Canals of Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, Keukenhof Spring Gardens — all of these are beautiful and fascinating attractions, but the Netherlands has so much more to offer. Dodge the tourist traps and discover unique tours, activities, and sights to see. We’ve collected 10 “unknown” places in the Netherlands that enchanted us, and we’re sure you will fall in love with them too.
1. Zaanse Schans
Relive the 18th and 19th centuries with windmills as far as the eye can see in Zaanse Schans. And what better way to admire them than on a boat tour? History is not only wrapped up in these beautiful windmills, but is all over the town. Discover various traditional Dutch creations at artisanal local craft shops. Visit the cheesemakers, learn all about the practice and (perhaps even more importantly) taste the delicacies. Would you like to get to work yourself? Then take a workshop in wooden clog painting. All in all, the Zaanse Schans is a unique place that is easy to explore – why not even do so on an electric scooter?
2. Kröller Müller Museum
The Hoge Veluwe is known as one of the most beautiful nature reserves in the Netherlands – and with good reason. Originally, the national park was mainly covered in forest, but logging and other practices have created out of it a unique landscape of drifting sands and heathland.
However, the Hoge Veluwe has more to offer than its natural beauty. In the heart of the forest, you will find the Kröller Müller Museum, with the second-largest Van Gogh collection in the world. Once there, explore the large sculpture garden with this tour.
3. Discover Kinderdijk
Close to Rotterdam, you’ll find one of the 10 UNESCO world heritage sites in the Netherlands: Kinderdijk. The best way to explore the village is by boat. With this guided tour, you’ll not only explore the waters of Kinderdijk but also get a look at two of the windmills. You can even learn all about this centuries-old Dutch tradition directly from the millers themselves. Our tip: Come early and bring your camera! The enchanting landscape, with a total of 19 mills and three pumping stations, makes Kinderdijk perhaps the most photogenic place in the Netherlands.
4. Freshen up in Zeeland
Come rain or shine, you can go anywhere in Zeeland. Explore one of the seven wonders of the modern world: Delta Works. Get to know the ins and outs of this impressive flood protection system with a day trip. In addition, two hidden gems in the region are the towns of Zierikzee and Veere.
Zeeland’s nature reserves are particularly varied: from beautiful forests to dunes and the Zeeland Riviera near Zoutelande. Discover Zeeland’s coast and its inhabitants by boat. Seals are easy to spot on the dry banks and with a bit of luck, the curious creatures will even swim past your boat!
5. Sallandse Heuvelrug
Probably one of the best hidden national parks of the Netherlands can be found in the heart of Overijssel. Between Holten and Nijverdal lies the Sallandse Heuvelrug. The 150,000-year-old moorland is now one of the most beautiful parks in the Netherlands. Out and about with small children? The play forest at Nijverdal is an unforgettable experience. Take it slow though, as this area offers enough entertainment for a longer holiday.
6. Hang around in Leeuwarden
Italy has the tower of Pisa — the Netherlands has the Oldehove. Unknown to many, Leeuwarden offers a unique chance to visit the leaning tower of Oldehove. After climbing a total of 183 steps, gaze at the beautiful view over the skyline. The capital of Friesland has an impressive canal network and a historic center. Put on comfy shoes and take a walk to discover the hidden spots around town with a local guide.
This is the most beautiful national park in the Netherlands that you can explore entirely from the water. You are probably familiar with Giethoorn, but the park where this iconic village is located is much less well known. National Park Weerribben-Wieden is the largest bog swamp in Europe. Giethoorn is fascinating and the best place to explore with a boat trip. Ideal for a day out with the family.
The rest of the national park contrasts sharply with the popular village. It is an oasis of peace for both humans and animals. Discover how open water slowly changes to land while kayaking. Beautiful butterflies, marsh birds, and otters can be seen in abundance here. That tells something about the water quality: It is excellent, so pack your swimwear. While you’re enjoying the natural beauty, another hidden gem worth checking out is Strijbeekse Heide.
8. Prince Town of Delft
Delft is known for its Delft blue (blue and white pottery), but in the Middle Ages, it was known as a real beer city, thanks to the great water quality in the canals. This later also contributed to the fast expansion of the city. Explore the stories and the historic city with a walking tour.
Thirsty? Then have a cup of tea in style, with a visit to the Delft blue factory. Royal Delft is the last factory that still makes Delftware according to the centuries-old tradition. The clay is poured into handmade shapes, after which the paintbrushes apply the well-known blue paint to the porcelain. Admire the complete collection, and take a closer look at the authentic production process.
9. Let’s go to Leiden
Leiden, Rembrandt’s hometown, is full of culture. Both the oldest theater and the oldest university in the Netherlands are located here. The university was donated to the city by William of Orange and has produced many famous alumni since, such as the reigning King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
The city’s historic canals are the perfect place to go to experience Leiden’s vibrant atmosphere. A unique way to really get to know this city is from a boat. You can explore the historic center, including Rembrandt’s birthplace and the beautiful canals at your leisure with this walking and boat trip. Not far from the city is the Kasteel de Haar (a castle that not many know of). The best way to explore it is with a guided tour.
10. Limburgs Heuvelland
The southernmost point of the country shouldn’t be missing from this list! The landscape in the south of Limburg is uncharacteristically Dutch. Caves and castles can be found on vast green hills. Very popular among hikers and people who want peace and quiet for the weekend. Walking makes you hungry — refuel after your hike with a bite of the delicious Limburg flan.
Beer lovers, this is for you! Gulpen hosts the most sustainable beer brewery in Europe. Gulpener brewery uses exclusively regional ingredients and the barley only comes from farmers in the region. Take a tour, taste the beer, or even get started with a brewing course yourself.
Still dreaming of a trip?
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