The Netherlands is widely considered to be a fail-safe tourist destination: a vibrant, friendly country full of fascinating cultural sights and beautiful natural scenery, it seems impossible to have a bad time in the Netherlands. From its fun-loving capital of Amsterdam, to the historically-rich towns of Delft and Groningen, to its tulip- and windmill-strewn countryside, a holiday in the Netherlands is guaranteed to delight all comers.
Most travel to Amsterdam, which boasts an embarrassment of great tourist activities and interesting things to see. It is almost obligatory to take a tour of the city’s famous canals, squeezing through tight waterways and passing under 17th-century bridges, and admiring the picturesque riverside houses. Amsterdam is also awash with world-famous art galleries, museums and concert halls. Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District has been a mainstay of the global sex tourism industry for many years; the city is also renowned as a drug tourism destination, as its famously lenient attitude toward cannabis has seen the proliferation of ‘coffeeshops’; however, laws introduced in early 2012 ban foreigners from these establishments.
Tourists who venture outside of Amsterdam will also be richly rewarded. The 750-year-old city of Delft – famous for its distinctive blue and white pottery – boasts an interesting mix of youthful energy and historic sites; while Rotterdam is a gleaming city of high-rise buildings and truly innovative architecture including the famously distinctive cube houses.
The Netherlands’ sights and attractions are distinguished by historical names such as Anne Frank or Rembrandt, who are both immortalised in Amsterdam museums. Other highlights include the Van Gogh Museum and the notorious Red Light District (De Wallen), as well as the ancient city of Groningen. This picturesque country is home to an entity of art, history and culture unparalleled in most tourist destinations.
Visitors can enjoy a Heineken at a café and mingle with the friendly townsfolk, or cycle leisurely along the beautiful canals. Amsterdam is also well known for its tolerant position toward cannabis, which can be legally smoked in designated ‘coffee shops’.
While packing, visitors to the Netherlands should bear in mind the mild climate and year-round rainfall: always carry a good rain-slicker in your day pack. The best time to visit is in summer (June to August) or in spring, when the flowers, including the famous tulips, are in bloom.
An authentic European destination, travelling in the Netherlands offers great historical sightseeing and artistic attractions, combined with a truly cultural experience. It is a great destination for culture-vultures and pleasure-seekers alike.