This post about top places to visit in the Netherlands has been written by an ex resident – Alara Benlier. The suggested Netherlands itinerary and route map has been added by the editor.
What’s the first image that comes to your mind when someone mentions the Netherlands? I bet it’s the colorful tulips, spectacular windmills, delicious waffles, loads of bicycles, gouda cheese, or the narrow canals. Yes, the Netherlands has all of that but also a lot more.
The Netherlands has an amazing art scene, medieval towns, music festivals, a many lovely towns that are along the water. You will fall in love with the old brick buildings, rich history, liberal culture and many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Netherlands is awesome and it will steal your heart.
Geographically flat, the Netherlands is the perfect place to bicycle. This amazing country has some of the most bicycle friendly places in the world. Maybe because of this, the Dutch are extremely fit and sporty. In a way, the Dutch are like the Australians of Europe. They’re awesome! Make sure you talk to a few locals and get to know them when you visit the Netherlands.
The most famous destination in the Netherlands is Amsterdam – but you know that already. It is a part of every single itinerary for the Netherlands. But hey, don’t miss out on all the other amazing things to do in the Netherlands just because of Amsterdam. If you’re visiting this amazing country, then don’t just spend all of your time in Amsterdam. Here are the top places to visit in the Netherlands, check them out.
Places to visit in the Netherlands (+ Netherlands Itinerary Route Map)
- Maastricht – along the River Maas – Day 1
- Efteling, Kaatsheuvel – Fairytale Theme Park – Day 2
- Rotterdam – the Cubic Houses – Day 3
- Delft – Gouda, Ceramics & Historical Canals – Day 4
- Den Haag / the Hague – Town Square and Scheveningen Beach – Day 5
- Lisse – the Keukenhof Flower Gardens – Day 6
- Zandvoort – the Beaches – Day 7
- Haarlem – History, Shopping & Windmill Adriaan – Day 8
- Amsterdam – Canals, Coffeeshops, Red Light District, Museums – Days 9, 10 & 11
- Giethoorn – Canal Town with no Streets – Day 11 or Day 12
- Netherlands Itinerary Suggested Route [Summary] + MAP
- About the writer:
Important notes about this itinerary:
- Before you go further, we’d like to mention that this itinerary has been designed assuming you’re entering the Netherlands from Belgium or Germany. In case you’re flying into the Netherlands and landing in Amsterdam, then you should do this itinerary in reverse. In that case, you will start your Netherlands trip in Amsterdam and end in Maastricht. Be sure to read our detailed itinerary for Amsterdam for an epic trip.
- Please note that some of the destinations on this Netherlands itinerary are seasonal. The Keukenhof Flower Gardens in Lisse are only open during spring. The beach destinations like Zandvoort and Scheveningen Beach are not worth visiting during winter months.
Maastricht – along the River Maas – Day 1
Maastricht is a magical city that stands along the Maas river, which is located in the south of the Netherlands. The city is jeweled with lots of old buildings, splendid churches, restaurants that serve fine cuisine and cute shops.
If you want to experience the whole city in a couple of hours, you have to check out the city center which is called the Vrijthof. The Vrijthof has the most picturesque stops in Maastricht, which include the old buildings and cathedrals, many cafes, terraces, and outdoor events. You can even take a boat tour from here and see the landmarks of the city while sailing on the Maas river.
Amsterdam to Maastricht
You can reach Maastricht on a direct intercity train (2981) from Amsterdam. The journey will cost you between 25 – 30 Euros and takes around 2.5 hours.
Maastricht Hotels and Places to Stay
- Townhouse Maastricht: Situated in the historical part of Maastricht, this hotel has a vintage looking cozy sitting area with tonnes of books. This charming hotel combines ultra modern elements with vintage and the result is stunning. (Read TripAdvisor Reviews here)
- M-Maastricht: This old school holiday home is located next to St Servaas Bridge and as a result, the views are amazing. Apart from the bedroom and toilet, there’s also the kitchen – so you can cook your own food and save money.
Efteling, Kaatsheuvel – Fairytale Theme Park – Day 2
Have you ever dreamed of having no rules in an amusement park when you were a kid? If you did, you were not alone because Dutch people turned that dream into reality, and they called it Efteling!
