Breda by Solo Sophie, a canal, with on the left bank a park with grass and trees, on the rights trees and houses
City,  Netherlands

30 of the Best Cities in the Netherlands to Visit

The Netherlands is a small country in Northwestern Europe with a long history and beautiful towns and cities. But which are the best cities in the Netherlands to visit when on a trip in this water rich country? I’ve asked my fellow travel bloggers what their favorite city is and as a Dutchie myself I’ve added my favorites.

Best Cities in the Netherlands

Utrecht, Utrecht

Oudegracht, part of it, the canal with the wharfs and uppper the street with shops
Oudegracht

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

The city I’ve called home for the last 22 years has to be on this list. A beautiful city in the middle of the Netherlands. It has fun festivals year-round, wonderful museums, canals and its pride: the Dom Tower.

The Dom Tower dominates the skyline of Utrecht, you can climb it and have a fantastic view all over Utrecht. The Oudegracht, in the center of Utrecht and part of the canal area, dates from before the 10th century. It has an extensive system of wharfs and vaulted cellars. In those wharfs and cellars a lot of the restaurants in Utrecht are housed. In summer time terraces align the canals from those restaurants. Along the canals are some grand historical buildings, such as stadskasteel Oudaen, Winkel van Sinkel and the city hall.

When exploring the city, pay attention to the street art in Utrecht. It’s everywhere and there are some beautiful paintings among them. Search for the mural of a bookcase from JanIsDeMan, that went viral.

Visit one of the museums in Utrecht, such as the Speelklok museum. A museum with a collection of self-playing musical instruments. Or the Universiteitsmuseum, a museum based on exploring and discovering science.

Festivals that are held in Utrecht each year include festival TREK and the Whisky Tasting Festival. TREK is a food truck festival at Griftpark each year with Pentecost. WTF is at Werkspoorkathedraal in September. All around tasting different kinds of whisky.

To show an attractiomn from Utrecht. Best cities for shopping
Dom tower

Maastricht, Limburg

Maastricht as seen from the St. Servaasbridge, a skyline
Maastricht

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

An all-time favorite city of mine in the Netherlands, and one that should be on top of everyone’s list of best cities of the Netherlands to visit.

With its Burgundian atmosphere, and at the same time a fancy feeling, the city is completely different than the rest of the Netherlands. This fabulous city is located close to the border with Belgium in the south of the Netherlands. The city has something to offer for everyone: history, shops, terraces, quality restaurants, liveliness and museums.

Maastricht is a city perfect for foodies. When visiting Maastricht on top of your list should be to try out kruisbessenschuim (gooseberry pie). The main reason I travel to Maastricht each year with a friend, and that we both simply love this city. Other dishes to sample are aardbeienschuim (strawberry pie), Maastrichts zuurvlees, arretjescake and kroketten. Vrijthof and Markt are 2 hotspots, they’re squares with terraces and restaurants.

Museum geeks can explore Maastricht Underground, the Bonnefantenmuseum, St. Servaasbasilica or the natural history museum. For fashion lovers, there are plenty of shops and lots of fashion houses have a store in the city center.

Haarlem, Noord-Holland

Cathedral by Passport The World
Cathedral by Passport The World

Contributed by Deborah from Passport The World.

Haarlem is a beautiful city in the Netherlands, 20 minutes away from the capital Amsterdam and the beaches. The city used to be an important sea trading port, surrounded by a defensive wall and you can still notice its medieval character, cobbled streets and monumental gabled houses. Haarlem is known for its history, art, cultural highlights, courtyards, great shops and gastronomy. And that’s something you definitely will experience during your visit.

One of the best things to do in Haarlem is to walk around the city center, visit the main square with its impressive Saint Bavo Church, stroll around the Spaarne River and take a picture of the Adriaan Windmill and go shopping in the Golden streets. 

In Haarlem you will also find the Haarlemse Hofjes. hidden courtyards, surrounded by old mansions (used as almshouses in the past). Nowadays these 21 courtyards are open to the public and beautiful to discover for a few hours. Another sight you don’t want to miss is the impressive Dome Cathedral, only a ten-minute walk from the city center. You will pass through the Vijfhoek area, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Haarlem, because of its picturesque squares, streets and houses decorated with flowers.

