The Netherlands beyond Amsterdam is a bit of a mystery to most people, even to those who live there – which, of course, is part of its charm. However, to save you having to read through the entire Guide before deciding where to go we’ve put together a few itineraries to help you out.

Netherlands Itineraries

A grand tour

The Netherlands is a small country, so you can see the best of it within a week – that is if you don’t linger too long in Amsterdam.

1 Amsterdam

A good place to start, and small enough that you can see its highlights in a day or two.

2 Haarlem

Only fifteen minutes from the capital, but a place apart, with a nice old centre and plenty to see, including the fantastic Frans Hals Museum.

3 Utrecht

Lively student town just half an hour from Amsterdam that retains its cobbled old centre.

4 Delft

The Netherlands’ most handsome provincial town with plenty of historical attractions and the most classically beautiful canal-riven Dutch town centre.

5 Biesbosch

The country’s most significant and accessible wetland, easily explorable by boat or bike.

6 Texel

The most accessible of the Dutch islands, and a wonderfully relaxing place of dunes, birds, beaches and gentle cycling, and with some great places to stay.

7 Enkhuizen

Perhaps the most enchanting of the old Zuider Zee ports, its face firmly turned towards the water around its busy inner harbours, and with the excellent Zuider Zee Museum as a bonus.

8 Groningen

The northern part of the country’s major urban centre, with a huge university population and a buzzy centre full of bars and restaurants.

The Great Outdoors

You don’t normally think of the Netherlands as a place to experience the Great Outdoors, but it is a fantastic destination for many outdoor activities, from horseriding to sailing to some other, more specifically Dutch pursuits.

1 Wadlopen in Friesland

There’s nothing more Dutch – or more enjoyable – than the guided walks you can do between the north coast and the islands of the Wadden Sea.

2 Sailing

The Netherlands is a boaty kind of place all round, but the lakes and waterways of Friesland are the best place to take to the water, or there are plenty of opportunities on the IJsselmeer.

3 Skating

You can, of course, do this anywhere if the weather is cold enough, but there’s nothing better than following at least part of the course of the famous Elfstedentocht race through Friesland.

4 Horseriding

The countryside is well suited to all kinds of equestrian activities, especially the Hoge Veluwe National Park.

5 Windsurfing and surfing

There’s no better place for both activities than Renesse in Zeeland’s Schouwen-Duiveland, where you can rent boards and wet suits and seek out the plentiful waves and wind.

Art and culture

The Netherlands is known for its art and boasts some top-class collections. Several smaller towns hold a fantastic selection of Dutch painting and sculpture, and visiting some of these lesser-known museums and galleries makes for a great trip.

1 Amsterdam

When it reopens, the Rijksmuseum will reclaim its rightful place in the top ten of European galleries; until then you still have the Van Gogh Museum, the newly reopened Stedelijk and the excellent Amsterdam Historisch Museum, to name just three.

2 The Frans Hals Musuem

It’s worth visiting Haarlem for this museum alone – to see paintings by Frans Hals and others in the almshouse where he lived his final days.

3 The Mauritshuis

This elegant seventeenth-century mansion in The Hague is home to one of the finest concentrations of Dutch and Flemish paintings in the world.

4 Boijmans van Beuningen Museum

A vast collection of Flemish, Dutch and modern art awaits in this amazing museum in Rotterdam.

5 Centraal Museum, Utrecht

Utrecht is home to an extensive fine art collection with a local focus, including great works by Jan van Scorel, the Utrecht School, as well as Gerrit van Rietveld and Miffy’s Dick Bruna.

6 Kröller-Muller Museum

Perhaps the country’s finest collection of late nineteenth-century and modern paintings and sculptures, housed in a wonderful location in the Hoge Veluwe park.

7 Rijksmuseum Twente

It may be a bit of a trek, but Enschede’s Rijksmuseum Twente is as good a small collection of Dutch art as you’ll find outside the major museums.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Netherlands features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The Netherlands' best music festivals

The Netherlands' best music festivals

With its many music festivals covering every genre, the Netherlands has blossomed as a place to see your favourite DJ, artist or band play live, or discover a…

17 Aug 2018 • Kieran Meeke
An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Amsterdam

An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Amsterdam

Almost 50 years after John Lennon and Yoko Ono promoted world peace from room 702 of the Hilton, Amsterdam’s hotels are more worthy of the spotlight than ev…

26 Apr 2018 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Leeuwarden: the coolest Dutch city you’ve never heard of

Leeuwarden: the coolest Dutch city you’ve never heard of

By nature of its design, there is something immutable about Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland in the Netherlands’ northwesternmost province. Hemmed in by h…

20 Feb 2018 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs