Netherlands Off The Beaten Path Tips by Nathalie_B Top 5 Page for this destination
Netherlands Off The Beaten Path: 340 reviews and 534 photos
I never planned to go to Zundert, but the scenic road from Breda (NL) to Antwerp (BE) includes in itself this tiny place where worlds' famous painter Vincent van Gogh was born.
Zundert is known as an agricultural center and helds the oldest annual flower parade in Europe. Every first Sunday of September you will have the chance to witness the colorful show.
Besides this there's not much to see, since it's just another little town. A little town with a big history.
While all towns have their city center exactly where it should be - in the center, Gorinchem is rather strange. Built on 2 rivers that run through the city the center is actually located over one of the rivers on the Southern side of the city area, while the rest of it is cituated on the North and requires crossing of 2 bridges. Quite interesting.
Gorinchem was established in 13th century and of course was a fortified city. Located on 2 rivers it was fishermen town and today you can see statues of fish, fishermen, or both in different parts of the city.
Since the city center is sort of an island you can easily walk around it. The old city walls didn't survive, neither did the city gates (except for one) but the "city walls" route exists and can be easily done in less than 2 hours. As you'll walk you'll see the city on one side and the typical Dutch countryside on the other. Sure there are windmills (in case you asked).
Unfortunately, the local tourist office, VVV, does not provide any information in English. And all their info and routes brochures are in Dutch only. However, you can always get a map with tourist attractions marked on it and enjoy the beautiful architecture of the town.
Rent a canoe and explore Giethoorn
Giethoorn is a really off the beaten path place. Except for the Dutch people who seem to love this place very much, you won't meet many tourists. Bus is running to this town only until 6pm, and only during the weekdays. Besides a car, you'll need a boat to explore the beautiful "Venice of the North". People will say hello on the streets, because this is the tradition (if I may call it so) that is kept in this town since the times when Giethoorn was just a small village with a few houses and many waterways - a place where everybody knows your name.
Although it is not the kind of place where you find a loud nightlife, crazy parties till the early hours of a next day's morning, McDonalds on every corner, and billboards advertising coca-cola and Guinness there's still plenty of activities for you. You can explore the countryside cycling around, you can rent a boat or a canoe since this is the only way to see the town, you can enjoy the local restaurants, taste beer in local bars and visit some interesting museums in the area.
This is not Amsterdam, this is Giethoorn - the real Dutch atmosphere and a place to have a very pleasant and relaxing vacation
Mastbos, Noord Brabant
One may assume that because the big part of the land was reclaimed from the sea and the country is densely populated there is no space for natural beauty, let alone forests.
Wrong!! The Netherlands have them, and a lot. Provinces of Noord Brabant, Zuid Holland, Gelderland, and others have many national parks and forests.
If you're interested in exploring the country side there are many activities for you and places to visit. Especially if you rent a bike and cycle in the nature your experience will be unforgettable.
Along the Vliet
Leidschendam is a small town located 3 minutes train ride from The Hague. Not sure if I'd recommend going there on a trip, but if you are in this area and want to kill one or two hours then it can be a nice experience. The city is divided into two part by a canal. Mostly residential it still has some industrial area. The town also hosts the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions. Since the country has no Ministry of Tourism it makes the NBTC the only official organization responsible for the tourism in the country.
You may may walk along the Vliet, take a look at the nice houses. Not sure, but this town looks like a place where traders used to come in Midevial times. Makes sence with such a great access through the river.I will have to check this to know for sure.
Who said that the Netherlands have boring nature and flat landscape?? The country is flat, it is true, but this is what makes cycling much easier ;-)
Cows are everywhere indeed, but they are not the only animals you'll see here. Pesonally I enjoy taking train from Breda all the way to Zwolle. As the train makes its way from Arnhem farther you'll see many farms. Cows, sheep, horses, goats and especially lots of deers. Holland doesn't enjoy many hot sunny days, but when it does cycling in the countryside is a very pleasant experience. You may also want to pay attention to the houses, some of the gardens and yards are especially nice designed in a typical Dutch way, some with little lakes, windmills and tiny bridges.
View from the terrace
Don't think I have to explain too much about the international airport of the Netherlands. Just wanted to mention some things that you might find usefull.
First, the train station is located on the bottom (underground) level of Schiphol which is very convenient. If you don't have exact change or local pin-card (Dutch plastic card) you won't be able to purchase your train tickets from the ticket machines! Use the services of the tickets' booth.
Second, if you happend to be at Schiphol to meet your friends or relatives (or to say goodbye) you may want to go to the "Panorama Terrace" which is a huge balcony on the third floor of the airport from which you can see most of the arriving and departing airplanes.
Ok, so it's raining here something like 350 days out of 365 and umbrellas don't really help. The only advantage is those beautiful rainbows that appear after the storms! And for the first time in my life I was able to see not one rainbow but two at the same time. The view was amazing.
Of course you can never predict when the rainbow will appear but at least you can carry your camera with you.
OK, most of you already know how much I love beer. No wonder, what else a full time student can do except for studying? ;-)
Baarle Nassau is a very unique village which is located on the Netherlands' territory but actually belongs to both Holland and Belgium. Please don't be surprised, it's true! The Belgian part is called Baarle Hertog, the Netherlands' part called Baarle Nassau, but it is actually the same village. How can you know which part belongs to what country? Simply look for the flag on a house, if it's the Belgian one then it's Belguim, if it's Dutch then... you know the answer.
The place is very touristy so don't be surprised if you see buses full of tourists arriving there.
The town is beautiful and I'll definitely be back to see more of it.
What you shouldn't miss is the beer brewery called Petrus Brouwershuis. This place serves over 500 types of beer and has a very unique menu. You can choose from different types of menu what kind of beer you'd like to drink. For an average price of 14 Euro you get 5 different types of beer which are being served to you from the lowest percent of alcohol to the highest.
Be carefull though, I took the menu which started from 5% and ended at 9% and you don't wanna know how I looked like after my third glass ;-)
If you have the opportunity to visit this place please don't miss it. It is easily accesible from Breda, take bus #132 and in 30 minutes you'll find yourself in the "beerland". The Petrus Brouwershuis is also has a store where you can buy bottled beer and glasses.
Molenstraat 42, Baarle Hertog (Belguim)
Phone: ++ 32-14-699-403
I'm sure that most of you have heard of Scheveningen, but what about Kijkduin? This tiny beach area is located south of Scheveningen and within 20 min bus ride from the city center of The Hague. If you're looking for a nice beach with promenade, shops, and restaurants then this place would be a good choice. It is mostly visited by locals, but you can also see some tourists there, now and then.
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