If you’re like me, planning a vacation can sometimes be just as fun as taking the vacation itself! And if you’re thinking of visiting The Netherlands for the first time, you’re in for a real treat. This small but densely populated country is home to some of the most picturesque villages and stunning landscapes in all of Europe. Not to mention, the Dutch are famous for their warm hospitality, so you’re sure to feel welcome during your stay.
This blog post will provide tips to help make your visit to The Netherlands as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
Why You Should Visit The Netherlands
- The Netherlands is a small country with a lot to offer. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re interested in history and culture or you’re looking for outdoor adventure. It’s the perfect destination for a short getaway or a longer vacation.
- The Netherlands is incredibly easy to get around. With an excellent public transportation system and plenty of bike paths, it’s easy to explore, even if you don’t have a car.
- The Dutch are known for their hospitality, so you can expect a warm welcome wherever you go.
- The Netherlands is home to some of the most beautiful countryside in all of Europe. From the stunning tulip fields to the quaint windmills, there’s no shortage of picturesque landscapes to explore.
- The Netherlands has a long history and rich culture. There are plenty of museums and historical sites to visit, as well as traditional Dutch festivals and events.
Tips for Traveling to The Netherlands
1. Advance Booking is a Must
If you’re planning a trip to The Netherlands, it’s important to book your accommodation and transportation in advance. The country is small, but it’s also very popular with tourists, so hotels and hostels fill up quickly. I recommend booking at least a few weeks in advance, especially if you’re visiting during peak season (May-September).
2. Get a Rail Pass
If you’re planning on doing a lot of travel within the Netherlands, I recommend getting a rail pass. This will give you unlimited access to the Dutch rail network, which is an excellent way to get around the country. The passes are available for different time periods (1 day, 3 days, etc.) and can be purchased online in advance.
3. Amsterdam Red Light District
Visit the Amsterdam Red Light District. However, it’s important to be respectful when you’re there. The women who work in the district are not sex slaves or prostitutes; they are independent workers who have chosen this line of work. Please remember to be respectful and avoid taking photos or videos.
4. Do as the Dutch Do
When in the Netherlands, do as the Dutch do! This means riding a bike, eating raw herring (a traditional Dutch food), and wearing clogs (traditional wooden shoes). Embracing the local culture is one of the best ways to enjoy your trip.
5. Learn Some Dutch Phrases
Although English is widely spoken in the Netherlands, it’s always appreciated when visitors make an effort to learn a few Dutch phrases. Some useful phrases include “goede morgen” (good morning), “dank u well” (thank you), and “tot ziens” (goodbye).
6. Visit a Windmill
The Netherlands is home to over 1,000 windmills, so visiting one is a must-do while you’re in the country. There are several working windmills open to the public, as well as several museums devoted to these iconic symbols of Dutch culture.
7. Cheese Tasting
Cheese is one of the Netherlands’ most famous exports, so it’s only fitting that you include a cheese tasting in your trip. There are several cheese farms and shops located throughout the country, so it’s easy to find a place to sample some of the best Dutch cheeses.
8. Tulip Festival
If you’re visiting the Netherlands in the spring, be sure to check out the tulip festival. This annual event celebrates the country’s most famous flower with parades, markets, and more. It’s a great way to experience Dutch culture and see the stunning tulip fields in bloom.
9. Get a Canal Boat Tour
One of the best ways to see Amsterdam is from the water. There are several companies that offer canal boat tours, which allow you to sit back and relax while taking in the sights of the city.
10. Keukenhof Gardens
The Keukenhof Gardens are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Netherlands. Located in the town of Lisse, these gardens are home to over 7 million tulips, daffodils, and other flowers. They’re only open for a few weeks each year (usually mid-March to mid-May), so be sure to plan your trip accordingly.
11. Anne Frank House
Located in Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House is a must-visit for anyone interested in history or human rights. This museum is dedicated to the life of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who was forced into hiding during WWII. The museum offers an insightful look into the events of the time, as well as the human spirit.
The Rijksmuseum is one of the most famous museums in the world, and it’s definitely worth a visit. This museum houses an extensive collection of Dutch art, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other masters. Even if you’re not normally interested in art, the Rijksmuseum is worth a visit for its sheer size and scale.
13. Van Gogh Museum
Located in Amsterdam, the Van Gogh Museum is devoted to the work of Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh. The museum houses the largest collection of van Gogh’s paintings in the world, making it a must-see for any fan of his work.
14. Canal Cruise
Amsterdam is known for its canals, so a canal cruise is a must-do while you’re in the city. There are several companies that offer cruises, and they vary in length from an hour to a full day. No matter how long you have, a canal cruise is a great way to see Amsterdam from a different perspective.
15. Dutch Pancakes
Dutch pancakes (or “pannenkoeken”) are thin, crepe-like pancakes that are usually served with fruit or syrup. They’re a popular breakfast food in the Netherlands, but they can be enjoyed any time of day. There are several pancake restaurants located throughout the country, so be sure to try one during your trip.
Tips on Making Your Traveling Easier
1. Get the Right Clothes
One of the best tips I can give is to make sure you have the right clothes. The Netherlands can be cold and wet, even in summer, so pack accordingly. Bring a raincoat, comfortable shoes, and layers that you can easily add or remove.
Be sure to plan financially when buying new clothes for your travels.
2. Use Public Transportation
The Dutch public transportation system is excellent, so take advantage of it! Trains and buses are reliable and efficient, and they’ll help you avoid traffic jams. If you’re planning on doing a lot of travelling, consider getting a rail pass (as mentioned above).
3. Get a Map
A map will come in handy, especially if you’re planning on doing any sightseeing. Many museums and attractions offer free maps, so be sure to grab one when you can.
4. Plan Your Days
There’s so much to see and do in the Netherlands, so it’s important to plan your days accordingly. Make a list of the attractions you want to see and then map out a loose itinerary. This will help you make the most of your time and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
One of the best things about the Netherlands is that it’s a relaxed and laid-back country. So, don’t stress about trying to see everything. Instead, take your time and enjoy your trip. These are just a few tips to help you plan your trip to the Netherlands. For more information, be sure to check out travel guides or websites devoted to Dutch tourism.
Have you ever been to the Netherlands? What tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!