For those who prefer the petrol-free way of life, the land of tulips, cheese markets and perfectly frothed beer might just be paradise. Alongside Denmark, the Netherlands is the most bike-friendly nation in Europe, with 70% of all journeys in cities like Amsterdam and The Hague made on two wheels. Much of the country’s infrastructure has been designed with cyclists specifically in mind, which, combined with famously flat Dutch terrain, makes it the ideal destination for those setting off on their first cycling holiday. What’s more, this year cyclists new and old can be inspired by their heroes at the UCI World Track Championships 2018, which are set to be held in one of Holland’s quaintest locations – Apeldoorn.
How about an early morning hike past soaring snow-capped mountains, spending the day cycling along sprawling untamed coastlines, or diving deep below glistening azure waters to discover the local sea life? There are so many incredible locations across the pond just waiting to be explored on foot, ski or scuba – and with P&O Ferries, you can take everything from surfboards to bicycles for free. Now all you have to do is choose one of these stunning destinations for your next active holiday in Europe.
If there’s one thing that Europe is known for, it’s harbouring a rich history of art from all influences. Whether it’s hanging on a wall, painted as a mural or performed on a stage, this continent holds some of the greatest artistic artefacts the world has ever seen. Holding fast in an ever-changing field, European artists are continuously creating works that affect audiences worldwide – pushing boundaries and questioning the norm both in terms of materials and their subject matter. Experience this inspiration for yourself with our guide to some of Europe’s best alternative art festivals.
Despite being one of Holland’s oldest cities, Maastricht retains a different flavour from the rest of the Netherlands. It has wider streets, larger squares and its buildings are formed from a curious quilt of architectural styles. Maastricht prides itself on its international vibe, so if you’re looking to visit somewhere quintessentially Dutch, consider dropping by Utrecht or Haarlem instead. But with a past that spans 20 centuries, Maastricht is considered Holland’s premier melting pot and well worth a visit. Fans of history will love the city’s medieval relics and crumbling fortifications, while foodies will enjoy its cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Whatever you look for in a city break, you’re sure to find a long weekend’s worth of exciting things to in Maastricht.
With the bright winter sun rising over frozen canals, winter is one of the most beautiful seasons to see your favourite European cities. And while the long summer days of lazing at the best of the festivals may be over for this year, the colder months bring a whole host of exciting events with them. From awe-inspiring illuminations in Amsterdam to curious literary themed carnivals in France, there’s a full programme of activities to keep the whole family entertained throughout the iciest of seasons.
The thrill of the big wheel, the whoosh as the rollercoaster hurtles downhill and the almighty splash as the log flume hits the water; visiting a theme park is one of the most sensory, exciting activities you can do whatever age you are. And some of the best can be found not too far from home. From visiting famous landmarks in Mini-Europe to scaling lofty heights and stepping into storybook realms, here are some of the best theme parks in Europe.
Every year, cinephiles journey in their droves to film festivals across the globe. Although Hollywood is eternally popular as a producer of blockbusters, Europe may well be the true home of the art form. Attending a film festival gives you the chance to experience movies in their best possible iteration – on the big screen, surrounded by equally enthusiastic people. Whether you’re an expert on underground horror, a black comedy buff or a sucker for a political thriller, there’s an amazing film festival in Europe just for you.
While nowhere in the world celebrates Halloween with quite the same gusto as America, that’s not to say that Europe – with its ancient ruins, gory history and fascinating folklore – isn’t an amazing place to be on October 31st. If you want to scare yourself silly, some unforgettable celebrations can be found a short ferry ride away, in three of Europe’s most fright-filled cities.
If you’re visiting the European hub of futuristic art and cutting-edge design, take a romantic break from the thrill of the bright lights at one of these cosier destinations just a stone’s throw away. Rotterdam is home to Europe’s biggest port, making it the perfect base for a starry-eyed long weekend in South Holland. And with excellent connections to some of some of the most quixotic locations in the Netherlands, you’re just a ferry ride away from an unforgettably idyllic adventure. All of these suggestions are under and hour away from the city by train or car – making them ideal locations for a day trip, or even a long weekend if your schedule is more flexible. The only question is, where first?
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!