10 Cities to visit in The Netherlands

What 10 cities should I visit in The Netherlands?

The Netherlands or Holland has more than windmills and cheese to offer visitors. Holland boasts a rich maritime history, a Golden Age, picturesque cities and of course beautiful waterways that define its landscapes. Let’s take a look at 10 cities and towns to visit along the canals.


1.       Hindeloopen

2.       Sneek

3.       Leeuwarden

4.       Giethoorn

5.       Elburg

6.       Amsterdam

7.       Muiden

8.       Utrecht

9.       Gouda

10.   Lisse


     1. Hindeloopen

Hindeloopen was a once a trading and mariner hub during Holland’s Golden Age. Today, it is a quaint little town that thrives on age old traditions and customs and mainly focuses on water sports and leisure. Hindeloopen is a great place to witness some traditional Dutch culture, dress, landscapes and art exhibitions.




2.      Sneek 

Take a sneak peek into the town of Sneek, located in the West Friesland. This picturesque town has a beautiful 16th century water port which once formed part of an old fort. The town is great for exploring and tasting more traditional Dutch dishes!





3.      Leeuwarden 

Leeuwarden is the capital city of the Friesland and recently voted as the European capital of culture. Leeuwarden stands to host a variety of cultural events throughout the year, and therefore makes a great city to visit. Visitors can enjoy a variety of art exhibitions, museums and architecture around the town. There also amazing restaurants offering authentic Friesland delicacies, while the Groene Ster nature park offers amazing walking and biking trails!




4.      Giethoorn 

The placid town of Giethoorn is named after the group of goat herding settlers who dwelt in the marshy region. Giethoorn shows off another traditional side of the Netherlands with its quaint little thatched roofed cottages lining the waterways. This town is also car-free as most residents and visitors opt to walk or ride the waterways to get to where they want.




5.      Elburg 

Elburg is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. This small town was once a prosperous fishing hub, before the Zuiderzee was shut off. During the 1300s, the original town was destroyed by a flood and rebuilt in the very same form we see it today. The town’s preservation is owed to the fact that no train lines were constructed in the 1800s, hence it skipping out on the industrial revolution. Elburg remained in obscure poverty during that time, with very little development to the town. However, today Elburg has become a popular holiday destination and has made tourism its main industry. Many enjoy its fresh water, beautiful medieval architecture and fun festivals full of character.






6.      Amsterdam 

Nothing can contend with the Dutch capital of Amsterdam! A thriving city built on beautiful canals with an energetic metropolis on top. Amsterdam has so much to offer and its scenic streets along the canals make it a picture perfect destination. The city has been and continues to be a main centre for art and culture over the centuries. Famous Dutch painters, clothiers and merchants thrived in the city as the country expanded its territories abroad. From restaurants, shopping, museums to a bustling nightlife scene, Amsterdam is a definite bucket list destination!





7.      Muiden 

Muiden is fantastic little fortified town that is fun for the whole family. This town lies just East of Amsterdam and is easily accessible by the waterways. Dating back to the 10th century, this town has always served as a defence against foreign invaders from the South. The most famous attraction is undoubtedly the well maintained Muiderslot Castle built in the 13th century by a wealthy count upon a moat. The castle is now a medieval museum with beautiful gardens to explore.



8.      Utrecht 

Utrecht is a city that once formed part of the early Roman Empire. This means that the city’s very foundations are all steeped in ancient history and you can visit a variety of historical and modern sites. Utrecht is famous for its beautiful canals and fun activities to do along them. Cycling, walking and boating along the canals lead you to amazing sites in and along the city. There are beautiful castles, streets and markets to explore every day.





9.      Gouda 

World renowned for its famous cheese, Gouda is a small city that’s easy to explore. Originally a reed swamp, its first settlers used the abundance of peat to help built homes. Gouda’s population grew and eventually it became a thriving harbour. Gouda is a fantastic city to explore the Dutch culinary terrain. Located in the South of Holland, the cuisine served here differs from cites of the North. Be sure to visit the world famous cheese market every Thursday, while many restaurants sell a variety of Gouda cheese based dishes.





10. Lisse 

Lisse is one of the most famous towns in The Netherlands. Why? It is world famous for its spectacular flower display that comes to full bloom every year during spring. Originally a farming area, the moist sandy soil makes the area perfect for harvesting flowers. Lisse once housed the estates of many wealthy merchants, but were eventually sold and removed to make way for the flower fields. The only estate to stay was Keukenhof, which has become a top tourist destination today.

During late March the fields in and around Lisse are full of wondrous colour with rows of tulips, roses and various other species. You will delight in the history and beauty of Lisse and its famous eateries amidst the botanic splendour.



Which of these beautiful Dutch cities or towns will you explore along these ancient waterways?

Discover the Netherlands with Le Boat today.


Some Images provided by Allison Foat, Dr. Karina S and Onne van der Water