Sun. May 19th, 2024
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The famously progressive European country is now one of the most densely populated nations, with over 15 million people calling this relatively small country home.

It borders Belgium and Germany, and apart from its lively capital, it’s often overlooked as a scenic travel destination. However, there are many pockets of real beauty; you must know where to find them.

From unique cities crisscrossed with canals to national parks filled with dark green forests and from living in this wonderful country, here are the places I want to share with you…

1. Hoge Veluwe National Park

Hoge Veluwe National Park

The Hoge Veluwe National Park is the largest national park in the country and, in my opinion, home to some of the country’s most naturally beautiful landscapes.

Dotted with deer, wild boar, and thick forest areas, the park is tranquil and excellent for wildlife watching. I recommend walking along the heath fields or, in true Dutch style, taking the free bikes available to cycle over the meandering trails.

2. Jordaan District, Amsterdam

Jordaan District, Amsterdam

Although the country’s carefree capital city is arguably most famous for its coffee shops, the city has another side.

I recommend heading to the Jordaan district to find Amsterdam‘s real beauty. Once a working-class district, it has risen through the ranks to become one of the city’s most exclusive areas.

Here, you can expect maze-like streets with bohemian cafes, art galleries, and design boutiques selling the latest trends. However, I think the real draw of this part of town is the narrow canals, which are gorgeously flanked by tall and colourful traditional gabled houses.

Don’t forget to explore further afield thought in this incredible city and squeeze in all the must-sees like the Anne Frank Museum, the Flower Market, the Van Gogh Museum, and see the Old Masters at the National Museum.

The capital city is chock full of art museums, but if you want to see one of the most famous Dutch paintings, the Girl with a Pearl Earring, it’s housed at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague.

3. UtrechtUtrecht Holland

Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the country, and I think it’s also one of the most attractive and welcoming cities. With a beautiful medieval quarter and a profusion of gothic elements adding an artistic touch to the city’s roundabouts and tourist sites, this city would always make the list.

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Make sure you include a visit to The Domtoren (the highest tower-like gothic church in the Netherlands) and its adjoining attractive Cloister gardens.

4. Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens

No visitor should leave this country without seeing a tulip! If you visit around springtime, you’ll see some of the country’s best blooms at Keukenhof Gardens near Lisse (the bulb region).

Also known as the Garden of Europe, it’s the world’s largest flower garden. Expect wavy rivers of violet and yellow flowers and banks of red tulips, making every photo look spectacular!

5. Leiden

Leiden Netherlands

Located around 25 miles from Amsterdam, this small but beautiful city is famous for having the oldest university in the country and being the birthplace of Rembrandt. I personally think this place is a gem!

The large student population gives the place a youthful vibe. However, the scenery is still very traditional—expect peaceful canals, important museums, and a beautiful old town filled with centuries-old architecture. 

6. Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk Netherlands

Only 16 km from Rotterdam, Kinderdijk is the village where you’ll find nineteen windmills dating back from the late Medieval Age and onwards.

It’s an enchanting place and one of the best and most important Dutch tourist sites – in 1997, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Time your visit around 2-7th September to coincide with “Mills in Floodlight” a popular and free event where the windmills are spectacularly illuminated at night.

7. Biesbosch National Park

Biesbosch National Park

This country’s answer to the Everglades, Biesbosch National Park is Europe’s last remaining freshwater tidal area. It results from several rivers meeting and shaping an interesting delta where unique fauna and flora thrive.

A picturesque network of narrow and wide creeks, it’s the place to do practically everything, from hiking and biking to riding and canoeing and everything in between!

8. Ijsselmeer

Beautiful Ijsselmeer Lake

This vast, shallow freshwater lake, formed by building a dam, is the largest in the country. I love that it’s an atmospheric place with a haunting beauty, especially on cold and misty days.

The natural reserve has plenty of activities to offer including surfing, swimming and of course sailing, Expect to see catamarans, clippers and even a handful of historic sailing vessels, which will take you back to a different era!

9. Delft

Delft city in the Netherlands

Delft is a small picturesque city located on the south foot, and I personally think it’s a real gem! It’s one of the country’s most well-preserved historic towns where you can wander through tranquil walkways and past beautiful canals, giving you a taste of ‘Old Holland’.

You should include a visit to the Old Church (Oude Kerk), and art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the impressive Dutch decorative art collection at the excellent Stedelijk Museum het Prinsenhof.

10. Frisian Islands

Frisian Islands

The Frisian Islands are a chain of islands that stretch from the Netherlands to Denmark. In 2009, they finally made the UNESCO World Heritage List. The islands are stunning, with villages steeped in history and clusters of dune-swept inland.

Island highlights include fine sandy beaches, lush green scenery with black and white cattle, and beautiful, unspoiled landscapes. People visit the islands to walk, cycle, kick back, and enjoy the scenery.

