Travel

30+ Beautiful towns & cities within the Netherlands you MUST visit

Between endless canals, centuries-old canal houses, and bright tulip fields, you certainly don’t may need to look hard to discover that there are many beautiful places to go to within the Netherlands! Here are a few of the very best cities and towns within the Netherlands you must visit on your next Dutch adventure!

#1 Amersfoort

Located within the province of Utrecht, Amersfoort is definitely an ancient city with evidence of human inhabitation of the area dating back at least 1000 BCE. Look for images from the city on the internet and you’ll soon be rewarded with snaps from the iconic Koppelpoort, a medieval bridge constructed at the beginning of the 15th-century. Other things to do in Amersfoort range from the Mondriaan House (yes, the artist Mondrian!) and also the church tower of Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren.

#2 Arnhem

For those who are searching for a small and less touristic city to visit during their time in the Netherlands, Arnhem is found in the East of the country in the Province of Gelderland. Encompassed by natural parks such as Hoge Veluwe National Park and Veluwezoom National Park, as you can imagine the best things to do nearby include hiking trails and getting lost in nature.

#3 Amsterdam

Of course, probably the most beautiful places to visit in the Netherlands is its capital city, Amsterdam. Canalside houses, great finds, quaint museums, and plenty of churches: Amsterdam is a reasonably compact city that’s easy to explore during the period of a couple of days.

While in the city, don't lose out on the Rijksmuseum (the place to find several pieces of art by Rembrandt) and the Jordaan district, a hot area that’s characterised by its narrow canals and quirky eateries. Because of its many transport links over the remaining Netherlands, easy excursions can be taken to plenty of other Dutch destinations; like the tulip fields of Keukenhof or even the mills of Kinderdijk.

#4 Alkmaar

Situated in the Province of North Holland and well-known because of its cheese production, go to the Netherlands in the right time of the year and you can even expect to enjoy the world-famous Alkmaar cheese market. The big event is easy to reach like a excursion from Amsterdam and typically takes place every week in the end of March towards the end of September every year.

#5 Tilburg

The Dutch town of Tilburg are available in North Brabant, which despite what you are able believe from its name, is actually based in the South from the Netherlands. Easily among the largest cities in the Netherlands, Tilburg hosts a population close to 220,000 residents. The best things to do then include the Museum of Contemporary Art and a textile museum concerning the good reputation for manufacturing in the region.

#6 Leiden

If you’re looking for Holland off-the-beaten-path, then Leiden provides a plethora of great finds. Filled with cosy cafés, bagel bars, and lots of secret spots, indeed no visit to the Netherlands could be complete without a trip to the university town of Leiden.

After all, the oldest bar within the city is where the Heineken Star originated, while the classical feel of the city meant that Leiden was chosen for filming the Miniaturist (that is actually set in Amsterdam!). Nearby, Kasteel Duivenvoorde goes back centuries, is one of the most beautiful castles in Holland and it is even encompassed by a moat!

#7 Haarlem

Located under half an hour from Amsterdam, Haarlem is a nice city characterised by its brick facades and wealth of canals. Easily among the best excursions you are able to take from the Dutch capital, Haarlem could be explored over the course of each day, or longer if you have more time. Top attractions in the Dutch city range from the Teylers Museum of Cultural History and taking in the climate of the Grote Markt.

#8 Zutphen

One of the lesser-known cities and off the beaten path cities in the Netherlands is the charming settlement of Zutphen. Found in the province of Gelderland, the town is characterised by its leafy surrounds and insightful stunning Dutch architecture.

Particular highlights of Zutphen include many historic towers (there are so many that the city is usually known as the ‘tower city’) and the The Walburgis, a building which was first established as a Roman collegiate church throughout the 11th-century.

#9 The Hague

Underrated and frequently missed in favour of more popular Dutch attractions, The Hague hosts the city and the beach. As well as in a rustic like the Netherlands, this is the kind of proven fact that shouldn’t be easily overlooked! Of all of the cities near Amsterdam, the Hague is among the easiest to reach as a day trip from Amsterdam, or as a weekend escape on its own. The town even has a great vegan scene.

After all, the endless stretch of sand at Scheveningen is breathtakingly beautiful and the boardwalk there's filled with eateries in the summer months. Nearby, old-town Scheveningen used to be a historic town in its own right though it’s been since absorbed into the material from the Hague. Nevertheless, the suburb retains its own vibe and it’s here where one can taste pickled herring, a local speciality.

#10 Utrecht

Easy to achieve as a day trip from Amsterdam, among the prettiest cities within the Netherlands is Utrecht, a town with attractions such as a medieval heart, countless historic churches, and also the endless canals that are so symbolic of Holland. Other things to complete in the city range from the Gothic St Martin’s Cathedral and the Centraal Museum, that is dedicated to local background and art.

