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Netherlands’ Top Cities: Exploring the Best Urban Destinations

These are the best cities of Netherlands

Full of vibrant and colourful cities, Netherlands is one of the best European destinations all year round. With beautiful cities spread all over the country, the Netherlands should be on your bucket list!

And you know what?!  These cities are the ideal overnight base for your trip across the Netherlands and to do daily trips in the countryside to discover and explore Dutch hidden gems.

best cities of Netherlands

best cities in Netherlands

Here is a list with 10 best cities of Netherlands which you should explore when visit Netherlands:

1. Amsterdam

The most famous and vibrant city of Netherlands is Amsterdam. Everybody wants to visit Amsterdam and see the Red Light District! Or to try a cake or a chocolate bar with marijuana!

No matter if you are looking to party all night, or if you are an art fan for sure you will find something interesting to do in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is the home of Van Gogh museum, Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House. Not to talk about the local architecture and the beautiful houses from the Old Town.

Best cities of Netherlands Amsterdam

Best cities in Netherlands Amsterdam

For art and history lovers we recommend the following tours:
– for Van Gogh Museum we recommend you the following ticket with entrance hour and a canal cruise: Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum Ticket & Canal Cruise

Alkmaar 2-Hour Tour and Cheese Market Visit

Alkmaar 2-Hour Tour and Cheese Market Visit

– for Rijksmuseum, you should buy a ticket with skip the line included: Rijksmuseum: Skip-the-Ticket-Line Entry and Booking Fee

Rijksmuseum Skip-the-Ticket-Line Entry and Booking Fee

Rijksmuseum Skip-the-Ticket-Line Entry and Booking Fee

It is a city very easy to explore by foot or by water. It has many wonderful canals and why not take the opportunity and take a canal tour and admire the city from the water?!

The neighbouring area of Amsterdam is equally beautiful and fascinating. Don’t hesitate and book a trip to one of the villages around Amsterdam. Volendam, Edam and Marken are the most famous ones! We recommend you to book one of these two tours:

Amsterdam: Volendam, Edam, and Windmills Guided Tour

Amsterdam Volendam, Edam, and Windmills Guided Tour

Amsterdam Volendam, Edam, and Windmills Guided Tour

Volendam, Marken & Windmills with Free 1-Hour Canal Cruise

Amsterdam Volendam, Edam, and Windmills Guided Tour

Amsterdam Volendam, Edam, and Windmills Guided Tour

The tours include transportation, pick up and drop off in Amsterdam and visits to traditional workshops and/or windmills.

Because there are so many things to do in Amsterdam, one of the best cities of Netherlands, you most probably need to spend at least 3 nights in Amsterdam to explore the city and its surroundings.

We don’t advise you to book accommodation in the centre of the city because the prices are really high and you get less for more money. The best options are the hotels and apartments located near a metro station. Most of them offer a better price-quality ratio than the ones from the city centre.

Book your overnight stay to experience Amsterdam nightlife

2. The Hague

Located right on the shore of the Nordic Sea, somewhere between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Hague is the third-largest city of Netherlands and home of the Dutch Government and official residence of the Dutch royal family. This wonderful city is also the host of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice.

Best cities of Netherlands the Hague

Best cities in Netherlands the Hague

Although a smaller city than Amsterdam, The Hague is full of beautiful attractions and historical buildings.

Walk along the narrow streets of the Old Town and discover its wonderful monuments! Take a guided tour of the political buildings and visit also the beautiful Hall of the Knights. I mean, what could be more interesting than a tour with a local guide?! The Hague: Private Tour with a Local Guide offers you the unique opportunity to discover The Hague with a local guide and pick up from your accommodation.

The Hague Private Tour with a Local Guide

The Hague Private Tour with a Local Guide

A tour at the Royal Picture Gallery full of Rembrandt masterpieces is a must.

When you end your tour of the Hague, one of the best cities of Netherlands get public transport and visit Netherlands seaside. The most popular resort from the Dutch coast is Scheveningen.

It is a short and very interesting trip from the Hague to Scheveningen and a good opportunity to see and understand a little bit of Netherlands countryside.

I strongly recommend you to spend about 2 nights in the Hague to have enough time to explore the city and its surroundings.

