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Netherlands Tourism And Travel Guide
13.5° C / 56.3° F
April to October
5 to 7 Days
Schiphol International Airport
Amsterdam Central Station
Is Netherlands a land of Dutch people who are kind hearted and easy-going bicycle riders? Does Netherlands really let people live on houseboats and float down canals? Is Netherlands really as beautiful as those photos on travel brochures? Well, the answer is yes, yes and yes. This is a beautiful country with temperate climate in the western part of Europe, attracting tourism like bees. Netherlands makes for one hell of a holiday with history, nature and culture colliding in an explosive mix of art. So what’s for you in Netherlands? Read this travel guide to find out.
How to Reach
Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport is Netherland’s most significant international airport and handles the third thickest traffic in Europe. You can get flights with airline slike Lufthansa, Emirates, British Airways or Air India from Mumbai or Delhi.
The roadways are very well developed in and around Netherlands, allowing for sweeping views of tulip fields and grasslands and sunflower farms anywhere you go. You can drive into Netherlands from Germany or Belgium and there are also buses available from other EU destinations like Paris and London.
High speed trains are available from Brussels, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin etc that take you to Amsterdam. Within the country of Netherlands, you have an extensive rail network connecting cities and towns to the hub of Amsterdam Central Station. Tourist passes are also available to bring you ready discounts on your travel.
The best way to make your way around Netherlands' cities is by using the bicycle, like the locals do. You get them on rent at your hotels, at rental stores as well as shacks outside parks or on streets. Another beautiful way to commute in Amsterdam or Delft is by using boats on the canals. There are also cars available on hire but they don’t go everywhere as some lanes are small and one-way.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The most touristy time to visit Netherlands may be late spring and summer but if you want quieter places then consider autumn time.
Spring (March to May):
With an average temperature of 12°C, spring season is pleasant and goes on warming up. Late April and May are the best months to see the tulips in full bloom and celebrate tulip festivals and parades. Choose spring season for its lovely sceneries and less crowd.
Summer (June to August):
Summer is a crowed time in Netherlands with museums full to bursting, canals ridden with boats, hotels and travel prices high and weather nice and warm between 17-20°C. If you are okay with crowds and enjoy the hustle and bustle then this is the time. Just make sure to book everything in advance, including your tickets to museums.
Autumn (October to November):
Autumn is a stunning season in Netherlands with trees lined by the canals all turning sparkling gold and red. Lakes are frozen and become temporary ice-skating rinks, while tourists head back home. The tourist attractions are all left in peace for you to enjoy. Travellers and back-packers consider autumn a better time to visit Netherlands.
Winter (December to February):
Winter is a non-touristy season here and for obvious reasons. The atmosphere freezes over, with a range of 2°C-6°C enduring in most places. Museums and palaces and places of tourist interest close down and house boats get anchored because canals have frozen. Do not plan a trip in winter because you won't get to enjoy any of the things that Netherlands is renowned for.
Things to Do
Go for Bicycle Tours:
The best way to explore the treasures of Netherlands is to go on bicycle tours of its towns and cities. Cycling is the most local way of commute and most people do it for everyday things. You will find specially designated roadways for cycling and must take guided or self tours in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague or the North Sea Coast.
Tour the Art Scene in Amsterdam:
Amsterdam is famous for its museums and the Museum Square hosts most of them. You cannot miss these museums where you will find artworks of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh and many others. Start with Rijksmuseum where Rembrandt’s The Night Watch is displayed, followed by the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Diamond Museum and Coster Museum.
Go Boating in a Canal:
Another major way of touring the towns and cities here is by cruising down its canals. These canals were built almost 300 years ago to transport goods up and down, and today make a lifeline for travel and living for the locals. You will find people living on houseboats and selling wares too. The best boat tours are found in Amsterdam’s Canal Ring and in the city of Delft where you will be passing by ancient cobbled streets and buildings.
See the Tulips Bloom:
Netherlands is a bulb-producing belt and you will find farms of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths etc along most highways. Especially in April-May, when these bulbs burst into bloom and announce tha arrival of spring. Visit Keukenhof in May to see the brilliant fields of tulips, Amsterdam for tulip parades and Tulip Museums and Noordoorstpolder for more farms. These activities are best undertaken in spring months of April and May.
Enjoy the Amusement Parks:
You will have the time of your life at some of the amusement parks in Netherlands. From Efteling near Amsterdam, which is the biggest amusement park of the country and the oldest in Europe, to Madurodam near The Hague, which is a miniature Dutch village with all the trimmings - canals, cafes, museums, landmarks - you will be in for a treat.
What to Eat
In Netherlands, never miss out on the delicious syrupy waffles called Stroopwafel, popular at almost all cafes and bakeries. These are also sold in packets and are a good souvenir to take back home. For meals in the country, try the raw herring if you are a fan of fish or go for a lunch of thick, Dutch fries served with a variety of sauces and onions in a plastic or paper cone. Pancake houses are dime a dozen and serve some melt-in-the mouth poffertjes and there are vending machines down roadways that can be used to extract croquettes. Markets are filled with Dutch liquorice and cheeses (Gouda being famous), while the drink of choice here should be the indigenous Heineken Beer.
Where to Shop
Amsterdam is a shopper’s paradise and a souvenir hoarder’s dream. You will find yourself exploring all the shops on the 9 dedicated streets of shopping with bars and cafes for amusement. Things to carry back from Netherlands, aside from a bag-full of trinkets and souvenirs include Dutch cheeses, contemporary local jewellery, ceramic items and cute tea sets and cookie jars that are all the rage in a traditional Dutch home. liquorice sweets, candles, syrupy Stroopwafels, hagleslag and miniatures of your favourite painter’s work.