Looking for an in-depth Netherlands travel guide?
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From beautiful canal-lined cities to fields of colorful tulips to historic castles and windmills, the Netherlands is a picture-perfect getaway for any kind of traveler. It’s no wonder that the country and its capital of Amsterdam are regularly noted as some of the top travel destinations in Europe.
Whether you want to experience Amsterdam’s nightlife scene or tour the storybook homes of small towns like Giethoorn, every experience in the Netherlands is unique.
Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with this guide full of tips and inspiration to have the best Dutch getaway yet.
You’ll find many of the Netherlands’ top attractions in its cities, which blend classic Dutch culture with a modern, cosmopolitan flair.
The capital city of Amsterdam is usually first on any traveler’s to-visit list for a trip to the Netherlands, and for good reason.
Home to tons of world-class museums, picturesque canals and a signature cafe scene, there’s much to explore in this famous city. Plus, whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or on a solo trip to Amsterdam, there is really something for everyone.
For a more modern look at Dutch life, head to Rotterdam, the country’s second-largest city.
Rotterdam boasts a lively nightlife scene, unique architecture, cool historic ships and more. The city is also just a short trip from the Kinderdijk Windmills, a UNESCO Heritage Site where you can visit the oldest surviving windmills in the country.
You’ll also want to spend some time in the historic city of Haarlem, featuring many classic Dutch landmarks like windmills, canals, and markets.
Beyond its cities, the Netherlands has plenty of natural wonders to explore.
Visiting in spring? Be sure to make some time to visit Keukenhof Gardens, or the Garden of Europe, where you’ll find acres of tulips and other colorful blooms on display. You’ll definitely want to have your camera ready for this excursion!
As a coastal country, the Netherlands also has many unique beaches to explore.
The Wadden Sea area to the north is definitely worth a visit for its tranquil landscapes and great opportunities for birding. You can even do some sailing on the Frisian Lakes in Frieland, a destination that attracts thousands of boaters and water sports enthusiasts every year.
Keep reading to dive into resources that will help you with planning a trip to the Netherlands in Europe.
Note: This ultimate guide to Netherlands travel contains affiliate links to trusted partners!
- Netherlands Map
- Amsterdam Travel Guide
- Best Tours In The Netherlands
- Renting A Car In The Netherlands
- Netherlands Hotels
- Netherlands Travel Insurance
- Netherlands Travel Guide FAQ
- Q: What are the best things to do in the Netherlands?
- Q: What are some do's and don'ts in the Netherlands?
- Q: How much money do I need per day in the Netherlands?
- Q: How many days do you need for the Netherlands?
- Q: Is the Netherlands safe to travel?
- Q: How long can a tourist stay in the Netherlands?
- Q: Do I need a Netherlands travel visa?
- Q: When is the best month to go to the Netherlands?
- Q: Where is the Netherlands?
- Q: Are credit cards accepted in the Netherlands?
- Q: Can you drink the tap water in the Netherlands?
- Q: What is the local currency in the Netherlands?
- What would you add to this Netherlands travel guide?
Use this Netherlands travel map to begin planning your trip to this incredible country!
Click here for an interactive Google Map version of the above graphic.
Amsterdam Travel Guide
Looking for an Amsterdam visitor’s guide that can help you plan the perfect trip? Check out:
Best Tours In The Netherlands
Explore local culture with a Netherlands tour guide through these unique excursions:
- Surprise Walk of The Hague with a Local (Den Haag)
- Biking Rotterdam Food Tour with Local Guide (Rotterdam)
- Kinderdijk Windmill Farm Tour (Alblasserdam)
- Vondelpark Guided Bike Tour (Amsterdam)
- Volendam, Marken and Windmills Day Trip (Amsterdam)
- Guided Canoe Adventure with Picnic Lunch in Waterland (Amsterdam)
Renting A Car In The Netherlands
Need a rental car for your Netherlands trip?
Use Discover Cars to quickly compare your car rental options.
Their comparison tool does the homework for you, so there’s no need to have up 10+ tabs trying to figure out which company is the most affordable. Actually, you can save up to 70% using their tool!
Prefer self-contained stays?
You can also use this map to search for local stays:
Netherlands Travel Insurance
It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling solo or with a group on a Netherlands tour. When visiting the Netherlands — or any other country in the world — make sure to get travel insurance to protect your health and safety.
In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).
Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.
With coverage, you’ll have peace of mind as you embark on your Netherlands travel itinerary.
Netherlands Travel Guide FAQ
Below, find answers to frequently asked questions about traveling in the Netherlands.
Q: What are the best things to do in the Netherlands?
You’ll find many of the Netherlands’ top attractions in the capital city of Amsterdam.
Explore the city on foot or via water taxi and marvel at the picturesque buildings and houseboats that line the canals. The city is also home to many important museums and historic sites you’ll definitely want to check out.
Art lovers will want to visit the Rijksmuseum, the Dutch National Museum that houses many paintings by the Old Masters, and the Van Gogh Museum, an entire building dedicated to one of the most famous painters in modern history.
A visit to the Anne Frank Museum is always a moving experience. Here you can tour the small space where Anne and her family hid from the Nazis during World War II and learn more about how her story has inspired people around the world for decades.
Beyond the museums, you’ll definitely want to go for a stroll in Vondel Park, a huge urban oasis with gorgeous flowers, several walking paths, and even a sculpture by Picasso!
As one of Europe’s oldest monarchies, the Netherlands has plenty of castles and royal residences to explore. In the capital, you can explore the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, centrally located in Dam Square. Tour the palace’s gorgeous rooms and halls and see how the Dutch Royal Family lives.
For a bit of medieval history, head to Valkenburg, a picturesque town with ancient castles, gorgeous architecture, and one of the nation’s top spas.