11. Groningen

Groningen - best places to visit in the Netherlands

Groningen is a large city. The Groningen-Assen metropolitan area has roughly 500,000 residents and is located in the northern part of the country. It is also an ancient city—approximately 950 years old, to be exact.

Like most large modern cities, this one offers something for everyone, including many museums, restaurants, shopping places, sports activities, theaters, and fantastic nightlife. Regardless of what month you’re there, you’ll find plenty of things to do, I promise!

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12. Veluwezoom National Park

Veluwezoom National Park

This is a private national park and the oldest park in the country. It is roughly 360 feet above sea level, and its landscape includes forests and heathland home to animals such as cattle, wild boars, and badgers, among others. It is one of the best places to explore in the country.

Although it covers only 19 square miles, it is filled with different animals and vegetation. If you’re a nature lover, this park should be on your to-do list, whether you’re there to look at the sand drifts, the red deer, or anything else it offers.

13. Rotterdam

Rotterdam - great cities in the Netherlands

Rotterdam Netherlands

I would say don’t miss Rotterdam! Rotterdam is a big and fun city with more than 650,000 residents, making it the second-largest city in the country.

It houses a magnificent university and boasts skyscrapers, a riverside setting, and second-to-none cultural offerings.

The city was destroyed during World War II but is now home to some extraordinary architecture, making it one of Holland’s beauty spots.

You can enjoy many sporting activities, shopping, museums, and hundreds of buildings with historical and architectural significance.

14. De Haar Castle

De Haar Castle Netherlands

This magnificent castle has existed since 1391 and makes a fantastic day trip. Its architecture and overall design are spectacular, and you’ll be amazed at everything it offers. If you love old castles, then definitely don’t miss this one!

It has been destroyed and renovated numerous times throughout the centuries, and right now, it consists of a park and a beautiful garden area.

You’ll find very ornate carvings, tapestries and paintings, and beautiful old porcelain that you won’t soon forget. It is also home to one of only two carrier coaches of the wife of a Japanese shogun—the other one is in Tokyo!

15. Scheveningen

Scheveningen Netherlands

One of the eight districts of The Hague, Scheveningen is a modern seaside resort that includes a beautiful beach, an esplanade, a lighthouse, and a pier.

Whether you’re there for windsurfing or kiteboarding, I suggest walking through the area and seeing its beautiful sights!

A few of the activities that make the city special include a New Year’s Day winter swim, a fireworks display throughout the summer months, and a flags day in spring when the first new herring of the year is auctioned. You can also enjoy beaches, museums, and old churches while you’re there.

16. Middelburg

Middelburg town Netherlands

Located in the country’s southwestern part, Middelburg has sports teams, theaters, concert halls, and many sightseeing opportunities.

The former city hall is worth a visit, and other attractions include buildings and churches with religious and architectural significance.

Middelburg has been home to dozens of painters, musicians, writers, actors, and actresses since 1575. If you love history and natural beauty, this is one city you shouldn’t miss!

17. Binnenhof Palace, Hague

Binnenhof Palace Netherlands

The Binnenhof in Hague is a complex of buildings in the middle of The Hague. The history of the buildings is not well-known, but we know that the main building was built as a ballroom in the beginning.

The building has a vast courtyard in the front, a Gothic fountain, and a few statues, including one of King William II.

The House of Representatives and Senate hold their sessions in one area of the building, which is exquisite both inside and exterior, making it a perfect sight for anyone who loves history or architecture.

18. Dunes of Texel National Park

This extraordinary park is located on the island of Texel in the western part of Holland and is quite large. It boasts several different areas for you to look at and enjoy.

Some of its many attractions include birds such as godwits, pheasants, spoonbills, geese, gulls, and terns, among many others, as well as rabbits, hedgehogs, hares, and water mammals that include porpoises and seals.

If you’re an animal lover, then I highly recommend a visit. It is roughly 17 square miles—enough to offer something for everyone!

19. Ommen

Ommen - places to visit in the Netherlands

Located in Eastern Holland, this town has existed since 1248 and is very old. It has roughly 18,000 residents and quite a few hamlets and villages within.

During the warmer months, you can enjoy many different markets and fairs, as well as concerts, ceremonies, and numerous other activities throughout the year.

If you decide to visit the area, make sure you visit them online first so that you can plan your trip around the activity that interests you most. This could include everything from old churches and windmills to museums and hiking trails and everything in between.

20. Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans Netherlands

Zaanse Schans is a small neighbourhood in Zaandam. It is primarily famous because it has many historic windmills and houses that are old but very well-preserved—almost like a beautiful open-air museum.

The neighbourhood is a popular tourist attraction and home to seven museums and roughly eight windmills, some dating back to the mid-1500s. These include sawmills, oil mills, a mustard mill, and a dye mill.

Source: https://globalgrasshopper.com/

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By Lala