Efteling is an amusement park from fairytales which is located in Kaatsheuvel, in the Netherlands. This amusement park is massive, it is twice as large as the original Disneyland park in California. There are lots of things to explore, and the park has attractions for both children and adults. From roller coasters to boat rides, elves to dwarves, fairytale forests to haunted houses, Efteling is for everyone.
The most famous attraction in Efteling is the Fairytale forest. In this forest, you can listen to fairy tales depicted in animated houses and statues with music! The Fairytale Forest is a lot of fun for kids and if you like fairy tales, you can also enjoy “experiencing” the fairytales!
If you want to visit here without kids and love scary rides, you can enjoy the Baron 1898, which is a scary dive coaster. Because this steep coaster dives into a hole in the ground, which is very dark and then comes out from a white fog it makes it quite an experience! If you are with older kids, you can enjoy the coaster called George and the Dragon, which has two wooden coasters (one of them is based on water and the other is on fire) on different rails, that race against each other!
One of the most important tips is to take your time and enjoy as many attractions as possible. You can also eat at many restaurants within the park, and also bring your own food and enjoy it in the picnic areas that the park offers. Visiting this amusement park might be very tiring for the young ones, so if you stay late, you can stay in its cozy hotels and even rent a house for the whole family.
Amsterdam to Efteling
From Amsterdam, get on a train to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a.k.a, Den Bosch and from there you will easily find a bus to Efteling. Another option is to take a train to Tilburg and from there take a bus to Efteling. In both the cases, you can buy a combination ticket that includes both train and bus. You can get the ticket in a vending machine at the train station.
Efteling Hotels and Places to Stay nearby
If you want to spend the night near Efteling, you should book a room in a town called Kaatsheuvel. Below are some places to stay in Kaatsheuvel:
- GuestHouse Hotel Kaatsheuvel: This ultra modern and contemporary hotel is situated very close to Efteling and you can just walk to the part from here. There is a supermarket under this hotel. (Read TripAdvisor reviews here)
- Hotel De Kroon: A budget hotel that is just 10 minutes walk away from Efteling. The rooms are very small here. (Read TripAdvisor reviews here)
Rotterdam – the Cubic Houses – Day 3
With its modern architecture, old harbor, and dynamic energy, Rotterdam is the second biggest city in the Netherlands. This gorgeous city is surrounded by innovative architectural designs, and one of the best designs is its famous Cubic Houses! These small yellow-grey houses were built in the late 1970s by an Amsterdam architect called Piet Blom, and since then, they are the landmark of the city.
The concept of these houses is very unique just like the houses itself. Every house represents a tree, and altogether they create a forest. You can find the Cubic Houses in the city center, right next to the Blaak tram station. If you would like to stay, you can book your room in the hostel inside the Cubic Houses.
Amsterdam to Rotterdam
Just like most of the cities in this post, Rotterdam can also be reached very easily on a direct train from Amsterdam. You can get on the intercity train 2274 from Amsterdam Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal. This journey will take you a little more than 1 hour. Alternatively, you can also get on to the sprinter train 4085, which will also take you from Amsterdam Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal in 75 minutes.
Rotterdam Hotels and Places to Stay
- CityHub Rotterdam: This is a one of a kind, ultra modern hotel with futuristic interiors. The guests can control their room settings with an app on their smartphones. (Read TripAdvisor Reviews here)
- CitizenM Rotterdam: It is a contemporary hotel that’s located in Oude Haven opposite Blaak Station. (Read TripAdvisor Reviews here)
- H2OTEL Rotterdam: This waterfront hotel is located in the heart of Rotterdam and is very beautiful. (Read TripAdvisor Reviews here)
Delft – Gouda, Ceramics & Historical Canals – Day 4
If you are into delicious gouda cheese, gorgeous ceramics & souvenirs, you have to visit the city Delft in the Netherlands! Delft is a cute and small city, which you can easily explore on foot or by bicycle. This city is blessed with the typical Dutch architecture and a splendid canal view, which makes it perfect to take epic pictures.
