The Netherlands often referred to as Holland, is a Dutch country in northwestern Europe. It is known for its tulip fields, windmills, canals, and bicycles. The five largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and Eindhoven. I have only been to Amsterdam, the capital, so I asked some other bloggers where some other great places are there that I should visit when I go back. Want to know what to see in the Netherlands? Here are seven must-see places to visit.
Written by Leticia from Hapee Travelers.
If you are unsure of where to go in Holland, Rotterdam is a unique city. The second largest and the architectural city of The Netherlands, it’s easy to understand why. A profusion of exquisite buildings can be seen just walking around, and that might be the most pleasant surprise about it. The more you walk around, the more surprised you get. One of the main buildings to see is the Kijk-Kubus, or Cube Houses, and it’s interesting to imagine that people live there. For the curious ones, there is a hostel available inside the cube houses, so you can experience what it feels like on the inside, with inclined walls from all sides.
Another fascinating – although not obvious – place to visit is the port of Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe and one of the largest in the world! On the way there, you see the typical Dutch windmills, and you can take a guided tour. Water taxis are also available, as well as a 75min boat ride called spido. Watching the automated system that moves the containers is a futuristic experience – with driverless trucks that transport containers around without any type of human interaction – so independent that they even drive themselves to refuel when their tanks are low. A must-visit city!
Zandvoort Beach & Dunes
The dune and beach area on the Dutch west coast is a unique part of The Netherlands and definitely worth a visit if you can fit it into your busy schedule. Zandvoort marks the southern border of 38.000 hectares (94 acres) National Park Zuid-Kennemerland, which stretches all the way north to IJmuiden. This amazing National Park is part of the European nature network Nature 2000. The area is very well suited for horseback riding, biking or nature walks. It’s a peaceful oasis in the busy urban area of western Holland.
During the summer, Zandvoort beach is overrun with both tourists and locals. There’s a 30-minute direct train connection between Amsterdam and Zandvoort via Haarlem. On a sunny day, it can be hard to find some space for your beach towel! Outside of the peak season, however, the beach is a wonderfully tranquil place to visit. Great for long walks. You can even walk all the way from Zandvoort to IJmuiden (about 9,3 miles or 15 km) along the beach. A lot of the beach bars and beach restaurants aren’t permanent, they’re only there in the summer season. But some are open year-round.
The dune area with its many walking paths is lovely in any season. It’s such a large region that it never feels busy and it never gets boring. Large grazers were introduced and are now part of the dune areas. You’ll find Scottish Highlanders, dear, horses, and a herd of Wisent living alongside the unique flora and fauna that calls this part of the dunes home.
Written by Sinjana from Backpack & Explore. Follow her on Instagram here.
Ever imagined what life was like in 16th century Europe? Take the bus no. 391, that departs every 15 minutes from Amsterdam Central and transfer yourself to the 16th-century European countryside with vast green fields, windmills, and colorful wooden houses on the side of Zaans river. Yes, I am talking about Zaanse Schans – the anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage – a theme route of the most important heritage sites of Europe that are hailed for their influence in the industrial revolution. The rise of Zaanse Schans to become the world leader in production owes to advanced technology, windmills, and the trade route through the Zaans river.
The Zaanse Schans museum would take you on a virtual tour of life in Zaanse Schans over centuries, how the windmills came into being and how they rose to prominence in Global trade. It also has a collection of paintings of different ages, furniture, and attire of the business families of Holland in the 16th and 17th centuries. With the advent of new technology, the golden era of Zaanse Schans was gone but the government decided to retain some of the old windmills in a functional state for their historic importance.
While the museum is my top recommendation because of the unique edutainment that it offers, the landscape and natural beauty of Zaanse Schans are enough to entice anyone. Other activities on your Netherlands trip to this area include a tour inside the windmill factory, enjoying the panoramic view from the roof of the windmills, boating in the river, and simply taking a leisurely walk in the beautiful countryside. Given the easy accessibility, this is a must-visit place on your Netherlands itinerary.
Read more about her three-day trip to Amsterdam here.
Written by Mary Charie from A Mary Road. Follow her on Facebook here.
Giethoorn is known as the road-less village in the Netherlands. It is described as a fairy-tale-like town for its beautiful flower plantation, small green yards, and wooden bridges. There are no roads in Giethoorn which eliminated the traffic noise, best for anyone who is looking to relax and just enjoy nature and the Dutch countryside. Walk around the village or lay down a picnic and listen to the birds singing,
In Giethoorn, you can go boating and rent the whisper boat which is an electrically operated one. Go biking, Giethoorn has such amazing biking trails with the length depending on your preferences. You should also visit museums, fishing, canoeing, and other activities that you can simply enjoy alone or with your family or with your kids. While during winter, you can also enjoy some winter activities like ice skating. From June to November, there are events and festivals that you can join too.
The locals here are very warm and welcoming, a big part of the population speaks great English, therefore, you won’t have a hard time communicating. There are hotels that can accommodate you any time of the year but make sure to book in advance during summer which is the peak season.
You can check here the other things you can do in Giethoorn.
Written by Gábor Kovács of Surfing the Planet. Follow Gábor on Facebook here.
