But Belgium was seperated from the north once more in 1830.

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December 18, 2016 at 1:13 pm

@Tom Perrett. You are incorrect. Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands. The Hague or Den Haag is the seat of Government and where the Royal family reside.

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July 24, 2016 at 11:47 pm

Just so you know the hague is the capital of the netherlands not amsterdam.

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July 27, 2016 at 1:02 pm

no @Tom, Amsterdam is the capital.

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May 24, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Just FYI, Holland is a Provence, not the name of the country. So, for example, Amsterdam is in the Provence of Holland, Maastricht is in Limburg, NOT Holland. The country is the Netherlands. This fact is frustrating to many Dutch who constantly are referred to as from Holland.

May 25, 2016 at 12:11 am

@Anneke, actually Amsterdam is in the province of North Holland, but I get your point.

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November 1, 2015 at 2:15 am

Other – Amersfoort, the best by far for friendliness, helpful and fair prices

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March 5, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Cool list and Delft is certainly worthy of its spot at 3, and arguably should be 2. While the list is subjective, Leiden is too high at 2. We lived in Amsterdam for 3 and 1/2 years and feel Den Bosch and Alkmaar have a little more to offer visitors then Leiden. A beachside town like Zandvoort Van Zee would be interesting to mix things up. The summer beach scene in the Netherlands is really underrated.

These types of lists are fun because it opens dialogue for debate.

March 10, 2015 at 3:22 am

I agree about the beach scene Alex, though I would go for a beach in Zeeland or Scheveningen for an urban beach experience.

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19 Best Cities to Visit in the Netherlands Besides Amsterdam by residents

February 13, 2020 by Karen Turner 46 Comments

As a Dutch resident, I’ve been lucky enough to see many of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands that aren’t as well known to tourists as well as the Dutch countryside.

Although you’ve probably heard why you should visit Amsterdam, the prettiest Dutch cities to visit are often peaceful, less crowded, and more memorable.  Keep reading for the 19 most atmospheric and beautiful cities/towns in the Netherlands that will help you discover more of the Netherlands.

cities to visit in netherland

I have lived in Amsterdam ( click for insider tips !) and the Hague.  One of my favorite hobbies to take a train to a new Dutch city or town or village (dorp) that I haven’t been before.

Although Amsterdam is a lovely city, its centre is full of touristy shops and if you simply take the train, you’ll discover some beautiful small Dutch towns and large cities in the Netherlands that are full of incredible architecture and history.

As much as I love Amsterdam, the Netherlands is so much bigger and people joke that Amsterdam is like Dutch Disneyworld, so if you’re wondering where to go in the Netherlands…any of these cities might be a good idea to experience the real Netherlands.  It should be noted that some of the cities are near Amsterdam while others are quite far, so depending on your time, make time to visit somewhere else.



  • 1 Best Places to Visit in Noord Holland
  • 2.0.1 Click for my complete guide to Haarlem.
  • 3 Muiden: The perfect day trip from Amsterdam
  • 5 Best cities to visit in South Holland (Includes best cities to visit in Zuid Holland, Brabant, and Limburg)
  • 7 ‘s-Hertogenbosch / Den Bosch:
  • 8 Den Haag / The Hague
  • 10 Baarle-Nassau
  • 12 Rotterdam
  • 13 Maastricht
  • 15 Central cities to visit in the Netherlands
  • 17 Northern & Eastern Cities (from Amsterdam) to visit in the Netherlands
  • 20 Giethoorn
  • 21 Schiermonnikoog
  • 22 Groningen
  • 23 Leeuwarden
  • 24 Have you been to the Netherlands? What was your favorite city besides Amsterdam?
  • 25 Enjoyed this? Share it!

Best Places to Visit in Noord Holland

You might be wondering: Is Holland the same as the Netherlands? Well, Holland is part of the Netherlands. It refers to one specific part of the Netherlands on the west coast (aka Noord Holland/South Holland).

Noord Holland is where most of the population lives, so people generally tend to call the Netherlands Holland as a result…however, you’re better off not describing the whole of the Netherlands as Holland since there are LOTS of other regions in the Netherlands worth visiting.

Noord Holland is where Amsterdam is located, so you’ll find many cities close to Amsterdam to visit.  The fantastic train system in the Netherlands means that the towns near Amsterdam (in Holland) are at most about one hour from Amsterdam, which makes these cities the perfect one day trip from Amsterdam (or longer!) . Click for a complete list of the 20 best day trips from Amsterdam

Haarlem: An easy day trip from Amsterdam


Haarlem is often overlooked due to its close proximity to Amsterdam. People assume because they’ve visited Amsterdam that there’s nothing of worth in Haarlem, however, Haarlem is older than Amsterdam. (Similarly, you can easily find cheap accommodations in Haarlem and take the train to Amsterdam.)

Haarlem’s town center is dominated by the imposing St. Bavokerk (also known as Grote Kerk, Big Church). Built on the spot of a burned down 12th-century church, it became an official cathedral in 1557. It’s beautiful inside and out, with stunning stained glass windows and an organ on which a young Mozart—among other musicians of yore—played many a tune.

Beyond the cathedral, Haarlem has some great museums such as the eccentric Teyler’s Museum and De Hallen, a tiny contemporary art museum. If relaxation is in order, check out the Jopenkerk, a hip craft beer bar and restaurant in a converted church, and be sure to follow up with the city’s best fries (and mayonnaise) at De Friethoes.

In short, Haarlem is a great day trip from Amsterdam for people who want to escape the hustle and bustle (and the tourist traps!) for a day. (Thanks to Alex .)

Click for my complete guide to Haarlem.

Muiden: the perfect day trip from amsterdam.

Photo of Muiderslot castle, a castle near Amsterdam. One of the top places to visit in the Netherlands

This beautiful and historic Dutch town close to Amsterdam (only 40 minutes by bus) is the home of one of my favorite Dutch castles (Muiderslot) .   Muiden minimizes cars and you’ll often see large ships passing through the town.  Be sure to stop into one of the historic brown bars for a drink or a meal after visiting Muiderslot castle.  You’ll feel like you stepped back in time.  Click for more information about visiting castles in the Netherlands.

The beautiful Dutch city of Naarden seen from above

This atmospheric star-shaped fortress city in the Netherlands is widely considered one of the best Dutch cities to explore due to its well-preserved walls/moat and beautiful houses.

It is an easy train ride from Amsterdam to Naarden and you’ll find that there’s plenty of things to do outside of Amsterdam if you discover this beautiful Dutch city at your own pace.

Although there’s so many cute towns in the area, experiencing Naarden means that you’ll also get a glimpse into Dutch history as it has one of the oldest churches in the Netherlands (dating back to 1572!).  Perfect for a half-day trip from Amsterdam or a day trip combined with visiting Muiden.

Best cities to visit in South Holland (Includes best cities to visit in Zuid Holland, Brabant, and Limburg)

A bit further from Amsterdam, you’ll find the cities of South Holland, Brabant, and Limburg. This area is about 1-3 hours from Amsterdam, but these towns/cities are rich in culture, history, and beauty. (Sometimes less!)

Leiden, one of the cutest cities in the Netherlands to visit. Read why you should visit Leiden as a day trip from Amsterdam.

This charming university town only thirty minutes from Amsterdam is full of charm, stunning canals, beautiful Dutch canal houses, and so few crowds that you’ll be wondering where everyone is.  Leiden can be mistaken for Amsterdam if you show the right photo although once you visit the historic Pieterskwartier, you won’t want to return to the crowds in the Red Light District.

Click for a complete guide to Leiden

‘s-Hertogenbosch / Den Bosch:

Photo of Den Bosch, one of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands to visit.

‘s-Hertogensbosch, or Den Bosch for short, is the capital city of North Brabant, famous for its hospitality, good food and people who know how to enjoy life.

Den Bosch is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands with city rights dating back to 1185. One of the most remarkable sights is the Gothic St. John’s Cathedral, built between 1380 and 1530. During a recent renovation on one of the flying buttresses, there was added a statue of an angel holding a cell phone.

Those who love art can visit the Jheronimus Bosch Art Centre to learn about Den Bosch’s most famous painter (Hieronymus Bosch). From the tower of the Centre, you will have a breathtaking view of the city. A different way to see Den Bosch is to take a boat tour on the Binnendieze through the city’s canals, including under many of the buildings.

There are also markets on the main square on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Many restaurants are located at the Markt, De Parade and Vismarkt squares and on the streets: Korenbrugstraat and Korte Putstraat.

The specialty of Den Bosch is the  Bossche bol – a gigantic profiterole covered with dark chocolate and filled with whipped cream. Den Bosch is a perfect destination for a one-day trip, however, my advice is to stay a few days extra so that you can thoroughly enjoy the city.  During Carnaval, the city changes names and turns into a giant party in the streets.

(Thanks to Daniela from Ipanema Travels To.. .)

Den Haag / The Hague

Photo of Binnenhof, the building used for government meetings in the Netherlands

Den Haag is often overshadowed by Amsterdam, but it is full of fantastic museums as well as historic architecture. Although Amsterdam is the capital, the Hague is the third-largest city in the Netherlands and the home of Dutch Parliament.

For history geeks, it’s also the home of the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court in addition to hosting many of the main governing bodies of the Netherlands. One of the ones not to miss is the beautiful Binnenhof, which was a castle originally built in the 13th century to house counts. It is now used for meetings of the cabinets. (The Hague is about 1 hour from Amsterdam.)

Den Haag is also full of hofjes (historic courtyards that used to be almshouses), fantastic museums, and a lively Chinatown. For math and art geeks, you can visit the Escher Museum, which is housed in a former palace. The building is beautiful, but the art is even more fascinating.

Even more famous is the Mauritshuis, which houses  Girl with the Pearl Earring  and The   Goldfinch . If you’re an art geek with a love for the Dutch Golden age, this beautiful museum in a palatial setting is a must-see during your trip.

If you’re in Den Haag, don’t miss the Netherlands’ most famous boardwalk along the beach:  Scheveningen . The pier is a day in itself with tons of activities for couples and families alike!

Click for an insider’s guide to what to do in the Hague with 30+ things to do in the Hague!

Click for a one day guide to the Hague

Windmill in the fortified Dutch city of Heusden

Heusden is a small fortified town on the River Maas. A bird view of the town is pretty amazing, as it looks like a star from the air. Heusden is the perfect destination for slow travel in the Netherlands as you can walk along the old city walls, get lost in the narrow streets, or sit at café Havenzicht to watch the yachts passing by.

The town was built in the early 13th century to replace a castle destroyed by the Duke of Brabant. The stronghold played a significant role in the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648) against Spanish dominance. In the 70’s the town has been completely restored based on a map from 1649.

There are many places to eat in Heusden, but you should try the Dutch pancakes at De Pannekoekenbakker.  When walking around in Heusden, there are many art galleries, including the shop of famous Dutch footwear designer Jan Jansen.

(Thanks to Daniela from  Ipanema Travels To.. .)

Photo of Baarle-Nassau, the Dutch/Flemish city with mixed borders.

Baarle-Nassau is one of those bizarre oddities you need to see to believe. Its misshapen borders are tightly entwined with the Flemish enclave of Baarle-Haartog, thanks to a handful of fickle treaties in medieval days of yore.

The task of figuring out which country a building resides in is so confusing that the town had to create a rule: country of residence is determined by which country the front door opens into. Since taxes in Belgium are lower, that led to a rush to renovate houses to have doors opening to the Belgian side!

The queer little town(s) merits a day trip at the very least. A scenic cycle, drive, or bus ride from nearby Tilburg will bring you to its wacky borders, marked on the ground with small crosses.

You can pick up a pannenkoek (pancake) at De Pannenkoekenbakker on the Dutch side, then hop over to Belgium to sample a Flemish brew or three at De Lantaern. No passport necessary! (Thanks to Alex, Lost with Purpose .)

The beautiful Gouda Stadshuis, the oldest gothic city hall in the Netherlands. Do not miss this beautiful piece of Dutch architecture when visiting Holland! #travel #gouda #holland #netherlands

Gouda is known for its world-famous cheese, but the city has so much more.  It is only 55 minutes by train and compact, so you can easily make it one of your day trips from Amsterdam and it is a must-see for the Netherlands if you’re a cheese lover.  Thanks to Maartje!

The impressive Town Hall on the central market square is a unique monument not to miss! Courtyards: the oldest yard dates back to even 1449!  St Jan church is the tallest church in the Netherlands and has huge stained glass windows. Look up and admire the facades of the Gouda houses with special ‘gevelstenen’, some even date back to 1609.

Stroopwafels are traditional Dutch syrup waffles. Try the waffles at Van Vliet bakery, where thousands are freshly baked daily on Lange Groenendaal street.

The Gouda cheese market occurs from April to the end of August. On Thursday mornings you can witness cheese making, cheese trading and weighing cheese in de Waag.

Click for a complete guide to Gouda 

View of the Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam. Enjoying the views of this famous bridge is one of the best things to do in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam is one of the largest cities in the Netherlands with a population only second in size to Amsterdam.  If you’re looking for another city to visit, Rotterdam is where to go in the Netherlands besides Amsterdam due to its dramatically different cityscape.

Most of Rotterdam was destroyed in World War II, so they’ve had to rebuild everything. For modern architectural buffs, Rotterdam is a great place to explore for its architecture, including the famous Blaak cube houses and the Rotterdam Market Hall. You can go up the Euroscope and take in the panoramic view of Rotterdam.

There are a number of good restaurants in Rotterdam, including Guliano (Italian) and Takumi (Japanese ramen). Rotterdam has the largest Asian population in the whole Netherlands, so Chinatown is where to go for Asian food. Rotterdam is a great city for nightlife.

The Witte de Withstraat street is Rotterdam’s bar street. I personally loved Wunderbar, which is a bar that is below ground but allows you to order through a window on the street level.  (Thanks to Tendelle .)

Click for a complete guide to Rotterdam

Beautiful street in Maastricht, a beautiful city in the south of the Netherlands

Maastricht is one of the most charming cities in the Netherlands and it can be easily explored in a weekend. The city is perfect for a slow, romantic weekend spent exploring a beautiful cathedral bookstore, strolling the tangled streets, touring historic caves, and eating/drinking delicious regional cuisine at affordable prices.

It’s a scenic 2.5-hour train ride each way south to Maastricht from Amsterdam and it costs about 25 euros per way. Its proximity makes it easy to hop over to Aachen, Germany for only 5 euros.

Recommended for a weekend trip from Amsterdam or a 1-2 day stopover between the Netherlands and Germany if you’re Eurorailing!

Read more about Maastricht here .

Photo of Delft at sunset. Perfect day trip around amsterdam and one of the most beautiful places to visit in the netherlands

Delft is a quaint medieval town close to Rotterdam. about 1 hour from Amsterdam It’s well-known for being home to the Delft University of Technology, so it’s a vibrant and international university town.

The “Delft blue pottery” is famous from here, and many collectors flock to Delft to buy this special pottery as a Dutch souvenir. Don’t miss the Nieuwe Kerk’s impressive view over the city (and sizeable climb). Click to see how you can visit a Delft factory for free.

The city center of Delft is very beautiful. One of the hidden gems is that below street level and at the canal-level, there are tucked away benches for people to sit on. These benches are hidden from plain sight, perfect for a romantic date spot.

You can read a complete guide to Delft here as I routinely visit this beautiful Dutch city!

Central cities to visit in the Netherlands

Beautiful skyline of Utrecht, a beautiful city near Amsterdam

Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands and it’s the major Dutch city south of Amsterdam (only 40 minutes!). Utrecht is also a very old city that dates back to 1122 and it is the kind of city that you can get (happily) lost in.

I highly recommend exploring the beautiful and compact city center on foot, there are beautiful old houses, pretty canals and lots of cozy cafes (some with cellars opening up to the canals).  Its canals are two stories, unlike Amsterdam’s canals.

One must-visit is the Dom Tower, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands (112 meter high). Other interesting places to visit are the Railway Museum and Neude. For kids, there’s the Miffy museum.

If you’re planning a trip around the Netherlands and you’re looking for a good base in the Netherlands, Utrecht is perfect as it is exactly in the center of the Netherlands and it has reasonable accommodations.   (Thanks to Lotte ) 

You’ll hear Dutchies raving that it is one of the best Dutch cities to visit and I’m apt to agree that it is one of the top places to visit in the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam.

Click for my guide to a day trip to Utrecht .

Northern & Eastern Cities (from Amsterdam) to visit in the Netherlands

Photo of Zwolle. More about this pretty Dutch city on Wanderlustingk, a Netherlands travel blog

Just an hour by train from Amsterdam is a charming little city called Zwolle. In the centre, you will find beautiful Medieval buildings that make you feel like a princess! The streets are intimate but also have a broad range of shops and restaurants to explore. One of the most unique sites you will come upon in Zwolle is Waanders The Broeren, a beautiful bookstore situated in a 15th century church.

Designer BK Architecten elegantly designed the store without altering any of the church’s original structure. The best part is that you can enjoy the beautiful ambiance of the church over delicious food and drinks in the brasserie, nestled in the heart of the cathedral. It’s about 1.5 hours to Zwolle from Amsterdam. (Thanks to Melissa )

You can read a complete guide to things to do in Zwolle here.

Ommen by Emily. Best cities in Netherlands to visit.

Ommen is a historical city located on the banks of the Vecht River. Though it’s home to less than 9,000 residents, Ommen has been called a city since 1248, when it was granted stadsrechten (city rights) in order to protect itself from pillaging.

Today, Ommen is the ideal balance between a fun tourist spot and a serene country escape. Due to its small size and “remote” location (for the Netherlands, anyway), it remains a bit of a secret in the larger international community.

Notable spots around Ommen include the Reformed Church, the city’s oldest building (originally constructed in the 12th century), and three old-fashioned windmills – two of which are still in regular operation.

After wandering through the charming city square and narrow side streets, you can relax by the river, linger at a waterside café, or cycle through the picturesque Dutch countryside. The area is probably best known for the Bissingh – a festival that takes place every July, made up of markets, live music, and other events. The Bissingh now spans several weeks. (Thanks to Emily for this contribution).

Photo of Giethoorn, one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands to visit!

You may have seen photos of Giethoorn although few people know it by name (or can pronounce it correctly). It really is one of the prettiest dutch towns that I’ve seen. The small village of Giethoorn is in Overijssel and it is a bus ride away from Zwolle. This little town has no streets; only bridges, canals, and bike lanes.

You can rent a boat for 15 euros (per hour) to enjoy its picturesque canals although you should bring your own drinks/food as food in the town commands tourist prices (although it is possible to stop off for some frites!).

Tip: Go late in the afternoon to avoid large groups and stay overnight to enjoy the quiet small town feel. I consider boating around Giethoorn one of my favorite experiences in any one of the Dutch cities to visit in the Netherlands.

Click for information on visiting Giethoorn from Amsterdam.

Photo of Schiermonnikoog off the coast of the Netherlands. Read about the best places to visit in the Netherlands!

Schiermonnikoog is part of a Dutch group of islands called the Waddeneilanden (Wadden islands). The island is also the Netherlands’ first National Park, and the perfect getaway for nature lovers and bike enthusiasts.

What makes this, and other islands like it, so special, is that it’s virtually car free.  Permanent residents of the island, of which there are only about 900, need a special permit to keep a car. Due to the small size and flat landscape, very few choose to do so, making Schiermonnikoog a car-free cycling paradise.

Nature lovers have plenty to look forward to on the island. Schiermonnikoog hosts the widest beach in Europe, has plenty of hiking trails, offers great bird watching opportunities, and is great for spotting sunbathing seal families.

It’s the perfect place to see the surprising variety of Dutch nature up close. If you tire of hedonism and history, head north to Schiermonnikoog to recharge your batteries, and immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful parts of the Netherlands.  (Thanks to Alex, Lost with Purpose.) [If this appealed to you, you also might love the idea of Texel , which is about 2 hours north of Amsterdam.]

