Netherlands which boasts a wealth of cultural heritage is famous for its art, windmills, clogs, museums, flower gardens and beaches. I have visited the Dutch nation a couple of times now and it has got a lot to offer. Right from the canals of Amsterdam to Volendam, Zaanse Schans and countryside villages to Keukenhof and tulip farms, it is a traveler’s and photographer’s delight.
Make sure to scroll down and read on Sandhya’s trip to the Netherlands too!
Amsterdam was also my first trip planned on my own, as all my previous trips were done via travel agents. The best part of planning on your own is you can visit any place of your choice and also spend as much time you want. I had to check on travel options from London. Flights and trains turned out to be a bit expensive and bus worked out to be cheaper. I booked overnight the bus which reached Amsterdam early morning. Got a good hotel close to station from where most places were accessible. Taking Iamsterdam, GVB cards worked effectively for roaming around. I had planned only three days as I didn’t have many leaves, and next year I planned for Keukenhof, Tulip festival was in full bloom. Both trips were memorable and I would love to walk you through with the pleasant memories I’ve had in Holland.
Tips before going to Holland
- Most Dutch people speak English, so no need to worry as people are also very friendly and helpful.
- It is worth taking the canal cruise and skip the hop on hop off buses. Even more better is to walk around the canals as you get the feel of city vibes.
- Weather is unpredictable in Holland, as it rains every now and then. Make sure you carry an umbrella.
- Certain drugs are legal in Amsterdam, so be cautious while going to any of coffee shops. It is better to go to cafe instead, if you want to drink something.
- Watch on both sides while crossing road, there are thousands of bicycles which zip through very fast.
- Get museum tickets online to avoid the busy queues. There are over 50 museums and make sure to decide which ones you want to visit earlier.
- Outside of Amsterdam is the beautiful countryside of Holland, so make sure you plan two to three days in the surrounding villagea and towns.
Top Places to visit in Holland
Zaanse Schans : A half day or full day visit to the windmills and distinctive green wooden houses is totally worth it. Takes you back to old Holland of 18th century fairytale spots where you will get ancient vibes. The Zaanse Museum has regional costumes which you could try, model windmills and interactive exhibits on chocolate making. Direct buses go from Amsterdam Central.
Keukenhof : Also called ‘Garden of Europe’, it is the most beautiful spring location of Holland filled with vibrant tulips of all colors, more than millions of flowers being grown here. It is a photographer’s delight. Keukenhof is open only during months of March to May, mid April being the best time to see the tulips fully bloomed. hence plan it accordingly. There is direct bus from Schipol airport to Keukenhof.
Volendam, Muiden & Edam : More countryside villages can be explored here. It’s Holland’s best fishing village, plus we get the best Dutch seafood, local beers to have the best evenings enjoying by the harbour. Don’t miss out the Cheese factory here and also try out some of Holland pastries and cookies, they are very much unique in taste. There are direct buses from Amsterdam Central to these villages.
Amsterdam canals: It gives you the feeling of Venice with canals all around. These canals are so beautiful by night and good for photography during daytime. It’s best to take a long stroll around few canals to get the feel of Amsterdam. There are lots of local pubs around, where you can relax for a beer or a glass of wine. Or you can just cycle around the beautiful city. I went by the canal cruise in the evening to get more of the Amsterdam experience.
Museums of Amsterdam: Holland is famous for its art and paintings. Popular museums such as Anne Frank, Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum can be visited if you are a history lover. Having Iamsterdam card or day passes gives you a good offer on museum entry rates.
Red Light District : Yet another popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam is the Red Light District area. It is a very interesting experience for all adults. The area comes to life in the evenings with its red lanterns and entertaining ladies of the night. Photos are not allowed here, so be cautious.
These would be the main places to visit around Holland and Amsterdam. If you are planning for a week or so, I would advice to visit Madurodam model village, Geithoorn (Venice of Holland), visit beaches around Harlem, get the Heineken experience in Amsterdam, Madamme Tussauds museum, stroll around Vondelpark, Royal palace of Amsterdam, Nemo science center etc. There is quite a lot to see around in Holland and make wonderful memories. I am signing off with some beautiful pics, but scroll below to see and read more on Sandhya’s experience!
Hi everyone, Sandhya here from Travel n Better Blog!! Vijay has detailed very well about Holland and Amsterdam already. I will add a little of my experience especially since I visited Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans and The Hague during winter/Christmas time.
Amsterdam: I was lucky enough to be supported and to collaborate with Iamsterdam – their city card provided free transport and also access to many museums and other discounts. Below are my pics from Amsterdam – it was my first solotrip to Europe and I loved every second of it. Click on the pics to see the captions and also to view full size.
Zaanse Schans: I took a day trip to Zaanse Schans and loved every bit of it! I am so glad I went. It was so beautiful, breezy and less crowded compared to Amsterdam. It is the windmill town with plenty to do and see.
The Hague: The Hague/Den Haag is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. I did a daytrip to this city too and loved it. It was so so windy and has a beautiful beach and view of the ocean. It was super cold and I loved that! Coming from Chennai and Singapore, I love winters 🙂