Places to visit in The Netherlands besides Amsterdam
When visiting the Netherlands, most people only visit Amsterdam. However, our country has a lot more to offer than its capital city. In fact, compared to some of the places in this blog, Amsterdam is one of my least favorite! So, for your next trip to the Netherlands, definitely try to check out these places.
Maastricht is the capital of the province Limburg, in the very south of the country, and definitely my favorite city in the Netherlands. The city is adorned by its beautiful old buildings, but this is perfectly combined with the new and modern. Maastricht is also very close to both Belgium and Germany.
This underrated Dutch city has a lot to offer. From the many churches like the Sint Servaas Church and the Sint Jan Cathedral, to the Sint Pietersberg nature reserve with its beautiful forts and the ENCI quarry, to the dynamic Vrijthof Square. Maastricht also is home to the oldest standing town gate in all of the Netherlands, the Helpoort. During Christmas, the Vrijthof will be transformed into ‘Magical Maastricht’, with the best Christmas markets, an ice-skating rink, restaurants and bars and a giant ferris wheel.
Besides this, you will notice that many students live in Maastricht, which makes the city a bit more international. Despite this, the city maintains its authentic atmosphere.
While you are in the province of Limburg, in the south of the Netherlands, you will be amazed by the beautiful nature. Limburg is known for its wonderful scenery. The village of Valkenburg is no exception. If you like beautiful nature walks, Valkenburg is the place to be! Besides the beautiful forests, there are more lovely places in Valkenburg that you cannot miss during your visit!
There is the Cauberg, one of the few hills worth mentioning in the Netherlands, the caves of Valkenburg such as the Fluweelengrot, where you can admire several cave paintings and the ruins of Valkenburg castle. There also is a 68-metre toboggan track.
The Hague and Scheveningen
The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands. Traditionally, The Hague was the place where many Dutch people who worked in the colonies spent their holidays. And still today, there is plenty to experience for young and old in this lively city!
There is the Binnenhof with the Lower House where the Dutch Parliament meets, Palace Noordeinde, the working palace of the King of the Netherlands and the Vredespaleis. There are also countless beautiful museums and churches to visit in The Hague. A well-known attraction is Madurodam, where all the famous places in the Netherlands have been recreated in miniature. And don’t forget to take the tram to Scheveningen, where you can enjoy the beach and visit the pier of Scheveningen.
A visit to Giethoorn is just like entering a fairy-tale world. Giethoorn is also called the Venice of the Netherlands. The small cute village is full of canals , bridges and idyllic thatched-roof farmhouses. A boat trip through the waterways is an absolute must during your visit to Giethoorn.
The centre of Giethoorn can only be reached on foot and by bike. A beautiful walk through the village is a real essential. Walking along the Binnenpad, the Langesteeg and the Zuiderpad will show you the beauty of this village. In Giethoorn, there are also great museums, loads of nice restaurants by the water and fun shops. For nature lovers, De Weerribben-Wieden national park is nearby, a truly beautiful nature reserve.
Utrecht is located in the centre of the Netherlands. The city has a rich history and a richness of historical and cultural attractions, such as churches, monuments and castles. The city is a delight to stroll along the many old canals or through the various markets. Utrecht is also home to several museums and countless small restaurants.
Well-known attractions in Utrecht are the Dom of Utrecht, Sterrenwacht Sonnenborgh, and castles such as Slot Zeist and Kasteel De Haar. A big event in the city is the Jaarbeurs. During this fair in Utrecht many concerts and acts take place. In addition, the Dutch Film Festival takes place every year in Utrecht.
The Hoge Veluwe
For true nature lovers, it is an absolute must to visit the Hoge Veluwe Nature Reserve. The Veluwe, with its 5400 hectares, extends across the province of Gelderland. The Hoge Veluwe is home to a wide variety of wildlife and magnificent nature. Hikes or bike rides through this beautiful nature reserve are therefore highly recommended. There are also many activities and attractions.
