9 Things to Do in the Netherlands with Friends

June 11th, 2024

Welcome to the our guide to things to do in the Netherlands! Whether you are a native looking to get to know your own country better or a tourist looking for unforgettable experiences, this blog has something for everyone. The Netherlands, small but diverse, offers a wealth of adventures and special getaways. From breathtaking natural areas and historic cities to unique cultural sights and exciting activities, the Netherlands is the perfect place for a day trip or a day out.

In this blog, we take you through The 9 best things to do in the Netherlands. Expect a mix of relaxation and adventure, nature and culture that will ensure you discover the most beautiful and unique places in the Netherlands. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or just want a day out in the Netherlands, this list will ensure you have a great time. Grab your calendar, jot down these great getaways, and get inspired for your next adventure in the Netherlands!

Table of Contents:

1. Explore the Wadden Islands

Bucket list activities in the Netherlands: a day trip to Texel

The Wadden Islands are a unique and essential spot to visit and is full of things to do in the Netherlands. This beautiful archipelago in the Wadden Sea consists of Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. Each island has its own charm and offers an array of activities for any adventurous soul.

Why the Wadden Islands should be on your bucket list. The Wadden Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its pristine nature and rich biodiversity. The area is a paradise for nature lovers and offers a unique combination of sea, beach, dunes and forests.

One of the most special activities you can do on the Wadden Islands is mudflats. During this adventurous trip you walk on the bottom of the sea during low tide, an experience not found anywhere else in the world. It is a challenging but unforgettable activity where you get close to nature and learn more about the unique ecosystem of the Wadden Sea.

Cycling is another popular activity on the Wadden Islands. Each island has well-maintained bicycle paths that lead you past the most beautiful places. Whether you choose a relaxing ride along the coast of Texel or a challenging ride through the dunes of Terschelling, cycling is the perfect way to explore the islands.

In addition, on the Wadden Islands you can seal spotting. Board a boat trip and sail to the sandbanks where these magnificent animals sunbathe. Seeing seals in their natural habitat is a magical experience you won’t soon forget. In short, the Wadden Islands offer a unique combination of adventure and relaxation, nature and culture. Be sure to add this beautiful destination on your list of things to do in the Netherlands!

2. Take a Tour of Amsterdam’s Canals

Weekend getaway in the Netherlands: Amsterdam boat tour

Amsterdam is known worldwide for its iconic canals, and a canal cruise through these historic waterways is an absolute must-do. The charm and history of Amsterdam’s canals offer a unique perspective of the city and are a perfect way to explore Amsterdam. If you’re looking for a day out in the Netherlands, definitely consider the beautiful capital city of The netherlands!

Amsterdam’s ring of canals, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consists of a network of canals constructed in the 17th century. These canals surround the city center and are an important part of the city’s historical and cultural heritage.

There are several popular canal cruise options available in Amsterdam. You can choose a classic canal boat, where you can sit comfortably and enjoy the view while a guide tells you all about the history and sights of the city.For a romantic experience, book an evening cruise, where you can enjoy dinner while the city is beautifully lit. For a more personal experience, you can also rent a private boat, which allows you to decide where to go and how long to stay. On a cruise through Amsterdam’s canals, you’ll see countless sights. You cruise past beautiful canal houses, historic bridges and lively neighborhoods like the Jordaan. You’ll also pass famous museums such as The Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum, and get a unique view of the iconic Skinny Bridge.

A canal cruise through Amsterdam’s canals is a relaxing and informative way to explore the city. It offers a unique view of Amsterdam and is a perfect getaway for tourists and locals alike. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the canals offer countless photogenic moments that you will definitely want to capture.

Things to do in the Netherlands Tips:

3. Visit the Keukenhof in Spring

The Keukenhof, located in Lisse, is the flower capital of the world and an absolute must-visit on your list of things to do in the Netherlands! This world-famous flower garden attracts millions of visitors from all over the world every year and is known for its spectacular floral displays. Especially in spring, when the tulips are in full bloom, a visit to Keukenhof is a magical experience not to be missed.

