Many Dutch towns look like they were taken out of a perfect picture postcard – traditional, artistic, and pretty.
The Netherlands is full of cute small towns that alone are worth the trip to this beautiful country.
Though the bigger Dutch cities offer more in terms of museums and shopping, the smaller towns offer more depth when it comes to hospitality, cultural experience, and natural beauty.
In this article, we have compiled a list of 21 Dutch towns that will make your trip to the Netherlands worthwhile.
Most of these towns are short trips away from the major cities in the country and hence are easy to reach. Let’s get to them!
21 Beautiful Dutch Towns
Here’s a list of our favorite towns in the Netherlands in no particular order. Enjoy!
Volendam is amongst the most charming towns in Holland. It is an excellent day trip from Amsterdam because it’s located only 7.5 miles northeast of the city.
If you are a foodie, Volendam is a must-visit Dutch town, where you can sample delicious Dutch delicacies, cheese, and fish. After all, Volendam is a lovely fishing village on the banks of Lake Markermeer.
At the old harbor in the town, you will find brightly painted, traditional timber-framed houses, typical of Dutch architecture.
While in the town, have your photograph clicked in the traditional Dutch costumes, visit the Volendam museum, and buy cheese from the Volendam cheese factory.
Zaandijk is precisely what you must have thought of when you planned on visiting the Netherlands – windmills, farm animals, traditional houses, and flowers.
Located 20 minutes drive north of Amsterdam, this town lies in the province of North Holland.
There are day tours leaving from Amsterdam that take you to Zaandijk, Volendam, and a couple of other villages in the region.
Take a short walk across the bridge over the Zaan River from this town to a neighborhood named Zaanse Schans that houses seven museums and eight windmills.
Here, you not only get to tour inside a windmill, but you also get to eat cheese, pet farm animals and take a boat ride in the Zaan river.
Located just 30 minutes from Amsterdam, Lisse is a small town in South Holland.
Due to its favorable location and fertile soil, it is one of the Dutch towns that survived with the advent of flower bulb cultivation.
Popular for Keukenhof Gardens, the world’s biggest flower park, Lisse attracts millions of tourists during spring when its vast tulip fields come into colorful bloom.
After spending time in the flower fields, you can also visit the 17th century Keukenhof Castle and the Black Tulip Museum.
As part of the third-largest city of The Hague, Wassenaar is one of the most beautiful towns in Holland.
It features Groot Haesebroekseweg, Netherlands’ most expensive street. The small town has glorious museums, and you are in for a treat if you love museums.
Amongst these, the must-visits are the Fire Engine Museum, Museum Voorlinden, and the Het Louwman Museum.
If you are traveling with kids, visit the Tiki Pool at Duinrell Holiday Park. It has 21 slides and is the largest water park in the area.
5. Valkenburg aan de Geul
Valkenburg is a charming town located by the Geul River in the province of Limburg, quite close to the southern city of Maastricht.
Featuring the marl caves, the fragmentary ruins of the ancient Valkenburg Castle, and the café filled town center, Valkenburg is amongst the must-see Dutch towns.
Valkenburg is also home to several other Dutch castles and caves along the Geul river, constructed in local marlstone.
The caves, which date back to the days of the Romans, can be explored on foot or by a slow train, whereas the hill castle can be climbed on foot.
Thorn is one of the most enchanting Dutch towns in Limburg because of its beautiful architecture.
It is known as the ‘white town’ for its whitewashed brick houses with relatively small windows. This was apparently because the French imposed tax depending on the size of the windows.
Thorn is a photographer’s paradise and has more than 100 Dutch heritage sites that you can explore in the town’s center.
The other must-visit places in Thorn include the Abdijkerk Thorn (the monastery church), Gemeentemuseum Land van Thorn, and Begijnhof (former beguinage).
Monnickendam is located on the banks of Lake Marken in the Dutch province of North Holland.
You can still visit the town’s oldest building from 1355 that houses a museum named Speeltoren.
Other noteworthy places to see in Monnickendam include the Saint Nicolaas Church, Waag (weighing house), Belltower, and a wooden drawbridge across the harbor.
These are best explored on foot. The town’s biggest draw is the range of maritime activities available at the harbor, like sailing and yachting.
Veere is amongst the most delightful historical towns in the Netherlands, located in the province of Zeeland.
Back in the 15th century, Veere port served as an essential trade spot with Scotland. The port is a busy yacht harbor now. You must visit the town hall, which is the most eye-catching building in the town.
Facing the marina is the 15th-century Scottish house that features a museum named Schotse Huizen.
Also, visit the Campveerse Toren at the harbor’s entrance which was built as a part of the town’s defense in the 1400s but is now a luxury hotel.
Oudewater is a charming town in southwest Utrecht in the center of the Netherlands.
The town has historical monuments, Dutch scenery, canal cruises, independent shops, and museums.
But, the must-visit attraction in the town is the Waag, also called the ‘witches weighing house’ as it used to weigh people and determine if they possessed witchcraft.
Today, the weighing house is a museum about witchcraft. You can also hop into the Rope Museum.
Tourists label Oudewater to be one of the spookiest towns in the Netherlands.
Winsum is a little town that lies in the north of Groningen province in the northeastern Netherlands.
It is voted as one of the prettiest Dutch towns in the country. What stands out in this lovely town is its beautiful buildings.
You can visit the two Dutch windmills named ‘De Star’ and ‘De Vriendschap’ built in 1851 and 1801, respectively.
Also, explore the two canals and the country’s oldest tavern. Do not miss the Winsumerdiep, where you can take a boat ride or go canoeing.
Elsloo is one of the most impressive towns in the Netherlands to enjoy the Dutch countryside.
Located in the Dutch province of Limburg, the townhouses Elsloo Castle at the foot of the Maasberg Hill.
