If you are planning a trip to the Netherlands, you are probably already aware of many of the perks of visiting the country. The Netherlands is famous for its friendly and welcoming populace, its hearty cuisine, and its quirkily traditional cities. What you might not know is that just outside of Amsterdam, you can find some of Europe’s most beautiful and unique landscapes, which you should probably get trekking poles for. In this article, I’ll tell you where you should go in the Netherlands to experience the brightest pops of colour and the most breathtaking scenery. After reading this article, you’ll be prepared to create a Dutch itinerary that will make your Instagram feed the envy of all your friends!
You’ve almost certainly come across a picture of Zaanse Schans before. This little neighborhood just north of Amsterdam is home to picture perfect examples of the famous Dutch windmills. Eight wooden windmills remain, each with a unique history. Locals can tell you a little more about what makes each one distinct. If you come on a windy day, you’ll even get to see these elegant windmills in action.
This destination is easily accessible by either car or train. Those of you who are a little more on the adventurous can bike here from Amsterdam. The road is flat and gives excellent views of the wide, green Dutch countryside. And if you spend your morning biking, you’ll have a great reason to top your afternoon off with some stroopwafel and a crisp Dutch beer.
If you’ve spent your morning in Zaanse Schans, a good next stop is Giethoorn. It’s located a bit farther from Amsterdam in the province of Overijssel. It’s a gem that is frequently overlooked by travelers, so if you are looking to get a little off the beaten path, you need to include this in your itinerary.
Giethoorn is a village of 2,620 that still maintains the traditional Dutch lifestyle. It’s known as the Venice of the Netherlands and almost all travel throughout the town is done by boat along the canals. There are also footpaths and bike paths, but cars are seldom seen. Looking down a street in this village is a window into an earlier time and a slower pace of life, with cozy brick houses peering down on the clear water of the canals. If you need a break from city life for a day, this is one of your best options.
Enkhuizen traces its history to the 12th century and is among the most ancient of Dutch cities. During the Dutch golden age, it was one of the richest and most important of Dutch ports. As Amsterdam grew to international prominence, Enkhuizen declined as an economic powerhouse. Fortunately, it continued to preserve its history.
Today, it has over 300 buildings that are considered to be part of the Netherlands’ national heritage. You can easily spend an entire day wandering through the historic district or lounging by the waterside. While it’s an easy drive from Amsterdam, it is worth spending the night here instead of limiting yourself to a day trip. Make sure to check out the Enkhuizer Waag for an example of graceful Dutch architecture.
Castle de Haar
If you’ve been traveling around Europe for a while, you may think you’ve seen enough castles. I’m here to tell you that even if you think you’ve seen it all, Castle de Haar is worth your time. This elegant castle, the largest in the Netherlands, looks like something straight out of a Disney movie. It’s conveniently located near Utrecht, so if you spend your day wandering the castle grounds, you can spend the night in Utrecht to refresh yourself.
This castle is especially worthy of a visit in summertime. The roses and gardens will be in full bloom. The Dutch are famous for their flowers, and walking through the gardens of Castle de Haar will show you exactly why. Even without the beautiful backdrop of the castle, the roses are stunning in their own right.
Utrecht is one of the most overlooked treasures of the Netherlands. Despite the fact that it traces its history to Roman times and still boasts numerous medieval buildings, many tourists get the impression that Utrecht is not worth visiting compared to Amsterdam. This simply isn’t so. If you go to Utrecht, you’ll get a more authentic sense of what Dutch life is like.
While you are there, make sure to check out the Cathedral of St. Martin. The massive Gothic cathedral is one of the most beautiful religious heritage sites in the country. Step inside for a moment of peace and serenity.
Welcome to the Netherlands!
I hope this article about Instagram spots in the Netherlands has given you a good idea of just how beautiful and awe-inspiring the Netherlands can be. These are by no means the only places worth visiting in this beautiful country. I hope we’ll see you here so you can witness for yourself just how lovely and Insta worthy the Netherlands can be!