This post's overview:
- 1 Travel to the Netherlands FAQ:
- 1.1 Do you need to car to travel around the Netherlands?
- 1.2 Which tours to take in the Netherlands
- 1.3 When to travel to the Netherlands?
- 1.4 What’s the best place to stay in the Netherlands to explore all these places by public transport?
- 2 15+ most beautiful places in the Netherlands that you should definitely visit at least once
- 3 Summary of the most beautiful places to visit in the Netherlands
- 4 Here are some other articles you might like:
Planning a trip to the Netherlands and thinking about what to include in your itinerary? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, I’d love to share with you 15+ most beautiful places in the Netherlands that you should visit at least once. This list includes not only towns and cities but also beautiful villages and stunning locations.
And, if you’re wondering how to easily visit all of these places, I have a separate article with the itinerary for 4-days in the Netherlands by car and 7 days in the Netherlands that include most of these amazing places to visit in the Netherlands.
Before we start with this list of the best places to visit in the Netherlands, here are a few questions I’d like to answer first.
Travel to the Netherlands FAQ:
Do you need to car to travel around the Netherlands?
If you’re wondering whether you need a car to travel around the Netherlands, the answer is no, not necessarily! The public transport system in the Netherlands is fantastic and very reliable, and most of these destinations are easily accessible by public transport. However, some places don’t have great connections between them, meaning that you need to travel via a large city every time you need to travel from point B to point D, for example.
In our case, we went to Amsterdam 5 times without a car; however, for our road trip, where we visited all of these locations, we actually used our car. We drove all the way to the Netherlands from the UK via Eurotunnel. Alternatively, you can also rent a car in the Netherlands. We always recommend using Rentalcars.com.
If you have longer than 4 or even 7 days in the Netherlands, you can visit most of these destinations without a car as well. Below, I’ll link a few tours that include some of these destinations that aren’t as easily accessible without a car.
Which tours to take in the Netherlands
As mentioned above, these are the tours I recommend taking to travel to some of the places from this list of the most beautiful destinations in the Netherlands:
Giethoorn and Zaanse Schans day tour from Amsterdam – check prices and availability here
Edam, Market & Volendam tour from Amsterdam – check prices and availability
When to travel to the Netherlands?
Finally, when to travel to the Netherlands? Should you only travel to the Netherlands in spring? While spring (mainly the beginning of May) is the most popular time to travel to the Netherlands (as the tulips are in full bloom), doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t travel there outside May! It’s true that the weather might not be the best between November and April, but you can still enjoy the country! The best time to travel to the Netherlands, in my opinion, would be from April to the end of October.
What’s the best place to stay in the Netherlands to explore all these places by public transport?
In order to see most of these places, I recommend splitting your trip in half and staying half of the trip in Amsterdam – that way, you’ll be able to see most of the places in the North using public transport and tours and the middle of the country and the rest of the trip in Utrecht – you’ll have access to the cities and places in the South of the country.
If you have a car, then I recommend staying slightly outside large cities, as parking fees in the hotels in the city centre are exorbitant (up to 80 euros per day!).
Here are some of the best places to stay in Amsterdam:
Here are the best places to stay in Utrecht:
Without further ado, let’s get started with 15+ most beautiful places in the Netherlands that you should visit at least once!
15+ most beautiful places in the Netherlands that you should definitely visit at least once
Giethoorn is one of the Netherlands’ most beautiful villages and one of the most popular tourist locations. Most people come there on a day trip from Amsterdam – it’s less than 1.5 hours away! However, on the weekends or during the high season, Giethoorn gets incredibly busy.
Well, that’s because Giethoorn is a charming village with almost no roads! In the heart of the village, there are only canals and wooden bridges. Locals, who live there, have to leave their car at a parking lot and then change to either a bike or walk all the way until they reach their home!
One of the best ways to explore Giethoorn is by taking a boat ride! You can see the best views from the water and admire the thatched-roof houses and tranquil waterways. You can either arrive there and queue to book a private boat or pre-book space in a large boat in advance here.
Hoorn is one of the 15 most beautiful places to visit in the Netherlands, and it’s a historic town located in close proximity to Amsterdam. Lots of people actually choose live in Hoorn and commute to Amsterdam for work. Hoorn used to be a very important and famous port, and it was also the place of residence of the Dutch East India Company. The signature building in Hoorn is Hoofdtoren – you can see it in all the photos of the city when you look it up online. Hoofdtoren is a fortified half-tower that used to protect the city, but now there is a lovely restaurant located there. Hoorn has plenty of buildings built in the 16th and 17th centuries, and most of them are concentrated in the city centre area. There are also plenty of lovely coffee shops, cafes and restaurants where you can spend a few hours enjoying the city.
Zaanse Schans is an 18th-century model village with beautiful windmills, fairytale houses and lovely cafes. It’s not a real village. However, some of the houses are inhabited. The windmills were actually moved there from other locations in the country to be preserved.
Zaanse Schans is absolutely free to visit, and it’s a lovely area to walk around, take some photos and learn more about life in Dutch villages in the 18th and 19th centuries. There are also nice cafes and shops, where you can buy some food and souvenirs and a few small museums as well. It’s very close to Amsterdam, too, and you can easily visit it on a day trip!
Delft is another gorgeous city in the Netherlands. It is a relatively small city, but nonetheless, it is packed with landmarks! The city is famous for its association with the renowned painter Johannes Vermeer and the iconic blue and white pottery called Delftware. In the 17th century, Delft was a hub for the Dutch East India Company, and the city’s canals, historic buildings, and charming streets reflect its rich heritage.
