Who hasn't been dreaming about Netherlands -- wandering around Amsterdam's canals, using drugs legally, and strolling through the endless tulip fields? Although most visitors to the Netherlands only visit Amsterdam, the Netherlands have a lot more to offer.
Most places of interest are located quite close to each other, keeping the travel distance between each of the main cities under an hour. It is easy to visit several places of interest in the Netherlands in one trip.
There is a great amount of hostels in Netherlands. In almost every city, a Netherlands hostel can be booked and in the bigger cities there's a big choice of Netherlands hostels. The prices may differ a lot, depending on time of booking, time of the year, and availability. In particular in the bigger cities, Netherlands hostels range from very basic to more luxurious and from locations in the quiet neighbourhoods to the city centre. Local public transport in Netherlands is relatively expensive, so this might be something to consider when booking a hostel.
Amsterdam is by far the most visited city in the Netherlands by tourists. The charming canals, historical museum, the idea of smoking weed legally in one of the coffee shops (which is possible everywhere in the Netherlands), and the Red Light District are only a few of the attractions in Amsterdam. Amsterdam also offers easy day trips to nearby places, such as the famous tulip fields at the Keukenhof in spring, the Friday cheese market in Alkmaar in spring and summer, and the windmills at Zaanse Schans.
Amsterdam is not the only city in the Netherlands with charming canals and more bicycles than cars. Utrecht and Delft are pretty cities with similarities to Amsterdam, but are far less touristy and therefore much more authentic. Each of these three cities are student cities and offer many bars and a good nightlife. Visiting one or both of these cities will enrich your experience of visiting the Netherlands.
The Hague (Den Haag in Dutch) is another city worth visiting and the seat of Dutch parliament and government and home to the king's residence. The city is also home to the International Court of Justice. The city doesn't have as many picturesque canals as Amsterdam, Delft, and Utrecht, but is also a pretty and vibrant city. Visitors to The Hague can also enjoy the Netherlands' most popular beach, named Scheveningen. It's got many nice cafes, a vibrant boulevard, and in particular in summer many events are organized on the beach.
Rotterdam is a city totally different than any other Dutch city. Don't expect a lot of seventeenth-century architecture as in most other Dutch cities. Rotterdam is praised for its modern architecture. Rotterdam also has Europe's largest port, which can be visited by boat tour from the centre. To some people, Rotterdam seems a boring at first. The trick is to talk to locals to find the good spots, as they are a bit hidden and you have to know where to go. However, there is a reason that several guidebooks recently put it on top of their must-see destinations.
Among other cities that are worth a visit are Groningen, Maastricht, Leiden, and Haarlem. Those who like to spend some time in nature may like to visit the Frisian Islands and the Veluwe. Giethorn is one of the prettiest towns in the Netherlands and definitely worth a visit. As there are no roads, the only way to get around is by boat.
Hi, I'm Martin Straatman,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Netherlands hostels. Welcome.
I lived in Soest as a child. It was so wonderful, quaint, and friendly. I can't wait to take my children to see how non-Americans live.
This small city is really really beautiful! Enjoy walking through the old streets and take a sit in the Grote Market, the central square of Haarlem -- full of life during the day and with some pubs and street musicians at night. It's peaceful, but not boring!
Groningen is a sweet town - definitely worth a 25 euro train ride from Amsterdam. Lots of Pubs, big student population, this town rocks until 6 in the morning.
The best thing about Amsterdam (that isn't inhaled) are all the cheap falafel places. Look for one with a bar that lets you add your own toppings.