When I tell people that I’ve lived and studied in the Netherlands, they usually ask if I stayed in Amsterdam. I’ve been to Amsterdam several times and while I love this city, other Dutch cities are usually forgotten. Having the opportunity to visit many cities in Netherlands, I can safely say that each one has got its own quirks and personality. So the next time you head to Amsterdam, don’t forget to check out the other wonderful places to visit in Netherlands that aren’t too far away.
DIY original hot chocolate at Zaanse Schans
Getting Around in Netherlands
One of the best things about this country is that they’ve got a really efficient public transport system so you can get between cities easily. If you intend to travel to multiple cities in Netherlands, consider getting an OV-Chipkaart, it’s the Dutch version of an Ezlink card. You can use it on inter-city trains, trams and buses.
Remember to check in when you board and check out at your final destination! They don’t have train gantries like we do in Singapore, but they do have a lot of train conductors going around to check if you’ve paid the correct fees. If you get caught riding without paying proper, you will have to pay a fine! If you forget to check out, you’ll be charged €40! So just remember to check in and out!
Dutch trains are efficient, convenient, clean and comfortable
You can easily top-up your OV-Chipkaart via a top-up machine, but do note that most machines only accept coins and card. You can top-up cash in the service counters found in main train stations!
Useful Transport App
*Pro-tip: Download the NS Reisplanner Xtra app on your phone before your trip to the Netherlands. It has all public transport schedule and updates in the event of a delay!
Also, consider cycling within cities (or even inter-city if you’re up for that challenge!) as a form of transport. The Netherlands is probably the most bike-friendly country in the world, make use of that opportunity. It’s cheap and you get to discover cities in a different way. And I can assure you, Dutch drivers and pedestrians respect cyclists, they won’t curse or honk at you, unlike in Singapore! Just remember to cycle in your own bike path. As a rule of thumb, always keep right.
The Best Cities in Netherlands for a City-Hopping Trip
Amsterdam is adored by people all over the world, and it’s easy to see why.
Amsterdam is well-known for her canals that run through the city.
It is easily the most visited of cities in Netherlands. Amsterdam is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, and it feels like everyone can find something for themselves in Amsterdam. Personally, I love sitting by the quiet canals a few streets from the city centre. Because most of Amsterdam’s attractions are within walking distance to the city centre, I love just walking about aimlessly and stumble into one of her jewels.
I love sitting by the quiet canals a few streets from the city centre. Sometimes I see people chilling and having a snack here.
Remember to snap a photo or two with the picturesque canals.
Top Places to Visit in Amsterdam
- Visit Anne Frank House – House-turned-museum where Anne Frank’s family hid from the Nazis
- Rijksmuseum – Amazing collection of paintings and art from Dutch Golden Age
- Leidseplein – City square with lots of nightlife options
- Amsterdam Canal Cruise – Great way to tour the city
- The Royal Palace and Dam Square
Consider getting accommodation near the city centre since everything is within walking distance from there!
My Hotel Pick
Right, now let’s get to the visit-worty cities in Netherlands outside Amsterdam.
Utrecht is a charming little town in central Netherlands. Many of my Dutch friends love Utrecht for her quaintness that you can’t find elsewhere. Like Amsterdam, you can find canals in the city centre, but without the hustle.
Snapped a quick photo with the canals at the Utrecht city centre
When I was in Utrecht last year, I managed to attend the Zundert Flower Parade. Zundert is a small town near Utrecht held around September each year. It’s the biggest flower parade in the world and you definitely have to catch it if you are in the area during that time. Floats made out of living flowers are paraded around Zundert. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience!
Living flowers decorated to form teacups and teapots
Living flowers decorated to form the human body
Because inter-city travelling is so easy and convenient, you can consider being situated in central Utrecht and taking day trips out to other Dutch cities.
Top Things to do in Utrecht
- Visit the Dom Tower of Utrecht – church tower with panaromic views
- Visit medieval De Haar Castle
- Explore the Railway Museum
- Visit UNESCO-listed Rietveld Schroder House
- VIsit St. Martin’s Cathedral
My Hotel Pick
Den Haag, or The Hague in English, is known for Scheveningen Beach, a long sandy beach with piers and harbours. If you’re a surfer, Scheveningen Beach is the perfect surfing spot place in the Netherlands!
The beach is a bit far out from the central train station, so consider cycling there, or perhaps taking a tram. Check out The Pier when you’re at the beach, they house many bistros and attractions such as the Ferris Wheel, right above the sea.
Also, many of my Dutch friends were pretty impressed when I tried to pronounce “Scheveningen” (skhey-vuh n-eing-uh n), apparently it’s one of the harder Dutch words to enunciate. Try it with a fellow Dutch, perhaps you’ll impress someone!
Ferris Wheel at The Pier above the sea
Address: Strandweg 150-154, 2586 JW Den Haag
Opening hours: 10 AM to 10 PM daily
Top Things to do in Scheveningen
- Visit the Beach
- The Dunes of Scheveningen
- The Hague Peace Palace
- Escape Rooms
- Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
The Netherlands is a very special place for me. To me, the Netherlands is the people, their bikes, the harshness in their language, their shyness and their fries. It is the canals in Amsterdam but also so much more than that. If you get a chance to visit the Netherlands, be sure to visit all of it.