There are so many beautiful towns in the Netherlands, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in that city life. Here are seven stunning options for you to check out while escaping from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam. 

Whether you’re a tourist or just living in the Netherlands, we are always on the lookout for some beautiful Dutch towns in the Netherlands to visit. If you’re new here and are after something that isn’t just Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Amsterdam, then you’re in luck. There are plenty of other beautiful places to go and this is why I deliberately left Amsterdam off the list this time around (sorry Amsterdam).

Here goes. Add to your list right now…..

1Giethoorn

giethoorn
Beautiful Dutch towns in the Netherlands: Look how cute the place is! Image: Michel_van_der_Vegt/Pixabay 

Giethoorn is known as ‘the Venice of the Netherlands’, due to its beauty, the large concentration of canals and everybody boating. The place itself is literally postcard perfect, with everything incredibly clean, the lawns of people’s houses perfectly trimmed and all the houses matching. The only issue is in the summer months the place is heaving! Like, really. Giethoorn is especially popular for Chinese tourists and other tour group agencies, so if you’re looking to hire your own private boat, do it well in advance!

So, what can I do in Giethoorn? There are a few things to do in this tiny place. One of these is of course boating (private boat or tour boat). You can also walk around the area on foot. There is also a few little museums around.

2Amersfoort

Amersfoort is one of my personal favourites. The whole place is incredibly picturesque and drenched in history. The iconic ‘koppelpoort’, which was built in 1425 dominates most pictures and especially looks good at night. However, there is a lot more to Amersfoort than just this.

So, what can I do in Amersfoort? Apart from the koppelpoort, all around the city centre is beautiful as well, so it’s the perfect place to go for a walk and explore. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and museums located within Amersfoort, so it’s the perfect place to go for a short day trip.

3Delft

Snow in the Netherlands
Delft! Image: @ya_pesenka/Instagram.

Delft is a beautiful little Dutch town located between Rotterdam and Den Haag. It’s your typical Dutch town, with beautiful architecture and lots of little independent cafes and shops. It’s the perfect place if you want to spend the afternoon somewhere truly Dutch and sit on the terrace with a coffee or beer. Or… if it’s too cold and it’s snowing instead, then just walking around is more than sufficient, it’s beautiful coated in snow.

So, what can I do in Delft? Delft has little markets on the weekends, plenty of little independent shops and lots of places to get a bite to eat or have a coffee. This is THE place to buy Delft blue too (of course). You can explore Nieuwe Kerk (church), go to a botanical garden or walk around the parks. There is also a lot of free stuff to do in Delft, check them out here!

4Haarlem

Look at this beautiful town! Image: Michielverbeek/Wikimedia

Haarlem is located close to Amsterdam and is always recommended for people who aren’t keen on the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam but still want to see the canals and Dutch architecture. It’s the perfect place to walk around if you’re after great architecture, windmills, shops and all things Dutch. My favourite time to go is at Christmas – they have a giant tree in the market square and lots of lights. It’s so festive!

So, what can I do in Haarlem? You can visit the markets in the giant market square, visit the cathedral (it’s beautiful!), you can climb a windmill, visit the array of shops, restaurants and explore the city centre in general.

5Valkenburg

pretty towns in the netherlands
The view from Valkenburg castle. Image: Pitlane02/Wikimedia Commons

Valkenburg in Limburg is a place rich in history. It’s home to Valkenburg castle, which are beautiful ruins that you can go and explore once arriving here. Walking around the centre, in general, is also beautiful. It’s definitely one of those forgotten places to visit and I highly recommend you go!

So, what can I do in Valkenburg?

Apart from wandering around looking at all of the beautiful architecture (check the train station out!), then is also the ruins of Valkenburg castle, a variety of different museums, shops, restaurants and cafes. Christmas is especially good as they have a Christmas market in Valkenburg caves! It’s a very unique experience.

6Leiden

Not only is the place great in every way, because of its small quaint streets and lots of canals, but it’s also the home of DutchReview! Trying not to be biased here, but Leiden is actually a beautiful place. It actually has the most canals in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam. It’s also home to a variety of great museums (which beat Amsterdam any day!) It’s also a great biking city.

So, what can I do in Leiden? You can visit the Leiden markets, visit a variety of different museums (such as The Museum for Antiquities and the Museum of Ethnology), take a boat trip, or hire one yourself, shop and sit on the terraces with a beer. There is so much to do in Leiden (some of which is free too!)

7Maastricht

pretty towns in the netherlands
Maastricht has a really cozy atmosphere. Image: Bert Kaufmann/Flickr.

Maastricht is often forgotten, seeing as it is so far away from the capital. It shouldn’t be though! Maastricht is a beautiful place, with lots of medieval-era architecture and lots to do. It’s especially popular with students and is so close to Belgium and Germany, that it’s the perfect place to go if you’re wanting to just hop over the border and try somewhere new.

