Are you planning a holiday getaway to the Netherlands and looking for the perfect town to visit? Look no further! In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of the best towns in Netherlands to explore for a memorable holiday.
With a population of over 17 million people, the Netherlands is home to several picturesque towns that offer unique experiences for travelers. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the best towns in the country for a holiday getaway, based on various factors such as cultural heritage, scenic beauty, and availability of activities.
We will cover the top towns to visit, along with what makes them special, and tips on what to do and see during your stay. Whether you are seeking a romantic escape, family adventure, or solo exploration, the Netherlands has a town that will suit your preferences.
The list of the best towns in Netherlands for a holiday getaway includes:
Amsterdam is a must-visit holiday destination in the Netherlands, with over 19 million tourists visiting the city each year. This charming city offers a unique character that combines rich cultural heritage with a modern urban vibe. Visitors can explore one of the best towns in Netherlands, Amsterdam’s historic canal network, stroll through its picturesque streets lined with old buildings, and immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant arts and music scene.
Amsterdam Best Neighborhoods
One of the best neighborhoods to consider for a holiday stay is the trendy Jordaan district. This chic neighborhood offers a bohemian ambiance while offering various art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Visitors can take a stroll along the canals, admire the charming canal houses, and visit local markets such as the Noordermarkt.
Additionally, the Anne Frank House, which offers a glimpse into the life of Anne Frank during the Nazi occupation, is located in this district. Another great option is the Museum Quarter, which is home to world-renowned museums such as the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s artwork in the world, and the Rijksmuseum, which has an impressive collection of Dutch art and history.
Amsterdam Holiday Season
During the holiday season, Amsterdam comes alive with festive cheer. Visitors can enjoy ice skating in Museumplein, where a large ice skating rink is set up every winter. The city also hosts several Christmas markets, including the popular market at the Leidseplein, where visitors can browse stalls selling handmade crafts, winter foods, and festive decorations.
Furthermore, the famous Amsterdam Light Festival takes place every winter, where the city’s canals and streets are illuminated with artistic light installations. Visitors can take a canal cruise to see the light displays up close or explore the installations on foot.
Best time to visit Amsterdam
It’s best to visit Amsterdam during the shoulder season (April to May and September to November) to avoid the crowds and enjoy milder weather. However, if you plan on visiting during the holiday season, it’s best to book accommodations well in advance, as hotels and apartments tend to fill up quickly. Overall, Amsterdam is one of the best cities in Netherlands to visit and offers a perfect holiday getaway for those seeking a blend of culture, history, and modern urban life, with plenty of festive activities during the holiday season.
Utrecht is a charming and historic city that is perfect for a holiday getaway. It is located in the heart of the Netherlands and is known for its beautiful canals, historic architecture, and lively cultural scene. In recent years, Utrecht has become increasingly popular among tourists, with over 3 million visitors in 2019.
Utrecht Best Neighborhoods
Utrecht has many popular neighborhoods worth exploring, but our favorite to consider for a holiday stay in Utrecht is the Museumkwartier, which is home to several museums, art galleries, and historic buildings. Visitors can explore the Centraal Museum, which houses an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as the Museum Catharijneconvent, which focuses on the country’s religious heritage.
Another great area to stay in is the charming old town, which is full of narrow streets, cozy cafes, and boutique shops.
Utrecht Holiday Season
Utrecht is one of the best towns in Netherlands to visit for your next vacation. This city, like many other Dutch towns, offers a plethora of festive activities and events. Visitors can take a stroll through the city’s Christmas markets selling anything from handcrafted gifts to traditional treats.
The most popular market is the Knüss Winterfestijn, taking place in the city’s central square and features an ice skating rink, a Ferris wheel, and a variety of food and drink stalls. Additionally, the city’s many churches and cathedrals host special Christmas concerts and services, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Best time to visit Utrecht
Utrecht is a great city to visit year-round, but the best time to go is during the shoulder season (March to May and September to November) when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. However, if you plan on visiting during the holiday season, be sure to book accommodations early, as they tend to fill up quickly. In general, Utrecht provides an ideal vacation destination for people looking for a combination of cultural, historical, and celebratory experiences.
