Everyone knows Amsterdam. It’s the capital, it’s super easy to get to, and flights are cheap. And whilst it is an incredible place, there is soOoOo much more to the beautiful Netherlands, so I’m going to run down a few well known places and a couple of lesser known ones, that are definitely worth a visit.
I’ve waxed lyrical before on this blog about Utrecht. It’s potentially the most beautiful city I’ve been to, especially on a summers day. Kind of like a smaller Amsterdam, it still has the canals, but rows of bars and cafes run alongside them, whilst the shops are elevated, so it means you can enjoy a beer right next to the water, out the way of the shoppers! There’s also a long road full of vintage clothing stores, interior design homeware, and boutique art galleries. It’s a really awesome place, and only about 20 (ish) minutes on the train from Amsterdam!
You don’t get much more Dutch than Schiedam. There’s a heap of windmills, bridges and canals and all of them are impressive. It’s technically part of Rotterdam, and it’s only one stop on the train from there. There’s a yearly chocolate festival held here, which is a really good day out, and if you really want to cram your day full it’s possible to see Schiedam in it’s entirety and then see some of Rotterdam too. Which leads me on to…
Infinitely different to Amsterdam, Rotterdam is a city which could compete with the most metropolitan in the world. It’s probably the best city in the country for shopping, attracting all the big name brands and also chain restaurants which aren’t so common anywhere else. It also has big skyrise buildings unlike most Dutch cities. Super modern architecture everywhere, which is highlighted by the Markthal, the indoor market hall which is basically a giant piece of art. It’s incredible.
If you’re looking to visit the Netherlands at Christmas, there’s only one place you should go, and that’s Maastricht. It holds the biggest Christmas market in the country, fittingly called magic Maastricht. It’s honestly awesome, so many great stalls, a really amazing atmosphere, and the city itself is beautiful. It’s also really reasonably priced which is pretty rare for a place so popular with tourists. The ice skating and ferris wheel are both affordable alone, but they also offer joint tickets which include drinks vouchers and discounts.
I recommend Tiel, purely for one weekend of the year, and this weekend is the famous Appelpop festival. It’s the largest free festival in the Netherlands and attracts some big name acts! In 2016 I saw Crystal Fighters and loads of Dutch acts who attracted phenomenally big crowds. Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s small and lowkey, it’s a full on festival with multiple stages, food and drink stalls, merchandise, the works! And, if that’s not enough, the day before the festival there’s a carnival-esque parade, where the floats are decorated in fruits and vegetables, hence the appel in the name of the festival!
I hope I’ve sold some other cities to you, there really is so much more to the Netherlands, and I haven’t even touched on some of the other big cities like Den Haag and Groningen.
Thanks for reading! Please do follow me on here and my social medias too!