This blog post contains an important message from my Dutch friends: “There is so much more to see in the Netherlands than just Amsterdam”.
I have been wondering lately, why a vast majority of bloggers when travelling to the Netherlands write only about Amsterdam, while there are so many other interesting places to see. If you think that typical Dutch houses, narrow streets full of bicycles and charming canals can only be found in Amsterdam, you are wrong. In this post, I want to show you three other cities in the Netherlands that will make your experience far more intriguing (plus one bonus town that looks like taken from a Disney movie!). Let’s start!
Delft is often referred to as a small and less touristy version of Amsterdam. Probably it is because of its canals, cobbled streets and typical Dutch architecture. The city is famous for the blue pottery, which has been hand-painted there since the 17th century. This earthenware was popular among rich families who would show off their Delft Blue collections to one another. Delft is also known as the birthplace of the famous Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer.
A perfect day in Delft includes: strolling around the canals, taking pictures of the historic inner centre, riding a biking across one of many small bridges and sipping coffee in a charming garden coffee shop.
The Hague is known for its beauty and its location next to the sea. It is a home to many landmarks, such as Peace Palace, Het Binnenhof (centre of political life in the Netherlands) and Mauritshuis (museum with the famous “Girl with the Pearl Earring” painting). When in The Hague, walk or ride a bike around the historic squares such as Binnenhof, Buitenhof, De Grote Markt, De Plaats or Het Plein. When I was there, it was one of the heaviest winters ever in the Netherlands (lucky me…), so I could enjoy riding a bike next to Binnenhof during a snowfall.
Also, don’t forget to visit Scheveningen – the most popular seaside resort in Holland. As I already mentioned, I was lucky enough to experience REAL winter in Holland 😉 and see some snow on the wide beach of Scheveningen. A view that doesn’t happen very often.
I was surprised how often when telling my friends that I was going to Rotterdam, they answered: “Oh, I heard it is ugly!”. However, I must disagree.
I don’t think Rotterdam is ugly; it is just different. It doesn’t look like a typical Dutch city. It has a modern architecture, artsy look, a port city face and a trendy night scene.
My definitely favourite building in the city is Markthal, a new indoor food market. Not only it features many mouth-watering food stalls filled with cheese, fresh fish or fruits, delicious restaurants (like Jamie’s Olivier Italian restaurant) but also has a very very cool design!
The ceiling is covered with 4 500 artwork panels that together create an image of a mixture of fruits, vegetables and other fresh produce. In total 400 000 megapixels!
So, foodie or not, Markthal is a must!
Another interesting piece of architecture, just outside the Markthal is Cube Houses of Rotterdam. The cube houses are among Rotterdam most recognised icons, and consist of 38 houses rotated 45 degrees. And they are liveable spaces! You can visit a sample arrangement inside one of the houses or spend a night in a hostel that is located in one of the cubes.
Bonus: A cheese town you can't miss!
It sounds quite insane, but there is a city in Holland called Gouda, and that is exactly where this cheese is originally from. It also looks like taken out of Disney movie. Just look at this castle! Well, actually it is not a castle but a city hall that dates back to 1450.
An event not to be missed is a Gouda Cheese Market. It takes place from April to August on Thursday mornings (from 10 to 13).
Must activity in Gouda? Eat some gouda cheese!