Often dubbed the ‘Dutch Venice’ the charming hamlet of Giethoorn appears like something straight out of the pages of the fairy tale. Found in the province of Overijssel, just 75 miles from Amsterdam, the dreamlike village is known for its beautiful thatched farmhouses, tranquil waterways, and arched wooden bridges. The setting is made all the more whimsical by the fact that you are able to only explore it by boat, bike, or foot. Surrounded by luscious greenery and free of traffic, Giethoorn is the ideal destination to escape the hubbub of city life and enjoy using the heart of nature.
The village also has a handful of modest museums to pique various interests. You can marvel at the vast assortment of cars and motorcycles at Histomobil or discover a treasure trove of gemstones at the Museum de Oude Aarde. If you wish to see what a typical Giethoorn farmhouse appeared as if a century ago, you can at the Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus. You also have your pick of charming canalside cafés and restaurants where you can dine in tranquility. And when you fancy delving even further into the countryside, the nearby De Weerribben-Wieden National Park is rich in wildlife. Needless to say, Giethoorn is one of the recommended places to go to within the Netherlands.
Alkmaar Cheese Market
The Netherlands is known for its dreamy cheeses. And just what better place to sample them compared to the country’s oldest and biggest cheese market. Just 40km north-west of Amsterdam, the picturesque city of Alkmaar comes alive every Friday morning with its popular cheese market. Hundreds of visitors gather within the Waagplein square to enjoy the colorful demonstrations featuring vendors wearing traditional Dutch costumes. Here, you can watch cheese carriers transport as much as 160kg of cheese over the square on barrows while cheese girls mingle with customers. You may also sample and buy every kind of cheese under the sun in the market.
This prominent Alkmaar tradition dates all the way to 1593. To this day, it remains one of the most popular attractions in the united states. Therefore, if you’re seeking to receive an authentic part of Dutch culture and tradition, this is one of the best places to go to in the Netherlands. However the medieval city isn’t only worth visiting because of its famous dairy. Indeed, there are many historic monuments, museums, and shopping streets to understand more about. The various cafés and terraces offer an ideal destination to have a coffee while lapping up the buzzing atmosphere.
The traditional Dutch fishing village of Volendam remains one of the most popular places to visit in the Netherlands – and for good reason. Found on Lake Markermeer, just 20km north-east of Amsterdam, the charming harbor settlement offers great insight into the Dutch fishing trade. Every day, countless tourists descend on the village to admire the colorful wooden fishermen’s houses and old ships in the harbor. The vast selection of seafood vendors also makes Volendam the perfect place to try raw herring (Hollandse Nieuwe haring).
This slippery Dutch delicacy is sort of of the institution within the Netherlands and definitely worth trying – if only once! Using its labyrinth of lanes, numerous souvenir shops, and handful of quaint museums, Volendam is better explored by foot. The Wooden Shoe Factory and Cheese Factory Volendam are particularly fun highlights. But if you want to capture your Dutch experience one step further, you can at Foto de Boer. Here, you can have your own portrait photo taken wearing traditional Volendam clothing. And when want more adventure, you may also hop inside a boat and visit the nearby island of Marken.
Also known as the ‘Your garden of Europe’, Keukenhof is among the largest flower gardens in the world and something of the most beautiful places to visit in the Netherlands. A lot more than seven million tulip bulbs spring to life each March, bringing an ocean of color towards the capital of scotland- Lisse where Keukenhof lies. Although renowned for its tulips, the magnificent garden can also be home to numerous other flowers including daffodils, lilies, roses, and carnations. Obviously, the scent as a result of this sprawling 32-hectare landscape is beyond heavenly.
Keukenhof is available to the general public throughout the year and attracts a whopping 26,000 visitors each day in high season. This makes it probably the most popular holiday destinations in the Netherlands. With this thought, you might want to arrive early to make a headstart on the 1.5km-long trail that weaves round the garden. On the way, you can admire the beautiful ponds, pavilions, windmills, and sculptures which include within the floral landscape. With plenty of things to entertain kids, Keukenhof can also be well-liked by families looking for a leisurely day out. The Miffy-themed play area, children's farm, and maze make it an ideal family outing.