Outside of Utrecht, you can visit De Haar Castle, a large fort rebuilt in 1892 with a collection of historic artifacts, paintings, and furniture that’s definitely worth gawking over.
Of course you’ll want to spend a little time in the great outdoors during your trip to the Netherlands. The country is famous for its flowers, so you’ll definitely want to see some blooms while you’re there.
For the best views, head to Keukenhof in Lisse, also known as the Garden of Europe. Keukenhof is one of the world’s largest flower gardens featuring acres of bulbs that bloom every spring. Most famous of these are probably the tulips, which reach their peak in April and May.
Not much of a flower fan?
Go for a hike in De Hoge Veluwe National Park, the nation’s largest nature reserve featuring acres of trees, trails, and more. You can also see how the scenery inspired famous artists at the park’s Kröller-Müller Museum, featuring works from Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and more.
Q: What are some do’s and don’ts in the Netherlands?
Before you visit the Netherlands, there are a couple of do’s and don’ts to consider.
– Know the difference between a “coffeeshop” and a “cafe.” The Netherlands (and Amsterdam in particular) is well known for its cannabis culture, including the many coffeeshops where you can buy and consume cannabis products as well as food and drinks. Yes, you can get an espresso at these shops, but if you don’t want to ascend to a higher plane for the rest of the day, make sure the brownie you’re buying isn’t the “magic” kind. You’ll find more of your standard, drug-free fare at local cafes. Also, note that different municipalities in the Netherlands have different laws when it comes to cannabis and coffeeshops. For example, in Maastricht, foreign tourists are not allowed to enter coffeeshops.
– Lock your bike. Biking is the preferred method of transportation in many Dutch cities and as such, bikes are a hot commodity. If you’re renting a bike, make sure you get a sturdy lock and always make sure it’s secured to a pole or bike rack before you walk away. An extra lock may even be worth using for peace of mind.
– Buy an OV-ChipKaart. Public transportation is fairly ubiquitous in Dutch cities, making it easy to get around. An OV-ChipKaart will give you access to public transportation throughout the country, from the Rotterdam Metro to Amsterdam’s famous tram system. You can also easily top up the card without worrying about buying different cards and tickets for different systems in different cities.
– Worry too much if you only know English. English is widely spoken in the Netherlands and you’ll find plenty of signs in both English and Dutch as you travel, particularly in the cities and areas popular with tourists. It’s good to know a few simple phrases and greetings in the native language, but you don’t necessarily need to take a full course in Dutch to get around.
– Take pictures of the sex workers in the Red Light District. Yes, sex work is legal in the Netherlands, but the Red Light District is not a zoo. It is extremely rude to take photos of sex workers without their consent, and if any of them catch you doing so, they’ll let you know. If you’re visiting the Red Light District, just keep your phone in your pocket.
– Buy drugs from street dealers. Dutch drug policy may be lax compared to that of other countries, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find safe drugs on the street. If you want to partake, buy from regulated sources like coffeeshops. Buying drugs off the street in the Netherlands is also illegal and you don’t want to end your vacation in a Dutch jail cell.
Q: How much money do I need per day in the Netherlands?
The average traveler spends about $151 USD per day in the Netherlands on transportation, accommodation, food, activities, and other travel expenses. This can vary depending on your itinerary and travel style; for example, you’ll spend more money in Amsterdam than you will in a smaller town like Lisse.
Affordable accommodation options like hostels and public transportation can help keep your costs low, as can skipping out on restaurant meals and finding free activities.
Q: How many days do you need for the Netherlands?
The Netherlands is a fairly small country, so you can see a lot in a week-long trip. One week will give you enough time to spend a few days exploring Amsterdam, take a few day trips to nearby destinations like Zaanse Schans, and spend a day or two each in cities like Utrecht, Haarlem, and the Hague.
You can also travel anywhere you want in the Netherlands over a relatively short amount of time via train, so you won’t lose too much time getting from destination to destination.
Q: Is the Netherlands safe to travel?
The Netherlands is a pretty safe destination for travelers. Rates of violent crime are low, but many of the standard travel safety advice applies here.
Stay aware of your surroundings and keep any valuables close to you and out of view as pickpocketing is common in cities, particularly in tourist-heavy areas. Make sure you know how to avoid pickpockets to keep your valuables safe.
You’ll also want to stay out of bike paths if you’re walking around cities like Amsterdam if you don’t want to end your trip in a Dutch hospital.
Q: How long can a tourist stay in the Netherlands?
Most tourist visas will allow you to stay in the Netherlands for up to 90 days without engaging in any professional activity during your stay.
Q: Do I need a Netherlands travel visa?
Travelers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Schengen Area member countries, and several other countries do not need a visa to visit the Netherlands for a period of fewer than 90 days.
It’s recommended to view your country’s Netherlands International Travel Information page for the most up-to-date information on entry and exit requirements. You can also contact the Consulate General of the Netherlands.
Q: When is the best month to go to the Netherlands?
In terms of weather, between mid-April and mid-October is recommended, though if you want to avoid the crowds and increased travel fares skip the busy tourism months of July and August.
Q: Where is the Netherlands?
Q: Are credit cards accepted in the Netherlands?
Credit cards — particularly Visa and Mastercard — are widely accepted around the Netherlands, though it is always wise to carry some cash for smaller establishments and in case of emergency.
Q: Can you drink the tap water in the Netherlands?
Yes, it is safe to drink tap water in the Netherlands, though it never hurts to ask your hotel in the specific city you’re visiting just to be sure.
Q: What is the local currency in the Netherlands?
The local currency in the Netherlands is the Euro (€).
What would you add to this Netherlands travel guide?
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