Netherlands Countryside – the Complete Guide

When we say Netherlands we immediately think about Amsterdam, windmills and tulips. It is very common to do that, but Holland is more than that. It is a beautiful country with amazing scenery and very colourful and beautiful countryside.

Countryside of the Netherlands Windmills Kinderdijk
Countryside Windmills Kinderdijk

It is a pity when visiting Netherlands to not visit the countryside. Here the atmosphere is completely different than in big cities and gives you a better idea about the locals’ daily life.


1. What is the Netherlands countryside like?

The countryside is flat with lush vegetation lots of canals and incredibly beautiful windmills. Let’s not forget about the long coastline with its wonderful beaches. Don’t expect to find mountains or hills in Netherlands. It is just a vast and flat terrain with many canals and systems which pump the water outside the mainland.

Netherlands Countryside Windmills Kinderdijk
Netherlands the Countryside Windmills Kinderdijk

An interesting thing to mention is that about one-third of Netherlands is above sea level. So that is why they need a really efficient and reliable system to pump the water from the mainland back to the sea.

The lowest point from Holland is 6.7 meters below sea and the highest point is about one hundred meters above sea level.

Countryside of Netherlands Windmill Kinderdijk
Countryside of Netherlands Windmill Kinderdijk

If you like to walk in the forest, listen to birds singing, ride a bicycle or sail, then Netherlands is the best place to visit.

The villages are small, cosy and quiet with nice decorated houses and beautiful narrow alleys. In some villages, bicycles and boats are the most used vehicles.


2. How to visit Netherlands countryside

The most common ways to explore the countryside of Netherlands is by car or by train.

2.1 Visit Netherland by Train

Trains in Holland are fast, comfortable and safe. The railway network is very well developed and connect most of Netherlands towns and cities, having more than 400 stations. The trains are very modern and comfortable and delays are a very unusual fact.

To get to North or to the South of Netherlands from Amsterdam Central by train took you about 2 hours. Actually, the train is the best way to enjoy the countryside of Netherlands! You just sit and relax, while the train gets you from point A to point B.

Visit Netherlands by train
Visit the Netherlands by train

In order to travel by train, you need a ticket. In Netherlands there are two types of tickets: a single-use chipcard or an OV-chipkaart or smart card which you can use it for multiple rides.

Chipcards could be bought from specialized machines or service desk and are the best choice if you are travelling by train just once or twice. With this card, the train rides are usually 1 euro more expensive than with OV-chipkaart.

If you are a regular train rider and plan to explore the Netherlands countryside by train than OV-chipkaart is what you need. This card could be bought from the ticketing machine or service desk and there is a onetime fee of 7.5 euro when you buy it.

OV-chipkaart could be used for metro, buses, ferries and trams, too. Prior to travel with OV-chipkaart you have to charge credit to your card. The minimum credit to charge a card for train rides is 20 euros.

You have to check-in and check out at each of your trip at the OV-chipkaart pillars on the station.

2.2 visit Netherlands by Car

Another way to explore Holland is by car. It is the most flexible and relaxing way to explore the country. You are no longer depending on a fix scheduler and you can stop wherever you want. A big advantage of car hire is that you can change your plan if you want without depending on something or you can stop wherever you want and stay for how long you want.

visit netherlands by car road
visit the Netherlands by car road

Cars can be hired from the airports, from the lobby of some hotels and from the offices located in big cities.  The daily prices may is influenced by the type of car chosen, by the type of insurance and many other factors. Prices start from 30 Dollars per day for a small car without insurance and can go up to a few hundred for a big car and pretty good insurance coverage.

Get the best price for your car rental today

Now, before exploring the Netherlands countryside, let me tell you a few words about the renting procedures.

They are the same as in other European countries. You need to have a valid driving license, a certain age (usually above 21 years, a valid credit card and money to rent the car. Before renting a car in Netherlands read very carefully the terms and conditions of renting and get extra insurance which covers the most relevant and most frequent incidents.

Do you like to travel without any worry that an incident might ruin your holiday? Stay on the safe side and buy extra insurance!

Read more about our trip in the Countryside of Netherlands:


3. Best places to see in the countryside of Netherlands

Netherlands is extremely beautiful and has many top attractions. Big cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam or The Hague are famous worldwide. But besides these, there are many other small town or villages where you can relax and visit the countryside.

I list here the best 5 countryside attractions starting with the last one:

3.1 Zierikzee

Zierikzee is a small seaside town located on a former island called Zeeland. It is an ancient town located in a place with more than 500 historical monuments.  The masterpiece of Zierikzee is Sint- Lievensmonstertoren, the ruins of a church built in the XII century. Near these ruins is the Dikke Towers which offer a fantastic panoramic view from its top.

Zierikzee Netherlands Countryside
Zierikzee Netherlands the Countryside

To fully enjoy this magnificent village and visit its neighbourhoods plan to spend at least one night in this town. There are really beautiful hotels in the area, which offer clean and nice rooms, some of them overlooking the historical buildings.


3.2 Harlingen

A picturesque harbour town located in Friesland in the Netherlands countryside

right on the northern part of Netherlands, Harlingen is famous for its architecture. The town is full of beautiful medieval mansions. Another interesting thing is the gable stones from the houses, stones which were used in old times to recognize a house before the house numbers being invented.

