With a history as rich as its Michelin-starred food, it’s no wonder that everyone from the old masters to the new architectural innovators have been swept away by the sights and sounds of Holland. When you spot the fields of flowers with giant windmills turning majestically overhead, you’ll see how the natural colours have fused with the nations’ art, influencing whole cities of delicate architecture, well-trimmed parks and magical streets – every inch a masterpiece. There’s a whole wealth of things to see and do in this beautiful part of the world – here are some of our top picks for the perfect holiday in Holland!
Amsterdam – but not as you know it
As the sun sets behind the intricate carvings of the city’s regal skylines, you’ll find yourself falling in love with Amsterdam’s hodgepodge waterways and lively winding streets. While people watching with pannenkoeken and coffee at a sprawling outdoor café or wandering through galleries filled with the likes of Van Gogh and Rembrandt might feel like the height of city breaking, it’s the little surprises around every corner that makes Amsterdam truly unique.
The classical canal setting of Amsterdam’s city centre is what travel dreams are made of, but for something off the beaten track, take the free ferry up to Noord, where beautifully ramshackle bars by the ocean make the perfect spot for an afternoon drink and a long read. A cultural melting pot in a waterfront setting, this developing district has something for everyone – from a revolving restaurant and bar in the iconic Toren Overhoeks landmark, to bars and clubs housed in the district’s former warehouses. Film fans should head to the EYE Film Museum, a contemporary building partly responsible for shaping Noord’s now iconic waterfront. Inside, you’ll find plenty of exhibitions devoted to the silver screen, as well as a choice of four cinemas.
Design in Rotterdam
Holland may be renowned for its historic streets and houses, but it’s the towering modern structures standing astride the most delicate of middle-age town houses that steal the show in Rotterdam. Indeed, many of the city’s most notable structures were all completed in the last few decades. Visit the mind-bending Cube Houses – or even rent one for your stay – before stopping at the Markthal, an arena-sized building home to a lively bunch of vendors, and the Kunsthal, the beloved venue for architectural exhibitions with lavish outdoor gardens connecting the city’s museums. End the exploration with a trip up the Euromast, one of the tallest structures in Holland, where on a clear day you may even spy Antwerp lying a whole 80 kilometres away.
Food and drink in Maastricht
One of the oldest cities in Holland, Maastricht is the revered home of some of the very best cuisine in the Netherlands. While it’s the Michelin-starred restaurants that often steal the attention, you can find world-class dishes served up on beautiful terraces around just about every corner. The secret lies in the fresh produce, from famously salty Texel lamb and seafood straight from the North Sea, to just-picked veggies and cheese ripened just down the road. When you’re all done sampling the best of the food, take a trip just outside the city to the Jeker Valley. There lie some of the oldest vineyards in Holland, dating back as far as the Roman times.
History in Utrecht
The true heart of Holland, Utrecht has been a lively university town for centuries. As such, it’s the perfect place to learn about the traditional way of life away from the tourist trail. With over 11 museums within walking distance of the centre, the surprising variety of exhibitions on display will delight every history fan. Explore the diverse artworks of the country’s oldest municipal museum in the Centraal Museum, the musical collections of Museum Speelklok, or the iconic work of Dick Bruna at the Miffy Museum. Wherever you wander, you’ll always be able to navigate back by the Dom Tower – the highest and oldest church tower in Holland can be seen all over the city.
With unique cities small and large to explore – not to mention everywhere in-between – whether you like a luxurious continental getaway or adventuring in its stunning rural surrounds, you’ll find the perfect holiday in Holland. Ready to go? Start planning your trip today!