If you want to go to a museum, make sure to visit the Museum of Frans Hals, one of the most important Dutch masters of the Golden Age. You can find many of his famous works here. Another great place is the Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands. This museum will make you travel back in time, as it’s all about discoveries. The historical importance and authentic setting where natural lights are used, is something that will impress for sure.

Gable houses and drawbridge by Passport The World
Gable houses and drawbridge by Passport The World

Tilburg, Noord-Brabant

To show Art in the middle of Tilburg. Best cities for shopping
Art in the middle of Tilburg

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Tilburg is a city in the middle of the province Noord-Brabant. It’s known for being a textile city. At the end of the 19th century it had its hayday. A lot of the industrial buildings from this period are still standing tall, although not in its original function.

Go on any of the self-guided city walks you can get at the VVV (Tourist information). During those walks you’ll see the beautiful historical buildings in the heart of Tilburg and get information about them.

Tilburg has some well renowned museums. Namely the Textile museum, about the history of the textile industry in the city and how textile is fabricated. Further there’s the Natural History museum Brabant and museum De Pont.

013 is a pop podium which has hosted many a famous Dutch and international artists. This concert venue together with the Rock academy has placed Tilburg on the map as a city where pop music thrives.

As a student city and with a concert venue in town, there are plenty of restaurants in Tilburg. Up and coming areas are the Piushaven and the Spoorzone. In the old industrial building restaurants are now there, giving the area a hip feeling.

Tilburg is famous for its large fun fair each year in July. It’s the largest in the Benelux with some 230 to 240 rides and attractions each year. 10 Days at the end of July, with over a million visitors each year. Pink Monday is the busiest day of the carnival.

Tilburg also has The Gaming Factory, a large indoor arcade hall. It has 100+ games to play on from old and newer arcade games to E-games they have it all. Paul and Yuri love it here.

Deventer, Overijssel

Deventer Koekwinkel , a little shop with cozy windows
Deventer Koekwinkel

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

One of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. A Hanseatic city, situated on the River Ijssel. It has a beautiful, medieval old town. Deventer is in the Northeastern part of the Netherlands.

When visiting Deventer in December, don’t miss the Dickens Festival. It’s a festival in the weekend before Christmas, and for 2 days the Bergkwartier (medieval part of town) turns into a 19th century town from a Charles Dickens novel. The ultimate Christmas event and one of the places to have a magical Christmas in Europe.

Stop at the Deventer Koekwinkel, which produces and sells the famous Deventer koek, a cookie already produced in the Middle Ages. There’s also a number of old buildings that can be admired on a city walk. There’s the oldest scientific library, the Athenaeumbibliotheek, in the Netherlands. The oldest park, Worpplantsoen and the oldest stone house in the Netherlands is also in Deventer.

Museum de Waag and the Speelgoedmuseum Deventer (Toys museum) are worth a visit. Museum de Waag is a monumental building dating from the Middle Ages. You can learn all about the history of Deventer here. The toys museum has toys from nowadays, your own youth and from your parents’ generation.

An medieval building in the Bergkwartier, seen from below, lloking up
An medieval building in the Bergkwartier

Willemstad, Curaçao

Queen Emma bridge by The Carry-On Chronicles, Elena stands in the middle of the bridge, seen from the side. The skyline of Willemstad behind her and the bridge
Queen Emma bridge by The Carry-On Chronicles

Contributed by Elena from The Carry-On Chronicles.

Willemstad is a must on every Netherlands itinerary. While this colorful capital city is not located in the Netherlands directly, it’s the heart of the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curacao, within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In addition to being a unique city, Willemstad has significance as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s renowned for its vibrant, Dutch-inspired architecture as well as the iconic Queen Emma Bridge, the pontoon bridge that straddles St. Anna Bay. Travelers looking to witness the excitement of the moving bridge in action should stop at the Iguana Café for a “Chunky Monkey” frozen cappuccino and watch the magic unfold. For breakfast, foodies won’t want to miss a delicious start to the day at beautiful Bijblauw. This trendy restaurant kisses the Caribbean Sea, mentally transporting patrons to a remote Greek island.

Visitors will also love strolling the streets of Willemstad to marvel at the colorful facades influenced by the Dutch, in addition to Africa and the Americas. Favorites include the Penha Building, the bright buildings of Handelskade, and the artistic Scharloo neighborhood.

