Netherlands city breaks

From 17th-century canals in Amsterdam, royal residences in The Hague, contemporary architecture in Rotterdam and tempting boutiques in Utrecht, the cities of the Netherlands beg to be explored. Wildlife and nature enthusiasts will love the Wadden Sea and its five islands. In spring the country’s tulip fields burst with bright colours. Discover world-class museums and lively fun parks, in a country that’s reassuringly flat for those who like to travel by bike.

Things to do

There’s more to the list of activities in the Netherlands than you might think. Museums range from Anne Frank to Van Gogh. The architecture covers everything from UNESCO listed to ultra-modern. And you can shop for anything from fresh local produce to designer labels. Here are our top recommendations.

Map of Netherlands

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20 ℃

Best time to visit: Spring and summer.

1.5 hours

Fly to: Schiphol Airport (AMS), around 25km southwest of central Amsterdam.

Alternative transport: You can also travel by Eurostar to Brussels with onward tickets to stations across the Netherlands.

Netherlands is best for...

Design enthusiasts: Discover a wide range of architectural styles and galleries full of collectible design pieces.

Families: From zoos and kid-friendly museums to water parks and beaches, there’s plenty to do in the Netherlands as a family.

Cyclists: The flat landscape makes it easy to tour the cities, towns, tulip farms and windmills by bike. 

Fast facts for Netherlands

Language: The language spoken in the Netherlands is Dutch.

Currency: The currency used in the Netherlands is the Euro (€).

Local time: The Netherlands is one hour ahead of GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Schiphol Airport (AMS), around 25km southwest of central Amsterdam; Eindhoven airport, around 8km west of central Eindhoven; Rotterdam the Hague Airport, around 6km northwest of Rotterdam.

Alternative transport: You can also travel by Eurostar to Brussels with onward tickets to stations across the Netherlands.

Flight time from UK: 1.5 hours.

Tourist information: Further Netherlands tourist information can be found at www.holland.com.

Visa / health: Before you travel, visit https://gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/netherlands for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to the Netherlands.

Getting around Netherlands

Cycling: Getting around by bike is very much part of the Dutch culture. Rent a bike when you get there, and explore more than 20,000km of cycle paths.

Public transport: An efficient network of trams, buses and subways service The Netherlands, making it easy to get around the towns and cities.

Train: A reliable and comfortable way to get around the country, Dutch trains conveniently stop in central areas. This gives you easy access to the main attractions in the towns and cities.

Campervan: Hire a home on wheels and see the sights at your own pace.

Events in Netherlands

Light up: Eindhoven’s GLOW festival sees the city brightly illuminated each November. The creative projections and light-based works of art are definitely worth a look.

Blooming marvellous: Visited by around 30,000 people in May, the Leeuwarden flower market is the longest in the Netherlands. Bags, buckets and carts full of flowers are bought from around 200 bright, fragrant stalls.

High fashion: Held twice a year, Amsterdam fashion week turns the city into a sea of the latest trends. Expect catwalk shows, trade fairs, presentations and parties.

Netherlands weather

Temperature: Daytime temperatures range from 17-20 (°c) in summer and 2-6 (°c) in winter.

Best time to visit: Having a long coast on the North Sea means the temperature in the Netherlands is kept relatively stable the whole year through. Generally, summer isn’t too hot for cycling, and winter isn’t too cold for meandering. Showers, at any time of year, are not uncommon, so bear this in mind when packing for your trip.

Best hotels in Netherlands