#11 Eindhoven

With easy transport links to the remaining country, Eindhoven can easily be explored as a day trip from elsewhere, though is really worth visiting over the course of a weekend if you have some extra time for you to spare. Once in Eindhoven, highlights include several museums (must-sees include the Van Abbe Museum and the DAF Museum) and lots of modern architecture.

#12 Gouda

Did someone say cheese? No doubt you’ve heard about Gouda before, thanks to its namesake cheese. But what you may well not know is that Gouda is so a lot more than its namesake cheese. From pretty canals to churches disguised as houses, this city includes a plethora of activities worth discovering and it is well worth exploring over the course of an extended weekend.

Highlights of Gouda range from the De Goudse Waag (a historic cheese weighing house), the city’s standalone town hall with its mechanical clock, and a windmill that also sells its very own freshly ground flour within the shop nearby. Head to Gouda on the Thursday from the beginning of April 'till the end of August and you can anticipate finding the standard cheese market under way!

#13 Middelburg

The capital from the province of Zeeland, Middelburg includes a distinctively different feel from many other cities within the Netherlands because of its position literally encompassed by the sea. As a result, you will probably find plenty of sea-inspired items on restaurant menus, in addition to several museums. Of particular note is the Zeeuws Museum, featuring the area’s history set against the backdrop of the former abbey.

#14 Groningen

If you’re looking to go a little from the beaten tourist track during your amount of time in holland, then without doubt you have to make your way to Groningen. Once in Groningen, some of the best things you can do incorporate a fantastic modern art museum and enjoying some of the historical architecture dotted across the city.

#15 Delft

For those familiar with European pottery, no doubt ‘Delftware’ is really a term you’ll have come across before. The beautiful town of Delft sits midway between your Hague and Rotterdam and can easily be visited as a day trip from either city (particularly if you’re planning to cycle in the Hague).

To get an idea of how the city is laid out, be sure to head up the tower of Nieuwe Kerk, that provides an incredible bird’s eye perspective of the town’s main square. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Delft, de De Delftse Pauw offers factory tours, along with the chance to purchase some authentic Delftware.

#16 Zwolle 

Pretty and also the second largest city within the province of Overijssel (of which it also happens to be the main city) after Enschede, Zwolle includes a population close to 125,000 residents. The best things you can do in Zwolle include an art museum set from the backdrop of a 19th-century palace (Museum de Fundatie) and the Sassenpoort, a 15th-century medieval tower with regular exhibits.

#17 Deventer

This small town of around 100,000 residents can be found in North Holland approximately Apeldoorn and Enschede. Top attractions of Deventer range from the Fooddock (an old industrial harbour turned food hall) and also the Museum de Waag, that is the place to find one of the oldest weighing houses within the Netherlands.

#18 Breda

Located within the South of the country, within the province of North Brabant, the beautiful town of Breda are available just below an hour or so from the substantial port city of Antwerp. Inextricably linked with Dutch Royal History (the town is how the Princes of Orange spent a lot of their time), Breda is definitely probably the most beautiful places in the Netherlands.

Some of the best things to do in Southerly Dutch city, which counts several castles among its many attractions, including admiring the gorgeous cathedral and going to the historic beguinage. If you have more time to understand more about, then I highly recommend heading south of the city and visiting the impossibly picturesque Kasteel Bouvigne.

#19 Amstelveen

Easy to reach as a excursion from Amsterdam thanks to its status to be area of the suburban part of the metropolitan area of the Dutch capital, Amstelveen hosts plenty of green spaces and many a museum. The town also has easy access to Amsterdam Bos (Amsterdam Forest), where it’s possible to enjoy a plethora of outdoor-inspired activities.

#20 Den Bosch

One of the most beautiful cities within the Netherlands is that of Den Bosch (full name ‘s-Hertogenbosch), the capital from the North Brabant region of the Netherlands. Characterised by its brick buildings and many waterways, the city includes a population of around 150,000 residents.

#21 Rotterdam

Futuristic architecture, lots of bridges, and a fantastic foodie scene: there is no city in the Netherlands, nor indeed in Europe, quite like Rotterdam. And that’s a great thing! Following WWII, the town was near flattened, abandoning an empty space which a multitude of fascinating architectural structures have since been constructed.

Highlights of Rotterdam include several impressive bridges (especially the Erasmus Bridge), some pretty out-of-this-world-architecture (make sure to check out the Cube House Rotterdam), and a culinary scene to rival any capital in Europe (the Markthal is a feat of architecture and has dozens of eateries).