Delft is particularly famous for its beautiful medieval Old Town, the impressive New Church, and the historic Old Church, where members of the Dutch royal family are buried.
Utrecht is one of Netherland’s liveliest cities! It was founded by the Romans around 47 AD and became an important trading and religious centre. One of its famous landmarks is the Dom Tower, a tall church tower that offers stunning views of the city. Utrecht is often called the “Domstad” because of this tower.
We really enjoyed the atmosphere in Utrecht – it was very laid-back and relaxing. Maybe it’s because Utrecht is also a university town, just like Leiden, and its University is also one of the oldest. Also, in my opinion, Utrecht has some of the most beautiful canals and also lots of streets in the city centre area are equally pretty! One of the best things to do in Utrecht is to take a canal cruise and see the city from the water! You can pre-book a boat tour online here.
Edam is one of the famous cheese towns. It’s absolutely tiny – its population is less than 10,000 people, and you can explore the town centre in less than an hour. Edam is also home to one of the most famous Cheese markets in the Netherlands. It takes place on Wednesday morning every week in July and August.
You can, however, visit Edam on any day of the week – you can still buy cheese in one of its two cheese shops – one of them is incredibly picturesque and could be an amazing picture spot.
Edam is also very pretty – it’s one of the prettiest little towns in the Netherlands! It’s very clean and compact – and an absolute joy to visit!
Lisse flower fields
Lisse is the place where some of the most beautiful flower fields are located (and the “flower route” as well). Some of the flower fields are right next to Keukenhof. Different flowers bloom at different times – in early April, you can find a lot of daffodils and hyacinths, while tulips you can only find between mid-to-end April and the beginning of May.
Please keep in mind that all the fields are private, and it’s not allowed to trespass. Some daffodil fields are not fenced, so it’s possible to take a photo in front of the fields, but please be mindful and don’t go deep into the fields as it may damage the flowers.
The easiest way to take photos in the tulip fields is by booking a visit to a private farm. There are a few of them near Lisse and Haarlem! One of the most famous ones is the Tulip Barn.
Leiden is home to the oldest University in the Netherlands. It also has some of the most beautiful canals in the country – having visited most of the prettiest cities in the country, I must say that the canals in Leiden were among my absolute favourites!
s-Hertogenbosch (den Bosch)
S-Hertogenbosch, or how it’s often referred to – den Bosch, is the capital of the North Brabant region of the Netherlands. It’s a very quirky city – and we absolutely loved it because of that.
Why quirky? Well, den Bosch is the hometown of one of the Netherlands’ most famous painters, Jheronimus Bosch. There is a lot of art all around the city dedicated to Jheronimus Bosch – you can find street art in small alleyways or statues in the park – searching for them all around Den Bosch was like a quest!
Besides that, den Bosch has a beautiful city centre, very old canals and a lovely atmosphere!
Volendam is another place in the Netherlands that is totally worth visiting! It’s a charming fishing village in the Netherlands with pretty houses, a lovely harbour, and locals wearing traditional costumes. You can enjoy fresh seafood, explore Volendam’s cultural history in museums, and even try on traditional Dutch clothes for fun photos. Volendam gives you a real taste of Dutch culture and is a unique and enjoyable place to visit.
Marken is a small island village located in the Netherlands near Volendam. It offers a unique experience for visitors. The village is known for its traditional wooden houses, which are built on stilts and have a distinctive architectural style. You can explore the narrow streets, visit local museums, and learn about the island’s history and maritime heritage. Marken also offers beautiful views of the surrounding water and picturesque landscapes.
De Haar Castle
De Haar Castle is one of the Netherlands’ most iconic castles. It’s located less than 15 minutes away from Utrecht, and it is a stunning medieval castle with beautiful gardens and a rich history. It’s the largest castle in the Netherlands. Originally built in the 14th century, it underwent extensive renovations in the late 19th century under the supervision of renowned architect Pierre Cuypers. The castle showcases a unique blend of medieval architecture and luxurious 19th-century design. The castle has an impressive collection of art, furniture, and historical artefacts, providing insights into the lives of its former inhabitants, the noble Van Zuylen family.
Heusden is a small fortified town surrounded by ancient walls and dotted with windmills and small canals. Again, Heusden is a very short stop, especially if you’re visiting on a cold day. However, the centre of the town looks charming and very picturesque. The two windmills of Heusden are the most picturesque spot in the city.
Gouda is another one of the famous cheese towns in the Netherlands. You can visit the lively cheese market, see the amazing St. John’s Church with its colourful windows, and enjoy the cosy cafes and shops. Gouda feels magical, especially during the candlelight evenings. The most beautiful place in Gouda is, however, its main square!
Finally, the last but not least of the most beautiful places to visit in the Netherlands is Amsterdam. Amsterdam is the most iconic city in the country, and it goes without mentioning that you absolutely need to visit it when going to the Netherlands. The reason it’s mentioned last in this list of the top 15+ cities and towns to visit in the Netherlands is that it’s an obvious choice, and everyone knows about Amsterdam. Most people actually only visit Amsterdam and skip other amazing places in the country (that’s actually me – I visited Amsterdam 6 times before I had a chance to explore other destinations in the Netherlands). Hence, I wanted to give some spotlight to other places.
Needless to say, Amsterdam is amazing; it has great museums – some of the best in the world, and really beautiful canals, parks and buildings!
Summary of the most beautiful places to visit in the Netherlands
I hope you enjoyed this article about the most beautiful places to visit in the Netherlands – as you can see, the Netherlands is way more than just Amsterdam – there are plenty of lovely places to visit, from small villages like Giethoorn and Marken to large cities like Utrecht and den Bosch!