The Netherlands is a modern, and peaceful country famous for its bicycles, tulips, windmills, cheeses, and a particular type of wooden shoe, and with so many places to visit in the Netherlands, choosing the specifics can be difficult.
They have beautiful countrysides and exciting modern culture, while also having some of the cleanest air and highest quality of life.
Maybe you’re traveling over on a short trip or thinking about living there for a year to two. Or maybe you’ve never been there before and want to know what the country has to offer!
If you’re planning a vacation to the Netherlands, you’re probably filled with excitement about what you’ll see and what you’ll do.
Whether it’s a weekend break or a full five-year stay, here are the top 20 places to visit in the Netherlands!
1. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Amsterdam
Located in Northern Holland, Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands that is renowned worldwide for its vibrant nightlife and extraordinary cultural and historical significance.
Amsterdam has so much to offer its travelers on its canals, historical sites, and world-class museums. Traveling in Amsterdam is easy as they have clean buses, trams, metro lines, and bicycles.
There are plenty of attractions to visit, such as the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, Rijkmuseum, Bloemenmarkt, and Vondelpark, to name a few. If you want to feel mesmerized, go to the floating flower market.
Another best way to get the most out of your trip is by going on a canal cruise and sightseeing the city. You should also attend concerts at the city’s concert halls.
Go to the Prinsengracht area to check out art galleries and excellent unique coffee shops in Amsterdam. It would be great if you also went pub crawling when you are here.
This city is known for its red-light district, legal weed, and the best party atmosphere. But little do people know, Amsterdam also has a fine dining experience. There is a diversity of restaurants.
Try the local specialties like the Dutch cheese, fried meatball, and Ossenworst sausage when in Amsterdam.
If you are with your partner, go to Grachtengordel. It is a romantic site that has beautiful bridges and houseboats. You can chill at a cute cafe afterward.
2. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Utrecht
Utrecht is the university city of the Netherlands that houses the largest college (University of Utrecht) in the country and unique historic architecture that dates back to the medieval period.
The locals built the inner canal wharf system of the city to ward off parts of the Rhine River.
A must-visit place in Utrecht is the 200-year old Gothic Cathedral of Saint Martin. The Dom Tower and the Rietveld Schroder House are also a must-go if you want to check out some magnificent architecture.
A tour of Utrecht is incomplete without a visit to a museum. Go to the Museum Speelklok to see a vast collection of striking clocks, art and artifacts, self-playing musical instruments, and music boxes.
The best way to explore Utrecht is by strolling around the Old Town area. It would be best if you went on a self-guided tour at the DOMUnder- remains of the old Roman fortress underneath where the city is now built.
Also, visit the Railway Museum to see the old engines and rolling stocks.
3. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Delft
Delft is the perfect place to go to check out magnificent pottery artworks. The town has beautiful water canals and numerous museums housing splendid artworks. Trust me, you won’t feel satisfied by touring the city in a day.
Delft is renowned as the birthplace of Johannes Vermeer, who was a famous Dutch artist. Delftware crockery, which has been making elegant dining masterpieces, was also originated here.
While you are here, visit the Prinsenhof- the site of William of Orange’s death.
Also, visit the De Porceleyne Files. Founded in 1653, here you can see the painters making the blue and white motifs. You can buy one when coming back home.
The other attractions to visit in Delft are the Lamber Van Meerten Museum, Delft City Hall, the Prince’s court, and Prinsenhof Museum.
To see the fantastic views of the city, climb the New Church’s bell tower.
4. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Rotterdam
Situated in South Holland, Rotterdam is an excellent spot for a vacation, be it with your lover, family, or friends. Once a fishing village, Rotterdam has evolved and now boasts historical and cultural attractions along with natural beauty.
Visit the Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk Church. It is a 15th-century church with beautiful stained-glass windows. You can also climb its tower to see some fantastic views.
In summer, bike your way to Rotterdam’s Delfshaven district to attend festivals and carnivals.
Check out the classic windmills and the fields of flowers in Rotterdam.
Also, visit the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen to check out the art gallery that houses works by Ruben and Rembrandt. The museum also has artworks dating from the Middle Ages to modern times.