For art lovers, the Veluwe region offers great museums, such as the Kröller-Müller Museum, which houses the largest private Van Gogh collection. But also the Museonder museum and the Jachthuis Sint Hubertus Hunting Lodge are absolutely worth a visit! For culinary fans and children, the Veluwe is also an ideal place for a little getaway!
Many people do not know that there are a number of islands above the Netherlands, the so-called Waddeneilanden. These islands are really worth a visit. Texel is the largest one. The island has beautiful nature, and when you are strolling through the dunes you will truly come to rest here. But Texel also offers a lot of fun things to do!
Visit the Ecomare nature museum and seal sanctuary, the famous Eierland lighthouse or the Bonte Belevenis country estate. Nice villages to visit on Texel are De Cocksdorp, De Koog, Den Burg, Den Hoorn and Oosterend. You can also dive into nature at De Hoge Berg or the Dunes of Texel National Park. Do not forget to visit the Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world, and is home to beautiful species such as the harbor seal, harbor porpoise and the grey seal.
When you think of Holland, you think of clogs, windmills and… Tulips! The large, colourful tulip fields that come to mind while reading this are located between Amsterdam and The Hague, at a place called Keukenhof. It is the second largest flower garden in the world and absolutely worth a visit!
Apart from taking pictures for your Instagram and admiring the colourful and deliciously smelling tulip fields, there are also activities at Keukenhof. There are flower shows, cute markets and parades. But you can also take a boat trip around the fields, or enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants with a beautiful view!
Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands, with one of the largest and busiest ports in the world! Rotterdam is a super dynamic city, with beautiful architecture and many beautiful places to visit and things to see!
Visit the Markthal, walk along the Coolsingel, see the famous Cube Houses or visit the Town Hall. A visit to the Euromast is also worthwhile. This 185-metre mast offers a breathtaking panoramic view of this world city. There is also a restaurant at the top. Now that’s dining with a view!
The city of famous historical Dutch figures, painter Vermeer, Delft blue pottery and old canals. A real life postcard. That is Delft. If you want to soak up some real Dutch culture and history, Delft is really the perfect place to visit.
Visit Museum het Prinsenhof for some Dutch history, the Vermeer Centre Delft to learn all about painter Johannes Vermeer and the atelier of Aardewerkfabriek De Candelaer to see real Delfs Blauw painters at work.
The Windmills in Kinderdijk
A visit to windmills is a must on any visit to Holland. The windmills of Kinderdijk reflect the typical Dutch landscape perfectly. These 19 windmills are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and are without a doubt the most beautiful and well-known windmills in the Netherlands.
At the windmills, in addition to the beautiful view, there are also all sorts of fun things to do! You can have a look inside two of the windmills, see a floating exhibition, visit the Wisboom pumping station, visit the Bird Theatre or take a boat trip.
The Cheese Market in Alkmaar
If you find yourself in the Netherlands between April and September, and are a real cheese lover, be sure to visit Alkmaar! This is where the annual Cheese Market takes place every year from April to September on the Waagplein square. This cheese market is a significant Dutch tradition, which has been ongoing since 1593!
At the cheese market, you will find the finest varieties of world class Dutch cheeses. The market is fully decorated in medieval style and the vendors wear traditional clothing. This market transports you back in time. During your visit to Alkmaar, you can also visit the Dutch Cheese Museum and there are various activities at the cheese market.
For a real, old Dutch experience, go to Volendam! Volendam is a fishermens’ village by the IJsselmeer, with old houses, charming bars and restaurants and, of course, the famous ‘Dijk’ (dike).
In Volendam, you can have your picture taken in traditional Dutch costume, walk across the Dijk, visit the peninsula of Marken, and stroll through the old centre! In addition, many famous Dutch artists originate from Volendam. To learn more about the Dutch music scene, visit the Palingsound museum.