One week in the Netherlands: Travel Guide & Itinerary

Nestled between Belgium and Germany, holland is a beautiful country characterised by its endlessly flat landscape and impossibly colourful tulip fields. Full of historical, foodie, and cultural experiences, here’s your ideal guide and itinerary to spending 1 week in the Netherlands.

Things to know before visiting the Netherlands for that first time

Easy to achieve by plane, train, or car, once within the Netherlands, it couldn’t be simpler to circumvent. Though accommodation has a tendency to err around the pricier aspect, travelling by train is surprisingly affordable. For example, the train in the Hague to Leiden costs just a few euro, and also the train between Rotterdam and Gouda costs well under ten euro. If you’re planning on doing a lot of train travel while in Europe, you may well consider investing in a Eurail pass. Check the full details here.

Of all the Netherlands travel tips I possibly could give you, you need to know that the Netherlands and Holland aren't interchangeable, plus they aren’t even the same task! Whereas holland is the entire country, Holland is simply one small region of the Netherlands.

When travelling round the country, you’ll soon discover lots of people come with an incredible level of English. Though I still advise you to learn a few simple words of Dutch (it’s only polite!) in nearly every situation we were in, we soon found somebody that could answer our questions and queries! Bring an easy Dutch phrasebook along with you like this one that will help you together with your travels.

Stop 1: Amsterdam

Stay: 2 nights

Where to remain: The Hoxton, Amsterdam

As the capital from the Netherlands, there’s an abundance of things to complete and much more attractions to determine with regards to Amsterdam. So whether you need to have a secret small museum, cycle around the city, or simply want to wander along some historic canals, Amsterdam well and truly has it all!

Some of the best things to do within the Dutch capital include meandering with the city’s many cobbled lanes (known collectively as ‘hofjes‘ these historic streets were once created to house those less fortunate and are now pockets of peace in the middle of Amsterdam) and snap photo of picture-perfect canalside houses.

Read more: The ultimate Amsterdam bucket list

Book now: 3-Hour Guided Bike Tour of Historical Amsterdam

Stop 2: Leiden

Stay: 1 night

Where to remain: Van der Valk Hote Leiden

Beautiful and often overlooked in favour of nearby popular cities for example Rotterdam and Amsterdam, your first mistake about this one week Netherlands itinerary would be to forgo a visit to Leiden. In the end, the city hosts an array of interesting items to do and see, including several small museums, its very own castle, and also the very bar in which the Heineken Star came from!

Of all of the places listed in this particular Netherlands itinerary, Leiden may well be the quaintest of them all. Though technically a town, the Dutch money is formed of the tightly compacted maze of walkways, cobbled lanes, canals, and is easily explored by walking over the course of a couple of days, giving Leiden more of a friendly town aura than that of an unknowable metropolis.

Nearby, Kasteel Duivenvoorde can be reached by bicycle, car, or public transport, and is easily one of the most beautiful castles in this part of Holland. And for those wanting to stick within the city limits, the hofje where Van Steen once lived, the boat bars from the canals, and the Miniaturist filming locations are all worth checking out.

Read more: Why you should go to the beautiful city of Leiden

Stop 3: The Hague

Stay: 1 night

Where to remain: Hotel des Indes

For those with a desire for politics, The Hague likely needs no introduction. After all, this is when many embassies within the Netherlands are located, not to mention that the sprawling UN Palace of Peace on the fringes from the historic town centre.

But scratch underneath the surface, and you’ll soon discover a myriad of history, culture, and a foodie scene well worth discovering. Popular features of The Hague range from the Mauritshuis (the place to find Vermeer’s The lady With the Pearl Earring) and Madurodam, among the oldest amusement parks in Holland. Have you also know that the Hague is not just home to the city, but additionally to the sea?

Scheveningen used to be an angling village in its own right which thrived on the profits of local herring but has since been absorbed into the material from the Hague. Now, the district is one of the best places to head to in the summer of the season, when watersports activities are available and cafés selling cucumber cool drinks and piping hot fries set up shop alongside the golden sandy beach.