So, what can I do in Maastricht? You can take a walk around (the architecture is gorgeous), visit the flea markets, go to the market square, shop, visit some museums, drink on the terraces… there are plenty of things to do in Maastricht.

So there you have it, 7 beautiful Dutch towns in the Netherlands that you MUST go and visit! See, it’s not always all about Amsterdam. 😉

What is your favourite Dutch town? Let us know in the comments!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November 2018, but was updated in October 2019 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image: Michel_van_der_Vegt/Pixabay 

33 COMMENTS

  1. Leiden is my favourite of all the places I have visited … but there are others that are also well worth considering …. Deventer, Middelburg and Alkmaar come to mind.

  2. Hoorn is one of my favorite, small to medium, towns in N. Holland. I am a bit prejudiced because my best friend lives there.

  3. Hey there, for me there are a few more beautiful towns in the Netherlands that you should visit. Or not, so they don’t get crowded…
    My list includes:
    Leeuwarden, not only the capital of Friesland but also a bit like a miniature Amsterdam without all the tourists.
    Groningen
    Sneek and Bolsward, old Hanse towns with tons of beatiful restored building, churches, town halls, canals
    Harlingen with it’s port
    Franeker with the world’s oldest and still funcitioning planetarium
    Den Helder with the Marine museum
    Lelystad, not very old but the capital of Flevoland, the “artificial” province, hosting both the aviation museum at the airport and the history museum in Batavia stad plus the wharf and the sailing vessel Batavia
    Harderwijk, also an old Hanse town with a beautiful and city centre, just walk around and discover small streets and shops

    and many more…

    And no, I am not Dutch, just a crazy German guy that spends all his free time 600km away from home in the Netherlands. My family adopted that habbit already.

  4. The Netherlands has many beautiful cities and towns and Leiden and Delft are my favorites.
    But I like to mention Elburg, a town in Gelderland that between 1392 and 1396 was rebuilt after a flood in the form it is seen today, with a moat and a city wall, together with a gridiron street plan. Back in the 70s as student of TU Delft my fiends and I studied the urban plans of that city. The profiles if the streets coincided with the function each street has. A walking tour is the best way to experience the beauty of the town.
    In 1367 the city was recorded as a member of the Hanseatic League.

  5. I love Maastricht. I used to stay at the old Commerce Hotel and walk to the bars and restaurants in the ally ways.

  6. Den Bosch, Breda and Heusden in North Brabant are all beautiful historic towns. Also old Hansatown Zwolle in Overijssel is lovely. Edam is a picture perfect little town in North Holland. Alkmaar is also very pretty. From the article I agree that Delft, Haarlem, Giethoorn and Maastricht are all worth a visit.

  7. Ik ben een ras echte Haarlemmer from 1940 en ge-emigreerd in 1963 naar Canada ; spreek nog goed ” hoog Haarlemmer dijks ” .

  8. Very well described. I would also recommend Enkhuizen, in the north. A small fishing town with lots of farming. Having the 14th century cathedral cum lighthouse, Drommedaris. You can see the open air Zwiderzee museum. It’ll be fun! I worked there long back.

  9. I’m from Ens, N.O.P. and also became acquainted with Emmeloord where I have family in both places. However, I was taken to Giethoorn and fell in love with that town. The boat ride was enjoyable.

  10. We were blown away by Giethoorn. Such a beautiful village. We took a boat tour so could see the beautiful house from the water too. Highly recommend.

  11. Hindeloopen, Alkmaar, Hoorn all immediately spring to mind, but there are so many beautiful places in the Netherlands.

  12. I was born in Rouveen ( Gemeente Staphorst) and lived there until I was 12 at which time we moved to Canada, I remember buses full of tourists coming through as it is a very picturesque town, In those days almost everyone wore costumes except for three of us girls whose parents were not farmers. The farmer girls would stand by the roadside holding up their large aprons in which the tourists would throw candies…..we missed out though.I understand much has changed since we left in 1951.

  13. afijn, na alle reacties te hebben gelezen kan ik ook de volgende plaatsen aanraden of aanbevelen: Etten-Leur waar Vincent van Gogh heeft gewoond, Breda Vlissingen, Middelburg, Rotterdam, Hoek van Holland, Den Haag. Ik ben inmiddels heel NL met de trein rond gereisd.

  14. How come no one has mentioned SLUIS by the sea absolutely beautiful,very pretty ,fab restaurants and lovely shops, everyone is in tortoise mode, and only 10 mins away Knokke in Belgium ,also by the sea and lovely, we go there 6 times a year at least from England,should have moved there years ago, and has been our regret!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.