Now here’s a not-so-easy task to do – choose the 8 most beautiful places in a country where every nook and corner is Instagram-perfect. The Netherlands is a magical country that is home to gorgeous tulip fields, windmills, canals and centuries-old castles and palaces. It is known for its cheeses, beaches, museums and idyllic villages. Simply strolling along medieval streets or cycling around the country is enchanting and fairy-tale-like.
This list of the prettiest places in the Netherlands can serve as a guide to get you started. It is definitely not limiting. You will never run out of delightful spots all over the country. But if you were made to choose just 8 places to see, then consider this list.
The prettiest places in The Netherlands
Every Dutch adventure begins in the capital city. Needless to say, Amsterdam is the largest, happiest, most vibrant and most happening cosmopolitan city in Holland. The tourist landmarks, cultural hotspots and must-see attractions are in abundance, including unforgettable nightlife.
Millions of tourists come here every year for a variety of reasons, but the leading destinations are Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, the lovely Amsterdam canals and the controversial Red Light District.
The Grachtengordel – the central area where you can see the canals, bridges and quaint 17th-century canal houses – is one of the dreamiest spots you can find in all of Europe, if not the world. After sunset, turn your attention to the Red Light District or De Wallen area to see the true beauty of Netherlands – not the brothels or sex-themed attractions, but the openness and acceptance.
You should know that De Wallen, in addition to the cannabis coffee shops and neon-lit brothel windows, is also popular for the art studios and cool hipster hangouts.
Rotterdam prides itself as the second-most important city in Holland, although a number of Rotterdammers would say it is more beautiful than Amsterdam. Rotterdam is the second-largest city and one of the world’s largest and busiest ports. It is best known for its waterside setting, cutting-edge architecture and high commercial importance.
Rotterdam is popular for Rotterdam Zoo, the monumental Cross Erasmus Bridge, Grote of Sint Laurenskerk or Great Church of Rotterdam constructed in 1449, the White House (The Witte Huis), which is an Art Nouveau-style skyscraper built in 1898, and Market Hall for its stunning architecture that always catches the wonder of tourists, artists and anyone who appreciates modern urban ingenuity.
The Hague plays an important role in promoting justice and equality in the world. Airy and sophisticated, The Hague comes after Amsterdam and Rotterdam in size, charm and importance. People come here to see the outstanding architecture, lovely squares and fine art museums, as well as the beaches, posh neighborhoods, shiny skyscrapers and excellent shopping.
Other attractions in the city are Madurodam, the Prison Gate Museum (Gevangenpoort), the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis and Binnenhof.
Known as the “Judicial Capital of the World”, The Hague is a symbol of international peace and understanding, and home to the important Peace Palace, the country’s centre for international law and justice. The International Court of Justice, Academy of International Law, Permanent Court of Arbitration, and an international law library are within the Peace Palace.
Stepping inside the quaint village of Giethoorn is like walking inside a fairy-tale storybook. This little town in the northeastern Dutch province of Overijssel, is beautiful for its idyllic waterways and very Instagrammable thatched-roof farm houses shrouded in greenery. Giethoorn has over 55 miles of canals, hundreds of wooden arch bridges and streets with no cars.
Other than the water, the most popular attractions are the interesting museums, quirky shops, picturesque cycling routes and the nearby De Weerribben-Wieden National Park, a treasure trove of wetlands, reed beds, and wildlife.
One of the country’s greatest attractions and widely known around the continent, the Keukenhof Gardens is the biggest flower garden in Europe and second-largest in the world. Often referred to as “The Garden of Europe”, Keukenhof is located between Amsterdam and The Hague, in the Bulb region.
There are 7 million reasons why Keukenhof is included in this list – 7 million bulbs in full bloom with a magnificent spectacle of colours and scents. Walking along this wide expanse of flowers is what dreams are made of.
The garden is open only in spring – just two months every year – yet it remains one of Holland’s leading destinations. It is simply spectacular.
Delft is another charming Dutch city that is world-famous for its blue and white pottery (Delftware) and for being the hometown of Vermeer, the renowned master who painted the “Girl With a Pearl Earring”. Located in the province of South Holland, between Rotterdam and The Hague, Delft attracts a stream of visitors and fans for its quaint churches, unique museums, beautiful historical buildings lining pretty canals, lovely parks, and bars and cafés.
In contrast with the busyness of Amsterdam and industry of Rotterdam, Delft is relaxed and laidback, with its well-preserved city centre from the Middle Ages, along with idyllic canals.
Windmills of Kinderdijk
If you came to Holland to see the windmills, as did millions of other tourists, then you should head your way to Kinderdijk to see 19 old and gigantic windmills.
The windmills of Kinderdijk are one of the most famous and surreally beautiful sights in the Netherlands. Designed in 1740 to drain the Alblasserwaard polders and to prevent flooding, the windmills were perfectly preserved ever since and are now protected by UNESCO. Thanks to these gigantic man-made structures, the village of Kinderdijk has remained dry and above water today.
The best time to visit is from April to the end of October when the public is allowed to enter and explore one of these ancient generators. Kinderdijk in the province of South Holland, about 15 km east of Rotterdam.
It may not be as popular as Amsterdam or Rotterdam, but Haarlem has the highest concentration of museums in the Netherlands. Located about 20 km west of Amsterdam, on the banks of the River Spaarne, Haarlem has much more history than the capital, as it is older.
Haarlem is quite simply beautiful and stunning, if only for the historic St. Bavokerk or Grote Kerk (Big Church), which was built on the spot of a burnt down 12th-century church and officially became a cathedral in 1557. It is said that young Mozart and other famous musicians played in this church using the same organ that still stands today. Equally charming is the market square (Grote Markt), where many of the city’s landmarks are located.
A number of tourists mistakenly come to the Netherlands thinking that after experiencing Amsterdam they’ve seen it all. This is absolutely false. Holland is home to breathtaking attractions in all its cities and villages. Now, it’s time for you to add to the list above, or better yet come up with your own listing of the best places in the Netherlands.
Ask The Dutch Guy is your go-to guide when it comes to The Netherlands. The goal of Ask The Dutch Guy is to showcase the beauty of The Netherlands and to inspire others to explore the country. Read more about Ask The Dutch Guy. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Have you been to The Netherlands before? Where do you think are the prettiest places in The Netherlands? Let me know in the comment below.
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