Where to go
Cosmopolitan Amsterdam offers the charming streets of Jordaan, the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. Get on a canal boat tour, take a break in a brown cafe, and wander through the buzzing nightlife of the red-light district. Visit the charming town of Haarlem and the sand dunes and forests of Texel. Taste some cheese in Edam and in Utrecht, get great views from the Domtoren and discover historic Amersfoort and majestic Kasteel de Haar. Enjoy water sports and boat cruises in Sneek, island-hopping in the Ijsselmeer, and the beach retreats of the Frisian Islands.
North of Leiden, tulips bloom at the sprawling Keukenhof Gardens. Visit the embassies and museums of The Hague, the ceramics factories of Delft, and the windmills at Kinderdijk along the Lek River. Take a walking tour through the modern architecture of Rotterdam with its iconic Erasmus Bridge. Cycle the vast Hoge Veluwe National Park, which contains the Kroller-Muller Museum famous for its Van Gogh collection. Explore the vibrant city of Groningen, walk on the Wadden mudflats into the North Sea, and view the hunebedden stone monuments. Sail through the unusual tunneled canals of Den Bosch, experience the lively diversity of Maastricht and marvel at the feat of engineering that is the Delta Project.
Distances are short, making it easy to get around. Trains are reasonable, reliable, and probably all you need for inter-city travel. Reservations aren't necessary and the Off-Peak Discount Pass is good value for extensive travel. Driving takes advantage of well-maintained roads and competitive rental prices. However, petrol and parking rates can be expensive.
The Netherlands is a country of water and ferries connect islands to the mainland, with boats on the numerous canals and waterways. You can hire a private boat to explore the lakes and seas at your own leisure and pace.
Most cities have buses and trams, although Amsterdam and Rotterdam also have subways. Taxis are expensive and usually have to be booked by phone. Dedicated bike lanes exist in every town and link up to form longer bike routes - theoretically, you could pedal-power your way around the entire country!
Do's and Don'ts
Do kiss three times on alternating cheeks (left, right, left) when greeting someone of the opposite sex.
While service charge is already included in restaurant bills, do leave a tip of up to 10% if you feel that service was good.
Don't call the Netherlands "Holland." Holland is a region within the Netherlands and not the entire country.
Don't show off your wealth or possessions. Dutch people are down to earth and dislike ostentation.
Did you know…?
The Netherlands is known as the bicycle capital of the world. Everybody, from businessmen to old grannies, rides a bike and there are 1.3 bicycles per person old enough to ride. With over 20,000km of bike paths crisscrossing a very flat country, do as the locals do and take a cycling holiday.
Amsterdam prides itself on its liberal and progressive culture. This is nowhere better seen than in its infamous red-light district, where women parade their wares in red-fringed windows, and brothels and sex shops cluster in each corner. Sensual and startling, an evening in the district is guaranteed to be exciting entertainment.
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.