With its origins from the 11th century, Delft was always well-known for its ceramic pottery industry. This adorable city is also jeweled with plenty of historical monuments and stunning architecture such as the city hall.
The Delft City Hall is the heart of the city and surrounded by cheese shops, Delftware shops, and cute cafes. In the cheese shops, you can try every kind of famous Dutch cheese and also buy them as a souvenir! In the amazing Delftware shops, you can shop for ceramics painted with the famous Delft blue, and of course, you can enjoy your coffee in many cute cafés. So better visit Delft with an empty stomach! Around the city hall, you can also buy other souvenirs and enjoy the sight on the historic architecture.
Amsterdam to Delft
Get on to the intercity train 2280 from Amsterdam Centraal to reach Delft. The journey will just take one hour.
Delft Hotels and Places to Stay
Here are some places that we have handpicked for you to stay in Delft:
- Hotel Royal Bridges: This hotel is in the main square and is next to everything. If you arrive her by driving, then you may want to park at Prinzhof tram station. Read TripAdvisor review here.
- Hotel Grand Canal Delft Station: Located on one of the oldest canals, Hotel Grand Canal Delft Station has canal view rooms. Read TripAdvisor review here.
- Herberg de Vliegende Vos: or the Flying Fox was the birthplace for the painter Johannes Vermeer and is in the middle of the historic city. You can read the reviews about this place here.
Den Haag / the Hague – Town Square and Scheveningen Beach – Day 5
With its amazing museums, cool shops, and emerald green boulevards, Den Haag is one of the cities that shouldn’t be missed. Being the third-largest city of the Netherlands, Den Haag offers you to enjoy its beautiful beach along the North Sea. Den Haag is called “the Hague” in English. For the sake of ease, I will use these both the names here in this post.
While you’re in the Hague, you have the option of exploring the old town or the beach. You can start your day in the town, get to the main square in the centre – Plein. Plein is a Dutch word that means square in English. Walk to Binnenhof, click a few pictures of the historical buildings and then make your way to Lange Voorhout.
Lange Voorhout was once the Hague forest but is a square with a lot of trees. If you’re visiting Lange Voorhout on a Thursday or a Sunday, you will find a lovely antique market here. During summer, you can also see a free outdoor sculpture exhibition here, called Den Haag Sculptuur.
After a long day of traveling, you can relax at Scheveningen Beach and enjoy the beautiful sunset. Here is the largest pier in the Netherlands with its 60-meter lookout tower, bungee jumping facilities, casinos, and fancy restaurants.
Amsterdam to Den Haag
It is very easy to reach the Hague from Amsterdam on train, it will take you just 45 minutes. Look for a train from Amsterdam Centraal to Den Haag Centraal.
Den Haag Hotels and Places to Stay
Below are some hotels in Den Haag that we have handpicked for you:
- Hotel Mimosa: Mimosa hotel is pretty and is close to the sea. It is one of the most value for money hotel in the area. You can read the TripAdvisor reviews here.
- Boulevard Hotel: Boulevard Hotel is on a sandhill and overlooks the Scheveningen Beach. Read here what other travelers are saying about this place here.
Lisse – the Keukenhof Flower Gardens – Day 6
Lisse is a small town that’s famous for its colourful tulips, mostly in the Keukenhof flower gardens. If you’re traveling to the Netherlands in spring, then you should do everything you can to check out the world-famous Dutch tulips in Lisse.
With its amazing pavilions that show a fantastic collection of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises, and lilies, Keukenhof is the most famous and largest flower park in the world. This gorgeous park has a different theme each year, that’s why Keukenhof attracts over a million visitors. Note that, the flower park is open for just eight weeks from mid-March to mid-May each year.
One of the best ways to enjoy the Keukenhof flower gardens is by hopping on to a bicycle. Do the Keukenhof cycle route, which is a marked cycle trail that goes for 30 – 40 kms. If you’re not comfortable with riding a bicycle, then you will be happy to know that you can easily cover the area by walking.
If possible, arrive here as early as 8 am, that’s when the park opens. This way, you can avoid the peak crowd time, which is 10 am. The park closes at 7:30 pm.
