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Beyond Amsterdam: 7 Hidden Gems to Discover in the Netherlands!

The Netherlands has a lot more to discover other than Amsterdam, just like France has lots to offer other than Paris, or for that matter, Italy is much more than Rome, Venice, and Florence. Isn’t it? In this article, we shall write about 7 hidden gems to discover in the Netherlands that are not Amsterdam. The popularity of Amsterdam is very well-deserved, but you should also venture out of the city to explore some beautiful, peaceful, and less crowded places that are easily accessible by train/bus from Amsterdam. You can visit a few or all of them on your next trip to the Netherlands. 🙂


Keukenhof is the largest bulb flower park in the world. Millions of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other spring-flowering bulbs will guarantee you wonderful memories and excellent photo opportunities. The Keukenhof theme for 2018 was “Romance in Flowers” when we visited it. After all, the two are inextricably linked. The most beautiful spring park in the world will put you in a romantic mood for sure. 🙂 Excellent flower shows, surprising events, and activities for all ages alike will win your heart over and make you realize why it’s one of the best-celebrated flower gardens in the world. Visit Keukenhof with all your senses and smell, taste, listen – but above all, enjoy yourself! Keukenhof is unique and unforgettable!

Best Time to Visit – Last week of March till the second week of May every year.

How to Reach by Car – Use Highway A4 and A44 to reach Keukenhof in approximately 1 hour from Amsterdam.

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Get there by Public Transport – Visit 9292 or Keukenhof Holland and plan your journey. If you are visiting Keukenhof from Amsterdam, you can take the train from Amsterdam Central Station to Schiphol Airport or take Bus No. 397 from Amsterdam Centre to Schiphol Airport. At Schiphol Airport, you can take Bus No. 858 to Keukenhof. It takes approximately 30-35 minutes to reach Keukenhof from the Airport.

Fishing Villages

Polders, water, wind, cheese, and clogs – the Amsterdam countryside offers these and many more things that are typically Dutch. The most characteristic of them all is certainly fishing. The Dutch traditionally caught most of their food in the water around them. Several picturesque fishing villages flourishing along the coast are as follows:

Edam – It is known for its popular cheese covered in red and yellow wax. This adorable village is full of history, charm, and ambiance. The best thing to do here is to just wander in its fairy-tale lanes and canals. Do taste the traditional delicious cheese when you are here.

Volendam – Some people still dress in regional costumes in this village. You will find typical Dutch delicacies such as smoked eel and salmon, long-established fish restaurants and lots of fancy souvenir shops here.

Marken – Take a boat trip from Volendam to Marken. It is one of the most traditional fishing communities in the Netherlands. This island town has a unique architecture, adapted to survive the challenging local conditions. Traditional Marken homes, while dull and black-tarred outside, are painted a cheerful yellow and blue inside. You can visit the Marker Museum which celebrates the 16th-century costumes and traditional lifestyle of the people of Marken. 

There’s a lot to take in while visiting these three particularly picturesque villages, so don’t forget to take your camera!

Best Time to Visit – Fishing villages can perfectly be visited all year around.

How to Reach by Car – Edam, Volendam, and Marken are just 30 minutes away from Amsterdam.

Get there by Public Transport – There are buses from Amsterdam to the villages, however, the connections between the villages are not very convenient.

Zaanse Schans

Just outside Amsterdam, you’ll find the Zaan region, western Europe’s oldest industrial area. In its heyday, there used to be more than 600 wooden windmills running here. Today, ten pairs of sails continue to turn in the historical village of Zaanse Schans. Its picturesque mills are still used for sawing wood, and for grinding oil, flower, spices and colorings. Feel free to climb the narrow staircases and take a look inside. The village is also packed with barns, green-timbered houses and warehouses dating back to the 17th century which has been moved here piece-to-piece, for example, the unique Czar Peter House (1632), the oldest wooden house in the Netherlands. Exciting demonstrations across the entire site will acquaint you with all kinds of traditional Dutch crafts, ranging from woodworking and cheese-making to crafts that form the basis of countless souvenirs.

Best Time to Visit – At the end of the day the light is fantastic, guaranteeing great pictures!

How to Reach by Car – The windmill village of Zaanse Schans is situated 30 minutes north of Amsterdam.

Get there by Public Transport – It is possible to get to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam Central Station by bus or train (Zaandijk – Zaanse Schans). Including a 20-minute walk, you need approximately 1 hour.

The Hague

The Hague (Den Haag) is a place full of history, fine museums, and art galleries. It is where you’ll find the headquarters of several international organizations, including the International Court of Justice in the famous Peace Palace. This imposing brick building, which opened in 1913, boasts a rich interior decor and splendid gardens.

