With seemingly endless scenic waterways and canals, beautiful and fascinating architecture, and over 1,000 years of history, The Netherlands is an interesting country to visit.
While no visit would be complete without a stop in Amsterdam, there’s much more to see and experience in The Netherlands. Spring or early summer is the time to go if you want to see the famous tulips in their full glory of color.
From stunning fields of flowers to iconic windmills to historic town centers, there’s plenty of places to explore. Here are the ten best places to visit in The Netherlands.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, Amsterdam is known worldwide for its Red Light District, “coffee shops,” and party atmosphere. There’s so much more to the country’s capital city, however, with its beautiful ring of canals, world-class museums, and unique historic buildings.
Famous attractions include the Rijksmuseum, Vondelpark, and the Anne Frank House. A canal cruise offers a different perspective on the city, and is another popular thing to do in Amsterdam. Don’t miss a look at the Bloemenmarkt, the city’s floating flower market, or the large Albert Cuyp market.
Known best for its dynamic city square, Maastricht draws visitors with its old fortifications, the Helpport, the St. Pietersberg Caves, and the rather impressive Saint Servatius Church among other sites.
Many festivals take place in the city square (the Vrijthof), particularly in the fall and winter. The square is also home to many shops, galleries, bars, and cafes.
Once a fishing village, Rotterdam is now one of the most modern cities in The Netherlands. Like Amsterdam, the city is very bike-friendly and features several different districts for tourists to explore. The Delfshaven district is one of the most popular, with summertime carnivals and festivals attracting people from other nearby countries each year.
The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is another popular stop to see works of art spanning from the Middle Ages up to modern times, including works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Dali.
The Hague is known for its contemporary art at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. The city also consists of several historic districts that are easily explored and many notable monuments. Browse the international art galleries, cozy shops, and luxury department stores.
The Hague is also home to the seat of The Netherlands government, The Binnenhof. (Even though Amsterdam is the country’s capital city.) Other popular attractions include the Panorama Mesdag with its 360-degree views and the Madurodam, a miniature city.
Utrecht’s Middle Age history is pretty apparent with just a look at its architecture. It’s inner canal wharf system was built to keep parts of the Rhine River from reaching the city center. Another sight that attracts visitors is the awe-inspiring Gothic Cathedral of Saint Martin, which was a 200-year feat that originally started back in 1254.
Museum and architecture enthusiasts will find several other attractions to explore throughout Utrecht, such as the Rietveld Schroder House, the Dom Tower, and the Museum Speelklok with its vast assortment of self-playing musical instruments, music boxes, and clocks.
The most popular time to visit the town of Lisse, and the Netherlands in general, is the spring and summer months. It’s the time of year when visitors can see the famous Flower Bulb Region in all its colorful glory. Bicycling through the region is a great way to see the colorful fields of tulips.
The main attraction here is the Keukenhof Gardens, the world’s second largest flower garden and a must-see place to visit in the Netherlands for anyone who loves flowers. The spring is the best time to see the vibrantly colored fields of flowers in their complete splendor.
Leiden is another picturesque city in the Netherlands that’s worth a stop to see its tree-lined, scene canals dotted with lush parks, wooden bridges, and old windmills. A cruise down the canals is a memorable, pleasant experience and a great way to see the city.
Attractions to visit in Leiden include many museums, ranging from science to history to windmills. There’s also the Hortus Botanicus with its expansive botanical gardens and the oldest academic observatory in the world.
Giethoorn is like a story book come to life with its beautiful thatched roof houses, idyllic waterways, and dreamlike atmosphere. This picturesque village is made up of several small islands with over 50 miles of canals, no car streets, and wooden arch bridges.
While the fairytale setting is enough of a reason to visit Giethoorn, the “Dutch Venice” also has its own collection of museums, cycling routes, unique shops, and charming restaurants.
As you could probably guess, Gouda is best known for its famous cheese that the region has produced and sold for centuries. The city is also famous for its candles and stroopwafels (which I think are a must eat when in The Netherlands).
There’s more to Gouda than cheese, although I do suggest you eat some while in the city if you love cheese. The compact town center is surrounded by canals that provide a pleasant cruise, there’s historic buildings, and places for wine and beer tastings.
Situated between The Hague and Rotterdam, Delft is one of the most historic cities in The Netherlands, especially when it comes to pottery and art. This picturesque city is where the famous blue and white pottery comes from.
There’s more to see besides pottery. The Oude Kerk boasts a slightly leaning tower that measures more than 75 meters high. Then there’s the Renaissance-style town hall and the over 500-year-old Eastern Gate.