Why the Keukenhof is the flower capital of the world

The Keukenhof is not called the flower capital of the world for nothing. The park covers an area of 32 acres and is home to more than seven million flower bulbs, including tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and many other varieties of flowers. The beautifully landscaped gardens, ponds, and works of art create a breathtaking landscape you won’t find anywhere else.

Tips for the best visit

To make the most of your visit to the Keukenhof, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Plan your visit well: The Keukenhof is open only a few weeks a year, usually from late March to mid-May. Be sure to plan your visit well in advance to experience the bloom peak.
  • Come early: The Keukenhof can be very busy, especially on weekends and vacations. By arriving early in the morning, you can avoid the crowds and enjoy the flowers in peace.
  • Choose a weekday: If possible, visit the Keukenhof on a weekday to avoid the biggest crowds.
  • Bring your camera: The Keukenhof offers countless photogenic spots, so don’t forget to bring your camera to capture all those beautiful flowers and gardens.
  • Explore the themed gardens: The Keukenhof has several themed gardens that change every year. Don’t forget to visit these for a unique and inspiring experience.

A visit to Keukenhof is an unforgettable experience that lets you enjoy the beauty and diversity of flowers. It is a perfect activity for a day out in the Netherlands.

4. Climb the Dom tower in Utrecht

The Dom tower in Utrecht is an iconic landmark and a must-visit for anyone interested in history and culture. With its impressive height of 112 meters the Dom tower is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands and offers spectacular views of the city and beyond. Climbing the Dom Tower is really a super fun experience for on your list of things to do in the Netherlands.

The historical and cultural value of the Cathedral Tower

The Cathedral Tower is more than 700 years old and has a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. It was originally part of St. Martin’s Cathedral, which was partially destroyed by a storm in the 17th century. The tower is now separate from the rest of the church, making it a unique and fascinating monument.During a climb of the Cathedral Tower, you will learn all about its history and the city of Utrecht. The guides will tell you stories about the tower’s construction, the role it played in the city’s religious and political history, and the restorations that have taken place over the centuries.

What to expect during the climb

Climbing the Cathedral Tower is an adventure in itself. The trip up includes 465 steps, divided over several floors. Along the way you will pass the bell chamber, where you can admire the impressive swinging bells, and the tower room, where you have a beautiful view of the Gothic architecture of the tower. Once at the top, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of Utrecht and the surrounding region. In clear weather, you can even see Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Don’t forget to bring your camera, because The view from the top of the Cathedral Tower is truly spectacular.

Climbing the Dom Tower is a unique and unforgettable experience that will give you a new perspective on Utrecht. It is a perfect activity for a day out in the Netherlands full of adventure and history.

5. Explore the Hoge Veluwe and the Kröller-Müller Museum

Explore the Hoge Veluwe: one of the fun activities in the Netherlands for your bucket list
National Park the Hoge Veluwe is one of the most beautiful and largest nature reserves in the Netherlands. Spanning 55 square kilometers, this park offers a beautiful landscape of forests, moors, sand drifts and grasslands. It is a paradise for nature lovers and a perfect destination for a day out in nature.

The beauty of the Hoge Veluwe national park

The Hoge Veluwe offers a diversity of landscapes and a wealth of flora and fauna. The park is home to many animal species, including red deer, wild boar, mouflon and numerous bird species. You can explore the park on foot, by bicycle or even on horseback, enjoying the peace and beauty of nature.

One of the unique features of the Hoge Veluwe is the free use of the “white bicycles. These bicycles are scattered throughout the park and can be used freely by visitors. Cycling through the various landscapes of the Hoge Veluwe is a relaxing and environmentally friendly way to explore the park.

The art collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum

In the middle of the Hoge Veluwe park lies the Kröller-Müller Museum, which houses one of the largest private collections of art in Europe. With an impressive collection of works by famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian and Claude Monet, the Kröller-Müller Museum is not only a place for art lovers, but also for anyone interested in architecture and garden design. The museum has a beautiful sculpture garden, where you can walk among sculptures by famous artists in a serene and natural setting.

