The Netherlands, or “Holland”, is one of the best destinations for travel during any season of the year. Most famous for its dutch city canals, gothic architecture, and artists, the Netherlands has become one of the most charming and increasingly popular destinations for people in search of the perfect trip to Europe.

The best thing about the Netherlands is that it has something for everyone. The first dutch city that probably comes to mind is Amsterdam, but there is so much more the Netherlands has to offer visitors. If you are looking for exquisite canal-lined streets, old architecture, rich history, and lots of waffles… then the Netherlands should scootch its way to the very top of your European travel bucket list.

The most beautiful Dutch Cities of the Netherlands
A guide to the most beautiful Dutch Cities

The Netherlands is a sprawling metropolis of spectacular Dutch cities, each filled with its own lush culture, picturesque scenery, and delicious food. It’s time to take a Dutch adventure through the best cities in the Netherlands!

Holland versus The Netherlands

Tilip fields of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Holland or the Netherlands: What’s in a name?

Let’s start off by debunking a common misconception. Many visitors and people across the world commonly refer to the Netherlands as “Holland”. The official name of the country is the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but Holland represents a portion of the nation. Similar to how Great Britain is a part of the United Kingdom, Holland is a part of the Netherlands.

There are twelve provinces that make up the Netherlands, and Holland refers to the provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland together. However, the term Holland is often used even when talking about the rest of the Netherlands.

Start Your Dutch Adventure Across the Netherlands!

If you are searching for one country to completely immerse yourself in and thoroughly explore, then the Netherlands is the perfect destination. With so many charming cities to discover and a distinct culture to delve into, it is the perfect place to get lost in and enjoy.

Starting Point: The Dutch Capital of Amsterdam

Amsterdam: beautiful Dutch City
Amsterdam is one of the best tourist destinations in Europe

Everyone is familiar with the allure of Amsterdam. Full of picturesque canals and famous art museums, Amsterdam is one of the most popular European city destinations for obvious reasons. It is the official capital of the Netherlands, though the Hague is home to the States General and Executive Branch.

Amsterdam is located near the west coast of the Netherlands, about midway between the northern and southern regions of the country. Since most flights go through Amsterdam, it is a great place to start your Dutch adventure.

First Stop: The Ancient Town of Utrecht

Utrecht: One of the oldest and most important Dutch Cities
Old Lanes of the Dutch City: Utrecht

Utrecht was once considered the most important city in the Netherlands. After the Dutch Golden Age, it was quickly surpassed by Amsterdam. Although it isn’t the biggest, most populous Dutch city anymore, Utrecht is still the lively, beating heart of the Netherlands!

Getting There:

Traveling by train is the simplest way to go from Amsterdam to Utrecht, and it’s typically a short 30-minute ride! But you may wish it was longer once you see the beautiful Dutch countryside along your journey. Rail Europe has trains every day traveling from Amsterdam to Utrecht, so your travel plans can easily be flexible.

About the City:

The Dutch city of Utrecht is a historic university town that fully encompasses its medieval origins. It seems almost a blessing in disguise that the cultural center of the country moved north to Amsterdam, as this has allowed the city to preserve its ancient core.

Points of Interest:

The Dom Tower from the Dutch City of Utrecht
The Dom Tower stands tall in the Dutch City of Utrecht
rietveld schröder house from Utrecht the Dutch City
Rietveld Schröder house: An Architectural wonder
De Haar Castle from the netherlands
De Haar Castle is the largest of its kind in the Netherlands

Gouda: The Dutch City of Cheese

gouda cheese produced at the Dutch City Gouda
The famed Gouda Cheese

Surely you have heard of gouda cheese? Welcome to its birthplace! The Dutch city of Gouda is world famous for its delectable namesake and a highlight for traveling foodies.

Getting There:

The best way to travel from Utrecht to Gouda is by train, with a short 20-minute ride! It is a popular route, so there are plenty of departure times and direct rides from Utrecht Central. Although the journey is short, it will still give you a pleasant view of the Netherlands as you travel along the route. Trainline offers timetables and prices so you can easily plan ahead!

Points of Interest:

Seasonal Cheese Market of Gouda the Dutch City
The Dutch City of Gouda is famous for Cheese Markets dating back to medieval times
Sint Janskerk from the Dutch City of Gouda
Sint Janskerk: an Epitome of Gothic Architecture

Rotterdam: The Dutch Port City

Rotterdam: the Dutch Port city of the Netherlands
Rotterdam the Dutch Port City stuns with state of the art architecture

The next stop is Rotterdam, rightfully nicknamed the “Gateway of the World”. Not only is it the largest port city in the Netherlands, but Rotterdam also the largest port city in all of Europe! It is located in the province of South Holland at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas channel.