Delft is a picturesque and quaint town that is one of the best cities in Netherlands to live or take a holiday break. It is situated between Rotterdam and The Hague and is famous for its blue and white ceramics, historic buildings, and charming canals. In 2019, Delft welcomed over 700,000 tourists, with many visiting the town for its unique charm.
Delft Holiday Season
During the holiday season, Delft offers a range of festive activities and events. Visitors can enjoy the annual Lichtjesavond, or Evening of Lights, where the town is illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights, transforming it into a magical wonderland. Another popular attraction is the Christmas fair, which takes place in Markt square and offers a variety of handmade gifts, decorations, and seasonal foods. Please note that for Christmas 2023-2024, you will need to apply for ETIAS waiver (new electronic travel authorization system) if you are not an EU national. However, you must also be a citizen of one of the visa-liberalisation program member states.
Best time to visit Delft
The best time to visit Delft for a holiday getaway is from November to January when the town is at its most festive and becomes one of the most beautiful places in Netherlands. However, the summer months (June to August) also offer a pleasant atmosphere and plenty of outdoor activities. It is worth noting that the town can get busy during peak tourist seasons, so visitors should plan their accommodations and activities in advance. In summary, Delft is a charming town that offers a perfect holiday getaway for those seeking a blend of history, culture, and festive cheer.
Nestled between Amsterdam and the coast of North Sea, Haarlem is one of the best small towns near Amsterdam for a holiday season. With its stunning architecture, picturesque canals, and a vibrant cultural scene, Haarlem offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Netherlands.
What to see in Haarlem
Harlem is the best Dutch town thanks to its abundance of historic architecture. The town boasts numerous well-preserved buildings dating back to 17th and 18th centuries, and visitors can wander through the charming streets, admiring the ornate facades of the houses and the stately buildings. The Grote Markt, the central square of Haarlem, is particularly noteworthy for its imposing 14th-century Grote Kerk and the picturesque buildings that line the square. The square also hosts a bustling market on Saturdays. This Saturday market allows tourists and locals to taste local delicacies, or shop for regional souvenirs.
Haarlem Best Neighborhoods
Haarlem has many chic, budget-friendly, and cozy neighborhoods. You can choose your stay based on the distance from the tourist attractions, accessibility to public transport, availability of food and drinks, etc. It is not surprising that the most attractive “must-see” choice of tourists is the historic center with its quaint streets, cozy cafes, and lively bars. The Jordaan area, located to the west of the center, is another favorite among visitors, thanks to its artistic vibe and vibrant food scene.
For those who prefer a more laid-back atmosphere, the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, located on the outskirts of Haarlem, offers scenic hiking trails, wildlife spotting, and an opportunity to immerse oneself in nature.
Haarlem Holiday Season
When visiting one of the most famous Dutch towns, Haarlem during the holiday season, visitors can expect a festive and cozy atmosphere. The town’s Christmas market, held in mid-December, is a highlight of the holiday season, with dozens of stalls selling Christmas decorations, food, and gifts. The city also hosts several concerts and cultural events during this time, including performances by local choirs and orchestras.
Best time to visit Haarlem
The best time to visit Haarlem depends on what you are looking for. If you are interested in enjoying the vibrant cultural scene, then the summer months of June to August are ideal. During this time, the town hosts numerous outdoor concerts, festivals, and markets, including the popular Haarlem Jazz & More festival.
However, if you prefer a quieter atmosphere and wish to avoid crowds, then the shoulder seasons of April to May and September to October are great options. Moreover, if you are a fan of Christmas markets, then visiting Haarlem during mid-December is a must, as the town transforms into a winter wonderland, with festive lights, mulled wine, and holiday cheer.
Globally recognized as one of the best cities in Netherlands for students, Maastricht also ranks as the top holiday getaway in Europe. Located in the southernmost part of the Netherlands, Maastricht is a beautiful and bustling city that offers visitors a perfect blend of history, culture, and modernity. Within the list of cities in Netherlands by population, Maastricht holds 19th place in 2019 with 122,378 inhabitants, which makes the region even more comfortable to live in or visit.
What to do in Maastricht
Maastricht is famous for its vibrant cultural scene. The city is home to numerous museums, galleries, and theaters, as well as a thriving culinary scene. In fact, Maastricht boasts the highest density of Michelin-starred restaurants in the Netherlands, making it a foodie’s paradise. The city also hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the renowned TEFAF art fair, which attracts art collectors and connoisseurs from all over the world.
