Five Places to Visit in The Netherlands (that aren’t Amsterdam)

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places to visit in the netherlands

For some reason, when people think of The Netherlands, they think of Amsterdam. But it’s worth venturing out of the capital to see more of this excellent country. So, I’ve shared a few of my personal favourite places to visit in the Netherlands below.

The county is relatively small, and it’s so well connected by public transport that exploring The Netherlands is a dream! Better still, you could bring your car by taking an overnight ferry to Rotterdam, then all these places will be within easy reach…

5 Places to Visit in the Netherlands

Rotterdam

Five Places to Visit in The Netherlands (that aren't Amsterdam)

Famous for its huge port – the largest in Europe – Rotterdam is a cool, contemporary city with so much to do. With plenty of museums, tons of modern architecture like the quirky Cube Houses on Overblaak Street, and excellent shopping, there are loads of fun things to do in Rotterdam to keep you busy. I loved the Euromast for some incredible views of the city and beyond – although the wind in January was pretty fierce!

Utrecht, Central Netherlands

places to visit in the netherlands

Image courtesy of Tourism Utrecht

My personal favourite, Utrecht is a beautiful Dutch city with a rich history and stunning architecture. A university town, it’s popular with students, attracting a pretty young crowd and a fairly artistic vibe.

Don’t miss the Dom Tower, a 600-year-old Gothic cathedral tower that was cut off from the Domkerk by a devastating tornado in 1674. Views from the top of the tower are amazing. On a clear day, you can see as far as Amsterdam and Rotterdam. 

RELATED POST: Exploring the “real” Netherlands in Utrecht

Kinderdijk Netherlands

From Rotterdam or Dordrecht, take a Waterbus ferry upriver to the Kinderdijk windmills for a lovely day out in the Dutch countryside. It’s a collection of 19 windmills dating from around 1740. This is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands, and it’s a fabulous place to explore.

It’s also a beautifully green and pretty area, especially in summer. Offering a bit of tranquil relief from the busy centre of nearby Rotterdam, Kinderdijk is definitely one of the best places to visit in The Netherlands. 

Haarlem

places to visit in the netherlands

For a taste of ordinary Dutch life, head to Haarlem. Just a few minutes from Amsterdam by train, this pretty town has a canal lined with picturesque Dutch architecture, but it’s much quieter than its popular neighbour and is a great place to unwind.

Like the rest of The Netherlands, it’s a pretty quirky city; don’t miss the chemist at number 3 Gierstraat, which dates from 1849 and is one of the oldest shops in Haarlem. I also loved the Jopenkerk Bar, a brewery and beer hall housed in a converted church – great for live music, good beer, and stunningly atmospheric.

Maastricht

Maastricht Netherlands

One city I’ve not yet had a chance to visit, but which comes very highly recommended, is Maastricht. Since it’s quite far from Rotterdam I wasn’t able to make it there during my last trip. A picturesque town situated on both banks of the Maas River, Maastricht is considered one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in The Netherlands.

If you have a great recommendation to add to this list – leave a comment! I’d love more suggestions. 

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Award-winning writer and solo female travel blogger on a mission to explore the world through deeper travel. Lover of fun, adventure, food, Harry Potter, hiking, beaches, and chatting about the weather. Can be bought with cake.

12 Comments

  1. I went to Middelburg in the south and absolutely loved it. It’s basically a whole town made of brick. There are two great windmills, beautiful canals and while it’s not necessarily a big tourist destination, that’s also what makes it so nice. It’s just you and the locals…and beauty.

    • Ah excellent thank you for the recommendation. That sounds excellent – especially if there aren’t many tourists. That’s always a big appeal for me :)

    • Sorry, finished the last comment before saying the rest, which was that I’m really looking forward to seeing these five locations! Middelburg is the only place I went in the Netherlands, and these are great locations for the bucket list. Next year for sure!

      • Awesome, if you do go back you should definitely try to swing by a few of these! I recommend Utrecht most of all – it’s just a really lovely, sweet city and there’s something about it which is really nice. A lot of Dutch people we met also said it’s there favourite city – our friends were even moving there from Haarlem – so I take that as proof that it’s a good city :)

  2. I went to Maastrict a few years ago, just before Christmas. It was amazing. It’s a real foodie place with amazing views and sights. I swear I came back 1/2 a stone heavier. I would definitely recommend it, it’s got such an interesting, hidden history too.

    Sally @ Life Loving

    • Oh wow, now I want to visit even more! It’s one of a few places in The Netherlands left on my list – hoping to go back in summer this time (after three winter visits!) and make it down to Maastrict. Thanks for commenting!

  3. I totally agree with #5! :)

  4. The market in Edam is very nice. Not far from Amsterdam and, in the Spring, you pass many fields of tulips on the way there.

  5. I completely agree with this list. Though, I would add Alkmaar. Still in North Holland and north of Amsterdam. In the spring and summer, they have a famous cheese market, but the highlight is wandering through the streets and the insane canal cruise!

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