In addition, those looking to experience a literal taste of Curacao and its history must pay a visit to Landhuis Chobolobo. This impressive 19th century distillery is located just outside the city center and offers guests interactive tours and tastings of their delicious Curacao liqueur varieties.

colorful Willemstad buildings by The Carry-On Chronicles, a street with a row of houses in different colors
Colorful Willemstad buildings by The Carry-On Chronicles

Zierikzee, Zeeland

The Lange Jan Tower, as seen through another street in front of it.
The Lange Jan Tower

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Zierikzee is a harbor city on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland which is in the southwest of the country. This beautiful, old city has over 500 monuments in and around the city. All these buildings you can admire on a self-guided city walk, which is one of 25 fun things to do in Zeeland.

A good way to learn more about Zierikzee is to make a stop at the Stadhuismuseum, it tells the story of the city and is situated in the old city hall.

Much of the walls, gates, churches, spires and mills were already gracing the skyline in the 15th century. Next to that it has a beautiful harbor with bridges and a splendid view. Go on a boat tour on the Oosterschelde, and see the city from the water.

Sit down at one of the many terraces in the harbor or the city center. Enjoy the street art which has some beautiful pieces here and there.

Zierikzee skyline from the harbor
Zierikzee skyline from the harbor

Den Bosch, Noord-Brabant

To show an attraction of Den Bosch
St. Jan Cathedral

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Den Bosch is famous for the Bossche Bol and Bossche Koek. The Bossche Bol is a pastry of whipped cream in a layer of dough covered in dark chocolate. You can get one at a lot of restaurants in Den Bosch, and they’re all coming from Banketbakkerij Jan de Groot. The Bossche Koek is a delicious pastry already eaten for over 5 centuries. A large cookie with honey and seasoning.

St. Jans Cathedral, in short Sint Jan, is the most well-known church in the Netherlands. It’s the highlight of the Gothic period in Brabant. It dates from the 16th century. Building it already started in the 14th century. In December and January there’s a Nativity scene in the cathedral. The figurines are life size and occupy a large part of the church.

Further there’s the Binnendieze, a canal system through Den Bosch on which you can make a boat tour.

There are excellent museums in the city, such as the Noordbrabants museum and the ‘Oeteldonks’ Gemintemuseum (Mardi Gras). The last one is about the celebration of Carnaval in the city.

Breda, Noord-Brabant

Breda by Solo Sophie, a canal, with on the left bank a park with grass and trees, on the rights trees and houses
Breda by Solo Sophie

Contributed by Sophie from Solo Sophie.

One of the less touristic cities in the Netherlands that is often missed by visitors in favor of more famous places such as Rotterdam or Amsterdam is that of Breda. Often nicknamed the ‘The Little Hague of the South’ on account of its history with the House of Orange and the ‘Pearl of the South’, on account of its sheer beauty, Breda boasts both history and charm in equal measure.

The Dutch city of Breda is one of the most Southerly cities in the Netherlands, not far from the border with Belgium in the region of North Brabant and is best seen over the course of several days so as to be able to soak up its ambiance and enjoy its handful of attractions.

Among some of the best things to do in town include visiting the 13th-century fortified castle, relaxing in one of the many parks in the city (Park Valkenberg is one of the prettiest), and checking out the Grote Kerk (Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk)- great church of the city.

Just like many other Belgian and Dutch cities, Breda, too, has its own beguinage (Begijnhof Breda), a special district of the city which was once home to religious women who had not taken any vows.

Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant

Catharina Church, church with two spires, as seen from the front
Catharina Church

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Eindhoven is a city in the Southeast of the Netherlands. It’s an old industrial city, this is where Philips was born. First with light bulbs, later on with lots of other electronic devices. You can hear and see all about its history in the Philips museum. Which is in the city center, housed in a former Philips factory. More of the old industrial buildings are present on Strijp S. This old industrial part of town has now been turned into a hip neighborhood with bars and restaurants. There are plenty of great restaurants in Eindhoven.

The St. Catharina church is a beautiful church in the center of Eindhoven, that should be a stop on any visit to Eindhoven.

Besides the Philips museum, there are more good museums in the city. Such as the Van Abbemuseum, DAF museum and the Prehistoric Village. The Van Abbemuseum displays modern art, at the DAF museum you can learn all about the history of the DAF cars. The Prehistoric Village is an outdoor museum with reconstructed buildings from prehistoric times till the Tachtigjarige Oorlog (Eighty year war).

