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Talking about the Netherlands brings immediately into mind Amsterdam with its famed party scenes and the infamous red-light district. But, the Netherlands is much more than Amsterdam.
There are several other places to visit in the Netherlands that are not so popular. It has got cities with historic buildings and cobblestone pathways, endless farmlands and iconic windmills, interlinked canals, and blooming tulip fields.
Travelers who come to the Netherlands only to visit and party in Amsterdam miss out on the plenty of other beautiful places that the Netherlands has to show.
Here’s a roundup of the best places to visit in the Netherlands that are not to be missed:
Table of Contents
Here’s the list of the top places to visit in the Netherlands
Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and a popular tourist destination not just in the Netherlands, but entire Europe. Though it is widely known for its infamous red-light district and its indulgence in cannabis, it has a lot more to offer on its plate than just those.
This famed party town is a unique blend of history, nature, and a charming modern vibe. The marvelous museums with their whimsical displays mark the 60-mile length of the famous canals across the city. Around 1500 monumental buildings and bridges dotting the city bring a distinct splendor to it.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Canal Ring is a lovely place to take leisurely strolls in the city. Art and history seekers can visit the Rijksmuseum Museum and also the Anne Frank House in the central part of the town.
The Prinsengracht area is where the visitors can go for the best things to do in Amsterdam, like shopping, gallery-viewing, and pub crawling. And, the unique coffee shops serving some of the best-in-the-world, heart-warming and delicious coffee are not to be missed when in Amsterdam.
Read the full blog post: Top 10 Day Trips from Amsterdam
Sitting along the Spaarne River in the western part of the Netherlands, this quiet city is famously known as ‘Bloemenstad’ or ‘Flower City’ as it is the heart of the tulip bulb-growing region in the Netherlands. Of course, it is home to the Annual Bloemencorso Parade.
It is the best place for travelers to see unchanged countryside and medieval architecture in the Netherlands. Grote Markt city center is a popular shopping destination here, and it also has a few museums and ancient churches to visit nearby.
And, Franz Hals Museum is the place to go for those who are zealous about paintings, as it boasts the most extensive collection of paintings by the famed Frans Hals and also has an entire range of other pieces of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Haarlem is a must-visit place in the Netherlands for those who want to experience shopping, visit museums and get a glimpse of architecture all in one place. It is considered one of the best tourist attractions in the Netherlands.
Read also: Read also: Top 10 Day Trips from Amsterdam
Gouda, because of its old-city charm, is an unmissable stop on a trip to the Netherlands. The old buildings and bonny canals it holds make this city one of the best places in the Netherlands to experience the old-style country life.
It is famed for its stroopwafels, which are said to be first made here. The quaint 15th-century town hall and Sint Janskerk, a large Gothic church known for its stained glass windows, are the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
The entirely ringed by the canals city center and the Kaaswaag cheese museum are worth a visit when in Gouda.
Easy access by rail and car makes Gouda a popular day-trip destination from Amsterdam. It is one of the must-visit cities in the Netherlands.
Read also: Top 9 Must-See Castles in the Netherlands
The modern vibe this city has got today makes it hard to believe that it was once a mere fishing village. Rotterdam, like Amsterdam, is a bike-friendly city and has many historic districts for travelers to explore.
The summer carnivals and festivals held in the famous Delfshaven district here bring in hordes of visitors to Rotterdam from all over Europe every year.
Its many attractions include the Erasmus Bridge, which rises over Europe’s largest harbor and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which is house to artworks ranging from the middle ages to the modern times, which also include some of the masterpieces by Van Gogh, Bosch, Dali, and Rembrandt.
Travelers who want to soak in the culture of the Netherlands can’t miss visiting this city when they travel to the Netherlands.
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Some of the most inspiring architecture in the Netherlands is found in this ancient city of Utrecht, founded by the Romans in 48 A.D.
The inner canal wharf system which prevents the Rhine River from flooding the city center is an exemplary architectural work from middle ages that can be seen in this city of the Netherlands.
The marvelous 13th-century Gothic Cathedral of Saint Martin, the 8th century Dom Tower, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Rietveld Schroder House, the Miffy Museum, and the Dick Bruna House are popular attractions to visit and make Utrecht heaven for architecture and museum admirers.
The Museum Speelklok, which houses a considerable collection of self-playing musical instruments and striking clocks, is a must-visit place when in the city.
The Oudegracht Canal is an excellent spot to take leisurely evening walks and sip some good coffee being served in one of the many cafes lining the canal. This city is one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands.
Architecture enthusiasts will love spending their time in Maastricht located in southern Holland. Roman and Spanish ruins can be seen side by side, along with enchanting French architecture all over the town in Maastricht.
Set in an extraordinary location, the vibrant city square of Vrijthof is a popular attraction here with beautiful old houses surrounding it.
The splendid Saint Servatius Church, the Saint Jan’s Cathedral, and the old forts here are crowd pullers to Maastricht. There are several places like cafes, hip bars, and captivating galleries to hangout for travelers in the vibrant town square.
The other tourist attractions here are the Caves of St. Pieter and the medieval construct of Helpoort. Maastricht is a place that can’t be missed when travelers visit the Netherlands.
