Tom & Zi, the couple behind Craving Adventure, are sharing their insider’s information to The Netherlands!
When most individuals consider The Netherlands, the very first thing that involves thoughts is Amsterdam. Amsterdam is an extremely enjoyable metropolis, and it’s positively price it to spend a few days ticking issues off your Amsterdam bucket list with its iconic canals, many museums, and its wealthy tradition and historical past.
However Amsterdam is just a small a part of the Netherlands, and if in case you have just a few extra days to spend, there are lots of extra nice locations to see within the nation aside from the windmills on the fashionable and really touristic Zaanse Schans or the tulip fields.
Curious to search out out what else is hidden within the flattest nation in Europe? Listed below are a number of the finest locations to see and go to in The Netherlands that aren’t Amsterdam!
Let’s begin near Amsterdam. A 15-minute practice journey from Amsterdam Central Station will get you to the close by metropolis of Haarlem.
This tremendous charming historic metropolis is the middle of the Dutch flower-bulb-growing district, however it’s the magnificent structure and monumental buildings that actually steal the present.
One of the simplest ways to discover Haarlem is on foot. Merely begin strolling via the previous metropolis heart, stroll previous the canals, peak into the leafy courtyards referred to as “hofjes” and get misplaced in a maze of slender cobblestone streets lined with cute gingerbread homes.
Landmarks to look out for are Windmill De Adriaan on the financial institution of the river Spaarne that runs via city, the Amsterdamse Poort; Haarlem’s solely remaining previous metropolis gate, the huge Gothic-style Saint Bavo Church on the primary metropolis sq., and the Byzantine-style Saint Bavo Cathedral (each are pictured above).
If you want a break, head to the Jopenkerk; a beer brewery inside a 14th-century church. In case you’re into craft beer, tasting a few of their beers is a should!
For meals, go to Roast Chicken Bar. They solely serve grilled rooster, but it surely would possibly simply be the perfect rooster you’ll ever have.
In summer season hundreds of individuals flock to the coast for a day on the seashore. The Dutch seashores are vast, sandy, and clear, and with over 500 kilometers of shoreline seashores, there are loads to select from.
In case you don’t thoughts busy seashores, then head to Scheveningen (attempt saying that!) with its well-known pier with the Ferris wheel and bungee leap, or go to Bloemendaal aan Zee, which is true subsequent to Haarlem and well-known for its seashore golf equipment and social gathering scene.
In case you favor much less crowded seashores, then go for Noordwijk, which can also be nice for watersports, particularly for kitesurfing.
For the least crowded seashores, go to the nation’s most south-western province Zeeland. It’s a little bit of a drive from Amsterdam, however the seashores listed here are by far essentially the most stunning within the nation.
Het Paard van Marken (Marken Lighthouse)
In case you look carefully on the map of The Netherlands, you’ll see two huge lakes in the midst of the nation; IJsselmeer and Markermeer. In case you then look even nearer on the Markermeer, you’ll discover a tiny triangle-shaped little bit of land within the lake, with one street resulting in and from it.
This little bit of land is named Marken, and visiting it’s like going again in time just a few hundred years.
Marken was situated on the tip of a peninsula as a part of the mainland, however within the 13th century, a really heavy storm swept away the center chunk of this peninsula, separating Marken from the mainland and making it an island.
It wasn’t till 1957 that Marken was linked to the mainland once more when the embankment with the one street resulting in and from it was constructed.
As a result of Marken used to get flooded typically, the inhabitants constructed their homes on earth mounds and in a while stakes, and dug slender channels to have the ability to funnel away the surplus water.
This gave Marken its personal genuine character and constructing fashion you could’t see anyplace else on the planet.
Marken may be very small and the entire island might be explored on foot in just a few hours. If you stroll round Marken, take a look at the Picket Shoe Manufacturing unit the place they make conventional Dutch clogs.
Additionally, ensure to pay Het Paard van Marken (The Horse of Marken) a go to. This isn’t a horse like its title suggests, however an extremely picturesque lighthouse on the easternmost tip of the land.
Simply east of Amsterdam lies the small fortified metropolis of Muiden. Muiden was constructed to protect the mouth of the river Vecht, an necessary river used for commerce going inland. Entrance to the river was guarded by a sea lock, and the town’s hottest attraction as we speak; Muiderslot (Muiden Fort).
This 13th-century citadel is a textbook instance of how a child would draw a citadel: A moat with a bridge main over the water to the gatehouse, thick excessive partitions, and spherical towers on the corners.
These days it’s a museum that tells you the historical past of the citadel and reveals you ways life within the citadel was via the centuries.
Discover out what the royalty that lived within the citadel used to put on and eat, and find out how the knights polished their armor and sharpened their swords. A ticket to enter the citadel grounds and to enter the citadel is €15,50 and must be purchased in advance and online.
Naarden is one other previous fortified metropolis that’s price a go to. It is among the best-preserved fortified cities in Europe, and it’s well-known for its distinctive star form and surrounding moat that’s clearly seen from the sky.
Identical to Muiden, Naarden was constructed to defend the Dutch waterways, and its heart is stuffed with historic buildings.
Since Naarden may be very small, the city itself doesn’t provide a lot to do. However you’ll be able to simply spend a day exploring the city and strolling over the defensive metropolis partitions.
