Are you looking for some nice weekend trips within the Netherlands? Well, it seems like this summer many of us are going to take holidays more locally. And you’re quite lucky if you live here. Because there are many great places to visit in the Netherlands and numerous cute Dutch towns you could visit in 2020. I’m going to share with you some of my favourite places in this blog post with some extra tips for keeping your distance to stay safe while travelling within the Netherlands.
Weekend trips in the Netherlands
The Netherlands may be a small country, but it has plenty to offer to travellers. From the national parks, beach, cultural sights to lovely cities, it has it all. If you’re living in this country, and are looking for some lovely holiday destinations in the Netherlands, then keep on reading.
How to travel around the Netherlands in summer 2020
The Netherlands is quite a small and compact country, and you can get nearly anywhere within two or three hours. The train was always my first option when travelling in the Netherlands. But, with the current situation, public transport is not an option for many people. So, here are some other travel options within the Netherlands, too.
The train system in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a country with one of the best train systems I’ve ever seen. And I used it a lot during my last six years there. You can just check-in and check-out with your OV Chipkaart, and don’t need to worry about buying the train tickets on each station.
If you’re living in the Netherlands, it could be useful to get yourself a discount subscription on all the train trips outside the pick hours. It’s actually valid during the whole day on weekends, so perfect for those weekend trips within the Netherlands.
If you’re a tourist in the Netherlands, you can either easily buy your ticket on one of the yellow machines at each train station. Or, you can check if there are some of the special promotions happening on the NS website.
Driving a car around the Netherlands
Because of all the social distancing, and rules applying in summer 2020 when travelling with public transport in the Netherlands, travel by train maybe won’t be everyone’s cup of tea this year.
The next great thing could be to travel by car during your weekend trip. The roads and highways are pretty good all around the country, and you’ll be anywhere quickly. I would definitely choose to travel by car this summer.
Renting a car in the Netherlands
But what if you don’t have your own car?
Well, you don’t have to worry either, because it’s quite easy to rent a car in the Netherlands. And you can quickly do it online. I rented a car numerous times there. Especially when going on some of my weekend trips to Flanders. And it always worked great. Check out the website such as Rental Cars to have the best selections of cars you can rent in the Netherlands.
Hop on a bicycle
The Netherlands is such a cycling-friendly country. And not only in the cities. But, there are so many lovely cycling paths you can explore in the countryside. I cycled between Amsterdam and Haarlem many times. And was also exploring the area between Haarlem and the coast, and biking through the Dutch dunes a lot.
You can also bring your own, or rent a bicycle, during your weekend trips in the Netherlands, and explore the area you’re going to visit that way.
Places to visit in the Netherlands
Okay, so let me tell you where to go during your weekend trips within the Netherlands. At the end of each paragraph, you’ll find a tip that will help you keep a distance more during your trip.
Whenever someone asks me for a nice idea for a weekend trip in the Netherlands, one of my first recommendations is – Texel. It’s an island located in the northern part of the country. With its unique nature and many animals living there, it’s one of the most beautiful areas of the Netherlands.
It’s home to one of the most beautiful Dutch National Parks, as well. And it’s filled with some fantastic legends.
Texel Island is perfect for cycling, spending a lot of time in nature and at the beach. It’s a lovely weekend destination in the Netherlands you should visit in summer 2020.
One of the things I was really amazed by at Texel, was how child-friendly it is. I visited with my, then two-year-old son, and there were so many lovely things to do there with him. Ecomare, a seal shelter and a nature museum, is a wonderful place to learn more about those cute animals. There are many playgrounds and child-friendly cafes and restaurants on the island, too.
Keeping a distance tip: Well, you’ll be on an island, so it’s going to be easier to find a more isolated place on Texel during your visit. I loved exploring it on a bicycle, riding through the forest and spending some time at a beach. I’m sure by doing these activities, you won’t have a problem in finding some quiet places only for yourself.
Maastricht is one of the best cities for a weekend break in the Netherlands. It’s also a Dutch city which looks the least Dutch. It’s located on a border with Germany and Belgium. And it’s architecture, culture and cuisine are very much influenced by its neighbours.
What I love the most in Maastricht is just to stroll around and explore its fantastic architecture. Basilica of Our Lady is a massive Medieval church. It has a huge westwork at its front, which makes it look a bit like a fortress.
