A visit to the Netherlands: 7 places worth visiting outside Amsterdam
When people start planning a trip to the Netherlands or if you prefer: Holland, probably the first place they think about visiting is Amsterdam. It is true that Amsterdam is a great city to see and you’ll enjoy every part of it. However, there are many other nice cities that are worth visiting, so plan a few extra days in your itinerary to explore and get acquainted with the Dutch Culture. You will be surprised with the differences between Amsterdam and other cities. The good thing is that the Netherlands is a very small country and it will take you approximately 3 to 4 hours to drive from north to south!
Here’s 7 cities outside of Amsterdam that are worth visiting:
Utrecht is located 30 minutes from Amsterdam and it is often described as the heart of the country. In the city center you can find the famous canals with lots of restaurants, terraces and shops around. An easy way to explore the city is to take a boat tour. You can book a guided tour or be more adventurous and rent a kayak. If you would like to see the city from a higher point, visit the Dom Church. Climb up the stairs in this beautiful cathedral and you’ll enjoy a fantastic view over the city!
The Hague (in Dutch: Den Haag or ‘s-Gravenhage) is the international hub and government city. It is close to the North Sea and about 60 km (37 miles) from Amsterdam. The city is known for its monuments, historic districts and beautiful buildings, such as the Peace Palace. For a quick view of the entire country in one afternoon, visit Madurodam, which is a miniature city that features all the typical Dutch attractions, like canal houses, flower fields and Delta Works. If you are lucky and the weather is nice, take a tram to the closest beach town, Scheveningen.
At about 75 km from Amsterdam, lies the city with the largest harbor of Europe. Rotterdam is a must-see city if you are looking for a more international and industrial vibe. Book a guided boat tour to get an impression of the container ports with sails all year round. The Erasmus bridge, Market Hall and Cube Houses are worth a visit too. You don’t want to miss the Euromast, which is 185 metres high and gives you a 360⁰ view over the city.
Groningen is the capital city of the northern part, located about 180 km from Amsterdam. This is one of the most popular cities for students, which means that its nightlife is outstanding and there is plenty of bars to enjoy a nice drink. Book a bike tour to explore this city like a local. Fun fact: there are more bikes in the Netherlands than people!
Nijmegen is the oldest city of the country and is located about 120 km away from Amsterdam. Take a stroll along the Waalkade, the boulevard next to the Waal river. Book a trip on the Pancake boat or shop in Holland’s oldest shopping street, the Lange Hezelstraat. Every July thousands of people visit The International Four Days Marches of Nijmegen. It is the largest walking event in the world in which more than 40.000 people participate. During the event the city is filled with performances, stages, DJs, artists and food trucks!
Only 20 km from Amsterdam lies an old fishing village called Volendam, famous for its typical Dutch houses and splendid harbor. Book a photo session and dress yourself in the traditional Dutch folklore outfit with of course, the famous ‘wooden shoes’.
You cannot leave this town without trying the famous raw herring (in Dutch: haring). This fish you eat with onions and pickles, it is definitely something different than sushi. Traditionally you hold the fish by its tail and let it slip into your mouth. What an amazing experience!
You can find ‘s-Hertogenbosch (in short: Den Bosch) about 85 km from Amsterdam. This city features beautiful medieval architecture and a very nice market place surrounded by historical buildings, like the Town Hall. It is definitely worth to book a tour to explore the centuries-old canal system, since it is different from the ones in Amsterdam and Utrecht. This canal tour will take you underground through narrow, dark tunnels. On your way to the train station, stop at ‘Jan de Groot’s shop, where you can try their popular “Bossche Bollen”. It is a huge cream puff covered in dark chocolate. A treat you cannot miss!
We hope this list gives you ideas when planning your next visit to the Netherlands. Let us know in the comments which city you liked most! Have a great trip, or as the Dutch say: ‘Goede Reis’!
Written by: Veerle Beelen
Veerle Beelen is a Dutch girl who moved to Australia to follow her dream of living abroad. In her Travel & Life blog Unpack by Veer she shares her own travel and expat experiences and wants to inspire and empower her readers to make the most out of their travels.
Veerle found that she could only have the best travel experiences if she also focuses on her inner journey and unpacks herself from any worries, fears and doubts. She writes about the positive impact of travel on personal development, being getting out of her comfort zone, and how you can turn your dreams into plans.
Veerle grew up in the Netherlands but also lived in Spain and Cambodia, before she moved to Sydney early 2018. She has been traveling a lot with her family and friends to different continents, but has been on a few solo trips in Europe, Thailand and Cuba as well.
In addition to her Travel & Lifestyle Blog, Veerle works as a legal consultant, a dance teacher and a model. She enjoys the balance between her office job and her creative side to expand her mind, and she is always looking for new opportunities to travel and combine this with her creativity.
She loves the ocean, and has been a passionate scuba diver since she was a teenager. Wherever she goes, she carries around her action cam and edits her videos into short movies to share with her family, friends and the readers of her blog.
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