The best-hidden gems in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is a small country, mostly known for Amsterdam, bicycles, and weed (only in Amsterdam). However, the Netherlands is so much more than just that. There’s unique nature, historical towns, and unusual activities you can do. These are the best hidden gems of the Netherlands.
Make sure to read this entire post, to find a practical guide for visiting the Netherlands at the end!
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Hidden gems in the Netherlands
Everyone visiting the Netherlands always goes to Amsterdam, the Hoge Veluwe, and the Zaanse Schans. However, there are many more places you should visit. Here’s my list of hidden gems in the Netherlands.
1. Seringenberg Wassenaar
The first hidden gem, is like, really hidden. The only reason I know it is because I live near that place.
The Seringenberg in Wassenaar is a magical place that’s not crowded at most times (Sundays it gets a bit crowded). It’s located in a forest called: the Horsten.
The literal translation of Seringenberg is the lilac mountain. But seeing that the Netherlands doesn’t have mountains, this is not an actual mountain. It’s more like a high hill filled with lilac bushes. This purple hill looks and smells amazing!
Around the month of May, the Seringenberg will be in bloom for 2 to 3 weeks. It’s a little walk through the forest, to get to this hill. The Horsten is open daily from 9 am to 8:30 pm. A parking ticket costs 3 euros, and entrance to the forest is free.
The Seringenberg Definitely a fun gem to visit!
Another hidden gem of the Netherlands is Texel.
Texel is a little island where you can get by boat from Den Helder. It’s a fun island to road trip through and there are a lot of things you can do, like:
- Going surfing
- Visit Ecomare (a sanctuary for seals and birds)
- Visit de Schans Fortress
- Take a look at Texels lighthouse
- Hike one national park Duinen van Texel
Dutchies often visit Texel in summer, so it may get a bit crowded around July and August. I recommend visiting Texel in May, June, or September.
The ferry will cost you 25 or 37 euros, depending on the day you want to go. This goes for a ticket for passing with a car. There are also other options available. It’s a round trip, so you only have to pay once.
There are also many amazing AND affordable tours in Texel, that will definitely give you a unique experience! Check them out here!
This hidden gem is a small town some Dutchies haven’t even heard of. Elburg is a historic town surrounded by city walls. With some cute restaurants, bakeries, and shops, Elburg’s a wonderful place to spend a day at.
At parking Elburg, you can park your car for free. From here it’s only a one-minute walk to the old town.
4. De Orchideeën Hoeve
So, you’re visiting the Netherlands… And you’re having the worst weather… Then the Orchideeën Hoeve is your go-to place.
The Orchideeën Hoeve is a great place for a tropical break. This jungle-like place is filled with butterflies, plants, tropical birds, and more!
You can just walk through this wonderful place and discover all its beauty. You can feed the fish, turtles, duckies, and some tropical birds (that’ll literally land on your head and arms).
An adult ticket is 16,50 euros. Get your ticket here!
The Orchideeën Hoeve is such a fun hidden gem to visit, make sure to keep it in mind!
5. National Park Dwingelerveld
For this hidden gem, we’ll be going to a province called Drenthe. This is one of the most beautiful provinces of the Netherlands, one you should definitely visit.
Especially National park Dwingelerveld was magical! We hiked this park a few times now, and it’s just the best! Every season gives this park a different charm. You can visit places like:
- Vlonderpad (a super cute wooden pathway)
- Sheep field Achter ‘t Zaand
- Dwingeloose heather (in August/September in bloom)
The last time we visited was in fall and with the mushrooms and the warm colors, this park was absolutely stunning. And it’s free to visit!
Make sure to check it out!
6. Drents-Friese Wold National Park
Another beautiful place in Drenthe is Drents-Friese Wold National Park. This park makes you feel like you’ve entered another world!
We especially visited this park at the Bosbergtoren, which is a high watchtower. At only 2 euros you can climb this tower and take in the breathtaking views from above.
This sure is a hidden gem, as not many people know of its existence.
You should visit this place when you’re in the Netherlands!
Now it’s time for a hidden city. Although you may have heard of it, visiting Groningen will be like visiting a hidden gem.
As Groningen is a bit further away from Amsterdam, it discourages people to visit this beautiful historic city. But that’s such a shame as Groningen really is a must-visit place.
Groningen is so cozy, with lots of beer breweries and cute restaurants. This is one of my favorite Dutch cities.
Make sure to check it out!
