Netherlands city breaks

Netherlands city breaks

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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 the Rijksmuseum. 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

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

Visa / health: Before you travel, visit 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

What is the cheapest time of the year to go to the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is pretty affordable year-round, but the cheapest time of year is usually from November to March (excluding Christmas). This is considered to be ‘off-season’ due to the colder weather and fewer crowds. But don’t be put off by a bit of rain, it’s also a great time to explore Amsterdam’s biggest attractions like Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House with little to no queues.  Or you can always stay warm with a Heineken Experience and hide away with a beer in its old brewery. 

Spring/summer isn’t completely off the cards for a budget-friendly break either, especially if you snap up a last-minute getaway.

What is the best month to go to the Netherlands?

Although there’s never a bad time to visit the Netherlands, you might want to time your trip around the likes of affordability, festivities or things to do. 

Best for affordability: January to March

Best for seeing the tulips bloom: April to May 

Best for weather and festivals: June to August

Best for mild weather with fewer crowds: September to October

Best for Christmas markets: November to December 

What are some popular Dutch foods?

Oh boy, there are so many delicious Dutch foods to try! Here are a few of our favourites… 

First up, we have stroopwafels - these are thin waffles with a sweet syrup filling. They're the perfect combination of crispy and chewy, especially when you place them on top of a hot cup of tea or coffee for 30 seconds! The caramel centre will simply melt in your mouth. 

Another must-try is bitterballen. These are small, deep-fried meatballs that are crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. They're often served as a snack or appetizer and dipped in mustard. 

If you're a seafood fan, you simply have to sample herring. Raw herring is a traditional Dutch light bite that typically comes with onions and pickles. It might sound a bit strange if you're not used to it, but trust us, it's worth trying!

Finally, we can't talk about the local cuisine without mentioning Dutch cheese. Gouda and Edam are two of the most famous types, and they're packed with flavour.  Often served on bread or crackers, they both go down a treat with wine. 

What is the best way to get around in the Netherlands?

Did you know the Netherlands is famous for its bike culture, and cycling is a great way to get around in most cities? You can rent a bike pretty much anywhere, and there are plenty of dedicated paths and lanes to keep you safe. Plus, it's a fun and healthy way to take in the sights.

If cycling isn't your thing, you can also take advantage of the top-rated public transport system. Trains, buses, and trams are all widely available and efficient, making it easy to get from one city to another or even around town. You can buy tickets at stations or use a contactless OV-chipkaart for convenient and cashless travel.

Of course, if you prefer to hire a car, that's also an option. Just be aware that parking in cities can be difficult and expensive, and traffic can be busy during rush hour. But if you're looking to explore the countryside or visit smaller towns, driving offers the freedom to do so.

What are some popular tourist attractions in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is filled with amazing tourist attractions! Whether you're into art, history, or just taking in the beautiful scenery, you won’t be short of things to do. Here are just a few popular places to visit:

Amsterdam is the biggie, of course! This city is known for its charming canals, stunning architecture and vibrant culture. You can visit famous sites like the Anne Frank House or the Van Gogh Museum, that’s when you’re not wandering the streets and soaking up the atmosphere. Plus, there are plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants to enjoy along the way.

For a taste of the Dutch countryside, head to the Keukenhof Gardens. This blossoming park contains over 7 million tulips and other flowers, making it a must-visit for nature lovers. The gardens are only open for a few months each year, so plan your visit accordingly!

And let's not forget about the iconic windmills! The Netherlands is home to numerous windmills, but the Kinderdijk are perhaps the most famous. These 19 windmills are situated along a canal and have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.