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

3. Alkmaar

Are you a cheese fan? Then Alkmaar is the right place to be! Each year from April to September, on Friday morning a very interesting ceremony takes place. The sellers expose their cheese and buyers smell it, taste it and negotiate the price.

After the buyer and seller agree the price, the cheese is taken out from the stalls and are taken to be weighted in the Public Weighting House. It is very interesting and entertaining activity! Book a walking tour around the city to get a clue what this city is about! We recommend you Alkmaar 2-Hour Tour and Cheese Market Visit . It is a very comprehensive and interactive tour of the city!

Alkmaar 2-Hour Tour and Cheese Market Visit

Alkmaar 2-Hour Tour and Cheese Market Visit

When visit the Dutch country include on your list Alkmaar with its wonderful traditions! It offers you a very good feeling about the best cities of Netherlands!

Located in the south part of the Netherlands, Alkmaar is just 45 kilometres away from Amsterdam. It is not very far from this vibrant city but to really get a sense of Netherlands countryside you should spend a night in this town.

There are a few interesting accommodations close to the centre of the town. The atmosphere is very peaceful and relaxed! Eat your dinner and sip a glass of wine at a local restaurant and enjoy your time to spend with your family and friends.

4. Haarlem

Located really close to Amsterdam, Haarlem is a beautiful Dutch city, the ideal place to set your camp and explore Amsterdam and its surrounding.

The accommodation prices are way cheaper than in Amsterdam and the services offered are much better.

The city is more than the 1000-year-old and offers to the tourists a unique opportunity to travel back in time. The place is very quiet and peaceful, contrasting with the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam and other big cities.

Because of its chill vibe and beautiful buildings, Haarlem should be included on this top with the best cities of Netherlands.

Haarlem Windmill Netherlands

Haarlem Windmill Netherlands

During your stay in Haarlem book some time for the famous Grote Markt located in the heart of the historic centre, the Grote Kerk, Haarlem’s magnificent cathedral. Another must-do thing is to go to a beer tasting in a former church or take a canal tour and admire the city from the water.

I am sure you will be fascinated by this superb town!

5. Leiden

Just 46 kilometres away from Amsterdam, located on the south side of the country, Leiden is the best place to set your camp, especially during tulip season.

The town founded in 1575 is located in the proximity of Keukenhof and Aalsmeer, so during springtime, it is a very busy season. For a good understanding of the local history, we recommend you to book a walking tour of the city. Leiden 2-Hour Walking Tour is one of the best! In just two hours you will discover the oldest University in the Netherlands, admire the Molen de Valk, a corn- grinding windmill now a museum and see where Rembrandt was borne.

Leiden 2-Hour Walking Tour

Leiden 2-Hour Walking Tour

Leiden is also known as the “Museum City” because of the high number of museums open in town. The most famous museums are National Museum of Antiques, home of very impressive antique collections, De Lakenhal museum which hosts a great collection of art, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, the history museum and Boerhaave Museum, the physics museum.

Having so many interesting things to do in and around the city, you’d better book a few nights in Leiden.
There are some very interesting options about where to spend your night. And the prices… are definitely lower than in the best cities of Netherlands.

6. Groningen

The largest city located in the north part of the Netherlands, Groningen is one of the top attractions of the country.

The town is located 147 kilometres away from Amsterdam and is a lovely city with a positive vibe, which offers a lot in terms of events and culture. It is one of the most important shopping centres from the country with many local and international brands and good restaurants and bars, where to relax, eat something tasty and enjoy a glass of wine while chatting with your friends.

The masterpiece of the city is the Martini Tower, a beautiful historic monument dating from medieval time.
I must say that the best way to discover the city is through a walking tour with a local guide. We found such a tour made by a local and the best part is that the tour could be customized based on your wishes.

Welcome to Groningen: Private Tour with a Local is like that! Based on your requirements, the guide adapt the tour to answer to your desires and needs! Very good!


Welcome to Groningen Private Tour with a Local

Welcome to Groningen Private Tour with a Local

It is a pretty long ride from Amsterdam to Groningen, so you’d better spend one night in Groningen and take your time to experience the Dutch life!

7. Maastricht one of the best cities of Netherlands

Located right near the German and Belgian border, Maastricht is the perfect place to set your camp and visit not just Holland but part of Germany and Belgium.

