When you think about the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands, it won’t be a surprise if you think of Amsterdam. Indeed, Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. But wait, there are 287 cities and villages in the Netherlands and these 12 are the best to visit in the country.

Guest post by Ask The Dutch Guy

Lesser-known cities, such as Delft are worthy to add to your bucket list of cities to visit in the Netherlands. A lot of the cities in the country have as much to offer as the bigger ones!

From beautiful architecture, rich histories, and landscapes, the Netherlands is filled with magnificent cities you shouldn’t miss when you have a chance to explore the country.

In the Netherlands, you can look forward to exciting destinations. In this post, we have listed down some of the most beautiful cities in the country. Each city is unique with its own culture, cuisine, and history.

So, without further ado, here it is!

The best cities to visit in the Netherlands

-Amsterdam

-Utrecht

-The Hague

-Rotterdam

-Eindhoven

-Delft

-Groningen

-Alkmaar

-Maastricht

-Leiden

-Valkenburg

-Zaanse Schans

Check them out on the map of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam

Who doesn’t know Amsterdam? Besides the Red Light District, the legal marijuana, and the art, Amsterdam is more than these things. The biggest city in the whole of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is also one of the most-visited cities in Europe.

Plenty of tourist attractions await you in the city. If you love art, you can immerse yourself in the museums that hold some of the best works of well-known artists today. Interested in history? Dive deeper into the secrets of World War II as well as the history of the city, its famous artists, and many more.

Amsterdam is also a great place for those who are looking for a good time! With the Red Light District’s unique entertainment, there are many pubs, clubs, and bars that you can go to while you’re here. We highly recommend you check out brown bars in the city as these are the oldest yet famous bars in Amsterdam. Also, let’s not forget that this is the home of the famous Heineken beer.

Amid the crazy, fun stuff that you can do here, it’s also a family-friendly city. You can find spots, such as parks, museums, and other attractions that are suitable for children.

Shop till you drop in the Jordaan neighborhood, which is also one of the city’s most attractive places. The old homes here were built in the early 17th century and they are well-known for the small inner courtyards tucked away behind them.

A large square in Amsterdam, the most visited city in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam, the most popular destination in the Netherlands

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Utrecht

Utrecht is one of the biggest cities in the country, but it doesn’t feel that way. It is also one of the oldest cities, which is pretty apparent by its medieval feel.

The sprawling suburbs may not make the best impression as you enter Utrecht, but you will soon forget all about that once you grasp the vibe of the place. Surprisingly, even with all of its medieval feels, it carries such a potent fun energy that is difficult to ignore.

That is mainly because of the huge student population in the city, along with awesomely cheap bars and cafes.

One of the best things about Utrecht is that it was able to preserve much of its older architecture. The old buildings are located in areas that are usually devoid of traffic. This is also why the best way to explore the city it’s on foot! The city center is small and there are so many things you can find, especially when you explore the Old Town area.

One of the top attractions here is the DOMunder. Deep underneath the DOM Square, you will see the remains of the old Roman fortress Trajectum upon which the city was built.

One of the top attractions here is the DOMunder. Deep underneath the DOM Square, you will see the remains of the old Roman fortress Trajectum upon which the city was built.

Moreover, it wouldn’t be a proper city in the Netherlands without having some canals. You can get a drink by the canals and even explore them on a boat. There’s something about these winding canals that will make you appreciate the city and make it such a pleasure to visit.

Utrecht is one of the medieval cities of the Netherlands.
Utrecht

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The Hague

Looking for some fun under the sun? The Hague may seem like the capital of the country because of the grand mansions, embassies, and government buildings here, but it’s not—it’s still Amsterdam.

Before you skip this city because of its stately air, don’t. The Hague is a multicultural city that has a more laid-back vibe than Amsterdam. Besides the government buildings you can tour, you also get plenty of interesting museums here along with fine dining options that are perfect if you want to impress someone.

Visit the Binnenhof that features old buildings from as far as the mid-13th century. Explore the majestic homes that once belonged to royal families but now serve as home to the country’s parliament. While you’re here, make sure you check out the Ridderzaal, or the Knight’s Hall, which is a huge medieval hall that’s been preserved.

Other popular attractions include the Great St. James Church and the popular Peace Palace, which is the home of the International Court of Justice.