Near Groningen lies a unique fortified village called Bourtange. From the sky, this town has the form of a snowflake. This beautiful historic town is one hell of a hidden gem, most Dutchies don’t know this place exists.
There’s a cute mill, an interesting museum, and a lot of historic sites in this small town.
You can easily park your car at Bourtange parking for free. Then walk to the historic town in only 6 minutes.
Make sure to check it out!
This last hidden gem has earned a pretty special place in my heart. Wageningen is my number one favorite town. With a historic center and beautiful nature, Wageningen is a place you must visit!
You can go shopping in the historic city center, walk through Belmonte Arboretum, and say hi to the cows at Wageningse Uiterwaarden.
For me, Wageningen is just a special romantic place, you should visit when you’re in the Netherlands!
A practical guide for visiting the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a country like no other. It’s smart to read this guide before visiting; to get a little taste of what the Netherlands is like.
Getting to the Netherlands
If you’re from a neighboring country, it’s easiest to go to the Netherlands by train or car. This is cheap and shouldn’t take too long. However, most people are gonna have to fly to the Netherlands. We do have 2 airports, but you will probably (and should!) land at Schiphol, located near Amsterdam.
From Schiphol, many trains and buses will take you to the city center of Amsterdam (or other cities).
How to get around
Getting around in the Netherlands isn’t hard at all. With an amazing train network, rental bikes everywhere, and car rental, the options are endless!
Many people visiting from Belgium, Germany, or France, choose to drive to the Netherlands, which instantly gives you complete freedom to explore the entire country. As I live in the Netherlands, I go everywhere by car, which is in my opinion the best way to get around.
We have incredibly good highways, that will direct you to your destination fast.
Did you know that in the Netherlands, there are more bikes than people? It’s not because every person owns 2 bikes (some do though…), I presume it’s because of rentals.
In the Netherlands, you can always find trusty bike rental services, but you can also get an OV-chipkaart (more about this below). With this card, you can ‘’rent’’ a bike to get from one place to the other.
OV (public transport)
OV means public transport. Many Dutchies own an OV-chipkaart, which is a card you can use to check in and out of buses and trains. But as I’ve told you above, you can also use this card to rent a bike.
On a week’s trip to the Netherlands, you don’t really need an OV-chipkaart, because you can pay with your debit card in buses and just buy train tickets at the station. However, if you’re in the Netherlands for longer than a month, and using public transport a lot, you should get one (most Albert Heijn supermarkets sell them at the service desk, for €7,50).
The local currency of the Netherlands is the Euro. This is the easiest currency in all of Europe, as many other EU countries also use it. The Euro is very similar to US dollars, in worth, which also makes it easy to use for Americans.
The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. But this country has one of the highest rates of English proficiency in the world, even when you include English-speaking countries. So speaking English in the Netherlands is no problem at all, most Dutch citizens speak English fluently.
The most used small talk topic in the Netherlands is the weather. But why do people talk about it all the time?
Because it’s unpredictable.
But having lived in this country my whole life, I’m pretty used to it. It’s not that unpredictable when you live here. It’s unpredictable when you want to book your trip, because you may think it’s safe to come in summer, but then it’s raining all the time.
You just need to be lucky.
We’ve had 20°C and sun in February. We’ve had loads of rain, even storms, in July and August. The weather never does what it’s supposed to, so you just need to pray for good weather and maybe you’re in luck.
Best time of year to visit the Netherlands
There is no best time weather-wise. There is bad and worse, though.
But the best time to visit is between June and September. Temperatures will be very hot on a good day and there are tons of possibilities to avoid the heat (like floating in the sea).
Summer is a wonderful time in the Netherlands, however, my favorite time has to be Spring. This season is when the Netherlands welcomes the most tourists, because of the world-famous flower fields. April and May are incredible months to visit.
Read this flower fields guide, to find the best dates for your trip.
I’m so lucky to live in the Netherlands. Because some of our delicacies are the best in the world. In this country, we have so many unique foods that you simply have to try. You shouldn’t be allowed on the plane back without having tasted:
- Hollands nieuwe haring (by the sea)
- Oliebollen (in season from October til NYE)
- Gouda cheese
- Snert (pea soup)
This is just a fraction of our local foods, but the most delicious ones. Make sure to try every one of them. You’ll thank me later.
Final thoughts on these hidden gems in the Netherlands
So, these are my favorite hidden gems in the Netherlands. You should really visit these places to get a really good taste of the Netherlands. And don’t forget to eat a stroopwafel.
Why do you want to visit the Netherlands? Let me know in the comments below!
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