Vrijthof Square is home to two impressive Medieval churches, too. Romanesque Basilica of Saint Servatius used to be an important pilgrimage site. Next to it is a Gothic Sint-Janskerk, the main Protestant church in Maastricht. You’ll recognise it by its distinctive red tower.
Maastricht was quite an important town back in the Middle Ages. You can see remains of its old city walls, built back in the 13th and 14th century, in many places in Maastricht. A part of the old city fortification system, Hell’s Gate was built in the 13th century. They are the oldest city gates in the Netherlands, so definitely an interesting place to see when in Maastricht. The city centre is surrounded by some lovely parks that are a nice place for a stroll during your weekend.
Keeping a distance tip: Take a picnic blanket with you and spend some time in the parks of Maastricht.
Haarlem is a charming Dutch town in which you can feel the history on its every corner. Its main square, Groote Markt, is where Haarlem’s most beautiful buildings are. One of the most interesting is Saint Bavo Church, which tower you’ll see from many places in Haarlem. City Hall (where the tourist office is, as well) and the Vleeshal are definitely worth visiting, too.
A small hidden gem is its Archaeological Museum, located in the basement of the Vleeshal. And if you’d like to visit more museums during your stay, be sure to go to Teylers, the oldest museum in the Netherlands. Or to the Frans Hals Museum, dedicated to that former citizen of Haarlem, and one of the most famous Dutch painters from the 17th century.
Located just next to the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, you can easily extend your visit and spend some time in nature. Take a walk through the dunes and spend a day at the beach during your trip to Haarlem, as well.
Keeping a distance tip: Rent a boat and explore the city from its canals. You’ll definitely keep a distance while visiting Haarlem that way. And you’ll enjoy in some fantastic views of the city.
Locations linked to Vincent Van Gogh in Brabant
Brabant is a lovely Dutch region and a great place to spend a weekend in the Netherlands. It’s home to many beautiful towns such as Tilburg, Breda or ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
It was also a place where one of the most famous Dutch painters Vincent van Gogh was born and worked during his years as a painter in the Netherlands. Locations linked to his life and work are mostly placed in smaller villages like Zundert or Nuenen.
It’s so lovely to see the places where that famous painter created some of his beautiful paintings like ‘The Potato Eaters’. On many of those locations, you’ll find boards with more info about the paintings and his work.
take some drawing material, get creative and paint as van Gogh did.Keeping a distance tip: Spend most of your time in a small village of Nuenen and explore the countryside around it. You can even
Rotterdam is the city with some of the most amazing architecture and street art in the Netherlands. Strolling around it is an entirely different experience, than, for example, around Amsterdam.
Some of my favourite buildings there are the Cube Houses, Erasmus Bridge and the Market Hall. If you’ll take a walk around the harbour area, you’ll be amazed by many fantastic modern skyscrapers. It’s definitely quite an unusual sight for the Netherlands.
If you’d like to spend a night in style in Rotterdam, then SS Rotterdam could be an excellent choice for you.
fantastic Rotterdam architecture is incredible.Keeping a distance tip: Take a walk around the area where SS Rotterdam is located. Streets are vast, it’s quieter than the city centre, and the view on some of the
Hoge Veluwe National Park
Hoge Veluwe is a Dutch national park located in the central part of the Netherlands. It’s one of the only two Dutch national parks that are privately owned. And the only one asking for an entrance fee (11 euros for adults, 5,50 euros for kids).
Besides the fantastic flora and fauna, Hoge Veluwe National Park is home to the Kröller-Müller Museum and its sculpture garden. This is where the second largest collection of van Gogh’s paintings in the world could be found. And a great collection of modern artwork, giving an excellent overview of art between 1850 and 1950.
Its sculpture garden located in the nature of the national park was my favourite area there. Wandering around beautiful nature and stumbling upon some fantastic art along the way, is definitely an experience worth a trip to Hoge Veluwe National Park.
Keeping a distance tip: Rent a bicycle at the entrance to the national park and explore it on your own pace through the whole day.
This summer we won’t be able to travel far. Still, with so many lovely Dutch towns, you shouldn’t have a problem in satisfying your wanderlust. Hope these ideas for the weekend trips in the Netherlands will help you choose some great destinations to visit in summer 2020.