Amersfoort, Utrecht

Dierenpark Amersfoort, giraffes and some other animals at a larger encloser
Dierenpark Amersfoort

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Amersfoort is a city in the middle of the country. Its famous for its Koppelpoort (an old city gate), which is shown on every picture of Amersfoort. This way being an important landmark of the city. Further there’s the 15th century Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren (Our Sweet Lady Tower). Both of these buildings are in the beautiful city center. The old city center is well preserved and has a cozy atmosphere.

Famous all over the Netherlands is Dierenpark Amersfoort, a zoo. It’s in the city, not in the center itself however. A perfect outing for families, it has a special Dinosaur path and splendid playgrounds.

In the museum section, there’s the Cavalry museum, perfect for military geeks. There’s the Mondriaanhuis, the world famous modern art painter. Then there’s museum Flehite, telling you all about the history of the city.

Lastly, there are the Muurhuizen (wallhouses), houses built with stones from the old walls of the city, and against parts of the old walls.

Alkmaar, Noord-Holland

Contributed by Alina from World of Lina.

Another one of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands is the gorgeous city of Alkmaar in the province of North Holland.

Alkmaar is a beautiful, historic city with canals, old buildings and various interesting museums such as the National Beer Museum or the Holland Cheese Museum. The reason why the latter is located here is because Alkmaar is the cheese capital of the Netherlands. So if you’re a cheese lover, check out the city’s cheese market at the Waagplein main square in the city center. It takes place every Friday from 10 am to 3 pm and offers up to 30,000 kilos of different sorts of cheese.

Besides the famous cheese market, in the old center you find many historic monuments, great shopping districts and countless welcoming terraces, cafes and restaurants for every budget. The city is also a starting point of many beautiful cycling routes leading through stunning nature and along dunes and beaches.

Alkmaar is just a 30-minute car or train ride from Amsterdam and thus perfect for a day trip. But you can also easily spend 2-3 days in this fascinating city and find enough amazing things to see and do!

Vlissingen, Zeeland

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Vlissingen is a city in the south of the Netherlands, on the former island of Walcheren. From beaches to a harbor to museums, Vlissingen has it all.

You can learn all about the maritime history of Vlissingen and the province of Zeeland at the Zeeuws maritiem muZEEum. There’s also a fun theme park in the city: The Arsenaal. A sea aquarium and pirates park combined. You can admire reptiles at the reptile zoo Iguana. Fun for kids and adults alike. Other ideas for things to do are museum Scheldewerf, Panorama Walcheren and the Bunkermuseum Vlissingen.

In the south, Vlissingen has a harbor, but in the west it’s all beach. So a fun day at the beach is a possibility when visiting Vlissingen. The city also has the longest boulevard in the Netherlands. So go on a long stroll along the boulevard.

Vlissingen is perfect to try out some of the Dutch Traditional Foods, such as kibbeling and a lekkerbekje. Or a real Zeeuwse speciality such as a Zeeuwse bolus.

Nijmegen, Gelderland

Mask at Museum Het Valkhof, Roman face mask gold
Mask at Museum Het Valkhof

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Nijmegen dates back to Roman times and is the oldest city of the Netherlands. It is close to the border with Germany in the  East of the Netherlands.

Next to being known as the oldest city, Nijmegen is also known for the Nijmeegse Vierdaagse each year. A 4-day hiking event, which starts each year on the 3rd Tuesday of July. It’s the largest multiple days walking event in the world and each year people participate from 80 different countries. At the same time are the Nijmeegse Vierdaagsefeesten. After all the walking you can party in the city.

Nijmegen has the oldest shopping street in the Netherlands, namely the Lange Hezelstraat. You’ll also find beautiful old buildings and ancient squares here. Nijmegen also houses some quality museums, such as Museum de Bastei. A museum about nature and cultural history housed in a defense tower from the 16th century. Museum Het Valkhof has a large collection of archeological Roman objects, but also pop-art pieces. Lastly, the muZIEum is all about how the world of the visually handicapped is.

Den Haag, Zuid-Holland

Binnenhof The Hague by RJOnTour, The Binnenhof (Parliaments building) at the back, surrounded by water
Binnenhof by RJOnTour

Contributed by Richard from RJOnTour.

