Traveling to the Netherlands and wondering what Dutch cities are worth your time? You’re in the right place.
With charming architecture, delicious Dutch food, and lots of historical sites, many cities in the Netherlands are the perfect vacation destination to experience this lovely country to its fullest.
While there are plenty of Dutch towns, villages, and beautiful places in the Netherlands that you could also add to your itinerary or bucket list, today’s article is only about cities.
That’s right. We’ve put together this list of cities in Holland, Limburg, and beyond–meaning all 12 provinces–so that you can plan your trips hassle-free. Ready?
23 Beautiful Dutch Cities for Your Bucket List
Here’s our guide on the 23 most beautiful Dutch cities where you can experience the Netherlands.
Bicycle-friendly alleys, beautiful streets, a charming network of canals, and remarkable architecture, Amsterdam is a beautiful Dutch city with some of the prettiest landmarks in the Netherlands.
Whether you’re spending one day, 2 days, or 3 days in Amsterdam (or more!), you definitely won’t get bored as this bustling city is filled with shops, cafés, museums, markets, and incredible photo spots.
If you’re staying in Amsterdam for a longer period, you might consider visiting other places in the Netherlands. Uh? Are we sending you away from this city? Yep, we are.
Did you know that the tiny Amsterdam attracted almost 22 million tourists in 2019? And although it is a lovely city, there’s no denying that it is suffering from overtourism.
Although very beautiful, Amsterdam is not the only Dutch city you should visit.
Namely, there’s a lot of beauty, history, culture, and diversity to explore in the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam, and that’s why we added this beautiful city first.
Scattered across the country, you will find equally beautiful yet less-visited Dutch cities just a day trip away.
With an easy and reliable transportation system, you can visit and explore plenty of less-known cities in the Netherlands. Now, let’s get to them.
The second-largest Dutch city, Rotterdam, is unlike any other place in the Netherlands.
After the Second World War, the center was left destroyed, and today, it’s the most modern city in Holland, let alone the country.
From the Markthal, a market hall underneath a curved residential and office building, to the Erasmus Bridge, this port city is everything architecture lovers could have dreamed of!
Another noteworthy Dutch landmark is the iconic cube houses that brighten up the streets of this modern city.
Tired of sightseeing? Then go for some drinks at the Witte de Withstraat, Rotterdam’s most famous nightlife street.
3. The Hague
The Hague is the third-largest city and a political center in the Netherlands. Not only does it hold the seat of the Dutch parliament at Binnenhof, but it is also home to the stunningly designed Peace Palace.
Other significant landmarks that you should not miss visiting in the Hague include Mauritshuis and Gevangenpoort Museum, Grote Kerk Church, Noordeinde Palace, Madurodam Miniature Park, and Scheveningen, a popular seaside resort.
Once you have explored the landmarks, tantalize your taste buds with the global cuisines that the city has to offer.
Many people say Utrecht is basically Amsterdam without crowds. Particularly, we love this Dutch city!
The first thing you should do in Utrecht is wander on foot alongside the two-storied canals in the cobblestoned streets. The city is full of cute boutique shops, impressive architecture, and wonky houses.
It’s also a great place to kayak or paddle a boat over the canals in the old center.
To get a bird’s eye view of Utrecht, climb the Dom Tower. If you are still adventurous, rent a bike and cycle to the majestic De Haar Castle, a Netherlands castle located just outside the city borders.
A few other places you might consider visiting are the Museum Speelklok, Sint Willibrordkerk Church, and the gorgeous garden of the Dom Church.
Maastricht is one of the most amazing cities in the Netherlands to enjoy the Dutch countryside sprinkled with charming streets and excellent shops.
This southern city is perfect for a short break spent touring the historic underground caves, exploring the tangled streets of Vrijthof, the twin churches (Basilica of St. Servatius and Sint Janskerk), and the cathedral bookstore.
Take in the view from Sint Servaasbrug (bridge), kayak the Maas River, or go mountain biking in the hills. With all these and more, Maastricht will soon become one of your favorite cities in the Netherlands.
Eindhoven is a unique place to visit in the Netherlands. The small, unimportant city turned into a technology and design hub when Philips (the lightbulb manufacturer) was found here.
Since then, Eindhoven is known as the capital of Dutch Industrial design.
Here, you can visit the Strijp-S where the old Philips factory is and a bunch of hipster shops, the Blob, a futuristic building, the Evoluon shaped like a flying saucer, St. Catherine’s Church, and other interesting museums, including the Philips and Modern Art museums.
Hop on a bus and, just a short ride away, you’ll find yourself in the quaint village of Nuenen, made famous by Vincent Van Gogh, who not only painted scenes depicting the place but also lived here for a short period.