Rotterdam is undoubtedly the busiest port in the world, even though it is the largest. Book a boat trip and go to the Erasmus Bridge to see the works of art that loom over Europe’s largest harbor.
Other places to visit in Rotterdam are the Rotterdam Central Station, the Euromast Tower, Rotterdam Zoo, and the Climbing Park Fun Forest.
5. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: The Hague
Home to the Dutch government, the Hague is the third-largest city in the Netherlands. The city has both an old town vibe as well as a modern city with vibrant nightlife.
Go to the city’s Binnenhof, known as the Inner Court. It has buildings that date back to the mid-13th century. Explore these ancient homes that once sheltered aristocrats. Visit the Knight’s Hall too.
The Hague is also known for contemporary art exhibited in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis.
Also, check out the miniature city, Madurodam, and Duinrell. You can see the panoramic view of the Scheveningen Sea from the Panorama Mesdag.
6. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Haarlem
Located just 15 minutes away from Amsterdam, Haarlem is a medieval town that significantly breaks from the crowded tourist spots. There are many medieval structures in this city that you can explore.
Explore the Hofje van Bakenes, a 14th-century courtyard that remains intact to date. Also, see the drawbridges and the 15th-century city gate while you are here.
Wander the streets of the old port area and check out the old buildings of the Bakenesser Gracht district. Also, visit the City hall and the Teyler’s Museum, the oldest in the country.
The old town square has the Grote Kerk- an old church where you can watch an organ recital.
Haarlem has some of the best beaches where you can swim and soak in the sun. It also has some of the best dining, shopping, and relaxation opportunities in the Netherlands.
Haarlem is known as the ‘flower city,’ which means the city is a tulip bulb-growing district that hosts the Annual Bloemencorso Parade.
If you love art, go to the Franz Hals Museum to see the Dutch master’s artworks.
7. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Keukenhof
Keukenhof is the Netherlands’ tulip-growing enterprise that is best for a relaxing vacation. Renowned as the “Garden of Europe,” Keukenhof is one of the most extensive public gardens in the world.
A visit to Keukenhof will make a great day trip as it is just some 40-minutes drive from Amsterdam. The best time to travel to this city is during springtime as you will be offered vast flowering tulips that will make a perfect background for your photos.
The city also hosts an annual flower parade called the Bollenstreek. You can also visit a museum dedicated to the history of the Netherland’s most important flower.
8. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Arnhem
Arnhem is a small town that has many old streets and squares that are waiting to be explored.
The first place to explore is the old city center. Here, you can see the 15th-century architectural buildings.
The city also has historical importance. Arnhem has its roots all the way back to pre-Roman times. Later it developed as a center of trade and commerce.
It was in Arnhem’s Rhine River bridge that British paratroopers and German defenders fought in 1944. You can still see its ruins today.
There is even a movie made on this incident named “A Bridge Too Far.”
Now, the town has many boutique shops and cafes where you can chill at. You can visit the Netherlands Open Air Museum at Arnhem to see the traditional Dutch lifestyles.
The country’s largest conservation area, Hoge Veluwe, is also located here.
Other places to explore in this city are the Airborne Museum Hartenstein and the Wine Museum.
9. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: The Hoge Veluwe National Park
The Hoge Veluwe National Park is one of the oldest and most diverse national parks in the Netherlands.
It has 55 square kilometers of diverse landscapes and houses museums and monuments in its vicinity.
Visit the Kroller Muller Museum to see the artworks of great artists like Picasso, Redon, and Van Gogh.
Museonder is also another fascinating underground museum that houses skeletons, fossils, and other excavated finds.
There are various outdoor activities you can do in this national park. I say you get a free shared bicycle and cycle your way to the areas that aren’t accessible by car.
10. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Breda
Located near the Belgian border, Breda is a medieval city that is a wonderland for people wanting to explore historical architecture as they are well preserved.
Go to Port Quarter to see the storehouses and Gastespoort. The Old Town center has many ancient townhomes, moats, and fortifications to visit when you are here.