The Binnenhof (Inner Court), dating back to 1248 and linked to the building of the palace has been the residence of the ruling Dutch aristocracy and today houses both chambers of Parliament. The handsome 17th-century Mauritshuis nearby houses the Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp and Vermeer’s View of Delft. It serves as one of Holland’s most important museums. Don’t miss the beautiful Panorama Mesdag, a stunning cylindrical work by Hague school painter H.W.Mesdag. It affords a 360-degree view of coastal Scheveningen as it was around 1880, with its charming views of the sea.

Best Time to Visit – Can be visited all year around.

How to Reach by Car – Use Highway A4 or A44 to reach in approximately 1 hour.

Get there by Public Transport – You can reach The Hague Central Station by train in approximately 1 hour from Amsterdam Central Station. To see all the highlights of this city, you have to use the public transport.


The historic town of Delft is famous for its ceramics industry. Delftware was produced here from the 16th century onwards. The characteristic Delft Blue Pottery emerged in the 17th century. Did you know that this pottery, with its fine cobalt blue-painted decorations on a white tin glaze, was initially an imitation of Chinese porcelain?

Potters were inspired by the millions of porcelain pieces imported from China by the Dutch East India Company. Ironically, Delft Blue became a typical Dutch must-have around the world, especially in Asia. Today in Delft, you can visit the traditional ceramic factory, the Royal Delft (De Porceleyne Fles), which is still selling its tasteful, high-quality products. The small but fine city center, where the great painter Johannes Vermeer once worked, is certainly worth a tour. Explore its hidden almshouse courtyards and interesting historical monuments, such as the majestic New Church and the Prince’s Court. Your visit to Delft can be easily combined with a trip to The Hague, Rotterdam or the Madurodam Miniature Park.

Best Time to Visit – Delft can perfectly be visited all year around.

How to Reach by Car – Use Highway A4 to reach Delft in approximately 1 hour.

Get there by Public Transport – You can reach Delft Central Station by train in approximately 1 hour from Amsterdam Central Station. To see all the highlights in Delft you have to use the public transport.


Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ international port city, is vibrant and happening. Full of experimental contemporary architecture, it will amaze you with several highlights. Your first encounter can be easily arranged with a round-trip boat tour with Spido, a company that offers various options for exploring Rotterdam from the water. For an aerial view of the city center, visit the Euromast, a 185-meter observation tower that is still a popular attraction today. From here, you can admire the fabulous skyline of this lively metropolis, which arose again after its almost complete destruction during World War II.

Rotterdam (like, say, Berlin) is where you’ll discover lots of food, art and design initiatives that often pop up unexpectedly in old industrial buildings. For example, the Markthal indoor food hall where a diverse variety of freshly made food items can be tasted at the various stalls, in the shops and small restaurants. The city also has a fantastic zoo and is large enough to spend at least two days there!

Best Time to Visit – Rotterdam can perfectly be visited all year around.

How to Reach by Car – Use Highway A4 and A13 to reach Rotterdam in approximately 70 minutes.

Get there by Public Transport – You can reach Rotterdam Central Station by train in approximately 75 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station. To see all the highlights in Rotterdam you have to use the public transport.


The authentic village of Giethoorn could easily win the “Dutch Venice” contest. Still only fully accessible by boat, Giethoorn has more than 180 bridges! The village was founded around 1230. Its name is said to derive from a legend about the first inhabitants who found a large number of wild goat horns there, possibly dating from the devastating St. Elizabeth’s flood in 1170. They called their settlement Geytenhorn (horn of goats), later to become Giethoorn.

The current village is the result of peat cutting, which produced ponds and lakes, so waterways and canals were dug to transport the peat. Many houses have been built on little islands. The transport in and around Giethoorn has always been done through the use of punters, a Dutch flat-bottomed ship designed to sail in shallow water. You can hire a punter yourself and, in that way, get to know Giethoorn from the water. A round trip by boat under the direction of an expert is also recommended. Or you can just walk and explore the whole village like we did. If you are exploring by water, don’t forget to cross Holland’s most popular water engineering constructions: the 32 km long Afsluitdijk with a photo stop to enjoy the stunning view. 

Best Time to Visit – Giethoorn can perfectly be visited all year around.

How to Reach by Car – Count around 1.5 hours to reach Giethoorn via Almere and Lelystad.

Get there by Public Transport – Take the train to Steenwijk followed by a bus from there. Travel time is approximately 2.5 hours.

Did you like our recommendations for the Netherlands? Did we miss out on something? Do let us know your thoughts/opinions/suggestions in the comments box below.


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7 Responses

  1. Amazing post, well done

  2. Rashi says:

    Your post was amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Gemma says:

    It was really an amazing and informative post.
    I will share this with my friends and recommend
    them your blog. Thanks for sharing and keep it up.

  4. Wow. What I love soooo much about Netherlands is it’s beautiful light and it’s history of art and painting. How lovely…

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