Located in the northeast of the Netherlands, Groningen is, without a doubt, amongst the most beautiful Dutch cities.
Since it has a large student population, it is full of friendly folks, historical campuses, diverse culture, and vibrant nightlife.
To make the most of your trip to Groningen, visit the city’s grand train station and the Groningen Museum.
Climb the 260 steps of Martinitoren, the highest tower in the city, to get breathtaking views of the entire area. Groningen is surrounded by beautiful water bodies where you can opt to canoe, kayak, or sail.
8. Den Bosch
Den Bosch is amongst the oldest cities in the Netherlands.
Ancient canals run underneath the city on the Binnendieze River, where you can enjoy a boat ride. While sailing, the surroundings will give you a sense of how the city once looked like.
Visit the gothic St. John’s Cathedral that dates back to the 13th century. If you are a chocolate lover, you are in for a treat as the Bossche bol, a chocolate-covered profiterole, was created in this lovely city.
Beyond that, art lovers will have a blast at the Jheronimus Bosch Art Center.
When visiting the Netherlands, you should not opt-out of exploring Breda, a wonderful Dutch city located at the confluence of Merk and Aa Rivers in the province of North Brabant.
Breda’s best-known monuments include the Grote Kerk and the Stedelijk Museum.
Since the city was in the frontline of several wars, it houses many fortified landmarks like castles and fortresses. The Breda Castle and Bouvigne Castle are a must-visit when in the city.
Other major landmarks are Begijnhof, Spanjaard’s Gat, and Grote Markt.
Amersfoort is a medieval Dutch city in the province of Utrecht, located just a 35 minutes train ride away from Amsterdam.
Due to its strategic central location, it is one of the largest Dutch railway junctions with three railway stations.
The city also houses Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren, one of the tallest church towers in the country. Visit Koppelpoort, one of the finest examples of a combined water and road gate in the Netherlands.
Sint Joriskerk Church, Mondriaan House Museum, Flehite Museum, and Dutch Cavalry Museum will give you a peek into Amersfoort’s history.
If you are a cheese lover, Alkmaar is one of the best Dutch cities to visit.
Namely, the town is home to the Alkmaar Cheese Market, one of the oldest traditional cheese markets in the world.
The market takes place every Friday from March to September and attracts a considerable crowd.
If you’re visiting outside of these dates, there’s a Cheese Museum that you could visit to know how cheese used to be traded years ago.
Other landmarks at Alkmaar include the tall tower of Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, the Beatles Museum where John Lennon’s first guitar was made, and the National Beer Museum.
Named as the European Capital of Culture in 2018, Leeuwarden is amongst the largest cities in the Netherlands, located in the northern part of the country.
Its rich history draws art and culture lovers from all over the world.
Leeuwarden’s most iconic landmark is an unfinished leaning church tower named Oldehove. Beyond that, you can learn about the city’s history and Frisian language from the Fries Museum.
Adventure enthusiasts can cycle a bike to the De Alde Feanen National Park. Leeuwarden is also a perfect base to explore the nearby Wadden Islands.
Dordrecht is located in Western Netherlands and is one of the oldest cities in Holland.
It is bordered by five rivers that include Merwede, Noord, Rhine, and Ouwe Mass. To get a stunning view of the rivers’ intersection, head over to the Groothoofdspoort.
Beyond that, the historic city is harbored around beautiful monuments that are absolute must-sees.
For instance, you must visit the Dordrechts Museum and marvel at its collection of paintings, climb the leaning tower of Grote Kerk, explore the 13th century Augustine monastery, and stroll around the historic harbor to get the best Dordrecht has to offer.
Located in the Overijssel province, Enschede lies in the easternmost part of the Netherlands near Germany.
However, a large part of this Dutch city was destroyed by a fireworks explosion in 2000.
Since then, it has been rebuilt by well-known architects giving rise to beautiful monuments and buildings, including the TwentseWelle Museum, James Church, and De Eekenhof Enschede.
You can climb the tower at Lasonderkerk, cycle along the Rondje Enschede, take a ride in the MBS Boekelo steam train, and unwind at Volkspark, the city park.
Middleburg is the capital of the province of Zeeland and is located in the southwest Netherlands.
In this coastal city, you must visit its Gothic town hall and tower named Lange Jan, where you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views of the Walcheren Peninsula after ascending the 200 steps.
Other remarkable sights are the Zeeuws Museum, Kloveniersdoelen, and the old city gate at the Koepoort.
After sightseeing, you can get an energy boost by savoring the regions’ sweet dish named De Zeeuwse Bolus. Middleburg will also give you lots of shopping opportunities on Lange Delft Street.
As the oldest city in the province of Drenthe in the northeast Netherlands, Coevorden still retains most of its concentric polygonal streets and outer moat as it was an important fortified city in the past.