You should also visit the church community at the Begijnhof district that hasn’t changed a bit in 200 years. Don’t forget to visit the Grote Kerk- the largest 13th-century church of Breda.
Other main attractions are the Breda Castle, home to the country’s royalty, and the Spaniard’s Hole- a twin-towered watergate.
11. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Eindhoven
Located in Southern Holland, Eindhoven is where the world-famous electronics firm Philips was born. Known as the ‘City of Light,’ Eindhoven also has a rich cultural heritage that you will enjoy exploring.
Visit the Van Abbemuseum. It is a gallery that houses major modern arts by prominent artists such as Pablo Picasso.
Get a bus ride to the village of Nuenen. It is the same village painted by Vincent Van Gogh. Trust me, a visit to this place will show you what inspired Van Gogh’s artwork.
Later, visit the Philips Museum, DAF Museum, and the PSV Museum. Go to the Speelpark De Splinter for a picnic time with your friends or family.
12. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Groningen
Groningen is the Netherlands ‘ most important port city with a rich history, culture, and art scene.
After Groningen was given the right to mint its coins, this city became a central trading hub. Now its beautiful canals and waterways make it a charming place for a vacation.
Groningen is a university city that has two famous colleges due to which there is a vibrant nightlife and festival scene. Numerous concerts and events are happening everywhere in the city.
If you happen to visit Groningen in summer, attend the Noorderzon Theater festival in Noorderplantsoen park.
Visit Martin’s Church at the city center. It is a 13th-century church that is located in the market square. You can walk or cycle to visit this place as well as other attractions of the city.
If you want to visit museums, then there are Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum and Nederlands Stripmuseum.
13. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Leiden
In South Holland, Leiden is where the country’s national flower, tulip, was first introduced.
Leiden’s countrysides have a large garden of colorful tulips. Witnessing such a colorful image will be a blessing to your eyes.
The Wednesday street markets in Leiden have numerous stalls putting tulips and local produce like cheeses, meats, and craft goods on display.
There are also many old windmills and museums ranging from Egyptian history, science, and nature that you can visit. Museum Boerhaave, National Museum of Antiquities, The Molen De Valk Windmill Museum, and Hortus Botanicus Leiden are some museums you need to visit when in Leiden.
You can also wander around at the wooden bridges and green parks. Another fun way to explore Leiden is on a tour boat.
14. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Nijmegen
Nijmegen is the oldest city of the country that borders its lands with Germany. And as you can guess, it is full of historical sites ranging from centuries-old plazas to the Netherland’s oldest shopping street, Lange Hexelstraat.
You can explore the ruins of the Maartenskapel.
Visit the Museum de Bastei to learn about the city’s natural and cultural history. There is also an eatery at the museum that shows splendid views of the river.
I suggest you also visit Wijchen Castle. Gelderse Poort and the Gardens of Appeltern are charming places to unwind yourself from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The nightlife in Nijmegen is also exciting. There are many excellent pubs and hip clubs where you can get loose and dance the night out.
15. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Kinderdijk
What’s a vacation to the Netherlands without a visit to the iconic windmills? Located near the Lek and Noord Rivers, Kinderdijk is a rural village renowned for its 18th-century windmills. The locals built the windmills to pump the excess river water out to prevent the village from being flooded.
There are 19 windmills in the village that have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village has greenery all around, and the views are fantastic.
There are criss-cross bike trails which you will love.
You can also go on boat tours in the Kinderdijk basin to see the views of the windmills. It sure is a relaxing way to check out the windmills.
Visit the Kinderdijk Visitors Center to get an insight into the village’s history and how the windmills were constructed.
16. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Wadden Islands
The Wadden Island is a beautiful island between Den Helder in the Netherlands and Esbjerg in Denmark. It is an excellent place for you to unwind in nature.
There are five Wadden islands that have their own vibe and character.
Texel is Wadden’s largest island and the most popular one too. There are seven villages in Texel that you can explore amidst the views of nature. But it’s not all villages. There are restaurants and resorts that are waiting to cater to you.
