Offbeat Netherlands in 5 days (Western Holland)

Tripoto
14th Jan 2017

Solo. Backpacking. Wanderlust.

Windmills, Bicycles and Canals. This was the essence of Holland for me. In 5 days, I tried to extract and live as much as I can in this beautiful part of the world. I spent a lot of time researching on reddit, youtube(rick stevens) and gazillion other blogs, before finalizing my 5 day itinerary.

Being a non-smoker and non-drinker, and knowing nothing about Art, one thing was pretty clear in my mind, I was only going to devote 1 of my precious 5 days to Amsterdam city sight seeing. In case you aren't aware, this is because Amsterdam is full of Art museums, cafes(weed/smoking joints) and Heinekens, which is where many people end up spending majority of their time in.

I am a landscape and nature lover. I love quaint places. I wanted to just roam around soaking the dutch architecture. Here's my 5 days itienerary:

Day 1(Jan 14)

The day of visiting a quaint place.

Just 25 kms(and 2 buses away) is the most beautiful castle in Netherlands. Kasteel Muiderslot.

Entry Fee: 13 Euros . Also make sure you check the opening times and days before you visit. I almost missed visiting this as initially I had planned to do it on a weekday.

Muiderslot Castle

Always love finding little benches like these

Photo of Muiderslot, Camera Obscurastraat, Amersfoort, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Fairy Tale Castle

Photo of Muiderslot, Camera Obscurastraat, Amersfoort, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Side view was even more phenomenal

Photo of Muiderslot, Camera Obscurastraat, Amersfoort, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Naarden

Just 10 minutes away from Muiderslot, was this beautiful town. It's beauty is it's Star shape.

Town

Photo of Offbeat Netherlands in 5 days (Western Holland) by Spandan Pathak

Sunset

Photo of Offbeat Netherlands in 5 days (Western Holland) by Spandan Pathak

Lake

Photo of Offbeat Netherlands in 5 days (Western Holland) by Spandan Pathak

Aerial view of Star shaped city(Google image)

Photo of Offbeat Netherlands in 5 days (Western Holland) by Spandan Pathak

I spent good 30 mins sitting by this church. In-front of which there was a little ground where kids played soccer. I did show them some of my moves :)

Photo of Churchillstraat, Naarden, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Day 2

The agenda was to see the most beautiful Dutch windmills. After a huge dilemma to choose between Zuiderzee-museum and Zaanse Schans, I chose latter as that also enabled me to visit Marken(2nd most favorite part of the trip).

Day 2

Zaanse Schans

Postcard Photo

Photo of Zaanse Schans, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

:)

Photo of Zaanse Schans, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Ohh the beauty..

Photo of Zaanse Schans, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Zaanse Schans, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

1 hour from Zaanse Schans, is the beautiful fishing town of Marken.

Paard Van Marken

The Marken Lighthouse

Photo of Paard van Marken, Oosterpad, Marken, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Volendum skyline is visible in this background

Photo of Paard van Marken, Oosterpad, Marken, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

The 2 km walk upto the lighthouse from bus stop was greeeen and lovely

Photo of Paard van Marken, Oosterpad, Marken, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

When I returned back to Amsterdam that night, I did the Light festival canal cruise.

Photo of Offbeat Netherlands in 5 days (Western Holland) by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Offbeat Netherlands in 5 days (Western Holland) by Spandan Pathak

Day 3

This day was dedicated to getting lost on dutch streets. It was tough to choose between Haarlem,The Hague, Utrecht and Leiden. I chose Leiden the moment I saw the photo of city centre.

Day 3

Leiden

It ain't a painting

Photo of Leiden, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Reflection.

Photo of Leiden, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Sideway

Photo of Leiden, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Botanical garden street

Photo of Leiden, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Ain't that right.

Photo of Leiden, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Just walking on these prety streets was soul-filling.

Day 4

Bicycling is the dutch way of travel. You haven't really done netherlands untill you ride through countryside on bicycle. I rode 20 kms through different landscapes including forest,lakes,desert and sea(at the end).

I had initially planned on doing The Hoge Veluwe, which is the best national park in netherlands, but due to heavy snow earlier that night, the trains in that direction weren't functional.

This was my favorite day of the trip.

Day 4

Zuid Kennemerland National Park

Greeted with this North Sea view after 20oms of cycling

Photo of Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland, Overveen, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Lake inside the national park

Photo of Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland, Overveen, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Marked trails make it very easy to navigate

Photo of Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland, Overveen, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland, Overveen, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland, Overveen, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Mostly flatlands

Photo of Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland, Overveen, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland, Overveen, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland, Overveen, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Reaching this place was little tricky as it won't show up on 9292 app. The way to reach here is take sprinter to Harlem from Amsterdam. Then bus 7/8 will directly take you there.

Day 5

The last day was dedicated for Amsterdam local sight seeing.

And boy did I get lucky!

It snowed. Just the perfect amount. And the Vondel Park looked mind-bendingly beautiful. See for yourself..

Vondel Park

Photo of Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Day 5

The Amsterdam Canals

Photo of Canals of Amsterdam, Centrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
Photo of Canals of Amsterdam, Centrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

I Amsterdam Letters

Frankly speaking,I only went to I-Amsterdam letters(and Rijksmuseum) because I had some time to kill, and more importantly, I learned that you can find the best gift-souvenir shops near this area. Otherwise I won't have as it's always filled with tourists.

Went here so that people really believe that I did infact go to Amsterdam :P

Photo of I amsterdam letters, Vertrekpassage, Schiphol, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Rijksmusuem

Photo of Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

Anne Frank House

This is the closest I've ever been to a WW2 related site

Photo of Anne Frank House, Prinsengracht, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak

My first Euro trip was full of some amazing experiences and beautiful sceneries.

Travelling alone is very easy in netherlands as long as you have mobile-internet. The must have apps are:

1. The App 9292 . This will detect your current location. Just feed where you want to go, and it will tell you what train/bus/metro/tram/ferry to take.

2. Offline downloaded map of Netherlands(Google maps or Here Maps)

3. Tripadvisor

4. Foursquare

Feel free to contact me regarding any query you have for your netherlands travel. Let's connect :)

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Signing off.

Photo of Hotel Casa Amsterdam, Eerste Ringdijkstraat, Frankendael, Amsterdam, Netherlands by Spandan Pathak
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