Cute Dutch buildings in Groningen, a Dutch city in the east of the Netherlands

This lively student city in the north of the Netherlands is full of charm and friendly folks. It’s also home of the world’s tallest climbing wall, the Excalibur . (I can proudly say that I’ve climbed it!)  

We got happily lost in the beautiful historic centre with many cute shops, art galleries, and brown bars serving up delicious local beers.  We enjoyed the incredible architecture of the University of Groningen, which was established in 1614. The campus is absolutely stunning and worth visiting. The Grote Markt has many food stands, including some amazing Venezuelan food (the best I’ve had!)

Click to read my guide to climbing Excalibur & a complete guide to Groningen written by a local.

Oldenhove Tower

The capital of Friesland, Leeuwarden, was named the 2018 European Capital of Culture and you can discover its rich history while walking around the city center.

Fryslân (Friesland) as a region has a unique culture and language (Frisian).  The unfinished church is one of Leeuwarden’s most famous landmarks although you’ll also find beautiful parks. Leeuwarden is one of Fryslân’s eleven historic cities with beautiful architecture and a rich history.   (To read more about Friesland or Leeuwarden, click here!)

Have you been to the Netherlands? What was your favorite city besides Amsterdam?

If you have a favorite that is not included yet, please comment below!

cities to visit in netherland

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About Karen Turner

New Yorker–born and raised. Currently living in the Hague, the Netherlands after stints in Paris and Amsterdam. Lover of travel, adventure, nature, city, dresses, and cats.

Reader Interactions

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May 13, 2017 at 8:37 pm

Wow! This is such a comprehensive post that opened my mind to other places outside of Amsterdam. I’d heard of a few (think Utrecht and Gouda, plus Holland) but had no idea about the others. I LOVE that first picture of Haarlem too. For someone who’s from the UK it’s kinda shameful I haven’t been yet, but this will definitely come in handy if I ever do!

May 13, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Such a nice list about Netherlands! I visited Amsterdam and Utrecht before, and had great time there 🙂 So many other cities to explore!

May 13, 2017 at 8:53 pm

Pinned this interesting read! We were just discussing yesterday about how we could spend a week in Netherlands and I knew of only Rotterdam and Amsterdam!… Thanks for your inputs, now I have too much to fit in a week.. lol..

May 13, 2017 at 9:07 pm

It´s been ages since I was in Amsterdam and the coast – but never was to many of these towns on your list! Looks awesome and since I´m not all that far from NL, a road trip has to happen next year! Giethoorn looks like out of a fairytale, x

May 13, 2017 at 9:16 pm

I fell in love with the Netherlands upon my first visit, but now I absolutely can’t wait to get back!

May 13, 2017 at 9:48 pm

They really are picturesque! I have only been to Amsterdam, so your post gives me inspiration to explore more for sure. Pinned for later.

May 13, 2017 at 9:49 pm

I really like Utrecht and I was lucky to be there on the Queen’s Day some years ago. Thanks for all the suggestions about other places to visit, Baarle-Nassau in particular sounds intriguing. I’ve just clicked through to your Amsterdam post as we’re going in October!

May 13, 2017 at 10:15 pm

I live very close to Naarden and it is a beautiful city. It’s also a great area for cycling through the forest. It’s nice to see an article about other places than Amsterdam. There is so much to see in the Netherlands.

May 14, 2017 at 12:18 am

Omg I cannot believe there is a TOWN called GOUDA and its actually all about CHEESE. These cities are the perfect excuse to come back to the Netherlands for more Stroopwafel 😛

May 14, 2017 at 12:36 am

I didn’t know the Netherlands have so many beautiful cities and towns. I’ve only been to Rotterdam and Maastricht but I should definitely visit some more – especially because I’m a neighbour haha.

May 14, 2017 at 9:05 am

I have only been to Amsterdam, but I’d love to see more of the Netherlands! This post was very inspiring. I’m pinning it for when I plan a return trip 🙂

May 14, 2017 at 6:29 pm

I smiled throughout this post as i have been to many of them. So much more to explore though. Thank you for this comprehensive list!

May 14, 2017 at 10:19 pm

Love this list! I’ve only ever been to Amsterdam (guilty as charged), but I’d love to see the countryside and smaller towns and maybe do a bicycle trip around the country one day!

May 14, 2017 at 11:17 pm

I have to admit that I am one of those people who has only been to Amsterdam and really haven’t had any urge to venture outside of it. This post has definitely inspired me to head back to the Netherlands though! Giethoorn looks amazing!

May 15, 2017 at 10:31 am

Explore Friesland too. There are lots of small villages like Makkum (the fishers village) a village just close by Afsluitdijk or drop by in Aldfaerserf Openluchtmuseum in Allingawier. You can visit Leeuwarden too and some other big cities in Friesland.

May 15, 2017 at 11:13 am

Hi May, Thanks for commenting. I actually just visited Friesland this weekend (for the first time) to visit Leeuwarden as well as Franeker. Super charming and I’ll be adding about 5 more cities to this list very soon, including at least one in Friesland. Driving the Afsluitdijk was really incredible. Thank you for commenting and I will include more regions soon!

May 15, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Here is an interesting one.I was once accepted for a Masters in Maastricht. Life happened, but now it’s now super high on my list! I love seeing places beyond Amsterdam, so this list is really good!

May 15, 2017 at 6:05 pm

This post has definitely inspired me to visit the Netherlands ! I’d love to see the countryside, small towns and do a bicycle trip around the country 🙂 I’ve only visited Amsterdam few years ago… but there are so many places to explore outside of Amsterdam !

May 15, 2017 at 8:05 pm

Karen, lovely article. However, as an American living in Den Haag, and having to answer the question quite often about the Holland/Netherlands question, I thought I might give you a bit of info. Noord Holland and Zuid Holland are the two most populated provinces, and where the largest cities are located, thus the overarching term for the country as Holland. Although you do mention Zuid Holland far into your post, at the top you only mention Noord Holland. You might want to edit to include both provinces. Bedankt!

May 15, 2017 at 11:07 pm

Dear Suzanne, You are very correct. I wasn’t necessarily clear with my wording in the original copy, but I’ve updated to reflect the reality of the Randstad. Thank you for your comment. Thank you for reading. 🙂

July 30, 2017 at 1:51 am

Leiden in South Holland is also worth a visit. It’s a very old university town and it’s my husband’s hometown, incidentally. I have visited it many times and love the waterways that flow through it including the Oude Rijn.

May 15, 2017 at 8:14 pm

LOL I was reading this article and wishing you would mention my city Groningen. x

May 15, 2017 at 11:06 pm

JUST updated with Groningen. I actually intended to include it originally, but ran out of time prior to publication. I really enjoyed it, especially the lovely brown bars and the Excalibur climbing wall! Adding 4 more now to round it out at 20!

May 15, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Hello Karen, Oh wow! I’m sure you’ve visited the oldest planetarium in the world- Planetarium Eise Eisinga. I’m excited to read your next blog 🙂

May 19, 2017 at 3:14 am

Wow, this is a wonderful post! The first and last time I went to Netherlands, was when I was 16… That’s very long ago. Being from Germany, I definitely missed out on visiting the surrounding countries. You pictures are gorgeous and inspire to visit even smaller cities! It seems there are little gems everywhere!

May 19, 2017 at 8:27 am

Nice blog! Maybe you could add a fee words about the forts that were built to protect the cities from marauding armies, the Hollandse Waterlinie. The forts are converted for many different purposes. Gorinchem, where I live, has four or five of them. The city is surrounded by complete ramparts and fortifications as well, and you can visit Woudrichem/Loevestein castle plus fort Vuren by foot ferry.

May 20, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Love this! We went to Amsterdam last year and checked out Utrecht which I loved. Our next destination in the Netherlands is Rotterdam so excited that it made the list as well. 🙂

May 21, 2017 at 5:56 pm

I went to Amsterdam almost two years ago and absolutely loved it! This is such a great post to explore more of the Netherlands besides the big city. I will be saving this for my travel planning!

May 24, 2017 at 10:30 am

OH MY GOSH! This is amazing. Beautiful photos, amazing experience. I envy you. 🙂

June 18, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Thanks for this post! I want to explore other parts of the Netherlands but didn’t know where to start. These towns sound awesome and I’ve actually heard of some of them. Giethoorn looks so sweet and beautiful!

June 29, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Oh my God nice pictures thanks for shear it.

July 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

I love how you also listed some lesser known places, like Zwolle and Leeuwarden. Personally, I also really love Breda and Middelburg 🙂 Oh… and Deventer.

July 17, 2017 at 11:40 am

Muiden is a very beautiful place to be.Muiden is a city and former municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It lies at the mouth of the Vecht and is in an area called the Vechtstreek

July 30, 2017 at 2:39 am

Hi Daphne, I was recently there and loved it. I need to update this post with the new places I’ve been recently!

August 21, 2017 at 11:45 am

I live in Amsterdam but in this kinda posts i never read anything About my home town Breda in the south. City famous for its old beautiful centre, Forrest at the south, beer, candies, carnaval, jazz festival And last but not least the Netherlands most famous DJ (Tiësto) is from this place. Good to combine with Rotterdam as there is a highspeed train from Amsterdam via Rotterdam to Breda.

November 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm

I live here for a 4 years already (in Gouda – totally agree on its appearance on your list!). I cannot really say I love Amsterdam, it is waaaaay to crowded for me… But other small cities like Haarlem, Dordrecht, Delft, Leiden….mmmm…. small and cozy :)))) For those who said they never knew Netherlands has so many beautiful places to visit – there are even more!

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July 13, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Nice compilation. Disappointed that the nice Zeelandic towns like Middelburg and Vlissingen are missing. Maybe you are yet to explore those

cities to visit in netherland

July 13, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Hi Raj, I was in Middelburg about 2-3 weeks ago. I’ll definitely be updating it to include it. 🙂

Watch for a guide this month!

Best, Karen

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September 19, 2018 at 1:06 am

Nice list,but Amersfoort deserves to be on it as well,my hometown. Mooie lijst,maar Amersfoort verdient on we ook op te staan,mijn stad One of the oldest medieval towns in the Netherlands 20 km. from Utrecht. From Amersfoort you can go anywhere in The Netherlands,it is Railroad hub.

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September 15, 2019 at 10:12 pm

Hi, my favourite towns are Marken (I love lighthouses) and Elburg – you wont forget either in a hurry.

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October 23, 2019 at 9:54 pm

I’m just wrapping up a 3.5 week trip the the Netherlands, ending in Amsterdam. I started in Delft, with side trips to The Hague and Leiden; then Rotterdam, Utrecht, Maastricht and finally Amsterdam, heading to Haarlem tomorrow (which is how I found your blog). I’ve loved each place in its own way but, so far, Leiden is my favorite.

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October 24, 2019 at 11:37 am

Hi Eileen, Thank you for this lovely comment. It makes me so happy to read this as there are so many charming cities in the Netherlands to see! Curious if Leiden takes the crown for you after seeing Haarlem! I regularly visit Delft and Leiden myself. 🙂

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August 16, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Please mention Arnhem, a beautiful city and take the side trip to the POSTBANK!!!

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Exploring the Netherlands

25 Most Beautiful Places in the Netherlands

Which are the most beautiful places in the Netherlands? This post contains a selection of the most beautiful cities , little towns and villages , castles , gardens and nature parks in the Netherlands. It provides inspiration for everyone who wants to visit the country but doesn’t know what are the must-sees and where to start. Discover the Netherlands with these 25 amazing places!

I have divided those charming places in 5 categories. I thought it would be fair if I include 5 entries per category, thus I can show you the diversity the Netherlands can offer to all visitors.

You can scroll through the list or you can choose a category from the drop-down menu that’s of interest to you. There is also a handy map, with all places indicated on it, which will help you to better plan your stay in the country.

De Biesbosch

Loonse en drunense duinen, alde feanen, de haar castle, hoensbroek castle, slot loevestein, ammersoyen castle, the gardens of appeltern, the castle gardens of arcen, the castle garden of oud-valkenburg, botanical garden in kerkrade, final words, 5 most beautiful cities in the netherlands.

canal with rounded bridges and houses with bell gables - Amsterdam

Amsterdam with its spiderweb of canals and the stepped-gable houses alongside the water is perhaps the most visited place in the Netherlands and undeniably one of the most beautiful cities not only in the Netherlands but in the world. When you visit the Netherlands for the first time, the Dutch capital should be on your bucket list. Take a boat trip along the canals (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and visit a museum or two if you have more time. If you are a fan of Van Gogh, you won’t be disappointed, as the Van Gogh Museum has the biggest collection of the artist’s works. The Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank Museum are also a must.

Tip: When planning your visit to Amsterdam, check out these 4 walking routes in the Dutch capital . The post contains also a map for an easy self-guided tour.

Read more: Best things to do and see in Amsterdam if you are visiting only for a day

a typical city square with building with stepped gables, Den Bosch in the Netherlands

Den Bosch, or ‘s-Hertogenbosch, is the major city of North Brabant – the Dutch province that’s famous for the good food and the joie-de-vivre life style. Admire the majestic St. John’s Cathedral ( Sint-Janskathedraal ) and take a boat tour in the old city sewerage ( De Binnendieze ). Don’t miss to take a beer on De Parade (a square near the cathedral) and if you are fan of the Medieval painter Hieronymus Bosch, who was born there in this city, visit the Jheronimus Bosch Art Centre , where you can find all his works (in reproduction) at one place.

Read more: Discover the best things to see and do in Den Bosch

city roofs and a tall church tower, Utrecht in the Netherlands

Utrecht is absolutely charming with its canals and the cafes at the water level . When in Utrecht, visit the beautiful Dom (the cathedral of Utrecht). You can climb to the top of the cathedral for some amazing views or get underneath it for some Roman ruins. If you want to get off-the-beaten path, visit the quirky Museum Speelklok , where you can admire their unique collection of self-playing instruments.

Read more: Discover the best things to see and do in Utrecht

city riverfront with a tower, and old bridge and some green trees at the foreground, Maastricht in the Netherlands

Maastricht is one of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands and is often called the Pearl of the South. The locals just love a day trip to Maastricht combined with some first class shopping. When in Maastricht, visit the beautiful Vrijthof Square with the St. Servatius Basilica ( Sint-Servaasbasiliek ) and the St. John’s Church ( Sint-Janskerk ). A fan of classic music? Then a concert of Andre Rieu on the Vrijthof Square in the summer is a must. This is a once-in-a-life-time experience and I can vouch for it from first hand.

Read more: How to spend the perfect day in Maastricht . If you are visiting in the winter you should not miss the famous Christmas Market of Maastricht .

cubus houses at background and some boat masts at the foreground, Rotterdam in the Netherlands

Rotterdam is like no other city in the Netherlands – it’s modern, it’s hipster and it’s full of life. It’s one of the few places in the Netherlands where the skyline is dominated by high-rises . When in Rotterdam, take a boat tour in the harbour. Europort used to be the biggest one in the world, but it lost its first place some years ago, now being only the biggest in Europe. If you love great views, climb to the top of the Euromast and if you need a bit of an adrenaline rush, you can go down with a zip-wire. Oh, and fan of quirky architecture? Take a look at the famous Cube Houses or the Markthal.

Read more: The best things to see and do in Rotterdam

5 Most beautiful villages and small towns in the Netherlands

two rows of white houses with a church tower at the background and a water pump with a street light in the foreground, Thorn in the Netherlands

They call it the little white town and for a reason. All the houses are white in this little place, something quite unusual for the Netherlands. Thorn has unique historical heritage. It started as a cloister and turned into a prosperous Abbey-State , a dwarf state in the 15th-18th centuries, ruled by women. The town is a popular tourist destination among the Dutch. The best Dutch pancakes restaurant has there a branch, so I can’t help it but recommend paying a visit to the Pannekoekenbakker for the most delicious Dutch pancakes.

Read more: What to see and in Thorn and why are the houses after all white in Thorn

two windmills on the bank of a river harbour with some boats and yachts, Heusden in the Netherlands

When you travel to the Netherlands, you should visit at least one of its walled towns, which are part of the so-called Southern Defense Line ( De Zuiderwaterlinie ). Heusden is one of them – a little town in the shape of a star, surrounded by water. It looks as if time has stopped in Heusden, but instead of being just and open-air museum, the little place is actually a regular small town with a great dose of charm and lots of cuteness. When in Heusden, take a walk alongside the bulwarks , thus you can make a complete circle around the town. For some great Dutch pancakes, stop at the Pannekoekenbakker .

Read more: Best things to do in Heusden, recommended by a local

colorful flowers in the foreground and some houses at the background with a road and a channel in-between, Valkenburg in the Netherlands

Valkenburg is a lovely small town in South Limburg. It’s famous for the chalk quarries ( mergelgrotten ) and the Castle Ruins ( Kasteelruinen ) perched on a hill above the town. Numerous cafes and restaurants line up the streets of this small place. It’s a very popular holiday destination among the Dutch and it’s always thriving with life. Well, after all, it’s one of the two places in the Netherlands where there are caves. Moreover the landscape around Valkenburg is quite pretty with the rolling hills and the cattle grazing on the meadows, and the occasional castle here and there.

Read more: The best things to see and do in Valkenburg, recommended by a local

a draw bridge in the front with beautiful buildings with shutters behind against a blue sky with white clouds, De Rijp in the Netherlands

Once an important harbour, this cute little place turned into an inland town after the sea was drained in the 17th century to make place for more land. The regained land from the sea is known as polder , and the area around De Rijp – De Beemster Polder , is included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the last years most of the houses have been beautifully restored and the little town is full of charm. You can find there some of the oldest wooden houses in the Province of North Holland.

a house with a thatched roof on the side of a canal with a wooden bridge, Giethoorn in Netherlands

They call it the Venice of the North or the Dutch Venice and indeed Giethoorn completely deserves its nickname. Imagine an idyllic small village with no streets but canals instead. Beautiful houses, mostly farms, with thatched roofs, lots of green and flowers and the willows hanging above the crooked bridges. Unfortunately the last years Giethoorn has been discovered by the tourists and is suffering from overtourism. Nonetheless, the place is simply gorgeous and too cute not to see it.

5 Most beautiful national parks in the Netherlands

birds resting on sand with some shallow water and highlands cows lying on the beach, Texel National Park Netherlands

If you are in a search of a quiet place with gorgeous sunsets, green waters and vast sand beaches – you’ll find it all on this small West Frisian island . Not to forget the little quaint villages, the pastoral landscapes and the great local food. Oh, and a part of the island is a protected area as one of the 20 National Parks in the Netherlands. When travelling to Texel, just leave your car on the mainland, as you won’t need it on the island. However taking your bike with you is a great idea.

Read more: Best things to do on Texel island

river with the banks grown with high green grass and green trees against blue sky with fluffy white clouds, De Biesbosch Netherlands

De Biesbosch is probably the most unique national park in the Netherlands. The land that was reclaimed from the marshlands in the past centuries is now given back to nature. De Biesbosch is one of the biggest freshwater tidal wetlands in Europe – a network of interconnected rivers and creeks, a kind of an inland delta. The best way to discover this beautiful area is by boat.

Read more: De Biescbosch National Park – complete travel guide

sand dunes with withered brownish heather and green pine trees at the horizon with blue sky and white clouds above, The Dunes of loon and Drunen in the Netherlands

This Dutch National Park looks totally out of place – moving sand dunes in de middle of the country. The Dunes of Loon and Drunen are actually the biggest sand-drifting area in Northern Europe. For a country with hardly any hilltops, leave alone mountains, the Dunes are great for hiking and even sleighing in the winter (if it happens to snow). In the late summer when the heath is in bloom, the dunes turn into a magical purple haze.