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Arguably, The Hague is one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands. Named as the Royal City by the Sea owing to the Dutch Royalty citizens, it is world-renowned for the contemporary art exhibits at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.
The sea town of Scheveningen along the North Sea is a popular destination for visitors coming here. Though Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, The Binnenhof, the administrative center of the Netherlands, is situated in the town of The Hague.
There are other The Hague points of interest: the miniature city of Madurodam in the Scheveningen district, Panorama Mesdag, and the Scheveningen beach. The Hague is a must-be place on the check-list of every traveler planning to travel to the Netherlands.
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What Groningen lacks in size, it makes up for in cultural diversity. It is one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands as it is a principal hub for arts, education, and business in all of the Netherlands.
The main attraction here is the Groningen Museum, one of the most original and contemporary museums in Holland. The other museums that travelers can visit are the Graphical Museum, Comic’s Museum, Maritime Museum, and University Museum, each intriguing in their way. Music and theatre thrive in Groningen, and several cafes here feature live performances by artists.
The nightlife here is lively and is a tremendous attraction for young tourists visiting the Netherlands. Experiencing the nightlife here is one of the best things to do in the Netherlands. The Grote Markt, the Peperstraat, and the Vismarkt are the most popular spots to experience the exciting nightlife of the city.
Located a short jaunt away from Rotterdam, Kinderdjik is a place well-known for the iconic windmills of the Netherlands, and the name translates to ‘Children’s dike.’
As the country is located at or below sea-level, the windmills play a vital part in water management here, which is a way to prevent floods from happening.
19 fully working and remarkable windmills built in the 18th century are indeed a sight to watch. They are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is not just the most popular tourist attraction in the Netherlands but also a place that must never be missed when people travel to the Netherlands.
Delft, built on a series of canals, is one of the best places to go in the Netherlands and is the perfect destination for visitors looking to get away for a day or two from the busy streets of Amsterdam.
The city is home to several marvels like the City Hall building with Renaissance-style architecture, the Prinsenhof Museum replete with tales of Eighty Years’ War, the lovely churches of Nieuwe Kerk, and Oud.
The Vermeer Centrum, where the visitors can learn about the painter Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries, is also not to be missed when in Delft.
Leiden’s charm goes beyond the lush green parks that can be seen here. The scenic city of Leiden is a beauty to observe with tall trees standing along the canals with windmills and wooden bridges dotting the entire city. Visitors often take boat rides in one of the many waterways here.
Several museums span from natural history to science that travelers can visit in the city. There are also museums dedicated explicitly to windmills and Egyptian antiquities.
The world’s oldest academic observatory can be seen in the botanical garden of Hortus Botanicus. Another must-visit place in Leiden for admirers of architecture is the 16th Century church of St. Peter.
De Hoge Veluwe National Park- De Hoge Veluwe National Park is sprawling 5,500 hectares of well-preserved nature. The park is a crowning jewel in the Netherlands’ travel scene. It is a magnificent place for bird watching with the exotic fauna, which includes species like the Wryneck, the Moor Frog, and the Wheatear that can be spotted here.
Also, the Kroller-Muller Museum, which houses several paintings by Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and many other notable artists, is located amidst the park.
For visitors who are interested in knowing about the geology and biology of the Veluwe National park, there is the Museonder Museum at the park’s visitor center.
Around 1700 free bicycles are made available for the visitors to explore the national park. The historical site of the Battle for Arnhem and the medieval buildings of Elburg and Arnhem are other nearby places that the visitors can go to.
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One of the oldest towns in the Netherlands, it recently celebrated its 2000th anniversary. The city is close to the German border and is home to two history museums that exhibit Roman artifacts that portray the traditional Roman life.
The large student crowd from the Netherlands’ only Catholic university makes it a vibrant place to be. Visitors can take a stroll along the bridge that crosses the Waal River called Waalburg and can sight an incredible view of boats with the sunset in the background.
Some of the famous attractions in Nijmegen are the traditional quarter at the center of the town and the National Fietsmuseum Velorama that exhibits around 250 bikes, which shows the Dutch obsession with two-wheelers. Nijmegen is a must-be place on every traveler’s list of sites to see if they are planning to travel to the Netherlands.
The Wadden Island
The Wadden Islands, also called the Frisian Islands, is a group of five islands collectively known as the Wadden Islands that are located in the Wadden Sea between Den Helder in the Netherlands and Esbjerg in Denmark. These are the beginning of a more prominent chain of 50 Islands that dot the Wadden Sea. Each of the Islands has its own atmosphere and a unique character. They are an attractive place for adventure seekers.
Terschelling is the place where bird watchers should go, and Texel is the first place to stop for beach lovers. Vlieland is perfect for those who desire to go on a trek in the woods. Boats are available to take visitors to any of the islands.
This Dutch province is so replete with surprise and strangeness. The people here not only have own language but are also a self-sustaining community. The entire stretch of Friesland is an incredible place to explore.
The fortified land that unites with the Wadden Sea at the north end of Friesland is a popular destination to visit in the Netherlands and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Leeuwarden and Hideloopen are the best places for tourists to delve into the local tradition. And, right across the water is the Wadden Islands.
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Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.