Harlingen Netherlands the countryside
Harlingen Netherlands the countryside

Walk along its beautiful streets and let yourself lost in Harlingen. It is a good way to discover this magic place. If you plan to stay overnight in Harlingen, I have to tell you that there are very nice hotels in the area. I am sure that one of them offers exactly what are you looking for!

Are you planning to visit Harlingen? See which are the available options for your stay

3.3 Naarden

One of the very few fortress towns from Netherland, Naarden is a very well preserved place founded back in 1300. The construction technique used in building this town is known as the star fortress. In a star fortress, the buildings are built in a large circle, surrounded by a giant green “lance”.

The best pictures of the place can be obtained from the air with a drone or from the plain.

Naarden Netherlands
Naarden Netherlands

The town looks really nice at sunset and sunrise! Definitely you should see it! Spend your night in a local hotel and enjoy the sunset from your balcony!

Do you want to visit Naarden?

3.4 Volendam

Hollands most famous fishing village, Volendam is located in the Northside of Netherlands, just 20 kilometres away from Amsterdam.

Here, in this XIV century town, you can find the traditional brown buildings with red pointed roofs, a small port with many fishing boat and locals dressed in their traditional clothes.

Volendam Netherlands Port
Volendam Netherlands Port

The city is representative of Holland countryside and you will see it in many postcards and pictures because of its beauty and authenticity.

If you think of spending the night here, book in advance to get the room with the best view! Totally worth it!

Find here a more in-depth article about Amsterday day trips, where we talked about things you can do in Volendam:

3.5 Giethoorn

Giethoorn is the most famous village from Netherlands and one of the top-visited places from Holland countryside, besides Zaanse Schans and Kinderdijk. The village is also known as the “Venice of the North” because it has more than 90 kilometres of canals. The most interesting thing is that some houses could be reached only by boat and the main transportation method is a bicycle and not car.

Netherlands Countryside House
Netherlands Countryside House

This town is way too beautiful not to spend a night in it! I strongly recommend you to book a night in one of the local hotels to have time to explore the village! Its beauty will amaze you!

Find here more details about Giethoorn, one of the most beautiful cities in the countryside of Netherlands:


4. Best time to visit Netherlands countryside

The Netherlands has a temperate climate with four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. It has a mild climate with mild winters and not very hot summers because the temperatures are influenced by the North Sea currents.

The best time to visit the countryside of Netherlands is from late spring to early autumn. Summer months are the ones with less rain and high temperature, but this period of the year is very popular among tourists so prepare for long queues and many tourists everywhere.

I personally prefer to visit this Europe destination in shoulder season. And that is in May and September. The weather is still great, with warm days and less rain and the days are still long enough to visit and explore this magnificent country. Another big advantage of visiting top attractions in shoulder season is that the prices are still low and you can have many options to choose from. And here I am talking about hotels, rental cars and restaurants.

Find here everything you need to know about Netherlands Weather and how to choose the best time to visit the Netherlands:


5. Is it expensive to visit Netherlands

Rated as one of one of the most costly nations in Europe, Holland should get on your travel list because of its lovely views as well as fascinating cities. The expense of living in this nation is pretty high yet there are several ways to save money while you check out Netherlands.

Netherlands should get on your travel list because of its lovely views as well as fascinating cities.

Find out how much cash is required to browse through the Netherlands? Is it pricey to wonder around through the country?

Costs Money Expenses Netherlands
Costs Money Expenses Netherlands

I am sure these are the most usual questions each of us is asking before planning a trip to Holland.

Relying on your travel design, based upon our own personal study here are the ordinary daily expenses, that need to tell you how much money you will certainly require for your journey to the Netherlands.

Read all about the expenses and costs of visiting Netherlands here:


6. Best Netherlands countryside tour

There are many choices when we are speaking about tours which help you discover the beauty of this country.

There are daily tours from big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and so on. And there are also multiple-day tours which guide you across the country to discover the hidden secrets of the countryside.

My recommendations for daily tours:
  1. From Amsterdam to Giethoorn: Day Trip to Giethoorn by Bus and Boat  or Giethoorn & the New Polders: Small Group Tour from Amsterdam
  2. From Amsterdam to Volendam: Volendam, Marken & Windmills with Free 1-Hour Canal Cruise 
  3. From Amsterdam to Naarden: Amsterdam: Muiderslot Castle and Naarden Fortress Tour


7. Where to stay in Netherlands Countryside

Netherlands is just one of one of the most interesting countries in Europe. It has lovely towns with fairy-tale houses, old windmill areas and also hundreds of miles of tulips fields which bloom in various colours in spring.

Such an unique as well as stunning country has several special and interesting accommodations where to stay overnight in the countryside of Netherlands.

Sea Lodges Bloemendaal Netherlads Countryside
Sea Lodges Bloemendaal Countryside of Netherlands

I prepared a list with one of the most awesome accommodations where to stay all over the countryside of Netherlands. It might be quite hard to schedule an evening at one of them but also for sure is a one of a kind experience.

Here are 5 top holiday accommodations where to sleep in the countryside of Netherlands

Here are other interesting articles on Netherland Countryside