Amsterdam to Keukenhof
Lisse doesn’t have a train station, but you can reach here on a bus. Look for Keukenhof Express from Schiphol Airport. Schiphol Airport can be reached by taking a train from Amsterdam Centraal.
There are many day trips from Amsterdam to Keukenhof, below are some that we have handpicked for you. With most of these tours, you can skip the line and enjoy the beauty of these colorful tulips:
- Amsterdam to Keukenhof ONE DAY Round Trip + Tulip Garden Entry Ticket + Multi Lingual Tour
- Amsterdam to Keukenhof 5 Hour Round Trip + Tulip Garden Entry Ticket + Multi Lingual Tour + Cruise on Lake
- Amsterdam to Keukenhof Half Day Round Trip + Tulip Garden Entry Ticket and Tour
- Amsterdam to Keukenhof 6 Hour Round Trip + Tulip Garden Entry Ticket with Tour + Diamond Factory Tour
- Amsterdam to Keukenhof One Day Round Trip + Tulip Garden Entry Ticket + A’Dam Tower Lookout Entry
- Amsterdam to Keukenhof 8 Hour Round Trip + Tulip Garden Entry Ticket + Windmills + Clog Maker + Cheese Farm + A’Dam Tower Lookout Entry
Lisse Hotels and Where to Stay
If you’re visiting Lisse, most likely you will make a day trip here from Amsterdam like 80% of the visitors. However, I highly suggest you stay here overnight and explore the smaller villages around where you can see some more tulip fields. Below are the hotels that we have handpicked for you:
- Hotel de Lis: This hotel is less than 1 KM from Keukenhof. They have spacious rooms and an amazing breakfast spread. (Read TripAdvisor reviews):
- De Vier Seizoenen Bed and Breakfast: This B&B is 1.5 KMs away from Keukenhof, with cozy rooms and a terrace. (read TripAdvisor reviews here)
Zandvoort – the Beaches – Day 7
Originally a fishing village, Zandvoort is now a beach resort town, and the only one that can be reached on a direct train from Amsterdam. The main town is ugly because of new buildings but the beach is pretty big and sandy. Zandvoort’s racing circuit is very popular, is called Circuit Park Zandvoort.
While in Zandvoort, make the most of your beach time and try one of the beach sport activities that this town if famous for. You can do kitesurfing or wave-surfing. Don’t go to the main Zandvoort beach but head to Bloemendaal instead, which is towards the north.
Head to Kennemerduinen an der Nordsee in Zandvoort, it is a nature park with amazing sand dunes. Head to Havana aan Zee for a drink and food – one of the most popular seaside restaurant in Zandvoort.
Guess what, Zandvoort also has a coffeeshop, it is called Yanks Indian-Club. If you don’t know this already, the coffeeshops in the Netherlands are for coffees but for buying and consuming marijuana. Yes, you can usually get a coffee too but if you want just that, you should look for a cafe instead.
Amsterdam to Zandvoort
Zandvoort is just 5 train stops away from Amsterdam if you get on to the sprinter train number 5491. You can easily reach here by car too, but keep in mind that the traffic gets a little too much during peak summer season.
Zandvoort Hotels and Places to Stay
- Life@Sea: This is a beachfront apartment in Zandvoort with one bedroom, with kitchen and toilet. (Read reviews on TripAdvisor)
- Hofje van Maas: This beautiful wooden guest house is 3-4 minutes away from the beach. It is 750 meters away from Zandvoort aan Zee train station. (Read reviews on TripAdvisor about this hotel)
- Hotel Zeespiegel: It is a beautiful hotel with spacious rooms and is just 700 meters away from the beach. (Read reviews on TripAdvisor about this hotel)
Haarlem – History, Shopping & Windmill Adriaan – Day 8
Haarlem is just 20 KMs form Amsterdam. It wasn’t one frequently visited by travelers but now that has changed. Back in 1300s, there was a route between Amsterdam to Haarlem with 12 city gates. At the moment only one of the gate still exists, the Amsterdamse Poort.