Read more: Loonse en Drunense Duinen National Park – complete travel guide

a marsh surrounded by green trees and blue sky above, De Meinweg National park in the Netherlands

De Meinweg is another one of the 20 National Parks in the Netherlands. This park is characterized by terraced landscape with steep transitions between the plateaus. You can walk there through forests , marshlands and lakes . There’s also this lovely trail that goes along a boardwalk through a flooded forest. As the National Park is located at the border with Germany, you might just pop up there without noticing it.

canals and patches of land covered with dried up yellowish grass and a few birch trees in the middle, Alde Feanen national park in the Netherlands

De Alde Feanen National Park is the youngest National Park in the Netherlands. It was added in 2012 as the 20th National Park. It’s a bogland area located in Dutch Province of Friesland near the capital city Leeuwarden. The bog is home to more than 450 plant species and over 100 bird species . The most popular inhabitants of the Alde Feanen are the white storks . You can spot them everywhere. It’s a peaceful area where you can go for walking, biking or boating. It’s so quiet there that you will feel absolutely disconnected from the rest of the world.

Read more: De Alde Feanen National Park – complete travel guide

5 Most beautiful castles and palaces in the Netherlands

a huge castle with rounded turrets surrounded by water, De Haar Castle in the Netherlands

De Haar Castle ( Kasteel De Haar ) near Utrecht is perhaps the most famous and most visited Dutch castle. If it’s the most beautiful one, that’s pretty subjective, but it’s for sure quite imposing. The castle was restored in 1892 by the famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers in a Gothic Revival style. The original castle dates back to the end of the 14th century. The castle is surrounded by a beautiful park and gardens. You can visit both the castle and the park.

a medieval castle with some flags in front of it and a small model of the castle itself, Hoensbroek Castle in the Netherlands

The Hoensbroek Castle ( Kasteel Hoensbroek ) is a lovely castle in the southern province of Limburg. The first fortress on this place dates back to 1360. Through the years the castle has been expanded many times. It belonged to the van Hoensbroek family, the one that built it for nearly 6 centuries. In 1927 the castle was sold to a foundation which still manages it as of present. Today, the castle can be visited and it gives an idea of how life was in 17th and 18th centuries. The furnishings are back from the period. You can do a self-guided tour of the castle and in each room there are interactive stories told in various ways.

a medieva castle with turrets and a rounded tower on a green hill, surrounded by a moat, Slot Loevestein in the Netherlands

Slot Loevestein was built in the 14th century by the knight Dirc Loef but soon after it was taken by the Count of Holland . In the 17th century the castle was turned into a state prison. One of the greatest legal scholars, the father of the modern international law – Hugo Grotius ( Hugo de Groot in Dutch), was imprisoned there but he succeeded to escape. How did he manage to escape? I won’t tell you. Visit the castle to find out.

a medieval castle with rounded towers at the corners surrounded by water, Ammerzoyen castle in the Netherlands

Ammersoyen Castle ( Kasteel Ammerzoyen ) is a beautiful castle surrounded by water in the province of Gelderland. The construction of the defensive castle near the Meuse River started in the 12th century and it was finished in the 13th century. The Ammersoyen Castle was completely restored to its medieval glory in the 1970s and is open for visitors.

a fountain in the form of the globe with a French style garden at the backside and a part of a building with stairs and a golden door, Het Loo Palace in the Netherlands

There aren’t many palaces in the Netherlands, but from the few that are still there, Het Loo Palace ( Paleis Het Loo ) is undoubtedly the most beautiful one. And not only the palace is worth the visit. The meticulously manicured and kept Baroque gardens contrast with the natural and a bit wild beauty of the English park . Let’s say Het Loo Palace is the Dutch Versailles , but not because it looks like the palace near Paris, it’s because of its significance and role through the centuries as the palace of the House of Orange-Nassau (the Dutch Royal House).

Read more: The 15 most beautiful castles in the Netherlands

5 Most beautiful parks and gardens in the Netherlands

pink tulips and pink hyacinths in the foreground and lake and trees at the background, Keukenhof Netherlands

Tulips! Lots of tulips! Everywhere! You can’t find a place more Dutchy than that. Unfortunately, being a spring garden, Keukenhof is open only in the period March-May. It’s a perfectly manicured garden, where each year they plant more than 7 million spring flower bulbs . Hyacinths, tulips, crocuses, and daffodils in most amazing shapes and colors create intricate patterns and stun the visitors.

Read more: Everything you need to know about visiting Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands

beautiful purple flowers and lots of green, the gardens of Appeltern in the Netherlands

The Gardens of Appeltern ( De Appeltern Tuinen ) started as a company project and evolved into the biggest and most beautiful garden park in the Netherlands. The park was created in 1980s as a series of show-model gardens and today it features more than 200 different inspiration gardens on 23 ha.

a French type of a castle garden with borders and shaped boxwood trees, Arcen Netherlands

If you are visiting the Netherlands and the Keukenhof gardens are closed your best bet will be the Castle Gardens of Arcen ( Kasteeltuinen Arcen ). A meticulously manicured park with gardens and a lovely castle – the Castle Gardens of Arcen won’t disappoint you. The best time to visit the park is June-July when all flowers are in bloom. Beside the gardens, you can also visit the castle.

cities to visit in netherland

The Castle Garden of Oud-Valkenburg ( Kasteeltuin Oud-Valkenburg ) is a lovely small scale garden in South Limburg. Once it used to be the kitchen garden of the Schaloen Castle . Today, it features a herbal garden and a heritage garden , which shows local traditional flora. There’s also a watermill at the garden. You can combine a visit to the garden with a walk to the castle. The Schaloen Castle is not open for visitors, but there is a nice cafe outside where you can enjoy the beautiful view with the castle and its gardens.

arches made of trees which resemble the interior of a cathedral, the Botanical Garden in Kerkrade, Netherlands

The Botanical Garden in Kerkrade ( Botanische Tuin Kerkrade ) has a very interesting history. It opened in 1937 as a recreational garden for the mine workers of the State Mines ( Staatsmijnen ). Mining was booming in South Limburg and lots of facilities were created for the equally booming population in the region. The centerpiece of the Botanical Garden is the Open-air Cathedral – the trees are arched and arranged in such a way that they remind of the framework of a cathedral. There are 195 varieties of plants and trees found today in the Botanical Garden.

Read more: What to do and see in Kerkrade

Although flat as a pancake, the Netherlands can offer some amazing places, from the capital city of Amsterdam with its UNESCO-listed canals and stepped-gable houses, to the quaint little village of Giethoorn with no streets. For an explosion of colors yous should visit the famous Keukenhof tulip gardens and if you want to escape the world, you can do so in one of the National Parks. Chasing castles? No problem. You will find an abundance of them!

Do you need some extra help to plan your trip to the Netherlands? Join the dedicated Exploring the Netherlands Facebook Group , where you can get tips from other travellers and locals. Or perhaps you have questions or comments? Join the group and I’ll be happy to answer them.

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26 Best Cities You Should Visit in The Netherlands

cities to visit in netherland

Planning your next trip to The Netherlands, you probably wonder where to go in the country. Of course, Amsterdam is on your itinerary, but you might wonder, what cities should you visit in The Netherlands? 

The best cities you should visit in The Netherlands are: 

We wrote this extensive list, so we can help you have the best time in our country. This article contains a city list of the best cities to visit in The Netherlands. We tell you about the fun and unique things to do in each city, recommended places to stay, and the best time to visit. Let’s read on and have fun planning your trip to The Netherlands!

The Netherlands City Guide

In this city guide, we first focus on the four major cities of The Netherlands. Followed by the other interesting cities of the country.

The capital of The Netherlands is probably our most famous city. Did you know many people think that Amsterdam is the country instead of The Netherlands? 

Amsterdam is in the northwest part of The Netherlands, in the province of North Holland  (Noord Holland in Dutch).  When you’re entering the country, there’s a good chance that you arrive at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, located close to the city center. 

The city is by far the most popular in The Netherlands, receiving around 17 million visitors a year. In the whole country, the yearly average is 19 million. So only a small part of the tourists visiting The Netherlands are not visiting Amsterdam.  

You might think, why is Amsterdam so famous? And what are the highlights I should visit? Let’s find out.

Amsterdam Highlights

The biggest city of The Netherlands is famous for its history, the Amsterdam canals, and a wide variety of internationally renowned museums. 

When you’re visiting Amsterdam, make sure that you visit these highlights; 

  • Anne Frank House  Museum dedicated to Anne Frank, worldwide known for her diary,  The Diary of Anne Frank,  which she wrote during the Second World War when she was hiding for the Nazis. It gives a unique look inside the life of the people who needed to hide for the Germans during World War II because they were Jewish.  You can only buy tickets online via the  website of the Anne Frank House Museum  (link to the Museum’s website). You can buy your tickets two months in advance or on the day itself. Tickets are available in specific timeslots. The earlier you buy your tickets, the more timeslots available. 
  • Rijksmuseum Rijksmuseum is the National Museum of The Netherlands. Dedicated to the art and history of Amsterdam and The Netherlands. The most famous painting which belongs to the collection of the Rijksmuseum is Rembrandt’s Night Watch (Nachtwacht in Dutch). Painted in 1642.
  • Van Gogh Museum Dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh. A Dutch painter who lived between 1853 and 1890. Internationally renowned for its artwork. 
  • Amsterdam Canals Amsterdam is known for its canals. The city has over 100 kilometers of canals, and 1500 bridges. The canals were dug out during the Golden Era (Gouden Eeuw in Dutch). When The Netherlands was one of the biggest countries in maritime trade. The wealthiest people lived in big houses alongside the canals. The most important canals are known as  The Canal Belt (Grachtengordel in Dutch),  which is a Unesco World Heritage site since 2010.  It is great fun to take a boat tour around Amsterdam, and explore the city from the water. 
  • Jordaan Area Probably one of the most famous neighborhoods in Amsterdam. It’s where you find the real Amsterdam culture. Originally this neighborhood was built for the working class in the 17th century. Many workers and immigrants needed housing when the city grew. The Jordaan area was a poor neighborhood for a long time. The rich people from Amsterdam lived alongside the Canal Belt, and the working class and the poor in the Jordaan Area.  Today the Jordaan is renowned for its culture, local restaurants, and traditional houses. It developed into one of the most popular and expensive neighborhoods in the city. 
  • Albert Cuyp Market When you want to experience the real Amsterdam culture, you need to visit the Albert Cuyp Market. It is a street market located in  De Pijp  area. It’s great to walk around and do some shopping. And to experience the laidback, full of humor, Amsterdam culture.  There’s much more to see and do in Amsterdam. You might be interested in this article we wrote;  25 best things to do in Amsterdam.

Best Places to Stay in Amsterdam:

There are many accommodations to find in Amsterdam, so we made a small selection of accommodations where we think you can feel at home. Use the links the check the latest prices on 

Heritage Canal House Suites  a small bed & breakfast located in the heart of the city, within walking distance of the major attractions in Amsterdam. 

Apartments de Hallen   A great place to stay when you’re looking to stay in an apartment instead of a hotel — ideally located close to the Vondelpark and all the major attractions in the city. 

Budget choice:   Hostel The Flying Pig Downtown  Amsterdam is known to be expensive regarding hotels and accommodations, so if you want to save some money, a perfect choice will be booking a hostel where you sleep in a dormitory room. It’s not the most relax way to stay in the city, but you’ll definitely save some money. 

The second-largest city in our country. Rotterdam is different than Amsterdam. And it’s only a one hour drive between the two cities. 

The city is known as a port city. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and the 7th largest in the world. 

Bombings during the Second World War destroyed a big part of Rotterdam. The bombing of the Germans completely destroyed the city center. After the war, the city was quickly rebuilt and started to grow economically again. Nowadays, it is the city with the most modern architecture in The Netherlands. 

Rotterdam is one of the most multicultural cities in The Netherlands. Over 50% of the citizens are from a non-Dutch ethnic background. It gives Rotterdam a unique vibe, and it is truly a city of the world. 

We both studied for a couple of years in Rotterdam, and spend a lot of time in the city. These are the highlights you can’t miss while visiting Rotterdam. 

Rotterdam Highlights

The city is famous for its modern architecture and the massive port. 

  • Cubic Houses These renowned designs located in the center of Rotterdam, are probably one of the unique buildings in the city. The houses built in 1977, are designed to optimize living space inside.  Since a few years, the houses are a hostel, where you can stay while you’re visiting Rotterdam. The hostel offers only dormitory rooms.  Book your stay at  StayOkay hostel Rotterdam  to sleep in the cubic houses
  • Market Hall The biggest indoor market hall of The Netherlands is one of the newest buildings in Rotterdam. It offers a unique experience in the Rotterdam culture with the different fresh food market stalls.  The building is unique because it also offers office space and different apartments on top. A unique combination!
  • Old Port This small port is one of the oldest ports in Rotterdam. The first jetty dates back to 1350. Nowadays, the Old Port, decorated with historic ships, is known for its many restaurants and cafes. Great place to go for a drink in Rotterdam.
  • SS Rotterdam (ship) This former ocean cruise ship from the famous Holland America Line functions now as a hotel. The vessel had its first Atlantic journey in 1959, from Rotterdam to New York. It operated for different companies as a cruise ship until 2000. Since 2010 the ship is back in the harbor in Rotterdam, near the former port where it used to depart.  The SS Rotterdam functions as a museum and a hotel. A unique place to spent your nights while visiting Rotterdam. Book your stay at SS Rotterdam  via  
  • Great St. Laurens Church  The church is the only building that remembers the Medieval city of Rotterdam. Originally built-in 1449. It functions as the central church of Rotterdam. Heavily damaged during the bombings in the Second World War. The church is the only medieval building that’s rebuilt. 
  • Erasmus Bridge This important bridge connects the north en south area of Rotterdam. The Erasmus bridge, with a length of 802 meters, is the second-largest bridge in The Netherlands. 
  • Witte de With street When you’re looking for a unique Rotterdam culture, the Witte de With area is the best place where you can go. The long street is known for its many restaurants, cafes, shops, and art galleries. Everything slightly different than the standard you’ll find in many cities. One of our favorite places to go when we’re visiting Rotterdam. 
  • Explore the old harbor in a Hottub-boat It’s absolutely one the most fun thing to do in Rotterdam. It doesn’t matter how cold it is outside. Sailing in a hot tub boat through the old harbor and center of Rotterdam. A must-do experience while in Rotterdam.  You can rent a  Hot Tug  via the  website of Vessel 11 , the restaurant that organizes this experience.

Best Places to Stay in Rotterdam 

Rotterdam is great to spend a night. Staying in Rotterdam, you must stay somewhere on the water. After all, the city has one of the largest ports in Europe. We already recommended a few places to stay in Rotterdam, but here’s a short list so you can easily make your choice. 

Use the links to check the latest prices on 

  • SS Rotterdam    A unique experience to spend the night at a former ocean cruise ship 
  • Cubic Houses  ( budget option) It’s not on the water, but close to the old harbor of Rotterdam, located in the heart of the center. These cubic houses are unique to stay for a night. They offer only dormitory rooms. 
  • Wikkelboats   Every thought it was possible to make a house from paper? Wikkelhouses are cardboard tiny houses, a Dutch concept. Unique and sustainable housing. You can spend a night on a Wikkelhouse located on a flatbottom boat, which they call  Wikkelboat. 

It’s the most beautiful city in The Netherlands. Okay, this is our personal opinion, but still, The Hague is a great city to visit. We both lived in The Hague for several years before we sold our house, quit or office jobs, and decided to go traveling and change our lives. 

When we’re back in The Netherlands, The Hague is still our favorite city to visit. What we love most about this city is that you have the best of both worlds. You can enjoy a busy modern city, with a historical center. And with 15 minutes, you’ll be able to reach Scheveningen Beach and enjoy a beautiful beach day. 

When you’re in The Netherlands, visiting The Hague should be on your itinerary. Not only because we’re so enthusiastic about it 😉 

The Hague is the city where our government resides. It is the International city of peace. And also our King and Queen are living in The Hague. Many highlights you can’t miss while visiting The Hague, let’s find out!

Highlights of The Hague

  • Binnenhof Binnenhof, in English  Inner Court,  are several buildings connected. It is where our government resides. Binnenhof is one of the oldest parliament buildings in the world. Built-in the 13th century for the counts of Holland and became the political center for the Dutch Republic, which originated in 1584.  You can visit Binnenhof for free. It is unique to walk around the court. On certain days a year, Binnenhof is closed for the public. Depending on the political events.
  • Lange Voorhout This street is one of the most beautiful streets in The Netherlands. You’ll find Lange Voorhout, located in the old city center of The Hague, close to Binnenhof. Almost every building on this street is declared a National Monument  (Rijksmonument in Dutch).  The most important buildings on this street are  Kloosterkerk (built in the 14th Century), Pageshuis (built in the 17th century), Diligentia Theatre, Formal Royal Palace, and Supreme Court of The Netherlands. 
  • Escher in The formal Royal Palace Escher in the Palace shows the masterpieces of the worldwide renowned artist MC Escher. Since 2002 you can enjoy this exhibition in the former royal palace of the Dutch Royal Family, located at Lange Voorhout. The Royal Family lived in the palace from 1896 until 1990.
  • The Peace Palace Built around 1903, and houses the international court of justice, the peace palace library, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. This amazing palace is excellent for a visit, especially when you find international law interesting.   You’ll need to plan your visit, though, because opening times vary throughout the week. Check out  their website  for the latest information. 
  • Noordeinde Palace Noordeinde Palace is a Royal Palace of the Dutch Royal Family. King Willem-Alexander uses this palace as its ‘work palace’. You’ll find the palace at Noordeinde, a street in the city center of The Hague. 
  • Royal Palace Gardens The palace gardens belong to the Noordeinde Palace. A large part of these gardens is open for the public. It is a great place to spend some time on a beautiful summer day, and get to know the locals. When it is summer in The Hague, and you’re not going to Scheveningen Beach, visiting the Royal Gardens is another favorable thing to do. 
  • Panorama Mesdag A museum in Scheveningen Beach, which offers a 360-degree painting of Scheveningen in 1881. The painting is the work of Jan Willem Mesdag, one of the most important painters of The Art School of The Hague  (in Dutch: Haagse School). 
  • Mauritshuis This Museum, located next to Binnenhof, is – and I quote  their website  here;  Home to the best of Dutch painting of the seventeenth century.  The Museum has a collection with more than 200 works of Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens, and many more Dutch and flemish painters of the 17th century. 
  • Madurodam The renowned miniature park, which offers tiny replicas of famous Dutch landmarks. The park is excellent for a day visit, especially when you’re traveling with children. Easy to combine with a visit to Scheveningen Beach. When you go to Scheveningen Beach with tramline 9, the tram stops at Madurodam halfway.
  • Scheveningen Beach Probably the most famous beach in The Netherlands. Where you find many beach bars, a sports beach, and a huge boulevard. It is great to walk around, go (kite)-surfing, bungee-jumping, or to jump in the sea! Scheveningen Beach has it all! Officially Scheveningen belongs to The Hague. However, according to the local community, you either come from The Hague or Scheveningen. They’re both different. And in a kind of way, there’s a difference. The city of The Hague is busier, and people from Scheveningen are often more laidback.  Scheveningen can be very busy during the summer period when hundreds of thousands of people visiting the beach. When you’re visiting Scheveningen during this period, it is recommended to use public transport. Most trams and buses take around 20 minutes from The Hague city center to Scheveningen Beach. 

Best Places to Stay in The Hague

The Hague offers many different accommodations. A few unique places to stay in the city are; 

  • B&B Valkenbos   This bed & breakfast is located in the neighborhood where we used to live.  Valkenboskwartier  is a lovely neighborhood located 10 minutes from the beach and 10 minutes from the city center. Great place to stay and enjoy the local vibe! 
  • Hotel Des Indes   Probably the oldest hotel in The Hague, built-in 1858. If you are looking to stay in a luxury, classic hotel on the most beautiful street in The Netherlands (Lange Voorhout), this hotel is where you want to stay.
  • Student Hotel   (Budget choice)  This hostel is next to the station The Hague Holland Spoor. It’s the train station that connects the city with Amsterdam, Leiden, Rotterdam. So if your traveling around with public transport, this budget choice is ideally located. It’s also easy to reach the center as the hostel is within walking distance. 