When you consider holland, you most likely envision images of windmill scattered across vast fields of green. Well, that’s exactly what you can expect to see when you visit the village of Kinderdijk (which accurately means 'children dike’). Every year, a large number of tourists flock to this iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site to see the nation's famous cluster of 18th-century windmills dotted along the Lek and Noord rivers. They were built around 1740 but they are still fully functioning today. Actually, Kinderdijk is among the few places within the Netherlands where you can still observe how low-lying land is kept dry by using windmills to function water from the canals.
You can in fact walk inside among the 19 windmills and find out it in operation from April towards the end of October. And if you visit in winter, make sure to bring your ice skates because the frozen canals be a huge natural skating rink. Kinderdijk is just accessible by bike or foot and is, therefore, one of the most popular cycling routes within the Netherlands. To create a day of it, you can combine your visit having a Waterbus ride and explore the Biesbosch nature reserve in which you might even spot some beavers.
The Wadden Islands
If you really want to escape city life and experience the most beautiful natural landscapes holland has to offer, a trip to the Wadden Islands won’t neglect to deliver. Lying between Den Helder in the Netherlands and Esbjerg in Denmark, these five stunning islands sit in the shallow waters from the Wadden Sea, among around fifty islands and islets. Each island is easily accessible by ferry and it has its very own distinct character. The largest of the five is Texel, which attracts hoards of holidaymakers owing to its stunning 30 km long sandy beach. During the summer months, this turns into a hotspot for surfing and other watersports. The area can also be the place to find the fantastic Ecomare seal sanctuary. Here, animal-lovers can view abandoned pups being nursed and learn about the island’s protected wildlife.
Texel’s seven villages are also worth exploring for their unique character and charm. The scenic island of Ameland, meanwhile, includes a beautiful sand dune landscape making it well suited for hiking, cycling, and enjoying the great outdoors. And when you love wildlife, you'll no doubt enjoy spotting the huge colonies of birds in the Boschplaat nature reserve on Terschelling. Small of the Wadden Islands, Schiermonnikoog is also the place to find a good amount of wildlife nestled among its protected forest, dunes, polders, salt marshes, and small lakes. But when you need to encounter complete remoteness, Vlieland is dubbed the ‘Sahara from the north’ owing to its vast, sweeping dune landscape and insufficient cars.
The Hoge Veluwe National Park
Covering 5,400 hectares of rolling sand dunes, dense woodlands, and vast peat bogs, the Hoge Veluwe National Park is one of the largest nature reserves in the Netherlands. It's also one of the most varied, and residential to many rare Red List species. These include the Wheatear, the Wryneck, and also the Moor Frog. You might also spot wild boar, red deer, plus some 500 different types of plants in this vast landscape. With 1,700 free white bikes on offer for everybody to make use of throughout the park, this is ideal for cycling.
And with 41km of paths to understand more about, there's plenty to determine on the way. Highlights include the Kr”oller-Müller Museum where you will find the second-largest Van Gogh collection on the planet; almost 90 of his paintings and most 180 of his drawings. The world’s first underground museum, Museonder, is also worth a trip to discover exactly what lives and lived beneath the surface. The exhibition even takes you on a journey to the core earth. The Kr”oller-Müller Museum can also be the place to find an attractive sculpture garden that features outstanding pieces of art. Essentially, the park is the perfect blend of art, sport, and nature.
Only a stone’s throw from Amsterdam, the charming town of Haarlem is cherished because of its beautiful historic city center and numerous museums, restaurants, and shops. From hidden courtyards from bygone times to trendy concept stores, the idyllic Dutch city is the perfect blend of new and old. As you stroll along the cobbled streets and observe the ornate 17th-century architecture, it’s easy to imagine Haarlem as it was in the Dutch Golden Age. Back then, it was a thriving commercial center, an inspiration for artists, and the tulip capital. It had been also a huge producer of beer and you can sample local brews at the quirky Jopenkerk; a famous brewery inside a church.
One the best way to experience the city is as simple as drinking a glass or two at one of the many terraces within the Grote Markt; particularly when the church bells ring. If you like shopping, you'll love browsing the attractive boutiques on the Gouden Straatjes (Golden Streets). And when you appreciate museums, the Frans Hals Museum houses famous 17th-century Frans Hals paintings. The Teylers Museum, meanwhile, delves in to the worlds of art, natural history, and science. You can also peek inside the stunning St. Bavo Church in the center and also the charming Adriaan windmill on the Spaarne river. And if hunger strikes, you possess an overwhelming quantity of restaurants to choose from. From swanky Michelin-starred restaurants to cozy brasseries, Haarlem is well-deserving of their title because the 2020 gastronomical capital from the Netherlands. Just a half-hour cycle from the beach, Haarlem does indeed have everything you may want.
Considered by many people to be Amsterdam's greatest rival, Rotterdam is revered for its bustling nightlife, cutting-edge architecture, and jam-packed calendar of social events. Located in the province of South Holland, it's the second-largest in the Netherlands and also the largest port in Europe. It's also the place to find an enormous student population, which brings even more dynamism to the city. As a result, there is a huge number of bars and clubs to understand more about. The city also hosts an enormous number of festivals throughout the year. Thousands of visitors flock towards the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam Unlimited, World Port Busker Festival, and VKV City Racing Rotterdam. The Eurovision Song Contest can also be due to join the impressive line-up in 2021 after it was unfortunately canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19.
During your visit, you can take a tour of Het Binnenhof, the famous complex of governmental buildings. And when you appreciate art, you can view the world’s largest Mondrian collection within the Kunstmuseum Den Haag. Meanwhile, the Mauritshuis museum houses a remarkable choice of Golden Age masterpieces; including Johannes Vermeer’s most well-known painting, Girl having a Pearl Earring. And if you have kids (or you’re a large kid yourself) the encompassing miniature realm of Madurodam is definitely fun.
The charming city of Delft is not only world-famous for its hand-painted blue and white pottery (Delftware). It was even the hometown of one of the finest painters of the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age, Johannes Vermeer. Found in the province of South Holland, between Rotterdam and The Hague, the idyllic city is typical from the Netherlands. A network of picturesque canals form a diamond ring round the medieval center. Here, you'll find numerous cozy cafés, terraces, old churches, along with a bustling market.
Every Thursday, more than 150 stalls come together between City Hall and the Nieuwe Kerk. They offer from fresh fruit and veg to clothing and gadgets. Delft also boasts several beautiful parks and gardens which increase its slow paced life and romantic vibe. It is simple to spend a weekend here wandering round the center, going through the market stalls, and going to the Prinsenhof Museum. The latter used to be the residence of William of Orange and also the host to his assassination. The Renaissance-style City Hall and the Oud and Nieuwe Kerk are also worth a visit. On a clear day, you may also see Rotterdam and also the Hague from the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk.
Located in the southeastern area of the Netherlands, Maastricht may appear 'less Dutch' than other cities in the united states. Set either side from the Meuse river, the city boasts French-influenced architecture, Spanish and Roman ruins, and an international atmosphere. Perhaps because of its close proximity to Belgium and Germany. Furthermore, it is surrounded by hills, adding to its atypical Dutch appearance. That said, old churches, romantic cobblestone streets, and quaint squares lined with cafés and restaurants fill its historic center. Maastricht is also famous for its world-class Michelin-starred restaurants, so make sure you arrive hungry and produce your credit card.
There will also be a number of interesting museums to understand more about within the city. These include the Natural History Museum and Maastricht Underground. The latter consists of a huge network of tunnels and caves that lie beneath the surface. The Vrijthof is among the most important squares in the city and regularly hosts public events. One of these simple is the huge annual carnival celebration, which takes place before Lent. All week long, the whole city dresses up and parties around the center. So, if you want to experience the real Maastricht spirit, this is the best time to go to.