The Hague or Den Haag is the third largest city in the Netherlands and is a beautiful place steeped in history. It has some great architecture for starters, as well as having a beach. One of the prime attractions is the Binnenhof, a palatial complex that is the home of Dutch politics. It is also stunning for one to look around. The Binnenhof is home to the Ridderzaal, an eye-catching building that was built in the 13th and 14th centuries as the castle of the Counts of Holland.

The Hague is also home to The Mauritshuis, an art museum which has many famous works of art including some by Rembrandt. The Hague is home to the oldest indoor shopping centre in the Netherlands, the Passage. It is a lovely place to visit and enjoy some retail therapy or have a mooch. Other sights to see include The Peace Palace and Noordeinde Palace, which are both interesting places to visit. There are also lots of other fun things to do in The Hague to suit most tastes.

You also have Scheveningen, a district of Den Haag, which is a seaside resort with a fantastic long beach. The beach is fantastic for water sports, relaxing and is also home to SkyView Pier, a gigantic Ferris wheel that has views towards neighbouring towns.

Bergen op Zoom, Noord-Brabant

Fort de Roovere and the Mozesbridge
Fort de Roovere and the Mozesbridge

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Bergen op Zoom is a fortified city with a beautiful old town in the southwest of the Netherlands, close to the border with Belgium. It has over 800 monuments and a history dating back some 800 years. Buildings such as the Markiezenhof (former city palace), the old city hall, the Gevangenpoort (prisoner’s gate) and the St. Gertrudischurch. The last one is also called the Peperbus (Pepper pot).

As a fortified city it also had the nickname La Pucelle (the virgin) since it was an impregnable stronghold. It’s part of the Zuiderwaterlinie, a Dutch military defense line dating from the 17th and 18th century. Now Bergen op Zoom is the end of a 4 part driving route along the Zuiderwaterlinie.

Fort de Roovere with the Pomejus tower and the Mozesbridge is worth your time. The Pompejus tower gives grand views of the surroundings and the Mozesbridge is a fun experience.

Bergen op Zoom also has a beach at the Binnenschelde. A lake where you can practice a large range of water sports.

Hindeloopen, Friesland

Hindeloopen, an overview with a chucrch spire and roof, and a street and some houses with red tiled roofs
Hindeloopen

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

After Sloten, the city of Hindeloopen is the smallest of the Friese eleven cities. Those eleven are the cities that got city rights and where the Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities tour) is ridden. The Elfstedentocht is a long-distance tour skating event on natural ice, almost 200 kilometers (120 miles) long.

Visit one of the museums, such as the Eerste Friese Schaatsmuseum (First Friese Ice Skating museum) or the Museum Hindeloopen. The first museum tells all about the history of ice skating and the Elfstedentocht. The second museum has several exhibits about the history of the city Hindeloopen.

On a city walk through the picturesque city admire the large church of Hindeloopen, the Commandeurswoning, the Sylhús and the City Hall from 1795. Further more admire the Flora & Fauna fountain. Each of the eleven cities has since 2018 a fountain made by an artist.

At the end of your city walk, sit down at one of the terraces near the small harbor and enjoy the view.

Hindeloopen
Hindeloopen

Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland

Rotterdam cubicle houses by Adrenaline Junkiez
Cubicle houses by Adrenaline Junkiez

Contributed by Kerry from Adrenaline Junkiez.

If you’re visiting the Netherlands, make sure to stop by the vibrant port town of Rotterdam. Located approximately 30-40 minutes by train from Amsterdam, Rotterdam is simple and easy to get to. Head to the Maritime Museum to learn about the rich culture and history of Europe’s largest seaport. See many of the old seafaring equipment as well as beautiful boats along the docs.

Rotterdam also has many unique and interesting architecture features. A short walk away from the museum is the Markthal, a large cubular-looking dome. However, the inside is a bustling market space with vibrant colorful artwork that stretches from the sides to the ceiling. There are several places to buy food and drinks. It is not a restaurant space as such but is a cool, trendy handout that is very popular. Nearby is also the building that has the protruding cubic rooms that you may have seen in photos. Certainly, an eye-catching design.

 In fact, a lot of the great sites are around Rotterdam Centrum. A trip to Miniworld is another unique place. Think of it as discovering Rotterdam as a giant but without the worry of getting chased by pitch forks. Whatever you decide to do, this historical and arty hub makes a brilliant city to visit.

Willemstad, Noord-Brabant

Willemstad harbor
Willemstad harbor

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

The second Willemstad in this list of cities. There’s a Willemstad on Curaçao and one in the province of Noord-Brabant. Both are beautiful and interesting cities.

Willemstad is a fortified city in the south of the Netherlands. The fortfications are well preserved and you can still see them and walk on them. The city was called Ruigenhill at first, but in 1584 renamed Willemstad in honor of the murdered Willem van Oranje.

Willemstad has a long list of beautiful monuments and old buildings, such as the Mauritshuis, the Domechurch, the Holy Virgin Maria Church , d’Orangemill and the Arsenal. These can be admired on a city walk strolling through the small, old streets in the city. There are still canons on the dock and cannonballs in the walls to be seen. Willemstad is perfect to visualize the battle that was fought here back in time between the Dutch, French and English.

Sit down at one of the many terraces near the harbor or in the inner city and enjoy the picturesque views.

Enkhuizen, Noord-Holland

Sprookjeswonderland, the entrance, old looking buildings, fairy tale like
Sprookjeswonderland

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Enkhuizen is a city situated on both the Ijsselmeer and the Markermeer. It’s a historic harbor city, with fortifications dating from the 16th century. It was one of the most prosperous cities in the Netherlands in the 17th century. This was due to Enkhuizen being one of the members of the VOC (Dutch East India Company).

On a city walk you can still see much of this history. Enkhuizen has a beautiful old town with lots of historical buildings, like the classical city hall. Or the Drommedaris, a city gate from the year 1540 or the Waag from 1559 (a Renaissance building), the Zuiderkerk and the Westerkerk.

The Zuiderzeemuseum is one of the most important museums of the city, displaying the history of Enkhuizen and the former Zuiderzee.

Enkhuizen is the hub for water sports on the Ijsselmeer.

Sprookjeswonderland is a small, cozy theme park for the little ones. We’ve been here several years in a row with our son in winter time. The park gets decorated with lights each year and has a huge Christmas tree in the square. So much fun to have at this park.

Amsterdam, Noord-Holland

Amsterdam by the Office Escape Artist, a canal with high houses along each side
Amsterdam by the Office Escape Artist

Contributed by Gabby from the Office Escape Artist.

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is arguably the most iconic city in the country. It’s so easy to spend a day wandering the canals, through art museums, or exploring the seedier underbelly of the city. Amsterdam truly offers something for everyone!

Amsterdam is probably most famous for the bike culture. You cannot visit this city without exploring it on bike. One of the best tours available is to visit the Dutch countryside on bike – including delicious Dutch gouda tastings!

Do you love art? There are some world-class museums in the Museumplein, including the Van Gogh museum. Art lovers cannot miss this!

If you’re into history, the Anne Frank house is moving and sobering. You can see where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis, including snippets from her diary.

If you’re more into partying, Amsterdam offers something for you, too. From coffee shops to the Red Light District, those seeking some unconventional fun will be sure to find something that interests them.

Don’t forget about the awesome food in the Netherlands. You absolutely must enjoy stroopwafel, bitterballen, and apple pie (from Winkel 43). Amsterdam has so many unique tasty treats!

Oudewater, Utrecht

Paul being weighed at the Heksenwaag
Paul being weighed at the Heksenwaag

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Oudewater already gained city rights in the year 1265. It’s a small city on the river Lange Linschoten and internationally known because of the Heksenwaag. From the 16th till the 18th century people were weighed here, who were accused of witchcraft. No one is ever convicted as a witch here. It was the only places in Europe that was given the privilege of a fair weighing process by Emperor Charles V. People were given a non-witch declaration. Nowadays it’s a small museum on witch hunts in Europe and you can still get yourself weighed and get a not a witch declaration. We all 3 got our not a witch certificate a year ago. It was a fun experience.

The city’s citizens have the nickname ‘geelbuiken’ (yellow bellies). Since the city was big in the rope industry. Ropes were tied around the belly, the hemp, and this gave off a yellow color. There’s the touwmuseum ‘De Baanschuur’ in which you can learn all about the history of the rope farmers and how rope was made from hemp and later on from nylon. There’s still one rope factory from the 16th century in use and you can admire this building on the outskirts of Oudewater.

Other entertaining things to do in Oudewater are a city walk, the streets are picturesque and there are some 300 monumental buildings to admire. Seeing the city from the water is also a unique experience. Learn about the city’s history and different landmarks from a guide on a tour boat.

