7 Cities & Towns you Must Visit in the Netherlands

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My time in the Netherlands came and went in a flash. But if we’re being particular it lasted 8 days and 7 nights, all of which were jam-packed with adventure, sight-seeing, castles, church towers and way too many deep fried sweets (uh woops!)

Throughout my time here in the land of bicycles and miniature pancakes I was eager to see, do and taste as much as possible. Although I didn’t quite get to every pitstop I had planned, I did manage to see and do everything I wanted in each of the cities I did visit, making up for quality over quantity.

So if you’re heading to the Netherlands and want a complete highlights tour, these are the cities and towns you must visit in the Netherlands!

Amsterdam by World of Wanderlust


An obvious starting point: Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most visited cities and with one picture or postcard, it isn’t hard to see why. This city, built on canals with wonky houses, would have to be one of the world’s most photographed cities if not the most. Be sure to wander around at leisure and leave yourself three days here (minimum) as there’s a lot to see and do. In terms of museums make sure you don’t miss the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. Elsewhere be sure to visit Singel Canal, Keizersgracht Canal, Vondelpark and Jordaan neighbourhood.

One Day in the Hague | World of Wanderlust

The Hague

My next stop in the Netherlands was to catch the (30 minutes-ish) train ride to The Hague, which is better known to the Dutchies as Den Haag. As the centre for global judiciary decisions, I had been eager to visit since my first two years of law school (of which I dropped out of to complete a political science degree). This city was as grand as I had envisioned, with beautiful architecture and perfectly manicured gardens at every turn.


image via Flickr


You can reach Leiden by train from Amsterdam in less than 30 minutes, or by train from The Hague in just 10. Pronounced “LIE – DEN”, this city is a great pit stop if travelling between one Dutch city and another, dropping your bags at the train station and exploring for a day. With canals and quintessentially Dutch architecture, this is a great alternative to the tourist-heavy streets of Amsterdam.

Day Trip to Delft | World of Wanderlust


By far the cutest city I came across in all of the Netherlands and even one of the most charming in all of Europe, I cannot believe it has taken me so many years of travel to discover Delft! Just a few minutes by train from The Hague, Delft has the charm of a small town with the benefits of a sizeable city nearby (not to mention some of the world’s best gelato!)

48 Hours in Utrecht | World of Wanderlust


Described to me as Amsterdam’s cooler little sister, Utrecht is a city like no other in the Netherlands and perhaps even in Europe (though it kind of reminded me of the effortless coolness of Antwerp and Ghent in Belgium). Utrecht doesn’t have many sights or attractions, but has plenty of cool cafes, eateries and boutiques to discover. Its the kind of city you can visit and feel like a local within minutes.

Rotterdam Netherlands via Flickr

Image via Flickr


Perhaps the “coolest” city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam is in a league of its own. Modern and design-focused, Rotterdam was completely wiped out by the Germans in in 1940 as a sign of power to the rest of the country who might similarly meet the Germany army with resistance. For this reason Rotterdam is extremely unique to the Netherlands, as it does not have an old town centre or appear alike any of the other cities in the country, though it does have a widespread reputation for architecture and design.

City Guide to Maastricht | World of Wanderlust


Well and truly in the south of the Netherlands is Maastricht, another interesting city I discovered on my travels through the country and one that I found a great base to explore from. With a unique location near to the Belgium border and not far from France or Germany, this is a great city to base yourself in for day trips to explore nearby Cologne, Liege, and you could even travel down in to Luxembourg! The city itself warrants a couple of days to explore – Maastricht iss a beautiful city with a well-deserved gastronomic reputation.


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    June 20, 2017 at 6:27 am

    So glad you included Leiden in your list, as in my opinion it is without a doubt the second most lovely town in the Netherlands (Amsterdam being undisputed number one of course).

    June 5, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    nice, amazing post

    Carrie | Look at the World Around You
    June 5, 2017 at 2:43 am

    I love the contrast of the new modern and old architecture. Definitely adding these to my bucket list!

    June 4, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I’ve only been to Amsterdam, but I would so love to explore more of the Netherlands! I bet Rotterdam is such an incredible city just to wander around in.

    the cape on the corner
    June 1, 2017 at 4:58 am

    oh, yes yes yes! i am SO HAPPY you said leiden! i fell in absolute LOVE with leiden when we stayed with a friend for 2 weeks. it was a perfect base for which to explore the rest of the netherlands, and the “real” vibe of the college/locals has stayed with me. it is where i would move to, in a heartbeat. i loved delft, so i’m glad you went there, and we enjoyed haarlem, as well.

    Serbian Girl In Greece
    June 1, 2017 at 3:25 am

    I am planning my visit soon and I am looking forward as a child planning museums which I want to visit and future pictures with tulips! This post made my planning a lot easier! Thanks!

    May 31, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    I must agree with this!!!

    Cambodia Tours Packages
    May 31, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Looking fantastic!!!

    Each and every thing is available for those who loves to travel in country like this one which have Modern Arts, Cleanness, Attraction, Safety and full enjoyment rather you are travelling with family, friend or alone.

    May 31, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Amazing photos. So beautiful cities.

    Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    May 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    I’d love to visit them all:)

    the adventurer
    May 31, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in Europe! I have been to Utrecht and Rotterdam as well but I really want to explore more of the Netherlands, it’s such a beautiful country =o)

    Michael @ Mile in my Glasses
    May 31, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks for this wonderful guide, Brooke! I definitely need to do a Netherlands road trip! I love visiting Amsterdam but have never wandered into another town there! I need to!

    I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday,

    May 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I’d love to go to Rotterdam and see all the amazing architecture and art, also I really want to see a football match.

    Natasja Soederhuijzen
    May 31, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Hi Brooke,

    I always read your posts. Are you still in the Netherlands? I live in the Netherlands and know some more nice places for you. What you visited is very standard. But the Netherlands have more nice places. I myself am a big fan of Australia. That’s my favourit country and where you are from.

    May 31, 2017 at 7:39 am

    You missed the best Dutch city Groningen! I guess you have to come back soon to experience.

    May 31, 2017 at 6:37 am

    This post is great! I’m actually spending 8 days in the Netherlands in August and was thinking of doing some day trips to some cities and this list made my life so much easier! Thanks!