If you want to get away from crowds, go to Vlieland Island. It is a beautiful island with steep sand dunes. It really makes you feel like you are on your private island.
Schiermonnikoog Island is where you can visit a national park. Fun fact: Schiermonnikoog National Park is the first national park in the Netherlands.
You can also do many activities on Wadden Island, such as Mud-flat walking, see seals up close at Ecomare Zoo, and Parachute jumping.
17. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Marken
Located in Northern Holland, Marken is a village that looks as if it came straight out of a comic book. It is situated on the banks of Ijsselmeer Lake.
The houses in Marken are all painted in vibrant colors and have been built on poles. Many unique homes make this village architecturally pleasing.
Visit Paard van Marken- the town’s lighthouse turned into a private home situated on the Marken Peninsula.
Also, visit the Marken Museum that showcases traditional handicrafts, folk clothes, and art pieces made by locals.
Traveling in Marken will show you inside the old fishermen’s house, which means you can see how the fishermen’s lived in the 1930s.
Klompenmakerij is a smaller museum that houses legendary wooden clogs. Here, you can see how machines produce clogs.
18. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Valkenburg
Valkenburg is a medieval town that is nestled in the Geul Valley. It is one of the unique places to visit in the Netherlands. It has many medieval ruins and monuments that are well-preserved.
Valkenburg has a great history since it was a part of the World War II sieges and Dutch conquests.
The first place to visit in Valkenburg is the Valkenburg Castle, which dates back to the Salian Dynasty, the Dutch-Spanish war, and the Franco-Dutch War. It is the Netherlands ‘ only hilltop castle.
Also, visit the Marl Quarries. They are large caves inside the Valkenburg hills. Some caves have special exhibits that you can explore.
If you are visiting Valkenburg during winter, the caves host Christmas Markets.
It would be good if you also went to the Wilhelminatoren. It is a lookout tower that offers impressive views of the city. The best thing about visiting this site is getting on the cable car ride.
19. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Edam
Located in North Holland, Edam is renowned as the birthplace of Edam cheese. Plus, Edam is a cultural and historic city that has preserved its 16th and 17th-century monuments.
Visit the St. Nicolas Church. It is a unique church that has stained glass windows that illuminates the altar.
Also, visit the Edam Museum. This museum was the oldest house during the mid-1500s. Explore this place to see the life of the Dutch locals during the 15th century.
You should also check out the Volendam Museum and Paard Van Marken when you are here.
You should go to the Edam Cheese Market to witness the costumed employees who perform haggling auctions for the giant cheese wheels. Buy the fresh Edam cheese right where it is produced!
20. Best Places to visit in the Netherlands: Gouda
Gouda is another city that is renowned for its cheese. Plus, its syrup waffles, candles, and clay pipes are equally famous too.
Located south of Amsterdam, Gouda has beautiful canals taking you to old buildings. This city is very much accessible due to its rail and highway connections.
When you are here, visit the 15th-century town hall and the Historic Center.
As you know, this city is home to the world-famous Gouda cheese; you should visit Gouda from April to August.
Gouda hosts cheese markets where you can try and buy cheese and take part in the cheese weighing, making, and auctioning ceremonies.
Also, visit the Cheese Museum to learn about the history of Gouda Cheese.
I suggest you also go on wine and beer tastings in Gouda’s little bar and explore the alleyways to find the city’s hidden gems.
Thus, these are the 20 best places to visit in the Netherlands. Let us know which destination is your favorite.
Is traveling in the Netherlands safe?
The Netherlands is one of the safest nations in the world.
The best thing about the Netherlands is that most Dutch people can speak English so that communication won’t be a problem. You can ask for help and recommendations from almost all locals.
Weed is legal in the Netherlands. If you don’t like the idea of smoking pot, make sure to know the difference between coffee shops and cafes. Coffee shops in the Netherlands serve varieties of brownies you don’t want to try. Instead, go to cafes for your caffeine fix.
Like every other safe European country, the Netherlands has some petty crimes in its famous cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam.
Be wary of pickpocketers and keep your belongings close.
If you’ve visited the cities before, share your experience with us in the comment below.