What are the best places to visit in The Netherlands? In this article, I’ll share the most beautiful places in my country.
Beautiful places to visit in The Netherlands
I’ve lived in The Netherlands all my life. I was born in a little village near Groningen (in the north of the country), and I’ve lived in Groningen, Leeuwarden, and Amsterdam. I’ve visited lots of places in The Netherlands, and these are my favorites.
The Frisian lakes
Friesland is a province in the north and is famous because of the many lakes. A long time ago, my grandparents went on vacation each year to a small village near the lakes, and I loved visiting them. Being outside all day, incredibly peaceful, and it was absolutely awesome to go sailing. If you like water as much as I do, definitely visit the Frisian lakes for a couple of days.
You can find the city of Zwolle more to the center of the country. It’s a gorgeous town, with a historic city center. It also has many great restaurants (make sure to make a reservation, especially during weekends) and cafes. If you’d like to go for a stroll, make sure to check out the historic city walls.
National Park de Veluwezoom
There are several National Parks in The Netherlands and of the most beautiful is National Park De Veluwezoom. It’s quite hilly and has many beautiful hiking trails. If you visit this park during the months of August or September, you might see the heather turn into bright purple colors.
Last but not least: Groningen! This is the place where I grew up (and after living in Amsterdam for 12 years, I’m moving back). There’s always something to do, thanks to the large student population. The city is home to one of the best museums in The Netherlands (Groninger Museum), and this year they opened the Groninger Forum. A place to study, work, or simply enjoy the view of the city center from the roof.
My personal bucket list for The Netherlands: places I’d love to visit
Even though I’ve lived in The Netherlands my entire life, I still haven’t visited all the awesome places. These are the places in the Netherlands that are still on my bucket list.
National Park De Biesbosch
The second national park on this list is De Biesbosch. This is one of the largest National Parks in The Netherland and is well-known because of the wetlands. It’s actually quite similar to the Everglades in Florida (but without the alligators). A great place to discover by boat and enjoy nature.
In the north of The Netherlands, there are five large islands. So far, I’ve visited four out of five, the only place I’d still love to see is Vlieland. This island has only one town (with a beautiful lighthouse) and the majority of the island consists of sand dunes. A great place to relax (it can be really quiet), go walking and enjoy the beautiful beaches.
Photo: Hendrik Kuterman | Unsplash
Kinderdijk (close to Rotterdam) is one of the most famous places in The Netherlands and has a row of historic windmills of the 18th century. When you visit Kinderdijk, I’m sure you’ll feel like you’re in The Netherlands. It’s also close to National Park de Biesbosch, so it would be perfect to combine both highlights.
The Keukenhof is one of the most touristic places to visit in The Netherlands. For good reason, because who doesn’t want to see all those flowers! The Keukenhof is one big tulip festival, it’s only open for a few months a year (usually from the end of March till the beginning of May). Make sure to visit the Keukenhof when you’re in The Netherlands during this time of year. You can find all the information on this website. If you don’t like the crowds, you can also rent a bike a go biking in the area around Lisse. You will see flower fields everywhere you look.
Photo: Aswathy N | Unsplash
Another historic and very Dutch place is the Zaanse Schans. You’ll find lots of windmills and wooden houses in this place. It’s actually kinda stupid I’ve never been here since it’s only a 20-minute train ride from Amsterdam.
When you take the train from Amsterdam to Zwolle, Groningen, or Leeuwarden, you’ll pass one of the most beautiful landscapes in The Netherlands: the Oostvaardersplassen. It’s kind of a surreal landscape, with deer and wild horses. There are a couple of short trails as well.
Which places would you like to visit in The Netherlands?
Some practical tips for traveling to The Netherlands
Would you like to visit The Netherlands? As a local, I’ve got some practical tips.
How to get to The Netherlands
It’s pretty easy to get to The Netherlands from all over the world. Within Europe, you can easily reach the country by bus or train. If you choose to arrive by plane, you’ll probably arrive at Schiphol international airport (near Amsterdam).
How to get around
It’s very easy to use public transport in The Netherlands, you can practically go everywhere by train, bus or tram. You can check Google Maps for itineraries.
Where to stay
Most people choose to stay in Amsterdam, which is the capital of The Netherlands. However, this is also the most expensive place to stay. If you’d like to see more of the country, I would suggest you’d stay in Utrecht. This city has a very central location, has one of the largest train stations in The Netherlands, and isn’t overrun by tourists. If you want a real Dutch experience, I would recommend staying in one of the smaller cities, like Zwolle, Groningen, Leiden, or Nijmegen.
Booking a hotel room is very easy when you use Booking.com. There are also plenty of Airbnb listings in The Netherlands (use this link to get a discount on your first booking), but make sure if the listing you’re planning to book is legal (especially in Amsterdam this can cause problems).
Best time to travel to The Netherlands
The best time to travel to The Netherlands is during Spring. You have a good chance to see the flower fields and experience King’s Day, one of the most fun holidays in The Netherlands. Of course, every other time of the year also has its charm. During summer you can go swimming in the lakes and the beaches, during autumn it’s great to see all the trees change color in the forests and in winter you might get a chance to go ice skating.
Would you like to read more about The Netherlands?
Get one of these great guidebooks:
Insight Guides The Netherlands
If you’re interested in exploring more great places in Europe, you might like to check out these bucket lists as well: