21 beautiful cities in the Netherlands that aren't Amsterdam - DutchReview (2023)

There are so many beautiful cities in the Netherlands, but it's easy to blend in with city life. Here are 21 stunning options to try while escaping the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam.

Whether you are a tourist or a resident of the lowlands, we are always looking for beautiful Dutch cities to visit.

If you're new here and looking for something that's not just Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Amsterdam then you're in luck.

There are many other beautiful places and that's why we deliberately left the capital off the list this time (sorry, Amsterdam).

1. Giethoorn

With its picturesque atmosphere, a large concentration of canals and countless boats,Giethoornis known as the "Venice of the Netherlands".

The place is literally like something out of a postcard: everything is incredibly clean, people's lawns are perfectly trimmed and all the houses fit together.

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The only problem is that in the summer months the place sways! How really. Giethoorn is particularly popular with group tour operators. So if you want to rent your own private boat, do it well in advance.

2. Zutphen

Located on the rivers Berkel and IJssel,Zutphenis one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands and has one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in northwestern Europe.

nicknames ofTurmstadtDue to its large, historical buildings and the multitude of towers that form the city's skyline, this 'Hanzestad' has a rich history dating back to Roman times 1,700 years ago.

Some of the things you definitelymust not be missingYour visit includes the wine house, the museum and the unique library of Zutphen.

3. Amersfoort

Amersfoortis one of our personal favourites. The whole place is incredibly picturesque and full of history.

The iconic Koppelpoort, built in 1425, dominates most images and looks particularly good at night. But Amersfoort has much more to offer.

Aside from the Koppelpoort, the entire city center is also beautiful - so the perfect place to walk and explore. There are many bars, restaurants and museums in Amersfoort, making it an ideal place for a short day trip.

4. Zieriksee

Zierikzee in Zeeland is a small port town with an eventful history. There are 568 national monuments in and around the city center, making Zierikzee one of the top ten Dutch cities with the largest number of monuments.

It is the best preserved town in the province of Zeeland.

The first thing we recommend when you doCome here for a day tripis just walking around. Zierikzee has beautiful squares and alleys where it is easy to get lost.

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Afterwards, head to the former town hall to learn some history or shop in the local boutiques.

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5. Texel

While not technically a city, it's quietTexel islandhas a rich and turbulent history that includes exposure to the American Revolution and the site ofThe last battlefield of World War II.

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Today it is a paradise for hikers, cyclists, riders, artists and sheep. 🐑

Texel has something for everyone, from historians and nature lovers to sheep and bird watchers.

It even has a bird information center. No sheep information center but a separate breed of sheep: the Texelaar.

6. Delft

Delft is a beautiful city that lies in betweenRotterdamandThe Hague. It's your typical Dutch town with beautiful architecture and lots of little cafes and shops.

Delft is the perfect place if you want to spend the afternoon somewhere truly Dutch and sit on the terrace with a coffee or a beer.

There's plenty toofree activities in Delft, including a stroll through the weekend markets or a stroll through the parks. We also recommend visiting the Nieuwe Kerk or visiting the botanical garden.

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In case you didn't know, Delft is THE place to buy Delft blue china (duh).

7. Bunschoten Spakenburg

Are you eager to venture off the beaten track and explore less touristy destinations? Consider a visitBunschoten Spakenburg!

Two neighboring cities with a vibrant history and culture you may not have heard of.

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Spakenburg is the most famous fishing village in the southern part of the former Zuiderzee, which is now divided into two large lakes - IJsselmeer and Markermeer.

Bunschoten is a farming village just next door. Over time, the two villages thrived and grew closer together, eventually merging to form Bunschoten-Spakenburg in 1965.

8. Haarlem

Haarlem is close to Amsterdam and is always recommended for people who don't like the hustle and bustle of the big city but still want to enjoy beautiful canals and a sight to seetypical Dutch town.

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It's the perfect place to walk around if you're looking for great architecture, windmills, shops and all things Dutch.

Be sure to explore the markets in the huge market square, visit the cathedral (it's beautiful!), climb a windmill or peruse the many shops and restaurants.

READ MORE |The 18 best markets in Amsterdam: ultimate guide

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9. Gorinchem

Gorinchemis the largest and largest of the Netherlandsmost beautiful fortified city. It lies on the Waal River, a branch of the Rhine, in the province of South Holland.

This historic town, together with the village of Woudrichem, Castle Loevestein and Fort Vuren, forms the Vestingdriehoek (the Fortress Triangle) - an important part of theOld and the new Dutch water pipeswhich Holland defended from invaders for centuries.

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Stroll through the harbor and enjoy the flower displays along the waterfront or take the 5km self-guided Fortress Walk (Vestingwandeling) which takes you over the earthen ramparts, past barracks, artillery sheds, the old Customs House, the Dalempoort Gatehouse, the Caponier, two flour mills and many other fascinating buildings with a military purpose.

10. Valkenburg

Valkenburg in the southern province of Limburg is a place steeped in history. it's homeCastle Valkenburg, which has beautiful ruins for you to explore.

In general, it's also nice to walk through the center. It's definitely one of those forgotten places to visit and we highly recommend you go!

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As well as being able to walk around and look at all the beautiful architecture (check out the train station!), there is a multitude of different museums, shops, restaurants and cafes.

Christmas is a particularly nice time to visit as there is a Christmas market in the Valkenburg Caves! It's a very unique experience.