There’s no doubt that tulips are one of the major symbols of the Netherlands. If you plan to visit this country in the spring months, you should consider visiting a tulip garden. You will be amazed by a colorful show of these flowers on your Netherlands tour.
A fairly easy way of visiting a real tulip garden is on a trip to Keukenhof Garden in Lisse, a small town close to Amsterdam. Keukenhof Garden occupies an area of 32 hectares, and in the blooming season between the second half of March and the end of May you can get to see there more than 800 kinds of tulip flowers. More than 7 million tulip bulbs are planted in the garden, and the result is a really colorful show. Keukenhof is more than just a simple flower garden since you can get to know the other aspects of life in the countryside. There’s a traditional Dutch windmill to check out, and if you want, you can rent a bike and visit the large tulip fields around the garden.
Keukenhof can be accessed quite easily from Amsterdam. You need to take a train to Amsterdam Airport and then change to Bus Nr. 858 that takes you to the entrance of Keukenhof Garden. One of the best places in Holland.
Written by Karen Turner of Wanderlustingk. Follow Karen on Pinterest here.
As a proud resident of the Hague, I think that Den Haag is a great city! This lovely city, which used to be the capital of the Netherlands. Still, you can visit the stunning Binnenhof, one of the most beautiful buildings in the Netherlands where the Dutch Parliament is held. Similarly, you can see the beautiful Peace Palace, part of UN territory where inter-country disputes are solved. Beyond the government, the Hague has a stunning center with great boutique shopping, a King’s palace along with one of the loveliest promenades of the city, and a beach just twenty minutes away. Although the reputation of the Hague is that it’s boring…it’s far from it as there are two different cities to this city, especially once you get out to Scheveningen.
Many people think that the Hague and Scheveningen are the same, however many people consider Scheveningen a separate entity. This forming fishing village is super cute in itself although it’s very easy to the tram just twenty minutes to the beach at Scheveningen, the best-known beach resort in the Netherlands. This resort has the stunning Kurhaus and the Pier, perfect for adventure activities. Otherwise, you can enjoy a relaxing day laying out at the beach!
Read more about things to do in The Hague here.
Written by Chrysoula Manika of Travel Passionate. Follow Chrysoula on Instagram here.
Utrecht is a charming city in the Netherlands that is a hidden gem for tourists. It’s a medieval city that’s filled with enchanting buildings and scenery. Utrecht is rich in history and is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. It’s about a 30-minute trip from the capital Amsterdam.
This city is filled with history and does a great job of mixing the past and present together. You’ll learn about medieval history while also enjoying the perks of the modern age. Its winding canals and striking architecture are some of the most stunning in the world which makes it a unique place to travel to.
During my visit, I had the chance to climb the Dom tower which is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. You can gaze up at its beautiful architecture on the street below or climb its steep 465 stairs to reach the top of the tower, so you can get a spectacular view of the city below. If you decide to climb the stairs, you’ll be greeted by the tower’s bells that rest at the top and occasionally ring out over the city.
Right next to the Dom Tower you will find the Dom Church. Its gothic architecture is one of a kind. It houses the tombs of emperors and other notable people from the city.
Another thing you can do while in Utrecht is a canal cruise. It takes you through a peaceful journey through the city’s winding waterways. Lined on the borders of the canal are historic houses and buildings, as well as many magnificent trees towering over the canal. The cruise is a unique and relaxing way to see and learn about the city.
Finally, at night, you can participate in the Trajectum Lumen Project. This takes you on a nighttime stroll through a special art trail in the city. You can download a map on your phone, or pick up a map at a local tourist booth. The trail starts at Vredenberg and takes you to Mariaplaats. The great thing about this project (besides it showcasing some incredible artwork in the city) is that you can experience it any time of the year.
Read more about things to do in Utrecht here.
Written by Alex from Swedish Nomad. Follow Alex on Instagram here.
Zaandam is a lovely town in the Netherlands, just a short bus or train ride from Amsterdam. During the Dutch golden age, it served as a large milling center. Today you can see many windmills in the area.
In Zaandam, you can also find the impressive “Lego” hotel and the surrounding buildings. Right next to the train station, you will find Inntel Hotel with its spectacular and unique architecture. The Inntel Hotel in Zaandam is a bucket list item and something you can’t find anywhere else.
But all in all, it’s a quaint town that shouldn’t be missed out on while visiting the Netherlands. There are lots of cute houses, small shops and it’s not too big either. You can easily walk around the city in 20-25 minutes, and it’s even better if you rent a bike.
If you want to learn more about the history of the windmills, I suggest visiting Zaanse Schans which is just outside the city center of Zaandam. There you can visit old mills that once were in Zaandam such as Het Jonge Schaap, De Zoeker, De Bonte Hen, De Huisman, and De Kat, which is also the only working windmill in the world that makes paint.
Other notable places are Tsar Peter House and the Kooijman Klompenmakerij, and Het Jonge Schaap. You can also find several shops in the shopping center next to the train station in Zaandam.
To read more from Alex check out his blog here.
I hope you now have some great places to put on your list of where to go in the Netherlands. I know I want to go back in the springtime and see all the tulips in bloom and see more Holland tourist spots and local landmarks.
Read about Amsterdam’s Parisian Luxury Spa, Sauna Deco here.
Get a customized activity plan for your trip: