10 Best Places To Visit In The Netherlands (Besides Amsterdam)

If you’re trying to pick a European country to explore on a road trip by car, van (or even by bicycle), then the Netherlands can be an excellent option! Located in Western Europe, this country is relatively small and borders only Germany and Belgium.

With stunning natural landscapes, hundreds of medieval castles and fortifications, and more than ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Netherlands has a lot to offer its local and foreign tourists, in terms of historical destinations and cultural heritage.

So, do you want to know more about the 10 Best Places To Visit In The Netherlands (Besides Amsterdam)? Keep reading!

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Best Places to Visit in the Netherlands
Best Places to Visit in the Netherlands

Best Places to Visit in the Netherlands

1. Amsterdam

First of all, it’s interesting to mention that this guide is already the ninth in my series “10 Best Places To Visit In …”, after having shared the most must-visit cities and towns in France, Italy, Spain, England, Greece, Portugal, Germany, and Belgium! And like those guides, I found it important to start this bucket list in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

Amsterdam is undoubtedly a mandatory destination on a trip to and/or through the Netherlands. After all, it’s here that you’ll find some of the most important museums, monuments, and historical buildings in the country, such as the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and Anne Frank’s House.

Read my Amsterdam itinerary, one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands!

2. Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and is about 80 km from Amsterdam. Internationally known for its seaport – the largest in Europe – Rotterdam became an important trading port in the 17th century, during the so-called Dutch Golden Age.

Rotterdam is also a cosmopolitan center that stands out for its modern architecture. In fact, among the city’s most popular tourist attractions are the Kubuswoningen (ie “Cube Houses”) – a collection of houses projected by Piet Blom in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

3. The Hague

Did you know that although Rotterdam is the largest city in South Holland (in Dutch, Zuid-Holland), the capital of this province is The Hague (in Dutch, Den Haag)? As the third most populous city in the Netherlands, The Hague is also the country’s seat of government and the place of residence of the Dutch Royal Family.

In The Hague, I recommend visiting the Mauritshuis (the second most important art museum in the Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum) as well as the Madurodam (a miniature city, with models of the most visited monuments in the country).

4. Utrecht

The Netherlands is made up of twelve administrative provinces (excluding islands in the so-called Dutch Caribbean), with Utrecht being the capital of the province with the same name. Located in the heart of the country, the city is the fourth most populous in the Netherlands and one of the oldest.

In Utrecht, it’s impossible to ignore the impressive Dome Tower (in Dutch, Domtoren), 112.5 meters high! Built as part of the former St. Martin’s Cathedral (or Dom Church – in Dutch, Domkerk), it’s the tallest church tower in the country.

5. Groningen

Like Utrecht, Groningen is a city and the capital of the homonymous province. And on this bucket list of “10 Best Places To Visit In The Netherlands”, Groningen is the northernmost destination of all and one of the closest to the German border (about 50 km away).

Interestingly, almost a quarter of Groningen’s population are students, which means that the city has many options for cultural and sporting activities – as well as a lively nightlife, with dozens of bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs scattered around its streets and squares!

6. Haarlem

Again, although Amsterdam is the largest city in North Holland (in Dutch, Noord-Holland), the capital of this province is Haarlem. In fact, the city is only 30 km from the capital of the Netherlands and is normally visited by foreign tourists on a day trip from Amsterdam.

Did you know that Haarlem has been, since the 17th century, the great tulip trade center on Dutch soil? Besides, it was the place where the painter Frans Hals, one of the most respected artists of the Dutch Golden Age, lived and worked. If you want, you can visit the Frans Hals Museum, right in Haarlem’s historic center!

7. Leiden

The city of Leiden is located in the province of South Holland, as are Rotterdam and The Hague. And although it’s a relatively small city (especially when compared to the first destinations on this bucket list), Leiden is home to the oldest university in the Netherlands: the Universiteit Leiden, founded in 1575!

Apart from the university, Leiden is proud of having the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands (nicknamed Hortus Botanicus Leiden) and is also famous for its numerous science and art museums, of which five stand out:

8. Maastricht

Maastricht was the second city I visited in the Netherlands, right after Amsterdam. And one of the things that surprised me the most about the capital of the province of Limburg was its proximity to Liège (in Belgium) and Cologne (in Germany). Therefore, if you want to visit three countries at once, Maastricht is the ideal destination!

Like Groningen and Leiden, Maastricht lives from the student community linked to the Universiteit Maastricht. Other than that, I recommend a visit to the Bonnefantenmuseum (a fine arts museum), the Helpoort (one of the old gates of the medieval wall), and the Fort Sint Pieter (an 18th-century military fort with a gallery of underground tunnels), just for exemplify!

Read my Maastricht itinerary, one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands!

9. Delft

The quiet city of Delft belongs to the province of South Holland and can be perfectly visited on a day trip from The Hague or Rotterdam, as it’s located just over 10 km from the first and about 17 km from the second. So, take the opportunity and visit these three destinations on the same trip to the Netherlands!

There are two things that stand out in Delft: one is that it’s the birthplace of Johannes Vermeer, one of the most renowned figures in Dutch painting. And the other is that Delft is associated with a ceramics industry, which started in the mid-17th century: the Delfts Blauw. This type of faience is easily recognized in the Netherlands and abroad because of its tones of white and blue.

10. Eindhoven

The last destination on this bucket list of the “Top 10 Places To Visit In The Netherlands” is Eindhoven, in the province of North Brabant (in Dutch, Noord-Brabant). After Limburg and Zeeland, this is the southernmost province of the country, bordering Belgium.

The history of Eindhoven dates back to the Middle Ages when the population settled between the Dommel and Gender rivers. Since then, it has developed its commercial activity and, in the 19th century, it became an important industrial center in the Netherlands – reinforced by the creation of Philips, a multinational company of electronic equipment.

Map of the Best Places to Visit in the Netherlands

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10 thoughts on “10 Best Places To Visit In The Netherlands (Besides Amsterdam)”

  1. What a great inspiration! I’ve only seen Amsterdam so far, but I’ve wanted to visit Rotterdam and Haarlem for such a long time. Haven’t heard about Groningen so far, but it looks gorgeous as well. I’ll save it for when my trip comes closer 🙂

  2. We have not been much past Amsterdam and a day trip to Delft, though I am keen to explore more around the countryside and coast…love your suggestions

  3. Loved reading this post. We did a bike trip in the Netherlands several years ago and got to many of these great cities. The Netherlands is really a wonderful country to explore. So much history!

  4. So many beautiful places to visit in the Netherlands. I have only visited Amsterdam but I would love to go to Rotterdam and Haarlem too!

  5. The best thing about traveling in the Netherlands is that they have such a great transportation system that makes it possible for us to travel inter-city for a day trip or just for a weekend getaway! Maastricht sounds like a place I’d love to visit next time I visit the country! 🙂

    1. I loved Maastricht, especially because I visited the city in late November – think Christmas markets, Christmas decorations & lights, and hot chocolate everywhere!

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