The Netherlands Guide
For a mix of bustling cities and sprawling countryside, look no further than the Netherlands. Also known as Holland, this small country is one of the most densely populated in Europe, ensuring that there is always something exciting going on.
Holland highlights include spending a weekend dodging the local cyclists in busy Amsterdam, heading to the Keukenhof countryside for a leisurely walk through the seasonal tulip fields, or making a trip to Kinderdijk, where you can observe old-fashioned windmills in the typicaly flat Dutch landscape.
The Netherlands is known for its liberal tolerance and many visitors' first stop, Amsterdam, offers much more than just its infamous 'coffee shops' and red-light district. As a former port city, Amsterdam is still recognised for the lovely canals that flow throughout the city's charming streets.
On your bike - The Netherlands are knockin'!
The city has plenty to keep you occupied and some of its main attractions include the enormous Vondelpark and the Anne Frank House. A city with a rich artistic history, the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum of classical Dutch art are just a couple more of Amsterdam's cultural highlights.
Constantly evolving Dutch cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht and Maastricht have a never-ending list of things to do so make sure to consult a Netherlands travel guide or local cultural calendar to avoid missing any essential sites or events.
Rotterdam is one city renowned for its busy calendar. In recent years it was even voted 'Festival and Event City of the Year', not once but for three years running!
For those who enjoy the countryside, Netherlands tours can take you to places like Hoge Veluwe National Park in Gelderland. South Limburg is another picturesque part of the country and where people enjoy biking tours among the region's green hills, old castles and wild orchards.
While not especially known for a signature cuisine, Dutch eating habits have been directly influenced by its colonial past. Much of the local food you'll find in the Netherlands has its roots in a former Dutch colony and Indonesian food is especially popular.
The Netherlands' colonial heritage continues to influence the country today and Dutch Indonesian culture can be observed by its signature shops and cultural fairs that take place throughout the year.
Cheer like a die-hard football fan
Sports enthusiasts will be happy to know that the Dutch are self-proclaimed sports fanatics, with two-thirds of the population participating in sports on a weekly basis. Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in the Netherlands and watching an Ajax Amsterdam or PSV Eindhoven home game is always an exciting way to spend an evening.
Considered a cycling haven because of its low, flat land that is perfect for first-timers and professionals alike, the Netherlands attracts two-wheel enthusiasts from all over the world. One of the best areas to plan a bike route is Texel, a Dutch island that offers great cycling, swimming, hiking and horseback riding.
Whether you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big cities or lust for a leisurely bike ride through the windmill covered countryside, the Netherlands is an ideal vacation choice. If the Lowlands are calling you then you're in luck because flights to the Netherlands are frequent and depart from many airports throughout Europe every day.
Most Netherlands flights fly into Amsterdam, a European hub for international travel. Amsterdam is also well-connected to the rest of Europe by train, bus and even boat.