Known for its quaint towns, scenic views, and hosting one of the party capitals of the world, there’s a lot to love about the Netherlands. Sometimes referred to as Holland, the Netherlands is one of the most interesting countries in Europe. And although most people’s minds pan to Amsterdam when they think of the country, there are many other places in the Netherlands worth visiting.
Whether you’re looking for great nightlife, unique sights, or historical attractions, the Netherlands offers all of that and more. What’s more, due to its proximity to various other European countries, it’s a perfect spot for anyone taking a trip around Europe. Here are 8 of the best places to visit in the Netherlands.
It’s no surprise that Amsterdam tops this list. Although some people might see the city as overrated and expensive, it’s the perfect place to visit if you want a lively time in the Netherlands. Tourists from all over the world flock to this city for parties, culture, and the best food and drink that the country has to offer.
Many people stay in De Wallen, the area known for its cannabis coffee shops, bars, hostels, and strip clubs. With that said, staying here might be a little too chaotic if you’re coming here for a relaxing vacation. Fortunately, you can also find tons of museums, canals, and artsy neighborhoods like Jordaan.
Top Things To Do in Amsterdam:
There are a variety of ways to immerse yourself in the culture, cuisine and history of Amsterdam. Below, we recommend 5 of our favorite activities that can be scheduled ahead of time online through our trusted tour operator partners.
See Amsterdam on a canal cruise on a classic riverboat, complete with drinks and delicious dutch cheese.
Feeling artsy? Skip the line and go on a private Van Gogh Museum tour.
Take a small-group walking tour through the Jordaan district sampling food like the locals do, all while learning about the history of the area.
Visit the Dutch countryside and get out of Amsterdam on a guided day trip through Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, and Marken. Transportation, food, and a professional guide included.
One of the best ways to experience Amsterdam is by E-Bike. Rent one and traverse the city, stopping at any number of attractions and restaurants. Or rent an E-Chopper and get outside of Amsterdam to take in the relaxing countryside.
For the Winetraveler, there are a number of luxury hotels, wine bars and restaurants that offer great wine lists. For a truly opulent hotel experience, consider staying at the stunning Waldorf Astoria located right on the canal. Our readers frequently rave about the hospitality and stunning ambiance both inside and outside this luxe property. Another team favorite is undoubtedly Hotel TwentySeven, best known for its ambiance, exclusivity, and cuisine. You really can’t go wrong. Just book it and see for yourself.
In terms of restaurants and bars, for some of the best presentations, flavors and wine pairings that are on-point, no visit to Amsterdam is complete without a stop at Beulings restaurant. Be sure to stop in for dinner. When it comes to breakfast or lunch, visit New Dutch Amsterdam for outdoor dining, friendly and fast service, and a wonderful international wine list.
Giethoorn is another destination that tops many people’s lists of things to see in the Netherlands, albeit for completely different reasons than Amsterdam. Giethoorn is a tiny village known for being completely car-free. Instead, people get by via bicycle trails, footpaths, and waterways.
If you want to float down a Dutch canal enjoying beautiful views, you’ll love it in Giethoorn. Walking around the village is exceptionally calming and will make you feel like you’ve been transported to another place in time. You can also find museums, national parks, and delicious Dutch food. With that said, there’s not a ton to do here compared to bigger cities and you might want to visit it as a day trip. Consider using Amsterdam as your home base and schedule a guided day trip that includes a boat ride as well.
The Hague is known as the governmental center of the Netherlands. You’ll find plenty of parliament buildings and foreign embassies here as it’s the city where many important international decisions are made. However, it’s also a highly underrated spot for tourists with a lot to do.
You can find many interesting museums, art galleries and events here. You can also visit the Madurodam Model City which gives you a taste of the best parts of the Netherlands at a 1:25 scale. The Hague is also home to the Scheveningen seaside resort. While you might not associate the Netherlands with beaches, this is a beautiful spot to chill in the summer. This is another great destination to explore by bicycle.
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Some people prefer visiting old-fashioned Dutch towns and villages to get a taste of the traditional Netherlands. However, if you’d rather visit a busy, high-tech hub full of technology and attractions, then Eindhoven is the perfect Dutch travel destination for you.
Eindhoven is known as “the city of light” and the best time to visit is during the breathtaking GLOW Eindhoven Light show in November where the entire city turns into a giant light art festival. You can also get a taste of the past at the Eindhoven Museum or a glimpse into the future at the Evoluon building. You should also check out the Philips Museum as this city is the home of the electronics giant.
If you’re looking for a modern metropolitan city that’s not quite as touristy as Amsterdam, Rotterdam is ideal for you. You can find some of the most unique and quirky accommodations here, as well as plenty of friendly people and more than enough things to fill up your itinerary for weeks.
This city is incredibly artistic and creative, as you’ll notice from the unique modern architecture and incredible museums and galleries around the city. It’s also an excellent place for foodies, and everyone should visit spots such as the Markthal indoor market and the famous Bazar. You can also find plenty of clubs and bars for an awesome night out.
Utrecht is another underrated spot in the Netherlands that’s well worth visiting. The city is full of cool sights, such as the Dom Tower (the tallest tower in the Netherlands), the amazing Castle de Haar, and the Railway Museum that’s built in a former railway station from the early 1900s, not to mention its unique canals and wharves.
You can have a relaxing time here traveling down the canals, checking out the terrace cafés, and getting some retail therapy at the Hoog Catharijne. It’s also the biggest student city in the Netherlands, so the city has a youthful vibe and you can find plenty of bars and clubs if you want to liven things up.
If you’ve ever seen pictures of fields in the Netherlands covered by tulips and other colorful flowers and want to experience it for yourself, visit Lisse. This town is known as the home of the Keukenhof Garden, a 32-hectare park with over 7 million flower bulbs planted annually. It’s known as the Garden of Europe and is one of the best things to see in the Netherlands.
However, flowers aren’t all you can see here. You can also check out Keukenhof Castle, see cool museums and art galleries, or try the delicious food and coffee that the town has to offer. What’s more, Lisse is less than an hour away from both Amsterdam and the Hague, meaning you can either use it as a hub or visit it on a day trip. We highly recommend hiring private transportation from Amsterdam to explore the tulip fields, saving you tons of time.
If you want to try something different, take a ferry from Den Helder to Texel. Texel is an island off the Dutch coast that’s covered in stunning beaches, breathtaking dunes, and plenty of scenic trails to explore. It’s also small enough to traverse by foot, especially since footpaths are widely available.
You can stay near the beach and spend days exploring the island via car, bicycle, or simply by walking. You can also find a zoo, aquarium, and even farms that allow you to get up close to the animals. As such, this is a perfect destination for animal and nature lovers to relax and unwind. Private guided day trips are also available from Amsterdam.
Take The Trip
Start browsing for flights to the Netherlands! There’s much more to see in the Netherlands than just Amsterdam. All of these places can make for an amazing trip. Plus, since the Netherlands is so small and easy to traverse, you might even want to fit a few of these places into your Netherlands travel itinerary.
Of course, you can also find other spots worth exploring. You might also want to check out Groningen, Haarlem, Leiden, Maastricht, and Gouda. Don’t forget that you could also diversify your trip by visiting other European hotspots. Germany and Belgium are just a short train ride away, and you can even take a ferry to England if you’re feeling adventurous. Take a look at some of our other European travel guides and itineraries right here.
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