5 beautiful small cities in the Netherlands

Zaandam - weekend in the Netherlands

When you are visiting cities in the Netherlands you’ll probably have Amsterdam and Rotterdam first on your list. Obviously, and you’re absolutely right. But if you have a bit more time in this country, or if this isn’t your first visit, why not explore these 5 beautiful small cities in the Netherlands?

Get tickets for the 5D Ultimate Flight Experience – This is Holland where a flight simulator takes you over canals, windmills and more

5 beautiful small cities in the Netherlands

The 5 cities in this blog post are my favourite small cities in the Netherlands. They each have a unique vibe and it is fun to wander around here. Discover the fairytale cobblestone streets, famous blue ceramics and eccentric-looking houses in:

  1. Hoorn
  2. Delft
  3. Haarlem
  4. ‘s-Hertogenbosch
  5. Zaandam

1. Hoorn

30 minutes from Amsterdam by train

The first time I visited Hoorn was when I was a little girl. My dad had built his own sailing yacht and he took us sailing that Summer. Hoorn is a small city along Lake Marker (Markermeer), which is kind of a large lake. Together with Lake IJssel (IJsselmeer), the adjacent lake, they divide the north part of the Netherlands into two.

Source: Hoorn Administratie

In the old city centre and the harbour, you can still see the VOC influences. In that time Hoorn was flourishing in wealth. Now, this still is the city of boatmen, fishermen and seafood. Here are a few nice places to enjoy the city:

  • Oranje Buiten has a terrace with lake views and a small private beach. Enjoy lunch, drinks or dinner with your feet in the sand. This place also has a beautiful hiking area along the coast of Hoorn, walking over the dykes.
  • At floating Restaurant De Baai you can’t only enjoy lovely food at the terrace, but also engage in different types of watersports. How about supping, kitesurfing or wakeboarding before lunch?

2. Delft

55 minutes from Amsterdam by train

Delft is situated between Rotterdam and the Hague. This is a city of cobblestone streets, the famous painter Vermeer and Delft Blue ceramics.

The birthplace of Johannes Vermeer (born in the Golden Century) is idyllic with its historical city centre, cobblestones and canals. Besides the historical sights, the city also has a modern, hipster vibe. The city even has a list of the most Instagrammable spots!

Photo by Toni Zaat

Here are some cool things to do and see in Delft:

  • Discover the Instagrammable spots in Delft
  • Check out the Vermeer museum. You can get tickets here.
  • Visit the top of the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church). Almost every member of the Dutch Royal family is buried underneath the church. With good weather, you can go to the top of the church for a magnificent view.
  • Check out The Blue Tulip and Madame Blue at the market square to see the traditional blue painting of the Delft Blue ceramics. Or paint your own tile!

3. Haarlem

20 minutes from Amsterdam by train

As you might have noticed, I am a sucker for the historical city centres, old buildings and cobblestone streets. Haarlem fits into this list. I love combining this city with a visit to the beach. The city has a great combination of culture (historical sights and museums) and trendy coffee places and other hotspots.

5 beautiful small cities in the Netherlands Haarlem

Besides, there’s a shitload of activities to do in Haarlem:

  • Do as the locals and get on a bike! I love doing bike tours and Baja Bikes is one of the best. A great way to discover the city!
  • Dakkas is the place to be in Haarlem. Built on top of a parking garage, Dakkas looks like a greenhouse. Besides a great menu, you can also join the comedy factory or a yoga class on the roof!
  • Visit windmill de Adriaan located on the river Spaarne. Oh, and you can also sup on the river in Summer!
  • Do a canal cruise for the best views of Haarlem.

4. ‘s-Hertogenbosch

1 hour from Amsterdam by train

One of my favourite cities in the Netherlands is ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Fair enough, I am biased because I live here. Not really sure why, but for some reason, I ended up living here in an apartment on the edge of the city centre. What is most appealing to this city is the Burgundian lifestyle, referring to the heartwarming hospitality and that everything revolves around food & drinks and great companionship, whether you know each other for years, or you just met in a bar.

‘s-Hertogenbosch has an old city centre with the market square and St. Jan’s Cathedral as showpieces of the city. Here are some fun things to do:

  • Climb up St. Jan’s Cathedral. For 7 euros you can climb up this Gothic monument for a magnificent view.
  • Every Wednesday and Saturday there’s a farmer’s market on the main market square. Best place to sample food, try our traditional herring and other Dutch or international food.
  • With multiple awards of the ‘most hospitable city of the Netherlands’, ‘s-Hertogenbosch is the place to enjoy food and drinks. Try one of the venues in the Korte Putstraat, a narrow street filled with bars and restaurants.
  • Visit the NoordBrabants Museum to see the works of by Van Gogh, Jan Sluijters, Piet Mondrian and Marc Mulders. You can get skip-the-line tickets here.

5. Zaandam

15 minutes from Amsterdam by train

Cities in the Netherlands Zaandam
Source: Inntel hotel

Whenever friends ask me for recommendations, I always tell them to visit Zaandam. A very popular part of the city is called De Zaanse Schans, which is basically a free open-air museum. In the 20th century, the city wanted to preserve the traditional wooden houses turning the area, unintentionally, into a tourist attraction. What exactly is there to see here?

  • Along the river the Zaan, you can find traditional and colourful windmills. If you go around Zaandam to explore, it is best to rent a bike. Or you can do a guided tour to Zaandam from Amsterdam.
  • Walk around De Zaanse Schans and relive the 18th and 19th century. You can visit the bakery museum and see the warehouse where they make wooden shoes.
  • The Czaar Peter house is one of the oldest wooden houses in the Netherlands, built in 1632. It got famous because of the stay of Tsar Peter the Great in 1697.

Planning on visiting my home country? Have a look at my travel guide of a local for my article on the countryside or more information. And give me a shout if you have any questions. Happy to help you out!

facebook.com/cocodeewanderlust
pinterest.com/cocodeestyle
instagram.com/cocodeewanderlust
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Pinterest Pins

5 beautiful small cities in the Netherlands

22 Replies to “5 beautiful small cities in the Netherlands”

  1. I want to show my thanks to you just for rescuing me from such a trouble. Right after exploring through the internet and meeting views that were not productive, I figured my life was done. Being alive devoid of the approaches to the difficulties you have fixed through your main article content is a crucial case, as well as the kind that might have adversely damaged my entire career if I hadn’t come across your site. Your primary knowledge and kindness in touching the whole thing was invaluable. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come upon such a step like this. It’s possible to now relish my future. Thank you very much for your specialized and result oriented help. I won’t hesitate to propose your blog to anybody who wants and needs guide about this area.

  2. Wow, marvelous blog layout! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for? you make blogging look easy. The full look of your website is wonderful, let alone the content material!!

  3. Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

  4. Wow, wonderful weblog structure! How long have you been blogging for? you made running a blog glance easy. The overall glance of your website is excellent, let alone the content!!

  5. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I do think that you ought to publish more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people don’t discuss these subjects. To the next! Best wishes!

  6. The the very next time I just read a weblog, Lets hope it doesnt disappoint me about this. Get real, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I really thought youd have some thing interesting to say. All I hear is a few whining about something you could fix if you ever werent too busy in search of attention.

  7. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!|

  8. A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I believe that youshould write more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but usuallypeople do not discuss these issues. To the next!Cheers!!

  9. Do not fall around the trap of lucrative offers of some deceitful companies.Bottom Line: Remember Diego Sanchez would have been a format member from the Greg Jackson team and Jackson is at the corner when GSP fought Penn so Sanchez will fight a similar fight that St Pierre fought.Without any doubt, BJ “The Prodigy” Penn is the top 155 pound within the world.

  10. I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this information So i am happy to convey that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I most certainly will make sure to don’t forget this site and give it a glance on a constant basis.

  11. You have made some decent points there. I checked on the net for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

  12. I was very pleased to search out this internet-site.I needed to thanks to your time for this wonderful learn!! I positively having fun with every little little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you weblog post.

  13. […] 5 beautiful small cities in the Netherlands […]

  14. […] to the borders of Germany and Belgium), Carnival has similarities with the Venetian Carnival. In ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Carnival is celebrated in a peasant outfit, so that everyone is […]

  15. […] made additions to the Netherlands travel guide, check out my blog post 5 beautiful small cities in the Netherlands for […]

  16. […] Interested in smaller cities like ‘s-Hertogenbosch? Find out more about the beautiful, picturesque cities in the Netherlands. […]

Leave a Reply