Located in the middle of The Netherlands, you’ll find Utrecht. The fourth-largest city in the country. The history of Utrecht dates back for a long time. The city was even the most important in the country before the start of the Golden Age. During that time, Amsterdam became the most important city in the country. 

Highlights of Utrecht 

Utrecht is a vibrant city with many historical sites and a lovely historical center. 

  • Dom Tower The most famous building in Utrecht is the Dom Tower  (Domtoren in Dutch).  This church is 112 meters high, and if you want to climb the tower (which we recommend), you’ll need to climb over 400 steps. Followed by a magnificent view of the city of Utrecht. 
  • DomUnder Museum When you’re interested in the history of Utrecht, the  DomUnder  museum is a perfect visit. Book a guided archaeological tour. You will learn about the history of the city and how Utrecht developed over time. 
  • DomChurch (St. Martins Cathedral)  The church and tower are probably the most important landmarks in Utrecht. The church was built-in 1254. A massive storm, what we now call a tornado, in 1674 destroyed a large part of the church, and the connection with the tower. The restoration of the church took a long time and finally finished in 1988. 
  • Utrecht Canals The city has its own  canal belt.  Not as extensive as in Amsterdam. A fun thing to do is to hop on a boat and explore the city from the water.  Oudegracht,  which connects the city with the Rhine river, is the most important canal in the city. 
  • De Haar Castle Located a bit out of the city, but still belongs to Utrecht municipality, you’ll find  De Haar Castle .  The biggest castle in The Netherlands. Built-in the 13th century. The castle, which is now a museum, was once of the private residence of the Van Zuylen family. A wealthy Dutch family. The Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers – Famous for its design of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – completely renovated the castle between 1892 and 1913. 

These are only a few of the highlights in Utrecht. The city has a lot more to offer, and you can easily spend two or more days if you want to visit all the famous landmarks.

When you’re a first time visitor in Utrecht, we recommend to visit the landmarks we mentioned above and enjoy the unique vibe in the historical center. It’s fantastic to walk around and stop for a coffee at one of the cafes in the center. 

Best Places to Stay in Utrecht

Staying in Utrecht is not only a great thing to do, but also practical. From Utrecht, you can easily reach other destinations in The Netherlands for a day trip. We selected a few accommodations in Utrecht. Use the links to check the latest prices on

  • Hotel Beijers   It is one of the oldest and most classic hotels in Utrecht. It is located ideally in the city center, so a great option if you only spend a night in the center. 
  • Loft 188 Apartments    Utrecht is perfect for staying a few more nights. You can easily combine different day trips and use Utrecht as the place where you’re staying — doing something like that we always want to feel like we’re at home. So that’s why we’re recommending to choose an apartment.
  • Bunk Hotel Utrecht   (Budget Option)  Saving money on accommodations can be a good choice. However, there aren’t many hostels to find with good customer reviews. Bunk Hotel scores on average an 8+ on, which is excellent for a hostel with dormitory rooms.

When you travel to the most southern point of The Netherlands, you’ll arrive in the province of Limburg. The city of Maastricht is the most interesting city to visit in this province. Maastricht, one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands, is a Medieval city with a vibrant cultural vibe. 

Highlights of Maastricht

Did you know we produce wine in The Netherlands? That’s something you didn’t expect 😉  

Maastricht and its surroundings are known as the wine region of The Netherlands, perfect to taste some Dutch wines. Luckily this ancient city has much more to offer then wines, let’s find out; 

  • Vrijthof The main square of the city is called  Vrijthof.  This square has always been famous for the city, and today it’s still the heart of the city center. You’ll find many restaurants and cafes along the square. Also, some medieval buildings which you can visit.
  • St. Servatius Church One of the most famous churches in The Netherlands, located alongside the  Vrijthof square . The church, dedicated to the Armenian missionary, Servatius, is the oldest in The Netherlands. Servatius died in Maastricht around 384. 
  • Fort St. Pieter This 300-year-old fortress is now a monument with a trendy restaurant. Originally built to defend the city against the French invasion. You can visit the fort with a guided tour, where you learn about the history of Maastricht and the use of the fort. 
  • St. Pieter Caves Under Fort St. Pieter, you’ll find a tunnel system that’s over 80 kilometers long. The caves and tunnels are known as St. Pieters Caves, first excavations dating back 1000 years ago. The caves functioned as a hiding place for the people of Maastricht during the wars. Also, this was the hiding place for the world-famous painting  Night Watch (Nachtwacht) from Rembrandt  during World War II.
  • City Hall A classic building in the Dutch style, dating back to 1684. The famous Dutch architecture Pieter Post designed the building, which is still in use today. 
  • Bishops Watermill The oldest working watermill in The Netherlands is the bishops Watermill, located in the center of Maastricht. Built-in the 7th century, and still in use today. Over the years, the Watermill had different functions. During the Middle Ages, it was used by the Brewers Guild to make beer. Since 2004 it is used by a local bakery, where you can find the best bread and pastries in Maastricht. 

Best Places to Stay in Maastricht

Booking a place to stay in Maastricht, you can’t go wrong. A unique place to stay is  Bed & Breakfast Kasteelhoeve , located at an old castle complex. 

The list of accommodations in Maastricht is huge, check out  the complete list  with the most recent prices on

In the Northern part of The Netherlands, we find the city of Groningen. This university city is known as a vibrant city with lots of bars, restaurants, and different events throughout the year. The old city of Groningen has some fantastic historical buildings you can visit. And the beautiful natural parks that are closeby makes it great for a visit!

Highlights of Groningen

  • Martini tower The highest building in Groningen is the Martini Tower, with a height of 97 meters. The church tower is 500 years old and survived many wars, storms, and other elements over time. It is one of the oldest buildings in The Netherlands.  You can visit the tower and climb the 250 steps until you reach a height of almost 40 meters, which is the highest point you can visit. A bit of work-out, but the magnificent views over the city are absolutely worth it!
  • National Park Lauwerslake   In 1969 the Lauwersea was closed off with dikes to prevent massive floodings. Which resulted in the Lauwerslake. Many years later, and with almost no human interaction, the lake and its surroundings had time to flourish in a beautiful nature park. Nowadays, the park is one of the most famous National Parks in The Netherlands regarding bio-diversity. It is possible to visit the park and enjoy some beautiful hikes, go birdwatching or go for a guided mudflat for a walk on the seabed of the Wadden Sea during low tide. Visiting the National park Lauwersmeer is an unforgettable experience.   
  • Folkingestreet When you go shopping in a big city, you often run into the same shops, part of a chain. How different is this in the Folkingestreet in Groningen. In this street, in the heart of the city center, there are almost only specialized shops to find. Great to experience some local products, and discover what Groningen is all about. A truly local experience!

Best places to stay in Groningen

There are over 100 hotels and accommodations listed on, so there’s a lot you can choose from while looking for a stay in Groningen. Check out  the complete list of accommodations in Groningen  on

A unique place to stay in Groningen is  Hotel Prinsenhof  located in a 15th-century building, in the heart of the city center. It’s a modern hotel but in a classical renaissance building. 

The city of Haarlem is often overlooked by its neighboring city Amsterdam. However, when you’re looking for a truly Dutch city, which is less touristy then Amsterdam, Haarlem is the place you want to go. Haarlem has a fascinating history. You can visit some historical monuments that date back almost 800 years. It’s also the city with one of the best craft beer breweries of The Netherlands,  the Jopenkerk , where you can taste many different beers. 

Highlights of Haarlem 

  • Haarlem Cathedral The large cathedral in the heart of Haarlem’s center is a must-visit. Dating back to the 14th century, it dominates the skyline of the city ever since. This massive cathedral is a fantastic place to start your sightseeing visit to Haarlem. 
  • Frans Hals Museum During the Golden Age, The Netherlands had many renowned painters. Frans Hals, worldwide famous for its paintings, was coming from Haarlem. He produced some fantastic paintings which give a good representation of the Golden Age period. The Frans Hals museum is completely dedicated to his work and has the largest Frans Hals collection in the world. 
  • Teylers Museum You can’t visit Haarlem without a visit to the oldest Museum in The Netherlands. Teylers Museum offers an extensive collection of arts, fossils, minerals, and books. The Museum opened its doors first in 1784. Some of the most exciting art pieces are works from Michelangelo and Raphael. 
  • Beer tasting at brewery Jopenkerk Located in an old church in the city center, you’ll find  Jopenkerk (Jopen Church).  The craft beer  Jopen  is renowned in The Netherlands. Visiting the brewery and tasting room is an excellent experience in Haarlem. And trust me, this beer is a different experience than trying the world-famous Heineken.

Best Places to stay in Haarlem

If you don’t want to stay in Amsterdam, but looking for a place close to the most popular city, Haarlem is great to spend a few nights. It is perfectly located near Amsterdam, and well connected with public transport. 

There are more than 130 places to stay listed on, and most of them are getting good customer reviews. Check out  the complete list of accommodations in Haarlem  on

Located in between Amsterdam and The Hague, you’ll find the ancient city of Leiden. The city is excellent for a visit and learns more about the history of The Netherlands. Leiden was the birthplace of Rembrandt, one of the most famous Dutch painters ever lived.

You can easily reach the city by train or car. A train ride from Amsterdam to Leiden takes only 30 minutes. From The Hague, you can even reach the city within 15 minutes by train. 

Highlights of Leiden

Leiden has many highlights; the city and its surroundings have more than 2800 monuments! A few ways to get to know the city and visit some of the important highlights are;

  • Canal tour in Leiden  The city of Leiden is known for its many canals running through the city. Similar to in Amsterdam. It is a great way to explore the city via a canal tour, where you’ll cross many highlights. 
  • Visiting Windmill museum De Valk  There used to be over 19 windmills around the city of Leiden, today the only one still standing is Windmill museum, De Valk. It is one of the most remarkable windmills you can visit. Dating back from 1734
  • Almshouses  Many old cities in The Netherlands are known for their almshouses, called  hofjes  in Dutch. These small complexes, with squares, used to house the poor and elderly citizens. The almshouses were often an initiative of charitable foundations. Today it feels like the time stood still at these places. It’s great for a visit and to explore how people lived together. However, it is not always possible to look inside the houses. The places became very popular and completely renovated inside. Today the houses are sold on the private market. 

Best Places to Stay in Leiden

A visit to Leiden can easily be combined with a visit to The Hague or Amsterdam. However, staying the night in Leiden is also a fun thing to do. There are many bars where you can have a great time in this typical student city. 

When you’re looking for a place to stay in Leiden, you can check out  the complete list of accommodations in Leiden  on 

One of the hotels that we can recommend is the lovely  Boutique hotel Steenhof Suites . Perfectly located in the city center and great value for money. 

Close to Leiden, about 25 minutes by car, you’ll find the Lisse. This town is renowned for its flower fields and the biggest flower garden in the world, Keukenhof. The national flower of The Netherlands is the Tulip. These unique flower fields and Keukenhof are a must-visit when you’re in The Netherlands during the bloom-period between April and May. 

Looking for more information about Keukenhof and the flower fields? We wrote several articles to help you, make sure to check them out; 

  • Why is Netherlands Famous for its Tulips?
  • What is Keukenhof Famous for?

You can, of course, book a stay in Lisse, and make sure you’ll visit the lovely flower fields early in the morning during sunrise. Which is a great time to visit, when it’s not so busy with many tourists. However, most hotels and accommodations you’ll find are nearby the city of Leiden.

Check out  the complete list of accommodations in Lisse  on  

The famous city of Delft is perfect for a visit while in The Netherlands. The beautiful old and historical city center, worldwide renowned art ceramics  Delfts Blue , and national park Delftse Hout, the vibrant city of Delft, has it all! 

Delft is a typical university, which results in many small cafes and bars, events, and many more great things to do.

Highlights of Delft

  • Royal Delft (Delfts Blue Ceramics) The Delft Blue ceramic and pottery became popular in the 17th century. At a particular time, there were over 32 factories around Delft.  Royal Delft, also known as  The Porceleyne Fles,  is the only remaining factory left in Delft. Every pottery is hand-painted by a master painter. It’s great to visit the Royal Delft Experience and learn more about Delft Blue. You can also attend a workshop and try to paint some Delft Blue yourself!
  • Museum Prinsenhof (House of William of Orange) William of Orange (Willem van Oranje in Dutch) was the first King of The Kingdom of The Netherlands as we know it now. He lived in Delft at Prinsenhof. William of Orange defeated the Spanish army during the  eighty-year war  and declared the independent state of the lowlands (The Netherlands), with freedom of religion and freedom of expression. These are still the basic principles of The Netherlands.  In 1584 William of Orange was murdered. The Spanish king ordered the murder of William of Orange after he defeated his army. He survived several attacks on his life. On July 10th, 1584, he was killed in his house while walking up the stairs to his room. You can still see the bullet holes in the wall next to the stairs today. You can also visit the grave of William of Orange in the  Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) . 
  • The New Church The New Church (Nieuwe Kerk in Dutch) is a unique building to visit. It is the second-highest church tower in The Netherlands (The Dom Tower in Utrecht is the highest). The building style of this church is known as the Gothic style, and it’s remarkable to visit the different artworks inside.  The New Church is also the church where the Royal Family is buried. You can visit the tomb of William of Orange. Also, other members of the royal family are buried in this church. 
  • Delft Central Station  The central station in Delft is a unique station that they built completely underground. This way, the old streets where some canals were back in the day, get a new chance to flourish again. The city extends this center in this way. The new central station is a unique form of architecture, which you should visit while in Delft.  When you’re traveling with public transport around the big cities, you probably arrive at this central station. Take your time to look around!

Best places to stay in Delft

Delft is excellent for spending a night. The many bars and restaurants are fun to spend an evening, and you might even run into some live music. The student city has many great musicians. 

You can’t really go wrong while booking a stay in Delft. Just make sure to double-check the customer reviews. We always try to find an accommodation with a 9+ on the customer reviews. Use  this link  to to find the latest prices and the complete list of accommodations in Delft

The Dutch city that’s worldwide known for its cheese. The  Gouda Cheese   is a cheese you can find in every corner of the world. But there’s much more to discover in this city. 

Gouda is a relatively small city located between Rotterdam and Utrecht, in the middle of the province of South Holland. Gouda is easily to reach by car and when you’re traveling by train. Trains to Gouda run several times an hour, departing from every major city. 

Gouda Highlights

A few highlights you don’t want to miss when visiting Gouda:

  • St Janschurch The 16th-century church in the middle of the center is known for its colorful glass windows. A unique church to visit!
  • Cheese market This city is known for its cheese, you can visit a large cheese market every Thursday in the city center. A great thing to do when you want to try some local Gouda Cheese.

During winter, Gouda is also known as the city of light. During the Christmas period the city transforms into a unique experience of candlelight. It is great to walk around the city and enjoy all the small lights in the streets. Make sure to visit the old market square, where you’ll find a large Christmas tree covered in beautiful lights.

The old city of Gouda is great for spending the night. Use  this link  the check the latest prices on 

It is probably not the first city you think of while planning a visit to The Netherlands. However, Eindhoven, located in the province  Noord Brabant , has a lot to offer. 

Eindhoven is known as the Dutch Design city. The company  Philips Electronics  has its headquarters in Eindhoven. And the internationally renowned Design Academy is located in the city. Every year Eindhoven organizes Dutch Design Week is a world-famous event offering the latest gadgets, developments, and much more about design and electronic development. 

The city is the fifth-largest city in The Netherlands. Did you know you can quickly fly to Eindhoven Airport from over 75 destinations in Europe? Make sure to read our  booking recourses guide  with the best booking tips! 

Eindhoven Highlights

Eindhoven is not a city with many historical buildings or a historic city center. It stands out to the other cities, a visit to Eindhoven is different. It’s a visit to a modern-day city, working on future development and design. Also, it gives you a chance to look back in time a bit with several museums. Eindhoven is also known as the city with the longest nightlife street in the Benelux area. 

A few of Eindhoven’s highlights are: 

  • Stratumseind The longest nightlife street in the Benelux area  (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg).  The street is   over 200 meters long and offers many different bars, clubs, and restaurants. It is great to spend a night here and go party with the locals. 
  • van Abbemuseum When you’re thinking of contemporary and modern art, you think of Picasso, Kadinsky, Appel, Mondriaan, and many more. van Abbemuseum is a museum that offers works of these artists and is one of the most important museums in Europe regarding modern and contemporary arts. 

Best places to stay in Eindhoven

When you’re looking for a stay in Eindhoven, you can choose over 70 listings on, check out the complete list  here . Eindhoven and the province of Noord Brabant are known for their hospitality. You can’t really go wrong while booking a hotel or place to stay. 

The accommodations listed on are all getting high review scores on average. A place that stands out is  Little Grand Apartments  (use the link for the latest price on — located in the heart of the city center. 

Den Bosch (‘s-Hertogenbosch)

The official name of this city is ‘s-Hertogenbosch, but everyone refers to it as Den Bosch.  Which is much easier to say 😉 Did you try to say ‘s-Hertogenbosch? Weird Dutch language, right? When you’re curious about the things we’re commonly known for, make sure to read our blog,  14 weird things about the Dutch . Back to the city highlights. 

Den Bosch is also part of the province North Brabant, located close to Eindhoven. It is easy to combine a visit. 

The city is known as the heart of Burgundian culture, museums, and historic buildings. 

Den Bosch Highlights

  • St. Johans Cathedral Den Bosch was a wealthy city during the middle ages, and the St. Johans Cathedral (built between 1391 and 1500) is still prove of that period. This massive cathedral shows the wealth of the city during that period. While visiting the cathedral, make sure to climb the tower. Which is 43 meters high and offers a fantastic look over the city. 
  • Noord Brabants Museum To learn more about the rich history of Den Bosch, a visit to Noort Brabants Museum is a must. The Museum has a collection with over 30.000 art pieces. Several paintings, artworks, silver, archeological items, and much more. Around 15% of this collection is always on display in the Museum. They also have a wide collection of van Gogh paintings. 
  • Experience Burgundian lifestyle It is not a highlight you can visit, but something you need to experience yourself. The Burgundian lifestyle is known for enjoying great food, drinks, and having fun. The best place in The Netherlands to experience this lifestyle is in Den Bosch. Make sure to visit one of the traditional restaurants and take your time to enjoy the local cuisine, beers, or wines and have some fun with the local people! When you go for a Burgundian lifestyle experience, you might want to book a  place to stay in the city of Den Bosch .  

We must say everywhere in the province Noord Brabant, you can experience the Burgundian lifestyle. Brabanders (the people coming from this province) are known as Burgundies. The city is great to experience this lifestyle and enjoy the local cuisine, after sightseeing in the area. 

Breda Highlights

Breda is a city with many bars and restaurants. But the city offers much more than the Burgundian Lifestyle. 

  • Castle of Breda This castle, located in the heart of the city, is an important building in Dutch history. It was the castle where Hendrik van Nassau the 3rd lived and stayed in the Nassau family for many generations. 
  • Citypark Valkenburg The large city park with many fountains is excellent for spending an afternoon enjoying and relaxing. During the summer months, this park is packed with locals enjoying the beautiful weather in a Burgundian way. 
  • Begijnhof This inner square in the middle of the city center is a unique place to visit. It is not only a peaceful and quiet place to walk around, away from the bustling city. It is hard to imagine that you’re in a city while walking around the square. The Begijnhof was a community that consisted of a group of single women who dedicated their lives to the catholic church.

We love the hospitality in Noord Brabant. Breda is also a great city to spend a few nights. Like with the other cities in this province, you can’t go wrong while booking a place to stay. Just make sure to check out the customer reviews before you complete a booking.  Check out the latest prices in Breda  on 

One of the most traditional places to visit in The Netherlands it the town Volendam. This old fisherman’s village Volendam. Wandering around this traditional town is like walking back in time. Volendam is easily to reach while traveling from Amsterdam. It’s around 30 minutes by car to reach the town. 

