Netherlands Travel Guide
While most visitors to the Netherlands focus on Amsterdam, there are many interesting cities, islands, and resort destinations. Small towns and villages in the countryside reveal long held traditions and some of the countries classic sights, with fields of blooming flowers or old style windmills.
Arrival by air usually sees travelers entering the country through the capital city of Amsterdam. This is a great place to begin, with plenty to see and do, from simply biking along the canals and enjoying the cafes, to sightseeing and gazing at the works of the Old Masters. Some of the main attractions are the Royal Palace, the Van Gogh Museum, the Dutch National Museum, or just outside the city, the Keukenhof, a lovely park which is particularly beautiful during the spring bloom.
Although Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, The Hague is home to the Dutch Government and the residence of the Royal Family. Many people find themselves here on business due to the city's large number of international offices. The early 17th C mansion of Mauritshuis is today one the principle tourist attractions, along with the Binnenhof, Grote Kerk, Peace Palace, and the Dutch National Dance Theater. During the summer months the nearby resort community of Scheveningen is a popular destination for both locals and visitors, with a long stretch of beach.
Other popular cities in the Netherlands are Rotterdam and Utrecht, showcasing the contrast between old and new. Rotterdam is a vibrant port city with a modern metropolitan atmosphere, while Utrecht features a lovely historic center. In Rotterdam art lovers will want to stop by the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Boymans-van Beuningen Museum), one of the best museum's in the Netherlands. Outside of the city, at Kinderdijk, are a number of traditional 18th C windmills, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Utrecht, spend some time wandering through the old town and see the Cathedral of St Martin. For an excursion, visit the town of Doorn, with the former medieval castle of Huis Doorn.
For an escape from the cities there are plenty of areas to relax and enjoy a little nature. The West Frisian Islands along the north and northwest coast are home to long stretches of beautiful sandy beaches and dunes. Large numbers of seabirds also nest or spend the winter in the islands.