You probably are thinking: Why 12 places? and not the usual ‘Top 10’. That’s because this tiny country in Western Europe, the Netherlands (often called Holland, which is actually correct) is divided into 12 different provinces. Why is Holland incorrect and is it called the Netherlands? That is because there are two provinces called North and South Holland. In these 2 provinces are a few of the most important and known cities of this country. So here is the top 12 places that you need to visit once your are in the Netherlands starting with a city that everybody knows and has to be on your bucketlist.
How can you not spend a day in one of the most known places of the Netherlands? Visit the canals, take a canal boat tour and enjoy the city of Amsterdam as seen from the water. Go to one of the many museums that the city has to offer like the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, and take a stop at the Anne Frank House. If you are only in Amsterdam and do not have the opportunity to visit more of this beautiful country, then go to ‘This is Holland’, a new flight simulator where you fly over the Netherlands. And of course, do not forget to eat a fresh stroopwafel! If you are looking for good travel discounts for city trips within the Netherlands, you should definitely check Actievandedag. Every day several unique promotions with a competitive price are offered in combination with limited stock.
When you think about the Netherlands the first thing that comes to your mind are probably the windmills. Kinderdijk, easily accessible by public transport, is a place filled with 17th century windmills. Here you can walk through nature, see the inside of a windmill and go to the windmill museum.
Rotterdam is one of the most modern cities in the Netherlands. This is because the city was bombed during The Second World War. Therefore, it has a lot of interesting history. Once you are in Rotterdam, go and visit ‘De Markthal’. This is a residential and an office building with very interesting architecture. In the middle of it there is a large market hall where you can find all kinds of food from different places in the world. Furthermore, in case you need a place to sleep in Rotterdam, visit the ‘Cube houses’ as seen on the picture.
The main reason to visit Alkmaar is cheese. There has been a cheese market in Alkmaar since 1365, and it is the city’s main attraction. Every Friday from April to September you can see how cheese is traded according to history. And of course the best thing is that you can try a lot of different cheeses for free.
Giethoorn is a small town that is car-free. The town is called by many people the ‘Venice of Holland’ due to its tiny canals. There are a lot of historical houses you can see. The way you travel through this town is by boat, which you can rent at different points. You can also walk over all the wooden bridges the town has. There are also some museums you can visit that showcase how people used to life in the past.
Lisse is home to one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Netherlands, Keukenhof. The fields surrounding the city of Lisse are filled with tulips. Keukenhof is only open for a couple of weeks per year, most of the time from March until May. In 2018 Keukenhof received over a million visitors. Keukenhof is easy accessible with public transport from Amsterdam.
Leeuwarden has been named the Capital of Culture in 2018. Because of this the city has had a lot of new visitors from all over the world. Enjoy the historical city center of Leeuwarden and visit the official museum of Friesland that has a history of almost 190 years. Also, go to the Oldehove, a church that started construction in 1529 but was never finished. And do not forget to visit one of the many restaurants Leeuwarden has to offer.
Delft is home to one of the best known painters of the Netherlands, Johannes Vermeer. It is also known for the Delft Blue pottery. Learn about the rich history of the city in one of the many museums. Enjoy the canals and take one of the cruises over the canals to experience what was life like there. Because of the universities there are a lot of students in the City of Delft and many pubs you can visit at night.
Utrecht is a city in between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The city is a mix of a lot of modern concepts and historical sights. Visit the known Dom Tower (the highest church in the Netherlands) or go to the city castle Oudean, where you can visit the build-in brewery. If you are in Utrecht you have to visit the Lombok, this is a vibrant area of the city with a lot of shops that offer cultural specialties and delicacies.
Middelburg is town in the southwest of the Netherlands. The city has a lot of history and has an historical city center. When you are in Middelburg you can also go to the ocean and visit the beach which is only 15 minutes away from the city. Since the province of Zeeland is very popular for tourists, there are a lot of places you can visit. Go to a market nearby or visit one of the museums telling the rich history of this part of the Netherlands.
If you are in the Netherlands and you need a place to stay, come to Breda and sleep in Hotel Nassau. This is not the cheapest place you will see in your stay in the Netherlands but it is worth it. The hotel is located in the city center and has large history, because the building is located in one of the firstly-constructed streets of Breda (year 1350). Breda is a student city which makes it lively. Enjoy an afternoon outside in the Valkenberg park, or enjoy the hospitality in one of the many restaurants in the city center. You can also make a nice shopping in the many stores the city has to offer.
Maastricht is a city located in the deep south of the Netherlands and lies very closely to other countries. What makes it a unique experience is that if you take a short drive of about 45 minutes you will end up at the ‘Three-country-point’, a place where you can be in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany at the same time. Go to the St. Peter’s Caves where you can take a tour and walk through the caves that were made 1000 years ago. Also visit Vrijthof, the main square of the city. This square is also very famous because of the live concerts of Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra. And once you are home and you are really missing all the delicious types of food you have tried during your stay, you can just order them online. On the website of Holland at Home you can order all kinds of Dutch products, such at the delicious ‘Stroopwafels‘.