Volendam Highlights

A few things you can’t miss while visiting Volendam; 

  • De Dijk As the most famous fisherman’s village in The Netherlands, it’s a must try to eat some fresh fish coming from  Ijsselmeer Lake . The best place to enjoy fresh herring with onions or some other fish is at De Dijk. You’ll find many fish shops here, as well as other traditional souvenir shops. Great to spend some time walking around De Dijk and explore the local vibe in Volendam.  
  • Markenexpress Marken is a small traditional village located next to Volendam. You can take the Marken Express to visit this village. The Marken Express is a boat that sails over Ijsselmeer Lake and takes 30 minutes to reach the town. A fantastic experience to see the villages from the water. 
  • Traditional clothing   Visiting Volendam is also taking a picture of traditional clothing. A must-do while in Volendam, and a great memory of your trip to this unique Dutch town. 

Staying the night in the traditional town of Volendam is fun when you have enough time on your itinerary. We only recommend  booking a place in Volendam  (check the latest prices on when you can spend more than 10 days in The Netherlands. 

As you might know, The Netherlands is, for a large part, located under sea-level. But did you know we have a village where the streets are canals? A village that you can’t enter by car, but only by boat? We’re talking about the town Giethoorn. Often referred to as  The Venice of the North . 

It is located in the middle of The Netherlands, close to the city of Zwolle. 

Giethoorn is excellent for a short visit and renting a boat to sail along the streets of the village. The village is easy to reach from Amsterdam. Driving from Amsterdam to Giethoorn will take you up to 2 hours. You can’t enter the city by car, though, but there are several walking paths before entering a small boat. 

The village is close to a beautiful national park  Weerribben , the largest bog in North Europe. Great for hiking and exploring the waters. 

When you’re visiting the unique village of Giethoorn and are planning to rent a boat and go around the city, make sure to get a reservation before visiting the village. This way, you don’t have to wait in line for a boat to become available. The village can be very busy year-round. 

Giethoorn during Winter

Are you visiting The Netherlands in the winter period? When you’re lucky, and it’s freezing for many days, you might be able to go ice skating at the canals in Giethoorn. A fantastic thing to do, which is weather-related, of course. Are you still deciding when you want to visit The Netherlands? We wrote an article about  The best time to visit The Netherlands , which you might find helpful. 

We recommend combining a trip to Giethoorn and staying in another city, closeby. This way, you’ll use your time more effectively. However, when you have enough time and want to enjoy the town when it is quiet and not full with tourists, make sure to  book a stay in Giethoorn  (check out the latest prices on 

This city is probably not the first to add to your itinerary in The Netherlands. However, Zwolle offers a lot of historical sites and is also a trendy city to visit. Great to spend some time in the city, and easy to combine with a visit to Giethoorn, for example. 

Zwolle Highlights

The medieval center of Zwolle is an absolute highlight to visit. While entering the city, you’ll pass  Sassenport;  this city gate is over 600 years old! 

Some other highlights in Zwolle are; 

  • Museum Fundatie The Museum has two locations, one outside Zwolle. The Museum outside Zwolle is a sculpture garden with modern sculptures from renowned artists as Zadkine and van Pallandt.  The location of Fundatie inside the city center is a unique museum with works of Mondriaan, van Gogh, Chagall, Appel, and many more internationally renowned artists. The Museum also offers several changing exhibitions year-round, which are interesting to follow. 
  • St. Micheals Church The 15th-century church is an eye-catcher in the medieval center of Zwolle. A gothic style architecture and as many churches from that time unique building to visit. 

Zwolle is great to spend the night. You can easily combine a visit to Zwolle with visiting Giethoorn and the nature park Weerribben. Check out the complete list of accommodations and latest prices on using  this link

The city of Nijmegen is a city that is known for the  Walk of the World.  An annual four-day walking event around which take place around the city. It’s great to attend this event, even when you’re not participating. The city organizes many festivities around this event! 

Did you know that Nijmegen is the oldest city in The Netherlands? Nijmegen was an important Roman city since the first century AD. The location of Nijmegen was ideal for the Romans. It’s interesting to plan a historical city walk in Nijmegen.

Are you looking to spend the night in Nijmegen? It is a lovely thing to do when you have enough time. Make sure to check the customer reviews before you book a  place to stay in Nijmegen  (use the link for the latest prices on

When you love to explore the history of The Netherlands and wander around medieval cities, make sure to plan a visit to Amersfoort. Amersfoort is easily to reach and ideally located close to Utrecht. 

You can either travel to Amersfoort by train or when you’re renting a car and drive around the country. Both ways of traveling are straightforward. 

The city Amersfoort developed in the 13th century, and today you can still discover many medieval historical monuments. It is great to plan a guided tour through the historic city and learn how people lived in the middle ages in Amersfoort. 

Amersfoort Highlights 

A few important highlights of the city are; 

  • Connecting Gate (Koppelpoort in Dutch) This unique gate dates back to the 14th century. The gate is both land- and watergate. The only one in The Netherlands. If you want to enter the gate, you need to contact  the guild of Amersfoort . 
  • The Monnikendam A unique watergate with two round towers. Also dating back to the 14th century.
  • Onze Lieve Vrouwe Tower A unique church in the middle of Amersfoort, built in the 15th century. The tower is 98 meters high, which is one of the highest church towers in The Netherlands. It is possible to climb this medieval tower by contacting the guild of Amersfoort. 

Staying in the medieval city of Amersfoort, it is something we recommend to do when you have enough time on your itinerary. You can use  this link  to find the latest prices on

When you are into water sports, a visit to The Netherlands is fantastic. Okay, we’re not the best country for wave surfing, but there are many other sports you can do on the water. The city of Sneek, located in the province of Friesland, is known as the  Water Capital of The Netherlands . 

The city is next to the  Sneek lake,  which is a large lake ideal for sailing and other watersports. Sneek is best to visit during the annual Sneek Week, a watersport event that takes place every year in August. 

When you visit Sneek during the annual event SneekWeek, make sure to book your accommodation before your visit. The event is top-rated, and hotels are often fully booked.  Accommodations in Sneek  (check out the latest prices on

Located in the northern part of The Netherlands in the province of Friesland, you’ll find the city of Leeuwarden. A unique historical city, which was the European Capital of Culture in 2018. 

Spending a few days in Leeuwarden is a great thing to do, you’ll have enough time to explore the city highlights. When you’re short on time, you can also combine a visit to Leeuwarden with some other cities, like Sneek, for example. 

Leeuwarden offers many highlights you don’t want to miss while visiting the city.

Leeuwarden Highlights

  • Fries Museum A museum dedicated to the history of Friesland and the Frisian people. Interesting if you want to learn more about this province in The Netherlands. 
  • Oldehove Oldehove is the Dutch version of the famous Tower of Pisa. The leaning tower of Oldehove is 39 meters high and has 183 steps, which you can climb while visiting the tower. 
  • Blokhuispoort This unique business- and creative hub locates in a former prison. Today you’ll find many creative shops, restaurants, and bars in Blokhuispoort. It is the place where you want to go to have a great time and some drinks. Also, a perfect location to spend the night when you decide to  stay overnight in Leeuwarden  (check out the latest prices on

The city located next to Rotterdam. And great for a day exploring the old city. The city of Dordrecht has over 1600 monumental buildings you can visit. Nearby the city, you’ll find one of the biggest national parks in The Netherlands, called  Biesbosch . 

Dordrecht is a unique city where you can walk around the historical center or hop on a boat for a roundtrip around the city. 

Dordrecht Highlights

While visiting Dordrecht make sure that you visit the following highlights; 

  • Historic harbors The unique harbors are interesting to walk around. Did you know Dordrecht has many harbors but no canals in the city? Walking around the harbors, you’ll find many historic warehouses and trade centers. 
  • Dordrecht Museum Established in 1842 and offers an extensive collection of the school of Rembrandt, with painters as Maes and Bol. Also, more modern art and 19th-century painters as Mesdag. 

Staying overnight in Dordrecht? Use  this link  to see the complete list and latest prices of accommodations in Dordrecht on


Located in Limburg, in the southern part of The Netherlands. Did you know that Roermond, a relatively small city, belonged to five countries since its existence? Of course, The Netherlands. But before this part belonged to the Kingdom of The Netherlands, it belonged to the Spanish, German, Austrians, and France. 

Walking around Roermond, you’ll still find traces of each different country. 

Roermond is excellent for a day visit and exploring the city and its surroundings by a bicycle tour. A typical way of transportation in The Netherlands. 

You can easily spend a night in Roermond or its surroundings. The province of Limburg is also known for its fantastic hospitality! 

Book your stay in Roermond  (check the latest prices on

The city of Venlo is a must-visit while in The Netherlands. Located in the province of Limburg, and easy to combine with a visit to Roermond. 

The river  De Maas  flows through Venlo, which gives the city a unique vibe. It is excellent to explore the city and walk around the old market square and visit the historic town hall . 

Staying in the historic town of Venlo is perfect for  spending one night  (check out the latest prices on 

Looking for beaches and boulevards? Vlissingen is the place to be. Located in the southern part of The Netherlands at the small island Westerschelde. Which is a part of the province Zeeland. 

The city offers many beaches and the longest promenade next to the sea. Which is great to walk around and enjoy the beautiful Dutch summer. 

A visit to Vlissingen is a visit to a harbor city that’s surrounded by nature. It is not the typical city to go when you’re looking for a vibrant and bustling environment. You go to Vlissingen when you want to explore its surrounding natural parks. 

Vlissingen is also great to spend some time on the beaches and go kite- or windsurfing. 

Spending a night in Vlissingen  (check the latest price on is spending a night near the beach. Which is fantastic for beach lovers. You can also book a stay in the center of Vlissingen, but we recommend to find a place close to the beach, where you can enjoy the beautiful sunsets. 

A place you can’t miss while visiting The Netherlands is the famous island of Texel . Texel is an island in the northern part of The Netherlands and belongs to the  Wadden islands.  A large part of Texel is a National Park. Fantastic place to visit for nature lovers. You don’t visit Texel if you are looking for vibrant and bustling city life. It is a unique experience entering the island; you’ll feel like visiting a different country. 

Best places to stay at Texel

Texel is great to spend a few days, make sure to add a visit to Texel to your itinerary. However, only when you’re visiting The Netherlands during the spring or summer period. Visiting the island during winter, you’ll find there’s not much to do. 

Texel is known for its hospitality and many places to stay. You can’t really go wrong while booking a place at Texel. Make sure to check the latest customer reviews of the place you want to book. There are over 200 listings you’ll find on, you can check the complete list using  this link .

When you’re planning your trip to The Netherlands, you might be interested in our  other articles about the Netherlands . 

Some articles you might be interested in are: 

  • Best time to visit The Netherlands
  • Weird Things about The Dutch People
  • What is Keukenhof Famous For? 
  • Best things to do in Amsterdam

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Home » Travel Guides » The Netherlands » 25 Best Things to Do in The Netherlands

25 Best Things to Do in The Netherlands

The Netherlands is often incorrectly referred to as Holland, and is one of the most vibrant and interesting countries in Europe. Known for its eclectic capital city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands is far more than just canals and museums, and if you venture further afield you will find picture postcard pretty towns as well as dynamic cities like Rotterdam and The Hague.

Due to its relatively small size it is easy to visit the Netherlands fairly quickly and to see a lot of the country in a short space of time. Getting out into the countryside is often one of the highlights of a trip for many, especially if you visit famous areas like the traditional villages that are filled with iconic windmills and tulips. One of the best ways to take in the scenery is by bicycle and fortunately much of the Netherlands is flat which means you can easily navigate the landscape and enjoy the great Dutch outdoors.

Here are the best things to do in the Netherlands :

1. Explore the Canals of Amsterdam

Canals Of Amsterdam

Similar to many other cities that sit over water such as Venice, Amsterdam has a vibrant canal system.

The pretty waterways are one of the best loved attractions in Amsterdam and you can explore the idyllic routes by taking a boat tour or a water taxi that lets you hop around a range of locations.

If you don’t want to take to the water then you can still enjoy the canal sights with a leisurely stroll along the banks.

Book a cruise : Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruise

2. Visit Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans

Those who wish they could travel back in time and visit the Netherlands of the 17th and 18th centuries have come to the right place.

Zaanse Schans is located around 15 kilometers to the north of Amsterdam and is styled as an open-air museum where you can take a stroll around a traditional Dutch village and find out how ancient craftsmen would have worked.

Just some of the sights include a shipyard, a grocery store, a pewter factory, and a range of dainty green wooden houses.

You will also find some graceful windmills although out of the 600 that would have dotted the area in the days of old, only 5 now remain and can be visited by the public.

These include an iconic saw mill as well as an oil mill and you will find fun live demonstrations like a clog making session.

Recommended tour : Zaanse Schans Windmills Half-Day Tour

3. Stroll around the Garden of Europe


Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe, is a riot of color with blooms of every hue as far as the eye can see.

Tulips are the signature flowers of this country and the Garden of Europe just outside of Lisse is the largest public garden anywhere in the world.

Covering 70 acres of land, you will find gorgeous flower exhibitions as well as restaurants and a wide variety of flora including daffodils hyacinths, and crocuses.

Book online : Keukenhof Gardens Tour

4. Admire Grote Kerk

Grote Kerk

Grote Kerk is found in The Hague and is a large church that is built from red brick in Gothic style.

The original building here would have been built in the 13th century although it was razed to the ground in 1539 and rebuilt in the present structure.

The church has an illustrious history as the spot where many members of the Dutch royal family where baptized including King Willem-Alexander who had his christening here.

Things to look out for at the church include the dominating bell tower which is the highest in Holland and contains 51 bells as well as the ornate wooden pulpit and the huge pipe organ.

5. Visit the Rijksmuseum


The Rijksmuseum is the Dutch National Museum located in Amsterdam and is filled with an amazing collection of art and antiques which date from 1809. The building houses over 7 million items and has more than 5,000 paintings that sprawl over 250 rooms.

There is a library here with 35,000 books and you can see some of the most impressive paintings in the world created by the ‘Old Masters’. Much of the museum focuses on traditional Dutch artifacts like ancient handicrafts and sculptures from the medieval period but you will also find exciting modern art.

Make sure you leave ample time to see everything as you can easily spend a full day here exploring every nook and cranny.

Get tickets : Rijksmuseum Entrance Ticket

6. Explore Hoge Veluwe National Park

Hoge Veluwe National Park

The Netherlands is often thought of as a small country primarily made up of small towns and cities but actually it has some wonderful national parks.

The largest and most famous of these is the Hoge Veluwe National Park which sits in between Apeldoorn and Arnhem.

It sprawls over an areas of 13,800 acres and is perfect if you are looking for an easy day trip.

The park is covered in woodland and features other quirky exhibits such as a sculpture park, and just some of the residents you will find in the park include red and roe deer.

Other spots include graceful dunes that are covered with heath and if you like bird watching then this is the place to spot a whole range of species.

7. Visit the Anne Frank Museum

Anne Frank Museum

The Anne Frank Museum is one of the most famous attractions in Amsterdam and makes for an extremely moving visit.

The building is the former home of Anne Frank who hid from the Nazis here during the Second World War.

Anne Frank died two months before the war ended but her diary that she wrote in the home was found and went on to become one of the most important books in the world.

The home has been restored although the hiding place in which the family lived is much as it would have been when Anne Frank lived here.

This is absolutely not to be missed if you are in Amsterdam and offers a poignant and personal view on this well known story.

Related tour : Life of Anne Frank and World War II Walking Tour

8. Enjoy the village of Marken


The little village of Marken is known for being one of the prettiest spots in the Netherlands, particularly thanks to its strategic location on the Ijsselmeer Lake.

Crowds of visitors flock to the town every year to take in its picture-postcard worthy attractions such as traditional painted wooden houses as well as fishing boats.

In the summer months there are festivals held here where the residents dress in period garb and you can see traditional crafts like clog making taking place.

Included in : Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam and Marken Tour

9. Have fun at Efteling


Efteling is the biggest amusement park in the Netherlands and is located at Kaatsheuvel.

The park is divided up into different zones that are known as realms and each one focuses on a different ancient myth or legend.

Efteling has the claim to fame of being one of the oldest themes parks in the world having first opened its doors in 1952 and has been entertaining visitors ever since with its fast rides and lush gardens.

Just some of the highlights here include rides like the Joris en de Draak or the George and the Dragon as well as The Flying Dutchman and the Python.

There are also other areas such as the Raveleijn which is a magical world with a nightly performance that tells the story of 5 siblings who battle and defeat an evil monster.

Book online : Efteling Theme Park Resort Admission Ticket

10. Take a trip to Madurodam


If you want to see the whole of the Netherlands but don’t have time then travel to Madurodam in The Hague.

Here you will find a mini version of the Netherlands on a 1:25 scale and you can see all the county’s top destinations including cute windmills, main landmarks, and decorative features like bridges.

This model city even includes its own harbor as well as a railway system and an airport.

Book online : Madurodam Miniature Park Entrance Ticket

11. Visit the Windmills of Kinderdijk


Enjoying a scenic location on the River Noord and nestled between Rotterdam and Dordrecht is the village of Kinderdijk which means ‘Children’s Dike’ in Dutch.

The main reason to come here is to take in the beautiful windmills that date from the 18th century and this is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are 19 windmills here that date from 1722-1761 and this is the largest group of these structures anywhere in the Netherlands.

You can visit from April to October and there are designated times throughout the year when the sails of the windmills spin and you can see them in all their glory.

12. Take in the art at the Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is an ode to one of the greatest artists ever to have lived.

In addition to that, the Van Gogh Museum is regularly voted one of the best art museums in the world, so art-lovers should make sure not to miss it off the itinerary.

An impressive 1.5 million visitors make their way here each year and the museum has the largest collection of Van Gogh pieces in the world.

To that end you will find 200 beautiful paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters that give you a unique insight into the life of the artist.

Fast Entry : Van Gogh Museum Ticket

13. Have a beer at the Heineken Experience

Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience in Amsterdam is the place to come if you want to learn all about how this famous beer evolved.

The experience takes place in an old Heineken brewery and you can learn about the Heineken family as well as see the actual brewing process that is used to make the beer.

This starts from the kind of water used all the way through to the bottling process and you can also see classic examples of the iconic Heineken logo and see how it has changed over the years.

As if that wasn’t enough, you can of course also sample this famous brew and end the trip with a tasting session.

14. Explore Mauritshuis


Mauritshuis, located in The Hague, is one of the premium art galleries in the Netherlands and is known for its vast collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings.

The building itself is a work of art and dates from the 17th century and is nestled between Hofvijver Lake and the parliament buildings.

Filled with over 800 works of art, this is one of the smaller museums in terms of size but it has some of the most iconic works in the world such as the Girl with a Pearl Earring which was created by Johannes Vermeer.

15. Visit Historic Valkenburg


If you like history then make sure not to miss Valkenburg which lies in the beautiful Geul Valley.

The town is the proud owner of the only hilltop castle in the Netherlands which dates from the 12th century.

The castle sits atop Dwingelrots or Castle Rock and you can also take in the neighboring 14th century basilica called St. Nicolaaskerk Basilica.

As well as its ancient ruins the town is also famous for its spas and caves as well as its Christmas Market which opens from November to December in the beautifully named Velvet Caves.

16. Meet the animals at Artis Royal Zoo

Artis Royal Zoo

Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam first opened its gates in 1838 making it the oldest zoo in the Netherlands.

It sprawls across more than 35 acres and has 900 different species of animals many of which are housed in ornate and spacious compounds that were designed in the 19th century.

There is also an aquarium section that was built in 1882 that features diverse species like sharks, eel, and colorful tropical fish.

Make sure to look out for the tray bikes that circle the zoo selling traditional Dutch pancakes called bitterballen.

Get tickets : ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo: Entry Ticket

17. Sample some cheese in Edam


Edam cheese is famous the world over for its red hued rind and signature round shape.

Many people won’t realize however that Edam is actually not just the name of the cheese but also the place it comes from which is the pretty town of Edam.

The town is located on the water and dates back to the 12th century and has an array of cheese related sites to enjoy.

Don’t be surprised if Edam cheese looks a little different here, as it is actually sold with a yellow rind rather than a red one.

Some of the signature attractions for cheese lovers here include a large cheese market and a famous cheese-weighing hall.

18. Explore Zeeland’s Dikes

Zeeland’s Dikes

The area of Zeeland sits on the Schlede, Maas, and Rhine rivers and is covered in little islands and coves.

Most of the area sits below sea level, and for this reason needs to use dikes to guard against flooding.

The main dike project here is called Delta Works which is a series of cutting-edge dam systems which control all the water entering the area from the neighboring North Sea.

In case you are having troubling understanding the scale of the dikes here, Delta Works has been described as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

19. Visit Ridderzaal


The Hall of Knights, also known as Ridderzaal in Dutch, is located in The Hague and is part of a court complex that dates from the medieval period.

Dating from the 13th century the hall backs on to a huge courtyard covered in cobbles and this is considered to be one of the centers of Dutch politics in the modern day as this is also the spot where the Opening of Parliament ceremony is conducted every year.

Now you can also visit the Hall of Knights and take a guided tour of one of the most important buildings in Dutch history.

20. Journey to Volendam


Situated in the north of the Netherlands is Volendam which makes a great day trip if you are also visiting neighboring Amsterdam.

A small fishing village, Volendam is full of traditional Dutch delights such as wooden houses, clogs, and scenic landscapes.

Volendam is so pretty that is was painted by greats like Renoir and Picasso and it has a dainty harbor that backs on to fisherman’s houses and more canals.

21. Enjoy the Houseboat Museum

Houseboat Museum

The Houseboat Museum is one of the quirkiest museums in all of Amsterdam and sits on the water on one of its pretty canals.

The boat is called Hendrika Maria and is furnished to give you a glimpse of how people have lived on these houseboats over the years.

There are also displays of how life on houseboats has changed and pictures of the canals as they would have been in the days of old.

22. Visit the Oude Haven in Rotterdam

Oude Haven

Oude Haven is the Old Harbor in Rotterdam which happens to be the oldest port in the Netherlands having first started operations in 1350. Here you will find a huge number of attractions such as charming eateries and cafes as well as a selection of ancient sailing ships that give a nod to maritime history of this city.

One of the other iconic structures located on the harbor is Het Witte Huis or the White House which has the claim to fame of having been the first skyscraper in Europe.

23. Travel to the town of Delft


The cute town of Delft is nestled in between The Hague and Rotterdam and makes a great day trip.

Some of the main sights here include the Town Hall as well as the famous Nieuwe Kerk or New Church which has a tall tower that you can climb and look out over Rotterdam and The Hague.

The church also houses a well known royal burial ground where the remains of Prince William of Orange are interred.

Other attractions include the Technology Museum and the Markt which is the main traditional market that opens every Thursday.

24. Enjoy Venustempel Sex Museum

Venustempel Sex Museum in Amsterdam has the claim to fame of having been the first sex museum in the world.

The museum is located in a building that dates from the 17th century and has a wide display of sex related memorabilia.

Just some of this includes an array of erotic art work as well as photographs, sculptures, and other oddities like chastity belts.

The aim of the museum is to tell the story of how sexuality has evolved over the years and is a quirky stop off on a trip to Amsterdam.

25. Explore Kasteel De Haar

Kasteel De Haar

Close to the city of Utrecht sits Kasteel De Haar which is actually the largest fortification in the Netherlands.

The big draw here is the stunning castle which sprawls across a 250 acre park and originally would have dated from the 14th century.

The renovated version that now stands was built in 1892 and you will find a wide collection of paintings, textiles, antiques, and furniture.

25 Best Things to Do in The Netherlands:

  • Explore the Canals of Amsterdam
  • Visit Zaanse Schans
  • Stroll around the Garden of Europe
  • Admire Grote Kerk
  • Visit the Rijksmuseum
  • Explore Hoge Veluwe National Park
  • Visit the Anne Frank Museum
  • Enjoy the village of Marken
  • Have fun at Efteling
  • Take a trip to Madurodam
  • Visit the Windmills of Kinderdijk
  • Take in the art at the Van Gogh Museum
  • Have a beer at the Heineken Experience
  • Explore Mauritshuis
  • Visit Historic Valkenburg
  • Meet the animals at Artis Royal Zoo
  • Sample some cheese in Edam
  • Explore Zeeland’s Dikes
  • Visit Ridderzaal
  • Journey to Volendam
  • Enjoy the Houseboat Museum
  • Visit the Oude Haven in Rotterdam
  • Travel to the town of Delft
  • Enjoy Venustempel Sex Museum
  • Explore Kasteel De Haar

16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the Netherlands

Written by Bryan Dearsley Updated May 11, 2023

The Netherlands is known everywhere as a land of windmills, canals, and tulips, and today's visitors certainly will find these among its many tourist attractions.

Tulips and windmill at Keukenhof, Lisse, The Netherlands

But along with the country's many breathtaking gardens and picturesque villages, those sightseeing here will also find the vibrant cities, like Amsterdam, filled with museums showcasing a rich heritage of artists (think Rembrandt and Van Gogh). Other places to visit include numerous medieval castles and cityscapes, along with a 13,800-acre national park, and a tide control system that's been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World .

Given the relatively small size of The Netherlands, all these attractions and fun things to do are within a relatively compact area, and the landscape is quite flat (the highest elevation is barely a thousand feet above sea level).

Consequently, it's extremely easy to do at least a little of your sightseeing the Dutch way: by bicycle. Many of the top travel destinations and major cities in the Netherlands actively encourage the use of pedal-power and provide free bikes to explore the sights. However you choose to see the Netherlands, you're guaranteed a great time in one of the friendliest and most liberal cultures in Europe.

Be sure to plan your travel itinerary with our list of the top tourist attractions in The Netherlands.

1. Jordaan and Amsterdam's Canals

2. keukenhof, lisse, 3. rijksmuseum, amsterdam, 4. historic binnenhof, the hague, 5. anne frank house, amsterdam, 6. oude haven, rotterdam, 7. van gogh museum, amsterdam, 8. the windmills of kinderdijk, 9. de hoge veluwe national park, otterlo, 10. cathedral square, utrecht, 11. the ijsselmeer (zuiderzee), enkhuizen, 12. delta works: zeeland's spectacular dikes, 13. historic valkenburg, 14. royal delft, delft, 15. de haar castle, 16. the netherlands open air museum, best time to visit the netherlands.

Canal in Amsterdam

Highlight : Explore Amsterdam's canals and historic neighborhoods by boat and on foot

Canals are as important a part of Amsterdam's cityscape as they are to the city of Venice, and some of the most enduring memories for any visitor are the time spent exploring the city's wonderful waterways.

While many of Amsterdam's best tourist attractions can easily be accessed by boat tour or water taxi — including most of the major museums and art galleries — nothing beats strolling along the smaller, quieter streets that line the waterways.

Particularly charming is the Jordaan, a neighborhood built in the early 1600s to house workers and immigrants drawn here for the city's religious tolerance. Along with its small canal-side houses, look for the neighborhood's many "hofjes," the quaint inner courtyards hidden behind the buildings.

Jordaan and Amsterdam's Canals

Another photo-worthy neighborhood is the Grachtengordel , with its many small bridges and quaint 17th-century homes. You'll be rewarded as you explore these 400-year-old streets with examples of beautiful architecture, small boutique shops, cafés, and gardens. Be sure to look out for the many houseboats moored along the canals.

Just a 10-minute stroll away is Dam Square, a must-visit when in Amsterdam. In addition to its numerous restaurants, cafés, and shops this vast public square is home to some of the city's most-visited tourist attractions. These include the spectacular Royal Palace (Koninklijk Palace); the attractive New Church (Nieuwe Kerk); and the country's most important war memorial, the National Memorial Statue .


Highlight : Europe's largest collection of tulips with miles of walking trails and hot houses

Think of the Netherlands, and you'll inevitably think of tulips, the country's most popular flower. And one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Netherlands showcases these and other spring bulbs in spectacular abundance. Given its handy location relative to Amsterdam — it's a 45-minute drive away, or just under an hour by public transit — it makes for a fun and easy day trip from the country's largest city.

Keukenhof, otherwise known as the "Garden of Europe," is located on the outskirts of the town of Lisse in what's widely considered the "bulb belt" of the Netherlands. The largest public garden in the world, it boasts more than 70 acres of what was once the former kitchen (or "keuken") garden of a large country estate, Keukenhof displays more than 700 varieties of tulips, which are at their height in April and May.

But thanks to its massive commercial hot houses, the display continues almost year-round. In these, you'll see endless rows of flowering tulips, along with thousands of hyacinths, crocuses, and daffodils.

Address: Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Highlight : A vast collection of famous artworks by artists including Rembrandt and Van Gogh

The spectacular Rijksmuseum , aka the National Museum, in Amsterdam's Museumplein (Museum Square) has been collecting rare art and antiquities since 1809. Not surprisingly, its extensive collection today amounts to nearly seven million works of art, including 5,000 paintings in more than 250 rooms, as well as a vast library with some 35,000 books.

Apart from its unique collection of old masters, this spectacular museum offers an exhaustive account of the development of art and culture in The Netherlands and is especially rich in traditional Dutch handicrafts, medieval sculpture, and modern art. Be prepared to spend the best part of a day — or longer — exploring this museum's endless treasures.

If you've time to squeeze a little more Rembrandt into your Amsterdam travel itinerary, here's a must-visit for you: the Rembrandt House Museum , located in the city's historic Jewish Quarter. Many of his best-known works were painted during the 20 years the great artist spent here, with some still recognizable scenes from the neighborhood.

The house remains much as it would have been during Rembrandt's life (guided tours are available). You can enhance your experience by booking a stay close by at Luxury Suites Amsterdam , located just steps away from the museum and one of the best places to stay in Amsterdam for those who enjoy luxury accommodations.

Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands

Binnenhof, The Hague

Highlights : Historic capital of the Netherlands with well-preserved architecture and parliament

Known the world over as the location of the International Court of Justice, The Hague (Den Haag) is also the political center of The Netherlands. It's here the country's government does their work, and where you'll find the home of the Dutch Royal Family in Noordeinde Palace.

The Hague also makes for an excellent travel destination for visitors wanting to get a taste of the country's rich history. Whether you're staying here for a few days or visiting as a day trip from Amsterdam , start your exploration in the city's historic Binnenhof district. Literally translated as the "Inner Court," the Binnenhof dates back as far as 1250 CE. It's the oldest part of the city and a delight to explore on foot.

Set around a central courtyard, the attractive older buildings here once housed the country's ruling classes and have been remarkably well-preserved. The crown jewel here is the Knights' Hall (Ridderzaal). Built in the 13th century, this imposing castle-like building with its twin towers is still in use for government events, including the opening of parliament every September. Highlights include the Gothic hall with its stained-glass windows and wood-beamed ceiling.

Address: 2513 AA Den Haag, Netherlands

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Highlight : Hiding place of Anne Frank where she wrote her famous diary during WWII

The Anne Frank House is a must-see when in Amsterdam. On Prinsengracht , in the home where Anne's family hid for much of WWII (they were Jewish refugees from Frankfurt), is where this remarkable girl wrote her famous diary. Although she died just two months before the war ended, her legacy lives on through her words, which have since been translated into 51 languages.

The back of the fully-restored house where the Frank family had their hiding place has been kept in its original state as much as possible and is a poignant monument to a tragic slice of world history and a brave young woman who continues to inspire people around the globe.

A word of caution: tickets for this must-see attraction do sell out, so be sure to reserve yours online well ahead of time. And if you're visiting in warmer weather — spring and summer are widely considered some of the best times to visit Amsterdam — be sure to allow time to explore the surrounding area with its charming old canals on foot.

Address: Prinsengracht 263-267, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Oude Haven, Rotterdam

Highlights : Europe's largest port with a historic harbor area, vessels, and museums

Located an easy one-hour train ride from Amsterdam, the port city of Rotterdam is well worth visiting for its well-preserved Old Harbour, or Oude Haven. The city has a long and rich maritime history thanks largely to its location on the Nieuwe Maas, an arm of the Rhine River, and its proximity to the English Channel.

Part of Rotterdam's superb Maritime District, Oude Haven is ideal for those who enjoy seeing the sights on foot. The harbor is chock-full of old houseboats and sailing ships, many of them on display at the Maritime Museum Rotterdam .

In addition to the 20 or so historic vessels on display in the water, a variety of indoor displays can also be enjoyed, including a replica of a vessel dating back over 2,000 years.

Address: Leuvehaven 1, 3011 EA Rotterdam, Netherlands

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Highlights : One of the world's top art museums focusing on the work of Vincent Van Gogh

As befits one of the world's greatest artists, the spectacular Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is ranked an impressive #2 in a leading list of the top art museums globally, attracting almost 1.5 million visitors each year.

Home to the world's largest collection of Van Gogh paintings — many donated by the artist's family — this impressive gallery and museum was specially built to showcase the more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters in its vast collection.

Works by his contemporaries are also on display. A highlight is participating in the museum's new "Meet Vincent Van Gogh Experience," which offers a fascinating, high-tech, interactive look at the artist's life and times, as well as his best-known work.

If the city's excellent museums are your priority, you may in fact want to consider visiting them off-season during the quieter, cooler times of year. Given that both these popular attractions are things to do indoors and easy to get to via the city's excellent public transit, it's easy to keep warm, and the city's climate is relatively mild, even in winter.

Address: Museumplein 6, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Windmills of Kinderdijk

Highlight : The largest collection of preserved historic windmills in the Netherlands

On the River Noord between Rotterdam and Dordrecht is the famous village of Kinderdijk ("Children's Dike"), which takes its name from an incident during the St. Elizabeth's Day flood of 1421 after a child's cradle had been stranded on the dike.

The big draw these days are the fantastically preserved 18th-century windmills. Now UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the 19 Kinderdijk windmills, built between 1722 and 1761, are the largest surviving concentration of windmills in the Netherlands.

Originally used to drain the fenlands, these majestic buildings with their impressive 92-foot sails are open to the public from April to October, including special Mill Days when the sails are set in motion. These picturesque windmills make for a fun excursion for those based in Rotterdam during their Netherlands stay.

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Rotterdam & Easy Day Trips

De Hoge Veluwe National Park

Highlights : Vast national park with hiking, biking, wildlife, horseback riding, and camping

You may be surprised to learn that the Netherlands, a relatively small country, boasts one of the world's most diverse national park programs. The largest is De Hoge Veluwe National Park (Nationaal Park De Hoge Veluwe), between Arnhem and Apeldoorn, rightly considered one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands for outdoor enthusiasts .

Covering nearly 13,800 acres, this national park is the largest continuous nature reserve in the country, as well as being one of the most popular day trip destinations for locals and visitors alike. Featuring dense woodlands in the north, as well as a fascinating sculpture park, the area was once a country estate and hunting reserve, and to this day is home to many red and roe deer.

The best-preserved part of the park encompasses an area of dramatic dunes interspersed with heath and woodland and interrupted in the south and east by moraines up to 100 meters high. It's also a popular area for bird-watching, as well as hiking and biking (use of bikes is free to visitors).

The highlight of this beautiful park for many — and the reason many people choose to come here — is the outstanding Kröller-Müller Museum (Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller), housing the world's second-largest collection of works by Van Gogh. In addition, the collections include Impressionist and Expressionist paintings by Cézanne, Manet, Monet, and Renoir. Outdoors, one of Europe's largest sculpture gardens shows works by Rodin, Hepworth, Dubuffet, and others.

Address: Houtkampweg 6, Otterlo, Netherlands

  • Read More: Exploring De Hoge Veluwe National Park: A Visitor's Guide

St. Martin's Cathedral, or Dom Church in Utrecht

Highlights : Pedestrian-friendly old city center, cathedral tower with views, and museums

A popular tourist destination for its many fine historic buildings, the Dutch city of Utrecht should definitely be included on your Netherlands travel itinerary.

Start your exploration of this pedestrian-friendly city in Cathedral Square. The Domplein, as it's known locally, is the site of St. Martin's Cathedral, or Dom Church (Domkerk). Although founded in 1254, much of what you see dates from the 14th and 15th centuries.

You'll also want to visit the Domtoren , a surviving stand-alone church tower built in the 1300s that rises high above the surrounding buildings. Be sure to make the climb up to the viewing platforms for its superb views over Utrecht. Although there are 465 steps to climb, the guided tour that comes with the climb is an excellent introduction to the city's rich history.

Address: Achter de Dom 1, 3512 JN Utrecht, Netherlands

The Ijsselmeer (Zuiderzee)

Highlights : Beautiful lake region with historic waterways, quaint villages, and cultural attractions

Among the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands are the small hamlets along the Ijsselmeer (Lake Ijssel), the freshwater lake that resulted from the closing of the sea entrance to the Zuider Zee. These towns flourished during Amsterdam's Golden Age, when they had access to the Atlantic and prospered as fishing and trade centers, but lost importance as the harbors silted up.

Today, they're among the most photographed tourist attractions in the country. Time seems to have stood still for the fishing village of Marken and the seaports of Volendam and Enkhuizen , where many of the colorful houses have become museums and shops.

Enkhuizen has preserved many of its buildings and seafaring industries in the open-air Zuiderzee Museum , where the cultural heritage and maritime history of the old Zuiderzee region is preserved. Here, you can see craftsmen at work learning old maritime skills. In Volendam's harbor, you can see a collection of colorful old wooden boats.

Address: Wierdijk 12 - 22, Enkhuizen, Netherlands

Delta Works

Highlights : Modern dike system with dams, canals, and visitor center

Incorporating the deltas of the Rhine, the Maas, and the Schelde Rivers, Zeeland includes the numerous islands and peninsulas of the southwestern section of the Netherlands. Much of this area of recently formed land is below sea level and therefore reliant upon impressive dikes, as well as modern flood prevention techniques.

As you travel the area, you'll see evidence of the mega-engineering project known as the Delta Works . These massive structures — basically hi-tech dams — can control how much water enters the area's key estuaries from the North Sea.

Consisting of dams, sluices, locks, dikes, and storm-surge barriers, this awe-inspiring US$7 billion project has been declared one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Historic Valkenburg

Highlights : Medieval village with preserved buildings, castle ruins, and large spa complex

For those looking for a little ancient history, the Netherlands is not without its own medieval (and earlier) attractions. Romantic little Valkenburg, in the picturesque Geul Valley, boasts the country's only hilltop castle,. Long a popular holiday resort, the town's other big draws are its many caves and the spa facilities at Thermae 2000 , one of the largest such establishments in the Netherlands.

In addition to the ruins of the 12th-century castle on Dwingelrots (Castle Rock), there's also the interesting 14th-century St. Nicolaaskerk Basilica . Another highlight is the town's famous Christmas Market (mid-November to December 23rd) held in the Velvet Caves, the maze of old passageways leading to and from the castle.

Royal Delft porcelain vases for sale in Delft, The Netherlands

Highlight : Home of the famous Royal Delft pottery with factory tours and shopping

Located between the cities of The Hague and Rotterdam (and therefore easy to get to), Delft is known the world over for its famous blue and white porcelain products. Delftware, as it's usually known, has adorned shelves and dining rooms the world over since the 1600s, and remains as popular today as it was back then.

Known in English as Royal Delft , the original manufacturer, Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles N.V., has been around since 1653 and offers a variety of fun experiences for visitors.

In addition to informative tours of the factory, including a chance to see talented artisans hand painting pottery, you can visit the factory's vast collection of Delftware, and even finish up with a posh afternoon tea experience in the on-site tea room.

Address: Rotterdamseweg 196, 2628 AR Delft, Netherlands

De Haar Castle

Highlights : Fairytale castle with huge grounds, hiking trails, and guided tours

Near the lovely old city of Utrecht, the fourth largest in the Netherlands, De Haar Castle (Kasteel De Haar) is the largest fortification in the country.