By the North Sea, you will find Scheveningen, which is a popular seaside resort in the country. In fact, the seaside is one of the reasons you should visit The Hague.

Scheveningen is a whole different experience. For one, there are many beaches to explore, and even two nudist beaches in the area. Aside from that, there are many activities you can do!

The Hague is the administrative capital of the Netherlands.
The Hague

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Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the country and is home to one of the biggest ports in the whole world. The city has numerous waterways and canals, contrasting with its futuristic and innovative architecture.

The city is a lively and diverse place that offers amazing tourist attractions. Check out the Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk church that is famous for its stained-glass windows, and its three organs. You can also climb the tower here for some amazing views over Rotterdam.

Do you love art? Head to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, a popular art gallery that showcases the works of famous artists.

Rotterdam is filled with beautiful and modern architecture, such as the 185-meter tall Euromast and the popular Cube Houses. You will never get bored in the city. Plus, there are plenty of dining options here, which means you won’t get hungry at all in Rotterdam!

Rotterdam is one of the largest port cities in the world and one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands.
The past meets the future in Rotterdam

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Eindhoven

What was once a tiny village is now a city. Eindhoven’s population grew dramatically after the electrical company, Philips, moved here. Almost everything in the city revolves around Philips.

The city offers a lot of fun things for travelers to do. Eindhoven, also known as the City of Light, has an excellent collection of art by famous artists, which you can see at the Van Abbemuseum. The museum even displays some of the works of Picasso.

Eindhoven, the City of light

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Delft

Located in the south of the country, Delft has a strong historical and landmark value for the Dutch heritage as it’s the burial grounds of the Royal Family.

Like other cities in the Netherlands, the city boasts medieval architecture with high-reaching spires. The Gothic New Church is one of the exquisite buildings in the city and this is also where the tombs of the Royal Family are.

Expect a quaint Dutch experience here as you explore the beautiful churches, medieval structures, and many more. Watch out—the city center is a car-free zone, so make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.

Delft is also famous all over the world for its pottery. Delftware has been present on dining tables and mantlepieces for over 400 years. Furthermore, one of the city’s top attractions is De Porceleyne Fles, where you can watch painters adorn famous pottery with distinctive blue and white motifs.

While you’re here, explore the beautiful Old Town with its old canals, homes, and waterside cafes.

Delft is a popular day-trip destination, the atmosphere in the city makes it worth visiting. Stay for the evening and see the canals shimmer in the lamplight.

Delft is one of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands.
Delft, the Dutch capital of pottery

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Groningen

Groningen is located in a rural part in the north of the Netherlands. However, don’t be fooled-you may be shocked when you enter the city with its trendy and lively atmosphere. The city is completely pedestrianized and it is filled with an eclectic range of architectural styles.

There is also a large student population here, which is why you will notice the vibrant arts and culture scene here. Aside from that, there are many cheap restaurants and a lot of good bars where you can enjoy a drink.

Groningen is also one of the most important port cities of the Netherlands. Additionally, most of the city’s popular open spaces host concerts and other events because Groningen is known for its lively festival scene.

The city is bike-friendly and you will find many cycle paths that will make it easy to explore Groningen. Make sure to check out the Gothic Church here with its ancient clocktower as well.

However, if you have seen the Tower of Pisa, you might be surprised to see St. Walfridus Church’s leaning tower, close to Groningen. In fact, St. Walfridus Church’s tower might be leaning more than the more famous Tower of Pisa.

Groningen, the University city in northern Netherlands.
A beautiful sunset over Groningen

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Alkmaar

Do you love cheese? Then the small city of Alkmaar is where you should be!

The city is home to one of the surviving cheese markets in the country that takes place every Friday from March through September. The market attracts quite a big crowd. In fact, cheese museums are scattered all over the city. Indeed, it’s every cheese lover’s dream!

Aside from that, you should also explore the intricate network of canals in the city through a boat tour. As you cruise through the canals, you will see the beautiful architecture of the city that goes all the way from the middle ages.

The cozy city center is filled with small shops that will make you want to stay a bit longer. Besides that, make sure to check out the beer museum and the Grote Kerk.

Delft is also considered to be a mini-Amsterdam because of its nightlife. If you’re here for the nightlife, head to the Waagplein and around the Platte Stenenbrug, which has really cool bars.