Read more: Where you can eat vegan and vegetarian within the Hague

Book now: Madurodam Miniature Park Entrance Ticket

Stop 4: Delft

Stay: 1 night

Where to stay: Hampshire Hotel

If you’ve ever read anything about European pottery, then no doubt you’ll have noticed ‘Delftware’. Also known as ‘Delft Blue’ this iconic pottery is Dutch tin-glazed earthenware and originates in Delft. Today, there are several ways to experience Delftware pottery, including visiting the Delft Pottery De Delftse Pauw factory, where you can find free demonstrations through the week (along with the opportunity to buy a souvenir from your Dutch trip!)

Even if the earthenware doesn’t appeal to you, you’re certain to find plenty of other Delft attractions that are much more up your alley. For example, the Nieuwe Church (New Church) is home to William of Orange’s Tomb, while its tower offers stunning views onto Delft’s main town square. for that lovers of art, the Vermeer Centre is definitely an absolute must.

Read more: Bierhuis de Klomp, the oldest bar in Delft

Stop 5: Rotterdam

Stay: 1 night

Where to remain: Inntel Hotels Rotterdam

Architecture lovers simply must visit Rotterdam, one of the most unusual cities in Europe, let alone holland. However, be warned: Rotterdam is a city like no other and when you come with preconceptions then you will surely be sorely disappointed. Instead, visit with an open mind and also the city is sure to entice and enthral you in equal measure.

After all, this innovative Dutch settlement is full of probably the most groundbreaking buildings of contemporary times, including the ever-so-famous (and very Instagrammable) Rotterdam Cube House. Other highlights of Rotterdam include the world-famous Markthal and plenty of quirky museums. While in the city, be sure not to miss out on Rotterdam’s maritime history, highlights of that exist in the Maritime Museum and in the Oude Haven (Old Harbour).

Read more: Secret Spots & Great finds of Rotterdam

Book now: Madurodam Miniature Park Entrance Ticket

Stop 6: Gouda

Stay: 1 night

Where to remain: Best Western Plus City Hotel

While many tourists would rather venture towards the larger town of Utrecht, Gouda is definitely one of the prettiest towns found any place in Europe. The place to find delights such as the 15th-century Stadhuis (town hall), a still-functioning Dutch windmill (next door you can buy flour that’s been freshly ground in the adjacent mill), along with a Catholic church hiding behind a canalside facade, there’s no shortage of quirky things to do within the city that’s most widely known because of its namesake cheese.

Other highlights of Gouda include many stunning canals (with no kind of crowds you’ll likely see in Amsterdam or Amersfoort) and the Gothic Sint-Janskerk Cathedral. Visit during the winter, and you can anticipate finding Gouda changed into a winter wonderland, filled with roller skating rink, giant tree, and xmas market!

To end your one week in the Netherlands, celebrate in style by heading to the vintage bar of Biercafé De Goudse Eend. Housed approximately Blekerssingel canal and the historic Waag House (cheese weighing house), this traditional Dutch bar serves all kinds of beers, ciders, and ales, many locally produced. During our visit, i was a lot more than amazed to spend our time spending time with the bar’s most recent, a beagle puppy!

Read more: How you can visit Gouda, the cheese city of Holland

If you have a little additional time following a week within the Netherlands…

Breda, North Brabant

For those people who are seeking to enjoy the better of Netherlands in more than a week, there’s plenty more to savor outside of only the Holland region. For instance, the Southern Netherlands town of Breda in the North Brabant province is a hidden Dutch gem that many tourists result in the mistake of missing out on during their travels with the low country. With regards to Breda, hands down the best place to remain is in this four-star boutique hotel.

Maastricht, Limburg

Otherwise, make sure to head East and for the border with Germany which of Belgium. For there, in the Southernmost town of the Netherlands, you’ll soon uncover the beautiful destination of Maastricht, which, because of its proximity to other Countries in europe, is really a beautiful blend of several cultures.

Boasting plenty of history (for example, are you aware that d’Artagnan was a real person?) along with a fantastic foodie scene, the town is also ideal for people who love the outside and nature thanks to an abundance of nearby trails. Fancy visiting Maastricht in the Limburg province? Book your room at this former church turned luxury hotel.

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