After Amsterdam, Rotterdam is the most important metropolis in The Netherlands.
It’s dwelling to Europe’s largest seaport and has the popularity of being a tricky port metropolis, however when you look a little bit bit additional, you’ll see that it’s a stunning metropolis that has lots to supply, particularly in case you’re a foodie and in case you’re into structure.
What makes Rotterdam distinctive is its funky trendy structure. Take the yellow-colored dice homes for instance. These are cube-shaped homes which are mounted on concrete pillars, however the cubes are tilted 45 levels, so all the skin partitions are at an angle.
You would possibly assume that that is insanely impractical, however folks really dwell in these homes and so they’re surprisingly fashionable on the within. Throughout from the dice homes, you’ll discover the Markthal, an enormous indoor meals courtroom, with each sort of meals stall you’ll be able to presumably think about.
In case you take pleasure in artwork, then positively take a look at the Kunsthal Rotterdam. This hanging glass and metal constructing hosts many artwork exhibitions with momentary artwork, design, and pictures. From the Kunsthal, take a stroll and cross the attractive Erasmus Bridge that spans the Maas River, and find yourself in between the town’s highrise.
This a part of city is stuffed with bars and eating places, and it’s the place the locals hang around after work. Right here the Foodhallen Rotterdam is a good place to seize a chunk. Once more a meals courtroom, however this time providing native Rotterdam road meals.
Many of the spots talked about are near the river, so a fast and enjoyable method to get from place to position is by water taxi. There are 50 stops all through the town, and apart from it being one of many quickest methods to get round, you additionally get to see extra of the town from the water.
In search of one thing extra thrilling? Then go to the Euromast, a 185-meter excessive commentary tower and the very best constructing within the nation. Take the raise as much as the highest, or have dinner within the restaurant situated on the viewing deck at 100 meters excessive, or abseil down from the highest of the viewing deck.
In case you really feel like splurging a bit, you’ll be able to even sleep within the Euromast. Think about waking up with a view like that!
I do know we stated that the windmills on the Zaanse Schans are overly touristy, however that doesn’t imply that you just shouldn’t go to see any windmills in any respect.
Near Rotterdam lies the quaint village of Kinderdijk, and it’s dwelling to 19 monumental windmills that have been constructed to pump water out and in of the irrigation channels that water the fields.
In the course of the day, this place is crawling with vacationers, however on the finish of the afternoon, all of the vacationer teams go away and there may be hardly anybody there. So have your dinner, after which head to Kinderdijk for sundown, which in all honesty is when this surroundings is most beautiful anyway.
Utrecht is among the most full of life cities in The Netherlands. After Amsterdam, it’s the largest pupil metropolis within the nation, and the town is lots like Amsterdam, however with out the vacationer crowds.
In the course of the town stands the Dom tower, which might be seen from any level within the metropolis, however much more iconic are the canals with their wharf cellars that home cafés and terraces by the water.
Or take a look at Café Olivier, a cool craft beer bar inside an previous church, with the church organ, the chandeliers, and the stained glass home windows left intact.
There’s all the time one thing taking place in Utrecht. In summer season there are cultural occasions and music festivals mainly each weekend, and on any Friday or Saturday afternoon, you’ll discover the entire metropolis heart buzzing with folks in bars and on terraces.
Only 35 minutes by train from Amsterdam, a small but charming city called Amersfoort lies close to the exact middle of the country, and it is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the country.
This is easily noticeable by all the impressive buildings scattered throughout town, like the big water and land gate called the Koppelpoort, or the 98-meter high church tower nicknamed the “Long John” that rises up above the city.
Like most Dutch medieval cities, Amersfoort has a network of canals, but Amersfoort also has a moat going around the old city center.
On the inside of this moat lie the old city walls, but instead of normal walls, these walls are houses, and people actually live in them.
They are called ‘Muurhuizen’, which literally translates into wall houses.
Amersfoort is also known for its many squares full of bars and terraces, great coffee and local craft beer, and a lively market a couple of times a week on the city’s main square “De Hof” with delicious local products.
Amersfoort has been voted as the best city in the Netherlands to live in multiple times, and after a visit to this beautiful little gem, you’ll surely understand why.
Dutch Open Air Museum – Arnhem
In the east of the Netherlands, near the German border, lies the city of Arnhem. This city has a rich history and is definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in WW2 history, or in fashion.
This sounds like a weird combo, but the two are completely unrelated. Arnhem played a big part in WW2 and a lot of that still shows, and Arnhem is where the Dutch fashion academy is located, and with loads of boutique fashion stores in town, it makes for a great place to go shopping.
Something else that is worth a visit in Arnhem, and something that is suitable for everyone, is the Dutch Open Air Museum. This 44-hectare museum showcases how folks from completely different areas within the Netherlands lived via the ages.
Like what Amsterdam appeared like within the 17th and within the 19th century, how farmers made a residing prior to now centuries, and the way life was in different iconic Dutch cities like Marken.
There’s a heritage tram line going via the park to take you from part to part, there’s a large windmill you could enter, and the park even has its personal craft beer brewery.
In case you are venturing to The Netherlands and need to discover Amsterdam, too, ensure to take a look at these guides: