The Netherlands, home of the canals, tulips, and Edam cheese is buzzing with alternative, yet stunning, places for you to visit. While you probably know all about the big cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the country is uncharted territory when it comes to unique travel destinations. So, check out our top picks of the country’s most beautiful spots to discover a different side of Holland.
1. Giethoorn: The Venice of the Netherlands
As you may have guessed, this idyllic village gets its nickname from its many canals. The picturesque village can be explored by bicycle or by boat as the centre is virtually car-free. Explore the thatched-roof houses, the wooden bridges decorated with flowers, and the delightful farms. In the summer, you can get around by boat, and, in the winter, it’s ice skates all the way!
2. Zaanse Schans: The Open-Air Dutch Museum
The stunning region of Zannse Schans will leave you feeling like you’ve gone back in time. Located in the Dutch town of Zaandam, the area is known for its well-preserved windmills and green wooden houses. Looking like something out of a dutch postcard, this traditional Dutch village will give you an authentic taste of life in the 18th century. Visit the shipyard, the old grocery store and even the pewter factory to learn all about the work of the local craftsmen. Iconic and idyllic!
3. Efteling: The World of Wonders
The mythic land of Efteling is the Netherland’s largest amusement park and the stuff of fairytales. The amusement park is divided into different zones, each one dedicated to a different legend. Enjoy thrilling rides amongst stunning gardens and a magical ambience. Take your pick from exploring the park from above, aboard the Monorail, to losing yourself in the Fairytale forest. A perfect way to spend a day in an alternative reality!
4. Lisse: The Endless field of bulb flowers
The beautiful town of Lisse is home to one most breathtaking landscapes of the Netherlands. Picture a colourful field of flowers that looks like it’s come straight out of a painting. Venture to Keukenhof Gardens, one of the world’s largest botanical gardens, to see the tulips bursting with colour from March to May. Make sure you have your camera at the ready, and, if you are feeling creative, a paintbrush!
5. Kasteel de Haar: The Fairytale Castle
Located just half an hour away from Amsterdam, the largest castle in Holland is a sight to behold. Explore the many luxuries of the castle, including the stunning antique furniture and priceless buildings. Also, venture to the colourful gardens that were specially designed by architects Hendrik Copijn and Pierre Cuypers. Make sure to also stop by the charming chapel and the rose garden, which has over 80 different species of roses. All in all, a lovely way to spend the day in Holland!
6.Wadden Sea: The Stopover site of 1 million birds
This Unesco World Heritage site is relatively young in years, being a mere 7,000 years old. If you were to walk across this unique “sea”, you would find yourself standing on sandbeds the one moment and immersed in water the next. The sea is home to 50 islands, with five of them belonging to the Netherlands. Spend a day exploring the islands and discovering the rich flora and fauna of the area. Be on the lookout for seals, porpoises and lots of exotic-looking birds- afterall, the site is home to over 1 million birds at any time of the year!
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