A bit like Delft, even Haarlem has a historical town centre that’s beautiful and the town also has canals. Haarlem has a historical windmill called “the Adriaan” that will complete your Dutch bucket list. Originally dating back to 1779, the beautiful Windmill De Adriaan actually burnt down in 1932 but was rebuilt in 2002.
Another amazing sight in Haarlem is the Vleeshal, it was once a meat market in Grote Markt. Apart from this, the Grote Markt has a lot of old buildings and Saint Bavo Church. In summer, you can also find outdoor cafes here.
Cycle on the Haarlem Dunes Cycle Route to see the amazing dunes of National Park Zuid-Kennermerland. This trail can be from 29 KMs to 40 KMs, depending on the path you pick.
Amsterdam to Haarlem
It will take you barely 15-18 minutes to reach Haarlem From Amsterdam. Get to Amsterdam Centraal station, from there, there are trains to Haarlem Centraal every 10 minutes.
Haarlem Hotels and Places to Stay
Here are the hotels in Haarlem that we have shortlisted for you:
- Ambassador City Centre Hotel: It is directly in the main city centre and is in the middle of everything. (Read the reviews on TripAdvisor here)
- Hotel Lion D’Or: Lion D’Or is also in the city centre and just 300 meters from the Haarlem train station. (Read the reviews on TripAdvisor here)
Amsterdam – Canals, Coffeeshops, Red Light District, Museums – Days 9, 10 & 11
The best way to end (or start) any trip in the Netherlands is Amsterdam. Amsterdam aka “Venice of the North” can be explained with the Dutch term “gezellig” that can be roughly translated as cozy. If you want to feel the cozy vibes of Amsterdam, just take a walk through its streets covered with bicycles while passing over bridges and follow canals and simply enjoy the light breeze in the air.
We have a post about what to do in Amsterdam in 2 days, it has the city’s most amazing landmarks and experiences. We also have a detailed guide to Amsterdam’s coffeeshops where you can legally consume weed, and also Amsterdam’s nightlife – be sure to check them out. The city has a lot of must-visit places and it deserves more than one day to travel, but if you are a real city savant, here are some activities that you shouldn’t miss in Amsterdam!
The Canal tour
With its more than 400-year-old canals, Amsterdam offers you to take a ride through its fascinating history and iconic architecture on a boat. The Canal Ring, which is called Grachtengordel in Dutch, was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.
Taking a canal tour is a must in Amsterdam since it is one of the best ways to discover the city’s main attractions. Most canal cruises take around an hour, which means an hour of learning interesting facts about Amsterdam, taking epic pictures and exploring Amsterdam’s UNESCO protected canal ring.
There are lots of options for every budget when it comes to a canal tour as well. You can take practical “Hop-On, Hop-Off” boat tours, romantic candle-lit dinner tours which last 3 hours or family boat tours. There is also an option to rent your own boat as well.
- Small open canal boat cruise: An hour long boat tour that starts at Jordaan near the Anne Frank House. Smaller and open canal boats are much better than the bigger ones with glass windows.
- 75 minute open canal cruise: Departs from just 1 KM away from the Bloemenmarkt (your next destination) and is also on a small boat that’s open.
- 1 hour Canal Cruise: Starts at Rijksmuseum, which is only 1 KM away from your next destination – the Bloemenmarkt. This is also an open boat.
- City Canal Cruise: This is on a boat with glass windows. Booking this tour only makes sense when it is raining and you can’t ride the open canal.
- Canal Cruise with a native german guide: I have a lot of German readers and I’m sure they’d love to hear stories and anecdotes in German as they ride a lovely half open saloon boat that’s small.
The most popular option is, of course- the “Hop-On, Hop Off” boat tours. With this tour, you can hop on the boat to enjoy the canals and then hop off whenever you feel like visiting a shop, a museum, or eat some delicious Dutch pancakes. However, we highly recommend a private open boat that’s smaller.
After you are done exploring the area on foot, you can hop on again the next boat and continue to sail on to your next attraction while listening to interesting facts about Amsterdam.
If you want to just sit back and enjoy the fascinating idyllic scenery and Golden Age architecture of Amsterdam, you can take an Open Boat Tour and customize your trip. This tour also offers to show you Amsterdam’s lesser-known sights while getting tips and recommendations from the tour guide!