This spectacular castle, built by the famous Dutch architect PJH Cuypers, required so much land (it sits on a spectacular 250-acre park) that the entire village of Haarzuilens had to be relocated to accommodate it. While the original castle site was established in the 14th century, this newer structure dates from 1892 and is well worth taking the time to explore.

Inside, you'll be rewarded with impressive collections of antiques, furniture, paintings, and tapestries, but it's the gardens that really draw the crowds — along with the castle's fairy-tale looks.

Netherlands Open Air Museum

Highlights : Living history museum with costumed interpreters, cultural events, and interactive workshops

The city of Arnhem is well worth including on your Netherlands travel itinerary. Famous for its location on a branch of the Rhine River and the battles that ensued here during WWII, it's here you'll find the Netherlands Open Air Museum (Nederlands Openluchtmuseum).

This family-friendly attraction has provided visitors with a fascinating look at traditional Dutch lifestyles for well over 100 years, with costumed guides offering unique insights into cultural, farming, and manufacturing aspects of life up to the mechanization of the 1900s.

Authentic period homes, workshops, and businesses offer hands-on opportunities to learn about and appreciate once-common practices, from fishing to baking and even clog making. Other highlights include a still-operating vintage tram, cultural events and concerts, and fun kids' programs.

Address: Hoeferlaan 4, 6816 SG Arnhem, Netherlands

Classic spring scene in the Netherlands

As one of the most visited countries in Europe, the Netherlands can get pretty busy during the peak summer months, especially in July when the schools break up.

The spring shoulder months of April and May are a great time to visit Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands, with many of the country's best parks and gardens bursting into life with an abundance of greenery and flowers (tulips are everywhere in the Netherlands!).

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15 Beautiful Places in the Netherlands You Need to See

Located in Northwestern Europe, with much of its territory below sea level, it’s no wonder everyone talks about the Netherlands as a land of wonderful canals. But that’s just one of this country’s many appeals. Scattered throughout, you will also find picturesque windmills, colorful flower fields, idyllic villages, and vibrant cities rich in art, culture, and history.

Here are 15 of the most beautiful places to see in the Netherlands, from charming cheese markets to beautiful parks to ever-seductive Amsterdam:

The beautiful Amsterdam

A picturesque cluster of canals over the Amstel River in the province of North Holland, Amsterdam is the largest and most alluring city in the Netherlands. Vibrant, cosmopolitan, and steeped in culture, it greets visitors with fabulous museums, exciting nightlife, and a decidedly unique café scene.

For a complete experience in the Dutch capital, don’t miss the illustrious Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, or Anne Frank House. Also, make sure you fill out your itinerary with long strolls around Grachtengordel – the central area where the city’s main canals, bridges, and quaint 17th-century canal houses reside; and a foray into the controversial Red Light District – once famous for cannabis coffee shops and neon-lit brothel windows, now brimming with art studios and cool hipster hangouts.

The Hoge Veluwe National Park

Hoge Veluwe National Park

Covering an area of 5,400 hectares in the province of Gelderland, Hoge Veluwe National Park is one of the largest and most varied nature reserves in the Netherlands. Home to interesting wildlife and geographical formations ranging from rolling sand dunes to dense woodlands, the park is a wonderful example of what can happen when sport, art, and culture meet unspoiled nature.

Major attractions in the Hoge Veluwe National Park include the Kröller-Müller Museum, which is home to the world’s largest private Van Gogh collection; The Museonder (Underground Museum) – one of the finest sculpture gardens in Europe; and the stunning Jachthuis Sint Hubertus Hunting Lodge.

To explore all these, take advantage of the 1,700 white bikes that are free for everyone to use throughout the park.

Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens

One of the Netherlands’ most beautiful attractions, the Keukenhof Gardens, often referred to as The Garden of Europe , is the second-largest flower garden in the world after Dubai Miracle Garden and a place anyone should visit while in the Netherlands. Located in the Bulb region, between Amsterdam and The Hague, Keukenhof, with its more than seven million bulbs planted each autumn, is a magnificent spectacle of colors and scents.

In addition to admiring the gorgeous floral landscape, visitors can also enjoy various flower shows, markets, and parades held here throughout the year; take a memorable flight, bike tour, or boat trip around the bulb fields; or have lunch in one of the onsite restaurants.

The best time of the year to visit the Keukenhof Gardens is during spring when the fields are in full bloom and can be admired in their entire splendor.


Amsterdam’s greatest rival, Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the world’s largest and busiest ports. Located in Western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, the city stands out for its gorgeous waterside setting, cutting-edge architecture, and high commercial importance.

Nevertheless, its lively nightlife, jam-packed cultural calendar, and young university vibe make Rotterdam one of the most dynamic and livable cities in Europe.

There are many sayings reflecting the perpetual rivalry between the Netherlands’ finest cities, but this is probably the most popular: Amsterdam has it, but Rotterdam doesn’t need it .

Delft city in winter

Delft is a charming typical Dutch city located in the province of South Holland, between Rotterdam and The Hague.

World-famous for its blue and white pottery (Delftware) and for being the hometown of Vermeer – the painter who gave birth to the Girl With a Pearl Earring , Delft is bursting with things to see and do, from lovely bars and cafés to quaint churches, interesting museums, and beautiful historical buildings lining pretty canals and wonderful parks.

Delft’s real charm, however, lies in the relaxed atmosphere, which, together with its gloriously preserved medieval old center and idyllic canals, makes for an unforgettable romantic getaway.

Maastricht Old Town

The capital of the Limburg province, Maastricht lies in the southeastern part of the Netherlands, very close to both Belgium and Germany.

Once a Roman settlement, this attractive multicultural city has mastered the art of combining the old with the new. Expect rich culture and history, leafy parks, interesting museums, and a storybook medieval old town of quaint plazas and romantic cobblestone streets lined with restaurants and cafés.

The Old Windmills of Kinderdijk

Old windmills in Kinderdijk

There are many things that make the Netherlands the unique place that it is, but nothing complements the traditional Dutch landscape better than its picturesque windmills. The country is full of them, but the UNESCO-protected 19 windmills of Kinderdijk are, no doubt, one of the most famous sights in the Netherlands.

Designed in 1740 to drain the Alblasserwaard polders and to prevent flooding, the windmills have been perfectly preserved ever since. Nowadays, tourists from all over the world come to admire this idiosyncratic scenery and learn about the brilliant Dutch water management. Moreover, from April to the end of October, one of these ancient generators is open to the public in order to be explored and admired.

Kinderdijk sits in the province of South Holland, about 15 km east of Rotterdam, and can be easily reached by car, train, bus, and even by boat during the tourist season.

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The capital of North Holland

Located about 20 km west of Amsterdam, on the banks of the River Spaarne, Haarlem is the capital of North Holland and the city with the highest concentration of museums in the Netherlands.

Gravitating around a delightful market square (Grote Markt), where many of the city’s landmarks are located, Haarlem is a great place to visit, whether you’re interested in culture, history, shopping, or just want to soak up the enchanting laid-back Dutch feel while lingering over a beer in one of its many sidewalk cafés.

Binnenhof, The Hague

Dubbed The judicial capital of the world , The Hague is one of the largest and most important cities in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Airy and sophisticated, this cosmopolitan metropolis in the west of the country seduces visitors with outstanding architecture, lovely squares, and fine art museums, but also with its golden beaches, posh neighborhoods, shiny skyscrapers, and excellent shopping.

Highlights include Madurodam – the miniature city located in Scheveningen; the Prison Gate Museum (Gevangenpoort); the beautiful beach resort of Scheveningen; the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis; and Binnenhof – The Hague’s famous and imposing complex of governmental buildings.

Alkmaar Cheese Market

Alkmaar Cheese Market

Held each year in the Waagplein Square in Alkmaar, this cheese market is one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands. Due to its long history that dates back to 1593, it’s no wonder the market has become a prominent tradition in the area and a noticeable part of the Dutch culture.

Usually, the Alkmaar cheese market season kicks off on the first Friday of April and lasts until the first Friday of September. The fares, spectacles, and demonstrations are taking place each Friday from 10 AM until 12.30 PM.

Combining charming medieval décors with wonderful displays of world-class Dutch cheese and vendors wearing traditional costumes, a trip here is like an authentic journey through Dutch culture and traditions.

Alkmaar can be found in the province of North Holland, 40 km north-west of Amsterdam.

The Efteling

Efteling Theme Park

Established in 1952 in the little town of Kaatsheuvel, Southern Netherlands, Efteling is among the oldest theme parks in the world and the largest attraction of its kind in the country.

About twice as large as California’s famous Disneyland, the park is divided into four different realms – each with its own theme, and has lots of attractions to entertain the entire family, from wide-open green spaces, concerts, and theatrical performances to bars, restaurants, and even a four-star hotel.

The New Dutch Water Line

New Hollandic Waterline

The Dutch have always been famous for their fierce fight against the country’s greatest enemy – water. A great testament to that is the New Dutch Water Line, a colossal 135-kilometer-long fortification of over 45 strongholds surrounding the cities of Amsterdam and Utrecht.

The breathtaking landscapes here – peppered with adorable villages, beautiful lakes and rivers, museums, and castles – are a joy to explore, whether by foot, boat, or bicycle.

Wadden Sea

Home to millions of migratory birds, all types of fish species, and seal colonies, Waddenzee is the most peculiar and important nature reserve in the Netherlands, as well as one of the world’s largest wetlands ecosystems.

Located in the province of Groningen, on the Dutch coast, this one-of-a-kind natural habitat spans an area of almost 2,500 square km, which twice a day keeps its moist land appearance, and twice a day becomes one with the sea.

The prettiest village in the Netherlands

A storybook come to life, Giethoorn lures visitors with its dreamlike tranquility, idyllic waterways, and pretty thatched-roof farmhouses shrouded in greenery. Located in the northeastern Dutch province of Overijssel, about 75 miles from Amsterdam, the village is a cluster of small peat islands with over 55 miles of canals, hundreds of wooden foot arch bridges, and no car streets.

Although its fairytale-like appearance is reason enough to visit, Giethoorn also hosts a handful of interesting museums, as well as charming canalside restaurants, quirky shops, and picturesque cycling routes. For nature lovers, the nearby De Weerribben-Wieden National Park is a treasure trove of wetlands, reed beds, and wildlife.

Aptly nicknamed the Dutch Venice , this charming hamlet can only be explored by boat, bike, or on foot.

The Bourtange fortress

Part living fortress, part open-air museum, the tiny fortified village of Bourtange in the Westerwolde region is one of the most unique places in the Netherlands. Built in 1593, during the Dutch Revolt against Spain, the star-shaped fort near the border with Germany is an outstanding example of 16th-century military architecture, with cobbled medieval lanes, quaint brick houses, and restored military barracks, all enclosed within thick defensive walls and marshy moats.

A well-preserved synagogue, a couple of museums dedicated to the area’s history, and a smattering of seasonal events (including a Christmas Market) count among its attractions, but the real pleasure of a trip here lies in a simple walk around its delightful streets lined with small craft shops, or maybe a stroll along its walls at sunset, topped off with a drink in the tree-shaded central plaza.

What’s your favorite place in the Netherlands?

Cool photos of Mastrich, Hague and other. Nice description also of places to see in netherlands.

Kinderdijk is my favorite and Rotterdam too ! 😀

Naarden Vesting and Muidenslot are lovely too!

Giethoorn should be in this list too :p Check it out on google

Thanks for the tip! We’ve just updated the list to include Giethoorn as well.

Just came back after an easter trip to Holland. Kinderdijk and Keukenhof are my favourites 🙂

Zaanse schans is idyllic. I also love Keukhenof and Lieden.

I live in the Netherlands and Vlieland is the most beautiful place in the country. Thats a very small Island and you can take a ferry from Harlingen. Thats also a very beautiful place. Its not very expensive to go with the ferry and it takes 1.5 hour. If you search Vlieland on Google you cant see all nature. Its sure worth it. Rent bikes on Vlieland to discover the island. Its sure worth it. Its by far the most beautiful place of the Netherlands.

Bourtange not get a mention?

We’ve just updated the post with your suggestion, thanks!

Leiden! (i’m also missing Giethoorn on this list)

Definitely Leiden is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in the Netherlands.

You forget the beautiful city of Groningen!

It’s top of my list 😉

What about Valkenberg? I really liked it. Anyway, I think all Netherlands is beautiful.

I am from Johannesburg South Africa. Absolutely love the Netherlands. If they would take me I would live there any day!

The bosses on the hoge veluwe are hard to beat. I emigrated to Canada 65 years ago, but I still miss the Dutch scenery very much.

I live also in the Netherlands and there are so many options not mentioned yet. The province of Friesland has many lakes and some rental homes comes with a private boat. The waters are very clean for swimming. The south of Limburg specially the area around Vaals (close to Maastricht) is a heaven to make long walks. The hills and little villages are beautiful there. Noord Brabant has very nice cities like s’Hertogenbosch, Breda and Bergen op Zoom. The most beautiful beaches you find on the waddenislands for sure but also in the province of Zeeland in the south. The areas around Arnhem and Nijmegen are beautiful for walking or cycling.

Our family history brings us to the Netherlands. We want to visit and see as much as possible. Looking for a great list to go by to see and experience as much as possible. Any suggestions? Not wanting to spend a fortune but we really want to experience all the beauty and wonder the country has to offer.

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20 Spectacular Spots to Explore in The Netherlands

The famously progressive European country is now one of the most densely populated nations on earth, with over 15 million people calling this relatively small country home. Apart from its lively capital, it’s often overlooked as a scenic travel destination but there are many pockets of real beauty, you just have to know where to find them.

From unique cities crisscrossed with canals to national parks filled with dark green forests and from my time spent living in this wonderful country, here are the places I want to share with you…

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1. Hoge Veluwe National Park

Hoge Veluwe National Park

The Hoge Veluwe National Park is the largest national park in the country and in my opinion, home to some of the most naturally beautiful landscapes in the country.

Dotted with deer, wild boar, and thick areas of forest, the park is both tranquil and an excellent area for wildlife watching. I would recommend walking along the heath fields or in true Dutch style take the free bikes available to cycle over the meandering trails.

2. Jordaan District, Amsterdam

Jordaan District, Amsterdam

Although the country’s carefree capital city is arguably most famous for its coffee shops, the city has another side.

To find Amsterdam’s real beauty I would recommend heading for the Jordaan district. Once a working-class district, the area has risen through the ranks to become one of the most exclusive areas of the city.

Here you can expect maze-like streets lined with bohemian cafes, art galleries, and design stores boutique stores selling the latest trends. However, I think the real draw of this part of town is the narrow canals that are gorgeously flanked by the tall and colourful traditional gabled houses.

Don’t forget to explore further afield thought in this incredible city and squeeze in all the must-sees like the Anne Frank Museum, the Flower Market, the Van Gogh Museum, and see the Old Masters at the National Museum.

The capital city is chock full of art museums but if you want to see one of the most famous Dutch paintings, the Girl With a Pearl Earring it’s housed at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague.

Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the country and I think it’s also one of the most attractive and welcoming cities. With a beautiful medieval quarter and a profusion of gothic elements adding an artistic touch to the city’s roundabouts and tourist sites, this city was always going to make the list.

Make sure you include a visit to The Domtoren (the highest tower-like gothic church in the Netherlands) and its adjoining attractive Cloister gardens.

4. Keukenhof Gardens 

Keukenhof Gardens

I think no visitor should leave this country without seeing a tulip! If you time your visit around springtime you’ll get to see some of the country’s best blooms at Keukenhof Gardens, located near the town of Lisse (the bulb region).

Also known as the Garden of Europe, it’s the world’s largest flower garden. Expect wavy rivers of violet and yellow flowers and banks of red tulips, making every photo look spectacular!

Leiden Netherlands

Located around 25 miles from Amsterdam, this small but beautiful city is famous for having the oldest university in the country and being the birthplace of Rembrandt and I personally think this place is a gem!

The large student population gives the place a youthful vibe but the scenery here is still very traditional – expect peaceful canals, important museums and a beautiful old town filled with centuries-old architecture.  

6. Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk Netherlands

Only 16 km from Rotterdam, Kinderdijk is the village where you’ll find nineteen windmills dating back from the late Medieval Age and onwards.

It’s an enchanting place and one of the best and most important Dutch tourist sites – in 1997 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

Time your visit around 2-7th September to coincide with “Mills in Floodlight” a popular and free event where the windmills are spectacularly illuminated at night.

7. Biesbosch National Park

Biesbosch National Park

This country’s answer to the Everglades, Biesbosch National Park is the last remaining freshwater tidal area in Europe. It is the result of several rivers meeting and shaping an interesting delta, where unique fauna and flora thrive.

A picturesque network of narrow and wide creeks, it’s the place where you can do practically everything, from hiking and biking to riding and canoeing, and everything else in between!

8. Ijsselmeer

Beautiful Ijsselmeer Lake

This vast, shallow freshwater lake, formed by the building of a dam is the largest in the country. I love that it’s an atmospheric place with a haunting beauty, especially on cold and misty days.

The natural reserve has plenty of activities to offer including surfing, swimming and of course sailing, Expect to see catamarans, clippers and even a handful of historic sailing vessels, which will take you back to a different era! 

Delft city in the Netherlands

Delft is a small picturesque city located on the south foot and I personally think it’s a real gem! It’s one of the country’s most well-preserved historic towns where you can wander through tranquil walkways and past beautiful canals, giving you a taste of ‘Old Holland’.

You should include a visit to the Old Church (Oude Kerk) and art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the impressive Dutch decorative art collection residing in the excellent Stedelijk Museum het Prinsenhof .

10. Frisian Islands

Frisian Islands

The Frisian Islands are a chain of islands that stretch from the Netherlands to Denmark and in 2009 they finally made the UNESCO World Heritage List. With villages steeped in history and clusters of dune-swept inland, the islands are truly beautiful.

Island highlights include fine sandy beaches and acres of lush green scenery dotted with black and white cattle. People visit the islands to walk, cycle, or just kick back and enjoy the beautiful unspoiled landscapes.

11. Groningen

Groningen - best places to visit in the Netherlands

Groningen is a large city and in fact, the Groningen-Assen metropolitan area has roughly 500,000 residents. It is located in the northern part of country and is a very old city – roughly 950 years old, to be exact.

Like most large modern cities, this one offers something for everyone, which includes lots of museums, restaurants, places to shop, sports activities, theaters, and amazing nightlife. Regardless of what month you’re there, you’ll find plenty of things to do I promise!

12. Veluwezoom National Park

Veluwezoom National Park

This is a private national park and the oldest park in the country. It has an elevation of roughly 360 feet above sea level, and its landscape includes forests and heathland that are home to animals such as cattle, wild boars, and badgers, among others and is one of the best places to explore in the country. 

Although it only covers around 19 square miles, it is filled with different animals and vegetation, so whether you’re there to take a look at the sand drifts the red deer, or anything else it offers, this park should be on your to-do list if you’re a nature-lover.

13. Rotterdam

Rotterdam - great cities in the Netherlands

I would say don’t miss Rotterdam! Rotterdam is a big and fun city with more than 650,000 residents, making it the second-largest city in the country. It houses a magnificent university and boasts skyscrapers, a riverside setting, and second-to-none cultural offerings.

The city was destroyed during World War II but is now home to some extraordinary architecture, making it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Holland.

You can enjoy tons of sporting activities, shopping, museums, and hundreds of buildings with both historical and architectural significance. 

14. De Haar Castle

De Haar Castle Netherlands

This magnificent castle has been around since 1391 and makes a fantastic day trip. You’ll be amazed at everything it has to offer because its architecture and overall design are nothing short of spectacular. If you love old castles, then definitely don’t miss this one!

It has been destroyed and renovated numerous times throughout the centuries, and right now it consists of a park and a beautiful garden area.

Inside, you’ll find very ornate carvings, tapestries and paintings, and beautiful old porcelain that you won’t soon forget. It is also home to one of only two carrier coaches of the wife of a Japanese shogun, the other one being in Tokyo!

