Secret spots from our community
The Netherlands is famous for its bicycles, flowers, windmills and canals, but many travellers don't go beyond the capital, Amsterdam. Our Interrail community and local Dutch ambassador will show you that the Netherlands has much more to offer, from the stunning nature of Friesland in the north, to the quiet canals and seaside towns of Noord-Holland. And in all these places you're sure to find bicycles, cheese and good beer!
Netherlands ambassador Lotte Schippers recommends...
In the north of the Netherlands you'll find the Dutch Wadden Islands. A 1.5 hour ferry ride from Harlingen marks the start of your epic adventure to Vlieland. In my opinion it is one of the best places to get out of the buzz of daily life. With lots of nature and endless sand beaches there's plenty to see on this small island.
The chance of spotting seals is quite big, especially on one of the tours by boat or the Vliehors express. The direction and amount of wind means that this coastline is one the places in the Netherlands to go surfing. Stay in one of the hotels or go camping and enjoy the beautiful sunsets. Rent a bike because, except for residents, this is a car-free island! I'd say definitely a must visit if you go to the Netherlands.
Capital of Friesland and European Capital of Culture in 2018, Leeuwarden is a great place to visit. I might be a little biased, with this city being my hometown, but I'd say it's definitely worth some of your time!
Some people call it Little Amsterdam, and with all those bicyles passing by and the picturesque small streets with typical Dutch buildings it isn't hard to imagine why. The canals are perfect for an afternoon of paddle boarding or to take a boat tour!
Our only hostel, Alibi Hostel, is located in a former prison, surrounded by small entrepreneurs located in the cells of the ground floor: a library, café and restaurant all with fitting names.
Leeuwarden offers a wide range of museums with unique exhibitions. We have our own leaning tower, the Oldehove and an aquatic zoo. The city is also surrounded by beautiful nature such as The Alde Feanen national park and recreational area, the Groene Ster.
In short, too many things to mention. I guess you just have to see for yourself!
Secret spots from our community
Our wonderful Interrail community have sent us photos and stories of secret spots that they discovered while travelling in Europe. In the Netherlands, our community took us just beyond Amsterdam to explore the province of Noord-Holland, with quiet canals and rural views.
You can find all of the secret spots on the map below, along with the Netherlands ambassador destinations marked with stars:
Beyond Amsterdam in Noord-Holland
Alkmaar is a beautiful small town, about a half hour by train from Amsterdam. The day I was there they were having a large street market all through the old town.
Getting there by rail: Take a direct train from Amsterdam Centraal to Alkmaar in 38 minutes (Intercity), or in 1 hour (Sprinter).
Visiting Volendam from Amsterdam is easy and well worth the trip. It’s full of nice shops, bars and restaurants. My husband and I enjoyed a relaxing lunch of Dover Sole with a lovely view of the sea and a passing parade.
Getting there by rail: Volendam does not have a train station, but can be reached by bus in half an hour from Amsterdam.
Haarlem is a lovely city with so much to offer, from beautiful canals, to the oldest museums in the Netherlands, windmills and amazing special beers brewed in old churches. This is my Amazing Haarlem!
Getting there by rail: The train from Amsterdam Centraal takes just 15 minutes.
Hunting windmills during our trip of 7 days in 1 month with the Global Pass.
Getting there by rail: Take a direct train from Amsterdam Centraal to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans in 25 minutes.
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If you want to discover more of the Netherlands, then you can find out how to add it to your next Interrail Pass trip with more destinations and rail travel tips on our Netherlands main page.