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Reasons & places to visit outside Amsterdam, the Netherlands - especially in spring

As winter melts away and nature awakens from its slumber, the Netherlands blossoms into a vibrant spring tapestry of color and culture. A delightful time to visit, as the weather is more enjoyable, tulips bloom, canals sparkle and outdoor cafés buzz with energy, providing plenty of reasons and places to visit outside Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Hyacinth fields in de Zilk - The Netherlands
Hyacinth fields in de Zilk

My country is THE place to go to if you enjoy cycling, peaceful countryside views, endless beaches, vibrant cities, quaint towns, culture, historic architecture mixed with modern buildings and friendly, open-minded people!


The Netherlands stands out for its innovative spirit, progressive values, cultural richness, and diverse landscape, making it a unique destination that will captivate you with its charm and character



The Dutch are generally laid back, accepting, and proficient in English because we are accustomed to having visitors and enjoy practicing our language skills!

Additionally, driving or using the excellent public transportation system in the Netherlands is a very easy way to get around.


That’s why I strongly advise to also visit other parts of my country, while most people tend to overlook this, I'm happy to guide you!


Kinderdijk, outside Rotterdam - The Netherlands
Kinderdijk, outside Rotterdam

From Schiphol airport you can reach the major cities of Rotterdam and The Hague in about 30 to 45 minutes by train. But you can also easily take the train all the way east, north or south, with direct connections, bringing you there in just 1-2 hours.


Get a taste of the beauty and diversity of my homeland in this reel:



And find the most photogenic spots in this blog: 11 Instagram-mable Spots-NL


Allow me to be your personal tour guide, as there is so much to see and do outside Amsterdam too.

In this blog I will share several compelling reasons to visit the Netherlands, especially in spring, and where to go, including a full guide & easy map.


8 reasons & places to visit outside Amsterdam, the Netherlands:

 

1. Tulip Season & Flower Fields


Spring in the Netherlands is renowned for its tulip season, transforming vast fields into a kaleidoscope of colors. In spring the Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe, showcases millions of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths in breathtaking displays, as you can see in this video:



Here you can can wander through intricately designed flowerbeds, capturing the essence of Dutch horticulture at its finest. But there are colorful tulip fields spread out over several regions.

Most fields are however not accessible and can only be admired from the road, as they are privately owned.


But there are several spots dedicated to this, where you can walk freely through the fields for a small fee, or even for free!



The special flower spots that I can highly recommend to visit are:


  • The Tulip Barn Hillegom - open from 29 March - 12 May until 7 pm, costs €8,50 p.p.

  • Keukenhof Lisse - open from 21 March - 12 May until 7.30 pm, for a fee of €19,50 p.p.

  • Tulip Store Showgarden Voorhout - open every day 24/7 for FREE

  • Jan van der Slot's fields Voorhout - private fields, available in season for shoots, only upon request

  • Bloemen uit de Bollenstreek Hillegom - new public tulip fields that I will be visiting soon to attend a picnic among the flowers. They will be organizing these every weekend from 12 until 28 April from 12.30 - 16.00. Bookable on Bloemen uit de bollenstreek.nl for €27,50 per basket.


Picnic in front of flower fields Noordwijkerhout - The Netherlands
Picnic in front of flower fields Noordwijkerhout, pic credits @NappyC

And in this blog you can find even more tulip spots throughout the Netherlands, including many insider's tips: Tulip field exploring tips & top locations.

 

2. & 3. Picturesque Landscapes & Heritage Sites


The Dutch countryside undergoes a true transformation in spring, with lush meadows, blooming fruit orchards, and quaint windmills dotting the landscape.

Renting a boat or bicycle to wander along scenic routes like the tulip fields of Lisse, Flevoland, or the historic villages of Giethoorn and Edam, offers an authentic glimpse into Dutch rural life.


Boating in Giethoorn - the Netherlands
Boating in quaint Giethoorn

Additionally, there are several nice heritage sites close to the largest Dutch cities! Therefore make sure to combine a trip to Amsterdam with a day at Zaanse Schans, Volendam and Monnickendam.