The castle is at present a hotel-restaurant but can also be visited as a guest. Take a visit to the Streekmuseum Elsloo and learn about how people used to live in the town through a guided tour.
Other places to visit are the Tree Circle of Meers monument, the War Museum in Beek, and Steinerbos Park.
Urk is located in the Dutch province of Flevoland in the central Netherlands.
The town used to be an island, but today it is more of a fishing village. You must visit the Urk harbor and relish the freshly prepared smoked eel caught from the Ijsselmeer Lake.
You can hire an electric bike from the Urk bike shop and go about exploring the town on your own.
Ride to the Fishery Museum, the lighthouse, and the two beautiful beaches on the banks of Ijsselmeer lake for swimming and sunbathing.
Kessel is a town located in the south-eastern province of Limburg in the Netherlands.
This historical town houses one of the oldest castles of the Netherlands named Kasteel De Keverberg, which has a unique mix of history and modern architecture.
You can climb to the top floor and have a beautiful view of the river Maas through the glass walls.
Also, visit the monumental building Castle Villa Oeverberg, the restored St. Anthony’s flour windmill, the Church of Our Lady of Nativity built in the neo-Gothic style, and the Kesseleikerbroek nature reserve.
Hilvarenbeek lies in the south of the Netherlands and shares a border with Belgium.
Beekse Bergen is a major tourist attraction in the town where you can find a safari park, amusement park, camping park, and a holiday bungalow park.
Hilvarenbeek is all about nature, entertainment, and history, and unsurprisingly, it’s a heaven for swimmers, climbers, and cyclists, of course, as the town has a plethora of cycle paths.
Also, you must visit the Spoorzone of Tilburg, which is easily accessible by bicycle, and the Museum Dansant, where you can dance to the sounds of a mechanical robot orchestra.
If you love visiting castles, Vorden is one of the best Dutch towns to see in the Netherlands for you.
It houses eight castles in total, House Vorden being the most popular of all, which is now used as a wedding location.
You can visit the De Wiersse Castle and have a stroll in its 300-hectare estate, whose garden is known as the most beautiful garden in the Netherlands.
If you are a diving enthusiast, visit the Bronsbergen Meer Noord, where you can dive with one of the diving schools and spot big pike, perch, and eels.
Dwingeloo is a small Dutch town located in the province of Drenthe.
Something interesting about this quaint place is that Dwingeloo is one of the two towns in the Netherlands that features the Zeiss Planetarium – a major Dutch stargazing attraction.
Beyond that, Dwingeloo is globally known for its Radio Observatory, the world’s largest radio telescope, in 1956.
You can still visit the observatory and peer through the telescope with your own eyes.
Another must-visit attraction is the Dwingelderveld National Park that supports a fantastic diversity of wildlife and the 15th-century Sint-Nicolaas church with its unique onion-shaped dome.
Dreischor, located in the Dutch province of Zeeland, is one of the lesser-known towns in the Netherlands.
The main attractions in this small town include the Saint Adrian Church, Adriaans Kirk cemetery, and Goemanszorg Regional and Agricultural Museum.
A walk in the town will allow you to explore unique facades, black-tarred barns, and monuments that give Dreischor a protected town look.
If you are interested in adventure, you can go horseback riding at a riding school in the town and dive to an underwater pumping station at Dreischor Gemaal.
About 80 miles northeast of Amsterdam lies Staphorst, one of the Dutch towns that attract curious tourists from across the globe.
It is a town unlike any other. Staphorst is an orthodox Calvinist town where women are still seen wearing traditional peasant costumes, and residents disapprove of medicines and reject government welfare.
Quite an interesting place to visit, if you ask us.
Make a visit to Museum Staphorst to understand how people lived formerly. The town is also known for its farmhouses that are built along the roads.
Hungry? Visit Restaurant de Molenmeester, a Michelin recommended restaurant for its delicious Dutch food.
Zoutelande, a part of the Zeeland Riviera, is located in the southwestern Netherlands, near the port city of Vlissingen.
The beach town is one of Zeeland’s most-visited coasts and one of the few towns in the Netherlands where the beach faces south.
The beach has won a Blue Flag several times and is also declared the cleanest beach in the Netherlands.
Zoutelande is perfect for a beach holiday, and you can visit this town for the sea, sand, and sun.
Also, visit the Dutch Reformed Church, shop at the Langstraat, and explore the Bunker Museum.
Hattem is a picturesque Dutch town between the Hoge Veluwe National Park and the Ijssel River.
The Hanseatic city has been a source of inspiration for artists for centuries, like Jan Voerman, whose paintings you can find at the Voerman Museum Hattem in the city center.
But that’s not so surprising, though—the town is not only photogenic but also located in a beautiful area with forest and water just a stone’s throw away.
Besides that, this lovely Dutch town flourished in the Middle Ages, and parts of the original town wall have been preserved, as has the 14th-century Dijkpoort.
Breskens, located in the province of Zeeland, is a harbor town known for its vast coastline, long duration of sunshine, white sandy beaches, and clean waters.
Walking across the long beachy trail in Breskens will bring you to the octagonal Breskens Lighthouse, the oldest preserved cast-iron lighthouse in the Netherlands.
You can marvel at the religious wood carvings by local priests at the St. Barbara Church, followed by a visit to the Fishing Museum.
After the exploration, enjoy the Breskens delicacies, including the Oosterschelde lobsters and oysters.
Wrapping Up on Dutch Towns
Tulip fields, windmills, and canals. The Netherlands is a charming country filled with fantastic places just waiting to be discovered by international tourists and expats.
Still, if you want more inspiration for your trip, then you’ll love these quaint Dutch villages!
Do you know of any other idyllic Dutch towns that we have missed here on our list? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!