A visit to the Kröller-Müller Museum combines art and nature in a unique way. After hiking or biking through the Hoge Veluwe, you can enjoy world-class masterpieces in a serene and inspiring setting. Explore the Hoge Veluwe and the Kröller-Müller Museum for a day full of natural beauty and cultural enrichment. It is an unforgettable experience not to be missed on your list of things to do in the Netherlands.

6. Discover the Efteling, the Magical Amusement Park

Efteling day trip in the Netherlands
The Efteling is the largest and most popular amusement park in the Netherlands, offering a magical experience for young and old alike. The park is inspired by fairy tales and myths, and every corner of the Efteling breathes fantasy and adventure, it is in my opinion the ultimate day out in the Netherlands.

What makes the Efteling so special

Efteling stands out from other theme parks because of its unique theming and attention to detail. Since its opening in 1952, the park has developed into a place where fairy tales come to life. From the enchanting Fairytale Forest to the impressive attractions such as the Python and Baron 1898, the Efteling offers an unforgettable experience for anyone who loves adventure and magic.

Highlights and attractions not to be missed

  • Fairytale Forest: The Fairytale Forest is a classic and a must-visit, especially for families with young children. Here, well-known fairy tale characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and the Little Mermaid come to life in beautiful settings.
  • Baron 1898: This spectacular dive coaster takes you on an adventurous ride with a 37.5-meter free fall down a mine shaft. A thrilling experience for daredevils!
  • Dream Flight: An enchanting dark ride where you float through a fairytale world full of elves, trolls and other magical creatures.
  • Symbolica: This palace of fantasy is one of the newest attractions at the Efteling. An interactive dark ride where you explore the palace of King Pardulfus.
  • Raveleijn: A spectacular park show full of knights, horses and fire-breathing dragons, based on Paul van Loon’s story of the same name.

The Efteling also offers numerous dining options, from pancake restaurants to international cuisines, and of course the famous Holle Bolle Gijs trash cans that shout “Paper here!” shout. The park is open year-round, with special events and decorations during the winter months. A day at Efteling is an unforgettable experience that immerses you in a world of fairy tales and adventure. Be sure to take plenty of time to explore all that this magical amusement park has to offer.

Tip: Also check out our blog with The 5 best theme parks in Europe!

7. Visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is one of the main museums of the Netherlands and a veritable treasure trove of art and history. Originally opened in 1800, the museum houses an extensive collection of masterpieces illustrating the history of the Netherlands and the world.

The masterpieces and history of the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum has an impressive collection spanning more than 800 years of Dutch art and history. The collection includes paintings, prints, sculptures, and works of art by world-renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh.

One of the most famous works in the Rijksmuseum is Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch”, an iconic painting that represents one of the highlights of the Dutch Golden Age. Other masterpieces include Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid” and the extensive collection of 17th-century Dutch masters.

Practical tips for your visit

  • Buy your tickets in advance: The Rijksmuseum is a popular destination and it can get crowded, especially in high season. By buying your tickets online, you can avoid the queues and get right in.
  • Plan your visit: The museum is large and it is easy to get overwhelmed. Plan in advance which exhibits and works you absolutely want to see.
  • Take your time: Reserve enough time for your visit so that you can quietly enjoy the works of art and explore the various exhibits. A visit to the Rijksmuseum can easily take a whole day, so plan your time well.
  • Use the audio guide: For an additional in-depth look at the works of art and their history, you can rent an audio guide. These guides offer interesting and informative background information about the masterpieces and the artists.
  • Take a tour: There are several tours available that can help you learn more about the museum’s history and artworks. A guide can take you through the highlights and hidden gems of the museum.
  • Visit the museum store: Don’t forget to take a look at the museum store, where you can buy wonderful souvenirs and art-related items to remember your visit.