11. Willemstad

Explore Willemstadis quick and easy. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets lined with attractive houses. Some of the entrances to the front doors are via small wooden bridges that cross a narrow water channel.

There is a wide range of restaurants with outdoor terraces under a line of trees in the middle of a divided main road.

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A walk along the city walls takes about 45 minutes. Along the way you will encounter several historical remains, such as B. a military gunpowder house built by Napoleon when the French occupied the city in the early 19th century.

He liked the fortress town so much that he hoarded gunpowder there. Don't worry, it's empty now, but the building will remain.

12. Leiden

Not only is Leiden great in every way: with its little quaint streets and abundance of canals, but it's also the home of DutchReview! I'm trying not to be biased here, but Leiden is a beautiful place to visit.

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It has the most canals in the Netherlands after Amsterdam and is home to15 Great Museums(who beat Amsterdam every day)

We recommend you to visit the Leiden markets and the various museums – e.gThe Museum of Antiquitiesand theMuseum of Ethnology, take a boat trip, shop or sit on one of the terraces with aBier.

13. 's Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch)

We love 's-Hertogenbosch, also known as Den Bosch! You will find this beautiful place in Noord Brabant. The city is a mix of old and typical medieval buildings, canals, a beautiful cathedral and also very modern and trendy architecture.

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It is also home to theonion houseswho have been sitting there since the 1980s.

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On your next visit, take a boat trip along the canals and enjoy the absence of crowds of tourists that you usually see in Amsterdam. You can also visit St. John's Cathedral and admire the amazing architecture on foot or by bike.

14. Maastricht

Maastrichtis often forgotten as it is so far from the capital. But it shouldn't be! Maastricht is a beautiful city with lots of medieval architecture and lots to do.

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It's particularly popular with students and is so close to both Belgium and Germany that it's the perfect spot if you just want to hop over the border and try something new.

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Admire the beautiful architecture while walking around the city, visit the flea markets, go to the market square, visit some museums and drink on the terraces... there is a lot to do in Maastricht.

15. Naarden

Naarden is a small town near Amsterdam. It's quite well-known for those popular images that show the shape of the city. From the top you can see that the place is shaped like a star as the whole city is surrounded by moats.

It looks that way because historically it was part of theDefense line of Amsterdam, making this fortified city even more beautiful and interesting than it already was.

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Aside from a drone shot, or maybe not as local residents might find that a bit annoying at this point, you can visit the Vestingmuseum dedicated to the city's defense history, visit one of the oldest churches in the Netherlands, just explore on foot the sights or eat and drink in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

16. Horn

The beautiful little town of Hoorn is located in Noord-Holland, near the IJsselmeer. As well as being picturesque, it is close to a lake, sand dunes and countryside.

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This makes Hoorn a popular place for water sports - staycation here we come! Hoorn is great for walking or cycling and there are museums, a shopping area, restaurants and cafes - what more could we ask for?

17. Utrecht

Utrecht is a beautiful and quintessentially Dutch city that is often forgotten (Amsterdam and Rotterdam seem to dominate the roost). Once the religious capital of the Netherlands, this picturesque medieval city shines around the Dom Tower – the tallest church spire in the Netherlands.

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With its beautiful old houses, bridges and canals surrounding the city, Utrecht is often thought of as little Amsterdam – only without so many tourists. There is no shortage ofinterestingthings to do and seein this historic city.

18. Roermond

Roermond is a city in Limburg, located in close proximity to Germany and Belgium. It's the perfect place if you're visiting from outside the Netherlands or want to try something new afterwards.

The city is located on the lower Roer on the east bank of the Meuse - so a nice destination for a day trip.

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If you like shopping then you are in luck as Roermond has a designer outlet and a variety of popular high street shops, cafes and restaurants.

Not only is it lovely to stroll around the town, but the location is a stone's throw from the lakes and offers plenty of walks and plenty to do. If water sports are your thing then this is the place for you.

19. The Hague

The Hagueis an immensely popular place for internationals – to live, work and visit. Once you go there you can see why. The Hague is a center for innovation, business and multiculturalism.

READ MORE |29 amazing things to do in The Hague in 2023

It's both modern and historic so it's a great mix. It is also the seat of government and the International Court of Justice.

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You can walk in the Binnenhof area (the Dutch Parliament), explore the Peace Palace, visit the Scheveningen pier, visit many different museums and shop on the big high street.

20. Veere

The small town of Veerehas a rich history. Located in the province of Zeeland, it is unique for its strong kinship with Scotland.

No other European city played a more important economic role for Scotland than Veere did between the 16th and 18th centuriesthand 17thcenturies.

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Veere is definitely worth a visit. The central square may be small, but the atmosphere is steeped in history along with the small streets - a reminder of the city's glory days.

The town's charming shops offer clothing, culinary delights, decoration and of course souvenirs.

21. Alkmar

You may have heard of Alkmaar because of Alkmaarcheese market. But Alkmaar is not only great because of all thisCheese(although that's definitely a big bonus). It has a historic city center and is filled to the brim with activities.

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Hiking or cycling around the historic center should definitely be on your to-do list as well. There are many shops, restaurants and cafes to keep you busy during your visit.

There are also a couple of museums in Alkmaar (did someone say cheese museum and beer museum?!) that are worth a visit.

Have you visited any of these beautiful cities? Which Dutch city is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in October 2018 and was fully updated in January 2023 for your reading pleasure.


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