The older I get the more fascinated I become with my surroundings. When I was little my parents always tried to drag me around forests, valleys and castles in The Netherlands. Those were – quoting the little girl I was back then – ‘the most horrible days of the year’. Yeah, not so much now anymore. While definitely realizing that the other side of the planet is incredibly beautiful, I keep finding out more and more about the most beautiful landscapes and cities in The Netherlands. Truly: Amsterdam (and maybe the kinderdijk and the tulip fields) aren’t the only places you should visit while being in The Netherlands. There are so many more, beautiful places in this small country that are definitely worth visiting.
The best part about the Netherlands is that everything is easy to travel to. Public transport, and I know that I have said this many, many times before, is so incredibly good, which makes it so, so easy to travel around the country. You don’t have to spend weeks and weeks in the Netherlands to see everything the country has to offer. You only will need one thing: your train ticket, from Amsterdam to any of the places I am naming in this article, or to the places I mentioned in a previous article I wrote: five cities to visit in The Netherlands besides Amsterdam.
Texel is my home away from home. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve spent my Christmas holiday here. Always in the same village, always in the same chateau. I absolutely adore Texel. Texel is the first, and the biggest island of The Netherlands. In summer this island is the decor of Dutch and German tourism. The beaches are packed, the beach clubs are opened and the villages are alive. The other periods of the year (even in winter), Texel is peaceful, quiet, but oh so beautiful.
My favorite part of Texel is De Koog, a small village (as well the village where I always spent my Christmas) that is separated from the beach with just one dune.
I could go on and on about Texel for hours. But since I am visiting it soon enough, I can show you and talk about it then. Until then you can feast your eyes on this article: Snapshots of Texel.
De Veluwe is the biggest, most known and probably best visited national park of The Netherlands. Beautiful, expansive meadows, deep and green forests and peace and quietness is all there to surround you. Next to beautiful nature De Veluwe is also one of the best places to spot the sorts of wildlife you can find in The Netherlands. At this national park you can find for example: deers, foxes, moufflins and wild pigs.
If you only choose to visit one national park in The Netherlands it definitely should be De Veluwe.
Valkenburg is one other personal favorite of mine. A small village close to the southern border of The Netherlands. There are four things I especially like about this village.
One: Valkenburg is old, and you can see marks of that everywhere around the city. You can for example visit the castle of Valkenburg, look out over the city from one of the ruins and walk around the old streets and buildings.
Two: Valkenburg is one of the most touristic places of Southern Netherlands and you can definitely notice seeing the number of restaurants, events and markets. The vibe in Valkenburg always is the best.
Three: Valkenburg is close to the Vaalserberg: the highest mountain (or well, let’s keep it reel: the highest hill) of The Netherlands. This hill also happens to mark the ‘drielanden punt’ or in English: the three-country point. So as you can probably guess: this point is the part of the country where the border crosses the border of Belgium and Germany. Here you can eat at a restaurant, walk around the Vaalserberg and wander off in a maze – yes, an actual maze.
Four: The Christmas market of Valkenburg is my favorite of the country. The whole center of Valkenburg is decorated with decorative lights, every restaurant is colored in Christmas lights and the Christmas market itself is just the best. Did I already tell you I was a Christmas person?
When talking about cities that are build on canals in The Netherlands you’ll often hear the same list of cities: Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leiden, Delft or even Giethoorn. But let us just talk about Hoorn for a second. Next to the fact that Hoorn is an absolutely stunning, ancient and cute city it is also wonderful to visit because of the next two reasons:
One: Hoorn has been built centuries ago, right where it is built, thanks to strategic reasons. Because of this, the city is looking as old as it looked so many years ago. Similar to Amsterdam.. similar to every other ancient Dutch town actually. But the big difference: because it isn’t as well known as the bigger cities, it is far more peaceful!
Two: thanks to the fact that Hoorn is built at the edge of the Markermeer (or the Marker lake) Hoorn also is surrounded by beautiful nature, facing the most beautiful view over the lake and also is the home of a city beach and boulevard.
Up in the North of the Netherlands you’ll find national park Lauwersmeer. A big lake surrounded by beautiful nature landscapes and of course: the beach. Next to the fact that Lauwersmeer is absolutely beautiful it is also one of the best places in the Netherlands to spend your time. This place is both peaceful as well as the best place to get active. Get in touch with the sport side of the Netherlands and learn how to sail, how to windsurf or of course you can hike or bike through the park – as Dutch do.
Terschelling is the second biggest island of The Netherlands, situated close to my favorite island: Texel. Because Terschelling is less big, it is also a bit less touristic. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit. Terschelling has a similar nature to Texel, but the cities have their own atmosphere. Because it is so small it is easy to discover and to see in a short amount of time. What more could you wish for?
So if you want to visit a second national park of The Netherlands I urge you to visit national park Biesbosch. While in some ways similar to the Veluwe, park Biesbosch definitely has her own charms. Biesbosch for example has a lot more rivers, creeks and water streaming through her nature, which makes for an absolute beautiful sight at every corner. You can discover national park Biesbosch from land or from water, get active, spot flora and fauna and enjoy the quietness.
Surrounded with water, at the south-west of The Netherlands you’ll find Zierikzee – the trading capital of the province Zeeland. I love to visit Zeeland overall. It is fun, has a cosy feeling to it and you are always close to the beach – and being close to the beach for sure is the way I like to spend my days. From Zeeland I picked Zierikzee, one of the – what I think is the – most beautiful cities of this part of the Netherlands.
Find out more about Yvonne
Hi! I’m Yvonne, a 20 year old something girl based in The Netherlands. I’ve always lived in the same part of The Netherlands, I grew up in this part and I have my family and friends in this part of the Netherlands. Still, while a big part of me loves to be right here, another part of my is always looking for a way to ‘get out’.