Find all my local tips for that in this blog: Exploring Old Holland-NL.



The mills and rural countryside of Kinderdijk are nice to combine with Dordrecht and Rotterdam.

And did you know that there are also more than 700 castles in the Netherlands, most open to the public? Check out this page for more details and tips on that: Castles Heritage & Art Zuid-Holland.


Despite its flat topography, my homeland has a very diverse landscape, ranging from picturesque countryside, coastal dunes, lush forests, to charming villages and towns.

Each region offers its own unique attractions and outdoor activities, whether it's exploring the quiet countryside and National Parks of the north and east, sailing the Frisian lakes, or hiking in the hills of Limburg.


 

4. Quiet Beaches


Not many are aware that the whole west coast of the Netherlands consists of beaches, with some of the nicest beach clubs and accommodations. Many with sea views or even located right on the beach!


My hometown The Hague is actually the largest seaside city, with neighboring Kijkduin and Scheveningen offering endless beaches, also home to hip beach clubs and waterfront restaurants.

While Kijkduin feels more like a local place, Scheveningen is a little more touristy.



These are the places to visit if you enjoy beach parties, fresh seafood, lounging on the sand, taking strolls over the boulevards or through the lovely dune areas. Both Kijkduin and Scheveningen are perfect for this, with a wide touristic offering.


Dutch beach club Ijmuiden - the Netherlands
Beach club Ijmuiden

However, the west shore's seaside towns of Noordwijk, Zandvoort, Bloemendaal and Ijmuiden, among others, are also surrounded by vast dune areas offering an abundance of walking and cycling paths, as well as plenty of accommodations, beach clubs and restaurants!


And the islands in the north and south are very nice to visit as well, with their endless beaches and big touristic offering.



Especially delightful with warmer weather and sunny conditions. The Wadden islands are listed by Unesco and are worth visiting for their tranquil nature settings and unique vibe.


Find all local info for some of the more quiet beach spots in these blogs:

 

5. & 6. Sunny Weather & Cycling Walhalla


Spring brings mild temperatures and longer daylight hours to the Netherlands, making it ideal for outdoor exploration.

Stroll along Amsterdam's iconic canals, cruise through the picturesque waterways of Leiden, Utrecht or Groningen, and picnic in one of the many verdant parks. The Dutch urban and natural landscapes are even more enjoyable in springtime, without the summer crowds.


Boating through the canals of Groningen - the Netherlands
Boating through the canals of Groningen

In the warmer months the Netherlands turns into a true cyclist's paradise, with an extensive network of dedicated bike lanes crisscrossing the country.

With the well-maintained bike routes, cycling is very convenient here. By bike you can reach most of the major sites in and around the large cities in 10 to 30 minutes.


Cycling in Zuid-Kennemerland dunes - the Netherlands

Cycling is not just a mode of transportation but a way of life, ingrained in Dutch culture from an early age. The Netherlands is undoubtedly one of the most bike-friendly nations in the world.

 

7. Dutch Festivals


The warmer months in the Netherlands also offer an abundance of lively festivals, celebrating everything from art and culture to food and music.


King's Day in April for example is a popular nationwide celebration of the Dutch monarch's birthday, where streets burst into orange and festivities abound. But we have many other national holidays in spring and music festivals in summer usually outdoors.


Kingsday Festival - the Netherlands

Here’s a summary of the most interesting events for you to take into account:


April

7-9 April: Paaspop Festival, Schijndel

13 April–7 July: World Press Photo exhibition

10–14 April: Flower Parade (Bloemencorso), Noordwijk to Haarlem

Half April-Half May: Flower fields are blooming all around the country

April 27: King’s Day (Koningsdag)

 

May

4 May: Remembrance Day

5 May: Liberation Day

11–12 May: National Mill Day

20 May: Lakedance festival, Best

28 May: 7th Sunday Dance Festival, Erp

29 May–23 June: Holland Festival, Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam, and Utrecht

 