Oudewater from the canals
Oudewater from the canals

Ootmarsum, Overijssel

Ootmarsum, a sweet shop from the outside, an older building
Ootmarsum

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

A fairy tale city in Twente, a region in the east of the Netherlands on the border with Germany. This picturesque city has a protected historical townscape. It’s beautiful to wander around the small city and sit down at a terrace and just enjoy the fairy tale like cityscape.

There are several museums you can visit, such as Museum Ton Schulten (art), The Educatorium (on education), Open Air museum Ootmarsum Het Land van Heeren en Boeren and Museum Ootmarsum.

There was no real industrial development in Ootmarsum, so it remained an agricultural city. This way the nostalgic old town was saved and draws lots of tourists nowadays. Historical half-timbered houses dominate the city center, with in the middle the Hallenchurch, which dates from the 12th century.

All around the city there’s art on the street and lots of art galleries. Ootmarsum is an artist town.

Othmar is the brewery in town, which brews several beers. For anyone interested, tours are available.

Leiden, Zuid-Holland

To show an restaurant in Leiden
Annie’s, a restaurant in Leiden

Contributed by Marta from Temporal Globe.

Leiden is a hidden gem. Located just 20 minutes away from Amsterdam by train, this small university town is the perfect day escape from the capital. Without a doubt, this magical town sits in my top three most charming cities in the Netherlands, and it is absolutely worth a visit if you’re travelling around here. 

There are several things that make Leiden truly special. One of the highlights is the local church, the Pieterskerk. This is famous because it once hosted the Pilgrims during their long journeys, and is probably the most important building in the city. Following right behind is the Burcht Castle. Its remains stand tall in the city and give it a fairytale feel, giving you the chance of admiring the city view from high above the ground. This is great to visit on a Saturday so you can head straight to the food market after you’re done. Do not forget to try one of the Dutchie’s favorites, the stroopwafel. You will not be disappointed!

I could go on and on with the list, but you get the point! Leiden is a city I wouldn’t miss for the world, and neither should you!

Gouda, Zuid-Holland

Goodies at the syrupwaffle factory
Goodies at the syrupwaffle factory

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

In the middle of Gouda is the Kamphuisen Siroopwafelfabriek, where the famous stroopwafels are being made. They already bake them with the original recipe since 1810. It’s fun to taste them, hear all about the history of this world famous cookie and see the process of making them.

When visiting the factory you’re already on the Markt, a must-visit square. In summer there’s a cheese market is at the Markt every Thursday. The square is also perfect to sit down on a terrace (all year round). Admire the city hall and the liveliness of the Markt.

Gouda is of course also the city from the world famous Gouda cheese. Learn everything about the production and history  of the Goudse kaas in the Gouda Cheese Experience. The building is in the color yellow, it reminds one of cheese! The Goudse Waag exists already since 1198, it’s where products were weighed before getting sold on the market. Nowadays the Goudse Waag is a museum on the history of the Goudse cheesemarket.

Groningen, Groningen

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

The largest city in the north of the Netherlands and not that far from the border with Germany. Groningen is known as a student city which gives a lot of liveliness. It has beautiful monuments, such as the Martini tower and the Grand train station Groningen. The station has a beautiful entrance hall with an adorned ceiling. The city center is cozy and has an extended pedestrian area.

Groningen is most famous for the excellent Groninger museum. An art museum, with changing exhibits and as well as modern also older art and different styles of art. You either hate or love the outside of the eccentric museum building. Other museums worth a visit are the Northern shipping museum, University museum Groningen and the GRID Graphic museum Groningen.

There are lots of events happening in Groningen, such as Noorderzon Festival, Eurosonic Noorderslag and the Paradigm Festival. All revolving around music and culture.

Middelburg, Zeeland

Middelburg by Offbeat Escapades, a row of houses on a river with house boats in front of the houses
Middelburg by Offbeat Escapades

Contributed by Antoine & Marielle from Offbeat Escapades.

Middelburg is the capital of Zeeland, located on the western coast of the Netherlands. With its surrounding lush greenery, vicinity to the North Atlantic Coast, and its endless alleyways and canalside streets, this Gothic city is one of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands.

