Netherlands is a land of old world windmills, some of the best museums, tulips and stunning landscapes. And along with that, the country is one of the most urbanized and liberal nations of the world. Being the land that had given birth to celebrated Dutch artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh, the country has a great legacy of art and architecture. The country is thus a perfect blend of the old and the modern, medieval gothic architecture and glitzy contemporary buildings. To add to the wonder, Netherlands is known for its café culture, and there are thousands of them peppered along the ancient lanes or looking out to the sea. It is a country where socializing and conversation are quite valued.
So why would you visit Netherlands?
Apart from the reasons mentioned above, you should visit the Dutch country because travel is relatively cheaper compared to rest of the Euro nations. Also, English is a well-spoken language here and you will probably not find it difficult to communicate. Most of the places had proper signposts and it is difficult to get lost there. The train service is also quite good and on time. So here is a simple itinerary of Netherlands that will help you to plan your trip there.
Itinerary to explore Netherlands in 6 days
Day 1: Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a dream destination and is undoubtedly one of the most visited cities in Europe. Famous for its canals, narrow houses and numerous coffee shops, the place is also known as the Venice of the North. And the best way to get acquainted wit the city is by canal boat cruise. Most of the canal boat tour takes an hour or so. There are plenty of canal cruise operators leaving from the place near the Central Station. Explore Amsterdam’s UNESCO protected canal ring and enjoy the sights of the famous waterways like Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht as you get to know more and more about the city. At evening, you may venture out to Amsterdam’s Red Light District and end your day with sumptuous dinner.
Day 2: Amsterdam
Go for a walking tour or a 2-hours bike tour in Amsterdam on the second day. You can explore through some of the best spots like the Museum Square, pass by the Vondel park, Anne Frank house and Wester Church Tower.
Later in the day visit Rijksmuseum if that is already not covered in your bike tour. The beautiful collection of the museum will guide you through the history of Netherlands. Next door is the Van Gogh museum, housing the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world. Next you can explore the trendy and happening De Pijp neighborhood. Also, do not forget to spend some time at the buzzing cafés and restaurants.
Day 3: Zaanse Schans
On the third day, get to see the iconic windmills of the country. Take a short train ride to Koog-Zaandijk and from there a fifteen minutes walk will take you to Zaanse Schans. It is an eighteen minuted train ride from Amsterdam Central Station to Koog-Zaandijk. Here you will find windmills from the 18th and 19th century, beautiful wooden houses and barns that will transport you to a dreamland. Zaanse Schans is home to 8 windmills with great names such as The Cat (De kat), The Spotted Hen (De bonte hen) and The Cloverleaf (Het klaverblad). The mills were used for varying purposes from sawmills to oil mills to mustard mills. There is also a bakery museum and a clock museum that you can visit. You can sample local cheese and chocolate, and see how clogs are made in various shops and museums. Treat yourself to a plate of traditional Dutch pancakes, or the sweet bread known as Duivekater. The place makes for a great day-trip destination from Amsterdam.
Day 4: Groningen
Groningen is the capital of the eponymous province and is located in the northern part of Netherlands. You can reach the place in just two hours by taking a train from Amsterdam. It is a lively city with beautiful historic monuments like the Martini Tower from where you can get a great view of the city. Culturally too, the city is live with events and happenings. The markets of the city are also there to explore and have a drink or two. Spend the afternoon at the Groningen coastline, the dynamic Wadden Sea, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can walk the mud flats (wadden) during low tide, and take a boat to the Frisian Islands to spot seals and a wide variety of birds. Don’t forget to visit the cafes at Grote Market. The square gives you a taste of the bustling vibe of the city.
Day 5: Utrecht
Visit the ancient and historic city of Utrecht. You can take a train from Groningen to Utrecht and it will take merely two hours to reach there. The city is a vibrant mix of modern concepts and historical buildings. Many of the historic city castles have been repurposed, now housing hotels, restaurants and shops. The areas along the wharfs are now the home of numerous cafés. You can easily explore Utrecht by foot or by renting a bike. You can either explore on your own or take a guided bike tour. Some of the attractions you can visit are Dom Tower, the Canals area, Railway Museum and Sint Willibrordkerk.
Day 6: Rotterdam and Kinderdijk
From Utrecht, take a train to Rotterdam, the modern Dutch city. I would suggest visiting the UNESCO Heritage Site Kinderdijk first and then exploring Rotterdam later in the day. Take a tram from Rotterdam Central Station to Erasmusbrug. From there you will find waterbuses to Kinderdijk. The mill complex in Kinderdijk is quite a unique sight. Netherlands is partly under the sea water. It is said that if the Dutch let the nature run its course, then most of Netherlands would be under water today. These mills with pumps combined with the dikes at the sea dries a big part of the land so people can live there. Water plays a very important part in the Dutch life and they have since long found out measures to smartly deal with the surrounding water using wind and steam energy to keep the Netherlands above water. I really feel Kinderdijk is a must visit destination in Netherlands.
After Kinderdijk, spend some time at Rotterdam. The Market Hall and the Cube Houses are some examples of the city's remarkable architecture. Explore this hip and happening Dutch city and then head back to Amsterdam.
This is a basic expense for 6 days trip to Netherlands for a person. Obviously, the expenses depends on how you are going to manage your stay, transportation and food.
Hostel expenses: EUR 135
Train Tickets: EUR 86
Canal Cruise tickets: EUR 16
Tourist Day Ticket to Kinderdijk: EUR 13.50
Museum Entry Fees: EUR 50 (You can get discounts if you get the tickets online. Also this fees is not for all the museums and only a selected few in Amsterdam)
Misc including basic food: EUR 400
Total: EUR 700.50
If you want to see the blooming tulips at their best, then visit Netherlands during mid-April. More than 7 million flowers bloom at Lisse, an idyllic town and one of its main tulip attractions are the Keukenhof Garden. You can take a day trip from Amsterdam to see the tulips there.