Alkmaar seems like a quiet city, but it's a foodie's paradise in the Netherlands.
Alkmaar, the cheese capital of the Netherlands

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Maastricht

Maastricht is an attractive old city that attracts plenty of tourists who want to walk across the Wilhelminabrug and Sint Servaasbrug bridges.

If you look at the map, you’ll notice how remote the city is from the rest of the country and how close to Belgium. Maastricht is in the province of Limburg, one of the lesser-visited provinces in the Netherlands.

The city has many historic sites, such as the remnants of medieval town walls and the market square. It is also home to the oldest church in the country, the St. Servaaskerk, hosting the Treasures of Saint Servatius.

Go on and explore the St. Pietersberg Caves, which are worth visiting as they contain over 20,000 centuries-old passageways and tunnels.

Since it’s located in the province of Limburg, make sure you try their cuisine. The Limburgse Kersenvlaai (the local cherry pie) is a must! Also, check out the Boekhandel Dominicanen, a former church that was converted into a bookshop.

An ample square in Maastricht surrounded by traditional Dutch houses.
The main square in Maastricht

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Leiden

If you’re coming from Amsterdam, you can easily visit the city of Leiden, which is Rembrandt’s birthplace. The city has all the charm of Amsterdam but it lacks the crowds. So, if you want to avoid tourist crowds, Leiden is the place to be.

The city is home to one of the oldest universities in the country, which means you should also expect a lively student vibe here. Also, due to the high number of students in the city, expect to have more affordable accommodations and dining options when you’re here.

Like other cities in the country, there are many tourist spots here. One of them is the Leiden’s Windmill Museum, the perfect place to learn more about working a windmill. The city is also home to one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, the Hortus Botanicus Leiden.

In fact, most of the oldest places in the country are here, such as the Netherlands’ first-ever theater to add to the first botanical gardens and the oldest university.

Another major attraction in the city is the Rhine River that cuts through the city. You will also see important landmarks here like the Burcht van Leiden that lies in the Rhine and Neuwe Rijn Rivers’ confluence.

What’s even more exciting when you’re in the city is that it’s close to The Garden of Europe, which is the world-renowned Tulip Fields. It’s only a 25-minute drive from the city, and you’ll be at Keukenhof, where the tulip fields are!

Leiden is one of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands, and it is very close to Amsterdam.
Leiden

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Valkenburg

Although Valkenburg is one of the lesser-known Dutch cities, wait until you set foot here and your view about it will change. You will think about why the city isn’t flocked by as many tourists as Amsterdam gets!

Still, let it be a hidden gem for now for some tourists to discover on their own. The city has ruins of an ancient castle and rich history. The Valkenburg Castle is the main attraction here, a castle built on a hill.

You might have noticed that almost every city in the country is extremely flat as more than half of the country sits below sea level. This is also why cycling is so big here because there aren’t any steep inclines. However, Valkenburg is one of the few places in the country where you can escape the flat landscape of the country.

Valkenburg is one of the few cities you can visit in the Netherlands and climb on a hill.
Valkenburg is one of the hidden gems in the Netherlands

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Zaanse Schans

When you visit the Netherlands, you must see the windmills too. A day trip to the the neighborhood of Zaanse Schans in Zaandam is what you need to see the Dutch windmills. And what’s best about the city is that it’s so close to Amsterdam.

Besides the windmills, there are museums, walking, and hiking trails here as well. You can even go sailing in the area. A trip to the Zaanse Schans is a wonderful experience you shouldn’t pass up when you’re in the Netherlands.

The traditional houses of Zaanse Schans, one of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands.
Zaanse Schans

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Although the Netherlands is one of Europe’s smallest nations, there are many good reasons for tourists to visit the country. Go on a city-hopping trip and visit the best cities in the Netherlands that we have listed above. Along with these cities, you’ll come across beautiful villages as well, such as Giethoorn, which is known as the Venice of the North.

Giethoorn is a popular village that attracts plenty of visitors all-year-round. See? The Netherlands has a lot to offer. So, make sure you visit as many cities as you can when you’re here to get the full Dutch experience. It’s definitely one for the books!

Author bio:

Ask The Dutch Guy your go-to guide when it comes to The Netherlands. The goal of Ask The Dutch Guy is to showcase the beauty of The Netherlands and to inspire others to explore the country. Read more about Ask The Dutch Guy at https://askthedutchguy.com. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Have you been to the Netherlands? Which was your favorite city? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

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