Looking for some awesome things to do in the Netherlands without visiting the capital city? Or maybe you’re been there, done that, and are looking for something new to experience. Fear not my fellow travel-lovers, here are 7 of the most popular activities in the Netherlands.
Two major metropolitan areas are in the province of South Holland and those are Rotterdam and The Hague. They are very interesting cities to visit on their own because their personalities are very much their own and very different from Amsterdam.
Rotterdam was heavily bombed in the war, so the architecture is very different. Water is everywhere here and has a beautiful and very recognizable bridge called the Erasmus Bridge. It’s a great city to ride around on your bike, or get a public transportation card and take the local buses, trams, ferries and metros. It also has an edgy, and younger vibe which creates an entirely different experience from much of the Netherlands.
The Hague (or Den Haag in Dutch) is where the government does their work. Yes, Amsterdam is technically the capital, but honestly, I don’t know why! The King and Queen don’t live here, Parliament is in The Hague, and it’s where the embassies are. The Hague has a great walking area in the Centrum, incredible museums, and has a beach right next door. Some parts feel a bit like Paris, while others are obviously Dutch. Such a unique city must be visited!
Popular activities in South Holland
Rotterdam Highlights 2.5-Hour Bike Tour
Do as the locals do and hop on two wheels to see the city. You’ll start the bike tour at the Centraal Stations (which is impressive in its own right) and see the main sights including the famous bridge, epic market hall, the port, and more. I can’t recommend getting on a bike in Rotterdam enough. It’s not only how the locals get away, but it’s a great way to see a lot in a short time.
Rotterdam: Euromast Lookout Tower Ticket
I love being able to get a different point of view of any new place and getting above the city is a great way to do just that! Head 100 meters up into the iconic Euromast Lookout Tower for a bite to eat or a drink and check out Rotterdam city and famous harbor from the highest lookout tower in Europe.
Only open for about 2 months a year, it’s a perfect time to see the prettiest flowers in all of the Netherlands. Keukenhof translates to “kitchen garden” but really it’s a collection of gardens and is incredibly massive. Not that it needs more, but there are more activities than looking at flowers and it’s a wonderfully fun day out. It’s open between mid-March and mid-May, but for the tulips, I’d suggest mid-April!
Madurodam Miniature Park Entrance Ticket
Experience the Netherlands at 1:25 scale! In this tiny “village” called Madurodam, you get to see the highlights of North and South Holland in one place with moving trains, boats and cars. They even have an indoor area where you can learn about how the Dutch create their own islands and why New York used to be Dutch! It’s a great place for the whole family because it can keep everyone entertained.
Popular things to do in North Holland
Marken, Volendam and Edam: Private Full-Day Tour
Head north of Amsterdam on this private tour of some of the cutest towns in the area! The Marken, Volendam and Edam tour gives a fun look into the different kinds of villages you’ll find here and they are all very picturesque and walkable. On this tour, you also get a little ferry ride, time to souvenir shop, and a cheese tasting.
Zaanse Schans Sightseeing Tour
Meet a guide at the Zaandijk Zaanse Schans train station and take an hour and 15 minutes walking tour through the windmills. You’ll get to see how clogs are made, check out local cheese-makers, and learn how the windmills actually operate and why the Dutch use them. As someone who’s been multiple times, let me tell you, a tour is hugely helpful!
Giethoorn day trip from Amsterdam
Not in North Holland, but a must-visit in the north of the country, a visit to Giethoorn will leave you with lasting memories. On this private tour, you’ll be picked up from your hotel in Amsterdam and taken to the adorable village of Giethoorn. The tour includes seeing the village two ways: a private walking tour and then a group boat tour. Why visit Giethoorn? It’s extra beautiful and just super sweet but if you want more than a day tour, here’s my ultimate guide on visiting Giethoorn and I definitely suggest that you stay the night.