Amsterdam is only one of the incredibly unique places within the Netherlands, and if you don’t see them, you’re missing out on some spectacular sights. Year-round you’ll find plenty of things to do in the Netherlands, from offshore on Texel Island to the Garden of Europe in Lisse and festivals in Rotterdam.

    Whether you’re looking for a quiet weekend getaway to a charming village by the water, or a cultural hotspot with colourful nightlife, you’ll find it all just a short distance from Amsterdam. Learn about some of the best places to visit outside Amsterdam on a road trip through the Netherlands.

    1

    Texel Island

    Escape to a hidden island with sandy beaches

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    Texel Island is located in North Holland in the Wadden Sea and is the largest of the West Frisian Islands. Its characteristic sandy beaches and grassy dunes can be reached via a quick ferry trip from Den Helder.

    Visitors can check out the Dunes of Texel National Park, centring around the island’s rich natural ecosystem and diverse wildlife. You can head up to the northern part of the island to see the Eierland Lighthouse, overlooking spectacular views of the Wadden and North Seas.

    Location: Ruijslaan 92, 1796 AZ De Koog, Netherlands

    Phone: +31 (0)22 231 7741

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    2

    Lisse and Keukenhof

    Wander the paths in a massive garden

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    Keukenhof is known as the “Garden of Europe” and is one of the largest flower gardens in the world. Located in Lisse, Keukenhof Park is adjacent to its namesake Castle Keukenhof, a historic manor house.

    Keukenhof’s world-renowned 8-week tulip display is open to the public from mid-March to mid-May, when thousands of vibrant blooms can be enjoyed. The park and castle grounds are open year-round, featuring formal gardens and tours and annual family-friendly events and festivities. In Lisse, you can also visit the Museum de Zwart Tulp to learn about the Dutch tulip region’s colourful history.

    Location: Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands

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    3

    Kinderdijk

    See fascinating historic windmills

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    Kinderdijk is a charming village in Molenlanden, east of Rotterdam, and sits at the confluence of the Noord and Lek rivers. This area of the Alblasserwaard polder is well-known for its collection of 19 historic windmills, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    The Kinderdijk windmills are surrounded by a network of waterways, bike paths and foot trails, great for exploring on a road trip. The visitor’s centre provides more information about the region’s history and museums located inside some of these preserved windmills.

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    4

    Volendam, Marken and Edam

    Experience traditional Dutch culture

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    Volendam, Marken and Edam are villages located around the Waterland area, each known for their own old-world Dutch charm. Marken is a peninsula in the Markermeer, connected to the mainland by a causeway. Edam and Volendam are located on the mainland in North Holland, just across the water from Marken.

    Volendam is known for traditional Dutch costumes, which you can learn about within the village’s museum, and even try on yourself. Edam is best recognised as the origin for the cheese which shares its name, and summer visitors can see weekly reenactments of the village’s historical cheese markets. Marken’s idyllic wooden houses are incredibly picturesque, set on the sleepy village’s scenic island landscape.

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    5

    Hoge Veluwe National Park

    See the landscape of the Netherlands

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    Hoge Veluwe National Park is one of the largest national reserves in the Netherlands, located in the province of Gelderland, in the Veluwe. The park does charge an entrance fee to visitors but provides a free bike-sharing system within its borders, as much of the park is inaccessible to cars.

    At the Hoge Veluwe National Park visitor’s centre, you can learn about the region’s history, as well as its geology and biology within the Museonder museum. The Kröller-Müller Museum houses a historic art collection, including pieces by Vincent Van Goh and Pablo Picasso. The park is home to diverse wildlife, ranging from deer and wild boar to mouflon, foxes and badgers.

    Phone: +31 55 833 0833

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    6

    Delft

    Enjoy the views of artists' homes

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    Delft is a city in South Holland, part of Rotterdam—The Hague Metropolitan Area and Randstad. Delft is famous for many reasons, including its connection to the House of Orange-Nassau, its unique pottery and several renowned painters' homes.

    Visitors can see sights like the Botanical Garden of Delft University, Nieuwe Kerk containing the burial vault of the Dutch royal family and the Prinsenhof Museum. Culture in Delft includes sites about Johannes Vermeer and other native Dutch painters and the region’s traditional blue Delft pottery ceramics.

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    7

    Scheveningen Beach

    Relax in a seaside resort area

    Scheveningen is located within The Hague and is a popular seaside resort best known for its long stretch of sandy beach and a pier, esplanade and a historic lighthouse. Though Scheveningen draws visitors to the coast year-round, it’s trendy in warm weather for water sports like kiteboarding and windsurfing.

    There’s plenty of things to do around Scheveningen Beach, with annual events like the Winter Swim on New Year’s Day, springtime Flags Day celebrations and fireworks displays throughout the summer. You can explore a miniature city at Madurodam, see the sculptures displayed at Beelden aan Zee and check out the Scheveningen pleasure pier over the water. The area also offers vibrant nightlife across seaside bars, restaurants and local entertainment spots.

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    8

    Rotterdam

    Enjoy the thrilling nightlife

    Rotterdam’s many nicknames include 'Gateway to Europe' and 'Gateway to the World', given the city’s massive distribution system through waterways, railways and roads. The city is located in South Holland and can trace its long-running history back to the 13th century.

    Rotterdam is a cultural hotspot, with attractions ranging from orchestra performances to theatres and cinemas, dance clubs, aquariums and art galleries. The city also boasts hundreds of unique modern architectural features, including the Markthal, the Erasmusbrug and the Euromast. You’ll also find annual events held year-round in Rotterdam, including popular summer cultural and music festivals.

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    9

    Utrecht

    Immerse yourself in local culture

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    Utrecht is located in the centre of the Netherlands, with a historic past dating back to the High Middle Ages. The city hosts a staggering amount of cultural events year-round, drawing visitors from all over the Netherlands.

    You can explore historic sites in Utrecht, like the old centre of the inner city, with its uniquely curved canal and medieval structures, as well as several opulent gothic churches. The city is home to many museums and cultural centres and public art features like the Letters of Utrecht, an endless poem written in the cobblestones.

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    10

    Giethoorn

    Travel along glistening waterways

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    Giethoorn is a Dutch town often referred to as the 'Venice of the Netherlands' crisscrossed by canals and waterways with vehicle access virtually nonexistent. The city is located within the province of Overijssel, southwest of Steenwijk.

    The old traditional village of Giethoorn has added some modern access for visitors. Still, the town is only fully accessible by boat, making it a charming spot for a day trip or weekend getaway. Be sure to bring your camera, as the canals and lakes that stream through the town provide a stunning backdrop for pictures. Be sure to check out the Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus to learn about the region’s history and farming.

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