Holland is rich in urban centres other than Amsterdam
Everyone knows that Amsterdam is a popular tourist destination, but what other towns and cities should you visit in the Netherlands?
There is much more to the Netherlands than its picturesque capital and, while Amsterdam is a city worth seeing, the country has a lot more to offer tourists and visitors. Here is a list of some of the best places to visit in this stunning part of Europe.
The second-largest city in the Netherlands has it all, from a wide range of museums and attractions to great food, excellent shopping, and innovative architecture. Rotterdam is also packed with art and history and is famous for its huge port and impressive skyline, not forgetting the striking Cube Houses from the 1970s on Overblack Street. If you like spectacular views, don’t forget to visit Euromast, an observation tower beside Het Park where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Also called the town with no roads or the Venice of the Netherlands, Giethoorn is a traditional town in the province of Overijssel with only a few thousand residents. It’s a peaceful area where everyone uses boats via the canals to get around, including the postman. Tourists from all over the globe visit Giethoorn for its beautiful hiking trails and to see its canals, countryside and adorable thatched-roof farmhouses.
Texel is one of the Dutch Wadden Islands and is popular among people who enjoy nature holidays. This island is home to several pretty villages, like Oosterend, Den Burg and Den Hoorn, and offers towering dunes, sandy beaches, gorgeous sunsets and salt marches filled with lavender. It’s a great place to explore, and no trip to the island is complete without visiting the injured seals of the North Sea at Ecomare.
A beautiful Dutch city with a young population, Utrecht has a lot to offer, including museums, music halls and picturesque canals with quays and wharf cellars. The city is also home to numerous theatres and towering churches, as well as a huge selection of great bars and restaurants, some of which are located in the centuries-old wharf cellars along the canals. Don’t miss the 112 metre-tall Dom Tower (you’ll spot it almost immediately when you arrive in Utrecht), the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, to get the best view of the city and the surrounding area.
In Haarlem, you can stroll along pretty narrow streets, visit extraordinary museums like Teylers of the Frans Hals, and indulge your food cravings at the countless cafés and restaurants. And although the city is often called “Little Amsterdam,” it has its own unique character and a selection of some of the nicest courtyards, gardens and historic buildings in the country. Be sure to visit Jopenkerk, a distinctive brewery set in a beautifully restored church where you can try a delicious beer.
Eindhoven is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, but you wouldn’t know it when visiting the area today. This city is currently filled with entertainment and is known for its high-tech industry and cutting-edge design, and is even the birthplace of the electronics company Philips. In Eindhoven, you can see modern and contemporary art at the Van Abbemuseum, take an architecture walking tour and browse for bargains at the market.
There is plenty to do and see in the old fishing village of Volendam, a destination that draws visitors from across the world with its authentic Dutch character and costume-clad locals. It has a delightful old harbour and is filled with small wooden houses, fishing boats, seafood stalls and souvenir shops. Several famous musicians hail from this town, so make a point to catch a performance and immerse yourself in the local music scene.
If you enjoy stepping back in time and want to get an accurate account of what life in Holland was like in the 17th and 18th centuries, you must visit Zaanse Schans. It’s such a stunning place with windmills, authentic houses, a cheese factory and various museums. You should also check out the Verkade Experience, which incorporates a 20th-century chocolate and biscuit factory with original machines still at work.
Home to the Dutch Royal family, The Hague is the country’s political centre and serves as the main seat of the government of the Netherlands, so it’s a city steeped in history and alive with culture. It’s also the only big city with a beach, which is a must-see when you visit. You can expect to find high-end shops, art museums and dramatic buildings, plus the city has no shortage of places to go for a bite to eat, making it a delicious destination for a foodie break.
Famous for its blue pottery, Delft is as pretty as a picture and an unspoilt part of the Netherlands with a grid of canals lined with cute houses. Markt, the main town square is a huge open space and a great starting point for wandering around the picturesque streets and exploring the historic centre. The painter Johannes Vermeer (best known for his The Milkmaid and Girl with a Pearl Earring paintings) spent his entire life in Delft and is why the city has an information centre dedicated to him.