There are many wonderful things to do in Middelburg such as seeing its iconic tower, Lange Jan, taking in the impressive architecture of its Town Hall, and strolling through the ever so charming Old Harbor. It is also home to the Zeeuws Museum – a well-known museum dedicated to the heritage of the province of Zeeland. 

For outdoor lovers, there are many hiking trails, campsites, and nautical activities that can be done in the surrounding areas. Being so near to the ocean, Middelburg is also home to some of the best fish and chips in all of Europe. Whether you choose to order this dish from a streetside stall or in a restaurant, the quality is simply top-notch. 

Arnhem, Gelderland

To show an attraction of Arnhem. Best cities for shopping
Openlucht museum

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Arnhem is known for Burgers’ Zoo and the Open Air Museum. Burgers’ Zoo is a zoo with ecodisplays. They rebuild the ecosystems in which the animals and plants live naturally. At the Openluchtmuseum (open air museum) you’ll learn all about Dutch history and traditions.

The city of Arnhem is where one of the most famous, but also infamous, battles of the Second World War was held, “de slag om Arnhem”. You can relive this battle at the Airborne Museum.

Other museums worth a visit in Arnhem are museum Arnhem, Wine museum Arnhem, Museum Bronbeek and the museum for Modern Art.

Arnhem is also the green gateway to the Veluwe. National Park De Hoge Veluwe and National Park Veluwezoom are not that far away. The Veluwe is a beautiful nature area in the Netherlands.

Another highlight in Arnhem is Park Sonsbeek. It has fountains, a water mill, a tea house and beautiful gardens.

Delft, Zuid-Holland

Delft by Life Part 2 and beyond,  a canal with a street on the left and houses
Delft by Life Part 2 and beyond

Contributed by Sarah from Life Part 2 and beyond.

Less than an hour by train from Amsterdam and ten minutes from The Hague, Delft is a delightful town to visit. Its compact size makes it a perfect place to explore on foot. With its canals, bicycles, windmills (although admittedly not as impressive as the windmills of Kinderdijk) and shops selling wooden clogs, it’s everything you’d imagine a Dutch town to be. 

This charming city is famous for its pottery. It is home to the last remaining Delft Blue pottery factory from the 17th century – a truly fascinating place to visit, where you can observe the artisans at work.

It’s also the birthplace of Johannes Vermeer, an artist most well known for his painting ‘the girl with the pearl earring.’ At the Vermeer Centrum in Delft, one can learn all about the life and works of this talented artist.

Start your visit in Delft in the central Markt Square with its medieval City Hall and the New Church, which dates back to the 1300s, so not that new. Climb the 85-metre tower of the New Church up a narrow spiral staircase and be rewarded with fabulous views of Delft. Around the corner from the square is the Old Church, roughly 100 years older than the new, where you can see the tomb of William the Orange, the founding father of the Netherlands, plus admire its leaning tower. After a day of exploring, relax in one of the many canal side bars and restaurants. 

Zwolle, Overijssel

Museum de Fundatie, the building from the outside
Museum de Fundatie

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

The Hanseatic city of Zwolle has many things to offer. According to my son the most important thing is the Bonami Games & Computers Museum. A museum he has been to a few times. They have all sorts of consoles and gaming computers on display. A few you can even play with.

Zwolle is easily recognizeble by the Sassenpoort, a 600-year old city gate. Next to that the centuries old facades, fortifications, towers and star shaped moat. The medieval old town just asks to be explored. The Peperbustoren (pepper pot tower) from the Onze Lieve Vrouwenbasilica is 75 meters high and you can climb it to enjoy perfect views on the city.

Museum de Fundatie houses in a remarkable (but beautiful) building and has art ranging from Van Gogh to Mondriaan. The Herman Brood Museum & Experience is all about a famous as well as infamous Dutch artist.

From December to March Zwolle hosts the ice sculpture festival each year. Each year there’s a different theme, each year the ice sculptures are beautiful and there’s an ice slide, which is fun.

Librije’s hotel is the smallest five star hotel in the Netherlands. It’s in the historical old town of Zwolle and the restaurant has 3 Michelin stars. Run by Jonnie and Thérèse Boer. Jonnie Boer is a famous chef in the Netherlands.

Not that far from Zwolle is the province of Flevoland, where you can drive the best tulip road trips.

This concludes our list of best cities in the Netherlands to visit

Hope you enjoyed reading about these Dutch cities and have wonderful new ideas for your (next) trip to the Netherlands!  

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