Getting There:

Gouda is located just northeast of Rotterdam, which makes for a quick and easy journey between the two Dutch cities. Traveling by train is ideal, with trips varying from 18 to 23 minutes, depending on which departure time you select. The Dutch Railways train from Goude to Rotterdam runs as frequently as every 15 minutes, so you can check out train times well in advance or at a short notice.

About the City:

Rotterdam dates all the way back to 1270 when a dam was constructed in the Rotte. People began to settle in the area, and the Count of Holland officially granted Rotterdam city rights in 1340. Through the years, Rotterdam has evolved into a city of exquisite modern architecture that stimulates innovation and imagination.

Points of Interest:

The Cube Houses from the Durch Port city of Rotterdam
Dutch architect Piet Blom has designed the Cube Houses of Rotterdam

The Colorful Allure of Delft

Elizabeth Tower of Delft of the Netherlands: a famous Dutch City
Elizabeth Tower of Delft stands illuminated at night

Have you heard of the shade of blue called “delft” or maybe you have seen some of the world-famous hand-painted blue and white pottery? Delft, Netherlands is the city that started it all! The city of Delft is just as charming as you would imagine the birthplace of ornate pottery would be. Like most cities in the Netherlands, the city is webbed with canals and lined with gothic architecture.

Getting There:

Like most of the other destinations along this route, Delft is just a short train ride away from Rotterdam! Traveling by train will take you on a journey varying from 10 to 15 minutes northwest and closer to the west shores of the Netherlands. This will be one of the cheapest legs of your Dutch adventure, as most tickets are priced as low as $5.

About the City:

The city of Delft started out as a simple village in the early Middle Ages. By the 13th century, it had developed into a small, growing city of culture and life. The city soon developed close ties with the House of Orange when William of Orange, also known as William the Silent, took up residence in 1572. For a while, Delft was known as the “de facto capital” of the newly independent nation of the Netherlands and served as the official seat of the Royal House of Orange.

Points of Interest:

The Vermeer Centre at the Delft a Dutch City
Art on Display at the The Vermeer Centre
Delft pottery as seen at the Dutch City of Delft
Delft pottery is a fine example of Dutch artistry

The Royal City of The Hague

the hague, a beautiful Dutch City
The Hague as seen during Sunset

If you are searching for a Dutch city with the most attractions, history, and breathtaking sites… then The Hague should be at the top of your bucket list! Situated along the coastline of the North Sea, this royal city holds a leading position for culture not only in the Netherlands, but through all of Europe.

Getting There and Returning:

Traveling from the blue city of Delft to the royal city of The Hague is just a short 20-minute train ride north and even closer to the shores of the Netherlands. Due to its close proximity and popularity, there are tons of trains traveling between the Dutch cities all day and every day. Most people simply check train times the day before and pick up their ticket directly at the station. Make sure you are looking for trains that go to Den Haag Centraal, as it is the closest station to the best attractions.

Returning to Amsterdam after your stay in the Hague is just as easy! As they are the two most popular cities in the country, there are plenty of train rides and times available. Although it is a slightly longer trip varying from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, you will make your final journey through the wondrous countryside and have time to reminisce your fantastic trip through the Netherlands.

As the home of Dutch royalty, The Hague is full of beautiful buildings and grand palaces, all within the city bounds.

Points of Interest:

Binnenhof from the Hague: a beautiful Dutch City
Binnenhof is housed at the Hague
Mauritshuis Art Museum from the Hague
Mauritshuis Art Museum in the Hague houses the iconic “Girl with a Pearl Earring”
noordeinde palace from the Hague a Dutch City
Noordeinde palace is one of the palaces of the Dutch Royal Family
Scheveningen is a Dutch sea side resort City
Scheveningen houses one of the ancient lighthouses of the Netherlands
beautiful Dutch Cities of the Netherlands
The Dutch Cities of the Netherlands are major tourist attractions in Europe

Time For Your Dutch Adventure!

So do you know which Dutch city is perfect for you? Or perhaps you have your heart set on multiple cities for an adventure across the Netherlands? Now all you have to do is start planning which museums, palaces, cathedrals, and markets are on the top of your Netherlands bucket list!

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