Considered by many the most ancient town from the Netherlands, Maastricht is home of a multicultural and multilingual centre with many Germans, Belgians and Dutch people living together. This is the main reason why Maastricht is such a different city than any other cities of the Netherlands.

Maastricht is a mix between old and new, a very impressive combination of cathedral and boutiques laying one next to each other, with nice streets full of beautiful houses with an incredible architecture!

The most important event of the year is the Carnival from Maastricht which takes place every year in late winter or early spring!

In 2020, the festival will take place from 23 to 25 of February and all the streets will be invaded by colours and fun.

Maastricht is a very good place to set your base and from here visit the neighbouring cities and the Netherlands countryside.

There are very interesting accommodations in this city at minutes away from the most important restaurants and bars.

8. Rotterdam

One of the best cities of Netherlands, Rotterdam is located on the south part of the country and is home to one of the largest and famous ports of Europe.

During the Second World War, the city was destroyed almost completely and this is the main reason why Rotterdam has such modern and futuristic buildings. In this city, there are very few medieval buildings and the city is not famous because of its architecture and history but because of its cultural attractions, great museums and modern restaurants and bars.

If you are interested in exploring Netherlands countryside, especially windmills and picturesque villages than Rotterdam is a great place to set your camp.

For your overnight stay, you will pay less than in Amsterdam, but the prices are still high! It’s Netherlands still!

In this way, you will have enough time to explore the city and its neighbourhoods! There are some interesting tours we recommend you to try:
Rotterdam Harbor Tour, 75 minutes guided tour which offers you the unique opportunity to see one of the most modern and innovative harbours in the world.

Rotterdam Harbor Tour

Rotterdam Harbor Tour

Euromast: Ticket For the Best View of Rotterdam, a one and a half hours tour in which you climb the 185 meters tower to get a fully new view over the city

Rotterdam Euromast Lookout Tower Ticket

Rotterdam Euromast Lookout Tower Ticket

9. Delft one of the best cities of Netherlands

Delft is a town who impresses with its amazing architecture and lovely canals crossed by brick bridges and surrounded by green trees. The atmosphere is very peaceful and relaxing ideal for a walk or a canal cruise to admire the beauty of the city.

It is home to one of the most famous painters in the world, Johannes Vermeer, whose works present in detail the unicity of the city.

The city is famous because of its white and blue tiles and ceramics manually painted, so visiting such a factory should be on your list when visit Netherlands. This tour, Royal Delft: Delftblue Factory and Museum offers you the unique opportunity to visit one of the last original Delft Blue factories in town. The factory was built in the 17th century and since then it produces handmade objects which are sold all over the world.

Royal Delft Delftblue Factory and Museum

Royal Delft Delftblue Factory and Museum

We recommend you to spend at least one night in this town. After dark, when the crowds are gone, you will discover another face of the city, you will feel better its peaceful atmosphere and you can get closer to Dutch traditions.

How about spending a few nights in Delft?

10. Utrecht

The fourth-largest Dutch city and one of the best cities in Netherlands, Utrecht is located in the centre part of the country. It is famous for its medieval buildings and beautiful canals.

Definitely you should visit Castle De Haar, some of the museums (we recommend you Speelklok Museum) and Dom Tower! All these places are amazing and give you a great view of the city!

An interesting fact about Dom Tower is that the entire city was built around this structure and from the top of it you have a wonderful view over the entire area!

We propose a game while in Utrecht! Why not discover the city and solve a puzzle at the same time?! Utrecht: Monster Mystery Exploration Game and Tour is a very interesting game to be played while in Utrecht. All you need is a mobile phone! You download the game and using the clues given you have to solve a mystery. And by the time you solve all the mysteries, you visit all the important attractions of the city! Interesting, don’t you think?!

Utrecht Monster Mystery Exploration Game and Tour

Utrecht Monster Mystery Exploration Game and Tour

And if you consider spending your night in Utrecht, I want to tell you that there are plenty of options to choose from. Modern rooms in new buildings or traditional houses, all have something special to offer.
Just choose the one you like the most!

All these cities are unique and offer a new perspective over Netherlands. These are the best cities of Netherlands and you should consider visiting all of them! Neither one resembles other! Each has its own beauty and charm! I love them all and I advise you to visit when in Netherlands!