June

3-4 June: Amsterdam Open Air Festival

8–10 June: Pinkpop in Landgraaf

15 June: Flag Day (Vlaggetjesdag), Scheveningen

24 June: Indian Summer Festival, Noord-Schaarwoude

 

Leiden in spring  - the Netherlands

July

12–14 July: North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam

18-21 July: Nijmeegse vierdaagse in Nijmegen

21-23 July: Tomorrowland Festival, Boom

21-30 July: Tilburgse Kermis in Tilburg

24 July: Roze maandag in Tilburg

26–27 July: Rotterdam Summer Carnival

29-30 July: Milkshake Festival, Amsterdam

 

August

27 July–4 August: Amsterdam Gay Pride

5 August: Canal Parade, closing for Gay Pride in Asterdam

3-6 August: Solar Weekend Festival, Roermond

9–17 August: Scheveningen International Fireworks Festival

9–18 August: Amsterdam Canal Festival

12 August: Lakedance festival, Best

18-20 August: Latin Village Festival, Velsen

23–26 August: Jordaan Festival, Amsterdam

25-27 August: Mysteryland outdoor festival, Haarlemmermeer

 

September - October

16 September: A day at the park outdoor festival, Rotterdam

16 September: Summerlake outdoor festival, Woerden

2–3 October: Relief of Leiden (Leidens Ontzet)

18-22 October Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE)


Canals of Amsterdam - the Netherlands

8. Cultural Gems


Despite its relatively small size, the Netherlands has a rich cultural heritage and much history. We have made significant contributions to art, literature, and science throughout history. You can learn all about this in our many world-class museums and galleries.


Marvel at the renowned works of Dutch masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, delve into the life and works of Vincent van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum.

Or immerse yourself in modern and contemporary art at the Stedelijk or Moco Museum in Amsterdam, or venture to Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar, near the Dutch beaches and my hometown.


Moco Museum Amsterdam - the Netherlands
Moco Museum in Amsterdam

Did you know that the King and his family reside in my hometown of The Hague, which is also the nation's royal capital?


Here you will find a number of palaces, like the well-known Peace Palace and the Dutch parliament is housed in the stunning historical Binnenhof, close to the well-known Mauritshuis, surrounded by a picturesque pond.


Binnenhof and the Hofvijver - the Netherlands

These distinctive sites and palaces, in addition to the numerous museums in the 'Museumkwartier', many city parks and extensive dune area, are well worth exploring, besides the historic city center.


The Hague is also a gastronomic hotspot for foodies who enjoy atmospheric cafés, international bistros, charming restaurants serving Dutch specialties, and some even awarded with Michelin-stars.


The ultimate Netherlands guide (+practical map)


And if you decide to visit, I know how much work it can be to investigate all the nicest spots for your trip preparation. Especially if you like fun activities, photogenic spots, lesser-known places, that are more unique! And it can be so time-consuming having to go through all the mixed Tripadvisor reviews first…


That’s why I rounded up the most interesting spots in the Netherlands, all tried and tested myself, 130 in total, for you in my ultimate Netherlands guide.



In this you will find all the best (tulip field) photo spots in and outside Amsterdam, more than 80 fun things to do, 16 unique accommodations and so much more! Including a practical map with filter options.



Whether you’re drawn to the colorful landscapes of tulip season, the vibrant atmosphere of Dutch festivals, the heritage sites, museums, quaint villages, buzzing cities or the delights of local cuisine, I’ve got you covered with this guide!


And with the interactive map including custom filter options you can easily find all the best sightseeing spots, beaches, unique activities and Instagrammable hotspots throughout the Netherlands on the go.

More than enough for at least a long weekend or 1-2 week holiday, including relaxation:)


Get a preview of the map:



Purchase my ultimate Netherlands guide + map here. And find all blogs about the most unique spots throughout my homeland: Authentic Chic Netherlands Tips.


Are you ready to pack your bags, bring your orange attire, and discover all the unique places to visit outside Amsterdam, the Netherlands? I'm confident that it will be easy and so much fun with the local insider’s tips in this blog and my guide, all while staying at the most unique accommodations in and outside Amsterdam.

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