15. Scheveningen 

Scheveningen Netherlands

One of the eight districts of The Hague, Scheveningen is a modern seaside resort that includes a beautiful beach, an esplanade, a lighthouse, and a pier, and whether you’re there for windsurfing, kiteboarding, or I would just suggest walking through the area looking at its beautiful sights!

A few of the activities that make the city special include a New Year’s Day winter swim, a fireworks display throughout the summer months, and a flags day in spring when the first new herring of the year is auctioned. You can also enjoy beaches, museums, and old churches while you’re there.

16. Middelburg

Middelburg town Netherlands

Located in the southwestern part of the country, Middelburg is home to sports teams, theaters, concert halls, and lots of sightseeing opportunities.

The former city hall is definitely a building you’ll want to take a look at, and other attractions include buildings and churches with religious and architectural significance.

Middelburg has also been home to dozens of painters, musicians, writers, actors, and actresses throughout the ages, going back to the year 1575. If you love history and natural beauty, then in my opinion, this is one city you shouldn’t miss!

17. Binnenhof Palace, Hague

Binnenhof Palace Netherlands

The Binnenhof in Hague is a complex of buildings located right in the middle of The Hague. The history of the buildings is not well-known, but we do know that the main building was built as a ballroom in the beginning.

The building has a huge courtyard in the front, a Gothic fountain, and a few statues, including one of King William II.

The House of Representatives and Senate hold their sessions in one area of the building, and it is exquisite both on the inside and on the exterior of the building, making it a perfect sight to see for anyone who loves history or architecture.

18. Dunes of Texel National Park

Dunes of Texel National Park

This extraordinary park is located on the island of Texel in the western part of Holland and is quite large, boasting several different areas for you to look at and enjoy.

Some of its many attractions include birds such as godwits, pheasants, spoonbills, geese, gulls, and terns, among many others; as well as rabbits, hedgehogs, hares, and water mammals that include porpoises and seals.

If you’re an animal lover, then I would highly recommend a visit and it is roughly 17 square miles in size – enough to offer something for everyone!

Ommen - places to visit in the Netherlands

Located in Eastern Holland, this town has been around since 1248 and is therefore very old. It has roughly 18,000 residents and has quite a few hamlets and villages located within.

You can enjoy lots of different markets and fairs during the warmer months, as well as concerts, ceremonies, and numerous other activities throughout the year.

If you decide to visit the area, make sure you visit them online first so that you can plan your trip for the activity that interests you most, which could include everything from old churches and windmills to museums and hiking trails, and everything in between.

20. Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans Netherlands

Zaanse Schans is a small neighbourhood located in Zaandam, and they are famous mostly because they have tons of historic windmills and houses that are old but very well-preserved – almost like a beautiful open-air museum. 

The entire neighbourhood is a very popular tourist attraction and is home to seven museums and roughly eight windmills, some of which date back to the mid-1500s. Some of these include sawmills, oil mills, a mustard mill, and a dye mill.

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Beth Pinches

Beth Pinches – writer and photographer

Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa danced in Cuba and road-tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. Other places she loves include Croatia, Finland, Japan and India. In between adventures, travel writing and performing she resides peacefully with her family, cats and ukulele. Find Beth on Linkedin or   Facebook .

Hotel Reviewing Experience – Asked by many tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Visit Jersey , Visit Sweden , and Israel Tourist Board. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos . Listed as a top UK travel journalist .

Portland Reviewing Experience – Lived in Portland for 6 months and spent many months scouting out all the coolest spots.

29 thoughts on “20 Spectacular Spots to Explore in The Netherlands”

Delft is really very beautiful!

Ik ben een nederlander en jullie hebben gelijk! Het is een heel mooi land

Nice pics as always! Amsterdam is a city that i want to visit someday, next holiday maybe 🙂

so beautiful I definitely visit these places in my coming up trip to Europe. Thanks

I would prefer Zaanse Schans on top of Kinderdijk. Beautiful dutch village and close to Amsterdam.

Yes, this is a great selection. Another to consider is Giethoorn in the north. A most picturesque village with so much tradition. Just loved my visit.

Thanks for your comment!

Wait, no Zaanse schans in Zaandam? The miniature old town is lovely there!

I love Amsterdam despite the fact that I must disclose When i haven’t witnessed most of other land, seems like I’m missing out!

great pics and good choice!

The photos are brilliant! And they really do show the beauty of the Netherlands…

Wow I’ve been to a few of the places on the list but I would love to visit all these places, they all look very beautiful!

I love Amsterdam although I have to admit I haven’t seen much of the rest of the country, looks like I’m missing out!

Thanks for your comment, glad we’ve encouraged you to see more of the country!

Gordon and I are here in the Netherlands right now on holidays. And it is so much more than i expected. Stayed in the seaside resort of Zandvoort first and now we are in Amsterdam, which I love, love, love so much. We are on a houseboat in the Jordaan so totally agree with the inclusion on the list. Eventually we will end up in Maastricht so am interested to see this apparently beautiful town.

The Jordaan district is one of my favourite places in Europe! Maastricht is also very beautiful and very nearly made the list (it’s so hard to choose sometimes)! Hope you enjoy the rest of your time there!

i’m going to Amsterdam for a few days in November and cannot wait. great photos as always!!

Thanks Lauren, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love Amsterdam! 🙂

Great post! Even though I’m half Dutch and was in the Netherlands countless times, there are still four places on your list, that I never visited. 😉 And if you’re in the Netherlands in April everyone should visit one of the Bloemencorsos.

Regards from a fellow traveller Charles

Thanks for the tip! 🙂

I spent 5 weeks in Holland in August and I absolutely loved it! Amsterdam took my breath away, but I also managed to go countryside. Utrecht looks amazing at night, but I definitely need to go to Kinderdijk next time! 🙂 Sooo lovely and charming!

Thanks for your comment Agness, I love Amsterdam too I keep wanting to go back!

it looks like a calendar

I grew up near the Biesbosch. It’s incredibly pretty but I never fully appreciated it when I lived close by.

Wow! Just too gorgeous….I can only gush…

Dying to go to the Netherlands now! Bookmarking this.

Happy travels 🙂

Glad to be of help 🙂

Great selection. The highlight of a visit to Keukenhof is without a doubt hiring a bike and cycling through the tulip fields.

Thanks Maxine!

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Travel Guide Netherlands

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Although almost half of it was once under water, the Netherlands is one of the most urbanized – and densely populated – nations on earth, with a huge range of places to visit packed into a relatively small area. A remarkable country – no more than the size of the US state of Maryland – it’s a largely man-made affair, around half of which lies at or below sea level. Its fertile, pancake-flat landscape is gridded with drainage ditches and canals, beneath huge open skies, while the country’s towns and villages are often pristine and unchanged places of gabled townhouses, pretty canals and church spires. Despite the country’s diminutive dimensions, each town is often a profoundly separate place with its own distinct identity – indeed there’s perhaps nowhere else in the world where you can hear so many different accents, even dialects, in such a small area. In spring and summer the bulbfields provide bold splashes of colour, and in the west and north the long coastline is marked by mile upon mile of protective dune, backing onto wide stretches of perfect sandy beach.

Where to go in the Netherlands

A major colonial power, the Dutch mercantile fleet once challenged the English for world naval supremacy, and throughout its seventeenth-century Golden Age, the standard of living was second to none. There have been a few economic ups and downs since then, but today the Netherlands is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest population density in Europe. It’s an international, well-integrated place too: most people speak English, at least in the heavily populated west of the country; and most of the country is easy to reach on a public transport system of trains and buses, whose efficiency may make British and American visitors weep with envy.

Successive Dutch governments have steered towards political consensus – indeed, this has been the drift since the Reformation, when the competing pillars of Dutch society learnt to live with – or ignore – each other, aided by the fact that trading wealth was making most people richer. Almost by accident, Dutch society became tolerant, and, in its enthusiasm to blunt conflict, progressive. These days, many insiders opine that the motive behind liberal Dutch attitudes towards drug use and prostitution isn’t freewheeling permissiveness so much as apathy –and even that is under threat, with an official clampdown on Amsterdam’s coffeeshop culture. In addition, the country’s avowed multiculturalism has been severely tested in recent years, with the shootings of Theo van Gogh and the politician Pim Fortuyn persuading many to reassess the success of the Netherlands’ consensual politics.

Mention you’re going to the Netherlands and most people assume you’re going to Amsterdam. Indeed for such a small and accessible country, the Netherlands is relatively unknown territory. Some people may confess to a brief visit to Rotterdam or Den Haag (The Hague), but for most visitors Amsterdam is the Netherlands, the assumption being that there’s nothing remotely worth seeing elsewhere. To accept this is to miss much, but there’s no doubt that the capital has more cosmopolitan dash than any other Dutch city, both in its restaurant and bar scene and in the pre-eminence of its three great attractions. These are the Anne Frank Huis, where the young Jewish diarist hid away during the World War II Nazi occupation; the Rijksmuseum, with its wonderful collection of Dutch paintings, including several of Rembrandt’s finest works; and the peerless Van Gogh Museum, with the world’s largest collection of the artist’s work.

Zuid-Holland and Utrecht

In the west of the country, beyond Amsterdam, the provinces of Noord- and Zuid-Holland are for the most part unrelentingly flat, reflecting centuries of careful reclamation work as the Dutch have slowly pushed back the sea. These provinces are predominantly urban, especially Zuid-Holland, which is home to a grouping of towns known collectively as the Randstad (literally “rim town”), an urban sprawl that holds all the country’s largest cities and the majority of its population. Travelling in this part of the country is easy, with trains and buses that are fast, inexpensive and efficient; highlights include easy-going Haarlem; the old university town of Leiden; Delft, with its attractive medieval buildings and diminutive, canal-girded centre; and the gritty port city of Rotterdam, festooned with prestigious modern architecture. Den Haag (The Hague), is well worth a visit, too, a laidback and relaxing city, seat of the Dutch government and home to several excellent museums. Neither should you miss the Keukenhof gardens, with the finest and most extensive bulbfields in the country. To the north of Amsterdam, the old Zuider Zee ports of Enkhuizen and Hoorn are very enticing, as is the small town of Alkmaar, with its unashamedly touristy cheese market, and the small villages and unspoilt dunescapes of the coast.

Beyond lies a quieter, more rural country, especially in the far north where a chain of low-lying islands – the Frisian Islands – separates the open North Sea from the coast-hugging Waddenzee. Prime resort territory, the islands possess a blustery, bucolic charm, and thousands of Dutch families come here every summer for their holidays. Apart from Texel, the islands lie offshore from the coast of the province of Friesland. Friesland’s capital, Leeuwarden, is a likeable, eminently visitable city, while neighbouring Groningen is one of the country’s busiest cultural centres.

To the south, the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland are dotted with charming old towns, notably Deventer and Zutphen, while their eastern portions herald the Netherlands’ first few geophysical bumps as the landscape rolls up towards the German frontier. Here also are two diverting towns: Arnhem, much rebuilt after its notorious World War II battle, but a hop and a skip from the open heaths of the Hoge Veluwe National Park, and the lively college town of Nijmegen.

Further south still are the predominantly Catholic provinces of Limburg, Noord-Brabant and Zeeland. The last of these is well named (literally “Sealand”), made up of a series of low-lying islands and protected from the encroaching waters of the North Sea by one of the country’s most ambitious engineering plans, the Delta Project. Heading east from here, you reach Noord-Brabant, gently rolling scrub-and farmland which centres on the historic cities of Breda and ’s Hertogenbosch, and the more modern manufacturing hub of Eindhoven, home to electronics giant Philips. The hilly province of Limburg occupies the slim scythe of land that reaches down between the Belgian and German borders, with its cosmopolitan capital, Maastricht, being one of the Netherlands’ most convivial cities.

Top image © R.A.R. de Bruijn Holding BV/Shutterstock

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• The Netherlands has a population of just over 16.6 million people. Of these, some 790,000 live in the capital, Amsterdam, 620,000 in Rotterdam and 500,000 in Den Haag (The Hague). “ Holland ” comprises just two of the twelve Dutch provinces: Noord-Holland around Amsterdam, and Zuid-Holland around Rotterdam and Den Haag.

• One-fifth of the Netherlands is made up of water. Without protection, two-thirds of the country would be regularly flooded. The lowest point in the Netherlands – at seven metres below sea level – is also Europe’s lowest point.

• With 20 million bikes in the country – 1.25 for every inhabitant – the Netherlands has the highest level of bicycle usage in the world. However, one bike is stolen every minute of every day around the country.

• The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy presided over by Queen Beatrix, who was crowned in 1980. The country’s bicameral parliament sits in Den Haag and comprises an Upper House or First Chamber of 150 directly elected deputies and a Lower House or Senate of 75 senators.

• Every year each Dutch person eats four kilos of Dutch liquorice or drop , which comes in a never-ending supply of sweet, salty and flavoured varieties. Often sold in pharmacies, it was once believed to have medicinal properties, and is as Dutch as tulips and clogs.

• The Dutch concept of gezelligheid has no direct translation, but loosely speaking it means cosy, convivial or fun – and it’s the mission of Dutch folk to create a gezellig atmosphere or enjoy a gezellig time on most occasions.

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Keith Drew

written by Keith Drew

updated 26.04.2021


A former Rough Guides Managing Editor, Keith Drew has written or updated over a dozen Rough Guides, including Costa Rica, Japan and Morocco. As well as writing for The Telegraph, The Guardian and BRITAIN Magazine, among others, he also runs family-travel website Follow him @keithdrewtravel on Twitter and @BigTrips4LittleTravellers on Instagram.

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10 Best Places to Visit in Amsterdam In 2024

P lanning a trip to Amsterdam? With its captivating charm and diverse attractions, the Dutch capital promises an unforgettable experience for travelers of all ages. From iconic museums to picturesque parks, Amsterdam offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re a history buff eager to explore centuries-old landmarks or a nature lover seeking tranquility amidst urban hustle, this vibrant city has it all.

Join us as we explore the top 10 must-visit places in Amsterdam, each offering its unique blend of culture, history, and beauty.

1. Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is widely visited and renowned, showcasing the life and art of Vincent van Gogh. With numerous paintings, drawings, and letters on display, visitors can appreciate his famous works like The Sunflowers and The Starry Night while also gaining insight into his challenges and artistic journey.

Situated at the Museumplein alongside other prestigious museums like the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum, it offers a rich cultural experience.

2. Vondelpark

The Vondelpark, a vast green expanse in Amsterdam, draws countless visitors annually. Spanning 120 acres, it offers ponds, bridges, playgrounds, statues, and a rose garden. Whether you prefer a stroll, a bicycle ride, a picnic, or basking in the sun, the park accommodates various activities.

Additionally, numerous free events like concerts, theater performances, and festivals occur throughout the year. Several cafes and restaurants within the park provide opportunities to indulge in refreshments while soaking in the surroundings.

3. Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House works as a museum and a memorial, preserving the spot where Anne Frank and her family found safety during WWII. Anne Frank became well-known for her diary, which she wrote throughout their time in hiding and has since been translated into several languages.

Visitors to the museum can explore the concealed annex where Anne and seven others lived for more than two years, learning about their difficulties, fears, and dreams. Visitors can also look at Anne’s original diary and other family antiques.

4. Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is a museum in the Netherlands that displays various artworks and historical artifacts. It has a large collection of items dating from the Middle Ages to modern times, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, ceramics, textiles, and more.

The museum is known for its Dutch Golden Age paintings, which include works by artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals, and Jan Steen. Some notable pieces include Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, and Steen’s The Merry Family.

5. Dam Square

Dam Square stands as the central hub of Amsterdam, boasting a myriad of significant historical structures and landmarks. Initially formed as a dam across the Amstel River, this locale lent its name to the city.

Presently, it is encircled by notable edifices such as the Royal Palace, the New Church, the National Monument, and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Visitors to the square will encounter an array of shops, eateries, and entertainers, imbuing the area with a vibrant and animated atmosphere.

6. Canal Ring

The Canal Ring, also known as the Grachtengordel, is a network of waterways that encircles Amsterdam’s historic central district, providing a unique and attractive view of the city. These canals, built during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, aimed to expand the metropolitan area while also facilitating commerce and transit.

Along the canals, you’ll see gorgeous residences, bridges, houseboats, and trees, all contributing to the bucolic and fascinating atmosphere. You can wander around the canals on foot, by bicycle, or by boat, exploring different districts and sights along the way.

The Jordaan buzzes with a trendy atmosphere, boasting an artsy and free-spirited vibe along its quaint, narrow lanes. Once a hub for working-class residents, this neighborhood now teems with immigrants, artists, and a dynamic mix of cultural spots.

From the iconic Anne Frank House to the vibrant Noordermarkt, there’s no shortage of attractions. Dive into the bustling nightlife scene, groove to live tunes, and explore local markets for a taste of Jordaan’s eclectic charm.

8. Artis Zoo

Artis Zoo, the oldest and largest zoo in the Netherlands, is an excellent choice for families and animal lovers. It is home to approximately 900 different animal species, including elephants, giraffes, penguins, and butterflies, all of which live in large, natural settings.

The zoo also features an aquarium, a planetarium, a botanical garden, a geology museum, and a historical library. Visitors may learn more about animal behavior and conservation by participating in the zoo’s annual programs and events.

9. Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience is a place where you can explore the history and culture of Heineken beer. It’s in a building that used to be a Heineken brewery from 1867 to 1988.

You can learn about how Heineken beer is made, its ingredients, how it’s marketed, and the different things Heineken has done over the years. There are also fun things to do there, like a 4D ride, karaoke, and a tasting room. You can even customize a Heineken bottle to take home as a souvenir.

10. BodyWorlds Amsterdam

BodyWorlds Amsterdam is a place where real human bodies and organs are showcased and preserved through plastination.

The museum’s goal is to inform visitors about human anatomy, physiology, and health, and to demonstrate the impact of various factors like happiness, stress, and lifestyle on well-being.

With over 200 specimens, including complete bodies, body parts, and cross-sections, as well as interactive displays and activities, BodyWorlds Amsterdam offers a captivating and distinctive experience, albeit not suitable for those easily unsettled.

Amsterdam is a fun city to visit with lots of history, cool museums, and pretty parks. It has something for everyone, like famous places, nice neighborhoods, and busy squares. The top 10 places we talked about are just some of the great spots you can check out.

But there’s even more to see and do in Amsterdam! Whether you’re new to the city or have been before, Amsterdam is sure to give you a memorable time. You’ll leave with happy memories and want to come back for more fun.

Read the full post on 10 Best Places to Visit in Amsterdam In 2024

Van Gogh Museum

Feb 27, 2024

10 happiest countries of 2024!

Happiness index.

The World Happiness Report 2024 is finally here! The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network prepares this report keeping in mind six important factors, which are income, life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust in institutions and generosity.

Of course, how can Finland not be on top? There’s nothing but happiness in Santa’s home country which is Finland. The nation is all about natural beauty like forests, lakes, islands and the Northern Lights!

When in Denmark, you can’t remain unhappy as there are so many vibrant things to make you all happy and jolly. From Christiansborg Palace and Kronborg Castle, there’s a lot of happy places to explore in this beautiful country.

Iceland is in third position on the happiest nations list. Given the strong welfare system, good healthcare and education, makes this country the happiest.

Israel is on the number four position in the prestigious list. The country has gone up from ninth to fourth spot in the top ten since 2022, which is amazing!


The Netherlands is Europe’s one of the most stunning nations famous for its scenic landscapes, and the tulip fields that will automatically make you happy.

You may also like

The largest Nordic nation, Sweden is all about Viking history and impressive castles.

Norway is another beautiful European nation dotted with towering mountain ranges and magical fjords!


Switzerland, a dream destination of many, is a nation full of abundant natural beauty! From stunning forests to crystal clear lakes and gorgeous mountain peaks, there’s no dearth of happy places to explore here.

The pretty landlocked nation borders Germany, Belgium, and France. Luxembourg is where all the richie rich live!

New Zealand

On the 10th spot is New Zealand on the World Happiness Report. The nation is noted for being the filming spot of The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.

Thanks For Reading!

Next: Places in India that are peaceful and calm


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