Site Loader
A canal runs through the middle of tall buildings and trees in a city in the Netherlands.

A Netherlands holiday has so much potential for any keen traveller. From castles and Christmas markets to fields of tulips and fantastic museums. A trip to the Netherlands is the gift that keeps on giving. Netherlands holidays are often associated with the kingdom’s capital of Amsterdam. As wonderful as that city is, there is so much more to explore.  Read on to learn more about this fascinating country. Maybe you’ll be inspired to make your next trip a Netherlands holiday!

Table of Contents:

Where is the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is a small country located just across the North Sea from England. It shares a border with Germany in the east and Belgium in the south. Flights from England take just over an hour and in 2019 it was one of the most popular travel destinations from the U.K.. Before you join other travellers on a Netherlands holiday, it might be nice to know where you are going geographically!

Is Holland the Same as the Netherlands?

Unsure if Holland and the Netherlands are the same or not? Don’t feel guilty! Many people don’t know the difference between Holland and the Netherlands. Despite common belief, Holland is not actually a country. It is a region made up of two provinces within the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a kingdom of 12 provinces in total. These are:

  • Drenthe
  • Gelderland
  • Groningen
  • Flevoland
  • Friesland
  • Limburg
  • Noord-Barbant
  • Noord-Holland
  • Overijssel
  • Utrecht
  • Zeeland
  • Zuid-Holland

When people refer to Holland, they are talking about Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. This region is the biggest driver of economic growth and home to the Netherland’s government. This partly explains the prominence of Holland over other provinces. Each province has something unique to offer visitors meaning a Netherlands holiday can be different every time.

When is the Best Time for a Netherlands Holiday?

The best time to visit the Netherlands is arguably late Spring (between April and June). This is when the weather starts warming up and the tulips come into bloom. The summer months (July and August) are the warmest but also the busiest. For a quiet trip you might prefer to book your Netherlands holiday outside of this period. Winter is also a magical time for a Netherlands holiday. You’ll discover Christmas markets, festive lights and snow covered canals. To be honest, there is no bad time of year for a Netherlands holiday!

An iconic Netherlands windmill at sunset overlooking green landscape.

7 Must Visit Places on a Netherlands Holiday

Between awesome cities, beautiful beaches, and spectacular hidden gems, the Netherlands has more amazing places to explore than you can shake a stick at. We have put together a list of some spots we think a Netherlands holiday wouldn’t be quite complete without seeing. 

 1. Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an incredible destination and perhaps the most obvious place to start a Netherlands holiday. Built up around the Amstel River, Amsterdam boasts more canals than Venice, is packed full of weird and wonderful museums and has a vibrant, friendly atmosphere pretty much guaranteed to leave you smiling. Some of the best places to visit in Amsterdam include the electric Albert Cuypstraat street market, the poignant Anne Frank House, and the steamy Red Light District.

2. De Hoge Veluwe National Park

The De Hoge Veluwe National Park is an expansive reserve and the green heart of the Netherlands. Within its 13,000 acres you’ll find all sorts of unspoiled geographical formations from sand dunes to thick woodland as well as loads of fascinating wildlife. The park is also home to the Kröller-Müller Museum, which houses the world’s largest private Van Gogh collection and the Museonder which is an impressive underground museum. It would be a crime to not spend at least some of your Netherlands holiday exploring the park on one of their free white bikes.

3. Friesland

Friesland is a truly special place to visit on Netherlands holidays. From beautiful meadows to glistening lakes and sandy beaches to ocean views, Friesland has the best of what nature has to offer. In winter, ice skating takes over the area and there is even an Ice Skating Museum. Friesland is an undiscovered gem and you won’t regret spending your Netherlands holiday there.

4. Giethoorn

If a more peaceful and secluded trip is on the cards for your Netherlands holiday, then Giethoorn is a dream come true. Thatched roof farmhouses, wooden bridges, luscious greenery and idyllic waterways make Giethoorn seem straight out of a fairytale. It has been nicknamed ‘Venice of the Netherlands’ and the old quarter can only be explored by boat, bike or on foot. Just because it is tranquil, doesn’t mean it is boring though. Giethoorn also has its fair share of museums, restaurants and quirky shops. Visiting here offers a delightful chance to enjoy your Netherlands holiday at a slower pace.

5. The Hague

The Hague is the current seat of the Dutch government. It is known as the judicial capital of the world and is home to the International Court of Justice. As you might expect of such a well regarded city, The Hague oozes sophistication and is filled with impressive squares, fine art, and outstanding architecture. What you might not expect is that it is also home to golden beaches, fantastic restaurants and funky shops! If you crave a Netherlands holiday that is a mix of city break and beach escape, the Hague is exactly what the doctor ordered.

6. Kinderdijk

If your Netherlands holiday doesn’t include basking in the beauty of some quintessential Dutch windmills, you’ve missed out! The country is full of them but some of the best can be found in the village of Kinderdijk. Designed in 1740, the 19 monumental mills of Kinderdijk have been perfectly preserved and are now a UNESCO world heritage site. If you like breathtaking landscapes and gorgeous scenery, this is the place for you.

7. Rotterdam

When people are planning Netherlands holidays, Rotterdam is often overlooked in favour of Amsterdam. Whilst Amsterdam is beautiful, Rotterdam also has a signature style that begs to be explored. Rotterdam has a vibrant energy and is overflowing with amazing things to see and do. One hot spot is the Museumpark which contains not one, not two but six fascinating museums! Another great place is the Markthal, an incredible building filled with 100s of food stalls, edgy bars and fantastic modern art. Architect Piet Blom’s iconic Cube Houses are also a must see. They are even available to rent on Airbnb and are a truly unique type of holiday accommodation.

Famous Netherlands yellow optical illusion houses.

Looking for More Inspiration?

Hopefully this teaser has inspired you to add a Netherlands holiday to your bucket list! If you’re looking for more dreamy destinations to book for 2022, why not read  about why Poland should be on your travel list or discover all the different types of holidays in Ireland. Keep travelling vicariously with us by following Virtual Wanderlust on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.


Jay is the founder of Wine Travel & Song and contributor to Virtual Wanderlust. A published writer and photographer, Jay is an extensive traveller, a passionate music fan but an average cook. He loves the Eagles, U2, Genesis and Pink Floyd. A trusted Google Local Guide & TripAdvisor Superstar, Jay's travel photos have been seen over 26 million times and counting!

Related Posts More From Author