#22 Helmond

Though less known the world-famous Rotterdam, Helmond too features its own set of fantastical cube houses, which were created by Piet Blom throughout the mid-twentieth century. This Dutch city will be found in the province of  North Brabant and is historically best-known because of its textile production.

#23 Leeuwarden

Known locally as Liwwadden in Stadfries and Ljouwert in West Frisian, the city of Leeuwarden includes a population close to 120,000 residents. The provincial capital of Friesland, this city will be based in the North from the Netherlands. Some of the best things you can do there range from the Oldehove unfinished and leaning church, along with the Frisian Museum, featuring displays on local history.

#24 Maastricht

If you’re searching for rolling hills and all sorts of history, then Maastricht simply should be in your list for places to go to in the Netherlands. In the end, it had been here that the real-life d’Artagnan was killed and it’s also here where you’ll find one of the coolest bookstores in Europe, a store housed within a former Dominican church.

Close towards the border with both Germany and Belgium, popular features of Maastricht include going through the historic city centre, visiting one of the city’s many museums, as well as staying in an old church if you feel so inclined. For those who have some time whilst in the city, make sure to make the bicycle trip to Chateau St. Gerlach for afternoon tea, a deluxe country house where you can even book to stay!

#25 Roermond

For those who work in search of the pretty city with plenty of history, Roermond is the place to visit. Located in the South East of the country, the settlement gained town rights in 1231 and was instrumental to the economics of the Duchy of Guelders. Today, the last Grand Duchy on the planet is Luxembourg, a landlocked country in Europe.

#26 Elburg

Elburg gained its fishing rights in 1313, which makes it among the oldest cities in the Netherlands to have been granted this status. Found in the province of Gelderland, top attractions in this Dutch settlement range from the rather unusually appointed Organ Museum, in addition to of course, a Grote Kerk (great church).

#27 Dordrecht

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Rotterdam (or, alternatively, a short ferry ride), Dordrecht is allegedly the oldest city within the Netherlands. Once upon a time, Dordrecht (which is called Dort in English) wasn't an island but usually a part of the mainland Netherlands.

However, a flood (known locally as Saint Elisabeth’s Flood) on the 18–19 November 1421 led to a huge mass of additional was that caused the city being an island. Go to the city today, and highlights of Dordrecht include admiring the unfinished Minster, going through the Dordrechts Museum, which features plenty of Dutch masters, and dining at Coffeelicious, where I ate some of the very best pancakes of my life!

#28 Hoorn

With a population of approximately seventy thousand residents, Hoorn is not the largest of the Dutch cities, and nor is it the tiniest. Located in North Holland, the best things to do in this from the beaten path city include the Museum of the 20th-century and the Halve Maen Museum.

#29 Volendam

Pretty and by Markermeer Lake, Volendam is a unique Dutch settlement with timber-framed houses that are brightly painted. Historically Volendam made its money as a fishing port but still today it’s possible to learn by pointing out good reputation for the town in the Volendam Museum. Feeling a little peckish? Sample a few of the local cheese in the Volendam cheese factory.

#30 Giethoorn

The fairytale town of Giethoorn are available in northern holland and it is like something straight from a storybook. In the end, where else in Europe perform the residents not own cars but instead paddle their way around their house city?

The village centre is inaccessible by car and also the houses are connected with a series of small interconnected bridges. Does this stunning devote the Netherlands sound dreamy enough for you personally yet? Check out my pal Christina’s guide to Giethoorn for more information on how you can visit this beautiful as a postcard town!

#31 Lisse

Best-known as being home to the Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse is a nice town in the South Holland Province. Though you’ll likely only go to the settlement if you’re headed towards the ‘Garden of Europe’ or wish to begin to see the tulip fields that surround Lisse, other popular features of the town incorporate a tulip museum and Castle Keukenhof, that is open all year round.

#32 Bergen op Zoom

Dating to the 13th-century along with a little from the beaten tourist track, Bergen op Zoom is definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit within the Netherlands. And not just because of its many cobbled lanes and picturesque brick facades. Instead, Bergem op Zoom hosts sights such as the medieval Gevangenpoort and Het Markiezenhof, a 15th-century palace turned museum.

#33 Edam

If you recognise the name ‘Edam’ because of the world-famous cheese, then you’re not wrong! After all, this Dutch town gives its name to the iconic dairy product, and visitors is going to be happy to discover that this isn't all the fishing town has to offer. Found in the province of North Holland, some of the best things to do in Edam include the 14th-century bell tower (all that’s left of the historic church), visiting the Edam Museum (which is housed against the backdrop of the 15th-century house), and also the 15th-century cathedral (Grote Kerk).

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