Maastricht Best Neighborhoods
Maastricht is one of the best places to live in Netherlands, hence it is not surprising that you would barely find a neighborhood not worth staying in or visit in here. The city has a variety of neighborhoods and areas that cater to different interests and budgets.
The Wyck neighborhood, located on the east bank of the Maas River, is a popular area for tourists, thanks to its cozy cafes, trendy boutiques, and proximity to the city center. The historic Jekerkwartier district, known for its picturesque streets and charming buildings, is another favorite among visitors. For those who prefer a more modern and upscale atmosphere, the Céramique area, located on the west bank of the river, offers sleek architecture, luxury hotels, and chic restaurants.
Best time to visit Maastricht
You can visit Maastricht any time during the year, but our recommendation would be the shoulder seasons of April to June and September to November when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. During these months, visitors can enjoy the city’s cultural and historical attractions without having to contend with the crowds that descend on Maastricht during the peak summer season.
The fall, in particular, is a great time to visit Maastricht, as the city is surrounded by forests and parks that offer stunning fall foliage views. However, if you’re looking to experience the festive atmosphere of Maastricht, then visiting during the holiday season is a must. The city’s Christmas markets and events are what make Maastricht one of the best towns in Netherlands as the city is transformed into a winter wonderland, with twinkling lights and holiday cheer around every corner.
With its bustling streets, lively student population, and vibrant cultural scene, Groningen has a unique energy that is sure to make for a memorable holiday experience. Groningen is dominating the list of the best cities in Netherlands for expats, students, youth and tourists on a holiday.
Why visit Groningen
One of the standout features of Groningen is its youthful population, with over 50,000 students enrolled in the city’s various universities and colleges. This gives the city a dynamic and diverse atmosphere, with plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants catering to a younger crowd. In fact, Groningen has the highest concentration of bars and cafes per capita in the Netherlands. That’s why they often mention Groningen among the top choice destinations for nightlife lovers.
Groningen Best Neighborhoods
Groningen has one of the most diverse neighborhoods, which would satisfy a person of any taste and preference. The city center, with its historic buildings, cobblestone streets, and charming canals, is a popular area for tourists. The Noorderplantsoen district, located just north of the city center, is another favorite, thanks to its leafy parks, trendy cafes, and indie boutiques. For those looking for a chic, ambient, and ultramodern atmosphere, the Ebbingekwartier district, with its sleek architecture and trendy restaurants, is a great option.
Groningen Holiday Season
We recommend that you do not miss Groningen during the holiday season.The city’s Christmas markets and events are some of the best in the country, with dozens of stalls selling traditional Dutch treats, crafts, and gifts. Visitors can also enjoy ice-skating, holiday-themed concerts and performances, and other festive activities during this time. The city’s museums and galleries also offer special exhibitions and events during the holiday season, making it a great time to explore Groningen’s cultural offerings.
Best time to visit Groningen
The best time to visit Groningen is during the summer months of June to August because of the sunny, mild weather. During this time, visitors can enjoy outdoor concerts, street performances, and cultural events, such as the famous Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival. The city’s parks and green spaces are also at their best during the summer, providing the perfect backdrop for picnics, bike rides, and other outdoor activities.
Groningen definitely becomes one of the best villages in Netherlands in summer. However, Groningen is a great destination to visit year-round, with plenty of indoor attractions and cozy cafes and bars to enjoy during the cooler months. And as mentioned before, the city’s Christmas markets and events during the holiday season are also a major draw for visitors, offering a festive and magical atmosphere that is not to be missed.
Final Thoughts – Best Towns in Netherlands for Your Next Holiday
In conclusion, the Netherlands offers a variety of unique and exciting destinations for a holiday getaway, from the charming canals of Amsterdam to the historic city of Haarlem, the lively city of Maastricht, and the youthful and vibrant city of Groningen. Each of these towns has its own distinct character, attractions, and ambiance, making them some of the best towns in the Netherlands to visit. Whether you’re interested in history and culture, nightlife and entertainment, or natural beauty and outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone in the Netherlands. We recommend that readers planning a holiday getaway in the Netherlands consider visiting one or more of these top towns, and experience all the beauty and diversity that this country has to offer.