You can get a glimpse into the city’s history by exploring the Castle of Coevorden, which is now one of the most luxurious castle hotels in the Netherlands.
Also, pay a visit to the Stedelijk Museum, which features an interesting display of war artifacts and books, and the Van Heutszpark hemmed by a cycling path enclosing a green space.
Almere is one of the newest Dutch cities and is located in the province of Flevoland.
Hence it has been designed keeping in view the modern-day architecture that you can see in the buildings at Stripheldenbuurt, where all the streets are named after cartoon characters.
For water activities like diving, fishing, sailing, and wakeboarding, you can visit the secluded beach at Almeerderstrand.
Also, make your kids learn about fire engines by taking them to the Veiligheidsmuseum.
Further out, a visit to the beautiful Oostvaardersplassen nature reserves will allow you to spot unique bird species.
Deventer is a city located on the banks of the river Ijssel in the Overijssel province in the eastern Netherlands.
When in Deventer, you should visit St. Lebuinus Church and its tower, accessible by a series of stairs.
Kids and game lovers will surely enjoy visiting the Speelgoed Museum that showcases a massive display of toys, board games, and train sets.
Go for a stroll in Worpplantsoen, the Netherlands ’ oldest park, tour the De Bolwerks Windmill, and hike and camp in the Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park to make the most out of your trip to Deventer city.
With flower-filled baskets lining the streets, quaint cafes, historic churches, and welcoming locals, Delft is one of the prettiest Dutch cities.
The city is known for creating the artistic blue and white Delft pottery that you can buy as a Dutch souvenir.
After the Dom in Utrecht, the Nieuwe Kerk church in Delft has the highest tower in the country, worth exploring for the impressive views of the city.
Just a 15-minutes train ride from Amsterdam, Haarlem is located on the River Spaarne. If you’re visiting the Netherlands, Haarlem is one city you must add to your itinerary.
The city’s center is dominated by St. Bavokerk, a 12th-century church with magnificent stained-glass windows and a Müller organ where both Händel and Mozart played.
Beyond that, you can learn about Haarlem’s history at the Frans Hals Museum and Tylers Museum.
Once you have explored the city center, head to the iconic Windmill De Adriaan at Spaarne and opt for a guided tour.
To finish your visit in style, head over to a brewery in a former church, the Jopenkerk.
Leiden is a vibrant university city of great historical importance. It is where the Dutch Constitution was drafted in the year 1848.
This city in Holland is also the birthplace of Rembrandt van Rijn, the renowned painter. You can visit his memorial installed at Rembrandt Park.
Leiden is also a gem for museum admirers and antique lovers. The National Museum of Antiquities, Museum of Ethnology, and Leiden American Pilgrim Museum are all worth visiting.
Besides, you can also explore Leiden’s Windmill Museum to know more about the working of a windmill.
Located close to the German border, Nijmegen is the oldest Dutch city, with its history going back over 2000 years.
Curiously, Nijmegen is also one of the warmest cities in the Netherlands; hence outdoor activities like hiking and cycling should be at the top of your list of fun things to do.
Besides, Nijmegen is full of archaeological findings and magnificent historic buildings like the Batenburg Castle, Hermen Castle, Wijchen Castle, and Doornenburg Castle.
In Nijmegen, you can also be a part of the biggest walking event in the world where more than a million people visit the city, many of which go for a 4-day walk.
Gouda is one of the most fascinating Dutch cities, with picturesque canals and historic landmarks dotting the old part of the town.
You must explore its lively central market square that features St. John’s Church – the longest church in the country, the Old Town Hall, and Goudse Waad (the cheese-weighing house).
As the name suggests, Gouda is famous for its cheese exported worldwide and for stroopwafels (a thin waffle filled with Dutch caramel syrup). Yum!
Wrapping Up on the Most Beautiful Dutch Cities
While Amsterdam is a charming and exciting city, make sure you visit other cities in the Netherlands to get a glimpse of this lovely country.
If you want to check out more destinations in the Netherlands or any other cool facts about the country, feel free to browse this blog. We’re sure you’ll find lots of interesting content!
So, have you been to any of these cities in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you!
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- Saving money: Fly on offseason, winter (not Xmas or NYE), Tuesday, or Wednesday! According to experts, these are the cheapest days to fly.
- Travel insurance: Before you leave for your trip, make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy because accidents happen on the road. We have been paying for Safety Wing travel insurance for a little over a year now, and we happily recommend them to our family and friends.
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- Tours:We absolutely love booking guided tours with locals to get a history lesson while sight-seeing, especially food tours and walking tours! We book all of our tours using Viator and GetYourGuide.
- Transportation: We use Google Maps to figure out how to get around a place using public transport. When we book a rental car, we always use Discover Cars to find the best deal.