Top 5 Cities in the Netherlands
Our pick #1
A network of centuries-old canals lined with tilted gabled buildings form the world-famous capital of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is more than 700 years old and small enough to be explored on foot or by bicycle - the most popular form of transport. The city emits an atmosphere of freedom and tolerance, emphasised by its notorious coffee shops and red-light district. But there is much more to this liberal capital with many hidden treasures to explore. Hop on a boat and lose yourself amongst the 165 canals criss-crossed with bridges that divide the city. Visit the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank Museum. Take a picnic in Vondelpark, the city’s largest and most visited park, or buy tulips at the famous Amsterdam Flower Market. Browse the canal-side markets or shops and experience the city’s thriving bar scene. Amsterdam’s nightlife is full of energy, with DJs playing everything from hip-hop and funk to deep house and techno.
Our pick #2
The Netherlands' second-largest city has an ever-changing skyline. Since its fierce bombardment by WWII bombers, innovative rebuilding has continued to shape the city’s architecture. Rotterdam has a diverse, multi-ethnic community too with an absorbing maritime tradition, being both a trendy metropolis and tough port city. De Rotterdam is an iconic example of the city’s urban architecture with its three linked towers reaching heights of nearly 150 metres. Amid Rotterdam’s sparkling skyscrapers you will find sophisticated shopping, top-class museums and excellent dining. Cross the 800-metre-long Erasmus Bridge or go to the Euromast observation tower for beautiful views of the city. De Markthal, the city’s indoor market hall, is well worth a visit with around 100 fresh food stands. And close by you’ll find the World Heritage site of Kinderdijk, a scenic canal system featuring 19 traditional windmills that were built in the 18th century.
Our pick #3
Amsterdam may be the official capital of the Netherlands but The Hague is home to the royal family and the Dutch seat of government. The third largest city in the Netherlands, The Hague is known as the ‘Royal City by the Sea’ thanks to its beautiful location near the North Sea coastline. Visitors can spend the day at Scheveningen beach or visit Madurodam, which presents a fascinating display of the Netherlands in miniature form. Take the Ooievaart canal boat trip to see highlights such as the Palace Gardens and the stately homes along Mauritskade and Hooikade. The city’s most photographed building is the Peace Palace where the International Court of Justice is based. And in the Mauritshuis Museum art lovers will be delighted to spot Vermeer’s 'Girl with the Pearl Earring' alongside masterpieces by Rubens, Jan Steen and Rembrandt.
Our pick #4
A picturesque city located within the Netherlands’ tulip-growing region, Leiden is famously the birthplace of Rembrandt. Its numerous canals are lined with beautiful 17th-century buildings, with many small boutiques hidden down the city’s narrow alleyways and backstreets. With as many as 2,800 monuments including windmills, alms-houses, churches and city gates, a sightseeing walk along the canals is much recommended. Leiden’s 13 museums are also all located within walking distance of one another, including the National Museum of Antiquities which has a remarkable collection of Egyptian artefacts. Leiden is also home to the oldest theatre in the Netherlands and the country’s oldest and most prestigious university. Einstein himself was a regular professor here and the 27,000-strong student population of the city today make for a lively nightlife scene. And with hundreds of cafes, bars and restaurants, you can find every kind of cuisine imaginable in Leiden.
Our pick #5
Situated in the west of the Netherlands, Delft is a very popular Dutch day-trip destination. The city is well-known as the home of renowned 17th century painter Johannes Vermeer and for its fine pottery. The famous blue and white ceramics, known as Delftware, are handpainted by experienced artists and glazed using a centuries-old technique. Founded around 1100 AD, the city has retained many of its original features, with an historic downtown area and beautiful canal-lined streets. Take a canal tour or explore Delft’s enchanting markets with colourful flower stalls, cheese merchants and countless antiques on offer. Delft City Hall is one of the city’s main highlights, as is the Museum Prinsenhof Delft and Old Church of Delft, which dates to 1050 AD. Locals fill the city’s restaurants and bars in the evenings and the lamplit canals set the perfect scene for a romantic stroll.