Bloemenmarkt to Waterlooplein Flea Markt
Many visitors spend too much time in Amsterdam’s Coffeeshops and the Red Light District (see the next point) and miss out on other things like the open air markets.
If you’re in Amsterdam for even one day, I highly recommend you walk from the flower market (Bloemenmarkt) to the hippie market (Waterlooplein). This walking experience isn’t for shopping purposes but to enjoy the sights and the experience of walking on Amsterdam’s loveliest canals.
Amsterdam has a lovely flower market on Singel Canal, one of the loveliest canals in Amsterdam. Many flower shops are on houseboats and this is why it is also called the floating flower market. Yes, this market is lovelier than it sounds! You can buy not just tulip bulbs but other flowers too.
Barely a kilometer away from the Bloemenmarkt is the Waterloo Square. That’s where you can enjoy Amsterdam’s hippie open air flea market. Waterlooplein Markt is one of the most famous open air markets in the Netherlands and is 130 years old. Go ahead and check out more information about this legendary flea market of Amsterdam here.
Coffeeshops and the Red Light District
The real Amsterdam experience won’t be completed until you visit the oldest area in Amsterdam – the Red Light District, as well as one of the many coffeeshops. We have said this before, but in case you missed it – Amsterdam’s Coffeeshops aren’t really cafes but they’re government licensed places to sell marijuana.
Visit one of the many coffeeshops, get a joint, laugh it out and walk through the Red Light District. No, don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating marijuana consumption but if you ever wanted to try it out then Amsterdam is the best place for it. Wondering which coffeeshop to visit? Check out my post about Amsterdam’s best coffeeshops.
If you’re a newbie and are scared to get high alone for the first time, then check out one of the below tours:
- Cultural Ganja Walking Tour of Select Coffeeshops – 2 – 3 hours tour with rolling instructions
- Cultural Ganja Walking Tour of Select Coffeeshops – IN German / Dutch – 2 – 3 hours tour with rolling instructions
- Red Light District Ganja Tour – 2 – 2.5 hour tour that ends in a Karaoke bar
- Private Ganja and Coffeeshop Tour with Snacks – 2 hours
- Weirdest Museums + Ganja Walking Tours – 2 hours
Amsterdam was known to be a major trading harbor since the Middle Ages. During those times, women used to carry attractive red lanterns to meet sailors and entertain them with “the oldest profession” in this district.
The Red Light District, which is known as De Wallen by locals, is located on the south of the central station and consists of several lovely canals and medieval side streets. Since sex work wasn’t legal until 1810, the area has not only sex shops, peep shows, and window prostitution, but also a lot of bars, art galleries, cafes and coffee shops.
An important note is that the Red Light District is covered with security cameras and policemen, so don’t try to take a photo or video of the sex workers in this area. There is a high chance of getting your camera taken away from you.
If you want a guided tour of the oldest part of Amsterdam, you will find the Prostitution Information Centre just around the corner. There, you can find lots of information about sex workers and have an informative 90 minute Red Light District walking tours. Below are some of the best tours that we have handpicked for you:
- 2 Hour Walking Tour of the Red Light District: One of the best ways to explore the Red Light District with an experienced guide who will take you around Amsterdam’s most controversial neighborhood.
- Red Light District And Coffeeshop Tour: This 2.5 hour long walking tour combines activities 5 and 6 in a single tour.
- “Skip the Line” Entry Tickets for Red Light Secrets – Museum of Prostitution – save time and skip the line to enter this museum in the Red Light District.
- Ultimate Party Pub Crawl in the Red Light District – this part of Amsterdam isn’t just limited to sex trade but you can party here too. Join this pub crawl if you’re interested in exploring this aspect of this area.
SkyLounge Rooftop Bar
If you can’t get enough of the spectacular view of the city, you can get some more at the SkyLounge Rooftop Bar while enjoying a drink! This rooftop bar is located at the top of the DoubleTree Hotel and it is the most famous rooftop bar in the city.
Right next to Central Station, you can get an outstanding view of the city and the IJ river. Here lies a picturesque bar but I have to warn you, the prices are a little salty. You can have a cocktail around €16 or a small beer around €5, but don’t worry the view will make up for it!
One of the most recommended places to visit in Amsterdam is the Heineken Experience. Here, you can get to taste the local beer of the Netherlands, which is the world-famous Heineken beer. The Heineken Experience is very popular since it is the most authentic attraction of Amsterdam.
This old factory, now a museum, has been visited by millions of people from all over the world since 2001. The Heineken Experience offers an interactive self-guided walk through the factory, a delicious Heineken tasting session, and fun information about the company’s history. So, if you are a beer person, you have to check out this cool museum/factory!
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
- Pulitzer Amsterdam: (Check deals on Booking.com) This luxury hotel is in Amsterdam city centre but not directly in Dam Square, so you’re in a quieter area but still in the middle of everything. (Read reviews on TripAdvisor)
- ClinkNoord: (Check deals on Booking.com) ClickNoord is an amazing hostel in Amsterdam’s hipster neighborhood – Noord. (Read reviews on TripAdvisor)
Giethoorn – Canal Town with no Streets – Day 11 or Day 12
Giethoorn is unreal. There aren’t any streets here but only canals. These canals are used as the main mode of transport. How cool is that! Apart from the canals, Giethoorn also has walking baths and bicycle paths. Like literally every Dutch town, the best way to explore is by getting on a bicycle. Go ahead and rent one to explore this cute town at your own pace.
A lot of destinations have been dubbed as Venice of the North, but Giethoorn truly deserves this title. This town is picturesque and has received a lot of publicity from the likes of NatGeo because there aren’t any roads. Because of this, it does get a little busy during summer, but stays peaceful during all the other seasons. Thankfully, it isn’t very easy to visit Giethoorn using public transport.
If you do decide to visit Giethoorn, then most likely a day trip will be enough. However, I highly recommend you make the most of this town’s beauty and stay overnight. Go eat a nice Dutch meal in a canal side restaurant and make your trip epic. Head to De Eetkamer van Giethoorn and after that go get yourself a nice drink in Grand cafe Fanfare.
Giethoorn is close to De Weerribben-Wieden National Park, so you can visit these two destinations together if you have time on your hands.
Amsterdam to Giethoorn
Reaching Giethoorn on public transport from Amsterdam isn’t very easy because there isn’t a single direct train or bus. You need to change trains twice and then get on a bus. From Amsterdam Centraal to get on a train to Lelystad Centrum, from there catch a train to Steenwijk. After that, take a bus to Giethoorn.
You can check out this tour that will take you from Amsterdam to Giethroon and it also includes boat rides in both Amsterdam and Giethoorn.
Giethoorn Hotels and Places to Stay
Giethoorn has decent hotels and a hostel too. Below are some hotels and hostels we have shortlisted for you:
- Hotel Giethoorn: The double rooms in this hotel are for around 50 euros per night when it isn’t high season. (Read tripadvisor reviews here)
- Black Sheep Hostel: Solo travelers should check out the Black Sheep Hostel (read tripadvisor reviews here) where a bed is usually for 45 euros. Strangely, there isn’t a price difference between the hostel and hotels during the low season.
Netherlands Itinerary Suggested Route [Summary] + MAP
If you’re starting your Netherlands trip in Belgium or Germany, then we suggest the below route map for you to include all of the above mentioned destinations.
Day 1: Maastricht
Day 2: Eftelingsestraat Park
Day 3: Rotterdam
Day 4: Delft
Day 5: Den Haag / the Hague
Day 6: Keukenhof Flower Gardens at Lisse
Day 7: Zandvoort
Day 8: Haarlem
Day 9, 10 & 11: Amsterdam
Day 11 or 12: Giethoorn (Day trip or overnight)
About the writer:
My name is Alara Benlier, and I am a passionate traveler who is in a constant search for delicious foods and historical places. Currently living in Germany, I visited many places in Europe and met lots of lovely people from different cultures. Before Germany, I lived in Rotterdam for a year and traveled all around the Netherlands. I am excited to share all my experiences in Drifter Planet.
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