The Rijksmuseum offers a fascinating journey through Dutch art and history, and is an absolute must-visit for art lovers and history buffs, this is a truly essential getaway for your list of things to do in the Netherlands!

8. Take a Bicycle Tour Through the flower Bulb Region

The Bulb Region, located in the province of South Holland, is famous for its vast bulb fields that are in full bloom in spring. A bike ride through this region is a colorful and fragrant experience that definitely belongs on your list of things to do in the Netherlands.

The beauty of the tulip fields in bloom

From mid-March to mid-May, the fields of the Bulb Region turn into a sea of colors. Millions of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other flowers are in full bloom then, creating a spectacular sight. The bright colors and the wonderful fragrance of the flowers make this a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Bike route suggestions and best visit times

There are several bicycle routes available in the Bulb Region that take you past the most beautiful flower fields and picturesque villages. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Tulip Route Noordwijkerhout: This 35-kilometer route takes you through the beautiful flower fields of Noordwijkerhout and surrounding areas. You can stop at local growers and stores along the way to buy bulbs and flowers.
  • Flower Route Lisse: This route of about 25 kilometers starts and ends at the Keukenhof and leads you through the most beautiful tulip fields of Lisse and surroundings. It is a perfect way to combine your visit to the Keukenhof with a bike ride through the flower fields.
  • Bollenstreekroute: This 40-kilometer route takes you through the entire Bollenstreek and past some of its most famous attractions, such as Keukenhof, the flower mosaics in Noordwijkerhout and the quaint villages of Sassenheim and Hillegom.

Best visit times: The best time to visit the Bulb Region is from mid-March to mid-May, when the flowers are in full bloom. The exact time of blooming can vary depending on the weather, so it is a good idea to check the local bloom forecasts before planning your visit. A bicycle tour of the Bulb Region is a perfect way to experience the beauty of Dutch spring. It is a relaxing and eco-friendly way to enjoy the flower fields and spend an unforgettable day in nature.

9. Adventure in the Limburg Caves

Limburg caves: a day out in the Netherlands
The caves of Limburg, best known in the region surrounding Valkenburg, offer a unique and adventurous experience. Created by centuries of mining, these underground limestone caves are now a fascinating destination for guided tours and adventure activities.

Exploring the extraordinary caves in Limburg

Exploring the Limburg caves is a special experience you won’t find anywhere else in the Netherlands. Steeped in history and mystery, the caves offer a glimpse into a hidden underground world. On a guided tour, you will learn about the geology and history of the caves, and see impressive limestone formations and underground passage systems.

What to expect and how to prepare

  • Tours: A variety of tours are available, ranging from historical walking tours to exciting caving excursions. On a guided tour, you will receive explanations from experienced guides who will tell you all about the origins and uses of the caves.
  • Adventure activities: For the adventurous types, there are also activities such as abseiling and mountain biking in the caves. These unique experiences add an extra dimension to your visit and let you discover the caves in a whole new way.
  • Preparation: Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring warm clothing, as it can be cool in the caves. Always follow the guide’s instructions and be prepared for an exciting and educational experience.

A visit to the Limburg caves is an adventurous and educational experience you won’t soon forget. It is a perfect getaway for those who want to discover something different and unique in the Netherlands.

What activities will you write off your list of things to do in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands offers a wealth of unique and unforgettable experiences that are perfect for a weekend or day trip in the Netherlands. From the breathtaking nature of the Wadden Islands and the Hoge Veluwe to the cultural riches of the Rijksmuseum and the historic Dom Tower, there is something for everyone. Discover the magic of the Efteling, the colorful floral splendor of Keukenhof, and the serene beauty of the Bulb Region. Also, don’t forget to explore the adventurous caves in Limburg and picturesque Texel. These top things to do in the Netherlands are just the beginning of what the Netherlands has to offer. The country is full of hidden gems and adventures waiting to be discovered. Whether you are a nature lover, culture lover, or adventurer, the Netherlands has something special in store for everyone.

Plan your ultimate day out in the Netherlands today!

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