Things to do in the Netherlands? 14x pittoresque Dutch villages and national parks
Beautiful Holland, with interesting old cities, unique nature and rich traditions is not always seen for all it is. Despite the fact that there is hardly anything average about it.
Things like the flatness of the country that lies below sea level and also the varied architecture in themselves already make a trip in the Netherlands worth the effort.
More than half of the Netherlands lies below sea level and is protected by an ingenious system of dykes, canals, windmills and dams. Exploring its rich history and ongoing battle with the water up close is only one of many things to do when visiting the Netherlands.
Another dimension of the Netherlands makes it a great holiday destination. The short distances! Within only 2 or 3 hours you’re able to travel from east to west. From north to south takes you little over 4 hours by train.
The benefit of taking the train of course being the opportunity to have a view of the country side while in the meantime stopping at a variety of (large) cities.
The smaller cities like those around Amsterdam often offer a lot of tradition like traditional costumes and festive events.
Actually Elburg doesn't belong in the list of villages as it has had city rights since the 13th centure. The Hanseatic town it is today, has been at this location since the 14th century. At this location? Yes because the city has actually moved due [...] Continue reading about Elburg.
One of the unique sites to see in the Netherlands is definitely the picturesque Giethoorn. For starters because of the many waterways which have earned it the nickname Dutch Venice. With a whisper boat you basically have freedom to discover the village and the surrounding [...] Continue reading about Giethoorn.
Located in the national landscape het Groene Woud (the Green Woods) you find the picturesque village of Liempde. The name originates from the Dutch word for loam that was found here in the ground. The village of Liempde already existed in the 13th century as [...] Continue reading about Liempde.
Called a museum village in Dutch, the town of Orvelte in Drenthe takes you back in time with its classic farms, the old cars and the museums which are to be found throughout the town. Walk through the main street and left and right you'll [...] Continue reading about Orvelte.
Both in Valkenburg itself as below it you can enjoy the unique expierence of the region's history. The century old center filled with beautiful national heritage monuments also offers the opportunity to go shopping and enjoy the southern atmosphere on one of the many terraces. [...] Continue reading about Valkenburg.
Home to various famous national artists, it's the excessive tourist character of the village Volendam and the many sights to see that make Volendam a fun destination for a day trip. Have your picture taken in traditional clothing, that's what a lot of the visitors [...] Continue reading about Volendam.
Must-visit cities in the Netherlands
Amsterdam itself, with its 17th century canals, is best visited by bike. While a lot can be reached by public transport, it is often the small streets where you stumble upon the gems of your trip. When it comes to famous attractions like the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, you’ve probably heard of those. But don’t forget to pay a visit to the hidden courts in the city centre like the Begijnhof (hof stands for court).
Also The Hague is a city that ought to be on your wish list. While it doesn’t always brustle with life in the news (The Hague being the political centre of the Netherlands), there are many beautiful buildings, museums and art ateliers you won’t find anywhere else.
When talking about Rotterdam, people often first mention the Port of Rotterdam and still there are many more sights that definitely don’t want to miss out on.
National parks in the Netherlands
The south of the Netherlands is where you find most of the pretty views when it comes to the country side. On the one hand a view of the sea while you’re standing in a meadow in the west. On the other hand the only hills you find in the Netherlands when visiting the eastern part. The cost of Zeeland (Sealand) and the area behind it are a sight to behold regardless of the season.
More in the direction of our eastern neighbours you find the province Limburg with of course Maastricht. It’s the only part of the country with real hills. When you’re really looking for nature, be sure to visit the Hoge Veluwe National Park in the middle of the country nearby Utrecht. With numerous lakes and wild animals you can explore the park by foot or by bike. A surprising and interesting element in the park is the Kroller-Muller Museum with a world-renowned collection of mainly 19th and 20th century visual art.
All the way to the north of the country, in Friesland and Groningen you also find beautiful nature scenes (more flat with numerous meadows and canals) and picturesque villages. While you’re in this part of the country, consider to pay a visit to the Frisian Islands also known as the Wadden (Sea) Islands.
Admire the beauty of the green landscape, impressive achievements in water management and the small scale that allows for major achievements during one of the many options for trips throughout the Netherlands. The Netherlands has at least 20 national landscapes and as many national parks of which we’ve shared a couple of must-visit recommendations below.
De Hoge Veluwe National Park
Visiting the province Gelderland? Be sure to make a field trip to De Hoge Veluwe National Park. This densely forested area is a popular destination among both the Dutch and foreign tourists to spend (part of) their holidays and offers many opportunities to for activities [...] Continue reading about De Hoge Veluwe National Park.
Defence Line of Amsterdam
Next to the national landscap, the Defence Line of Amsterdam is also a national heritage monument and part of the UNESCO world heritage list. Build to serve as a defense line, the various fortresses and nature nowadays serve as a great location for a day [...] Continue reading about Defence Line of Amsterdam.
The Green Heart is found in the middle of the Randstad between, among others, Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam and is an are where moors and meadows dictate the landscape. With no less than 7 regions in the Green Heart, from the Dutch lake areas to [...] Continue reading about Green Heart.
Down between the Rhine and the Maasdelta in the province of Zeeland you discover the river branche Haringvliet, a unique nature reserve worth visiting. Why this is an important nature reserve? Among others because it's the most important passage for the salmon and the sturgeon [...] Continue reading about Haringvliet.
National Park Zuid-Kennemerland
While visiting Zandvoort, definitely walk out to the National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. After tanning on the beach, the joviality of Zandvoort and the hipster beach clubs at Bloemendaal it's a great way to relax. This hidden treasure behind the dunes has a lot to offer, like [...] Continue reading about National Park Zuid-Kennemerland.
New Dutch Water Line
The New Dutch Water line is a piece of land that served as defense against invasions when the land was covered with water. No surprise then that the technique of putting the land under water as a defense against invaders worked successfully numerous times in [...] Continue reading about New Dutch Water Line.
If you like a hilly landscape with an abundance of orchards and farms, then South Limbrug is definitely one of the National Landscapes you want to put on your must see list. Whether you prefer walking, mountain biking or if you're just looking for the [...] Continue reading about South Limburg.